Dendritic integration of excitatory synaptic input

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2000 Dec;1(3):181-90. doi: 10.1038/35044552.


A fundamental function of nerve cells is the transformation of incoming synaptic information into specific patterns of action potential output. An important component of this transformation is synaptic integration--the combination of voltage deflections produced by a myriad of synaptic inputs into a singular change in membrane potential. There are three basic elements involved in integration: the amplitude of the unitary postsynaptic potential; the manner in which non-simultaneous unitary events add in time (temporal summation), and the addition of unitary events occurring simultaneously in separate regions of the dendritic arbor (spatial summation). This review discusses how passive and active dendritic properties, and the functional characteristics of the synapse, shape these three elements of synaptic integration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*