Regulation of dendritic growth and plasticity by local and global calcium dynamics

Christian Lohmann, Rachel O.L. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The dendritic arbors of neurons are organized into unique spatial patterns that are well suited for their specific functions. Although the intracellular signaling pathways that determine dendritic arbor size and branching patterns during development are not completely understood, it is evident that neurotransmission-mediated elevation in intracellular calcium levels ([Ca2+]i) plays a major role. Recent advances in calcium imaging and genetic approaches have provided new insight into how calcium acts to regulate dendritic growth and remodeling. Global increases in [Ca2+]i that occur upon neuronal depolarization control dendritic arbor growth by regulating transcription. However, the detailed branching patterns of dendritic arbors are regulated by local calcium signaling. Calcium-induced calcium release (CICR) from intracellular stores acts to locally stabilize dendritic branches, presumably triggered by neurotransmission upon contact with newly established inputs. The effects of global and local increases in [Ca2+]i on dendritic structure are cell type- and age-dependent. Unraveling the signaling pathways evoked by local and global rises in [Ca2+]i that shape the developing dendritic arbor at each developmental stage remains challenging but highly important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalCell Calcium
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium dynamics
  • Dendritic growth


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