Evidence for associative plasticity in the human visual cortex

Federico Ranieri, Gianluca Coppola, Gabriella Musumeci, Fioravante Capone, Giovanni Di Pino, Vincenzo Parisi, Vincenzo Di Lazzaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Repetitive convergent inputs to a single post-synaptic neuron can induce long-term potentiation (LTP) or depression (LTD) of synaptic activity in a spike timing-dependent manner. Objective: Here we set a protocol of visual paired associative stimulation (vPAS) of the primary visual cortex (V1) in humans to induce persistent changes in the excitatory properties of V1 with a spike timing rule. Methods: We provided convergent inputs to V1 by coupling transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulses of the occipital cortex with peripheral visual inputs, at four interstimulus intervals of −50/-25/+25/+50 ms relative to the visual evoked potential (VEP) P1 latency. We analysed VEP amplitude and delayed habituation before and up to 10 min after each vPAS protocol. Results: VEP amplitude was reduced after vPAS+25. Delayed VEP habituation was increased after vPAS-25 while it was reduced after vPAS+25. Conclusions: We provide evidence that associative bidirectional synaptic plasticity is a feature not only of the sensorimotor but also of the human visual system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-713
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019


  • Plasticity
  • Spike timing
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Visual cortex
  • Visual evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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