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Trends Neurosci. 2003 May;26(5):255-61.

Talking back: dendritic neurotransmitter release.

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  • 1Division of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh Medical School, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9XD, UK.


Classical transmitters and neuropeptides can be released from the dendrites of many neuronal populations, to act as retrograde signals that modulate synaptic transmission, electrical activity and, in some cases, morphology of the cell of origin. For the hypothalamic neuroendocrine cells that release vasopressin and oxytocin, the stimuli, mechanisms and physiological functions of dendritic release have been revealed in detail that is not yet available for other neurons. The regulation of dendritic transmitter release is complex and at least partially independent from axon terminal release. Here, we provide an overview of recent findings on the mechanisms and physiological consequences of dendritic neuropeptide release and place this in the context of discoveries of dendritic neurotransmitter release in other brain regions.

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