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J Comp Neurol. 1992 Jul 22;321(4):637-44.

The influence of inhibitory afferents on the development of postsynaptic dendritic arbors.

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1
Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, New York 10016.

Abstract

The growth and maintenance of dendritic form is dependent on normally functioning excitatory afferents. We have now examined the development of dendritic arbors in the gerbil lateral superior olive (LSO), following contralateral cochlear removal at postnatal day 7, a manipulation that substantially eliminates driven inhibitory transmission. Previous studies have demonstrated that the morphology of LSO dendritic arbors varies with tonotopic position and becomes more restricted with age. The presumed decrease of inhibitory transmission in the contralateral LSO resulted in a hypertrophic response. Quantification of Golgi-impregnated neurons revealed that dendrites had a significantly greater number of branch points, and their arbors were more spread out along the frequency axis compared to normal. This was especially apparent in the high frequency projection region where the glycine receptor density is known to be 4-fold higher than in the low frequency projection region. A measure of LSO nucleus size, cross-sectional area, was identical to control values, indicating no overt signs of degenerative phenomena. Cochlear ablation resulted in a significant atrophy of the ipsilateral LSO, with significant effects on dendritic structure. We conclude that decreased inhibitory transmission during development does not lead to a net degenerative response. Rather, the postsynaptic neurons exhibit a hypertrophic phenotype that may be due to the persistence of an immature state. These results indicate that activity-dependent morphogenetic events are a consequence of both excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission.

PMID:
1380523
DOI:
10.1002/cne.903210410
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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