dendritic spines


Summary: Spiny processes on DENDRITES, each of which receives excitatory input from one nerve ending (NERVE ENDINGS). They are commonly found on PURKINJE CELLS and PYRAMIDAL CELLS.

Top Publications

  1. Orefice L, Waterhouse E, Partridge J, Lalchandani R, Vicini S, Xu B. Distinct roles for somatically and dendritically synthesized brain-derived neurotrophic factor in morphogenesis of dendritic spines. J Neurosci. 2013;33:11618-32 pubmed publisher
    b>Dendritic spines undergo the processes of formation, maturation, and pruning during development. Molecular mechanisms controlling spine maturation and pruning remain largely unknown...
  2. Hayama T, Noguchi J, Watanabe S, Takahashi N, Hayashi Takagi A, Ellis Davies G, et al. GABA promotes the competitive selection of dendritic spines by controlling local Ca2+ signaling. Nat Neurosci. 2013;16:1409-16 pubmed publisher
    ..Excitatory synapses of cortical pyramidal neurons are formed on small protrusions known as dendritic spines, which exhibit structural plasticity...
  3. Ueda Y, Hayashi Y. PIP? regulates spinule formation in dendritic spines during structural long-term potentiation. J Neurosci. 2013;33:11040-7 pubmed publisher
    b>Dendritic spines are small, highly motile structures on dendritic shafts that provide flexibility to neuronal networks. Spinules are small protrusions that project from spines...
  4. Ruszczycki B, Szepesi Z, Wilczynski G, Bijata M, Kalita K, Kaczmarek L, et al. Sampling issues in quantitative analysis of dendritic spines morphology. BMC Bioinformatics. 2012;13:213 pubmed publisher
    ..of differences in spine morphology between control and test group is often compromised by the number of dendritic spines taken for analysis...
  5. Merino Serrais P, Benavides Piccione R, Blazquez Llorca L, Kastanauskaite A, Rabano A, Avila J, et al. The influence of phospho-? on dendritic spines of cortical pyramidal neurons in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2013;136:1913-28 pubmed publisher
    The dendritic spines on pyramidal cells represent the main postsynaptic elements of cortical excitatory synapses and they are fundamental structures in memory, learning and cognition...
  6. Luine V, Frankfurt M. Interactions between estradiol, BDNF and dendritic spines in promoting memory. Neuroscience. 2013;239:34-45 pubmed publisher
    Several lines of evidence have converged to indicate that memory formation involves plasticity of dendritic spines in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the hippocampus...
  7. Shipman S, Nicoll R. A subtype-specific function for the extracellular domain of neuroligin 1 in hippocampal LTP. Neuron. 2012;76:309-16 pubmed publisher
    ..Using in vivo molecular replacement experiments, we find that these unique functions depend on a region in its extracellular domain containing the B site splice insertion previously shown to determine specificity of neurexin binding. ..
  8. Deane E, Ilie A, Sizdahkhani S, Das Gupta M, Orlowski J, McKinney R. Enhanced recruitment of endosomal Na+/H+ exchanger NHE6 into Dendritic spines of hippocampal pyramidal neurons during NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation. J Neurosci. 2013;33:595-610 pubmed publisher
    ..was found to localize to discrete puncta throughout the soma and neurites, with noticeable accumulation at dendritic spines and presynaptic terminals...
  9. Yuste R. Electrical compartmentalization in dendritic spines. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2013;36:429-49 pubmed publisher
    Most excitatory inputs in the CNS contact dendritic spines, avoiding dendritic shafts, so spines must play a key role for neurons...

More Information


  1. English C, Vigers A, Jones K. Genetic evidence that brain-derived neurotrophic factor mediates competitive interactions between individual cortical neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:19456-61 pubmed publisher
    ..of functional Bdnf alleles a neuron carries relative to the prevailing genotype determines its density of dendritic spines, the structures at which most excitatory synapses are made...
