Altered morphology of hippocampal dentate granule cell presynaptic and postsynaptic terminals following conditional deletion of TrkB.
Dentate granule cells play a critical role in the function of the entorhinal-hippocampal circuitry in health and disease. Dentate granule cells are situated to regulate the flow of information into the hippocampus, a structure required for normal learning and memory. Correspondingly, impaired granule cell function leads to memory deficits, and, interestingly, altered granule cell connectivity may contribute to the hyperexcitability of limbic epilepsy. It is important, therefore, to understand the molecular determinants of synaptic connectivity of these neurons. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its receptor TrkB are expressed at high levels in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, and are implicated in regulating neuronal development, neuronal plasticity, learning, and the development of epilepsy. Whether and how TrkB regulates granule cell structure, however, is incompletely understood. To begin to elucidate the role of TrkB in regulating granule cell morphology, here we examine conditional TrkB knockout mice crossed to mice expressing green fluorescent protein in subsets of dentate granule cells. In stratum lucidum, where granule cell mossy fiber axons project, the density of giant mossy fiber boutons was unchanged, suggesting similar output to CA3 pyramidal cell targets. However, filopodial extensions of giant boutons, which contact inhibitory interneurons, were increased in number in TrkB knockout mice relative to wildtype controls, predicting enhanced feedforward inhibition of CA3 pyramidal cells. In knockout animals, dentate granule cells possessed fewer primary dendrites and enlarged dendritic spines, indicative of disrupted excitatory synaptic input to the granule cells. Together, these findings demonstrate that TrkB is required for development and/or maintenance of normal synaptic connectivity of the granule cells, thereby implying an important role for TrkB in the function of the granule cells and hippocampal circuitry.
Danzer, SC; Kotloski, RJ; Walter, C; Hughes, M; McNamara, JO
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