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

COX-2, a synaptically induced enzyme, is expressed by excitatory neurons at postsynaptic sites in rat cerebral cortex.

Postnatal development and adult function of the central nervous system are dependent on the capacity of neurons to effect long-term changes of specific properties in response to neural activity. This neuronal response has been demonstrated to be tightly correlated with the expression of a set of regulatory genes which include transcription factors as well as molecules that can directly modify cellular signaling. It is hypothesized that these proteins play a role in activity-dependent response. Previously, we described the expression and regulation in brain of an inducible form of prostaglandin synthase/cyclooxygenase, termed COX-2. COX-2 is a rate-limiting enzyme in prostanoid synthesis and its expression is rapidly regulated in developing and adult forebrain by physiological synaptic activity. Here we demonstrate that COX-2 immunoreactivity is selectively expressed in a subpopulation of excitatory neurons in neo-and allocortices, hippocampus, and amygdala and is compartmentalized to dendritic arborizations. Moreover, COX-2 immunoreactivity is present in dendritic spines, which are specialized structures involved in synaptic signaling. The developmental profile of COX-2 expression in dendrites follows well known histogenetic gradients and coincides with the critical period for activity-dependent synaptic remodeling. These results suggest that COX-2, and its diffusible prostanoid products, may play a role in postsynaptic signaling of excitatory neurons in cortex and associated structures.[1]


  1. COX-2, a synaptically induced enzyme, is expressed by excitatory neurons at postsynaptic sites in rat cerebral cortex. Kaufmann, W.E., Worley, P.F., Pegg, J., Bremer, M., Isakson, P. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1996) [Pubmed]
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