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Dendrites$
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Greg Stuart, Nelson Spruston, and Michael Häusser

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566564.001.0001

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Dendrites as transmitters

Dendrites as transmitters

Chapter:
(p.400) (p.401) Chapter 15 Dendrites as transmitters
Source:
Dendrites
Author(s):

Troy W. Margrie

Nathaniel Urban

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566564.003.0015

Classically, dendrites have been considered to be passive structures that receive signals and do little else. It is now established that dendrites are significantly more complex than originally thought. Furthermore, while it is thought that dendrites are good listeners, it was believed they did not have much to say, with the role of chief communicator left to the opinionated and highly vocal axon that voiced (sometimes with a bit of modulation of presynaptic context) the opinion of the neuron. Exceptions to this rule have been duly noted, but emphasized little. This chapter focuses on the role of dendrites as transmitters rather than receivers, describing the way that through the release of neurotransmitters dendrites can convey information about local activity across small numbers of synapses to nearby cells. The focus is on the idea that, by acting at a local level across many branches of a neuron's dendritic tree, dendritic release has a profound impact on global neuronal function in a variety of brain areas, with special focus on the olfactory bulb.

Keywords:   dendrites, neurotransmitters, dendritic tree, dendritic release, brain areas, synapses

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