A general principle of dendritic constancy a neuron’s size and shape invariant excitability

  • Reducing neuronal size results in less cell membrane and therefore lower input conductance. Smaller neurons are thus more excitable as seen in their voltage responses to current injections in the soma. However, the impact of a neuron’s size and shape on its voltage responses to synaptic activation in dendrites is much less understood. Here we use analytical cable theory to predict voltage responses to distributed synaptic inputs and show that these are entirely independent of dendritic length. For a given synaptic density, a neuron’s response depends only on the average dendritic diameter and its intrinsic conductivity. These results remain true for the entire range of possible dendritic morphologies irrespective of any particular arborisation complexity. Also, spiking models result in morphology invariant numbers of action potentials that encode the percentage of active synapses. Interestingly, in contrast to spike rate, spike times do depend on dendrite morphology. In summary, a neuron’s excitability in response to synaptic inputs is not affected by total dendrite length. It rather provides a homeostatic input-output relation that specialised synapse distributions, local non-linearities in the dendrites and synaptic plasticity can modulate. Our work reveals a new fundamental principle of dendritic constancy that has consequences for the overall computation in neural circuits.

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Author:Hermann CuntzORCiDGND, Alexander D BirdORCiD, Marcel BeiningORCiD, Marius SchneiderORCiD, Laura Mediavilla SantosORCiD, Felix Z. HoffmannORCiD, Thomas DellerORCiDGND, Peter JedličkaORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2019/10/01
Date of first Publication:2019/10/01
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/03/24
Page Number:57
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS)
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / MPI für Hirnforschung
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International