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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Early postnatal hyperthyroidism alters hippocampal circuitry and improves radial-maze learning in adult mice.

Inbred mice show strain-specific differences in the hippocampal mossy fiber projection. These differences are most pronounced in the portion of the projection that forms synaptic connections with the basal dendrites of the CA3 pyramidal neurons [intra- and infrapyramidal mossy fiber (IIP-MF) projection]. We have previously demonstrated that the extent of the IIP-MF subfield is positively correlated with the capacity to perform a spatial radial-maze task and that an experimentally induced enlargement of the IIP-MFs, by means of postnatal thyroxine treatment, predicted the ability of adult two-way avoidance learning. In the present study, we tested whether this treatment would also influence radial-maze performance. Forty-five male mouse pups from the inbred strain DBA/2 (chosen because of scanty IIP-MF projection and poor radial-maze learning) were divided into three groups that received daily injections of either 2 micrograms L-thyroxine, an alkaline vehicle solution, or physiological saline. Treatment lasted from postnatal days 0 to 11. At the age of 3 months, these animals were tested in an eight-arm radial maze. The extent of their IIP-MF projections was measured by means of planimetry on Timm-stained sections. Thyroxine-treated animals made significantly fewer errors and had larger IIP-MF projections as compared to both control groups. Within each group, the individual variability of the IIP-MF projection was significantly and positively correlated with performance. We conclude that experimentally modified IIP-MF projections mediate processes underlying spatial working memory. It would appear that the hippocampal circuitry alterations induced by postnatal hyperthyroidism can counteract a hereditary lack of talent, albeit only partially and in selected populations.[1]


  1. Early postnatal hyperthyroidism alters hippocampal circuitry and improves radial-maze learning in adult mice. Schwegler, H., Crusio, W.E., Lipp, H.P., Brust, I., Mueller, G.G. J. Neurosci. (1991) [Pubmed]
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