Send to

Choose Destination
Physiol Rev. 2008 Apr;88(2):769-840. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00016.2007.

Dendritic excitability and synaptic plasticity.

Author information

Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Physiology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Most synaptic inputs are made onto the dendritic tree. Recent work has shown that dendrites play an active role in transforming synaptic input into neuronal output and in defining the relationships between active synapses. In this review, we discuss how these dendritic properties influence the rules governing the induction of synaptic plasticity. We argue that the location of synapses in the dendritic tree, and the type of dendritic excitability associated with each synapse, play decisive roles in determining the plastic properties of that synapse. Furthermore, since the electrical properties of the dendritic tree are not static, but can be altered by neuromodulators and by synaptic activity itself, we discuss how learning rules may be dynamically shaped by tuning dendritic function. We conclude by describing how this reciprocal relationship between plasticity of dendritic excitability and synaptic plasticity has changed our view of information processing and memory storage in neuronal networks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center