Simultaneous analysis of dendritic spine density, morphology and excitatory glutamate receptors during neuron maturation in vitro by quantitative immunocytochemistry
ABSTRACT Alterations in the density and morphology of dendritic spines are characteristic of multiple cognitive disorders. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying spine alterations are facilitated by the use of experimental and analytical methods that permit concurrent evaluation of changes in spine density, morphology and composition. Here, an automated and quantitative immunocytochemical method for the simultaneous analysis of changes in the density and morphology of spines and excitatory glutamate receptors was established to analyze neuron maturation, in vitro. In neurons of long-term neuron-glia co-cultures, spine density as measured by drebrin cluster fluorescence, increased from DIV (days in vitro)10 to DIV18 (formation phase), remained stable from DIV18 to DIV21 (maintenance phase), and decreased from DIV21 to DIV26 (loss phase). The densities of spine-localized NMDAR and AMPAR clusters followed a similar trend. Spine head sizes as measured by the fluorescence intensities of drebrin clusters increased from DIV10 to DIV21 and decreased from DIV21 to DIV26. Changes in the densities of NR1-only, GluR2-only, and NR1+GluR2 spines were measured by the colocalizations of NR1 and GluR2 clusters with drebrin clusters. The densities of NR1-only spines remained stable from the maintenance to the loss phases, while GluR2-only and NR1+GluR2 spines decreased during the loss phase, thus suggesting GluR2 loss as a proximal molecular event that may underlie spine alterations during neuron maturation. This study demonstrates a sensitive and quantitative immunocytochemical method for the concurrent analysis of changes in spine density, morphology and composition, a valuable tool for determining molecular events involved in dendritic spine alterations.
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ABSTRACT: The ε4 allele of the gene that encodes apolipoprotein E (APOE4) is the greatest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), while APOE2 reduces AD risk, compared to APOE3. The mechanism(s) underlying the effects of APOE on AD pathology remains unclear. In vivo, dendritic spine density is lower in APOE4-targeted replacement (APOE-TR) mice compared with APOE2- and APOE3-TR mice. To investigate whether this apoE4-induced decrease in spine density results from alterations in the formation or the loss of dendritic spines, the effects of neuron age and apoE isoform on the total number and subclasses of spines were examined in long-term wild-type neurons co-cultured with glia from APOE2-, APOE3- and APOE4-TR mice. Dendritic spine density and maturation were evaluated by immunocytochemistry via the presence of drebrin (an actin-binding protein) with GluN1 (NMDA receptor subunit) and GluA2 (AMPA receptor subunit) clusters. ApoE isoform effects were analyzed via a method previously established that identifies phases of spine formation (day-in-vitro, DIV10-18), maintenance (DIV18-21) and loss (DIV21-26). In the formation phase, apoE4 delayed total spine formation. During the maintenance phase, the density of GluN1+GluA2 spines did not change with apoE2, while the density of these spines decreased with apoE4 compared to apoE3, primarily due to the loss of GluA2 in spines. During the loss phase, total spine density was lower in neurons with apoE4 compared to apoE3. Thus, apoE4 delays total spine formation and may induce early synaptic dysfunction via impaired regulation of GluA2 in spines.ASN Neuro 12/2013; 6(1). DOI:10.1042/AN20130043 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic glial activation and neuroinflammation induced by the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) contribute to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. APOE4 is the greatest AD-genetic risk factor; increasing risk up to 12-fold compared to APOE3, with APOE4-specific neuroinflammation an important component of this risk. This editorial review discusses the role of APOE in inflammation and AD, via a literature review, presentation of novel data on Aβ-induced neuroinflammation, and discussion of future research directions. The complexity of chronic neuroinflammation, including multiple detrimental and beneficial effects occurring in a temporal and cell-specific manner, has resulted in conflicting functional data for virtually every inflammatory mediator. Defining a neuroinflammatory phenotype (NIP) is one way to address this issue, focusing on profiling the changes in inflammatory mediator expression during disease progression. Although many studies have shown that APOE4 induces a detrimental NIP in peripheral inflammation and Aβ-independent neuroinflammation, data for APOE-modulated Aβ-induced neuroinflammation are surprisingly limited. We present data supporting the hypothesis that impaired apoE4 function modulates Aβ-induced effects on inflammatory-receptor signaling, including amplification of detrimental (TLR4-p38α) and suppression of beneficial (IL-4R-nuclear receptor) pathways. To ultimately develop APOE genotype-specific therapeutics, it is critical that future studies define the dynamic NIP profile and pathways that underlie APOE-modulated chronic neuroinflammation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Journal of Neurochemistry 02/2015; DOI:10.1111/jnc.13072 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), the transcriptional master regulator of the stress-induced antioxidant response, plays a key role in neuronal resistance to oxidative stress and glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Nrf2-mediated neuroprotection is primarily conferred by astrocytes both in vitro and in vivo, but little is known about physiologic signals that regulate neuronal and astrocytic Nrf2 signaling. Here, we report that activity of the Nrf2 pathway in the brain is fine-tuned through a regulatory loop between neurons and astrocytes: elevated neuronal activity leads to secretion of glutamate and other soluble factors, which activate the astrocytic Nrf2 pathway through a signaling cascade that involves group I metabotropic glutamate receptors and intracellular Ca(2+). Therefore, regulation of endogenous antioxidant signaling is one of the functions of the neuron-astrocyte tripartite synapse; by matching the astrocyte neuroprotective capacity to the degree of activity in adjacent neuronal synapses, this regulatory mechanism may limit the physiologic costs associated with Nrf2 activation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2013; 110(45). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1208764110 · 9.81 Impact Factor