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Principal neurons that are partially denervated after brain injury remodel their synaptic connections and show biphasic changes in their dendritic spine density: during an early phase after denervation spine density decreases and during a late phase spine density recovers again. It has been hypothesized that these changes in spine density are caused by a period of increased spine loss followed by a period of increased spine formation. We have tested this hypothesis, which is based on data from fixed tissues, by using time-lapse imaging of denervated dentate granule cells in organotypic entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures of Thy1-GFP mice. Our data show that nondenervated granule cells turn over spines spontaneously while keeping their spine density constant. Denervation influenced this equilibrium and induced biphasic changes in the spine loss rate but not in the rate of spine formation: during the early phase after denervation the spine loss rate was increased and during the late phase after denervation the spine loss rate was decreased compared with nondenervated control cultures. In line with these observations, time-lapse imaging of identified spines formed after the lesion revealed that the stability of these spines was decreased during the early phase and increased during the late phase after the lesion. We conclude that biphasic changes in spine loss rate and spine stability but not in the rate of spine formation play a central role in the reorganization of dentate granule cells after entorhinal denervation in vitro. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Andreas Vlachos, Carlos Bas Orth, Gaby Schneider, Thomas Deller. Time-lapse imaging of granule cells in mouse entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures reveals changes in spine stability after entorhinal denervation. The Journal of comparative neurology. 2012 Jun 15;520(9):1891-902

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PMID: 22134835

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