The netrin receptor DCC is required in the pubertal organization of mesocortical dopamine circuitry.

TitleThe netrin receptor DCC is required in the pubertal organization of mesocortical dopamine circuitry.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsManitt C, Mimee A, Eng C, Pokinko M, Stroh T, Cooper HM, Kolb B, Flores C
JournalJ Neurosci
Date Published2011 Jun 08
KeywordsAnalysis of Variance, Animals, Cell Count, Dendritic Spines, Dopamine, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Nerve Net, Neurons, Prefrontal Cortex, Receptors, Cell Surface, Synapses, Tumor Suppressor Proteins, Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase

Netrins are guidance cues involved in neural connectivity. We have shown that the netrin-1 receptor DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer) is involved in the functional organization of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system. Adult mice with a heterozygous loss-of-function mutation in dcc exhibit changes in indexes of DA function, including DA-related behaviors. These phenotypes are only observed after puberty, a critical period in the maturation of the mesocortical DA projection. Here, we examined whether dcc heterozygous mice exhibit structural changes in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) DA synaptic connectivity, before and after puberty. Stereological counts of tyrosine-hydroxylase (TH)-positive varicosities were increased in the cingulate 1 and prelimbic regions of the pregenual mPFC. dcc heterozygous mice also exhibited alterations in the size, complexity, and dendritic spine density of mPFC layer V pyramidal neuron basilar dendritic arbors. Remarkably, these presynaptic and postsynaptic partner phenotypes were not observed in juvenile mice, suggesting that DCC selectively influences the extensive branching and synaptic differentiation that occurs in the maturing mPFC DA circuit at puberty. Immunolabeling experiments in wild-type mice demonstrated that DCC is segregated to TH-positive fibers innervating the nucleus accumbens, with only scarce DCC labeling in mPFC TH-positive fibers. Netrin had an inverted target expression pattern. Thus, DCC-mediated netrin-1 signaling may influence the formation/maintenance of mesocorticolimbic DA topography. In support of this, we report that dcc heterozygous mice exhibit a twofold increase in the density of mPFC DCC/TH-positive varicosities. Our results implicate DCC-mediated netrin-1 signaling in the establishment of mPFC DA circuitry during puberty.

Alternate JournalJ. Neurosci.
PubMed ID21653843
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada