Non-synaptic dendritic spines in neocortex. Academic Article uri icon


  • A long-held assumption states that each dendritic spine in the cerebral cortex forms a synapse, although this issue has not been systematically investigated. We performed complete ultrastructural reconstructions of a large (n=144) population of identified spines in adult mouse neocortex finding that only 3.6% of the spines clearly lacked synapses. Nonsynaptic spines were small and had no clear head, resembling dendritic filopodia, and could represent a source of new synaptic connections in the adult cerebral cortex.

publication date

  • March 16, 2007