Dendritic spines are ubiquitous postsynaptic sites of most excitatory synapses in the mammalian brain, and thus may serve as structural indicators of functional synapses. Recent works have suggested that neuronal coding of memories may be associated with rapid alterations in spine formation and elimination. Technological advances have enabled researchers to study spine dynamics in vivo during development as well as under various physiological and pathological conditions. We believe that better understanding of the spatiotemporal patterns of spine dynamics will help elucidate the principles of experience-dependent circuit modification and information processing in the living brain.
Keywords: cerebral cortex; dendritic spine; experience-dependent plasticity; in vivo; neural circuit; two-photon imaging.