The ability to modulate the efficacy of synaptic communication between neurons constitutes an essential property critical for normal brain function. Animal models have proved invaluable in revealing a wealth of diverse cellular mechanisms underlying varied plasticity modes. However, to what extent these processes are mirrored in humans is largely uncharted thus questioning their relevance in human circuit function. In this study, we focus on neurogliaform cells, that possess specialized physiological features enabling them to impart a widespread inhibitory influence on neural activity. We demonstrate that this prominent neuronal subtype, embedded in both mouse and human neural circuits, undergo remarkably similar activity-dependent modulation manifesting as epochs of enhanced intrinsic excitability. In principle, these evolutionary conserved plasticity routes likely tune the extent of neurogliaform cell mediated inhibition thus constituting canonical circuit mechanisms underlying human cognitive processing and behavior.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting source data files.
Cell Diversity in the Mouse Cortex and Hippocampus & Cell Diversity in the Human cortexhttps://transcriptomic-viewer-downloads.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mouse/transcriptome.zip; https://transcriptomic-viewer-downloads.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/human/transcriptome.zip.
- Kareem A Zaghloul
- Chris J McBain
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All mice were handled in accordance with animal protocols approved by the National Institutes of Health (ASP# 17-045).
Human subjects: The NINDS Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved the research protocol (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01273129), and informed consent for the experimental use of resected tissue was obtained from each participant and their guardians.
- Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Perceptual decisions about sensory input are influenced by fluctuations in ongoing neural activity, most prominently driven by attention and neuromodulator systems. It is currently unknown if neuromodulator activity and attention differentially modulate perceptual decision-making and/or whether neuromodulatory systems in fact control attentional processes. To investigate the effects of two distinct neuromodulatory systems and spatial attention on perceptual decisions, we pharmacologically elevated cholinergic (through donepezil) and catecholaminergic (through atomoxetine) levels in humans performing a visuo-spatial attention task, while we measured electroencephalography (EEG). Both attention and catecholaminergic enhancement improved decision-making at the behavioral and algorithmic level, as reflected in increased perceptual sensitivity and the modulation of the drift rate parameter derived from drift diffusion modeling. Univariate analyses of EEG data time-locked to the attentional cue, the target stimulus, and the motor response further revealed that attention and catecholaminergic enhancement both modulated pre-stimulus cortical excitability, cue- and stimulus-evoked sensory activity, as well as parietal evidence accumulation signals. Interestingly, we observed both similar, unique, and interactive effects of attention and catecholaminergic neuromodulation on these behavioral, algorithmic, and neural markers of the decision-making process. Thereby, this study reveals an intricate relationship between attentional and catecholaminergic systems and advances our understanding about how these systems jointly shape various stages of perceptual decision-making.
The relationship between obesity and human brain structure is incompletely understood. Using diffusion-weighted MRI from ∼30,000 UK Biobank participants, we test the hypothesis that obesity (waist-to-hip ratio, WHR) is associated with regional differences in two micro-structural MRI metrics: isotropic volume fraction (ISOVF), an index of free water, and intra-cellular volume fraction (ICVF), an index of neurite density. We observed significant associations with obesity in two coupled but distinct brain systems: a prefrontal/temporal/striatal system associated with ISOVF and a medial temporal/occipital/striatal system associated with ICVF. The ISOVF~WHR system colocated with expression of genes enriched for innate immune functions, decreased glial density, and high mu opioid (MOR) and other neurotransmitter receptor density. Conversely, the ICVF~WHR system co-located with expression of genes enriched for G-protein coupled receptors and decreased density of MOR and other receptors. To test whether these distinct brain phenotypes might differ in terms of their underlying shared genetics or relationship to maps of the inflammatory marker C-reactive Protein (CRP), we estimated the genetic correlations between WHR and ISOVF (rg = 0.026, P = 0.36) and ICVF (rg = 0.112, P < 9×10−4) as well as comparing correlations between WHR maps and equivalent CRP maps for ISOVF and ICVF (P<0.05). These correlational results are consistent with a two-way mechanistic model whereby genetically determined differences in neurite density in the medial temporal system may contribute to obesity, whereas water content in the prefrontal system could reflect a consequence of obesity mediated by innate immune system activation.