Feature Finding Figure

Development of Transcripts Regulating Dendritic Spines in Layer 3 Pyramidal Cells of the Monkey Prefrontal Cortex: Implications for the Pathogenesis of Schizophrenia

Certain cognitive deficits in schizophrenia appear to emerge from altered postnatal development of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Dendritic spines on DLPFC layer 3 pyramidal cells are essential for certain cognitive functions, change in density over development, and are reduced in number in schizophrenia. Altered expression of molecular regulators of actin filament assembly and stability, which are essential for spine formation and maintenance, is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of spine deficits in the disease. However, the normal developmental expression patterns of these molecular regulators of dendritic spines, which might provide insight into the timing of spine deficits in schizophrenia, are unknown. Therefore, we quantified the expression from birth to adulthood of key transcripts regulating dendritic spine density in monkey DLPFC. Layer 3 pyramidal cells, and tissue samples containing layers 3 or 6, were captured by laser microdissection and selected transcripts were quantified using PCR. In layer 3 pyramidal cells, the expression levels of most of the transcripts studied changed early, and not late, in postnatal development (Figure). These developmental shifts in expression were generally not detected in tissue homogenates of layers 3 or 6, suggesting that the changes may be enriched in layer 3 pyramidal cells. The timing of these shifts in expression suggests that early, rather than later, postnatal development may be a vulnerable period for layer 3 pyramidal neurons. Disruption of the normal developmental trajectories of these transcripts may contribute to layer 3 pyramidal neuron spine deficits in individuals who are later diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Dienel SJ, Bazmi HH, Lewis DA. Development of transcripts regulating dendritic spines in layer 3 pyramidal cells of the monkey prefrontal cortex: Implications for the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Sept;105:132-141. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.05.016. Epub 2017 May 31. PMID: 28576707, PMCID: PMC5542021 [Available on 2018-09-01].

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David A. Lewis, M.D. | Department of Psychiatry | University of Pittsburgh
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