Growing dendrites

TonyJeffs2 tonyjeffs2 at aol.comTonyJ
Fri Jun 30 02:10:43 EST 2000

In article <395BA0E9.E12EC8BF at nospam.com>, rh <rh at nospam.com> writes:

>As I understand it, as neural pathways are used
>the spines grow and become more numerous.
>My question is: why?  Why do they get bigger?  Also, do they multiply,
>or are they just changing shape?....what accounts for this new form that
>they take?

I am not an expert, but think that this is caused by 'retrograde messengers'.
When a neurotransmitter conveys a message accross a synapse, the neuron on the
receiving end sends back a reply in the form of a retrograde messenger.  For
example the gas NO is a type of retrograde messenger. It has a very short life,
and when it is released from the post-synaptic membrane, itdiffuses into the
surrounding area.  The more activity there is at the synapse, the more NO is
released.   The NO also acts as a' nerve growth factor' , and the more there
is, the more it stimulates the growth of new branches from nearby neurons.

That is the way I understand it.


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