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Dendritic spine morphology and dynamics in health and disease

Authors Lee S, Zhang H, Webb D

Received 4 February 2015

Accepted for publication 18 March 2015

Published 3 June 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 121—131

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CHC.S82214

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Denis Wirtz


Stacey Lee,1 Huaye Zhang,2 Donna J Webb1,3,4

1Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, 3Department of Cancer Biology, 4Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Abstract: Dendritic spines are actin-rich structures that form the postsynaptic terminals of excitatory synapses in the brain. The development and plasticity of spines are essential for cognitive processes, such as learning and memory, and defects in their density, morphology, and size underlie a number of neurological disorders. In this review, we discuss the contribution and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in spine formation and plasticity as well as learning and memory. We also highlight the role of key receptors and intracellular signaling pathways in modulating the development and morphology of spines and cognitive function. Moreover, we provide insight into spine/synapse defects associated with several neurological disorders and the molecular mechanisms that underlie these spine defects.

Keywords: dendritic spines, synapses, synaptic plasticity, actin cytoskeleton, glutamate receptors, neurological disorders

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