Physiological variability in brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression predicts dendritic spine density in the mouse dentate gyrus

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Dendritic spines are the predominant sites of excitatory neurotransmission in the adult brain, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a well-characterized determinant of dendritic spine number and morphology. The relationship between BDNF expression and dendritic spine number is particularly evident in the hippocampus, where environmental conditions that enhance hippocampal BDNF levels also promote local increases in dendritic spine density. However, the relationship between physiological variability in hippocampal BDNF expression and spine number has yet to be assessed. To determine whether natural variability in BDNF expression is associated with hippocampal dendritic spine number, correlations between BDNF protein levels and dendritic spine density among Golgi-impregnated neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus and CA1 subfields were assessed in adult male C57Bl/6J mice. In the dentate gyrus, but not in the apical oblique dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells, BDNF protein expression was significantly correlated with dendritic spine density. This observation suggests that there may be a subregionally specific relationship between hippocampal BDNF expression and the density of spines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-62
Number of pages3
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 9 2011



  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Dendritic spine
  • Hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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