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NMDA spikes in basal dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons

Schiller, Jackie, Major, Guy ORCID:, Koester, Helmut J. and Schiller, Yitzhak 2000. NMDA spikes in basal dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons. Nature 404 (6775) , pp. 285-289. 10.1038/35005094

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Basal dendrites are a major target for synaptic inputs innervating cortical pyramidal neurons. At present little is known about signal processing in these fine dendrites. Here we show that co-activation of clustered neighbouring basal inputs initiated local dendritic spikes, which resulted in a 5.9 ± 1.5 mV (peak) and 64.4 ± 19.8 ms (half-width) cable-filtered voltage change at the soma that amplified the somatic voltage response by 226 ± 46%. These spikes were accompanied by large calcium transients restricted to the activated dendritic segment. In contrast to conventional sodium or calcium spikes, these spikes were mediated mostly by NMDA (N -methyl-D-aspartate) receptor channels, which contributed at least 80% of the total charge. The ionic mechanism of these NMDA spikes may allow ‘dynamic spike-initiation zones’, set by the spatial distribution of glutamate pre-bound to NMDA receptors, which in turn would depend on recent and ongoing activity in the cortical network. In addition, NMDA spikes may serve as a powerful mechanism for modification of the cortical network by inducing long-term strengthening of co-activated neighbouring inputs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date of Acceptance: 5 January 2000
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 08:15

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