Active dendrites enhance neuronal dynamic range

Leonardo L. Gollo, Osame Kinouchi, Mauro Copelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the first experimental evidences of active conductances in dendrites, most neurons have been shown to exhibit dendritic excitability through the expression of a variety of voltage-gated ion channels. However, despite experimental and theoretical efforts undertaken in the past decades, the role of this excitability for some kind of dendritic computation has remained elusive. Here we show that, owing to very general properties of excitable media, the average output of a model of an active dendritic tree is a highly non-linear function of its afferent rate, attaining extremely large dynamic ranges (above 50 dB). Moreover, the model yields double-sigmoid response functions as experimentally observed in retinal ganglion cells. We claim that enhancement of dynamic range is the primary functional role of active dendritic conductances. We predict that neurons with larger dendritic trees should have larger dynamic range and that blocking of active conductances should lead to a decrease in dynamic range.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1000402
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

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