Dynamic Biophysical Theory for the Role of Hippocampal Neural Networks in the Declarative Memory System.
Final rept. 1 Jul 88-30 Jun 92,
CALIFORNIA INST OF TECH PASADENA
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The principal theme of the research to understanding the biophysics of learning at the level of dendrites and spines. It relates to an area of research termed Biophysics of Computation. What are the biophysical mechanisms at the cellular or sub-cellular level that implement the elementary neuronal operations underlying information processing and storage What are the elementary units of information processing, the diodes and transistors of the brian Properties and limitations of neurons and synapses are crucial in determining the algorithms used to perform specific computational tasks. The applies in particular to the function of dendritic spines and their key involvement in plasticity. Dendritic spines, small protrusions covering the surface of many neurons, have fascinated anatomists ever since Ramon y Cajal first described them at the turn of the century. Experimental and computational studies now seem to be converging towards a common viewpoint of spines as providing biochemical, rather than electrical, compartmentalization within neurons. Thus, both experimentalists and theoreticians are shifting their viewpoint from seeing spines as devices that modulate electrical properties towards a view of spines as devices subserving chemical compartmentalization.
- Anatomy and Physiology