Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 73–82

Dendritic Spine Loss and Synaptic Alterations in Alzheimer’s Disease


DOI: 10.1007/s12035-008-8018-z

Cite this article as:
Knobloch, M. & Mansuy, I.M. Mol Neurobiol (2008) 37: 73. doi:10.1007/s12035-008-8018-z


Dendritic spines are tiny protrusions along dendrites, which constitute major postsynaptic sites for excitatory synaptic transmission. These spines are highly motile and can undergo remodeling even in the adult nervous system. Spine remodeling and the formation of new synapses are activity-dependent processes that provide a basis for memory formation. A loss or alteration of these structures has been described in patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and in mouse models for these disorders. Such alteration is thought to be responsible for cognitive deficits long before or even in the absence of neuronal loss, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. This review will describe recent findings and discoveries on the loss or alteration of dendritic spines induced by the amyloid β (Aβ) peptide in the context of AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Aβ Aβ oligomers Dendritic spines Synaptic loss Cytoskeleton Molecular mechanisms 

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Psychiatry ResearchUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Brain Research Institute, University of ZürichDepartment of Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland

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