Dendritic Spines: Continuum Theory
The continuum theory for dendritic spines, developed by Baer and Rinzel (1991), is an extension of classical cable theory for which the distribution of spines is treated as a continuum. The theory applies when the interspine distance is much less than the length scale of the dendrite, for example, when the dendrite is populated by a large number of spines. The formulation maintains the basic feature that there is no direct coupling between neighboring spines; voltage spread along dendrites is the only way for spines to interact. With the continuum theory, different spine morphologies, multiple populations of spines, and distributed physiological properties are represented explicitly and compactly by relatively few differential equations. The theory is general so that idealized or realistic kinetic models may be adapted.
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