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Glutamic acid decarboxylase of 65 kDa (GAD65) antibodies have been reported in a variety of neurological disorders such as stiff-person syndrome (SPS), sporadic ataxia and some cases of epilepsy. Since the target is believed to be the cytoplasmic enzyme GAD65, the key enzyme of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesis, the pathophysiological role of these antibodies is poorly understood. Here, we stereotactically injected human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) containing GAD65-antibodies into the hippocampus of rats in vivo and then prepared hippocampal slices 1-2 days after post-operative recovery. We characterized both evoked and spontaneous GABAergic transmission in vitro using sharp microelectrode and patch-clamp recordings in CA1 neurons. Intracellular recordings with sharp microelectrodes from CA1 neurons showed that evoked GABAAR- or GABABR-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSP) remained unaltered in anti-GAD65 tissue. These results were confirmed with patch-clamp recordings showing no difference in evoked gabazine-sensitive inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). In addition, spontaneous IPSCs also showed no difference between anti-GAD65 tissue and controls with respect to the mean frequency, the mean amplitude and the sIPSC distribution. In conclusion, stereotactic injection of GAD65-antibodies into the hippocampus leaves evoked and spontaneous GABAergic synaptic transmission intact. Hence, dysfunction of the inhibitory GABAergic system does not appear to be the major mechanism of epileptogenicity in this disease.
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A subset of monoamine neurons releases glutamate as a cotransmitter due to presence of the vesicular glutamate transporters VGLUT2 or VGLUT3. In addition to mediating vesicular loading of glutamate, it has been proposed that VGLUT3 enhances serotonin (5-HT) vesicular loading by the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) in 5-HT neurons. In dopamine (DA) neurons, glutamate appears to be released from specialized subsets of terminals and it may play a developmental role, promoting neuronal growth and survival. The hypothesis of a similar developmental role and axonal localization of glutamate co-release in 5-HT neurons has not been directly examined. Using postnatal mouse raphe neurons in culture, we first observed that in contrast to 5-HT itself, other phenotypic markers of 5-HT axon terminals such as the 5-HT reuptake transporter (SERT) show a more restricted localization in the axonal arborization. Interestingly, only a subset of SERT- and 5-HT-positive axonal varicosities expressed VGLUT3, with SERT and VGLUT3 being mostly segregated. Using VGLUT3 knockout mice, we found that deletion of this transporter leads to reduced survival of 5-HT neurons in vitro and also decreased the density of 5-HT-immunoreactivity in terminals in the dorsal striatum and dorsal part of the hippocampus in the intact brain. Our results demonstrate that raphe 5-HT neurons express SERT and VGLUT3 mainly in segregated axon terminals and that VGLUT3 regulates the vulnerability of these neurons and the neurochemical identity of their axonal domain, offering new perspectives on the functional connectivity of a cell population involved in anxiety disorders and depression.
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Microglia are innate immune cells of the brain. We have studied a subpopulation of microglia, called satellite microglia. This cell type is defined by a close morphological soma-to-soma association with a neuron, indicative of a direct functional interaction. Indeed, ultrastructural analysis revealed closely attached plasma membranes of satellite microglia and neurons. However, we found no apparent morphological specializations of the contact, and biocytin injection into satellite microglia showed no dye-coupling with the apposed neurons or any other cell. Likewise, evoked local field potentials or action potentials and postsynaptic potentials of the associated neuron did not lead to any transmembrane currents or non-capacitive changes in the membrane potential of the satellite microglia in the cortex and hippocampus. Both satellite and non-satellite microglia, however, showed spontaneous transient membrane depolarizations that were not correlated with neuronal activity. These events could be divided into fast-rising and slow-rising depolarizations, which showed different characteristics in satellite and non-satellite microglia. Fast-rising and slow-rising potentials differed with regard to voltage dependence. The frequency of these events was not affected by the application of tetrodotoxin, but the fast-rising event frequency decreased after application of GABA. We conclude that microglia show spontaneous electrical activity that is uncorrelated with the activity of adjacent neurons.
