In vitro studies have demonstrated that prolonged N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) blockade triggers a homeostatic up-regulation of NMDARs at synapses. Such upregulation can also be seen within 30 min in vivo in adult rats, implicating trafficking of reserve pools of NMDARs. Here, we evaluated the involvement of filamentous actin (F-actin), the major cytoskeletal component in spines, in this rapid in vivo homeostatic response, using biotinylated phalloidin as its probe. We also immuno-labeled spines for drebrin A, an F-actin-binding protein found at excitatory synapses and with a proposed role of modulating F-actin's cross-linking with one another and interactions with NMDARs. Quantitative 2-D analysis of ultrastructural images revealed that NMDAR blockade increased filamentous actin labeling per spine by 62.5% (P<0.005). The proportion of dendritic spines immuno-labeled for drebrin A also increased significantly, from 67.5% to 85% following NMDAR blockade (P<0.001), especially among larger spines. The frequency distributions of spine widths and postsynaptic density lengths were not affected by the d-(+)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (d-APV) treatment. However, the average postsynaptic density length was reduced by 25 nm among the fewer, drebrin A immuno-negative spines, indicating that drebrin A confers stability to synapse size. We propose that, in a homeostatic in vivo response, increases of drebrin A and F-actin within spines can enhance NMDAR trafficking by reducing cytoskeletal rigidity within the spine cytoplasm without changing the overt morphology of axo-spinous synapses. Alternatively or in addition, the cytoskeletal redistribution within spine cytoplasm may be triggered by the d-APV-induced, homeostatic up-regulation of NMDAR.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - 2006|
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