ResearchPad - systems-circuits Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Long-latency Responses to a Mechanical Perturbation of the Index Finger Have a Spinal Component]]> In an uncertain external environment, the motor system may need to respond rapidly to an unexpected stimulus. Limb displacement causes muscle stretch; the corrective response has multiple activity bursts, which are suggested to originate from different parts of the neuraxis. The earliest response is so fast, it can only be produced by spinal circuits; this is followed by slower components thought to arise from primary motor cortex (M1) and other supraspinal areas. Spinal cord (SC) contributions to the slower components are rarely considered. To address this, we recorded neural activity in M1 and the cervical SC during a visuomotor tracking task, in which 2 female macaque monkeys moved their index finger against a resisting motor to track an on-screen target. Following the behavioral trial, an increase in motor torque rapidly returned the finger to its starting position (lever velocity >200°/s). Many cells responded to this passive mechanical perturbation (M1: 148 of 211 cells, 70%; SC: 67 of 119 cells, 56%). The neural onset latency was faster for SC compared with M1 cells (21.7 ± 11.2 ms vs 25.5 ± 10.7 ms, respectively, mean ± SD). Using spike-triggered averaging, some cells in both regions were identified as likely premotor cells, with monosynaptic connections to motoneurons. Response latencies for these cells were compatible with a contribution to the muscle responses following the perturbation. Comparable fractions of responding neurons in both areas were active up to 100 ms after the perturbation, suggesting that both SC circuits and supraspinal centers could contribute to later response components.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Following a limb perturbation, multiple reflexes help to restore limb position. Given conduction delays, the earliest part of these reflexes can only arise from spinal circuits. By contrast, long-latency reflex components are typically assumed to originate from supraspinal centers. We recorded from both spinal and motor cortical cells in monkeys responding to index finger perturbations. Many spinal interneurons, including those identified as projecting to motoneurons, responded to the perturbation; the timing of responses was compatible with a contribution to both short- and long-latency reflexes. We conclude that spinal circuits also contribute to long-latency reflexes in distal and forearm muscles, alongside supraspinal regions, such as the motor cortex and brainstem.

<![CDATA[Area-Specific Synapse Structure in Branched Posterior Nucleus Axons Reveals a New Level of Complexity in Thalamocortical Networks]]>

Thalamocortical posterior nucleus (Po) axons innervating the vibrissal somatosensory (S1) and motor (MC) cortices are key links in the brain neuronal network that allows rodents to explore the environment whisking with their motile snout vibrissae.

<![CDATA[Pulsed Facilitation of Corticospinal Excitability by the Sensorimotor μ-Alpha Rhythm]]>

Alpha oscillations (8–14 Hz) are assumed to gate information flow in the brain by means of pulsed inhibition; that is, the phasic suppression of cortical excitability and information processing once per alpha cycle, resulting in stronger net suppression for larger alpha amplitudes due to the assumed amplitude asymmetry of the oscillation. While there is evidence for this hypothesis regarding occipital alpha oscillations, it is less clear for the central sensorimotor μ-alpha rhythm. Probing corticospinal excitability via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor cortex and the measurement of motor evoked potentials (MEPs), we have previously demonstrated that corticospinal excitability is modulated by both amplitude and phase of the sensorimotor μ-alpha rhythm. However, the direction of this modulation, its proposed asymmetry, and its underlying mechanisms remained unclear. We therefore used real-time EEG-triggered single- and paired-pulse TMS in healthy humans of both sexes to assess corticospinal excitability and GABA-A-receptor mediated short-latency intracortical inhibition (SICI) at rest during spontaneous high amplitude μ-alpha waves at different phase angles (peaks, troughs, rising and falling flanks) and compared them to periods of low amplitude (desynchronized) μ-alpha. MEP amplitude was facilitated during troughs and rising flanks, but no phasic suppression was observed at any time, nor any modulation of SICI. These results are best compatible with sensorimotor μ-alpha reflecting asymmetric pulsed facilitation but not pulsed inhibition of motor cortical excitability. The asymmetric excitability with respect to rising and falling flanks of the μ-alpha cycle further reveals that voltage differences alone cannot explain the impact of phase.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The pulsed inhibition hypothesis, which assumes that alpha oscillations actively inhibit neuronal processing in a phasic manner, is highly influential and has substantially shaped our understanding of these oscillations. However, some of its basic assumptions, in particular its asymmetry and inhibitory nature, have rarely been tested directly. Here, we explicitly investigated the asymmetry of modulation and its direction for the human sensorimotor μ-alpha rhythm. We found clear evidence of pulsed facilitation, but not inhibition, in the human motor cortex, challenging the generalizability of the pulsed inhibition hypothesis and advising caution when interpreting sensorimotor μ-alpha changes in the sensorimotor system. This study also demonstrates how specific assumptions about the neurophysiological underpinnings of cortical oscillations can be experimentally tested noninvasively in humans.

