A Caltech Library Service

Biophysical Model of a Hebbian Synapse

Zador, Anthony and Koch, Christof and Brown, Thomas H. (1990) Biophysical Model of a Hebbian Synapse. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87 (17). pp. 6718-6722. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC54608.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We present a biophysical model of electrical and Ca(2+) dynamics following activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors located on a dendritic spine. The model accounts for much of the phenomenology of the induction of long-term potentiation at a Hebbian synapse in hippocampal region CA1. Computer simulations suggested four important functions of spines in this Ca(^2+)-dependent synaptic modification: (i) compartmentalizing transient changes in [Ca(2+)] to just those synapses that satisfy the conjunctive requirement for synaptic modification; (ii) isolating the spine head from changes in the [Ca(2+)] at the dendritic shaft; (iii) amplifying the concentration changes at those synapses; and (iv) increasing the voltage dependence of the processes underlying long term potentiation induction. This proposed role of spines in the regulation of Ca(^2+) dynamics contrasts with traditional approaches to spine function that have stressed electronic properties. This model can be used to explore the computational implications of Hebbian synapses.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralPubMed Article
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:Communicated by Francis Crick, May 25, 1990. We thank Dr. Francis Crick for useful discussions, Dr. C. F. Stevens for making experimental results available before publication, and Ms. Anna C. Nobre for comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Office of Naval ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:long-term potentiation ; Hebb's postulate ; neuronal plasticity ; Ca2+ dynamics ; spines
Issue or Number:17
PubMed Central ID:PMC54608
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103239387
Persistent URL:
Official Citation: A Zador, C Koch, and T H Brown Biophysical model of a Hebbian synapse PNAS 1990 87 (17) 6718-6722
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40549
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:26 Jan 2008 03:37
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

Repository Staff Only: item control page