Dendritic BDNF Synthesis Is Required for Late-Phase Spine Maturation and Recovery of Cortical Responses Following Sensory Deprivation

W.M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Department of Physiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 04/2012; 32(14):4790-802. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4462-11.2012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sensory experience in early postnatal life shapes neuronal connections in the brain. Here we report that the local synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in dendrites plays an important role in this process. We found that dendritic spines of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons of the visual cortex in mutant mice lacking dendritic Bdnf mRNA and thus local BDNF synthesis were normal at 3 weeks of age, but thinner, longer, and more closely spaced (morphological features of immaturity) at 4 months of age than in wild-type (WT) littermates. Layer 2/3 of the visual cortex in these mutant animals also had fewer GABAergic presynaptic terminals at both ages. The overall size and shape of dendritic arbors were, however, similar in mutant and WT mice at both ages. By using optical imaging of intrinsic signals and single-unit recordings, we found that mutant animals failed to recover cortical responsiveness following monocular deprivation (MD) during the critical period, although they displayed normally the competitive loss of responsiveness to an eye briefly deprived of vision. Furthermore, MD still induced a loss of responsiveness to the closed eye in adult mutant mice, but not in adult WT mice. These results indicate that dendritic BDNF synthesis is required for spine pruning, late-phase spine maturation, and recovery of cortical responsiveness following sensory deprivation. They also suggest that maturation of dendritic spines is required for the maintenance of cortical responsiveness following sensory deprivation in adulthood.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the cat, the auditory field of the anterior ectosylvian sulcus (FAES) is sensitive to auditory cues and its deactivation leads to orienting deficits toward acoustic, but not visual, stimuli. However, in early deaf cats, FAES activity shifts to the visual modality and its deactivation blocks orienting toward visual stimuli. Thus, as in other auditory cortices, hearing loss leads to cross-modal plasticity in the FAES. However, the synaptic basis for cross-modal plasticity is unknown. Therefore, the present study examined the effect of early deafness on the density, distribution, and size of dendritic spines in the FAES. Young cats were ototoxically deafened and raised until adulthood when they (and hearing controls) were euthanized, the cortex stained using Golgi-Cox, and FAES neurons examined using light microscopy. FAES dendritic spine density averaged 0.85 spines/μm in hearing animals, but was significantly higher (0.95 spines/μm) in the early deaf. Size distributions and increased spine density were evident specifically on apical dendrites of supragranular neurons. In separate tracer experiments, cross-modal cortical projections were shown to terminate predominantly within the supragranular layers of the FAES. This distributional correspondence between projection terminals and dendritic spine changes indicates that cross-modal plasticity is synaptically based within the supragranular layers of the early deaf FAES.
    Cerebral Cortex 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu225 · 8.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During cortical synaptic development, thalamic axons must establish synaptic connections despite the presence of the more abundant intracortical projections. How thalamocortical synapses are formed and maintained in this competitive environment is unknown. Here, we show that astrocyte-secreted protein hevin is required for normal thalamocortical synaptic connectivity in the mouse cortex. Absence of hevin results in a profound, long-lasting reduction in thalamocortical synapses accompanied by a transient increase in intracortical excitatory connections. Three-dimensional reconstructions of cortical neurons from serial section electron microscopy (ssEM) revealed that, during early postnatal development, dendritic spines often receive multiple excitatory inputs. Immuno-EM and confocal analyses revealed that majority of the spines with multiple excitatory contacts (SMECs) receive simultaneous thalamic and cortical inputs. Proportion of SMECs diminishes as the brain develops, but SMECs remain abundant in Hevin-null mice. These findings reveal that, through secretion of hevin, astrocytes control an important developmental synaptic refinement process at dendritic spines.
    eLife Sciences 12/2014; 3. DOI:10.7554/eLife.04047 · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are a super family of 11 enzyme families responsible for the hydrolysis of the intracellular secondary messengers cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP). PDE4, in particular, is highly expressed in brain regions involved with regulation of memory, anxiety, and depression, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. Senescence has been shown to result in extreme dysregulation of the cAMP pathway in various brain regions. Thus, as a critical controller of intracellular cAMP levels, PDE4 may be a potential target for the treatment of senescence-related cognitive disorders, which could be pathological and/or non-pathological in origin. While there is great potential in the development of novel PDE4 inhibitors for treatment of senescent-cognition impairment, there are also currently many pitfalls that need to be overcome. PDE4 has four subfamilies (PDE4A, B, C, and D) that are differentially expressed throughout the brain and body, as well as at least 25 splice variants derived from alternative splicing and multiple promoter sites. PDE4 subtypes have been shown to have differential effects on behavior, and cAMP itself has also been shown to play a contrasting role in behavior in different brain regions. This review will focus on what is currently understood about PDE4 in aging, the potential for PDE4 modulation as a cognitive therapy, and current pitfalls and limitations that need to be overcome in the PDE4 field. Overall, furthering our understanding of this incredibly complex pathway may one day assist with the development of novel therapeutics for both pathological- and non-pathological cognitive disorders associated with senescence.
    Current Pharmaceutical Design 08/2014; 21(3). DOI:10.2174/1381612820666140826114208 · 3.29 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 31, 2014