Shaping of Neurons by Environmental Interaction
The geometry of dendritic trees plays an important role in determining the connectivity. However, the extent to which environmental factors shape dendritic geometry remains largely unknown. Recent development of computational models can help us to better understand it. This chapter provides a description of one such model (Luczak, J Neurosci Methods 157:132–41, 2006). It demonstrates that assuming only that neurons grow in the direction of a local gradient of a neurotrophic substance, and that dendrites compete for the same resources, it is possible to reproduce the spatial embedding of major types of cortical neurons. In addition, this model can be used to estimate environmental conditions which shape actual neurons, as proposed in Luczak, Front Comput Neurosci 4:135, 2010. In summary, the presented model suggests that basic environmental factors, and the simple rules of diffusive growth can adequately account for different types of axonal and dendritic shapes.
This work was partly supported by grants from NSERC and AHFMR.
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