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Open Access Research article

EphB2 signaling regulates lesion-induced axon sprouting but not critical period length in the postnatal auditory brainstem

Paul A Nakamura and Karina S Cramer*

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA, 92697, USA

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Neural Development 2013, 8:2  doi:10.1186/1749-8104-8-2

Published: 5 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Studies of developmental plasticity may provide insight into plasticity during adulthood, when neural circuitry is less responsive to losses or changes in input. In the mammalian auditory brainstem, globular bushy cell axons of the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) innervate the contralateral medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) principal neurons. VCN axonal terminations in MNTB, known as calyces of Held, are very large and specialized for high-fidelity transmission of auditory information. Following unilateral deafferentation during postnatal development, VCN axons from the intact side form connections with novel targets, including the ipsilateral MNTB. EphB signaling has been shown to play a role in this process during the first postnatal week, but mechanisms involved in this reorganization during later developmental periods remain unknown.

Results

We found that EphB2 signaling reduces the number of induced ipsilateral projections to the MNTB after unilateral VCN removal at postnatal day seven (P7), but not after removal of the VCN on one side at P10, after the closure of the critical period for lesion-induced innervation of the ipsilateral MNTB.

Conclusions

Results from this study indicate that molecular mechanisms involved in the development of circuitry may also play a part in rewiring after deafferentation during development, but do not appear to regulate the length of critical periods for plasticity.

Keywords:
MNTB; auditory; brainstem; axon guidance; deafferentation; regeneration