Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

Living Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Dendritic Spines

  • William R. HolmesEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_132-1


Many types of neurons receive synaptic inputs on dendritic spines which are short protrusions of membrane composed of a bulbous “head” connected to the dendrite by a thin “stem” or “neck” (Yuste 2010). Although spines are typically small in size, they occur in high densities along dendrites and may compose 40–60 % of the total dendritic surface area. There are two straightforward methods for including spines in computational models of neurons without representing every spine explicitly.

Detailed Description

Spines are widely regarded to serve a biochemical function by providing an isolated compartment where highly localized calcium signals and subsequent reactions can occur. An electrical function was initially proposed by Rall who showed that the steady-state attenuation of a signal from the spine head to the dendrite could be expressed as VSH/VBI = 1 + RSS/RBI, where VSH and VBI are the voltages at the spine head and dendrite, respectively; RSSis the spine stem...


Dendritic Spine Synaptic Input Membrane Area Spine Head Calcium Conductance 
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  1. Yuste R (2010) Dendritic spines. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesOhio UniversityAthensUSA