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For comparisons of cumulative distributions of decay times we used the Kolmogorov�CSmirnov test. AMPA currents were isolated pharmacologically by adding the NMDA antagonist d-AP5 (40 ��m) and the GABAA receptor antagonist picrotoxin (100 ��m). AMPA current amplitudes were measured from baseline holding current to peak. To determine whether potentiation of AMPA current by drug treatment was significant we used the Mann�CWhitney test on raw data. Organotypic slice cultures (Gahwiler et al. 1997) were prepared from mice expressing membrane targeted eGFP in a subpopulation of CA1 pyramidal cells (De Paola et al. 2003). Under control conditions dendritic spines showed small variations in volume and underwent rapid changes in shape, as previously reported (Fischer et al. 2000). Activation of muscarinic receptors by a short application of the specific muscarinic receptor agonist methacholine chloride (MCh; 100 ��m; 5 min) induced a pronounced morphological response in dendritic spines, an effect which was rapidly reversible (Fig. 1). The classical round shape of dendritic spine heads was altered to a complex structure characterized by the emergence of one to several thin filopodia. Quantification of the formation of SHFs over different time points (Fig. 1D��) showed that strong stimulation of muscarinic receptors induced the emergence of one or more filopodia in almost half (48.02 �� 6.51%) of all analysed spines (n= 8 cultures; n= 19 dendrites; n= 550 spines; P 6 cultures; n= 9 dendrites; n= 192 spines; 3.36 �� 2.17%; P