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Learn Mem. 2011 Aug 18;18(9):558-64. doi: 10.1101/lm.2153511. Print 2011 Sep.

Reelin supplementation enhances cognitive ability, synaptic plasticity, and dendritic spine density.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA.


Apolipoprotein receptors belong to an evolutionarily conserved surface receptor family that has intimate roles in the modulation of synaptic plasticity and is necessary for proper hippocampal-dependent memory formation. The known lipoprotein receptor ligand Reelin is important for normal synaptic plasticity, dendritic morphology, and cognitive function; however, the in vivo effect of enhanced Reelin signaling on cognitive function and synaptic plasticity in wild-type mice is unknown. The present studies test the hypothesis that in vivo enhancement of Reelin signaling can alter synaptic plasticity and ultimately influence processes of learning and memory. Purified recombinant Reelin was injected bilaterally into the ventricles of wild-type mice. We demonstrate that a single in vivo injection of Reelin increased activation of adaptor protein Disabled-1 and cAMP-response element binding protein after 15 min. These changes correlated with increased dendritic spine density, increased hippocampal CA1 long-term potentiation (LTP), and enhanced performance in associative and spatial learning and memory. The present study suggests that an acute elevation of in vivo Reelin can have long-term effects on synaptic function and cognitive ability in wild-type mice.

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