Literature context: hAT (Millipore catalog #AB_144, RRID:AB_90650) to visualize SPNs in the inter
Cardiovascular disease and susceptibility to infection are leading causes of morbidity and mortality for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). A major contributor to these is autonomic dysreflexia (AD), an amplified reaction of the autonomic nervous system (hallmarked by severe hypertension) in response to sensory stimuli below the injury. Maladaptive plasticity of the spinal sympathetic reflex circuit below the SCI results in AD intensification over time. Mechanisms underlying this maladaptive plasticity are poorly understood, restricting the identification of treatments. Thus, no preventative treatments are currently available. Neuroinflammation has been implicated in other pathologies associated with hyperexcitable neural circuits. Specifically, the soluble form of TNFα (sTNFα) is known to play a role in neuroplasticity. We hypothesize that persistent expression of sTNFα in spinal cord underlies AD exacerbation. To test this, we intrathecally administered XPro1595, a biologic that renders sTNFα nonfunctional, after complete, high-level SCI in female rats. This dramatically attenuated the intensification of colorectal distension-induced and naturally occurring AD events. This improvement is mediated via decreased sprouting of nociceptive primary afferents and activation of the spinal sympathetic reflex circuit. We also examined peripheral vascular function using ex vivo pressurized arterial preparations and immune function via flow cytometric analysis of splenocytes. Diminishing AD via pharmacological inhibition of sTNFα mitigated ensuing vascular hypersensitivity and immune dysfunction. This is the first demonstration that neuroinflammation-induced sTNFα is critical for altering the spinal sympathetic reflex circuit, elucidating a novel mechanism for AD. Importantly, we identify the first potential pharmacological, prophylactic treatment for this life-threatening syndrome.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), a disorder that develops after spinal cord injury (SCI) and is hallmarked by sudden, extreme hypertension, contributes to cardiovascular disease and susceptibility to infection, respectively, two leading causes of mortality and morbidity in SCI patients. We demonstrate that neuroinflammation-induced expression of soluble TNFα plays a critical role in AD, elucidating a novel underlying mechanism. We found that intrathecal administration after SCI of a biologic that inhibits soluble TNFα signaling dramatically attenuates AD and significantly reduces AD-associated peripheral vascular and immune dysfunction. We identified mechanisms behind diminished plasticity of neuronal populations within the spinal sympathetic reflex circuit. This study is the first to pinpoint a potential pharmacological, prophylactic strategy to attenuate AD and ensuing cardiovascular and immune dysfunction.
Literature context: ChAT Millipore Cat# AB_144; RRID:AB_90650 DNMT3A Cell Signaling Technolog
The somatic DNA methylation (DNAme) landscape is established early in development but remains highly dynamic within focal regions that overlap with gene regulatory elements. The significance of these dynamic changes, particularly in the central nervous system, remains unresolved. Here, we utilize a powerful human embryonic stem cell differentiation model for the generation of motor neurons (MNs) in combination with genetic mutations in the de novo DNAme machinery. We quantitatively dissect the role of DNAme in directing somatic cell fate with high-resolution genome-wide bisulfite-, bulk-, and single-cell-RNA sequencing. We find defects in neuralization and MN differentiation in DNMT3A knockouts (KO) that can be rescued by the targeting of DNAme to key developmental loci using catalytically inactive dCas9. We also find decreased dendritic arborization and altered electrophysiological properties in DNMT3A KO MNs. Our work provides a list of DNMT3A-regulated targets and a mechanistic link between de novo DNAme, cellular differentiation, and human MN function.
Literature context: B_144; RRID:AB_90650 Anti-CD11b Rat AbD Serotec Cat#
Cellular interactions between delta and mu opioid receptors (DORs and MORs), including heteromerization, are thought to regulate opioid analgesia. However, the identity of the nociceptive neurons in which such interactions could occur in vivo remains elusive. Here we show that DOR-MOR co-expression is limited to small populations of excitatory interneurons and projection neurons in the spinal cord dorsal horn and unexpectedly predominates in ventral horn motor circuits. Similarly, DOR-MOR co-expression is rare in parabrachial, amygdalar, and cortical brain regions processing nociceptive information. We further demonstrate that in the discrete DOR-MOR co-expressing nociceptive neurons, the two receptors internalize and function independently. Finally, conditional knockout experiments revealed that DORs selectively regulate mechanical pain by controlling the excitability of somatostatin-positive dorsal horn interneurons. Collectively, our results illuminate the functional organization of DORs and MORs in CNS pain circuits and reappraise the importance of DOR-MOR cellular interactions for developing novel opioid analgesics.
