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Brain Res. 1990 Aug 20;525(2):327-9.

Dendritic spine density of adult hippocampal pyramidal cells is sensitive to thyroid hormone.

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Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


In order to determine whether pyramidal cells of the adult hippocampus are morphologically sensitive to thyroid hormone, we performed single-section Golgi impregnation analyses on brains from hyperthyroid and control rats. Quantitative analyses of Golgi-impregnated pyramidal cells from the CA1 region showed a significant decrease in the density of apical dendritic spines with hyperthyroidism. In contrast, no changes were observed in spine density of basal dendrites or in cross-sectional cell body area of CA1 pyramidal cells. No changes in any of these morphological variables were detected in pyramidal cells of the CA3 region with hyperthyroidism. These results suggest that spine density of the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells is specifically affected by thyroid hormone in adulthood. Since dendritic spines are thought to represent postsynaptic sites it is likely that this morphological change results in altered hippocampal function.

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