D2 autoreceptors regulate dopamine release throughout the brain. Two isoforms of the D2 receptor, D2S and D2L, are expressed in midbrain dopamine neurons. Differential roles of these isoforms as autoreceptors are poorly understood. By virally expressing the isoforms in dopamine neurons of D2 receptor knockout mice, this study assessed the calcium-dependence and drug-induced plasticity of D2S and D2L receptor-dependent GIRK currents. The results reveal that D2S, but not D2L receptors, exhibited calcium-dependent desensitization similar to that exhibited by endogenous autoreceptors. Two pathways of calcium signaling that regulated D2 autoreceptor-dependent GIRK signaling were identified, which distinctly affected desensitization and the magnitude of D2S and D2L receptor-dependent GIRK currents. Previous in vivo cocaine exposure removed calcium-dependent D2 autoreceptor desensitization in wild type, but not D2S-only mice. Thus, expression of D2S as the exclusive autoreceptor was insufficient for cocaine-induced plasticity, implying a functional role for the co-expression of D2S and D2L autoreceptors.
Animal experimentation: All studies were conducted in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees at the VA Portland Health Care System (#2577-12) and Oregon Health & Science University (IS01394).
- Sacha B Nelson, Brandeis University, United States
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The adult human visual system maintains the ability to be altered by sensory deprivation. What has not been considered is whether the internal neural states modulate visual sensitivity to short-term monocular deprivation. In this study we manipulated the internal neural state and reported changes in intrinsic neural oscillations with a patched eye open or closed. We investigated the influence of eye open/eye closure on the unpatched eye's contrast sensitivity and ocular dominance (OD) shifts induced by short-term monocular deprivation. The results demonstrate that internal neural states influence not only baseline contrast sensitivity but also the extent to which the adult visual system can undergo changes in ocular dominance.
Naturally occurring body movements and collective neural activity both exhibit complex dynamics, often with scale-free, fractal spatiotemporal structure. Scale-free dynamics of both brain and behavior are important because each is associated with functional benefits to the organism. Despite their similarities, scale-free brain activity and scale-free behavior have been studied separately, without a unified explanation. Here we show that scale-free dynamics of mouse behavior and neurons in visual cortex are strongly related. Surprisingly, the scale-free neural activity is limited to specific subsets of neurons, and these scale-free subsets exhibit stochastic winner-take-all competition with other neural subsets. This observation is inconsistent with prevailing theories of scale-free dynamics in neural systems, which stem from the criticality hypothesis. We develop a computational model which incorporates known cell-type-specific circuit structure, explaining our findings with a new type of critical dynamics. Our results establish neural underpinnings of scale-free behavior and clear behavioral relevance of scale-free neural activity.