Jens Randel Nyengaard

Temporal Dynamics of Acute Stress-Induced Dendritic Remodeling in Medial Prefrontal Cortex and the Protective Effect of Desipramine

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Stressful events are associated with increased risk of mood disorders. Volumetric reductions have been reported in brain areas critical for the stress response, such as medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and dendritic remodeling has been proposed as an underlying factor. Here, we investigated the time-dependent effects of acute stress on dendritic remodeling within the prelimbic (PL) region of the PFC, and whether treatment with the antidepressant desipramine (DMI) may interfere. Rodents were subjected to foot-shock stress: dendritic length and spine density were analyzed 1 day, 7 days, and 14 days after stress. Acute stress produced increased spine density and decreased cofilin phosphorylation at 1 day, paralleled with dendritic retraction. An overall shift in spine population was observed at 1 day, resulting in a stress-induced increase in small spines. Significant atrophy of apical dendrites was observed at 1 day, which was prevented by chronic DMI, and at 14 days after stress exposure. Chronic DMI resulted in dendritic elaboration at 7 days but did not prevent the effects of FS-stress. Collectively, these data demonstrate that 1) acute stressors may induce rapid and sustained changes of PL neurons; and 2) chronic DMI may protect neurons from rapid stress-induced synaptic changes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral Cortex
Pages (from-to)694-705
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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