System neuroscience of motor cognition regarding the space beyond immediate reach mandates free, yet experimentally controlled movements. We present an experimental environment (Reach Cage) and a versatile visuo-haptic interaction system (MaCaQuE) for investigating goal-directed whole-body movements of unrestrained monkeys. Two rhesus monkeys conducted instructed walk-and-reach movements towards targets flexibly positioned in the cage. We tracked 3D multi-joint arm and head movements using markerless motion capture. Movements show small trial-to-trial variability despite being unrestrained. We wirelessly recorded 192 broad-band neural signals from three cortical sensorimotor areas simultaneously. Single unit activity is selective for different reach and walk-and-reach movements. Walk-and-reach targets could be decoded from premotor and parietal but not motor cortical activity during movement planning. The Reach Cage allows systems-level sensorimotor neuroscience studies with full-body movements in a configurable 3D spatial setting with unrestrained monkeys. We conclude that the primate frontoparietal network encodes reach goals beyond immediate reach during movement planning.
All data (schematics, soft- and hardware documentation) for constructing the MaCaQuE or equivalent systems is made available via GitHub: https://github.com/sensorimotorgroupdpz/MaCaQuE
- Alexander Gail
- Alexander Gail
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Both animals were housed in social groups with one (monkey L) or two (monkey K) male conspecifics in facilities of the German Primate Center. The facilities provide cage sizes exceeding the requirements by German and European regulations, access to an enriched environment including wooden structures and various toys (Calapai et al. 2017). All procedures have been approved by the responsible regional government office [Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LAVES)] under permit numbers 3392 42502-04-13/1100 and comply with German Law and the European Directive 2010/63/EU regulating use of animals in research.
- Bijan Pesaran
© 2020, Berger et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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.