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Parallel dendritic processing and hippocampal spatial representations

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Cristina Savin.

A fundamental question in understanding neuronal computations is how dendritic events influence the output of the neuron. Different forms of integration of neighbouring and distributed synaptic inputs, isolated dendritic spikes and local regulation of synaptic efficacy suggest that individual dendritic branches may function as independent computational subunits. We study how these local computations influence the output of the neuron and shape neural representations in the hippocampus. Using a simple computational model, we demonstrate that triggering somatic firing by a relatively small dendritic branch requires the amplification of local events by dendritic spiking and synaptic plasticity. The moderately branching dendritic tree of granule cells seems optimal for this computation since larger dendritic trees favor local plasticity by isolating dendritic compartments, while reliable detection of individual dendritic spikes in the soma requires a low branch number. We demonstrate that these parallel computations generate multiple, independent place fields characteristic for hippocampal granule cells, and suggest that the same mechanism contributes to the global remapping of hippocampal place fields across different contexts.

This talk is part of the Computational Neuroscience series.

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