FGF-FGFR mediates the activity-dependent dendritogenesis of layer IV neurons during barrel formation

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and FGF receptors (FGFRs) are known for their potent effects on cell proliferation/differentiation and cortical patterning in the developing brain. However, little is known regarding the roles of FGFs/FGFRs in cortical circuit formation. Here we show that Fgfr1/2/3 and Fgf7/9/10/22 mRNAs are expressed in the developing primary somatosensory (S1) barrel cortex. Barrel cortex layer IV spiny stellate cells (bSCs) are the primary recipients of ascending sensory information via thalamocortical axons (TCAs). Detail quantification revealed distinctive phases for bSC dendritogenesis: orienting dendrites toward TCAs, adding de novo dendritic segments, and elongating dendritic length, while maintaining dendritic patterns. Deleting Fgfr1/2/3 in bSCs had minimal impact on dendritic polarity but transiently increased the number of dendritic segments. However, 6 d later, FGFR1/2/3 loss of function reduced dendritic branch numbers. These data suggest that FGFs/FGFRs have a role in stabilizing dendritic patterning. Depolarization of cultured mouse cortical neurons upregulated the levels of several Fgf/Fgfr mRNAs within 2 h. In vivo, within 6 h of systemic kainic acid administration at postnatal day 6, mRNA levels of Fgf9, Fgf10, Fgfr2c, and Fgfr3b in S1 cortices were enhanced, and this was accompanied by exuberant dendritogenesis of bSCs by 24 h. Deleting Fgfr1/2/3 abolished kainic acid-induced bSC dendritic overgrowth. Finally, FGF9/10 gain of function also resulted in extensive dendritogenesis. Together, our data suggest that FGFs/FGFRs can be regulated by glutamate transmission to modulate/stabilize bSC dendritic complexity. Both male and female mice were used for our study.

Publication Date:
Dec 13 2017
Date Submitted:
Feb 22 2019

 Record created 2019-02-22, last modified 2019-04-03

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