1Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2014 Feb 444: 302-6
TitleDevelopmental expression profiles of axon guidance signaling and the immune system in the marmoset cortex: potential molecular mechanisms of pruning of dendritic spines during primate synapse formation in late infancy and prepuberty (I).
AbstractThe synapse number and the related dendritic spine number in the cerebral cortex of primates shows a rapid increase after birth. Depending on the brain region and species, the number of synapses reaches a peak before adulthood, and pruning takes place after this peak (overshoot-type synaptic formation). Human mental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, are hypothesized to be a result of either too weak or excessive pruning after the peak is reached. Thus, it is important to study the molecular mechanisms underlying overshoot-type synaptic formation, particularly the pruning phase. To examine the molecular mechanisms, we used common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Microarray analysis of the marmoset cortex was performed in the ventrolateral prefrontal, inferior temporal, and primary visual cortices, where changes in the number of dendritic spines have been observed. The spine number of all the brain regions above showed a peak at 3 months (3 M) after birth and gradually decreased (e.g., at 6 M and in adults). In this study, we focused on genes that showed differential expression between ages of 3 M and 6 M and on the differences whose fold change (FC) was greater than 1.2. The selected genes were subjected to canonical pathway analysis, and in this study, we describe axon guidance signaling, which had high plausibility. The results showed a large number of genes belonging to subsystems within the axon guidance signaling pathway, macrophages/immune system, glutamate system, and others. We divided the data and discussion of these results into 2 papers, and this is the first paper, which deals with the axon guidance signaling and macrophage/immune system. Other systems will be described in the next paper. Many components of subsystems within the axon guidance signaling underwent changes in gene expression from 3 M to 6 M so that the synapse/dendritic spine number would decrease at 6 M. Thus, axon guidance signaling probably contributes to the decrease in synapse/dendritic spine number at 6 M, the phenomenon that fits the overshoot-type synaptic formation in primates. Microglial activity (evaluated by quantifying AIF1 expression) and gene expression of molecules that modulate microglia, decreased at 6 M, just like the synapse/dendritic spine number. Thus, although microglial activity is believed to be related to phagocytosis of synapses/dendritic spines, microglial activity alone cannot explain how pruning was accelerated in the pruning phase. On the other hand, expression of molecules that tag synapses/dendritic spines as a target of phagocytosis by microglia (e.g., complement components) increased at 6 M, suggesting that these tagging proteins may be involved in the acceleration of pruning during the pruning phase.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia