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Title: Contributions of synaptic filters to models of synaptically stored memory
Author: Lagogiannis, Konstantinos
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The question of how neural systems encode memories in one-shot without immediately disrupting previously stored information has puzzled theoretical neuroscientists for years and it is the central topic of this thesis. Previous attempts on this topic, have proposed that synapses probabilistically update in response to plasticity inducing stimuli to effectively delay the degradation of old memories in the face of ongoing memory storage. Indeed, experiments have shown that synapses do not immediately respond to plasticity inducing stimuli, since these must be presented many times before synaptic plasticity is expressed. Such a delay could be due to the stochastic nature of synaptic plasticity or perhaps because induction signals are integrated before overt strength changes occur. The later approach has been previously applied to control fluctuations in neural development by low-pass filtering induction signals before plasticity is expressed. In this thesis we consider memory dynamics in a mathematical model with synapses that integrate plasticity induction signals to a threshold before expressing plasticity. We report novel recall dynamics and considerable improvements in memory lifetimes against a prominent model of synaptically stored memory. With integrating synapses the memory trace initially rises before reaching a maximum and then falls. The memory signal dissociates into separate oblivescence and reminiscence components, with reminiscence initially dominating recall. Furthermore, we find that integrating synapses possess natural timescales that can be used to consider the transition to late-phase plasticity under spaced repetition patterns known to lead to optimal storage conditions. We find that threshold crossing statistics differentiate between massed and spaced memory repetition patterns. However, isolated integrative synapses obtain an insufficient statistical sample to detect the stimulation pattern within a few memory repetitions. We extend the modelto consider the cooperation of well-known intracellular signalling pathways in detecting storage conditions by utilizing the profile of postsynaptic depolarization. We find that neuron wide signalling and local synaptic signals can be combined to detect optimal storage conditions that lead to stable forms of plasticity in a synapse specific manner. These models can be further extended to consider heterosynaptic and neuromodulatory interactions for late-phase plasticity.
Supervisor: Shadbolt, Nigel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science