The dendritic tree and brain disorders

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2012 May;50(1):10-20. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Mar 16.


Dendrite morphogenesis is a complex but well-orchestrated process and includes the development of dendritic branches, forming characteristic dendrite arbors, and dendritic spines, allowing neurons to communicate with each other. Various studies report that many neuropsychiatric disorders are characterized by dendritic and synaptic pathology, including abnormal spine density and morphology, synapse loss, and aberrant synaptic signaling and plasticity. In this review, we discuss dendrite development and branching, and in specific, morphology, cytoskeletal architecture, and how the complexity of the dendrite tree and its functional capabilities are altered in various brain disorders. Identifying and understanding these changes in dendrite morphology are essential for understanding brain function in normal and disease states.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synapses / pathology