  2. Harnett M, Makara J, Spruston N, Kath W, Magee J. Synaptic amplification by dendritic spines enhances input cooperativity. Nature. 2012;491:599-602 pubmed publisher
    b>Dendritic spines are the nearly ubiquitous site of excitatory synaptic input onto neurons and as such are critically positioned to influence diverse aspects of neuronal signalling...
  3. Shirao T, Gonzalez Billault C. Actin filaments and microtubules in dendritic spines. J Neurochem. 2013;126:155-64 pubmed publisher
    b>Dendritic spines are small protrusions emerging from their parent dendrites, and their morphological changes are involved in synaptic plasticity...
  4. Chiu C, Lur G, Morse T, Carnevale N, Ellis Davies G, Higley M. Compartmentalization of GABAergic inhibition by dendritic spines. Science. 2013;340:759-62 pubmed publisher
    ..interneurons exert compartmentalized control over postsynaptic Ca(2+) signals within individual dendritic spines. This highly focal inhibitory action is mediated by a subset of GABAergic synapses that directly target spine ..
  5. Cahill M, Remmers C, Jones K, Xie Z, Sweet R, Penzes P. Neuregulin1 signaling promotes dendritic spine growth through kalirin. J Neurochem. 2013;126:625-35 pubmed publisher
    ..effects of NRG1 and erbB4 on spines were mediated by the RacGEF kalirin, a well-characterized regulator of dendritic spines. Finally, we show that environmental enrichment, known to promote spine growth, robustly enhances the levels ..
  6. Nechipurenko I, Doroquez D, Sengupta P. Primary cilia and dendritic spines: different but similar signaling compartments. Mol Cells. 2013;36:288-303 pubmed publisher
    Primary non-motile cilia and dendritic spines are cellular compartments that are specialized to sense and transduce environmental cues and presynaptic signals, respectively...
  7. Suzuki K, Hayashi Y, Nakahara S, Kumazaki H, Prox J, Horiuchi K, et al. Activity-dependent proteolytic cleavage of neuroligin-1. Neuron. 2012;76:410-22 pubmed publisher
    ..a prolonged epileptic seizure condition, and inhibition of NLG1 shedding led to an increase in numbers of dendritic spines in neuronal cultures...
  8. Jain S, Yoon S, Zhu L, Brodbeck J, Dai J, Walker D, et al. Arf4 determines dentate gyrus-mediated pattern separation by regulating dendritic spine development. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e46340 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings suggest that Arf4 is a critical modulator of DG-mediated pattern separation by regulating dendritic spine development. ..
  9. de Vivo L, Landi S, Panniello M, Baroncelli L, Chierzi S, Mariotti L, et al. Extracellular matrix inhibits structural and functional plasticity of dendritic spines in the adult visual cortex. Nat Commun. 2013;4:1484 pubmed publisher
    ..component of the matrix, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), restrains morphological changes of dendritic spines in the visual cortex of adult mice...
  10. Kim I, Racz B, Wang H, Burianek L, Weinberg R, Yasuda R, et al. Disruption of Arp2/3 results in asymmetric structural plasticity of dendritic spines and progressive synaptic and behavioral abnormalities. J Neurosci. 2013;33:6081-92 pubmed publisher
    ..of the Arp2/3 subunit ArpC3 in forebrain excitatory neurons leads to an asymmetric structural plasticity of dendritic spines, followed by a progressive loss of spine synapses...
  11. Kerrisk M, Greer C, Koleske A. Integrin ?3 is required for late postnatal stability of dendrite arbors, dendritic spines and synapses, and mouse behavior. J Neurosci. 2013;33:6742-52 pubmed publisher
    Most dendrite branches and a large fraction of dendritic spines in the adult rodent forebrain are stable for extended periods of time...
