Spine stems on tectal interneurons in jewel fish are shortened by social stimulation

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Science  19 May 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4343, pp. 787-790
DOI: 10.1126/science.644322


Spined pyriform interneurons in community-reared jewel fish have more dendritic branches and spines in the deep tectal layers than those in isolates reared without visual-tactile contact with conspecifics. Furthermore, in the same dendritic loci in which the community-reared fish had more spines, the spine stems were shorter. The findings suggest that social stimulation induces localized formation of spines, which swell with synaptic activation. Shortening of the spine stem through elongated swelling of the spine head is likely to alter synaptic effectiveness through changes in electrotonic conductance.