Dendrites carry signals between synapses and the soma and play a central role in neural computation. Although they contain many nonlinear ion channels, their signal-transfer properties are linear under some experimental conditions. In experiments with continuous-time inputs, a resonant linear two-port model has been shown to provide a near-perfect fit to the dendrite-to-soma input-output relationship. In this study, we focused on this linear aspect of signal transfer using impedance functions that replace biophysical channel models in order to describe the electrical properties of the dendritic membrane. The membrane impedance model of dendrites preserves the accuracy of the two-port model with minimal computational complexity. Using this approach, we demonstrate two membrane impedance profiles of dendrites that reproduced the experimentally observed two-port results. These impedance profiles demonstrate that the two-port results are compatible with different computational schemes. In addition, our model highlights how dendritic resonance can minimize the location-dependent attenuation of signals at the resonant frequency. Thus, in this model, dendrites function as linear-resonant filters that carry signals between nonlinear computational units.

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