Tuning of synaptic responses: an organizing principle for optimization of neural circuits

Cian O'Donnell, Matthew F Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Neuron types are classically defined by anatomical and physiological properties that determine how synaptic inputs are integrated. Here, we provide an overview of the evidence that, among neurons of a single type, integration of synaptic responses is further tuned according to the particular function that individual neurons carry out. Recent data suggest that tuning of synaptic responses is not restricted to sensory pathways, but extends to cognitive and motor circuits. We propose that tuning of synaptic integration results from general cellular mechanisms for optimization of information processing that are distinct from, but complementary to, homeostasis and memory storage. These cellular tuning mechanisms might be crucial for distributed computations underlying sensory, motor and cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number2
Early online date9 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Brain/anatomy & histology
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Feedback, Sensory
  • Homeostasis
  • Memory/physiology
  • Nerve Net/anatomy & histology
  • Neurons/physiology
  • Synapses/metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Tuning of synaptic responses: an organizing principle for optimization of neural circuits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this