Literature context: # AB144P, RRID:AB_90650, 1:500), S
Human infants with congenital Zika virus (ZIKV) infection exhibit a range of symptoms including microcephaly, intracranial calcifications, macular atrophy and arthrogryposis. More importantly, prognosis data have lagged far behind the recent outbreak of ZIKV in 2015. In this work, we allow congenitally ZIKV-infected mice to grow into puberty. These mice exhibited motor incoordination and visual dysfunctions, which can be accounted by anatomical defects in the retina and cerebellar cortex. In contrary, anxiety level of the ZIKV-infected mice is normal. The spectrum of anatomical and behavioral deficits is consistent across different mice. Our data provided evidence that may help predict the public health burden in terms of prognosis of ZIKV-related congenital brain malformations in an animal model. Our study provided behavioral evaluation for the prognosis of congenital ZIKV infection and provides a platform for screening and evaluation of drugs candidates and treatment aiming at improving regeneration of infected neurons to prevent sequelae caused by ZIKV infection of fetus.
Literature context: illipore Cat# AB144P RRID:AB_90650 Donkey anti-goat, Alexa Fluor 5
Considerable theoretical and experimental effort has been dedicated to understanding how neural circuits detect visual motion. In primates, much is known about the cortical circuits that contribute to motion processing, but the role of the retina in this fundamental neural computation is poorly understood. Here, we used a combination of extracellular and whole-cell recording to test for motion sensitivity in the two main classes of output neurons in the primate retina-midget (parvocellular-projecting) and parasol (magnocellular-projecting) ganglion cells. We report that parasol, but not midget, ganglion cells are motion sensitive. This motion sensitivity is present in synaptic excitation and disinhibition from presynaptic bipolar cells and amacrine cells, respectively. Moreover, electrical coupling between neighboring bipolar cells and the nonlinear nature of synaptic release contribute to the observed motion sensitivity. Our findings indicate that motion computations arise far earlier in the primate visual stream than previously thought.
Literature context: ChAT; goat anti-ChAT, Millipore AB_144, RRID: AB_90650, 1:200; donkey
Transient receptor potential channel, TRPM4, the putative molecular substrate for Ca2+-activated nonselective cation current (ICAN), is hypothesized to generate bursting activity of pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC) inspiratory neurons and critically contribute to respiratory rhythmogenesis. Another TRP channel, TRPC3, which mediates Na+/Ca2+ fluxes, may be involved in regulating Ca2+-related signaling, including affecting TRPM4/ICAN in respiratory pre-BötC neurons. However, TRPM4 and TRPC3 expression in pre-BötC inspiratory neurons and functional roles of these channels remain to be determined. By single-cell multiplex RT-PCR, we show mRNA expression for these channels in pre-BötC inspiratory neurons in rhythmically active medullary in vitro slices from neonatal rats and mice. Functional contributions were analyzed with pharmacological inhibitors of TRPM4 or TRPC3 in vitro as well as in mature rodent arterially perfused in situ brainstem-spinal cord preparations. Perturbations of respiratory circuit activity were also compared with those by a blocker of ICAN. Pharmacologically attenuating endogenous activation of TRPM4, TRPC3, or ICANin vitro similarly reduced the amplitude of inspiratory motoneuronal activity without significant perturbations of inspiratory frequency or variability of the rhythm. Amplitude perturbations were correlated with reduced inspiratory glutamatergic pre-BötC neuronal activity, monitored by multicellular dynamic calcium imaging in vitro. In more intact circuits in situ, the reduction of pre-BötC and motoneuronal inspiratory activity amplitude was accompanied by reduced post-inspiratory motoneuronal activity, without disruption of rhythm generation. We conclude that endogenously activated TRPM4, which likely mediates ICAN, and TRPC3 channels in pre-BötC inspiratory neurons play fundamental roles in respiratory pattern formation but are not critically involved in respiratory rhythm generation.
