Defective 3b-hydroxysterol-D7-reductase (DHCR7) in the developmental disorder, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS), results in deficiency in cholesterol and accumulation of its precursor, 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC). Here, we show that loss of DHCR7 causes accumulation of 7-DHC-derived oxysterol metabolites, premature neurogenesis from murine or human cortical neural precursors, and depletion of the cortical precursor pool, both in vitro and in vivo. We found that a major oxysterol, 3b,5a-dihydroxycholest-7-en-6-one (DHCEO), mediates these effects by initiating crosstalk between glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and neurotrophin receptor kinase TrkB. Either loss of DHCR7 or direct exposure to DHCEO causes hyperactivation of GR and TrkB and their downstream MEK-ERK-C/EBP signaling pathway in cortical neural precursors. Moreover, direct inhibition of GR activation with an antagonist or inhibition of DHCEO accumulation with antioxidants rescues the premature neurogenesis phenotype caused by the loss of DHCR7. These results suggest that GR could be a new therapeutic target against the neurological defects observed in SLOS.
Raw RNA sequencing data has been deposited at Dryad at https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zw3r2287f. This data was used to generate Figure 7 and Table S5.
7-Dehydrocholesterol-derived oxysterols cause neurogenic defects in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndromeDryad Digital Repository, doi: 10.5061/dryad.zw3r2287f.
- Libin Xu
- Josi M Herron
- Amy Li
- Amy Li
- Libin Xu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#4350-01) of the University of Washington.
- Anita Bhattacharyya, University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States
© 2022, Tomita 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.
Theta and gamma oscillations in the medial temporal lobe are suggested to play a critical role for human memory formation via establishing synchrony in neural assemblies. Arguably, such synchrony facilitates efficient information transfer between neurons and enhances synaptic plasticity, both of which benefit episodic memory formation. However, to date little evidence exists from humans that would provide direct evidence for such a specific role of theta and gamma oscillations for episodic memory formation. Here, we investigate how oscillations shape the temporal structure of neural firing during memory formation in the medial temporal lobe. We measured neural firing and local field potentials in human epilepsy patients via micro-wire electrode recordings to analyze whether brain oscillations are related to co-incidences of firing between neurons during successful and unsuccessful encoding of episodic memories. The results show that phase-coupling of neurons to faster theta and gamma oscillations correlates with co-firing at short latencies (~20–30 ms) and occurs during successful memory formation. Phase-coupling at slower oscillations in these same frequency bands, in contrast, correlates with longer co-firing latencies and occurs during memory failure. Thus, our findings suggest that neural oscillations play a role for the synchronization of neural firing in the medial temporal lobe during the encoding of episodic memories.
Hippocampal-dependent memory is thought to be supported by distinct connectivity states, with strong input to the hippocampus benefitting encoding and weak input benefitting retrieval. Previous research in rodents suggests that the hippocampal theta oscillation orchestrates the transition between these states, with opposite phase angles predicting minimal versus maximal input. We investigated whether this phase dependence exists in humans using network-targeted intracranial stimulation. Intracranial local field potentials were recorded from individuals with epilepsy undergoing medically necessary stereotactic electroencephalographic recording. In each subject, biphasic bipolar direct electrical stimulation was delivered to lateral temporal sites with demonstrated connectivity to hippocampus. Lateral temporal stimulation evoked ipsilateral hippocampal potentials with distinct early and late components. Using evoked component amplitude to measure functional connectivity, we assessed whether the phase of hippocampal theta predicted relatively high versus low connectivity. We observed an increase in the continuous phase–amplitude relationship selective to the early and late components of the response evoked by lateral temporal stimulation. The maximal difference in these evoked component amplitudes occurred across 180 degrees of separation in the hippocampal theta rhythm; that is, the greatest difference in component amplitude was observed when stimulation was delivered at theta peak versus trough. The pattern of theta-phase dependence observed for hippocampus was not identified for control locations. These findings demonstrate that hippocampal receptivity to input varies with theta phase, suggesting that theta phase reflects connectivity states of human hippocampal networks. These findings confirm a putative mechanism by which neural oscillations modulate human hippocampal function.