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Neuron. 2000 Apr;26(1):233-45.

Cortical degeneration in the absence of neurotrophin signaling: dendritic retraction and neuronal loss after removal of the receptor TrkB.

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Department of Physiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


To examine functions of TrkB in the adult CNS, TrkB has been removed from neurons expressing CaMKII, primarily pyramidal neurons, using Cre-mediated recombination. A floxed trkB allele was designed so that neurons lacking TrkB express tau-beta-galactosidase. Following trkB deletion in pyramidal cells, their dendritic arbors are altered, and cortical layers II/III and V are compressed, after which there is an apparent loss of mutant neurons expressing the transcription factor SCIP but not of those expressing Otx-1. Loss of neurons expressing SCIP requires deletion of trkB within affected neurons; reduction of neuronal ER81 expression does not, suggesting both direct and indirect effects of TrkB loss. Thus, TrkB is required for the maintenance of specific populations of cells in the adult neocortex.

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