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Medium spiny neurons of the neostriatal matrix exhibit specific, stereotyped changes in dendritic arborization during a critical developmental period in mice


Dr A. Sawatari, as above.


In mice, the matrix compartment of the striatum (caudate/putamen) undergoes major developmental changes during the second postnatal week, including the establishment of corticostriatal and nigrostriatal afferents, the maturation of parvalbumin-positive interneurons and the appearance of perineuronal nets. It is not known if any of these events influence the dendritic structure of medium spiny neurons, the principal output cells of the striatum. To determine whether any measurable changes in the dendrites of matrix medium spiny neurons occur during this important developmental period, we labeled individual cells at different time points flanking the second postnatal week. These cells exhibit distinct dendritic morphologies from the earliest postnatal time points examined. Furthermore, our data show that the dendritic arbors of these neurons change in length, branch points, diameter and tortuosity, regardless of morphological type. The increase in dendritic length is accompanied by a decrease in the number of branch points that occur in different, but consistent, parts of the dendritic arbor. All of these changes are most pronounced during the second postnatal week, coinciding with a number of developmental events considered important for consolidating circuitry within the striatal matrix. Our results further support the critical importance of this early postnatal period in striatal development.

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