Dendritic spine morphology and dynamics in health and disease

Stacey Lee, Huaye Zhang, Donna J. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Dendritic spines are actin-rich structures that form the postsynaptic terminals of excitatory synapses in the brain. The development and plasticity of spines are essential for cognitive processes, such as learning and memory, and defects in their density, morphology, and size underlie a number of neurological disorders. In this review, we discuss the contribution and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in spine formation and plasticity as well as learning and memory. We also highlight the role of key receptors and intracellular signaling pathways in modulating the development and morphology of spines and cognitive function. Moreover, we provide insight into spine/synapse defects associated with several neurological disorders and the molecular mechanisms that underlie these spine defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalCell Health and Cytoskeleton
StatePublished - Jun 3 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Histology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Dendritic spines
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Neurological disorders
  • Synapses
  • Synaptic plasticity


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