<![CDATA[Inhibition of Nigrostriatal Dopamine Release by Striatal GABAA and GABAB Receptors]]>

Nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) is critical to action selection and learning. Axonal DA release is locally influenced by striatal neurotransmitters. Striatal neurons are principally GABAergic projection neurons and interneurons, and a small minority of other neurons are cholinergic interneurons (ChIs). ChIs strongly gate striatal DA release via nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) identified on DA axons. Striatal GABA is thought to modulate DA, but GABA receptors have not been documented conclusively on DA axons. However, ChIs express GABA receptors and are therefore candidates for potential mediators of GABA regulation of DA. We addressed whether striatal GABA and its receptors can modulate DA release directly, independently from ChI regulation, by detecting DA in striatal slices from male mice using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in the absence of nAChR activation. DA release evoked by single electrical pulses in the presence of the nAChR antagonist dihydro-β-erythroidine was reduced by GABA or agonists of GABAA or GABAB receptors, with effects prevented by selective GABA receptor antagonists. GABA agonists slightly modified the frequency sensitivity of DA release during short stimulus trains. GABA agonists also suppressed DA release evoked by optogenetic stimulation of DA axons. Furthermore, antagonists of GABAA and GABAB receptors together, or GABAB receptors alone, significantly enhanced DA release evoked by either optogenetic or electrical stimuli. These results indicate that striatal GABA can inhibit DA release through GABAA and GABAB receptors and that these actions are not mediated by cholinergic circuits. Furthermore, these data reveal that there is a tonic inhibition of DA release by striatal GABA operating through predominantly GABAB receptors.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The principal inhibitory transmitter in the mammalian striatum, GABA, is thought to modulate striatal dopamine (DA) release, but definitive evidence for GABA receptors on DA axons is lacking. Striatal cholinergic interneurons regulate DA release via axonal nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) and also express GABA receptors, but they have not been eliminated as potentially critical mediators of DA regulation by GABA. Here, we found that GABAA and GABAB receptors inhibit DA release without requiring cholinergic interneurons. Furthermore, ambient levels of GABA inhibited DA release predominantly through GABAB receptors. These findings provide further support for direct inhibition of DA release by GABA receptors and reveal that striatal GABA operates a tonic inhibition on DA output that could critically influence striatal output.

<![CDATA[The Transfer Characteristics of Hair Cells Encoding Mechanical Stimuli in the Lateral Line of Zebrafish]]>

Hair cells transmit mechanical information by converting deflection of the hair bundle into synaptic release of glutamate. We have investigated this process in the lateral line of larval zebrafish (male and female) to understand how stimuli are encoded within a neuromast. Using multiphoton microscopy in vivo, we imaged synaptic release of glutamate using the reporter iGluSnFR as well as deflections of the cupula. We found that the neuromast is composed of a functionally diverse population of hair cells. Half the hair cells signaled cupula motion in both directions from rest, either by increasing glutamate release in response to a deflection in the positive direction or by reducing release in the negative direction. The relationship between cupula deflection and glutamate release demonstrated maximum sensitivity at displacements of just ∼40 nm in the positive direction. The remaining hair cells only signaled motion in one direction and were less sensitive, extending the operating range of the neuromast beyond 1 μm. Adaptation of the synaptic output was also heterogeneous, with some hair cells generating sustained glutamate release in response to a steady deflection of the cupula and others generating transient outputs. Finally, a distinct signal encoded a return of the cupula to rest: a large and transient burst of glutamate release from hair cells unresponsive to the initial stimulus. A population of hair cells with these different sensitivities, operating ranges, and adaptive properties will allow the neuromast to encode weak stimuli while maintaining the dynamic range to signal the amplitude and duration of stronger deflections.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Hair cells transmit information about mechanical stimuli by converting very small deflections of their hair bundle into changes in the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate. We have measured this input/output relation in the live fish using a fluorescent protein and find that different hair cells vary in their mechanical sensitivity and the time course of their response. These variations will allow the fish to sense the timing and duration of both very weak stimuli (∼40 nm deflections) and strong stimuli (∼1 μm), underlying the ability of the fish to avoid predators and maintain its body position in flowing water.