Dendritic morphology changes in neurons from the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and nucleus accumbens in rats after lesion of the thalamic reticular nucleus

Neuroscience. 2012 Oct 25;223:429-38. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.07.042. Epub 2012 Jul 31.


Several studies in rodents have shown that dysfunctions of the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) result in deficits of sensory gating and attentional processes, two core features of schizophrenia. TRN receives inputs from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampal formation, two structures which send excitatory projections to the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and are interconnected with the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Here we determined whether (and which) changes occurred four weeks after a TRN lesion in the dendritic morphology of pyramidal neurons of layers 3 and 5 of the PFC, neurons of ventral and dorsal hippocampus, BLA, and the medium spiny neurons of the NAcc. Dendritic morphology and characteristics were measured by using Golgi-Cox procedure followed by Sholl analysis. We also evaluated the effects of TRN lesion on exploratory behavior assessed by hole-board test and locomotor activity induced by a novel environment. We found that TRN damage induced a reduction in the exploratory behavior measured by hole-board test with neuronal hypotrophy in PFC (layer 5), CA1 ventral hippocampus and NAcc neurons. Taken together, these data suggest that the behavioral and morphological effects of TRN lesion are, at least partially, mediated by limbic subregions with possible consequences for schizophrenia-related behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / pathology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / pathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Silver Staining
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Thalamic Nuclei / injuries*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / pathology*
  • Time Factors