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Relationship: 358


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

Synaptogenesis, Decreased leads to Neuronal network function, 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
Inhibition of Na+/I- symporter (NIS) leads to learning and memory impairment adjacent Low 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
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
rat Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
mouse Mus musculus High NCBI
Caenorhabditis elegans Caenorhabditis elegans Moderate NCBI
Drosophila melanogaster Drosophila melanogaster Moderate NCBI

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KER. More help
Sex Evidence
Mixed High

Life Stage Applicability

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KER.  More help
Term Evidence
During brain development High

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

The ability of a neuron to communicate is based on neural network formation that relies on functional synapse establishment (Colón-Ramos, 2009). The main roles of synapses are the regulation of intercellular communication in the nervous system, and the information flow within neural networks. The connectivity and functionality of neural networks depends on where and when synapses are formed. Therefore, the decreased synapse formation during the process of synaptogenesis is critical and leads to decrease of neural network formation and function in the adult brain.

Synaptic transmission and plasticity require the integrity of the anatomical substrate. The connectivity of axons emanating from one set of cells to post-synaptic side of synapse on the dendrites of the receiving cells must be intact for effective communication between neurons. Changes in the placement of cells within the network due to delays in neuronal migration, the absence of a full formation of dendritic arbors and spine upon which synaptic contacts are made, and the lagging of transmission of electrical impulses due to insufficient myelination will individually and cumulatively impair synaptic function. Since synaptogenesis follows the early neurodevelopmental processes such as neuronal and glial cells proliferation, migration, alterations in dendritic arborisation etc., therefore, it encompasses, possible changes in these early stages of brain development that could also be triggered under hypothyroidism, leading to defective synaptogenesis and resulting in abnormal function of neuronal network function. These anatomical alterations are responsible for many structural anomalies reported in various regions of the brain following severe developmental hypothyroidism. Although the primary evidence of synaptic transmission impairments in hypothyroid models have come from studying the hippocampus, it is assumed that the role thyroid hormones play in these processes is likely similar across different brain regions. Altered hippocampal structure induced by decreased TH levels impacts neurogenesis in the developing hippocampus or cortex, contributing to deficits in synaptic function.

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

The weight of evidence supporting the relationship between decreased synaptogenesis induced by TH insufficiency and altered neuronal network and synaptic function is moderate. Functional change as exemplified by alterations in synaptic transmission may be more easily detected than structural abnormalities. The exact alignment between the neuroanatomical effects (such as decreased synaptogenesis and alteration of GABAergic interneurons) that have been associated with developmental hypothyroidism (e.g., elicited by exposing rat dams to TPO inhibitors) and the neurophysiological impairments has not been entirely elucidated.

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

Neuronal network formation and function are established via the process of synaptogenesis. The developmental period of synaptogenesis is critical for the formation of the basic circuitry of the nervous system, although neurons are able to form new synapses throughout life (Rodier, 1995). The brain electrical activity dependence on synapse formation is critical for proper neuronal communication.

Alterations in synaptic connectivity lead to refinement of neuronal networks during development (Cline and Haas, 2008). Indeed, knockdown of PSD-95 arrests the functional and morphological development of glutamatergic synapses (Ehrlich et al., 2007).

The biological plausibility of the known effects of TH insufficiency on brain structure having an impact on synaptic function and plasticity in brain is strong. Reductions in myelination of axons, cell number, dendritic arborization, and synaptogenesis have been described in models of severe hormone deprivation, as comprehensively summarized by Thompson and Potter, 2000. Because synaptic transmission relies on the integrity of synaptic contacts and the electrical and chemical transmission between pre- and post-synaptic neurons, it is well accepted that interference with process of synapse formation (morphological unit of neuronal network) will very much impact the neural network function.

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

The exact mechanism by which a change in cell number, reduced dendritric arborization and synaptogenesis may lead to decreased neuronal network function has not been fully elucidated. Dose-dependent reductions in synaptic function in hippocampus have been demonstrated in models of moderate degrees of TH reduction, but studies of the anatomical integrity of the specific cell populations examined electrophysiologically have largely been evaluated in models of severe hypothyroidism and often in brain regions distinct from the hippocampus.

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

The main proof of evidence comes from in vivo studies in rodents. However, Colón-Ramos (2009) has recently reviewed the early developmental events that take place during the process of synaptogenesis in invertebrates, pointing out the importance of this process in neural network formation and function. The experimental findings reviewed in this paper derive from knowledge acquired in the field of neuroscience using C. elegans and Drosophila; at the same time, emerging findings derived from vertebrates are also discussed (Colón-Ramos, 2009).


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

Cline H, Haas K. (2008). The regulation of dendritic arbor development and plasticity by glutamatergic synaptic input: A review of the synaptotrophic hypothesis. J Physiol 586: 1509-1517.

Colón-Ramos DA. (2009). Synapse formation in developing neural circuits. Curr Top Dev Biol. 87: 53-79.

