|Dendritic spine density changes and homeostatic synaptic scaling: a meta-analysis of animal studies.|
Moulin TC, Rayêe D, Schiöth HB.
Neural regeneration research. 2022; 17(1): 20-24
Mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity promote compensatory changes of cellular excitability in response to chronic changes in the network activity. This type of plasticity is essential for the maintenance of brain circuits and is involved in the regulation of neural regeneration and the progress of neurodegenerative disorders. One of the most studied homeostatic processes is synaptic scaling, where global synaptic adjustments take place to restore the neuronal firing rate to a physiological range by the modulation of synaptic receptors, neurotransmitters, and morphology. However, despite the comprehensive literature on the electrophysiological properties of homeostatic scaling, less is known about the structural adjustments that occur in the synapses and dendritic tree. In this study, we performed a meta-analysis of articles investigating the effects of chronic network excitation (synaptic downscaling) or inhibition (synaptic upscaling) on the dendritic spine density of neurons. Our results indicate that spine density is consistently reduced after protocols that induce synaptic scaling, independent of the intervention type. Then, we discuss the implication of our findings to the current knowledge on the morphological changes induced by homeostatic plasticity.