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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2005 Aug;29(4):494-506.

Regulation of hippocampal synapse remodeling by epileptiform activity.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1324, USA.


We examined the regulation of dendritic spines and synapses by epileptiform activity (EA) in rat hippocampal slice cultures. EA, which was induced by a GABA(A) receptor inhibitor, gabazine, reduced pyramidal neuron spine density by approximately 50% after 48 h and also caused an increase in the average length of remaining spines. To directly determine the effects of EA on synapses, we used fluorescent protein-tagged PSD95, which marks postsynaptic densities. EA induced a net loss of synapses on spines but not shafts; conversely, activity blockade (TTX) induced a loss of shaft synapses. Time-lapse confocal imaging in live tissue slices revealed that EA (1) shifts the balance of synapse gain and loss in dendrites leading to a net loss of spine synapses and (2) induces the formation of new filopodia-like dendritic structures having abnormally slow motility. These results identify EA-induced changes in the density and distribution of synaptic structures on dendrites.

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