Dendrites are often excitable structures involved in the signal processing of almost all neurons.
We find that when an active dendrite has a greater intrinsic variability and a longer refractory period
than the soma, it will determine spike times for weak inputs but be entrained by somatic spikes for
strong inputs. This produces an input-dependent gating of dendritic noise. As a result, populations
of dendrite-soma systems improve transmission of sub- and suprathreshold signals for a large range
of intrinsic dendritic noise. This novel mechanism suggests a functional role for active dendrites.