TrkB signaling directs the incorporation of newly generated periglomerular cells in the adult olfactory bulb

J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 10;33(28):11464-78. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4812-12.2013.


In the adult rodent brain, the olfactory bulb (OB) is continuously supplied with new neurons which survival critically depends on their successful integration into pre-existing networks. Yet, the extracellular signals that determine the selection which neurons will be ultimately incorporated into these circuits are largely unknown. Here, we show that immature neurons express the catalytic form of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor receptor TrkB [full-length TrkB (TrkB-FL)] only after their arrival in the OB, at the time when integration commences. To unravel the role of TrkB signaling in newborn neurons, we conditionally ablated TrkB-FL in mice via Cre expression in adult neural stem and progenitor cells. TrkB-deficient neurons displayed a marked impairment in dendritic arborization and spine growth. By selectively manipulating the signaling pathways initiated by TrkB in vivo, we identified the transducers Shc/PI3K to be required for dendritic growth, whereas the activation of phospholipase C-γ was found to be responsible for spine formation. Furthermore, long-term genetic fate mapping revealed that TrkB deletion severely compromised the survival of new dopaminergic neurons, leading to a substantial reduction in the overall number of adult-generated periglomerular cells (PGCs), but not of granule cells (GCs). Surprisingly, this loss of dopaminergic PGCs was mirrored by a corresponding increase in the number of calretinin+ PGCs, suggesting that distinct subsets of adult-born PGCs may respond differentially to common extracellular signals. Thus, our results identify TrkB signaling to be essential for balancing the incorporation of defined classes of adult-born PGCs and not GCs, reflecting their different mode of integration in the OB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptor, trkB / deficiency
  • Receptor, trkB / genetics
  • Receptor, trkB / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, trkB