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J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 16;31(11):4113-23. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4913-10.2011.

Dopaminergic modulation of cortical inputs during maturation of adult-born dentate granule cells.

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Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Adult neurogenesis, a particular form of plasticity in the adult brain, is under dynamic control of neuronal activity mediated by various neurotransmitters. Despite accumulating evidence suggesting that the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) regulates proliferation of neural precursor cells in the neurogenic zones, whether and how it acts on newly generated neurons that integrate into the established network remains unknown. Using patch-clamp recordings from retrovirus-labeled newborn hippocampal dentate granule cells (DGCs) in acute mouse brain slices, we found that DA not only caused a long-lasting attenuation of medial perforant path (MPP) inputs to the young DGCs, but also decreased their capacity to express long-term potentiation (LTP). In contrast, DA suppressed MPP transmission to mature DGCs to a similar extent but did not influence their LTP expression. This difference was linked to activation of distinct subtypes of DA receptors in DGCs at different developmental stages. Our observations suggest that DA is particularly effective in modulating the activities of hyperexcitable young neurons, which may have important implications for the dentate function as a filter for incoming information to the hippocampus.

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