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Greg Stuart, Nelson Spruston, and Michael Häusser

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198745273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198745273.001.0001

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Toward a simplified model of an active dendritic tree

Toward a simplified model of an active dendritic tree

(p.465) Chapter 16 Toward a simplified model of an active dendritic tree

Bartlett W. Mel

Oxford University Press

The ability to compartmentalize voltage signals and to generate local spikes suggests that the spatially extended dendritic trees of CNS neurons may allow a single cell to carry out computations that go well beyond the ability to “integrate and fire.” This chapter reviews the history of ideas regarding the computing capabilities of dendritic trees, focusing on “cluster sensitive” spatial interactions between excitatory and inhibitory synapses within the dendritic trees of neocortical and hippocampal pyramidal neurons. The chapter culminates in a recently proposed layered model of a pyramidal neuron, whose thin dendrites use their analog spatial processing capabilities to compute low-dimensional sigmoidal functions of their inputs, before passing their results onto a traditional integrate and fire operation at the soma.

Keywords:   computation, pyramidal neurons, dendritic spikes, cluster sensitivity, spatial processing, 2-layer model, multi-dimensional sigmoid

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