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During the day neuronal connections in the brain are created and strengthened as we interact with our environment. New information, concepts and memories are encoded in those dynamic neuronal connections. While brains have an immense storage capacity, the continuous bombardment of sensory inputs during the day and the high energetic cost of storing information make it intuitively obvious that there have to be certain rules dictating which information is relevant enough to be stored and which will be ignored or forgotten. In this issue, González-Rueda et al., show that this could occur during sleep. Using in vivo electrophysiology and optical stimulation in mice, González-Rueda et al., found that the specific brain activity that occurs during slow-wave-sleep promotes the weakening of unimportant connections while maintaining the strongest synaptic weights of connections encoding essential information. The drawing shows an intricate neuronal network of an awake mouse (left) and the same network following sleep-mediated input-specific synaptic pruning (right). Artwork by Hugo González-Rueda.

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Brief sensory deprivation triggers cell type-specific structural and functional plasticity in olfactory bulb neurons

Feb 15, 2021

A new study by Elisa Galliano and colleagues in the Grubb lab at King’s College London was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The authors investigated how a short-lived loss of smell (akin to a mild cold) induces functional and structural plasticity in a specific sub-population of dopaminergic interneurons in the mouse olfactory bulb.

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