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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Evolution and scaling of dendrites

Evolution and scaling of dendrites

(p.47) Chapter 2 Evolution and scaling of dendrites

Samuel S.-H. Wang

Anthony E. Ambrosini

Gayle M. Wittenberg

Oxford University Press

Dendrites, the neuronal processes that receive synaptic inputs, are found in all nervous systems. The great diversity of dendrites, both within individual species and across phylogeny, reflects their adaptation to particular functional roles. This chapter explores this diversity to consider dendrites from an evolutionary perspective. The evidence that dendrites scale across phylogeny to preserve the number of synapses per neuron is reviewed, as well as the architecture of local microcircuits, including the number of neurons in a single neocortical column. Dendritic spines may have originated to form and regulate connections, and later acquired the function of maximizing information storage in densely packed neuropil. These observations are consistent with the unifying principle that dendrites have adapted to keep circuit-level function the same, even though per-gram metabolic rates vary widely. Finally, the chapter considers an emerging area of investigation in normal function and in disease: molecular and developmental mechanisms regulating dendritic form, the targets upon which selection has acted.

Keywords:   dendrites, dendritic spines, phylogeny, dendritic scaling, origin of neurons, neocortex, brain evolution, neuron scaling, circuit-level function

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