Synaptic plasticity is critical for experience-dependent adjustments of brain function. While most research has focused on the mechanisms that underlie postsynaptic forms of plasticity, comparatively little is known about how neurotransmitter release is altered in a long-term manner. Emerging research suggests that many of the features of canonical ‘postsynaptic’ plasticity, such as associativity, structural changes and bidirectionality, also characterize long-term presynaptic plasticity. Recent studies demonstrate that presynaptic plasticity is a potent regulator of circuit output and function. Moreover, aberrant presynaptic plasticity is a convergent factor of synaptopathies like schizophrenia, addiction, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, and may be a potential target for treatment.
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