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Analysis of Hippocampal Cell Proliferation, Survival, and Neuronal Morphology in P/Q-Type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel Mutant Mice
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Tottering and leaner mutant mice carry mutations in the pore-forming subunit (1A) of P/Q-type (CaV 2.1) voltage-gated calcium ion (Ca2+) channels that result in reduced Ca2+ current density. Since Ca2+ influx via voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels regulates important Ca2+-dependent neuronal processes including neurotransmitter release and synaptogenesis, we assessed effects of these mutations on hippocampus volume, neuronal density, neuronal morphology of hippocampal pyramidal cells in adult (six-month-old) mice, and adult neurogenesis in three-week-old and six-month-old mice. Hippocampal volume and neuronal density were assessed using hematoxylin and eosin stained serial sections. Neuronal morphology was assessed using Golgi-Cox staining as well as ultrastructural assessment using transmission electron microscopy. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis was assessed using standard 5-bromo-2’-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling with fluorescent immunohistochemistry (IHC) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) with diaminobenzidine IHC. To determine neuron and astrocyte survival, we used fluorescent double labeling for neurons with BrdU-neuronal nuclei IHC or astrocytes using BrdU-glial fibrillary acidic protein, respectively. Fluoro-Jade histochemistry was used to assess numbers of degenerating cells in the dentate gyrus subgranular zone. Decreased hippocampus volume was observed in tottering female mice and increased dentate hilar and CA1 cell density in mutant mice compared to wild type mice. Cell proliferation was increased in the hilus and combined CA3, CA2 and CA1 regions of mutant mice compared to wild type mice. Decreased total dendritic length and decreased number of dendritic intersections was observed in tottering mice compared to wild type mice. The decrease in dendritic arborization of tottering mice occurred at the concentric circles close to the neuronal cell body indicating that basal dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons are reduced. Taken together, P/Q-type voltage gated calcium channel mutation has age variable influence on adult hippocampal cell proliferation, and it altered neuronal morphology in terms of dendritic complexity in tottering mice, while the leaner mutation reduced mitochondrial density.
Nigussie, Fikru (2013). Analysis of Hippocampal Cell Proliferation, Survival, and Neuronal Morphology in P/Q-Type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel Mutant Mice. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from