Calcineurin Knockout Mice Show a Selective Loss of Small Spines

Neurosci Lett. 2018 Apr 3;671:99-102. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.02.006. Epub 2018 Feb 7.


Calcineurin is required for long-term depression and activity-dependent spine shrinkage, and calcineurin mutations have been identified in patients with schizophrenia. Moreover, mice with conditional knockout of calcineurin B (CNB-KO) exhibit behavioral abnormalities suggestive of schizophrenia. Changes in the dendritic spines of these mice, however, have not been investigated. We therefore examined the dendritic spines of CNB-KO mice, and observed a significant reduction in small spines and an increase in large spines in the prefrontal and visual cortices. The effect of CNB-KO on the spine sizes was relatively moderate, possibly due to the presence of spontaneous fluctuations (dynamics) in the dendritic spines themselves. Thus, CNB-KO mice showed a spine phenotype similar to those recently reported in patients with schizophrenia.

Keywords: Calcineurin; Dendritic spines; Schizophrenia; Synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcineurin / genetics
  • Calcineurin / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*


  • Calcineurin