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Skeletal muscle force can be transmitted to the skeleton, not only via its tendons of origin and insertion but also through connective tissues linking the muscle belly to surrounding structures. Through such epimuscular myofascial connections, length changes of a muscle may cause length changes within an adjacent muscle and hence, affect muscle spindles. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of epimuscular myofascial forces on feedback from muscle spindles in triceps surae muscles of the rat. We hypothesized that within an intact muscle compartment, muscle spindles not only signal length changes of the muscle in which they are located but can also sense length changes that occur as a result of changing the length of synergistic muscles. Action potentials from single afferents were measured intra-axonally in response to ramp-hold release (RHR) stretches of an agonistic muscle at different lengths of its synergist, as well as in response to synergist RHRs. A decrease in force threshold was found for both soleus (SO) and lateral gastrocnemius afferents, along with an increase in length threshold for SO afferents. In addition, muscle spindle firing could be evoked by RHRs of the synergistic muscle. We conclude that muscle spindles not only signal length changes of the muscle in which they are located but also local length changes that occur as a result of changing the length and relative position of synergistic muscles.
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The corpus callosum establishes the anatomical continuity between the 2 hemispheres and coordinates their activity. Using histological tracing, single axon reconstructions, and diffusion tractography, we describe a callosal projection to n caudatus and putamen in monkeys and humans. In both species, the origin of this projection is more restricted than that of the ipsilateral projection. In monkeys, it consists of thin axons (0.4-0.6 µm), appropriate for spatial and temporal dispersion of subliminal inputs. For prefrontal cortex, contralateral minus ipsilateral delays to striatum calculated from axon diameters and conduction distance are <2 ms in the monkey and, by extrapolation, <4 ms in humans. This delay corresponds to the performance in Poffenberger's paradigm, a classical attempt to estimate central conduction delays, with a neuropsychological task. In both species, callosal cortico-striatal projections originate from prefrontal, premotor, and motor areas. In humans, we discovered a new projection originating from superior parietal lobule, supramarginal, and superior temporal gyrus, regions engaged in language processing. This projection crosses in the isthmus the lesion of which was reported to dissociate syntax and prosody. The projection might originate from an overproduction of callosal projections in development, differentially pruned depending on species.
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The Neuropeptide S system, consisting of the 20-amino acid peptide neuropeptide S (NPS) and its G-protein coupled receptor (NPSR), modulates arousal, wakefulness, anxiety, and fear-extinction in mice. In addition, recent evidence indicates that the NPS system attenuates stress-dependent impairment of fear extinction, and that NPS-expressing neurons in close proximity to the locus coeruleus region (LC; pericoerulear, periLC) are activated by stress. Furthermore, periLC NPS neurons receive afferents from neurons of the centrolateral nucleus of the amygdala (CeL), of which a substantial population expresses the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) ligand precursor prodynorphin. This study aims to identify the effect of the dynorphinergic system on NPS neurons in the periLC via pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms. Using electrophysiological recordings in mouse brain slices, we provide evidence that NPS neurons in the periLC region are directly inhibited by dynorphin A (DynA) via activation of κ-opioid receptor 1 (KOR1) and a subsequent increase of potassium conductances. Thus, the dynorphinergic system is suited to inactivate NPS neurons in the periLC. In addition to this direct, somatic effect, DynA reduces the efficacy of GABAergic synapses on NPS neurons via KOR1 and KOR2. In conclusion, the present study provides evidence for the interaction of the NPS and the kappa opioid system in the periLC. Therefore, the endogenous opioid dynorphin is suited to inhibit NPS neurons with a subsequent decrease in NPS release in putative target regions leading to a variety of physiological consequences such as increased anxiety or vulnerability to stress exposure.
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The morphology of neurons and networks plays an important role in processing electrical and biochemical signals. Based on neuronal reconstructions, which are becoming abundantly available through databases such as NeuroMorpho.org, numerical simulations of Hodgkin-Huxley-type equations, coupled to biochemical models, can be performed in order to systematically investigate the influence of cellular morphology and the connectivity pattern in networks on the underlying function. Development in the area of synthetic neural network generation and morphology reconstruction from microscopy data has brought forth the software tool NeuGen. Coupling this morphology data (either from databases, synthetic, or reconstruction) to the simulation platform UG 4 (which harbors a neuroscientific portfolio) and VRL-Studio, has brought forth the extendible toolbox NeuroBox. NeuroBox allows users to perform numerical simulations on hybrid-dimensional morphology representations. The code basis is designed in a modular way, such that e.g., new channel or synapse types can be added to the library. Workflows can be specified through scripts or through the VRL-Studio graphical workflow representation. Third-party tools, such as ImageJ, can be added to NeuroBox workflows. In this paper, NeuroBox is used to study the electrical and biochemical effects of synapse loss vs. synchrony in neurons, to investigate large morphology data sets within detailed biophysical simulations, and used to demonstrate the capability of utilizing high-performance computing infrastructure for large scale network simulations. Using new synapse distribution methods and Finite Volume based numerical solvers for compartment-type models, our results demonstrate how an increase in synaptic synchronization can compensate synapse loss at the electrical and calcium level, and how detailed neuronal morphology can be integrated in large-scale network simulations.
