Glutamatergic neurons in the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) function as respiratory chemoreceptors by regulating breathing in response to tissue CO2/H+. The RTN and greater parafacial region may also function as a chemosensing network composed of CO2/H+-sensitive excitatory and inhibitory synaptic interactions. In the context of disease, we showed that loss of inhibitory neural activity in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome disinhibited RTN chemoreceptors and destabilized breathing (Kuo et. al., 2019; 25). Despite this, contributions of parafacial inhibitory neurons to control of breathing are unknown, and synaptic properties of RTN neurons have not been characterized. Here, we show the parafacial region contains a limited diversity of inhibitory neurons including somatostatin (Sst)-, parvalbumin (Pvalb)- and cholecystokinin (Cck)-expressing neurons. Of these, Sst-expressing interneurons appear uniquely inhibited by CO2/H+. We also show RTN chemoreceptors receive inhibitory input that is withdrawn in a CO2/H+-dependent manner, and chemogenetic suppression of Sst+ parafacial neurons, but not Pvalb+ or Cck+ neurons, increases baseline breathing. These results suggest Sst-expressing parafacial neurons contribute to RTN chemoreception and respiratory activity.
Raw and processed scRNA-seq data are available through the Gene Expression Omnibus (accession GSE153172) and analysis code is available on GitHub. Analysis of FISH, electrophysiology, and respiratory activity data was done using standard software and no custom code was written.
- Daniel K Mulkey
- Daniel K Mulkey
- Daniel K Mulkey
- Colin M Cleary
- Brenda M Milla
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures were performed in accordance with National Institutes of Health and University of Connecticut Animal Care and Use Guidelines (protocols A19-048 and A20-016).
- Muriel Thoby-Brisson, CNRS Université de Bordeaux, France
© 2021, Cleary 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.
Cochlear sound encoding depends on α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors (AMPARs), but reliance on specific pore-forming subunits is unknown. With 5-week-old male C57BL/6J Gria3-knockout mice (i.e., subunit GluA3KO) we determined cochlear function, synapse ultrastructure, and AMPAR molecular anatomy at ribbon synapses between inner hair cells (IHCs) and spiral ganglion neurons. GluA3KO and wild-type (GluA3WT) mice reared in ambient sound pressure level (SPL) of 55–75 dB had similar auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds, wave-1 amplitudes, and latencies. Postsynaptic densities (PSDs), presynaptic ribbons, and synaptic vesicle sizes were all larger on the modiolar side of the IHCs from GluA3WT, but not GluA3KO, demonstrating GluA3 is required for modiolar–pillar synapse differentiation. Presynaptic ribbons juxtaposed with postsynaptic GluA2/4 subunits were similar in quantity, however, lone ribbons were more frequent in GluA3KO and GluA2-lacking synapses were observed only in GluA3KO. GluA2 and GluA4 immunofluorescence volumes were smaller on the pillar side than the modiolar side in GluA3KO, despite increased pillar-side PSD size. Overall, the fluorescent puncta volumes of GluA2 and GluA4 were smaller in GluA3KO than GluA3WT. However, GluA3KO contained less GluA2 and greater GluA4 immunofluorescence intensity relative to GluA3WT (threefold greater mean GluA4:GluA2 ratio). Thus, GluA3 is essential in development, as germline disruption of Gria3 caused anatomical synapse pathology before cochlear output became symptomatic by ABR. We propose the hearing loss in older male GluA3KO mice results from progressive synaptopathy evident in 5-week-old mice as decreased abundance of GluA2 subunits and an increase in GluA2-lacking, GluA4-monomeric Ca2+-permeable AMPARs.
Relief of ongoing pain is a potent motivator of behavior, directing actions to escape from or reduce potentially harmful stimuli. Whereas endogenous modulation of pain events is well characterized, relatively little is known about the modulation of pain relief and its corresponding neurochemical basis. Here we studied pain modulation during a probabilistic relief-seeking task (a 'wheel of fortune' gambling task), in which people actively or passively received reduction of a tonic thermal pain stimulus. We found that relief perception was enhanced by active decisions and unpredictability, and greater in high novelty-seeking trait individuals, consistent with a model in which relief is tuned by its informational content. We then probed the roles of dopaminergic and opioidergic signaling, both of which are implicated in relief processing, by embedding the task in a double-blinded cross-over design with administration of the dopamine precursor levodopa and the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone. We found that levodopa enhanced each of these information-specific aspects of relief modulation but no significant effects of the opioidergic manipulation. These results show that dopaminergic signaling has a key role in modulating the perception of pain relief to optimize motivation and behavior.