  12. Akama K, Thompson L, Milner T, McEwen B. Post-synaptic density-95 (PSD-95) binding capacity of G-protein-coupled receptor 30 (GPR30), an estrogen receptor that can be identified in hippocampal dendritic spines. J Biol Chem. 2013;288:6438-50 pubmed publisher
    ..Here, we demonstrate that GPR30 immunoreactivity is detected in dendritic spines of rat CA1 hippocampal neurons in vivo and that GPR30 protein can be found in rat brain synaptosomes...
  13. Cheng A, Wan R, Yang J, Kamimura N, Son T, Ouyang X, et al. Involvement of PGC-1α in the formation and maintenance of neuronal dendritic spines. Nat Commun. 2012;3:1250 pubmed publisher 1α, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, in the formation and maintenance of dendritic spines in hippocampal neurons...
  14. Sanchez A, Flamini M, Genazzani A, Simoncini T. Effects of progesterone and medroxyprogesterone on actin remodeling and neuronal spine formation. Mol Endocrinol. 2013;27:693-702 pubmed publisher
    ..Treatment with P and, to a lesser extent, MPA, increases the number and density of dendritic spines. P increases the phosphorylation of moesin, FAK, and WAVE1, and their redistribution toward cell membrane ..
  15. Tan A, Waxman S. Spinal cord injury, dendritic spine remodeling, and spinal memory mechanisms. Exp Neurol. 2012;235:142-51 pubmed publisher
    ..Notably, dendritic spines have emerged as major players in learning and memory, providing a structural substrate for how the nervous ..
  16. Yu H, Majewska A, Sur M. Rapid experience-dependent plasticity of synapse function and structure in ferret visual cortex in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:21235-40 pubmed publisher
    ..spine remodeling in vivo, we carried out chronic imaging experiments that tracked visual responses and dendritic spines in the ferret visual cortex following brief periods of monocular deprivation...
  17. Leuner B, Shors T. Stress, anxiety, and dendritic spines: what are the connections?. Neuroscience. 2013;251:108-19 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, we consider how these structural changes may contribute to adaptive behaviors as well as maladaptive responses associated with anxiety. ..
  18. Guidi S, Stagni F, Bianchi P, Ciani E, Ragazzi E, Trazzi S, et al. Early pharmacotherapy with fluoxetine rescues dendritic pathology in the Ts65Dn mouse model of down syndrome. Brain Pathol. 2013;23:129-43 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings strongly suggest that fluoxetine may be a drug of choice for the improvement of the major defects in the DS brain and, possibly, of mental retardation...
  19. Chakraborti A, Allen A, Allen B, Rosi S, Fike J. Cranial irradiation alters dendritic spine density and morphology in the hippocampus. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e40844 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Dendritic spines are sites of excitatory synaptic transmission and changes in spine structure and number are thought to ..
  20. Landi S, Putignano E, Boggio E, Giustetto M, Pizzorusso T, Ratto G. The short-time structural plasticity of dendritic spines is altered in a model of Rett syndrome. Sci Rep. 2011;1:45 pubmed publisher
    The maturation of excitatory transmission comes about through a developmental period in which dendritic spines are highly motile and their number, form and size are rapidly changing...
  21. Christensen A, Dewing P, Micevych P. Membrane-initiated estradiol signaling induces spinogenesis required for female sexual receptivity. J Neurosci. 2011;31:17583-9 pubmed publisher
    ..immunoreactivity was used as a semiquantitative measure of spine plasticity since actin forms the core of dendritic spines. At 4 h after estradiol treatment, both ?-actin immunofluorescence and filopodial spines were increased (from ..
  22. Jung C, Fuhrmann M, Honarnejad K, Van Leuven F, Herms J. Role of presenilin 1 in structural plasticity of cortical dendritic spines in vivo. J Neurochem. 2011;119:1064-73 pubmed publisher
    ..the effect of presenilin1 (PS1) on synapses, we performed longitudinal in vivo two-photon imaging of dendritic spines in the somatosensory cortex of transgenic mice over-expressing either human wild-type PS1 or the FAD-mutated ..
  23. Paolicelli R, Bolasco G, Pagani F, Maggi L, Scianni M, Panzanelli P, et al. Synaptic pruning by microglia is necessary for normal brain development. Science. 2011;333:1456-8 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings link microglia surveillance to synaptic maturation and suggest that deficits in microglia function may contribute to synaptic abnormalities seen in some neurodevelopmental disorders. ..
  24. Yasuda R, Murakoshi H. The mechanisms underlying the spatial spreading of signaling activity. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011;21:313-21 pubmed publisher
    During the induction of plasticity of dendritic spines, many intracellular signaling pathways are spatially and temporally regulated to co-ordinate downstream cellular processes in different dendritic micron-domains...
  25. Komatsuzaki Y, Hatanaka Y, Murakami G, Mukai H, Hojo Y, Saito M, et al. Corticosterone induces rapid spinogenesis via synaptic glucocorticoid receptors and kinase networks in hippocampus. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e34124 pubmed publisher
    Modulation of dendritic spines under acute stress is attracting much attention...
  26. Gauvain G, Chamma I, Chevy Q, Cabezas C, Irinopoulou T, Bodrug N, et al. The neuronal K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 influences postsynaptic AMPA receptor content and lateral diffusion in dendritic spines. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:15474-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Although KCC2 is expressed throughout the somatodendritic membrane, it is remarkably enriched in dendritic spines, which host most glutamatergic synapses in cortical neurons...
  27. Kremer A, Maurin H, Demedts D, Devijver H, Borghgraef P, Van Leuven F. Early improved and late defective cognition is reflected by dendritic spines in Tau.P301L mice. J Neurosci. 2011;31:18036-47 pubmed publisher
    ..symptoms, cognitive defects, and biochemical and pathological traits, including comprehensive analysis of dendritic spines in specified regions of the cortex and hippocampus of young and adult Tau.P301L mice. Remarkably, young Tau...
  28. Hale C, Dietz K, Varela J, Wood C, Zirlin B, Leverich L, et al. Essential role for vav Guanine nucleotide exchange factors in brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced dendritic spine growth and synapse plasticity. J Neurosci. 2011;31:12426-36 pubmed publisher
  29. Vierk R, Glassmeier G, Zhou L, Brandt N, Fester L, Dudzinski D, et al. Aromatase inhibition abolishes LTP generation in female but not in male mice. J Neurosci. 2012;32:8116-26 pubmed publisher
    ..Our data strongly suggest that impairment of LTP, followed by loss of mushroom spines and spine synapses in females, may have implications for memory deficits in women treated with letrozole. ..
  30. Lozada A, Wang X, Gounko N, Massey K, Duan J, Liu Z, et al. Induction of dendritic spines by ?2-containing nicotinic receptors. J Neurosci. 2012;32:8391-400 pubmed publisher
    Glutamatergic synapses are located mostly on dendritic spines in the adult nervous system. The spines serve as postsynaptic compartments, containing components that mediate and control the synaptic signal...
  31. Velázquez Zamora D, Martínez Degollado M, Gonzalez Burgos I. Morphological development of dendritic spines on rat cerebellar Purkinje cells. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2011;29:515-20 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Dendritic spines influence the transmission of synaptic information through plastic changes in their distribution, density and ..
  32. Chen C, Lu H, Brumberg J. mGluR5 knockout mice display increased dendritic spine densities. Neurosci Lett. 2012;524:65-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Here we used the Golgi impregnation technique to analyze the dendritic spines of mGluR5(-/-) knockout mice in comparison to their heterozygote mGluR5(+/-) littermates...
  33. Bloss E, Janssen W, Ohm D, Yuk F, Wadsworth S, Saardi K, et al. Evidence for reduced experience-dependent dendritic spine plasticity in the aging prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci. 2011;31:7831-9 pubmed publisher
    ..It has been proposed that dendritic spines represent the primary site of structural plasticity in the adult brain, and recent data have supported the ..
