High synaptic threshold for dendritic NMDA spike generation in human layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons

Guilherme Testa-Silva, Marius Rosier, Suraj Honnuraiah, Robertas Guzulaitis, Ana Morello Megias, Chris French, James King, Katharine Drummond, Lucy M. Palmer, Greg J. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Neurons receive synaptic input primarily onto their dendrites. While we know much about the electrical properties of dendrites in rodents, we have only just started to describe their properties in the human brain. Here, we investigate the capacity of human dendrites to generate NMDA-receptor-dependent spikes (NMDA spikes). Using dendritic glutamate iontophoresis, as well as local dendritic synaptic stimulation, we find that human layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons can generate dendritic NMDA spikes. The capacity to evoke NMDA spikes in human neurons, however, was significantly reduced compared with that in rodents. Simulations in morphologically realistic and simplified models indicated that human neurons have a higher synaptic threshold for NMDA spike generation primarily due to the wider diameter of their dendrites. In summary, we find reduced NMDA spike generation in human compared with rodent layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons and provide evidence that this is due to the wider diameter of human dendrites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111787
Number of pages14
JournalCell Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2022


  • cortex
  • CP: Neuroscience
  • dendrite
  • human
  • model
  • mouse
  • NMDA receptor
  • patch clamp
  • pyramidal neuron
  • spike
  • synapse

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