Neurotransmitter-gated ion channels in dendrites

R. Angus Silver, Andrew F. MacAskill and Mark Farrant

in Dendrites

Third edition

Published in print March 2016 | ISBN: 9780198745273
Published online May 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191819735 | DOI:
Neurotransmitter-gated ion channels in dendrites

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The ability of populations of neurons in the central nervous system to rapidly and effectively share and process information is essential for brain function. The majority of communication occurs via fast chemical synapses at which neurotransmitter-gated ion channels mediate either excitatory or inhibitory effects. The biophysical properties and dendritic location of neurotransmitter receptors influence the nature of the information processing performed. This chapter examines the evidence that such neurotransmitter receptors are heterogeneous, can be differentially distributed, are highly dynamic, and contribute to various forms of plasticity. It focuses on receptors activated by the neurotransmitters glutamate (AMPA and NMDA receptors) or γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA; GABAA receptors) and discusses the factors that influence their function at synaptic- and non-synaptic sites. It illustrates how the low-level biophysical properties of neurotransmitter receptors and their spatial distribution in the dendritic tree affect signal transmission, dendritic integration, and the computations performed at the single-neuron and network levels.

Keywords: ionotropic receptor; chemical synapses; AMPA receptor; NMDA receptor; GABAA receptor; receptor distribution; receptor heterogeneity; dendritic tree; network

Chapter.  21991 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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