Transient and persistent dendritic spines in the neocortex in vivo

Anthony J G D Holtmaat, Joshua T. Trachtenberg, Linda Wilbrecht, Gordon M. Shepherd, Xiaoqun Zhang, Graham W. Knott, Karel Svoboda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

798 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dendritic spines were imaged over days to months in the apical tufts of neocortical pyramidal neurons (layers 5 and 2/3) in vivo. A fraction of thin spines appeared and disappeared over a few days, while most thick spines persisted for months. In the somatosensory cortex, from postnatal day (PND) 16 to PND 25 spine retractions exceeded additions, resulting in a net loss of spines. The fraction of persistent spines (lifetime ≥ 8 days) grew gradually during development and into adulthood (PND 16-25, 35%; PND 35-80, 54%; PND 80-120, 66%; PND 175-225, 73%), providing evidence that synaptic circuits continue to stabilize even in the adult brain, long after the closure of known critical periods. In 6-month-old mice, spines turn over more slowly in visual compared to somatosensory cortex, possibly reflecting differences in the capacity for experience-dependent plasticity in these brain regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalNeuron
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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