Inhibitory mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity in vivo

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Tara Keck

    University College London

Project summary

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to learn and change in response to novel environments or after injury. There are many forms of neuroplasticity, including homeostatic plasticity, which describes the balancing mechanisms that ensure that brain activity never becomes extreme during synaptic changes following learning or input loss. The disruption of homeostatic plasticity is implicated in diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia; however, the cell types involved in this plasticity are unclear.

We will measure activity levels of specific inhibitory neuron subtypes during the homeostatic recovery of activity that follows input loss. We will then use optogenetic tools to change the activity levels in these inhibitory subtypes to determine their causal role in the homeostatic activity regulation at spatial scales of synapses, cells and cellular networks. 

These experiments will identify inhibitory neurons that can be targeted for therapeutic interventions.