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Relationship: 355


A descriptive phrase which clearly defines the two KEs being considered and the sequential relationship between them (i.e., which is upstream, and which is downstream). More help

Cell injury/death leads to Synaptogenesis, Decreased

Upstream event
The causing Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help
Downstream event
The responding Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help

Key Event Relationship Overview

The utility of AOPs for regulatory application is defined, to a large extent, by the confidence and precision with which they facilitate extrapolation of data measured at low levels of biological organisation to predicted outcomes at higher levels of organisation and the extent to which they can link biological effect measurements to their specific causes. Within the AOP framework, the predictive relationships that facilitate extrapolation are represented by the KERs. Consequently, the overall WoE for an AOP is a reflection in part, of the level of confidence in the underlying series of KERs it encompasses. Therefore, describing the KERs in an AOP involves assembling and organising the types of information and evidence that defines the scientific basis for inferring the probable change in, or state of, a downstream KE from the known or measured state of an upstream KE. More help

AOPs Referencing Relationship

AOP Name Adjacency Weight of Evidence Quantitative Understanding Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Chronic binding of antagonist to N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) during brain development induces impairment of learning and memory abilities adjacent Low Anna Price (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KER.In general, this will be dictated by the more restrictive of the two KEs being linked together by the KER.  More help

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KER. More help

Life Stage Applicability

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KER.  More help

Key Event Relationship Description

Provides a concise overview of the information given below as well as addressing details that aren’t inherent in the description of the KEs themselves. More help

Under physiological conditions, in the developing nervous system, apoptosis occurs during the process of synaptogenesis, where competition leads to the loss of excess neurons and to the connection of the appropriate neurons (Buss et al., 2006; Mennerick and Zorumski, 2000; Oppenheim, 1991). However, when a stressor increases the number of apoptotic cells this KE has a negative effect on synaptogenesis as the reduced number of neurons (besides the ones that have been already eliminated through the physiological process of apoptosis) provides limited dendritic fields for receiving synaptic inputs from incoming axons. At the same time the loss of neurons also means that there are less axons to establish synaptic contacts (Olney, 2014), leading to reduced synaptogenesis and neuronal networking.

Evidence Collection Strategy

Include a description of the approach for identification and assembly of the evidence base for the KER.  For evidence identification, include, for example, a description of the sources and dates of information consulted including expert knowledge, databases searched and associated search terms/strings.  Include also a description of study screening criteria and methodology, study quality assessment considerations, the data extraction strategy and links to any repositories/databases of relevant references.Tabular summaries and links to relevant supporting documentation are encouraged, wherever possible. More help

Evidence Supporting this KER

Addresses the scientific evidence supporting KERs in an AOP setting the stage for overall assessment of the AOP. More help
Biological Plausibility
Addresses the biological rationale for a connection between KEupstream and KEdownstream.  This field can also incorporate additional mechanistic details that help inform the relationship between KEs, this is useful when it is not practical/pragmatic to represent these details as separate KEs due to the difficulty or relative infrequency with which it is likely to be measured.   More help

Recently, Dekkers et al. 2013 have reviewed how under physiological conditions components of the apoptotic machinery in developing brain regulate synapse formation and neuronal connectivity. For example, caspase activation is known to be required for axon pruning during development to generate neuronal network (reviewed in Dekkers et al., 2013). Experimental work carried out in Drosophila melanogaster and in mammalian neurons shows that components of apoptotic machinery are involved in axonal degeneration that can consequently interfere with synapse formation (reviewed in Dekkers et al., 2013). Furthermore, Bax mutant mice studies indicate that the lack of this pro-apoptotic protein BAX leads to disruption of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells spacing and dendritic stratification that affects synapse localization and function (Chen et al., 2013).

Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
Addresses inconsistencies or uncertainties in the relationship including the identification of experimental details that may explain apparent deviations from the expected patterns of concordance. More help

In adult nervous system, the role of apoptotic machinery in axon pruning and synapse elimination, which are necessary to refine mature neuronal network has been extensively studied (reviewed in Hyman and Yuan, 2012), whereas in developing nervous system the regulatory importance of apoptotic machinery in synapse formation and function is less clear (reviewed in Dekkers et al., 2013).

