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Neuronal homeostasis: time for a change?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4811-26
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue numberPt 20
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Homeostatic processes that regulate electrical activity in neurones are now an established aspect of physiology and rest on a large body of experimental evidence that points to roles in development, learning and memory, and disease. However, the concepts underlying homeostasis are too often summarized in ways that restrict their explanatory power and obviate important subtleties. Here, we present a review of the underlying theory of homeostasis--control theory--in an attempt to reconcile some existing conceptual problems in the context of neuronal physiology. In addition to clarifying the underlying theory, this review highlights the remaining challenges posed when analysing homeostatic phenomena that underlie the regulation of neuronal excitability. Moreover, we suggest approaches for future experimental and computational work that will further our understanding of neuronal homeostasis and the fundamental neurophysiological functions it serves.

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