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Dynamic Network Connectivity (DNC): A New Form of Rapid Neuroplasticity


A New Form of Rapid Neuroplasticity
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Overview

Recent physiological research has shown that neuromodulators can rapidly alter the strength of dlPFC network firing on a timescale of seconds, through powerful influences on the open states of ion channels residing near network synapses, a process called Dynamic Network Connectivity (DNC) . This work has shown that the highly evolved circuits of dlPFC are often modulated in a fundamentally different manner than sensory/motor or subcortical circuits, providing great flexibility in the pattern and strength of network connections.

These neuromodulatory processes allow moment-by-moment changes in synaptic strength without alterations in underlying architecture, and can bring circuits “on-line” or “off-line” based on arousal state, thus coordinating the neural systems in control of behavior, thought and emotion. However, this extraordinary flexibility also confers great vulnerability, and errors in this process likely contribute to cognitive deficits in disorders such as schizophrenia.

If you are interested: Arnsten AFT, Wang MJ, Paspalas CD (2012) Neuromodulation of thought:  Flexibilities and vulnerabilities in prefrontal cortical network synapses. Neuron 76: 223-239.