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The striatum is a major site of learning and memory formation for sensorimotor and cognitive association. One of the mechanisms used by the brain for memory storage is synaptic plasticity - the long lasting, activity-dependent change in synaptic strength. All forms of synaptic plasticity require an elevation in intracellular calcium, and a common hypothesis is that the amplitude and duration of calcium transients can determine the direction of synaptic plasticity. The utility of this hypothesis in the striatum is unclear in part because dopamine is required for striatal plasticity and in part because of the diversity in stimulation protocols. To test whether calcium can predict plasticity direction, we developed a calcium-based plasticity rule using a spiny projection neuron model with sophisticated calcium dynamics including calcium diffusion, buffering, and pump extrusion. We utilize three spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) induction protocols, in which post-synaptic potentials are paired with precisely timed action potentials and the timing of such pairing determines whether potentiation or depression will occur. Results show that despite the variation in calcium dynamics, a single, calcium-based plasticity rule, which explicitly considers duration of calcium elevations, can explain the direction of synaptic weight change for all three STDP protocols. Additional simulations show that the plasticity rule correctly predicts the NMDA receptor dependence of long-term potentiation and the L-type channel dependence of long term depression. By utilizing realistic calcium dynamics, the model reveals mechanisms controlling synaptic plasticity direction, and shows that the dynamics of calcium, not just calcium amplitude, are crucial for synaptic plasticity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Inhibitory interneurons are an important source of synaptic inputs that may contribute to network mechanisms for coding of spatial location by entorhinal cortex (EC). The intrinsic properties of inhibitory interneurons in the EC of the mouse are mostly undescribed. Intrinsic properties were recorded from known cell types, such as, stellate and pyramidal cells and 6 classes of molecularly identified interneurons (regulator of calcineurin 2, somatostatin, serotonin receptor 3a, neuropeptide Y neurogliaform (NGF), neuropeptide Y non-NGF, and vasoactive intestinal protein) in acute brain slices. We report a broad physiological diversity between and within cell classes. We also found differences in the ability to produce postinhibitory rebound spikes and in the frequency and amplitude of incoming EPSPs. To understand the source of this intrinsic variability we applied hierarchical cluster analysis to functionally classify neurons. These analyses revealed physiologically derived cell types in EC that mostly corresponded to the lines identified by biomarkers with a few unexpected and important differences. Finally, we reduced the complex multidimensional space of intrinsic properties to the most salient five that predicted the cellular biomolecular identity with 81.4% accuracy. These results provide a framework for the classification of functional subtypes of cortical neurons by their intrinsic membrane properties.
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Differences in behavioral roles, anatomical connectivity, and gene expression patterns in the dorsal, intermediate, and ventral regions of the hippocampus are well characterized. Relatively fewer studies have, however, focused on comparing the physiological properties of neurons located at different dorsoventral extents of the hippocampus. Recently, we reported that dorsal CA1 neurons are less excitable than ventral neurons. There is little or no information for how neurons in the intermediate hippocampus compare to those from the dorsal and ventral ends. Also, it is not known whether the transition of properties along the dorsoventral axis is gradual or segmented. In this study, we developed a statistical model to predict the dorsoventral position of transverse hippocampal slices. Using current clamp recordings combined with this model, we found that CA1 neurons in dorsal, intermediate, and ventral hippocampus have distinct electrophysiological and morphological properties and that the transition in most (but not all) of these properties from the ventral to dorsal end is gradual. Using linear and segmented regression analyses, we found that input resistance and resting membrane potential changed linearly along the V-D axis. Interestingly, the transition in resonance frequency, rebound slope, dendritic branching in stratum radiatum, and action potential properties was segmented along the V-D axis. Together, the findings from this study highlight the heterogeneity in CA1 neuronal properties along the entire longitudinal axis of hippocampus.
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