Thursday, November 03, 2011


The Language of Dendrites

"Contrary to the assumption of McCulloch and Pitts, synapses are not made onto the soma (cell body) but onto dendrites, protrusions from the cell body separating the input and the action potential initiation zone. Dendrites filter, transform, and compute thresholds of synaptic input and can, in theory, implement basic arithmetic operations by themselves (2). I first became interested in dendrites during my Ph.D. work. Monitoring the properties of single synapses in hippocampal neurons, I found that dendrites can implement a negative feedback that regulates the amount of input each branch receives (3). Dendrites can thus independently process and regulate input information. Can these properties be used by single neurons to perform high-order computations?" Full article @ Science

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