Dendrites help mitigate the plasticity-stability dilemma

Wilmes, Katharina A.,Clopath, Claudia

Scientific Reports(2023)

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With Hebbian learning ‘who fires together wires together’, well-known problems arise. Hebbian plasticity can cause unstable network dynamics and overwrite stored memories. Because the known homeostatic plasticity mechanisms tend to be too slow to combat unstable dynamics, it has been proposed that plasticity must be highly gated and synaptic strengths limited. While solving the issue of stability, gating and limiting plasticity does not solve the stability-plasticity dilemma. We propose that dendrites enable both stable network dynamics and considerable synaptic changes, as they allow the gating of plasticity in a compartment-specific manner. We investigate how gating plasticity influences network stability in plastic balanced spiking networks of neurons with dendrites. We compare how different ways to gate plasticity, namely via modulating excitability, learning rate, and inhibition increase stability. We investigate how dendritic versus perisomatic gating allows for different amounts of weight changes in stable networks. We suggest that the compartmentalisation of pyramidal cells enables dendritic synaptic changes while maintaining stability. We show that the coupling between dendrite and soma is critical for the plasticity-stability trade-off. Finally, we show that spatially restricted plasticity additionally improves stability.
Computational neuroscience,Neuroscience,Synaptic plasticity,Science,Humanities and Social Sciences,multidisciplinary
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