Known modulating factors

This table captures specific information on the MF, its properties, how it affects the KER and respective references.1.) What is the modulating factor? Name the factor for which solid evidence exists that it influences this KER. Examples: age, sex, genotype, diet 2.) Details of this modulating factor. Specify which features of this MF are relevant for this KER. Examples: a specific age range or a specific biological age (defined by...); a specific gene mutation or variant, a specific nutrient (deficit or surplus); a sex-specific homone; a certain threshold value (e.g. serum levels of a chemical above...) 3.) Description of how this modulating factor affects this KER. Describe the provable modification of the KER (also quantitatively, if known). Examples: increase or decrease of the magnitude of effect (by a factor of...); change of the time-course of the effect (onset delay by...); alteration of the probability of the effect; increase or decrease of the sensitivity of the downstream effect (by a factor of...) 4.) Provision of supporting scientific evidence for an effect of this MF on this KER. Give a list of references.  More help
Response-response Relationship
Provides sources of data that define the response-response relationships between the KEs.  More help
Information regarding the approximate time-scale of the changes in KEdownstream relative to changes in KEupstream (i.e., do effects on KEdownstream lag those on KEupstream by seconds, minutes, hours, or days?). More help
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
Define whether there are known positive or negative feedback mechanisms involved and what is understood about their time-course and homeostatic limits. More help

Domain of Applicability

A free-text section of the KER description that the developers can use to explain their rationale for the taxonomic, life stage, or sex applicability structured terms. More help

Experiments have been conducted both in Drosophila melanogaster and in mammals in order to elucidate the relationship between components of apoptotic machinery and synaptogenesis (reviewed in Dekkers et al., 2013).


List of the literature that was cited for this KER description. More help

Buss RR, Sun W, Oppenheim RW. (2006) Adaptive roles of programmed cell death during nervous system development. Annu Rev Neurosci. 29: 1-35.

Chen SK, Chew KS, McNeill DS, Keeley PW, Ecker JL, Mao BQ, Pahlberg J, Kim B, Lee SC, Fox MA, Guido W, Wong KY, Sampath AP, Reese BE, Kuruvilla R, Hattar S. (2013) Apoptosis regulates ipRGC spacing necessary for rods and cones to drive circadian photoentrainment. Neuron 77: 503-515.

Dekkers MPJ, Nikoletopoulou V, Barde Y-A. (2013) Death of developing neurons: New insights and implications for connectivity. J Cell Biol. 203: 385-393.

Hyman BT, Yuan J. (2012) Apoptotic and non-apoptotic roles of caspases in neuronal physiology and pathophysiology. Nat Rev Neurosci 13: 395-406.

Innocenti, GM, Price DJ. (2005) Exuberance in the development of cortical networks. Nat Rev Neurosci. 6: 955-965.

McCauley PT, Bull RJ, Tonti AP, Lukenhoff SD, Meister MV, Doerger JU, Stober JA. (1982) The effect of prenatal and postnatal lead exposure on neonatal synaptogenesis in rat cerebral cortex. J Toxicol Environ Health 10: 639-651.

Mennerick S, Zorumski CF. (2000) Neural activity and survival in the developing nervous system. Mol Neurobiol. 22: 41-54.

Neal AP, Stansfield KH, Worley PF, Thompson RE, Guilarte TR. (2010) Lead exposure during synaptogenesis alters vesicular proteins and impairs vesicular release: Potential role of NMDA receptor-dependent BDNF signaling. Toxicol Sci. 116: 249-263.

Olney JW. (2014) Focus on apoptosis to decipher how alcohol and many other drugs disrupt brain development front. Pediatr. 2: 81.

Oppenheim RW. (1991). Cell death during development of the nervous system. Annu Rev Neurosci. 14: 453-501.

Sánchez-Martín FJ, Fan Y, Lindquist DM, Xia Y, Puga A. (2013) Lead Induces Similar Gene Expression Changes in Brains of Gestationally Exposed Adult Mice and in Neurons Differentiated from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells. PLoS One 8: e80558.

Stansfield KH, Pilsner JR, Lu Q, Wright RO, Guilarte TR. (2012) Dysregulation of BDNF-TrkB signaling in developing hippocampal neurons by Pb(2+): implications for an environmental basis of neurodevelopmental disorders. Toxicol Sci. 127: 277-295.