How do other neurons differ to pyramid neurons?

I sometimes attempt to read journal papers that go way over my head, this was one of them “ Excitatory signal flow and connectivity in a cortical column: focus on barrel cortex” by Joachim Lubke and Dirk Feldmeyer.

But I’m not writing to talk about the paper itself, but a diagram I found interesting, labeled “ Simplified-model-of-a-cortical-column”, which is the image above.

So to my question: i notice the pyramid neurons, as Jeff Hawkins talked about them in his books, and he mentioned other types of neurons as well but i never really see much detail on how these neurons work. Do pretty much all neurons work the same way as a Pyramid neuron except the shape is different, or are there major differences between the neurons above?

Looking at the image would it be correct to guess that neurons behave the same but say:
“double bouquet cells” sends information in two directions since it looks like it could
“spiny stellate neurons” sends information in all directions since it’s circular looking
“pyramidal neurons” seem longer so maybe they send information longer distance in layers

This is only a guess just on base how the neurons look so forgive my ignorance. But if I’m on the money (or not) I would like to know what the other types of Neurons are doing or how they differ from each other. Googling this stuff does not really help as it get complex, non simplified, usually extremely biological/bio chemical results.


Scientists love to classify things, and the closer you look at neurons the more types of them there appear to be.

The most important criteria for classifying neurons is by their neurotransmitter, for example Glutamate, GABA, or Dopamine. This determines the general effect that the neuron will have on other neurons (excitatory, inhibitory, or modulatory). In general, each neuron will emit exactly one type of neurotransmitter.


They can have different electrophysiology, meaning they respond to synaptic inputs differently. I don’t know about all those specific kinds of neurons.

For example, some neurons can burst (fire 2 or more spikes separated by only like 10 milliseconds) when their apical dendrite receives enough input around the same time as the neuron fires. As another example, some neurons have facilitating inputs, meaning the neuron is activated more and more strongly each time a synapse activates in a row.


What do modulatory cells do?

Segregates neuromodulators: acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and histamine. Those guys alter plasticity or excitability of neurons. For example, cholinergic system (acetylcholine) drastically change the plasticity. A broken cholinergic system (e.g., a faulty fornix) produces anterograde amnesia (inability to form new memories).

IMHO, neuromodulators don’t get enough attention.


Ditto that with a vengeance!

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