Felix Effenberger joins us for a special journal club session where he discusses preliminary results on the statistics of the branching structure of dendritic trees.
We report on preliminary results on the statistics of the branching structure of dendritic trees. Such trees can be considered to be binary trees since exactly two branches emerge from each branch point. Previous work has compared dendritic topology with random branching processes. Here we investigate a number of statistics over the topology (i.e. branching structure) of dendritic trees using a large sample of reconstructions of real dendritic trees from the NeuroMorpho.org database. First results indicate that real dendritic morphologies span the entire space of possible binary trees. This result indicates that precise dendritic topology might not be a relevant factor determining dendritic computation.
The reconstructions were accessed directly through the TREES toolbox in Matlab using a newly developed software interface that allows easy access to the database from third party applications. The API supports a rich query language enabling the user to conveniently perform sophisticated queries and obtain the reconstructions matching the query parameters. This is harnessed by a first client implemented as part of a forthcoming version of the TREES toolbox that handles populations of reconstructions. In cooperation with the NeuroMorpho.org team we plan to soon make the API available to other parties.