Stress-induced dendritic remodeling in the prefrontal cortex is circuit specific

Rebecca M. Shansky, Carine Hamo, Patrick R. Hof, Bruce S. McEwen, John Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chronic stress exposure has been reported to induce dendritic remodeling in several brain regions, but it is not known whether individual neural circuits show distinct patterns of remodeling. The current study tested the hypothesis that the projections from the infralimbic (IL) area of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA), a pathway relevant to stress-related mental illnesses like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, would have a unique pattern of remodeling in response to chronic stress. The retrograde tracer FastBlue was injected into male rats' BLA or entorhinal cortex (EC) 1 week prior to 10 days of immobilization stress. After cessation of stress, FastBlue-labeled and unlabeled IL pyaramidal neurons were loaded with fluorescent dye Lucifer Yellow to visualize dendritic arborization and spine density. As has been previously reported, randomly selected (non-FastBlue-labeled) neurons showed stress-induced dendritic retraction in apical dendrites, an effect also seen in EC-projecting neurons. In contrast, BLA-projecting neurons showed no remodeling with stress, suggesting that this pathway may be particularly resilient against the effects of stress. No neurons showed stress-related changes in spine density, contrasting with reports that more dorsal areas of the mPFC show stress-induced decreases in spine density. Such region- and circuit-specificity in response to stress could contribute to the development of stress-related mental illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2479-2484
Number of pages6
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Chronic stress
  • Connectivity
  • Infralimbic cortex
  • Neural plasticity
  • Spine density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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