Basic mechanisms of plasticity and learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The last century was characterized by a significant scientific effort aimed at unveiling the neurobiological basis of learning and memory. Thanks to the characterization of the mechanisms regulating the long-term changes of neuronal synaptic connections, it was possible to understand how specific neural networks shape themselves during the acquisition of memory traces or complex motor tasks. In this chapter, we will summarize the mechanisms underlying the main forms of synaptic plasticity taking advantage of the studies performed in the hippocampus and in the nucleus striatum, key brain structures that play a crucial role in cognition. Moreover, we will discuss how the molecular pathways involved in the induction of physiologic synaptic long-term changes could be disrupted during neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disorders, highlighting the translational relevance of this intriguing research field.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • Dopamine
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-term depression
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Memory
  • Nucleus striatum
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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