Rapid regulation of microtubule-associated protein 2 in dendrites of nucleus laminaris of the chick following deprivation of afferent activity.

PMID 18440716


Differential innervation of segregated dendritic domains in the chick nucleus laminaris (NL), composed of third-order auditory neurons, provides a unique model to study synaptic regulation of dendritic structure. Altering the synaptic input to one dendritic domain affects the structure and length of the manipulated dendrites while leaving the other set of unmanipulated dendrites largely unchanged. Little is known about the effects of neuronal input on the cytoskeletal structure of NL dendrites and whether changes in the cytoskeleton are responsible for dendritic remodeling following manipulations of synaptic input. In this study, we investigate changes in the immunoreactivity of high-molecular weight microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP2) in NL dendrites following two different manipulations of their afferent input. Unilateral cochlea removal eliminates excitatory synaptic input to the ventral dendrites of the contralateral NL and the dorsal dendrites of the ipsilateral NL. This manipulation produced a dramatic decrease in MAP2 immunoreactivity in the deafferented dendrites. This decrease was detected as early as 3 h following the surgery, well before any degeneration of afferent axons. A similar decrease in MAP2 immunoreactivity in deafferented NL dendrites was detected following a midline transection that silences the excitatory synaptic input to the ventral dendrites on both sides of the brain. These changes were most distinct in the caudal portion of the nucleus where individual deafferented dendritic branches contained less immunoreactivity than intact dendrites. Our results suggest that the cytoskeletal protein MAP2, which is distributed in dendrites, perikarya, and postsynaptic densities, may play a role in deafferentation-induced dendritic remodeling.