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Coding with Dendrites

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The goal of this presentation is to provide a set of predictions generated by biophysical and/or abstract mathematical models regarding the role of dendrites in information coding across three different brain regions: the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Towards this goal I will present modelling studies–along with supporting experimental evidence-that investigate how dendrites may be used to facilitate the coding of both spatial and temporal information at the single cell, the microcircuit and the neuronal network level. I will first discuss how the dendrites of individual CA1 pyramidal neurons may allow a single cell to discriminate between familiar versus novel memories and propagate this information to down stream cells [1]. I will then discuss how these dendritic nonlinearities may enable stimulus specificity in individual PFC pyramidal neurons during working memory [2] and underlie the emergence of sustained activity at the single cell and the microcircuit level [2,3]. Finally, I will present findings from our ongoing work regarding the role of dendrites in shaping the formation of fear memory engrams in the amygdala [4].

  1. Pissadaki, E.K., Sidiropoulou K., Reczko M., and Poirazi, P. “Encoding of spatio-temporal input characteristics by a single CA1 pyramidal neuron model” PLoS Comp. Biology, 2010 Dec;6(12): e1001038.
  2. Sidiropoulou, K. and Poirazi, P. “Predictive features of persistent activity emergence in regular spiking and intrinsic bursting model neurons” (PLoS Comp. Biology, 2012 April; 8(4): e1002489)
  3. Papoutsi, A., Sidiropoulou, K., and Poirazi, P. “Temporal Dynamics Predict State Transitions in a Prefrontal Cortex Microcircuit Model.” (submitted)
  4. Kastelakis G, Sidropoulou K and Poirazi P “Modeling the fear memory trace”, Hellenic Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, October, 2010.

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