Dendritic spines act as computational units and must adapt their responses according to their activation history. Calcium influx acts as the first signaling step during postsynaptic activation and is a determinant of synaptic weight change. Dendritic spines also come in a variety of sizes and shapes. To probe the relationship between calcium dynamics and spine morphology, we used a stochastic reaction-diffusion model of calcium dynamics in idealized and realistic geometries. We show that despite the stochastic nature of the various calcium channels, receptors, and pumps, spine size and shape can separately modulate calcium dynamics and subsequently synaptic weight updates in a deterministic manner. The relationships between calcium dynamics and spine morphology identified in idealized geometries also hold in realistic geometries suggesting that there are geometrically determined deterministic relationships that may modulate synaptic weight change.
Recommended citation: M. V. Holst*, M. K. Bell*, C. T. Lee, and P. Rangamani$ "Stochastic Simulations Reveal That Dendritic Spine Morphology Regulates Synaptic Plasticity in a Deterministic Manner". BioRxiv: 10.1101/2021.05.06.442994.