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Molecules 2017, 22(7), 1239; doi:10.3390/molecules22071239

Role of G Protein-Coupled Receptors in the Regulation of Structural Plasticity and Cognitive Function

Division of Life Science, Biotechnology Research Institute, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience, Molecular Neuroscience Center, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Science, Disease and Drug Development, HKUST Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen 518057, Guangdong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 24 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue G-protein Coupled Receptor Structure and Function)
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Cognition and other higher brain functions are known to be intricately associated with the capacity of neural circuits to undergo structural reorganization. Structural remodelling of neural circuits, or structural plasticity, in the hippocampus plays a major role in learning and memory. Dynamic modifications of neuronal connectivity in the form of dendritic spine morphology alteration, as well as synapse formation and elimination, often result in the strengthening or weakening of specific neural circuits that determine synaptic plasticity. Changes in dendritic complexity and synapse number are mediated by cellular processes that are regulated by extracellular signals such as neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors. As many neurotransmitters act on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), it has become increasingly apparent that GPCRs can regulate structural plasticity through a myriad of G protein-dependent pathways and non-canonical signals. A thorough understanding of how GPCRs exert their regulatory influence on dendritic spine morphogenesis may provide new insights for treating cognitive impairment and decline in various age-related diseases. In this article, we review the evidence of GPCR-mediated regulation of structural plasticity, with a special emphasis on the involvement of common as well as distinct signalling pathways that are regulated by major neurotransmitters. View Full-Text
Keywords: G protein; GPCR; hippocampus; structural plasticity; synapse G protein; GPCR; hippocampus; structural plasticity; synapse

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Leung, C.C.Y.; Wong, Y.H. Role of G Protein-Coupled Receptors in the Regulation of Structural Plasticity and Cognitive Function. Molecules 2017, 22, 1239.

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