  34. Tan X, Dai Y, Wu W, Kim H, Barros R, Richardson T, et al. Reduction of dendritic spines and elevation of GABAergic signaling in the brains of mice treated with an estrogen receptor ? ligand. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:1708-12 pubmed publisher
    ..dendritic branches in LY3201-treated mice but no morphological alteration and no difference in the number of dendritic spines on dendritic stems were observed...
  35. Yang G, Chang P, Bekker A, Blanck T, Gan W. Transient effects of anesthetics on dendritic spines and filopodia in the living mouse cortex. Anesthesiology. 2011;115:718-26 pubmed publisher
    ..To address this question, the authors examined the formation and elimination of dendritic spines, postsynaptic sites of excitatory synapses, in the developing mouse cortex during and after anesthetics ..
  36. Ron S, Dudai Y, Segal M. Overexpression of PKM? alters morphology and function of dendritic spines in cultured cortical neurons. Cereb Cortex. 2012;22:2519-28 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that PKM? is involved in regulation of dendritic spine structure and function, which may underlie its role in long-term synaptic and behavioral plasticity. ..
  37. Frankfurt M, Salas Ramirez K, Friedman E, Luine V. Cocaine alters dendritic spine density in cortical and subcortical brain regions of the postpartum and virgin female rat. Synapse. 2011;65:955-61 pubmed publisher
    ..The present study is the first to demonstrate that spine density differs between pregnant and virgin females and that pregnancy makes the brain more vulnerable to cocaine, which has important clinical implications. ..
  38. Chen X, Leischner U, Rochefort N, Nelken I, Konnerth A. Functional mapping of single spines in cortical neurons in vivo. Nature. 2011;475:501-5 pubmed publisher
    ..local dendritic calcium signals in the rodent visual cortex, sensory-evoked signalling on the level of dendritic spines, corresponding to individual afferent excitatory synapses, remains unexplored...
  39. Feng B, Raghavachari S, Lisman J. Quantitative estimates of the cytoplasmic, PSD, and NMDAR-bound pools of CaMKII in dendritic spines. Brain Res. 2011;1419:46-52 pubmed publisher
    ..Of particular note, the finding that the CaMKII signal in spines shows only transient activation (open state) after LTP induction is subject to the qualification that it does not reflect the small but important pool bound to the NMDAR. ..
  40. Lemtiri Chlieh F, Zhao L, Kiraly D, Eipper B, Mains R, Levine E. Kalirin-7 is necessary for normal NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity. BMC Neurosci. 2011;12:126 pubmed publisher
    b>Dendritic spines represent the postsynaptic component of the vast majority of excitatory synapses present in the mammalian forebrain...
  41. Tschida K, Mooney R. Deafening drives cell-type-specific changes to dendritic spines in a sensorimotor nucleus important to learned vocalizations. Neuron. 2012;73:1028-39 pubmed publisher
    ..Longitudinal in vivo imaging revealed that deafening selectively decreased the size and stability of dendritic spines on neurons that provide input to a striatothalamic pathway important to audition-dependent vocal plasticity, ..
  42. Yu W, Polepalli J, Wagh D, Rajadas J, Malenka R, Lu B. A critical role for the PAR-1/MARK-tau axis in mediating the toxic effects of A? on synapses and dendritic spines. Hum Mol Genet. 2012;21:1384-90 pubmed publisher
    ..affinity-regulating kinase (MARK) family kinases act as critical mediators of A? toxicity on synapses and dendritic spines. Overexpression of MARK4 led to tau hyperphosphorylation, reduced expression of synaptic markers, and loss of ..
  43. Spires Jones T, Knafo S. Spines, plasticity, and cognition in Alzheimer's model mice. Neural Plast. 2012;2012:319836 pubmed publisher
    ..Understanding the underpinnings of dementia in AD will be essential to develop and evaluate therapeutic approaches for this widespread and devastating disease. ..
