Molecular regulation of dendritic spine dynamics and their potential impact on synaptic plasticity and neurological diseases

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The structure and dynamics of dendritic spines reflect the strength of synapses, which are severely affected in different brain diseases. Therefore, understanding the ultra-structure, molecular signaling mechanism(s) regulating dendritic spine dynamics is crucial. Although, since last century, dynamics of spine have been explored by several investigators in different neurological diseases, but despite countless efforts, a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental etiology and molecular signaling pathways involved in spine pathology is lacking. The purpose of this review is to provide a contextual framework of our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of dendritic spine signaling, as well as their potential impact on different neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, as a format for highlighting some commonalities in function, as well as providing a format for new insights and perspectives into this critical area of research. Additionally, the potential strategies to restore spine structure–function in different diseases are also pointed out. Overall, these informations should help researchers to design new drugs to restore the structure–function of dendritic spine, a “hot site” of synaptic plasticity.

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