Altered Synapse Formation in the Adult Somatosensory Cortex of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Heterozygote Mice

Christel Genoud, Graham W. Knott, Kazuko Sakata, Bai Lu, Egbert Welker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Increased sensory stimulation in the adult whisker-to-barrel pathway induces the expression of BDNF as well as synapse formation in cortical layer IV. Here, we investigated whether BDNF plays a role in the alterations of connectivity between neurons by analyzing the ultrastructure of the BDNF heterozygote mouse, characterized by a reduced level of BDNF expression. Using serial section electron microscopy, we measured synapse density, spine morphology, and synaptic vesicle distribution to show that mice with a reduced level of BDNF have a barrel neuropil that is indistinguishable from wild-type controls. After 24 hr of whisker stimulation, however, there is no indication of synapse formation in the heterozygous mouse. Whereas the balance between excitatory and inhibitory synapses is modified in the controls, it remains constant in the heterozygotes. The distribution of synaptic vesicles in excitatory synapses is the same in heterozygous and wild-type mice and is not influenced by the stimulation paradigm. Spine volume, however, is unchanged by stimulation in the wild-type animals, but does increase significantly in the heterozygous animal. These results provide evidence that, in vivo, BDNF plays an important role in the structural rearrangement of adult cortical circuitry as a consequence of an increased sensory input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2394-2400
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2004

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Somatosensory Cortex
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
Heterozygote
Synapses
Vibrissae
Synaptic Vesicles
Spine
Wild Animals
Neuropil
Electron Microscopy
Neurons

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Altered Synapse Formation in the Adult Somatosensory Cortex of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Heterozygote Mice. / Genoud, Christel; Knott, Graham W.; Sakata, Kazuko; Lu, Bai; Welker, Egbert.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 24, No. 10, 10.03.2004, p. 2394-2400.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Genoud, Christel ; Knott, Graham W. ; Sakata, Kazuko ; Lu, Bai ; Welker, Egbert. / Altered Synapse Formation in the Adult Somatosensory Cortex of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Heterozygote Mice. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2004 ; Vol. 24, No. 10. pp. 2394-2400.
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