Compartmentalized dendritic plasticity during associative learning

Science. 2022 Apr 15;376(6590):eabf7052. doi: 10.1126/science.abf7052. Epub 2022 Apr 15.


Experience-dependent changes in behavior are mediated by long-term functional modifications in brain circuits. Activity-dependent plasticity of synaptic input is a major underlying cellular process. Although we have a detailed understanding of synaptic and dendritic plasticity in vitro, little is known about the functional and plastic properties of active dendrites in behaving animals. Using deep brain two-photon Ca2+ imaging, we investigated how sensory responses in amygdala principal neurons develop upon classical fear conditioning, a form of associative learning. Fear conditioning induced differential plasticity in dendrites and somas regulated by compartment-specific inhibition. Our results indicate that learning-induced plasticity can be uncoupled between soma and dendrites, reflecting distinct synaptic and microcircuit-level mechanisms that increase the computational capacity of amygdala circuits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala* / physiology
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical* / physiology
  • Fear / physiology
  • Learning / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology