ResearchPad - synapses https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The role of the C<sub>2</sub>A domain of synaptotagmin 1 in asynchronous neurotransmitter release]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14623 Following nerve stimulation, there are two distinct phases of Ca2+-dependent neurotransmitter release: a fast, synchronous release phase, and a prolonged, asynchronous release phase. Each of these phases is tightly regulated and mediated by distinct mechanisms. Synaptotagmin 1 is the major Ca2+ sensor that triggers fast, synchronous neurotransmitter release upon Ca2+ binding by its C2A and C2B domains. It has also been implicated in the inhibition of asynchronous neurotransmitter release, as blocking Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 results in increased asynchronous release. However, the mutation used to block Ca2+ binding in the previous experiments (aspartate to asparagine mutations, sytD-N) had the unintended side effect of mimicking Ca2+ binding, raising the possibility that the increase in asynchronous release was directly caused by ostensibly constitutive Ca2+ binding. Thus, rather than modulating an asynchronous sensor, sytD-N may be mimicking one. To directly test the C2A inhibition hypothesis, we utilized an alternate C2A mutation that we designed to block Ca2+ binding without mimicking it (an aspartate to glutamate mutation, sytD-E). Analysis of both the original sytD-N mutation and our alternate sytD-E mutation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction showed differential effects on asynchronous release, as well as on synchronous release and the frequency of spontaneous release. Importantly, we found that asynchronous release is not increased in the sytD-E mutant. Thus, our work provides new mechanistic insight into synaptotagmin 1 function during Ca2+-evoked synaptic transmission and demonstrates that Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 does not inhibit asynchronous neurotransmitter release in vivo.

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<![CDATA[Early correction of synaptic long-term depression improves abnormal anxiety-like behavior in adult GluN2B-C456Y-mutant mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13831 Mice that carry a heterozygous, autism spectrum disorder-risk C456Y mutation in the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) subunit GluN2B show decreased protein levels, hippocampal NMDAR currents, and NMDAR-dependent long-term depression and have abnormal anxiolytic-like behavior. Early, but not late, treatment of the young mice with the NMDAR agonist D-cycloserine rescues these phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Low-rate firing limit for neurons with axon, soma and dendrites driven by spatially distributed stochastic synapses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13830 Neurons are extended cells with multiple branching dendrites, a cell body and an axon. In an active neuronal network, neurons receive vast numbers of incoming synaptic pulses throughout their dendrites and cell body that each exhibit significant variability in amplitude and arrival time. The resulting synaptic input causes voltage fluctuations throughout their structure that evolve in space and time. The dynamics of how these signals are integrated and how they ultimately trigger outgoing spikes have been modelled extensively since the late 1960s. However, until relatively recently the majority of the mathematical formulae describing how fluctuating synaptic drive triggers action potentials have been applicable only for small neurons with the dendritic and axonal structure ignored. This has been largely due to the mathematical complexity of including the effects of spatially distributed synaptic input. Here we show that in a physiologically relevant, low-firing-rate regime, an approximate level-crossing approach can be used to provide an estimate for the neuronal firing rate even when the dendrites and axons are included. We illustrate this approach using basic neuronal morphologies that capture the fundamentals of neuronal structure. Though the models are simple, these preliminary results show that it is possible to obtain useful formulae that capture the effects of spatially distributed synaptic drive. The generality of these results suggests they will provide a mathematical framework for future studies that might require the structure of neurons to be taken into account, such as the effect of electrical fields or multiple synaptic input streams that target distinct spatial domains of cortical pyramidal cells.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Electrical synapses regulate both subthreshold integration and population activity of principal cells in response to transient inputs within canonical feedforward circuits]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95e0d5eed0c484734e89

As information about the world traverses the brain, the signals exchanged between neurons are passed and modulated by synapses, or specialized contacts between neurons. While neurotransmitter-based synapses tend to exert either excitatory or inhibitory pulses of influence on the postsynaptic neuron, electrical synapses, composed of plaques of gap junction channels, continuously transmit signals that can either excite or inhibit a coupled neighbor. A growing body of evidence indicates that electrical synapses, similar to their chemical counterparts, are modified in strength during physiological neuronal activity. The synchronizing role of electrical synapses in neuronal oscillations has been well established, but their impact on transient signal processing in the brain is much less understood. Here we constructed computational models based on the canonical feedforward neuronal circuit and included electrical synapses between inhibitory interneurons. We provided discrete closely-timed inputs to the circuits, and characterize the influence of electrical synapse strength on both subthreshold summation and spike trains in the output neuron. Our simulations highlight the diverse and powerful roles that electrical synapses play even in simple circuits. Because these canonical circuits are represented widely throughout the brain, we expect that these are general principles for the influence of electrical synapses on transient signal processing across the brain.

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<![CDATA[Tuft dendrites of pyramidal neurons operate as feedback-modulated functional subunits]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897706d5eed0c4847d22c8

Dendrites of pyramidal cells exhibit complex morphologies and contain a variety of ionic conductances, which generate non-trivial integrative properties. Basal and proximal apical dendrites have been shown to function as independent computational subunits within a two-layer feedforward processing scheme. The outputs of the subunits are linearly summed and passed through a final non-linearity. It is an open question whether this mathematical abstraction can be applied to apical tuft dendrites as well. Using a detailed compartmental model of CA1 pyramidal neurons and a novel theoretical framework based on iso-response methods, we first show that somatic sub-threshold responses to brief synaptic inputs cannot be described by a two-layer feedforward model. Then, we relax the core assumption of subunit independence and introduce non-linear feedback from the output layer to the subunit inputs. We find that additive feedback alone explains the somatic responses to synaptic inputs to most of the branches in the apical tuft. Individual dendritic branches bidirectionally modulate the thresholds of their input-output curves without significantly changing the gains. In contrast to these findings for precisely timed inputs, we show that neuronal computations based on firing rates can be accurately described by purely feedforward two-layer models. Our findings support the view that dendrites of pyramidal neurons possess non-linear analog processing capabilities that critically depend on the location of synaptic inputs. The iso-response framework proposed in this computational study is highly efficient and could be directly applied to biological neurons.

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<![CDATA[The primate-specific peptide Y-P30 regulates morphological maturation of neocortical dendritic spines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca0bd5eed0c48452a6fd

The 30-amino acid peptide Y-P30 corresponds to the N-terminus of the primate-specific, sweat gland-derived dermcidin prepropeptide. Previous work has revealed that Y-P30 enhances the interaction of pleiotrophin and syndecans-2/3, and thus represents a natural ligand to study this signaling pathway. In immature neurons, Y-P30 activates the c-Src and p42/44 ERK kinase pathway, increases the amount of F-actin in axonal growth cones, and promotes neuronal survival, cell migration and axonal elongation. The action of Y-P30 on axonal growth requires syndecan-3 and heparan sulfate side chains. Whether Y-P30 has the potential to influence dendrites and dendritic protrusions has not been explored. The latter is suggested by the observations that syndecan-2 expression increases during postnatal development, that syndecan-2 becomes enriched in dendritic spines, and that overexpression of syndecan-2 in immature neurons results in a premature morphological maturation of dendritic spines. Here, analysing rat cortical pyramidal and non-pyramidal neurons in organotypic cultures, we show that Y-P30 does not alter the development of the dendritic arborization patterns. However, Y-P30 treatment decreases the density of apical, but not basal dendritic protrusions at the expense of the filopodia. Analysis of spine morphology revealed an unchanged mushroom/stubby-to-thin spine ratio and a shortening of the longest decile of dendritic protrusions. Whole-cell recordings from cortical principal neurons in dissociated cultures grown in the presence of Y-P30 demonstrated a decrease in the frequency of glutamatergic mEPSCs. Despite these differences in protrusion morphology and synaptic transmission, the latter likely attributable to presynaptic effects, calcium event rate and amplitude recorded in pyramidal neurons in organotypic cultures were not altered by Y-P30 treatment. Together, our data suggest that Y-P30 has the capacity to decelerate spinogenesis and to promote morphological, but not synaptic, maturation of dendritic protrusions.

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<![CDATA[Top-down inputs drive neuronal network rewiring and context-enhanced sensory processing in olfaction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c46bd5eed0c4845e873d

Much of the computational power of the mammalian brain arises from its extensive top-down projections. To enable neuron-specific information processing these projections have to be precisely targeted. How such a specific connectivity emerges and what functions it supports is still poorly understood. We addressed these questions in silico in the context of the profound structural plasticity of the olfactory system. At the core of this plasticity are the granule cells of the olfactory bulb, which integrate bottom-up sensory inputs and top-down inputs delivered by vast top-down projections from cortical and other brain areas. We developed a biophysically supported computational model for the rewiring of the top-down projections and the intra-bulbar network via adult neurogenesis. The model captures various previous physiological and behavioral observations and makes specific predictions for the cortico-bulbar network connectivity that is learned by odor exposure and environmental contexts. Specifically, it predicts that—after learning—the granule-cell receptive fields with respect to sensory and with respect to cortical inputs are highly correlated. This enables cortical cells that respond to a learned odor to enact disynaptic inhibitory control specifically of bulbar principal cells that respond to that odor. For this the reciprocal nature of the granule cell synapses with the principal cells is essential. Functionally, the model predicts context-enhanced stimulus discrimination in cluttered environments (‘olfactory cocktail parties’) and the ability of the system to adapt to its tasks by rapidly switching between different odor-processing modes. These predictions are experimentally testable. At the same time they provide guidance for future experiments aimed at unraveling the cortico-bulbar connectivity.

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<![CDATA[Short-term synaptic depression can increase the rate of information transfer at a release site]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c366803d5eed0c4841a6dbe

The release of neurotransmitters from synapses obeys complex and stochastic dynamics. Depending on the recent history of synaptic activation, many synapses depress the probability of releasing more neurotransmitter, which is known as synaptic depression. Our understanding of how synaptic depression affects the information efficacy, however, is limited. Here we propose a mathematically tractable model of both synchronous spike-evoked release and asynchronous release that permits us to quantify the information conveyed by a synapse. The model transits between discrete states of a communication channel, with the present state depending on many past time steps, emulating the gradual depression and exponential recovery of the synapse. Asynchronous and spontaneous releases play a critical role in shaping the information efficacy of the synapse. We prove that depression can enhance both the information rate and the information rate per unit energy expended, provided that synchronous spike-evoked release depresses less (or recovers faster) than asynchronous release. Furthermore, we explore the theoretical implications of short-term synaptic depression adapting on longer time scales, as part of the phenomenon of metaplasticity. In particular, we show that a synapse can adjust its energy expenditure by changing the dynamics of short-term synaptic depression without affecting the net information conveyed by each successful release. Moreover, the optimal input spike rate is independent of the amplitude or time constant of synaptic depression. We analyze the information efficacy of three types of synapses for which the short-term dynamics of both synchronous and asynchronous release have been experimentally measured. In hippocampal autaptic synapses, the persistence of asynchronous release during depression cannot compensate for the reduction of synchronous release, so that the rate of information transmission declines with synaptic depression. In the calyx of Held, the information rate per release remains constant despite large variations in the measured asynchronous release rate. Lastly, we show that dopamine, by controlling asynchronous release in corticostriatal synapses, increases the synaptic information efficacy in nucleus accumbens.

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<![CDATA[Regenerative capacity in the lamprey spinal cord is not altered after a repeated transection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52bbd5eed0c4842bcf38

The resilience of regeneration in vertebrates is not very well understood. Yet understanding if tissues can regenerate after repeated insults, and identifying limitations, is important for elucidating the underlying mechanisms of tissue plasticity. This is particularly challenging in tissues, such as the nervous system, which possess a large number of terminally differentiated cells and often exhibit limited regeneration in the first place. However, unlike mammals, which exhibit very limited regeneration of spinal cord tissues, many non-mammalian vertebrates, including lampreys, bony fishes, amphibians, and reptiles, regenerate their spinal cords and functionally recover even after a complete spinal cord transection. It is well established that lampreys undergo full functional recovery of swimming behaviors after a single spinal cord transection, which is accompanied by tissue repair at the lesion site, as well as axon and synapse regeneration. Here we begin to explore the resilience of spinal cord regeneration in lampreys after a second spinal transection (re-transection). We report that by all functional and anatomical measures tested, lampreys regenerate after spinal re-transection just as robustly as after single transections. Recovery of swimming, synapse and cytoskeletal distributions, axon regeneration, and neuronal survival were nearly identical after spinal transection or re-transection. Only minor differences in tissue repair at the lesion site were observed in re-transected spinal cords. Thus, regenerative potential in the lamprey spinal cord is largely unaffected by spinal re-transection, indicating a greater persistent regenerative potential than exists in some other highly regenerative models. These findings establish a new path for uncovering pro-regenerative targets that could be deployed in non-regenerative conditions.

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<![CDATA[Early alterations in hippocampal perisomatic GABAergic synapses and network oscillations in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c3dd5eed0c484bd1017

Several lines of evidence imply changes in inhibitory interneuron connectivity and subsequent alterations in oscillatory network activities in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Recently, we provided evidence for an increased immunoreactivity of both the postsynaptic scaffold protein gephyrin and the GABAA receptor γ2-subunit in the hippocampus of young (1 and 3 months of age), APPPS1 mice. These mice represent a well-established model of cerebral amyloidosis, which is a hallmark of human AD. In this study, we demonstrate a robust increase of parvalbumin immunoreactivity and accentuated projections of parvalbumin positive (PV+) interneurons, which target perisomatic regions of pyramidal cells within the hippocampal subregions CA1 and CA3 of 3-month-old APPPS1 mice. Colocalisation studies confirmed a significant increase in the density of PV+ projections labeled with antibodies against a presynaptic (vesicular GABA transporter) and a postsynaptic marker (gephyrin) of inhibitory synapses within the pyramidal cell layer of CA1 and CA3. As perisomatic inhibition by PV+-interneurons is crucial for the generation of hippocampal network oscillations involved in spatial processing, learning and memory formation we investigated the impact of the putative enhanced perisomatic inhibition on two types of fast neuronal network oscillations in acute hippocampal slices: 1. spontaneously occurring sharp wave-ripple complexes (SPW-R), and 2. cholinergic γ-oscillations. Interestingly, both network patterns were generally preserved in APPPS1 mice similar to WT mice. However, the comparison of simultaneous CA3 and CA1 recordings revealed that the incidence and amplitude of SPW-Rs were significantly lower in CA1 vs CA3 in APPPS1 slices, whereas the power of γ-oscillations was significantly higher in CA3 vs CA1 in WT-slices indicating an impaired communication between the CA3 and CA1 network activities in APPPS1 mice. Taken together, our data demonstrate an increased GABAergic synaptic output of PV+ interneurons impinging on pyramidal cells of CA1 and CA3, which might limit the coordinated cross-talk between these two hippocampal areas in young APPPS1 mice and mediate long-term changes in synaptic inhibition during progression of amyloidosis.

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<![CDATA[An opposing function of paralogs in balancing developmental synapse maturation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2eb7d5eed0c484d9b3e3

The disc-large (DLG)–membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK) family of proteins forms a central signaling hub of the glutamate receptor complex. Among this family, some proteins regulate developmental maturation of glutamatergic synapses, a process vulnerable to aberrations, which may lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. As is typical for paralogs, the DLG-MAGUK proteins postsynaptic density (PSD)-95 and PSD-93 share similar functional domains and were previously thought to regulate glutamatergic synapses similarly. Here, we show that they play opposing roles in glutamatergic synapse maturation. Specifically, PSD-95 promoted, whereas PSD-93 inhibited maturation of immature α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid–type glutamate receptor (AMPAR)–silent synapses in mouse cortex during development. Furthermore, through experience-dependent regulation of its protein levels, PSD-93 directly inhibited PSD-95’s promoting effect on silent synapse maturation in the visual cortex. The concerted function of these two paralogs governed the critical period of juvenile ocular dominance plasticity (jODP), and fine-tuned visual perception during development. In contrast to the silent synapse–based mechanism of adjusting visual perception, visual acuity improved by different mechanisms. Thus, by controlling the pace of silent synapse maturation, the opposing but properly balanced actions of PSD-93 and PSD-95 are essential for fine-tuning cortical networks for receptive field integration during developmental critical periods, and imply aberrations in either direction of this process as potential causes for neurodevelopmental disorders.

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<![CDATA[Using computational models to predict in vivo synaptic inputs to interneuron specific 3 (IS3) cells of CA1 hippocampus that also allow their recruitment during rhythmic states]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e50b5d5eed0c484d84993

Brain coding strategies are enabled by the balance of synaptic inputs that individual neurons receive as determined by the networks in which they reside. Inhibitory cell types contribute to brain function in distinct ways but recording from specific, inhibitory cell types during behaviour to determine their contributions is highly challenging. In particular, the in vivo activities of vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing interneuron specific 3 (IS3) cells in the hippocampus that only target other inhibitory cells are unknown at present. We perform a massive, computational exploration of possible synaptic inputs to IS3 cells using multi-compartment models and optimized synaptic parameters. We find that asynchronous, in vivo-like states that are sensitive to additional theta-timed inputs (8 Hz) exist when excitatory and inhibitory synaptic conductances are approximately equally balanced and with low numbers of activated synapses receiving correlated inputs. Specifically, under these balanced conditions, the input resistance is larger with higher mean spike firing rates relative to other activated synaptic conditions investigated. Incoming theta-timed inputs result in strongly increased spectral power relative to baseline. Thus, using a generally applicable computational approach we predict the existence and features of background, balanced states in hippocampal circuits.

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<![CDATA[Zinc enhances hippocampal long-term potentiation at CA1 synapses through NR2B containing NMDA receptors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c084185d5eed0c484fc9dc4

The role of zinc (Zn2+), a modulator of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, in regulating long-term synaptic plasticity at hippocampal CA1 synapses is poorly understood. The effects of exogenous application of Zn2+ and of chelation of endogenous Zn2+ were examined on long-term potentiation (LTP) of stimulus-evoked synaptic transmission at Schaffer collateral (SCH) synapses in field CA1 of mouse hippocampal slices using whole-cell patch clamp and field recordings. Low micromolar concentrations of exogenous Zn2+ enhanced the induction of LTP, and this effect required activation of NMDA receptors containing NR2B subunits. Zn2+ elicited a selective increase in NMDA/NR2B fEPSPs, and removal of endogenous Zn2+ with high-affinity Zn2+ chelators robustly reduced the magnitude of stimulus-evoked LTP. Taken together, our data show that Zn2+ at physiological concentrations enhances activation of NMDA receptors containing NR2B subunits, and that this effect enhances the magnitude of LTP.

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<![CDATA[The effects of aging on neuropil structure in mouse somatosensory cortex—A 3D electron microscopy analysis of layer 1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a08df463d7e3fbe689132

This study has used dense reconstructions from serial EM images to compare the neuropil ultrastructure and connectivity of aged and adult mice. The analysis used models of axons, dendrites, and their synaptic connections, reconstructed from volumes of neuropil imaged in layer 1 of the somatosensory cortex. This shows the changes to neuropil structure that accompany a general loss of synapses in a well-defined brain region. The loss of excitatory synapses was balanced by an increase in their size such that the total amount of synaptic surface, per unit length of axon, and per unit volume of neuropil, stayed the same. There was also a greater reduction of inhibitory synapses than excitatory, particularly those found on dendritic spines, resulting in an increase in the excitatory/inhibitory balance. The close correlations, that exist in young and adult neurons, between spine volume, bouton volume, synaptic size, and docked vesicle numbers are all preserved during aging. These comparisons display features that indicate a reduced plasticity of cortical circuits, with fewer, more transient, connections, but nevertheless an enhancement of the remaining connectivity that compensates for a generalized synapse loss.

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<![CDATA[Palmitoylation of Gephyrin Controls Receptor Clustering and Plasticity of GABAergic Synapses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db1bab0ee8fa60bce20b

Gephyrin, the principal scaffolding protein at inhibitory synapses, needs to be palmitoylated in order to cluster and to assemble functional synapses.

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<![CDATA[Functional and Structural Properties of Dentate Granule Cells with Hilar Basal Dendrites in Mouse Entorhino-Hippocampal Slice Cultures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d5ab0ee8fa60b65a86

During postnatal development hippocampal dentate granule cells (GCs) often extend dendrites from the basal pole of their cell bodies into the hilar region. These so-called hilar basal dendrites (hBD) usually regress with maturation. However, hBDs may persist in a subset of mature GCs under certain conditions (both physiological and pathological). The functional role of these hBD-GCs remains not well understood. Here, we have studied hBD-GCs in mature (≥18 days in vitro) mouse entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures under control conditions and have compared their basic functional properties (basic intrinsic and synaptic properties) and structural properties (dendritic arborisation and spine densities) to those of neighboring GCs without hBDs in the same set of cultures. Except for the presence of hBDs, we did not detect major differences between the two GC populations. Furthermore, paired recordings of neighboring GCs with and without hBDs did not reveal evidence for a heavy aberrant GC-to-GC connectivity. Taken together, our data suggest that in control cultures the presence of hBDs on GCs is neither sufficient to predict alterations in the basic functional and structural properties of these GCs nor indicative of a heavy GC-to-GC connectivity between neighboring GCs.

