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By Rafael Yuste

A number one neurobiologist explores the elemental functionality of dendritic spines in neural circuits by means of interpreting assorted elements in their biology, together with constitution, improvement, motility, and plasticity.

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21C). , 2005; Elston and De Felipe, 2002). Finally, spines also have systematically di¤erent densities and sizes across di¤erent species. , 2002). Although one might expect larger spines in humans than mice because a larger body and neuron size, an increased spine density indicates that excitatory inputs are actually more abundant in humans, as if we had a more dense connectivity matrix in our brain circuit. In fact, Cajal already noted that humans are a particularly ‘‘spiny’’ species, and he speculated that our intellectual capabilities could be related to the spiny-ness of our circuits (Ramo´n y Cajal, 1899c).

The number of docked vesicles corresponds closely to the readily releasable pool of vesicles, which, in turn, correlates with the release probability (Rosenmund and Stevens, 1996; Schikorski and Stevens, 2001). , 1998). , 2004). Given these correlations, it is interesting to inquire whether there are similar correlations between the spine neck morphology and synaptic strength. 13D). , 2006). , 2007a). Thus, it is safe to assume that, while for most spines, the spine neck and head appear to be independently regulated, for a subset of spines, those with larger heads tend to have broader necks.

2003). 5). , 2000). These ‘‘hand with fingers’’—shaped morphologies represent the real morphology of the spine. The function of these spinules is mysterious, and perhaps could provide a retrograde signaling mechanism, perhaps mediating transendocytosis, between the PSD and the presynaptic terminal. Correlations between Spine Shape and Synaptic Function Spine morphology is highly variable from spine to spine, even within the same dendrite, and this diversity has ba¿ed researchers since Cajal. 4 mm 3 , with most of it (>80%) composed of spine head volume.

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