Proper growth and branching of dendrites are crucial for nervous system function; patterns of dendritic arborization determine the nature and amount of innervation that a neuron receives and specific dendritic membrane properties define its computational capabilities. Until recently, there was relatively little known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of dendritic growth, perhaps because dendrites were historically considered to be intrinsically determined, passive elements in the formation of connections in the nervous system. In the last few years, however, overwhelming evidence has accumulated indicating that dendritic growth is remarkably dynamic and responsive to environmental signals, including guidance molecules and levels and patterns of activity. This manuscript reviews our current understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of dendritic growth, the influence of activity in sculpting specific patterns of dendritic arbors, and a potential integral role for dendrites in activity-dependent development of circuits in the nervous system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas