DOI: 10.1098/rsob.230063 ISSN: 2046-2441

Skewed distribution of spines is independent of presynaptic transmitter release and synaptic plasticity, and emerges early during adult neurogenesis

Nina Rößler, Tassilo Jungenitz, Albrecht Sigler, Alexander Bird, Martin Mittag, Jeong Seop Rhee, Thomas Deller, Hermann Cuntz, Nils Brose, Stephan W. Schwarzacher, Peter Jedlicka
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • General Neuroscience

Dendritic spines are crucial for excitatory synaptic transmission as the size of a spine head correlates with the strength of its synapse. The distribution of spine head sizes follows a lognormal-like distribution with more small spines than large ones. We analysed the impact of synaptic activity and plasticity on the spine size distribution in adult-born hippocampal granule cells from rats with induced homo- and heterosynaptic long-term plasticity in vivo and CA1 pyramidal cells from Munc13–1/Munc13–2 knockout mice with completely blocked synaptic transmission. Neither the induction of extrinsic synaptic plasticity nor the blockage of presynaptic activity degrades the lognormal-like distribution but changes its mean, variance and skewness. The skewed distribution develops early in the life of the neuron. Our findings and their computational modelling support the idea that intrinsic synaptic plasticity is sufficient for the generation, while a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic synaptic plasticity maintains lognormal-like distribution of spines.

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