The hippocampus plays a central role in long-term memory formation, and different hippocampal network states are thought to have different functions in this process. These network states are controlled by neuromodulatory inputs, including the cholinergic input from the medial septum. Here, we used optogenetic stimulation of septal cholinergic neurons to understand how cholinergic activity affects different stages of spatial memory formation in a reward-based navigation task in mice. We found that optogenetic stimulation of septal cholinergic neurons (1) impaired memory formation when activated at goal location but not during navigation; (2) reduced sharp wave-ripple (SWR) incidence at goal location; and (3) reduced SWR incidence and enhanced theta-gamma oscillations during sleep. These results underscore the importance of appropriate timing of cholinergic input in long-term memory formation, which might help explain the limited success of cholinesterase inhibitor drugs in treating memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease.
Code used for the analysis and to generate the figures can be accessed on the authors' GitHub site: https://github.com/przemyslawj/ach-effect-on-hpc. Raw data are available on: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19PJazJRdXD3b8cieFVJorL8h8qLmjeh6
- Ole Paulsen
- Ole Paulsen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were performed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012 following ethical review by the University of Cambridge Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) under personal and project licenses held by the authors.
- Laura L Colgin, University of Texas at Austin, United States
© 2021, Jarzebowski 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.
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.