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<![CDATA[Orexin Neurons Receive Glycinergic Innervations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da4bab0ee8fa60b8cc32

Glycine, a nonessential amino-acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, is currently used as a dietary supplement to improve the quality of sleep, but its mechanism of action is poorly understood. We confirmed the effects of glycine on sleep/wakefulness behavior in mice when administered peripherally. Glycine administration increased non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time and decreased the amount and mean episode duration of wakefulness when administered in the dark period. Since peripheral administration of glycine induced fragmentation of sleep/wakefulness states, which is a characteristic of orexin deficiency, we examined the effects of glycine on orexin neurons. The number of Fos-positive orexin neurons markedly decreased after intraperitoneal administration of glycine to mice. To examine whether glycine acts directly on orexin neurons, we examined the effects of glycine on orexin neurons by patch-clamp electrophysiology. Glycine directly induced hyperpolarization and cessation of firing of orexin neurons. These responses were inhibited by a specific glycine receptor antagonist, strychnine. Triple-labeling immunofluorescent analysis showed close apposition of glycine transporter 2 (GlyT2)-immunoreactive glycinergic fibers onto orexin-immunoreactive neurons. Immunoelectron microscopic analysis revealed that GlyT2-immunoreactive terminals made symmetrical synaptic contacts with somata and dendrites of orexin neurons. Double-labeling immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that glycine receptor alpha subunits were localized in the postsynaptic membrane of symmetrical inhibitory synapses on orexin neurons. Considering the importance of glycinergic regulation during REM sleep, our observations suggest that glycine injection might affect the activity of orexin neurons, and that glycinergic inhibition of orexin neurons might play a role in physiological sleep regulation.

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<![CDATA[Bidirectional Scaling of Astrocytic Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Signaling following Long-Term Changes in Neuronal Firing Rates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae1ab0ee8fa60bbbd60

Very little is known about the ability of astrocytic receptors to exhibit plasticity as a result of changes in neuronal activity. Here we provide evidence for bidirectional scaling of astrocytic group I metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling in acute mouse hippocampal slices following long-term changes in neuronal firing rates. Plasticity of astrocytic mGluRs was measured by recording spontaneous and evoked Ca2+ elevations in both astrocytic somata and processes. An exogenous astrocytic Gq G protein-coupled receptor was resistant to scaling, suggesting that the alterations in astrocyte Ca2+ signaling result from changes in activity of the surface mGluRs rather than a change in intracellular G protein signaling molecules. These findings suggest that astrocytes actively detect shifts in neuronal firing rates and adjust their receptor signaling accordingly. This type of long-term plasticity in astrocytes resembles neuronal homeostatic plasticity and might be important to ensure an optimal or expected level of input from neurons.

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<![CDATA[Recurrent Inhibition to the Medial Nucleus of the Trapezoid Body in the Mongolian Gerbil (Meriones Unguiculatus)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e4ab0ee8fa60b6abdc

Principal neurons in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) receive strong and temporally precise excitatory input from globular bushy cells in the cochlear nucleus through the calyx of Held. The extremely large synaptic currents produced by the calyx have sometimes led to the view of the MNTB as a simple relay synapse which converts incoming excitation to outgoing inhibition. However, electrophysiological and anatomical studies have shown the additional presence of inhibitory glycinergic currents that are large enough to suppress action potentials in MNTB neurons at least in some cases. The source(s) of glycinergic inhibition to MNTB are not fully understood. One major extrinsic source of glycinergic inhibitory input to MNTB is the ventral nucleus of the trapezoid body. However, it has been suggested that MNTB neurons receive additional inhibitory inputs via intrinsic connections (collaterals of glycinergic projections of MNTB neurons). While several authors have postulated their presence, these collaterals have never been examined in detail. Here we test the hypothesis that collaterals of MNTB principal cells provide glycinergic inhibition to the MNTB. We injected dye into single principal neurons in the MNTB, traced their projections, and immunohistochemically identified their synapses. We found that collaterals terminate within the MNTB and provide an additional source of inhibition to other principal cells, creating an inhibitory microcircuit within the MNTB. Only about a quarter to a third of MNTB neurons receive such collateral inputs. This microcircuit could produce side band inhibition and enhance frequency tuning of MNTB neurons, consistent with physiological observations.

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