Frontiers in Biology

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 48–58 | Cite as

Structural plasticity of dendritic spines

  • Shengxiang ZhangEmail author
  • Jiangbi Wang
  • Lei Wang


Dendritic spines are the major targets of excitatory synaptic input. They exist in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from thin to mushroom-shaped to stubby. One of the striking characteristics of dendritic spines is their motile nature. Spines can undergo various structural modifications such as changes in density, shape, size, and motility. During development, spines are highly dynamic and many spines are formed and eliminated. As animals mature, most spines become stable and the vast majority of them can last throughout life. However, spine morphology can still undergo progressive changes. Structural dynamics of dendritic spines is thought to play important roles in synapse plasticity and information processing. Abnormal spine structures are often associated with malfunction of the nervous system.


Dendritic Spine Spine Structure Spine Formation Spine Motility Structural Plasticity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Higher Education Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Basic Medical SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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