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Neuron. 2004 Sep 2;43(5):609-17.

Synaptic connectivity and neuronal morphology: two sides of the same coin.

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  • 1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY 11724, USA.


Neurons often possess elaborate axonal and dendritic arbors. Why do these arbors exist and what determines their form and dimensions? To answer these questions, I consider the wiring up of a large highly interconnected neuronal network, such as the cortical column. Implementation of such a network in the allotted volume requires all the salient features of neuronal morphology: the existence of branching dendrites and axons and the presence of dendritic spines. Therefore, the requirement of high interconnectivity is, in itself, sufficient to account for the existence of these features. Moreover, the actual lengths of axons and dendrites are close to the smallest possible length for a given interconnectivity, arguing that high interconnectivity is essential for cortical function.

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