Progress in Neurobiology
STED microscopy reveals dendrite-specificity of spines in turtle cortex
Jan A. Knobloch, Gilles Laurent, Marcel A. Lauterbach
dendrites; cortex; dendritic spine; turtle; spine morphology
Dendritic spines are key structures for neural communication, learning and memory. Spine size and shape probably reflect synaptic strength and learning. Imaging with superresolution STED microscopy the detailed shape of the majority of the spines of individual neurons in turtle cortex (Trachemys scripta elegans) revealed several distinguishable shape classes. Dendritic spines of a given class were not distributed randomly, but rather decorated significantly more often some dendrites than others. The individuality of dendrites was corroborated by significant inter-dendrite differences in other parameters such as spine density and length. In addition, many spines were branched or possessed spinules. These findings may have implications for the role of individual dendrites in this cortex.