Structure and complexity of the synapse and dendritic spine

Stewart, Michael G.; Popov, Victor I.; Kraev, Igor V.; Medvedev, Nikolay and Davies, Heather A. (2014). Structure and complexity of the synapse and dendritic spine. In: Pickel, Virginia and Segal, Menahem eds. The Synapse: Structure and Function. Neuroscience-Net Reference Book Series (3). Kidlington: Academic Press, pp. 1–20.



Synapses are the point at which an impulse is transmitted from one nerve cell to another. Some signalling is purely electrical, where transmission occurs via electrical coupling of ion movements at gap junctions. However, most transmission occurs at chemical synapses where an action potential causes release of neurotransmitter from the presynaptic component (the bouton), which acts on receptors on the postsynaptic cell. Knowledge of the structure of synapse and their postsynaptic contacts is the key to understanding synaptic function. In this chapter, discussion will be restricted to the hippocampus of central nervous system and will focus on a description of synapses and their dendritic spines contacts.

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