Reversible reduction in dendritic spines in CA1 of rat and ground squirrel subjected to hypothermia-normothermia in vivo: A three-dimensional electron microscope study.
ABSTRACT A study was made at electron microscope level of changes in the three-dimensional (3-D) morphology of dendritic spines and postsynaptic densities (PSDs) in CA1 of the hippocampus in ground squirrels, taken either at low temperature during hibernation (brain temperature 2-4 degrees C), or after warming and recovery to the normothermic state (34 degrees C). In addition, the morphology of PSDs and spines was measured in a non-hibernating mammal, rat, subjected to cooling at 2 degrees C at which time core rectal temperature was 15 degrees C, and then after warming to normothermic conditions. Significant differences were found in the proportion of thin and stubby spines, and shaft synapses in CA1 for rats and ground squirrels for normothermia compared with cooling or hibernation. Hypothermia induced a decrease in the proportion of thin spines, and an increase in stubby and shaft spines, but no change in the proportion of mushroom spines. The changes in redistribution of these three categories of spines in ground squirrel are more prominent than in rat. There were no significant differences in synapse density determined for ground squirrels or rats at normal compared with low temperature. Measurement of spine and PSD volume (for mushroom and thin spines) also showed no significant differences between the two functional states in either rats or ground squirrels, nor were there any differences in distances between neighboring synapses. Spinules on dendritic shafts were notable qualitatively during hibernation, but absent in normothermia. These data show that hypothermia results in morphological changes which are essentially similar in both a hibernating and a non-hibernating animal.
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ABSTRACT: We examined the structural plasticity of excitatory synapses from corticostriatal and thalamostriatal pathways and their postsynaptic targets in adult Sprague-Dawley rats to understand how these striatal circuits change in l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias (LIDs). We present here detailed electron and light microscopic analyses that provide new insight into the nature of the structural and synaptic remodeling of medium spiny neurons in response to LIDs. Numerous studies have implicated enhanced glutamate signaling and persistent long-term potentiation as central to the behavioral sensitization phenomenon of LIDs. Moreover, experience-dependent alterations in behavior are thought to involve structural modifications, specifically alterations in patterns of synaptic connectivity. Thus, we hypothesized that in the striatum of rats with LIDs, one of two major glutamatergic pathways would form new or altered contacts, especially onto the spines of medium spiny neuron (MSNs). Our data provide compelling evidence for a dramatic rewiring of the striatum of dyskinetic rats and that this rewiring involves corticostriatal but not thalamostriatal contacts onto MSNs. There is a dramatic increase in corticostriatal contacts onto spines and dendrites that appear to be directly linked to dyskinetic behaviors, since they were not seen in the striatum of animals that did not develop dyskinesia. There is also an aberrant increase in spines receiving more than one excitatory contact(i.e., multisynaptic spines) in the dyskinetic animals compared with the 6-hydroxydopamine-treated and control rats. Such alterations could substantially impair the ability of striatal neurons to gate cortically driven signals and contribute to the loss of bidirectional synaptic plasticity.Journal of Neuroscience 07/2013; 33(28):11655-11667. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Studies across and within species suggest that hippocampus size is sexually dimorphic in polygamous species, but not in monogamous species. Although hippocampal volume varies with sex, season and mating system, few studies have simultaneously tested for sex and seasonal differences. Here, we test for sex and seasonal differences in the hippocampal volume of wild Richardson's ground squirrels (Urocitellus richardsonii), a polygamous species that lives in matrilineal, kin-based social groups and has profound sex differences in behavior. Based on the behavior and ecology of this species, we predicted that males would have a significantly larger hippocampus than females and that the hippocampus would be largest in males during the breeding season. Analyses of both absolute and relative volumes of the hippocampus yielded a significant difference between the sexes and seasons as well as an interaction between the two such that non-breeding males have significantly larger hippocampal volumes than breeding males or females from either season. Dentate gyrus, CA1 and CA3 subfield volumes were generally larger in the non-breeding season and in males, but no significant interaction effects were detected. This sex and seasonal variation in hippocampal volume is likely the result of their social organization and male-only food caching behavior during the non-breeding season. The demonstration of a sex and seasonal variation in hippocampal volume suggests that Richardson's ground squirrel may be a useful model for understanding hippocampal plasticity within a natural context.Behavioural brain research 09/2012; 236(1):131-8. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment or its recovery has been associated with the absence or reestablishment of estrogenic actions in the central nervous system of female experimental animals or women. It has been proposed that these cognitive phenomena are related to estrogen-mediated modulatory activity of synaptic transmission in brain structures involved in cognitive functions. In the present work a morphological study was conducted in adult female ovariectomized rats to evaluate estradiol-dependent dendritic spine sprouting in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, and changes in the presynaptic marker synaptophysin. Three or ten days after estradiol treatment (10 μg/day, twice) in the ovariectomized rats, a significant increase of synaptophysin was observed, which was coincident with a significant higher numerical density of thin (22%), stubby (36%), mushroom (47%) and double spines (125%), at day 3, without significant changes of spine density at day 10, after treatment. These results may be interpreted as evidence of pre- and postsynaptic plastic events that may be involved in the modulation of cognitive-related behavioral performance after estrogen replacement therapy.Brain research 06/2012; 1470:1-10. · 2.46 Impact Factor