Major Histocompatibility Complex class i proteins are critical for maintaining neuronal structural complexity in the aging brain

MacIej J. Lazarczyk, Julia E. Kemmler, Brett A. Eyford, Jennifer A. Short, Merina Varghese, Allison Sowa, Daniel R. Dickstein, Frank J. Yuk, Rishi Puri, Kaan E. Biron, Marcel Leist, Wilfred A. Jefferies, Dara L. Dickstein

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) proteins have been implicated in neuronal function through the modulation of neuritogenesis, synaptogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and memory consolidation during development. However, the involvement of MHCI in the aged brain is unclear. Here we demonstrate that MHCI deficiency results in significant dendritic atrophy along with an increase in thin dendritic spines and a reduction in stubby spines in the hippocampus of aged (12 month old) mice. Ultrastructural analyses revealed a decrease in spine head diameter and post synaptic density (PSD) area, as well as an increase in overall synapse density, and non-perforated, small spines. Interestingly, we found that the changes in synapse density and morphology appear relatively late (after the age of 6 months). Finally, we found a significant age dependent increase in the levels of the glutamate receptor, GluN2B in aged MHCI knockout mice, with no change in GluA2/3, VGluT1, PSD95 or synaptophysin. These results indicate that MHCI may be also be involved in maintaining brain integrity at post-developmental stages notably in the modulation of neuronal and spine morphology and synaptic function during non-pathological aging which could have significant implications for cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26199
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 May 2016

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