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Cortical region interactions and the functional role of apical dendrites

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Document pages: 13 pages

Abstract: The basal and distal apical dendrites of pyramidal cells occupy distinctcortical layers and are targeted by axons originating in different corticalregions. Hence, apical and basal dendrites receive information from distinctsources. Physiological evidence suggests that this anatomically observedsegregation of input sources may have functional significance. This possibilityhas been explored in various connectionist models that employ neurons withfunctionally distinct apical and basal compartments. A neuron in which separatesets of inputs can be integrated independently has the potential to operate in avariety of ways which are not possible for the conventional model of a neuron inwhich all inputs are treated equally. This article thus considers howfunctionally distinct apical and basal dendrites can contribute to theinformation processing capacities of single neurons and, in particular, howinformation from different cortical regions could have disparate affects onneural activity and learning.

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