CD40 is a major regulator of dendrite growth from developing excitatory and inhibitory neurons

  1. Paulina Carriba
  2. Alun M Davies  Is a corresponding author
  1. Cardiff University, United Kingdom


Dendrite size and morphology are key determinants of the functional properties of neurons and neural circuits. Here we show that CD40, a member of the TNF receptor superfamily, is a major regulator of dendrite growth and elaboration in the developing brain. The dendrites of hippocampal excitatory neurons were markedly stunted in Cd40-/- mice, whereas those of striatal inhibitory neurons were much more exuberant. These striking and opposite phenotypic changes were also observed in excitatory and inhibitory neurons cultured from Cd40-/- mice and were rescued by soluble CD40. The changes in excitatory and inhibitory neurons cultured from Cd40-/- mice were mimicked in neurons of Cd40+/+ mice by treatment with soluble CD40L and were dependent on PKC-b and PKC-g, respectively. These results suggest that CD40-activated CD40L reverse signalling has striking and opposite effects on the growth and elaboration of dendrites among major classes of brain neurons by PKC-dependent mechanisms.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Paulina Carriba

    School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Alun M Davies

    School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5841-8176


Wellcome Trust (103852)

  • Alun M Davies

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: Mouse breeding and housing was approved by the Cardiff University Ethical Review Board and was performed within the remit of Home Office Licence PPL303081.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jeremy Nathans, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 14, 2017
  2. Accepted: November 6, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 7, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: November 15, 2017 (version 2)


© 2017, Carriba & Davies

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Paulina Carriba
  2. Alun M Davies
CD40 is a major regulator of dendrite growth from developing excitatory and inhibitory neurons
eLife 6:e30442.

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