Anatomical and physiological studies have led to the assumption that the dorsal striatum receives exclusively excitatory afferents from the cortex. Here we test the hypothesis that the dorsal striatum receives also GABAergic projections from the cortex. We addressed this fundamental question by taking advantage of optogenetics and directly examining the functional effects of cortical GABAergic inputs to spiny projection neurons (SPNs) of the mouse auditory and motor cortex. We found that the cortex, via corticostriatal somatostatin neurons (CS-SOM), has a direct inhibitory influence on the output of the striatum SPNs. Our results describe a corticostriatal long-range inhibitory circuit (CS-SOM inhibitory projections → striatal SPNs) underlying the control of spike timing/generation in SPNs and attributes a specific function to a genetically defined type of cortical interneuron in corticostriatal communication.
Animal experimentation: Apicella IACUC protocol number: IS00000135All animal procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Procedures followed animal welfare guidelines set by the National Institutes of Health. Mice used in this experiment were housed in a vivarium maintaining a 12 hour light/dark schedule and given ad libidum access to mouse chow and water.Mice were initially anesthetized with isoflurane (3%; 1 L/min O2 flow) in preparation for the stereotaxic injections.
- Sacha B Nelson, Brandeis University, United States
© 2016, Rock et al.
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The presynaptic protein α-synuclein (αSyn) has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In PD, the amygdala is prone to develop insoluble αSyn aggregates, and it has been suggested that circuit dysfunction involving the amygdala contributes to the psychiatric symptoms. Yet, how αSyn aggregates affect amygdala function is unknown. In this study, we examined αSyn in glutamatergic axon terminals and the impact of its aggregation on glutamatergic transmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA). We found that αSyn is primarily present in the vesicular glutamate transporter 1-expressing (vGluT1+) terminals in mouse BLA, which is consistent with higher levels of αSyn expression in vGluT1+ glutamatergic neurons in the cerebral cortex relative to the vGluT2+ glutamatergic neurons in the thalamus. We found that αSyn aggregation selectively decreased the cortico-BLA, but not the thalamo-BLA, transmission; and that cortico-BLA synapses displayed enhanced short-term depression upon repetitive stimulation. In addition, using confocal microscopy, we found that vGluT1+ axon terminals exhibited decreased levels of soluble αSyn, which suggests that lower levels of soluble αSyn might underlie the enhanced short-term depression of cortico-BLA synapses. In agreement with this idea, we found that cortico-BLA synaptic depression was also enhanced in αSyn knockout mice. In conclusion, both basal and dynamic cortico-BLA transmission were disrupted by abnormal aggregation of αSyn and these changes might be relevant to the perturbed cortical control of the amygdala that has been suggested to play a role in psychiatric symptoms in PD.
Animals can evolve dramatic sensory functions in response to environmental constraints, but little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying these changes. The Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus, is a leading model to study genetic, behavioral, and physiological evolution by comparing eyed surface populations and blind cave populations. We compared neurophysiological responses of posterior lateral line afferent neurons and motor neurons across A. mexicanus populations to reveal how shifts in sensory function may shape behavioral diversity. These studies indicate differences in intrinsic afferent signaling and gain control across populations. Elevated endogenous afferent activity identified a lower response threshold in the lateral line of blind cavefish relative to surface fish leading to increased evoked potentials during hair cell deflection in cavefish. We next measured the effect of inhibitory corollary discharges from hindbrain efferent neurons onto afferents during locomotion. We discovered that three independently derived cavefish populations have evolved persistent afferent activity during locomotion, suggesting for the first time that partial loss of function in the efferent system can be an evolutionary mechanism for neural adaptation of a vertebrate sensory system.