Dendritic Spines as Tunable Regulators of Synaptic Signals
Front. Psychiatry. 2016-06-09; 7:
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1. Front Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 9;7:101. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00101. eCollection
Dendritic Spines as Tunable Regulators of Synaptic Signals.
Tønnesen J(1), Nägerl UV(1).
(1)Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience, University of Bordeaux,
Bordeaux, France; CNRS UMR 5297, Bordeaux, France.
Neurons are perpetually receiving vast amounts of information in the form of
synaptic input from surrounding cells. The majority of input occurs at thousands
of dendritic spines, which mediate excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain,
and is integrated by the dendritic and somatic compartments of the postsynaptic
neuron. The functional role of dendritic spines in shaping biochemical and
electrical signals transmitted via synapses has long been intensely studied. Yet,
many basic questions remain unanswered, in particular regarding the impact of
their nanoscale morphology on electrical signals. Here, we review our current
understanding of the structure and function relationship of dendritic spines,
focusing on the controversy of electrical compartmentalization and the potential
role of spine structural changes in synaptic plasticity.