Newly identified dendritic action potentials give humans unique brain power

January 02, 2020

Newly discovered action potentials in neuronal dendrites neurons uniquely amplify the computational power of the human brain, according to a new study. The results provide critical insights into the physiological circuits that underpin cortical network behavior. While it's widely understood that the active electrical properties of dendrites play a critical role in neuronal signaling and are fundamental to brain function, much of what is known about active dendrites has been gleaned from the brains of rodents. Unlike rodent brains, however, the human brain's cortical layers are thick - particularly layer 2 and 3 (L2/3), which contains numerous neurons with large and elaborate dendritic trees. Recent studies have shown a developmental program that drives the disproportionate thickening of L2/3 - a unique characteristic that may be fundamental to what makes us human. Albert Gidon and colleagues used somato-dendritic patch clamp and two-photon imaging to directly probe the active properties of L2/3 dendrites in slices of human brain tissue. The investigation revealed several previously unidentified electrical properties unique to L2/3 neurons unknown in all other neurons studied to date. Gidon et al. also identified a new class of dendritic calcium action potentials (dCaAPs). The findings make the activity of L2/3 dendrites far more complex than previously thought, according to the authors. By modeling their properties, the authors demonstrate the ability of single neurons to solve computational problems that were previously thought to require multi-layer neural networks.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Human Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Does the human brain resemble the Universe?
An astrophysicist of the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon of the University of Verona compared the network of neuronal cells in the human brain with the cosmic network of galaxies... and surprising similarities emerged

New multiscale view of the human brain
Researchers from University of Barcelona study how multilayers that form the human brain interact at different resolutions

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Researchers explore how the human brain is so resilient
Future technology may be able to monitor and modify the brain to produce enhanced team performance, while increasing the efficiency and accuracy of decisions.

Nanoelectronics learn the same way as the human brain
Activities in the field of artificial intelligence, like teaching robots to walk, demand ever more powerful, yet at the same time more economical computer chips.

New genomic atlas of the developing human brain
Researchers at Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco (UCSF) Weill Institute for Neurosciences have created a comprehensive region-specific atlas of the regulatory regions of the genome linked to human embryonic brain development.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

New method provides unique insight into the development of the human brain
Stem cell researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a new research model of the early embryonic brain.

One step closer to understanding the human brain
An international team of scientists led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has launched a comprehensive overview of all proteins expressed in the brain, published today in the journal Science.

Read More: Human Brain News and Human Brain Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to