The maintenance of specific aspects of neuronal function and behavior is dependent on programmed cell death of adult-generated neurons in the dentate gyrus

Woon Ryoung Kim, Ok Hee Park, Sukwoo Choi, Se Young Choi, Soon Kwon Park, Kea Joo Lee, Im Joo Rhyu, Hyun Kim, Yeon Kyung Lee, Hyun Taek Kim, Ronald W. Oppenheim, Woong Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A considerable number of new neurons are generated daily in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the adult hippocampus, but only a subset of these survive, as many adult-generated neurons undergo programmed cell death (PCD). However, the significance of PCD in the adult brain for the functionality of DG circuits is not known. Here, we examined the electrophysiological and behavioral characteristics of Bax-knockout (Bax-KO) mice in which PCD of post-mitotic neurons is prevented. The continuous increase in DG cell numbers in Bax-KO mice resulted in the readjustment of afferent and efferent synaptic connections, represented by age-dependent reductions in the dendritic arborization of DG neurons and in the synaptic contact ratio of mossy fibers with CA3 dendritic spines. These neuroanatomical changes were associated with reductions in synaptic transmission and reduced performance in a contextual fear memory task in 6-month-old Bax-KO mice. These results suggest that the elimination of excess DG neurons via Bax-dependent PCD in the adult brain is required for the normal organization and function of the hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1408-1421
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume29
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr

Keywords

  • Adult neurogenesis
  • Bax
  • Cell death
  • LTP
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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