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Investigating the relationship between CA3 dendritic restructuring and CA1 dendritic complexity following chronic stress, BDNF downregulation, and a post-stress recovery period

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Chronic restraint stress leads to apical dendritic retraction in CA3 pyramidal neurons and often no quantifiable changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. When chronic stress ends, a post-stress recovery period results

Chronic restraint stress leads to apical dendritic retraction in CA3 pyramidal neurons and often no quantifiable changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. When chronic stress ends, a post-stress recovery period results in an enhancement in CA3 dendritic complexity. We investigated the relationship between CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons to determine whether dendritic restructuring in CA3 neurons leads to region-specific changes in the dendritic complexity of CA1 neurons. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were restrained (wire mesh, 6h/d/21d) and brains were removed soon after restraint ended (Str-Imm) or after a 21d post-stress recovery period (Str-Rec). In addition, BDNF downregulation targeting the CA3 region prevents enhancement in dendritic complexity following recovery in chronically stressed rats, providing robust conditions to investigate the CA3-CA1 relationship. Consequently, rats were infused into the CA3 area with either an AAV vector with a coding sequence against BDNF (shRNA) or a sequence with no known mRNA complements (Scr). Apical and basal dendritic complexity of CA3 and CA1 was quantified by counting total dendritic bifurcations and dendritic intersections using the Sholl analysis (20 µm distances from soma). Please note that the quantification of the CA3 dendritic arbors was not part of this thesis project. The outcome of that investigation revealed that apical CA3 dendritic retraction was found in Str-Imm-Scr and Str-Rec-shRNA. For the CA1 apical area, gross dendritic bifurcation differences were not detected, but the Sholl quantification revealed regionally-enhanced dendritic complexity that varied by distance from the soma at the distal apical dendrites (Str-Imm-Scr) and proximal basal dendrites (Str-Rec-shRNA). For the latter, significant increases in basal branch points were detected with total branch point quantification method. Moreover, a correlation using all groups revealed a significant inverse relationship between CA3 apical dendritic complexity and CA1 basal dendritic complexity. The results demonstrate that chronic stress-induced CA3 apical dendritic retraction may relate to region-specific changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. The inability of past studies to detect changes in CA1 dendritic complexity may be due to the shortcoming of gross dendritic arbor measures in accounting for subtle region-specific alterations. To address this, the current study included a cohort with BDNF downregulated in the CA3 region. Overall, this suggests that decreased levels of BDNF in the hippocampus provide robust conditions in which changes to CA1 dendritic complexity can be detected.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12