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Neuron. 2006 May 4;50(3):431-42.

Distance-dependent differences in synapse number and AMPA receptor expression in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


The ability of synapses throughout the dendritic tree to influence neuronal output is crucial for information processing in the brain. Synaptic potentials attenuate dramatically, however, as they propagate along dendrites toward the soma. To examine whether excitatory axospinous synapses on CA1 pyramidal neurons compensate for their distance from the soma to counteract such dendritic filtering, we evaluated axospinous synapse number and receptor expression in three progressively distal regions: proximal and distal stratum radiatum (SR), and stratum lacunosum-moleculare (SLM). We found that the proportion of perforated synapses increases as a function of distance from the soma and that their AMPAR, but not NMDAR, expression is highest in distal SR and lowest in SLM. Computational models of pyramidal neurons derived from these results suggest that they arise from the compartment-specific use of conductance scaling in SR and dendritic spikes in SLM to minimize the influence of distance on synaptic efficacy.

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