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J Neurotrauma. 2005 Jul;22(7):719-32.

Synaptogenesis in the hippocampal CA1 field following traumatic brain injury.

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Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, 40536, USA.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in both acute and chronic disruption of cognitive ability that may be mediated through a disruption of hippocampal circuitry. Experimental models of TBI have demonstrated that cortical contusion injuries can result in the loss of specific neurons in the CA3 subfield of the ipsilateral hippocampus, resulting in partial loss of afferents to the CA1 subfield. Numerous studies have documented the ability of the central nervous system to compensate for deafferentation by initiating a plasticity response capable of restoring lost synaptic contacts. The present study was designed to examine the time course of loss and replacement of synaptic contacts in stratum radiatum dendritic field of CA1. Young adult rats were subjected to a lateral cortical contusion injury and assayed for total synaptic numbers using unbiased stereology coupled with transmission electron microscopy. Injured animals demonstrated a 60% loss of synapses in CA1 at 2 days post-injury, followed by a reinnervation process that was apparent as early as 10 days post-injury. By 60 days post-injury, total synaptic numbers had approached pre-injury levels but were still significantly lower. Some animals were behaviorally tested for spatial memory in a Morris Water Maze at 15 and 30 days post-injury. While there was some improvement in spatial memory, injured animals continued to demonstrate a significant deficit in acquisition. These results show that the hippocampus ipsilateral to the cortical contusion is capable of a significant plasticity response but that synapse replacement in this area does not necessarily result in significant improvement in spatial learning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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