Dystrophic dendrites in prefrontal cortical pyramidal cells of dopamine D1 and D2 but not D4 receptor knockout mice

Hui Dong Wang, Gregg D. Stanwood, David K. Grandy, Ariel Y. Deutch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Recent data indicate that cortical dopamine denervation results in dystrophic changes in the dendrites of pyramidal cells, including decreases in dendritic spine density and length. However, it is not known if the loss of signaling through specific dopamine receptors subserves these dendritic changes. We examined the dendritic structure of layer V pyramidal cells in the prefrontal cortex of D1, D2, and D4 dopamine receptor null mutant mice and their wild-type littermates. Decreased basal dendritic length and spine density were observed in the D1 knockout mice. Similarly, a decrease in basal dendritic spine density was uncovered in the D2 knockout mice relative to wild-type littermates. No changes in any dendritic parameter were observed in the D4 knockout mice. These observations suggest that the dystrophic changes observed in prefrontal cortical pyramidal cell dendrites are due to loss of signaling through D1 and possibly D2 receptors. The current data also suggest that caution should be exercised in the interpretation of behavioral, physiological, and biochemical studies of the prefrontal cortex in dopamine receptor knockout mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Nov 10 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendritic spine
  • Dopamine receptor
  • Golgi impregnation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pyramidal cell
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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