Age-related changes in synaptic plasticity associated with mossy fiber terminal integration during adult neurogenesis

Karl D. Murray, Xiao Bo Liu, Anna N. King, Julie D. Luu, Hwai Jong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Mouse hippocampus retains the capacity for neurogenesis throughout lifetime, but such plasticity de-creases with age. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) involves the birth, maturation, and synaptic integration of newborn granule cells (GCs) into preexisting hippocampal circuitry. While functional integration onto adult-born GCs has been extensively studied, maturation of efferent projections onto CA3 pyramidal cells is less understood, particularly in aged brain. Here, using combined light and reconstructive electron microscopy (EM), we describe the maturation of mossy fiber bouton (MFB) connectivity with CA3 pyramidal cells in young adult and aged mouse brain. We found mature synaptic contacts of newborn GCs were formed in both young and aged brains. However, the dynamics of their spatiotemporal development and the cellular process by which these cells functionally integrated over time were different. In young brain newborn GCs either formed independent nascent MFB synaptic contacts or replaced preexisting MFBs, but these contacts were pruned over time to a mature state. In aged brain only replacement of preexisting MFBs was observed and new contacts were without evidence of pruning. These data illustrate that functional synaptic integration of AHN occurs in young adult and aged brain, but with distinct dynamics. They suggest elimination of preexisting connectivity is required for the integration of adult-born GCs in aged brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0030-20.2020
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Aging
  • Conditional transgenic
  • Giant synapse
  • Stratum lucidum
  • Synaptogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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