- Tumor necrosis factor alpha maintains denervation-induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity of mouse dentate granule cells (2013)
- Neurons which lose part of their input respond with a compensatory increase in excitatory synaptic strength. This observation is of particular interest in the context of neurological diseases, which are accompanied by the loss of neurons and subsequent denervation of connected brain regions. However, while the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pharmacologically induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity have been identified to a certain degree, denervation-induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity remains not well understood. Here, we employed the entorhinal denervation in vitro model to study the role of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) on changes in excitatory synaptic strength of mouse dentate granule cells following partial deafferentation. Our experiments disclose that TNFα is required for the maintenance of a compensatory increase in excitatory synaptic strength at 3–4 days post lesion (dpl), but not for the induction of synaptic scaling at 1–2 dpl. Furthermore, laser capture microdissection combined with quantitative PCR demonstrates an increase in TNFα-mRNA levels in the denervated zone, which is consistent with our previous finding on a local, i.e., layer-specific increase in excitatory synaptic strength at 3–4 dpl. Immunostainings for the glial fibrillary acidic protein and TNFα suggest that astrocytes are a source of TNFα in our experimental setting. We conclude that TNFα-signaling is a major regulatory system that aims at maintaining the homeostatic synaptic response of denervated neurons.
- Functional and structural properties of dentate granule cells with hilar basal dendrites in mouse entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures (2012)
- During postnatal development hippocampal dentate granule cells (GCs) often extend dendrites from the basal pole of their cell bodies into the hilar region. These so-called hilar basal dendrites (hBD) usually regress with maturation. However, hBDs may persist in a subset of mature GCs under certain conditions (both physiological and pathological). The functional role of these hBD-GCs remains not well understood. Here, we have studied hBD-GCs in mature (≥18 days in vitro) mouse entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures under control conditions and have compared their basic functional properties (basic intrinsic and synaptic properties) and structural properties (dendritic arborisation and spine densities) to those of neighboring GCs without hBDs in the same set of cultures. Except for the presence of hBDs, we did not detect major differences between the two GC populations. Furthermore, paired recordings of neighboring GCs with and without hBDs did not reveal evidence for a heavy aberrant GC-to-GC connectivity. Taken together, our data suggest that in control cultures the presence of hBDs on GCs is neither sufficient to predict alterations in the basic functional and structural properties of these GCs nor indicative of a heavy GC-to-GC connectivity between neighboring GCs.