Emerging rules for the distributions of active dendritic conductances

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 May;3(5):362-70. doi: 10.1038/nrn810.


A key goal in neuroscience is to explain how the operations of a neuron emerge from sets of active channels with specific dendritic distributions. If general principles can be identified for these distributions, dendritic channels should reflect the computational role of a given cell type within its functional neural circuit. Here, we discuss insights from experimental and computational data on the distribution of voltage-gated channels in dendrites, and attempt to derive rules for how their interactions implement different dendritic functions. We propose that this type of analysis will be important for understanding behavioural processes in terms of single-neuron properties, and that it constitutes a step towards a 'functional proteomics' of nerve cells, which will be essential for defining neuronal phenotypes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / chemistry
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / analysis
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Ion Channels