  44. Bongmba O, Martinez L, Elhardt M, Butler K, Tejada Simon M. Modulation of dendritic spines and synaptic function by Rac1: a possible link to Fragile X syndrome pathology. Brain Res. 2011;1399:79-95 pubmed publisher
    ..disorders such as Fragile X syndrome, where neurons show a high density of long, thin, and immature dendritic spines. Although abnormalities in dendrites and spines have been correlated with impaired cognitive abilities in ..
  45. Wei H, Zou H, Sheikh A, Malik M, Dobkin C, Brown W, et al. IL-6 is increased in the cerebellum of autistic brain and alters neural cell adhesion, migration and synaptic formation. J Neuroinflammation. 2011;8:52 pubmed publisher
    ..cells caused impairments in granule cell adhesion and migration but had little effect on the formation of dendritic spines or granule cell apoptosis...
  46. Kwon H, Sabatini B. Glutamate induces de novo growth of functional spines in developing cortex. Nature. 2011;474:100-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Together, our data demonstrate that early neural connectivity is shaped by activity in a spatially precise manner and that nascent dendrite spines are rapidly functionally incorporated into cortical circuits. ..
  47. Chapleau C, Pozzo Miller L. Divergent roles of p75NTR and Trk receptors in BDNF's effects on dendritic spine density and morphology. Neural Plast. 2012;2012:578057 pubmed publisher
  48. Murakoshi H, Wang H, Yasuda R. Local, persistent activation of Rho GTPases during plasticity of single dendritic spines. Nature. 2011;472:100-4 pubmed publisher
    The Rho family of GTPases have important roles in the morphogenesis of the dendritic spines of neurons in the brain and synaptic plasticity by modulating the organization of the actin cytoskeleton...
  49. Proepper C, Steinestel K, Schmeisser M, Heinrich J, Steinestel J, Bockmann J, et al. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein k interacts with Abi-1 at postsynaptic sites and modulates dendritic spine morphology. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e27045 pubmed publisher
    ..This indicates that hnRNPK and Abi-1 act synergistic in a multiprotein complex that regulates the crucial balance between filopodia formation and synaptic maturation in neurons. ..
  50. Dumitriu D, LaPlant Q, Grossman Y, Dias C, Janssen W, Russo S, et al. Subregional, dendritic compartment, and spine subtype specificity in cocaine regulation of dendritic spines in the nucleus accumbens. J Neurosci. 2012;32:6957-66 pubmed publisher
    ..analysis techniques to extend these findings in several important ways: by assessing cocaine regulation of dendritic spines in the core versus shell subregions of NAc in the mouse, over a broad time course (4 h, 24 h, or 28 d) of ..
  51. Yadav A, Gao Y, Rodriguez A, Dickstein D, Wearne S, Luebke J, et al. Morphologic evidence for spatially clustered spines in apical dendrites of monkey neocortical pyramidal cells. J Comp Neurol. 2012;520:2888-902 pubmed publisher
    ..The majority of excitatory synapses are found within dendritic spines. In this study, we demonstrate that spine clusters do exist on pyramidal neurons by analyzing the three-..
  52. Yu W, Sun Y, Guo S, Lu B. The PINK1/Parkin pathway regulates mitochondrial dynamics and function in mammalian hippocampal and dopaminergic neurons. Hum Mol Genet. 2011;20:3227-40 pubmed publisher
    ..These results, together with previous findings in Drosophila dopaminergic neurons, indicate that the PINK1/Parkin pathway plays conserved roles in regulating neuronal mitochondrial dynamics and function. ..
  53. Chen J, Villa K, Cha J, So P, Kubota Y, Nedivi E. Clustered dynamics of inhibitory synapses and dendritic spines in the adult neocortex. Neuron. 2012;74:361-73 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings provide in vivo evidence for local coordination of inhibitory and excitatory synaptic rearrangements. ..