Plasticity-Stability Balance in Neural Circuits: From Activity Homeostasis to Alzheimer’s Disease

Since the early time of Descartes at the turn of the 17th century, scientists and philosophers have been searching for the physical correlate of thoughts and memories. Stability and plasticity are hallmarks of brain function that enable adaptations to unpredictable and dynamic environment, experience and learning. Coping with constantly changing environments, neural circuits need to spend a considerable amount of their available energy to maintain homeostasis and to minimize the effects of stochastic events. Destabilization of hippocampal and cortical circuits has been widely documented in neurodegenerative disorders, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent form of late-life dementia. However, the key mechanisms that underlie stability of activity patterns in central mammalian neural circuits are largely unknown. Furthermore, how disruption of these mechanisms affects the progression of Alzheimer’s disease remains an enigma. Read More »