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Dendritic Spines$
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Rafael Yuste

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013505

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013505.001.0001

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(p.180) (p.181) 9 Physiology
Dendritic Spines

Rafael Yuste

The MIT Press

The electrical aspect of the function of spines is explored in this chapter. Ramón y Cajal was the first one who proposed the idea of the electrical function of the spine, as he believed that the spine stores electric energy (Ramón y Cajal, 1904). This hypothesis was picked up 50 years later by Chang, who suggested that spines have electrical resistance, hence can attenuate synaptic inputs. It then explained that there are two categories of electrical property models of spines: the active and passive, according to whether they assume the presence of voltage-dependent conductances in spines. The chapter concludes by explaining that the electrical roles of spines has important repercussions for the function of the neuron, and it is likely that better knowledge of the electrical role of spines will change the general understanding of how neurons work.

Keywords:   spine, neurons, electric energy, Ramón y Cajal

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