Longitudinal in Vivo Imaging Reveals Balanced and Branch-Specific Remodeling of Mature Cortical Pyramidal Dendritic Arbors After Stroke

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Apr;30(4):783-91. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.241. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


The manner in which fully mature peri-infarct cortical dendritic arbors remodel after stroke, and thus may possibly contribute to stroke-induced changes in cortical receptive fields, is unknown. In this study, we used longitudinal in vivo two-photon imaging to investigate the extent to which brain ischemia can trigger dendritic remodeling of pyramidal neurons in the adult mouse somatosensory cortex, and to determine the nature by which remodeling proceeds over time and space. Before the induction of stroke, dendritic arbors were relatively stable over several weeks. However, after stroke, apical dendritic arbor remodeling increased significantly (dendritic tip growth and retraction), particularly within the first 2 weeks after stroke. Despite a threefold increase in structural remodeling, the net length of arbors did not change significantly over time because dendrite extensions away from the stroke were balanced by the shortening of tips near the infarct. Therefore, fully mature cortical pyramidal neurons retain the capacity for extensive structural plasticity and remodel in a balanced and branch-specific manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Dendrites* / metabolism
  • Dendrites* / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology