Article

Extraordinary neoteny of synaptic spines in the human prefrontal cortex.

Croatian Institute for Brain Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, 10,000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 08/2011; 108(32):13281-6. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105108108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The major mechanism for generating diversity of neuronal connections beyond their genetic determination is the activity-dependent stabilization and selective elimination of the initially overproduced synapses [Changeux JP, Danchin A (1976) Nature 264:705-712]. The largest number of supranumerary synapses has been recorded in the cerebral cortex of human and nonhuman primates. It is generally accepted that synaptic pruning in the cerebral cortex, including prefrontal areas, occurs at puberty and is completed during early adolescence [Huttenlocher PR, et al. (1979) Brain Res 163:195-205]. In the present study we analyzed synaptic spine density on the dendrites of layer IIIC cortico-cortical and layer V cortico-subcortical projecting pyramidal neurons in a large sample of human prefrontal cortices in subjects ranging in age from newborn to 91 y. We confirm that dendritic spine density in childhood exceeds adult values by two- to threefold and begins to decrease during puberty. However, we also obtained evidence that overproduction and developmental remodeling, including substantial elimination of synaptic spines, continues beyond adolescence and throughout the third decade of life before stabilizing at the adult level. Such an extraordinarily long phase of developmental reorganization of cortical neuronal circuitry has implications for understanding the effect of environmental impact on the development of human cognitive and emotional capacities as well as the late onset of human-specific neuropsychiatric disorders.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
233 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The relation between brain function and behavior on the one hand and the relation between structural changes and behavior on the other as well as the link between the 2 aspects are core issues in cognitive neuroscience. It is an open question, however, whether brain function or brain structure is the better predictor for age-specific cognitive performance. Here, in a comprehensive set of analyses, we investigated the direct relation between hemodynamic activity in 2 pairs of frontal and temporal cortical areas, 2 long-distance white matter fiber tracts connecting each pair and sentence comprehension performance of 4 age groups, including 3 groups of children between 3 and 10 years as well as young adults. We show that the increasing accuracy of processing complex sentences throughout development is correlated with the blood-oxygen-level-dependent activation of 2 core language processing regions in Broca's area and the posterior portion of the superior temporal gyrus. Moreover, both accuracy and speed of processing are correlated with the maturational status of the arcuate fasciculus, that is, the dorsal white matter fiber bundle connecting these 2 regions. The present data provide compelling evidence for the view that brain function and white matter structure together best predict developing cognitive performance. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Cerebral Cortex 03/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv042 · 8.31 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dendritic spine dynamics are implicated in the structural plasticity of cognition-related neuroconnectivity. This study utilized the transcranial in vivo imaging approach to investigate spine dynamics in intact brains of living yellow fluorescent protein-expressing mice. A developmental switch in the net spine loss rate occurred at ∼4months of age. The initially rapid rate slowed down ∼6-fold due to substantially reduced spine elimination with minor changes in formation. Furthermore, pharmacological blockade of γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA-A) receptors resulted in significantly increased elimination of pre-existing spines without affecting new spine formation. Spine elimination returned to normal levels following treatment cessation. Thus, GABA-A receptor-dependent mechanisms act as "brakes" - keeping spine elimination in check to prevent over-pruning, thereby preserving the integrity of cognition-related cortical circuits. Copyright © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    FEBS Letters 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.febslet.2014.10.023 · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Atypical antipsychotic drugs (AAPDs) are widely used in children and adolescents to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders. However, little is known about the long-term effects of AAPD treatment before the brain is fully developed. Indeed, we and others have previously reported that treatment of adolescent rats with olanzapine (OLA; a widely prescribed AAPD) on postnatal days 28-49, under dosing conditions that approximate those employed therapeutically in humans, causes long-term behavioral and neurobiological perturbations. We have begun to study the mechanisms of these effects. Dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5HT) regulate many neurodevelopmental processes. Currently approved AAPDs exert their therapeutic effects principally through their DAergic activities, although in schizophrenia (SZ) and some other diseases for which AAPDs are prescribed, DAergic dysfunction is accompanied by abnormalities of glutamatergic (GLUergic) and γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) transmission. Here, we use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H MRS) to investigate the effects of adolescent OLA administration on GABA and GLU levels. We found that the treatment caused long-term reductions in the levels of both GLU and GABA in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of adult rats treated with OLA during adolescence. The NAc is a key node in the brain's "reward" system, whose function is also disrupted in schizophrenia. Further research into potential, OLA-induced changes in the levels of GLU and GABA in the NAc and other brain areas, and the dynamics and mechanisms of those changes, are an essential step for devising new adjunct therapies for existing AAPDs and for designing new drugs that increase therapeutic effects and reduce long-term abnormalities when administered to pediatric patients. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Schizophrenia Research 12/2014; 161(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.10.034 · 4.43 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
85 Downloads
Available from
May 23, 2014