Synapses change on multiple timescales, ranging from milliseconds to minutes, due to a combination of both short- and long-term plasticity. Here we develop an extension of the common generalized linear model to infer both short- and long-term changes in the coupling between a pre- and postsynaptic neuron based on observed spiking activity. We model short-term synaptic plasticity using additive effects that depend on the presynaptic spike timing, and we model long-term changes in both synaptic weight and baseline firing rate using point process adaptive smoothing. Using simulations, we first show that this model can accurately recover time-varying synaptic weights (1) for both depressing and facilitating synapses, (2) with a variety of long-term changes (including realistic changes, such as due to STDP), (3) with a range of pre and postsynaptic firing rates, and (4) for both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. We then apply our model to two experimentally recorded putative synaptic connections. We find that simultaneously tracking fast changes in synaptic weights, slow changes in synaptic weights, and unexplained variations in baseline firing is essential. Omitting any one of these factors can lead to spurious inferences for the others. Altogether, this model provides a flexible framework for tracking short- and long-term variation in spike transmission.

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