Neuromodulation of Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity: Past, Present, and Future.


Spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP) is a leading cellular model for behavioral learning and memory with rich computational properties. However, the relationship between the millisecond-precision spike timing required for STDP and the much slower timescales of behavioral learning is not well understood. Neuromodulation offers an attractive mechanism to connect these different timescales, and there is now strong experimental evidence that STDP is under neuromodulatory control by acetylcholine, monoamines, and other signaling molecules. Here, we review neuromodulation of STDP, the underlying mechanisms, functional implications, and possible involvement in brain disorders.