PSD-95 in CA1 area regulates spatial choice depending on age

Cały, Anna; Śliwińska, Małgorzata A; Ziółkowska, Magdalena; Łukasiewicz, Kacper; Pagano, Roberto; Dzik, Jakub M; Kalita, Katarzyna; Bernaś, Tytus; Stewart, Michael G.; Giese, K Peter and Radwanska, Kasia (2021). PSD-95 in CA1 area regulates spatial choice depending on age. The Journal of Neuroscience, 41(11) pp. 2329–2343.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1996-20.2020

Abstract

Cognitive processes that require spatial information rely on synaptic plasticity in the dorsal CA1 area (dCA1) of the hippocampus. Since the function of the hippocampus is impaired in aged individuals, it remains unknown how aged animals make spatial choices. Here, we used IntelliCage to study behavioural processes that support spatial choices of aged female mice living in a group. As a proxy of training-induced synaptic plasticity, we analysed the morphology of dendritic spines and expression of a synaptic scaffold protein, PSD-95. We observed that spatial choice training in young adult mice induced correlated shrinkage of dendritic spines and downregulation of PSD-95 in dCA1. Moreover, long-term depletion of PSD-95 by shRNA in dCA1 limited correct choices to a reward corner, while reward preference was intact. In contrast, old mice used behavioural strategies characterised by an increased tendency for perseverative visits and social interactions. This strategy resulted in a robust preference for the reward corner during the spatial choice task. Moreover, training decreased the correlation between PSD-95 expression and the size of dendritic spines. Furthermore, PSD-95 depletion did not impair place choice or reward preference in old mice. Thus, our data indicate that while young mice require PSD-95-dependent synaptic plasticity in dCA1 to make correct spatial choices, old animals observe cage-mates and stick to a preferred corner to seek the reward. This strategy is resistant to the depletion of PSD-95 in the CA1 area. Overall, our study demonstrates that aged mice combine alternative behavioral and molecular strategies to approach and consume rewards in a complex environment.

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