By Rafael Yuste
A number one neurobiologist explores the basic functionality of dendritic spines in neural circuits via interpreting various features in their biology, together with constitution, improvement, motility, and plasticity.
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Extra resources for Dendritic Spines
C, D) Photomicrograph of horizontally projecting dendrites of a human (C) and mouse (D) pyramidal cells. (E, F) High-power photomicrographs of the basal dendrite segments of human (E) and mouse (F) pyramidal cells, illustrating individual dendritic spines. Note the smaller size of the mouse spines. Scale bars: 425 mm in A and B; 45 mm in C and D; 10 mm in E and F. , 2002. My ﬁrst reﬂection relates to the ultimate structural design logic for spines. Why are spines built the way they are? Why do they have these particular shapes and dimensions?
Between head diameters of apical and basal dendrites was found for individual spines, as if neurons were regulating the average spine size throughout the cell. Is the placement of spines along dendritic trees random or regulated? 18B). 18C). 18D). Therefore, since the spine head diameter (and therefore its volume and PSD area) is correlated with the interspine distance, it appears that dendrites may be able to control the total synaptic strength they receive and maintain a constant amount of it.
Is there any evidence for this? Indeed, it seems that the presynaptic axons follow precisely the same logic to maximize connectivity, since the excitatory axons that contact spines originate on neurons that project in a distributed manner. Moreover, axons that contact spines rarely make more than a few synaptic contacts with the same postsynaptic neuron. For example, granule cell ﬁbers contact Purkinje cell spines, making apparently only a single contact with the recipient neuron. In this case, the ﬂat and orthogonal geometry of the Purkinje cell ensures that a given parallel ﬁber has one, and only one, chance to contact any given Purkinje cell.
Dendritic Spines by Rafael Yuste