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Irradiation of the Juvenile Brain Provokes a Shift from Long-Term Potentiation to Long-Term Depression

Journal article
Authors Giulia Zanni
Kai Zhou
Ilse Riebe
Cuicui Xie
Changlian Zhu
Eric Hanse
K. Blomgren
Published in Developmental Neuroscience
Volume 37
Issue 3
Pages 263-272
ISSN 0378-5866
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 263-272
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1159/000430435
Keywords Neurogenesis, Rat, Juvenile brain, Neurooncology, Radiation therapy, YOUNG-MOUSE BRAIN, SYNAPTIC PLASTICITY, DENTATE GYRUS, HIPPOCAMPAL, NEUROGENESIS, ADULT HIPPOCAMPUS, CRANIAL IRRADIATION, PATTERN, SEPARATION, HYPOXIA-ISCHEMIA, RAT HIPPOCAMPUS, CRITICAL-PERIOD, Developmental Biology, Neurosciences
Subject categories Neurosciences

Abstract

Radiotherapy is common in the treatment of brain tumors in children but often causes deleterious, late-appearing sequelae, including cognitive decline. This is thought to be caused, at least partly, by the suppression of hippocampal neurogenesis. However, the changes in neuronal network properties in the dentate gyrus (DG) following the irradiation of the young, growing brain are still poorly understood. We characterized the long-lasting effects of irradiation on the electrophysiological properties of the DG after a single dose of 6-Gy whole-brain irradiation on postnatal day 11 in male Wistar rats. The assessment of the basal excitatory transmission in the medial perforant pathway (MPP) by an examination of the field excitatory postsynaptic potential/volley ratio showed an increase of the synaptic efficacy per axon in irradiated animals compared to sham controls. The paired-pulse ratio at the MPP granule cell synapses was not affected by irradiation, suggesting that the release probability of neurotransmitters was not altered. Surprisingly, the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity in the DG by applying 4 trains of high-frequency stimulation provoked a shift from long-term potentiation (LTP) to long-term depression (LTD) in irradiated animals compared to sham controls. The morphological changes consisted in a virtually complete ablation of neurogenesis following irradiation, as judged by doublecortin immunostaining, while the inhibitory network of parvalbumin interneurons was intact. These data suggest that the irradiation of the juvenile brain caused permanent changes in synaptic plasticity that would seem consistent with an impairment of declarative learning. Unlike in our previous study in mice, lithium treatment did unfortunately not ameliorate any of the studied parameters. For the first time, we show that the effects of cranial irradiation on long-term synaptic plasticity is different in the juvenile compared with the adult brain, such that while irradiation of the adult brain will only cause a reduction in LTP, irradiation of the juvenile brain goes further and causes LTD. Although the mechanisms underlying the synaptic alterations need to be elucidated, these findings provide a better understanding of the effects of irradiation in the developing brain and the cognitive deficits observed in young patients who have been subjected to cranial radiotherapy. (C) 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel

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