Developmental patterns of sleep slow wave activity and synaptic density in adolescent mice

Luisa De Vivo, Ugo Faraguna, Aaron B. Nelson, Martha Pfster-Genskow, Marki E. Klapperich, Giulio Tononi, Chiara Cirelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Objective: In humans sleep slow wave activity (SWA) declines during adolescence. It has been suggested that this decline reflects the elimination of cortical synapses, but this hypothesis has never been tested directly. Design: We focused on mouse frontal cortex and collected data from early adolescence (∼postnatal day 20, P20) to adulthood (P60) of (1) SWA; (2) expression of synapsin I, a presynaptic marker; and (3) number of dendritic spines in layers I-II. Setting: Basic sleep research laboratory. Patients or Participants: YFP-line H mice (n = 70; P15-87, all males) and GFP-line S mice (n = 14; P17-60, 8 females) were used for EEG recording. Forty-five YFP mice (P19-119, 12 females) and 42 GFP-S mice (P20-60, 14 females) were used for in vivo 2-photon imaging and ex vivo confocal microscopy, respectively. Other YGP mice (n = 57, P10-77) were used for western blot analysis of synapsin I. Interventions: N/A. Measurements and Results: As in humans, SWA in mice declined from early adolescence to adulthood. Synapsin I levels increased from P10 to P24, with little change afterwards. Mean spine density in apical dendrites of layer V pyramidal neurons (YFP-H) showed no change from P20 to P60. Spine number in layers I-II apical dendrites, belonging to layer III and V pyramidal neurons (GFP-S), increased slightly from P20 to P30 and decreased from P30 to P60; smaller spines decreased in number from P20 to P60, while bigger spines increased. Conclusions: In mice, it is unlikely that the developmental decrease in SWA can be accounted for by a net pruning of cortical synapses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-700
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Dendritic spines
  • Frontal cortex
  • Mouse
  • Slow wave activity
  • Synapsin I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental patterns of sleep slow wave activity and synaptic density in adolescent mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this