It is widely recognized that the neural basis of brain function can be fully understood only by integrating many disciplines at many levels. Studies of synaptic organization are bringing about a quiet revolution in achieving this goal, as documented by this unique book over the past 30 years. In this fifth edition, the results of the mouse and human genome projects are incorporated for the first time. Molecular biologists interested in functional genomics and proteomics of the brain will find answers here to the critical questions: what are the cell and circuit functions of gene products? Also for the first time, the reader is oriented to supporting neuroscience databases. Among the new advances covered are 2-photon confocal laser microscopy of dendrites and dendritic spines, biochemical analyses, and dual patch and multielectrode recordings, applied together with an increasing range of behavioural and gene-targeting methods. Leading experts in the best understood brain regions bring together the molecular, anatomical, functional, and behavioural data in authoritative integrated accounts. The chapters are organized in the same format, covering the neural elements, synaptic connections, basic circuits, physiology, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, membrane properties, dendritic properties, and with a final section on how the circuits mediate specific behaviours. The uniform framework for each chapter enables the authors to highlight the principles that are common to all regions, as well as the adaptations unique to each, thus serving as a model for understanding the neural basis of behaviour.
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Gordon M. Shepherd is at Yale University School of Medicine.
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