An autapse is a chemical synapse from a neuron onto itself. It can also be described as a synapse formed by the axon of a neuron on its own dendrites, in vivo or in vitro.

Discovered in 1972,[1] autapses were originally thought to be a biological curiosity. In 1998, they had been commonly found in some circuits of the cat's visual cortex,[2] which suggested a functional role.[3] In 2000, they were first modeled as supporting persistence in recurrent neural networks.[4] In 2004, they were modeled as providing oscillatory behavior to a neuron.[5] By 2006, their presence and operation in multiple areas in the brain were described.[6] in 2009, they were associated with sustained activation.[7] In 2014, a regulation role was added.[8] In 2015, they were described as enabling self-describing neural circuits.[9] In 2016, a model of resonance was offered.[10]


  1. Van der Loos, H.; Glaser, E. M. (1972). "Autapses in neocortex cerebri: synapses between a pyramidal cell's axon and its own dendrites". Brain Research. 48: 355–60. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(72)90189-8. PMID 4645210. (subscription required (help)).
  2. Tamás, G.; Buhl, E. H.; Somogyi, P. (1997). "Massive autaptic self-innervation of GABAergic neurons in cat visual cortex". Journal of Neuroscience. 17 (16): 6352–6364. PMID 9236244. (free full text)
  3. Bekkers, J. M. (1998). "Neurophysiology: Are autapses prodigal synapses?". Current Biology. 8 (2): R52–R55. doi:10.1016/s0960-9822(98)70033-8. PMID 9427636. (subscription required (help)).
  4. Seung, H.S.; Lee, D.D.; Reis, B.Y.; Tank, D.W. (2000). "The Autapse: A Simple Illustration of Short-Term Analog Memory Storage by Tuned Synaptic Feedback". Journal of Computational Neuroscience. 9 (2): 171–185. doi:10.1023/A:1008971908649.
  5. Herrmann, Christoph S. (August 2004). "Autapse Turns Neuron Into Oscillator". International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos. 4 (2). doi:10.1142/S0218127404009338.
  6. Kaori, Ikeda; Bekkers, John M. (2006). "Autapses". Current Biology. 16 (9). doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.085.
  7. Saada, R.; Miller, N.; Hurwitz, I.; Susswein, A. J. (2009). "Autaptic muscarinic excitation underlies a plateau potential and persistent activity in a neuron of known behavioral function". Current Biology. 19: 479–484. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.06.
  8. Qin, H.; Ma, J.; Wang, C.; Chu, R. (2014). "Autapse-induced target wave, spiral wave in regular network of neurons". Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy. 57. doi:10.1007/s11433-014-5466-5.
  9. du Castel, Bertrand (15 July 2015). "Pattern Activation/Recognition Theory of Mind". Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 9 (90). doi:10.3389/fncom.2015.00090.
  10. Yilmaz, E.; Ozer, M.; Baysal, V.; Perc, M. (2 August 2016). "Autapse-induced multiple coherence resonance in single neurons and neuronal networks". Scientific Reports - Nature. 9. doi:10.1038/srep30914.
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