Synaptic plasticity in cephalopods; more than just learning and memory?

Euan R Brown, Stefania Piscopo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The outstanding behavioural capacity of cephalopods is underpinned by a highly sophisticated nervous system anatomy and neural mechanisms that often differ significantly from similarly complex systems in vertebrates and insects. Cephalopods exhibit considerable behavioural flexibility and adaptability, and it might be expected that this should be supported by evident cellular and synaptic plasticity. Here, we review what little is known of the cellular mechanisms that underlie plasticity in cephalopods, particularly from the point of view of synaptic function. We conclude that cephalopods utilise short-, medium-, and long-term plasticity mechanisms that are superficially similar to those so far described in vertebrate and insect synapses. These mechanisms, however, often differ significantly from those in other animals at the biophysical level and are deployed not just in the central nervous system, but also to a limited extent in the peripheral nervous system and neuromuscular junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalInvertebrate Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cephalopoda
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Nerve Net
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Synapses


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