Dendritic Transmitter Release: A Comparison of Two Model Systems

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Abstract

Information flow through neurones was historically considered to be linear, with dendrites receiving information from incoming synaptic terminals, the soma processing the information and the axon carrying it to the terminal that synapses upon another cell or end organ. However, recent studies have shown that dendrites can release transmitters themselves, and thereby communicate with neighbouring structures, whether these are adjacent neurones or incoming synapses. Due to their anatomical features, the magnocellular vasopressin and oxytocin containing neurones of the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei and the dopamine neurones of the substantia nigra have revealed important aspects of dendritic function including mechanisms of dendritic transmitter release.

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