How does a neuron change its characteristics in order to change its function, without changing its connections with the neural networks? Basically, do any organelles change their properties and are there any major chemical modifications that could cause it and explain it?

I tried looking everywhere on the internet but I couldn't find any, perhaps neuroscientists still don't know yet.

My initial idea was that some changes of some organelles inside the neuron caused the change in function of the entire neuron. Or that there were some chemical changes that could cause the presence of a molecule that controls the global function of the neuron more than some other.

Thanks a lot for your help and answers.

  • 1
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    – tyersome
    Jun 18 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ Hello. I have spent some couple hours searching for answers. I tried looking for the list of the organelles of neurons to see their functions and if they have any relationship with brain plasticity, but couldn't find any that actually participate in the manifestation of structural plasticity directly. But I didn't find anything useful. My other theory was that there were some major chemical modifications, and because the function of a neuron was based off the chemical properties of it, then its function would change if the chemistry in the cytosol for example changed. I'm no biologist, sorry. $\endgroup$
    – eengeeneer
    Jun 18 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I think the two other questions are just extensions of the first one. It's just to clarify my question. $\endgroup$
    – eengeeneer
    Jun 18 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you mean what other functional changes at the level of neurons exist, excluding synaptic plasticity, what is left is called homeostatic plasticity. That is a vast subject that includes alterations in intrinsic excitability, resource allocation (e.g. mRNA), and even hetero-synaptic plasticity, depending on how you define synaptic plasticity. Unfortunately, this subject is too broad for me to put the effort required to write an answer for this site. $\endgroup$
    – vkehayas
    Jun 19 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


The keywords are Synaptic plasticity, LTP, LTD, and STDP, among others. The organelles includes release pools, receptors, scaffold proteins, etc.

Actually there is a huge body of literature around this topic. It will take years just too roughly understand what's already done.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. But for LTP, LTD, and STDP, don't they only cause functional changes, that means between the neurons and not actually in the neurons? Just asking for a clarification thank you. $\endgroup$
    – eengeeneer
    Jun 19 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @eengeeneer a small part is indeed carried out "between the neurons", i.e. synaptic-clefts, even astrocytes could be involved. But the majority of events, including pools, vesicles, receptors, scaffolds and signaling cascades, happens inside the pre- or post-synaptic neuron. $\endgroup$
    – X Zhang
    Jun 19 at 0:19

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