Somatic EPSP amplitude is independent of synapse location in hippocampal pyramidal neurons

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Sep;3(9):895-903. doi: 10.1038/78800.


Most neurons receive thousands of synaptic inputs onto widely spread dendrites. Because of dendritic filtering, distant synapses should have less efficacy than proximal ones. To investigate this, we characterized the amplitude and kinetics of excitatory synaptic input across the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons using dual whole-cell recordings. We found that dendritic EPSP amplitude increases with distance from the soma, counterbalancing the filtering effects of the dendrites and reducing the location dependence of somatic EPSP amplitude. Dendritic current injections and a multi-compartmental computer model demonstrated that dendritic membrane properties have only a minor role in elevating the local EPSP. Instead a progressive increase in synaptic conductance seems to be primarily responsible for normalizing the amplitudes of individual inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Electrophysiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Neurological
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, AMPA