Homeostatic role of heterosynaptic plasticity: models and experiments. Chistiakova M, Bannon NM, Chen JY, Bazhenov M, Volgushev M. Front Comput Neurosci. 2015 Jul 13;9:89.

Homosynaptic Hebbian-type plasticity provides a cellular mechanism of learning and refinement of connectivity during development in a variety of biological systems. In this review we argue that a complimentary form of plasticityheterosynaptic plasticity-represents a necessary cellular component for homeostatic regulation of synaptic weights and neuronal activity. The required properties of a homeostatic mechanism which acutely constrains the runaway dynamics imposed by Hebbian associative plasticity have been well-articulated by theoretical and modeling studies. Such mechanism(s) should robustly support the stability of operation of neuronal networks and synaptic competition, include changes at non-active synapses, and operate on a similar time scale to Hebbian-type plasticity. The experimentally observed properties of heterosynaptic plasticity have introduced it as a strong candidate to fulfill this homeostatic role. Subsequent modeling studies which incorporate heterosynaptic plasticity into model neurons with Hebbian synapses (utilizing an STDP learning rule) have confirmed its ability to robustly provide stability and competition. In contrast, properties of homeostatic synaptic scaling, which is triggered by extreme and long lasting (hours and days) changes of neuronal activity, do not fit two crucial requirements for a hypothetical homeostatic mechanism needed to provide stability of operation in the face of on-going synaptic changes driven by Hebbian-type learning rules. Both the trigger and the time scale of homeostatic synaptic scaling are fundamentally different from those of the Hebbian-type plasticity. We conclude that heterosynaptic plasticity, which is triggered by the same episodes of strong postsynaptic activity and operates on the same time scale as Hebbian-type associative plasticity, is ideally suited to serve a homeostatic role during on-going synaptic plasticity.