Dendritic spine heterogeneity determines afferent-specific Hebbian plasticity in the amygdala

Yann Humeau, Cyril Herry, Nicola Kemp, Hamdy Shaban, Elodie Fourcaudot, Stephanie Bissière, Andreas Lüthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Functional compartmentalization of dendrites is thought to underlie afferent-specific integration of neural activity in laminar brain structures. Here we show that in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA), an area lacking apparent laminar organization, thalamic and cortical afferents converge on the same dendrites, contacting neighboring but morphologically and functionally distinct spine types. Large spines contacted by thalamic afferents exhibited larger Ca2+ transients during action potential backpropagation than did small spines contacted by cortical afferents. Accordingly, induction of Hebbian plasticity, dependent on postsynaptic spikes, was restricted to thalamic afferents. This synapse-specific effect involved activation of R-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels preferentially located at thalamic inputs. These results indicate that afferent-specific mechanisms of postsynaptic, associative Hebbian plasticity in LA projection neurons depend on local, spine-specific morphological and molecular properties, rather than global differences between dendritic compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 6 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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