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The need for integrating neuronal morphology databases and computational environments in exploring neuronal structure and function

Van Pelt, J., Van Ooyen, A., and Uylings, H. B. M. (2001). Anat. Embryol. 204: 255-265. [Full text: PDF]


Neurons are the principle information processing elements in the nervous system. The processing of electrical signals takes place in complex morphological structures and by complex electrodynamical mechanisms. The information itself as well as the interplay between the morphological and electrodynamical complexities are still poorly understood. Nevertheless, information technology, mathematical modeling, and computer simulation approaches (`neuroinformatics') increasingly provide the tools for dealing with these complexities, and pave the way for understanding information processing in the brain.

This chapter focusses on neuronal morphology and briefly reviews the current developments in neuroinformatics with respect to reconstruction techniques, morphological quantification, modeling of morphology, modeling of function, and the need for databasing neuronal morphologies. Additionally, one of the dendritic modeling approaches is described in more detail in the Appendix.

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