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Title

Alterations of cortical pyramidal neurons in mice lacking high-affinity nicotinic receptors

AuthorsBallesteros-Yáñez, Inmaculada; Benavides-Piccione, Ruth ; Bourgeois, J. P.; Changeux, J. P.; DeFelipe, Javier
Issue Date2010
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationPROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 107: 11567- 11572 (2010)
AbstractThe neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are allosteric membrane proteins involved in multiple cognitive processes, including attention, learning, and memory. The most abundant form of heterooligomeric nAChRs in the brain contains the β2- and α4- subunits and binds nicotinic agonists with high affinity. In the present study, we investigated in the mouse the consequences of the deletion of one of the nAChR components: the β2-subunit (β2-/-) on the microanatomy of cortical pyramidal cells. Using an intracellular injection method, complete basal dendritic arbors of 650 layer III pyramidal neurons were sampled from seven cortical fields, including primary sensory, motor, and associational areas, in both β2-/- and WT animals. We observed that the pyramidal cell phenotype shows significant quantitative differences among different cortical areas in mutant and WT mice. In WT mice, the density of dendritic spines was rather similar in all cortical fields, except in the prelimbic/infralimbic cortex, where it was significantly higher. In the absence of the β2-subunit, the most significant reduction in the density of spines took place in this high-order associational field. Our data suggest that the β2-subunit is involved in the dendritic morphogenesis of pyramidal neurons and, in particular, in the circuits that contribute to the high-order functional connectivity of the cerebral cortex.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/61434
DOI10.1073/pnas.1006269107
Identifiersdoi: 10.1073/pnas.1006269107
issn: 0027-8424
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