Dendritic spine stabilization corresponds with long-term memories

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This reference is used to support claims made by Dr Piotr Wozniak as part of an article series on memory, learning, creativity, and problem solving.

Neurohistological research provides ample evidence that supports the neurostatistical model of memory, and the conceptualization theory of childhood amnesia.

In terms of network conceptualization, high plasticity can be achieved with the proliferation of dendritic filopodia, their loss, or conversion to dendritic spines. Filopodial proliferation would facilitate formation of new synapses. Memory stabilization would involve conversion of filopodia into spines, and spine stabilization. Loss of dendritic spines would come from forgetting and stabilization of existing memories.

Many lines of evidence indicate that developmental change in synapse number is remarkably similar across different cortical layers and regions in a variety of species. We found that in the dendrites of layer V and VI pyramidal neurons in mouse barrel cortex, the number of spines rose rapidly after birth, underwent a substantial net loss during late postnatal life and declined slowly throughout adulthood

Training results in memory stabilization. This correlates with dendritic spine elimination:

A significant increase in spine elimination (∼4.5%) was observed in motor cortex when mice were subjected to training for 7–14 days

Myths of intelligence associate rich connectivity with efficient processing. In reality, problem solving is best achieved with abstract knowledge derived from sparse effectual connectivity developed in the process of conceptualization:

In addition to promoting synapse formation, experience plays an important role in eliminating excessive and imprecise synaptic connections formed early during development


Quoted excerpts come from the following reference:

Title: Stably maintained dendritic spines are associated with lifelong memories

Authors: Guang Yang, Feng Pan, Wen-Biao Gan

Date: 2009

Source: Nature

Backlink: Conceptualization theory of childhood amnesia

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature08577