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J Physiol Paris. 2014 Feb;108(1):18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jphysparis.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 May 31.

Coding and decoding with dendrites.

Author information

1
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, Crete, Greece; Department of Biology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
2
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
3
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Electronic address: poirazi@imbb.forth.gr.

Abstract

Since the discovery of complex, voltage dependent mechanisms in the dendrites of multiple neuron types, great effort has been devoted in search of a direct link between dendritic properties and specific neuronal functions. Over the last few years, new experimental techniques have allowed the visualization and probing of dendritic anatomy, plasticity and integrative schemes with unprecedented detail. This vast amount of information has caused a paradigm shift in the study of memory, one of the most important pursuits in Neuroscience, and calls for the development of novel theories and models that will unify the available data according to some basic principles. Traditional models of memory considered neural cells as the fundamental processing units in the brain. Recent studies however are proposing new theories in which memory is not only formed by modifying the synaptic connections between neurons, but also by modifications of intrinsic and anatomical dendritic properties as well as fine tuning of the wiring diagram. In this review paper we present previous studies along with recent findings from our group that support a key role of dendrites in information processing, including the encoding and decoding of new memories, both at the single cell and the network level.

KEYWORDS:

Amygdala; CREB; Dendrites; Dendritic integration; Dendritic morphology; Dendritic plasticity; Memory; Prefrontal cortex

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