Literature context: 100; EMD Millipore Corporation, RRID:AB_90650), activating transcription fact
N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) is a differentiation- and stress-associated molecule that is predominantly expressed in astrocytes in the central nervous system. In this study, we examined the expression and role of NDRG2 in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which is an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the expression of NDRG2 was observed in astrocytes of spinal cord, and was enhanced after EAE induction. A comparative analysis of wild-type and Ndrg2-/- mice revealed that deletion of Ndrg2 ameliorated the clinical symptoms of EAE. Although Ndrg2 deficiency only slightly affected the inflammatory response, based on the results of flow cytometry, qRT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry, it significantly reduced demyelination in the chronic phase, and, more importantly, neurodegeneration both in the acute and chronic phases. Further studies revealed that the expression of astrocytic glutamate transporters, including glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) and glutamate transporter 1, was more maintained in the Ndrg2-/- mice compared with wild-type mice after EAE induction. Consistent with these results, studies using cultured astrocytes revealed that Ndrg2 gene silencing increased the expression of GLAST, while NDRG2 over-expression decreased it without altering the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein. The effect of NDRG2 on GLAST expression was associated with the activation of Akt, but not with the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B. These findings suggest that NDRG2 plays a key role in the pathology of EAE by modulating glutamate metabolism. Cover Image for this Issue: doi: 10.1111/jnc.14173.
Literature context: a, CA, USA; catalog No. AB_144; RRID:AB_90650) or mouse anti-parvalbumin (PV,
Orexin/hypocretin neurons of the lateral hypothalamus and perifornical area are integrators of physiological function. Previous work from our laboratory and others has shown the importance of orexin transmission in cognition. Age-related reductions in markers of orexin function further suggest that this neuropeptide may be a useful target for the treatment of age-related cognitive dysfunction. Intranasal administration of orexin-A (OxA) has shown promise as a therapeutic option for cognitive dysfunction. However, the neurochemical mechanisms of intranasal OxA administration are not fully understood. Here, we use immunohistochemistry and in vivo microdialysis to define the effects of acute intranasal OxA administration on: (i) activation of neuronal populations in the cortex, basal forebrain, and brainstem and (ii) acetylcholine (ACh) and glutamate efflux in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of Fischer 344/Brown Norway F1 rats. Acute intranasal administration of OxA significantly increased c-Fos expression, a marker for neuronal activation, in the PFC and in subpopulations of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Subsequently, we investigated the effects of acute intranasal OxA on neurotransmitter efflux in the PFC and found that intranasal OxA significantly increased both ACh and glutamate efflux in this region. These findings were independent from any changes in c-Fos expression in orexin neurons, suggesting that these effects are not resultant from direct activation of orexin neurons. In total, these data indicate that intranasal OxA may enhance cognition through activation of distinct neuronal populations in the cortex and basal forebrain and through increased neurotransmission of ACh and glutamate in the PFC.
Literature context: RRID:AB_90650
Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) mediate the pupillary light reflex, circadian entrainment, and may contribute to luminance and color perception. The diversity of ipRGCs varies from rodents to primates, suggesting differences in their contributions to retinal output. To further understand the variability in their organization and diversity across species, we used immunohistochemical methods to examine ipRGCs in tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri). Tree shrews share membership in the same clade, or evolutionary branch, as rodents and primates. They are highly visual, diurnal animals with a cone-dominated retina and a geniculo-cortical organization resembling that of primates. We identified cells with morphological similarities to M1 and M2 cells described previously in rodents and primates. M1-like cells typically had somas in the ganglion cell layer, with 23% displaced to the inner nuclear layer (INL). However, unlike M1 cells, they had bistratified dendritic fields ramifying in S1 and S5 that collectively tiled space. M2-like cells had dendritic fields restricted to S5 that were smaller and more densely branching. A novel third type of melanopsin immunopositive cell was identified. These cells had somata exclusively in the INL and monostratified dendritic fields restricted to S1 that tiled space. Surprisingly, these cells immunolabeled for tyrosine hydroxylase, a key component in dopamine synthesis. These cells immunolabeled for an RGC marker, not amacrine cell markers, suggesting that they are dopaminergic ipRGCs. We found no evidence for M4 or M5 ipRGCs, described previously in rodents. These results identify some organizational features of the ipRGC system that are canonical versus species-specific.
Literature context: re, RRID:AB_90650, 1 : 200; neuron-specific nucle
The mammalian Ste20-like kinase 1 (Mst-1) is a serine-threonine kinase and a component of the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, which reacts to pathologically relevant stress and regulates cell death. However, little is known about its role in spinal cord injury. Here, we found that p-Mst-1, the activated form of Mst-1, was induced in the post-traumatic spinal motor neurons. In vivo evidence demonstrated that Mst-1 deficiency promoted post-traumatic spinal motor neuron survival, