Neurons experience large-scale changes across their dendrites during learning, say neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin in a new study that highlights the important role that these cell regions may play in the processes of learning and memory.
The research, published online Oct. 23 and in the November issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that ion channels distributed in the dendritic membrane change during a simulated learning task and that this requires the rapid production of new proteins.
"Our new work strongly supports the idea that learning involves changes in dendrites," says Dr. Daniel Johnston, director of the Center for Learning and Memory and professor in the Institute for Neuroscience.
The finding could also lead to advances in understanding conditions like epilepsy and age-related memory loss and could point to potential treatment opportunities for such conditions in the future.
Dan Johnston | EurekAlert!
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