Dendritic spikes as a mechanism for cooperative long-term potentiation

Nace L. Golding, Nathan P Staff, Nelson Spruston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

388 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Strengthening of synaptic connections following coincident pre and postsynaptic activity was proposed by Hebb as a cellular mechanism for learnings1. Contemporary models assume that multiple synapses must act cooperatively to induce the post-synaptic activity required for hebbian synaptic plasticity2-5. One mechanism for the implementation of this cooperation is action potential firing, which begins in the axon, but which can influence synaptic potentiation following active backpropagation into dendrites6. Backpropagation is limited, however, and action potentials often fail to invade the most distal dendrites7-10. Here we show that long-term potentiation of synapses on the distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons does require cooperative synaptic inputs, but does not require axonal action potential firing and backpropagation. Rather, locally generated and spatially restricted regenerative potentials (dendritic spikes) contribute to the postsynaptic depolarization and calcium entry necessary to trigger potentiation of distal synapses. We find that this mechanism can also function at proximal synapses, suggesting that dendritic spikes participate generally in a form of synaptic potentiation that does not require post-synaptic action potential firing in the axon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-331
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume418
Issue number6895
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 18 2002
Externally publishedYes

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Long-Term Potentiation
Action Potentials
Synapses
Axons
Synaptic Potentials
Pyramidal Cells
Dendrites
Calcium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Dendritic spikes as a mechanism for cooperative long-term potentiation. / Golding, Nace L.; Staff, Nathan P; Spruston, Nelson.

In: Nature, Vol. 418, No. 6895, 18.07.2002, p. 326-331.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Golding, Nace L. ; Staff, Nathan P ; Spruston, Nelson. / Dendritic spikes as a mechanism for cooperative long-term potentiation. In: Nature. 2002 ; Vol. 418, No. 6895. pp. 326-331.
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