Di Liegro I, Savettieri G, Coppolino M, Scaturro M, Monte M, Nastasi T, Salemi G, Castiglia D, Cesterlli A (1995). Expression of synapsin I gene in primary cultures of differentiating rat cortical neurons. Neurochem. Res., 20, pp. 239–243

Dong J, Yin H, Liu W, Wang P, Jiang Y, Chen J. (2005). Congenital iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism impair LTP and decrease C-fos and C-jun expression in rat hippocampus. Neurotoxicology 26:417-426.

Ehrlich I, Klein M, Rumpel S, Malinow R. (2007). PSD-95 is required for activity-driven synapse stabilization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104: 4176-4181.

Gilbert ME. (2004). Alterations in synaptic transmission and plasticity in area CA1 of adult hippocampus following developmental hypothyroidism. Brain Res Dev Brain Res 148:11-18.

Gilbert ME. (2011). Impact of low-level thyroid hormone disruption induced by propylthiouracil on brain development and function. Toxicol Sci 124:432-445.

Gilbert ME, Hedge JM, Valentin-Blasini L, Blount BC, Kannan K, Tietge J, Zoeller RT, Crofton KM, Jarrett JM, Fisher JW. (2013). An animal model of marginal iodine deficiency during development: the thyroid axis and neurodevelopmental outcome. Toxicol Sci 132:177-195.

Gilbert ME, Paczkowski C. (2003). Propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced hypothyroidism in the developing rat impairs synaptic transmission and plasticity in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus. Brain Res Dev Brain Res 145:19-29.

Gilbert ME, Sanchez-Huerta K, Wood C. (2016). Mild Thyroid Hormone Insufficiency During Development Compromises Activity-Dependent Neuroplasticity in the Hippocampus of Adult Male Rats. Endocrinology 157:774-787.

Gilbert ME, Sui L. (2006). Dose-dependent reductions in spatial learning and synaptic function in the dentate gyrus of adult rats following developmental thyroid hormone insufficiency. Brain Res 1069:10-22.

Gilbert ME, Sui L, Walker MJ, Anderson W, Thomas S, Smoller SN, Schon JP, Phani S, Goodman JH. (2007). Thyroid hormone insufficiency during brain development reduces parvalbumin immunoreactivity and inhibitory function in the hippocampus. Endocrinology 148:92-102.

Herdegen T, Skene P, Bahr M (1997). The c-Jun transcription factor-bipotential mediator of neuronal death, survival and regeneration. Trends Neurosci, 20, pp. 227–231

Kumar MV, Desiraju T. (1992). EEG spectral power reduction and learning disability in rats exposed to lead through postnatal developing age. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 36: 15-20.

Madeira MD, Cadete-Leite A, Andrade JP, Paula-Barbosa MM. (1991). Effects of hypothyroidism upon the granular layer of the dentate gyrus in male and female adult rats: a morphometric study. J Comp Neurol 314:171-186.

Madeira MD, Sousa N, Lima-Andrade MT, Calheiros F, Cadete-Leite A, Paula-Barbosa MM. (1992). Selective vulnerability of the hippocampal pyramidal neurons to hypothyroidism in male and female rats. J Comp Neurol 322:501-518.

McCarren M, Eccles CU. (1983). Neonatal lead exposure in rats: II. Effects on the hippocampal afterdischarge. Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol. 5: 533-540.

Otto D, Reiter L. (1984). Developmental changes in slow cortical potentials of young children with elevated body lead burden. Neurophysiological considerations. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 425: 377-383.

Rami A, Patel AJ, Rabie A. (1986a). Thyroid hormone and development of the rat hippocampus: morphological alterations in granule and pyramidal cells. Neuroscience 19:1217-1226.

Rami A, Rabie A, Patel AJ. (1986b). Thyroid hormone and development of the rat hippocampus: cell acquisition in the dentate gyrus. Neuroscience 19:1207-1216.

Rami A, Rabie A. (1990). Delayed synaptogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the thyroid-deficient developing rat. Dev Neurosci 12:398-405.

Rodier PM. (1995). Developing brain as a target of toxicity. Environ. Health Perspect. 103: 73-76.

Sui L, Anderson WL, Gilbert ME. (2005). Impairment in short-term but enhanced long-term synaptic potentiation and ERK activation in adult hippocampal area CA1 following developmental thyroid hormone insufficiency. Toxicol Sci 85:647-656.

Sui L, Gilbert ME. (2003). Pre- and postnatal propylthiouracil-induced hypothyroidism impairs synaptic transmission and plasticity in area CA1 of the neonatal rat hippocampus. Endocrinology 144:4195-4203.

Taylor MA, Swant J, Wagner JJ, Fisher JW, Ferguson DC. (2008). Lower thyroid compensatory reserve of rat pups after maternal hypothyroidism: correlation of thyroid, hepatic, and cerebrocortical biomarkers with hippocampal neurophysiology. Endocrinology 149:3521-3530.

Thompson CC, Potter GB. (2000). Thyroid hormone action in neural development. Cereb Cortex. Oct;10(10):939-45.

Vara H, Martinez B, Santos A, Colino A. (2002). Thyroid hormone regulates neurotransmitter release in neonatal rat hippocampus. Neuroscience 110:19-28.