Chronic VEGFR-3 signaling preserves dendritic arborization and sensitization under stress

Adri Chakraborty, Raghavendra Upadhya, Timaj A. Usman, Ashok K. Shetty, Joseph M. Rutkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Dendritic arborization is critical for the establishment and maintenance of precise neural circuits. Vascular endothelial growth factor D (VEGF-D), well-characterized as a “lymphangiogenic” growth factor, reportedly maintains dendritic arborization and synaptic strength in the hippocampus of adult mice through VEGF receptor (VEGFR-3) signaling. Here, we investigated the effect of chronic VEGFR-3-specific activation on adipose arbor morphometry using the Adipo-VD mouse, a model of inducible, adipose-specific VEGF-D overexpression. We examined whether adipose tissue innervation was preserved or functionally different in Adipo-VD mice during stress in vivo and if VEGFR-3 signaling afforded neuroprotection to challenged neurons in vitro. Chronic VEGFR-3 signaling in Adipo-VD subcutaneous adipose tissue resulted in a reduction in the dendrite length, dendritic terminal branches (filament length), and dendritic terminal branch volume (filament volume), but increased dendrite branching. We also identified reduced stimulus-evoked excitatory sympathetic nerve activity in Adipo-VD mice. Following 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) denervation, Adipo-VD dendritic arbors were preserved, including improved dendritic branch volume, length, and dendritic branches than in wildtype tissues. In vitro, we found that chronic elevation of VEGFR-3 signaling in developing mVC neurons changes the dendritic arbor complexity and improves stress-induced structure remodeling. Developing neurons are conferred neuroprotection against stress, potentially by upregulation of proteolytic conversion of pro-BDNF to mature BDNF. Mature neurons, however, display improved dendritic arbor complexity, and unaltered dendritic structural remodeling and improved resistance to stress with VEGFR-3 signaling. Overall, chronically increasing VEGFR-3 signaling in neurons has a synergistic impact on neurosensitization and neuroprotection during stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-233
Number of pages15
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - 11-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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