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Neuroscience. 2007 Mar 16;145(2):464-9. Epub 2006 Dec 16.

Non-synaptic dendritic spines in neocortex.

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Departamento de Neuroanatomia y Biologia Celular, Instituto Cajal (CSIC), Ave. Dr. Arce, 37, 28002 Madrid, Spain.


A long-held assumption states that each dendritic spine in the cerebral cortex forms a synapse, although this issue has not been systematically investigated. We performed complete ultrastructural reconstructions of a large (n=144) population of identified spines in adult mouse neocortex finding that only 3.6% of the spines clearly lacked synapses. Nonsynaptic spines were small and had no clear head, resembling dendritic filopodia, and could represent a source of new synaptic connections in the adult cerebral cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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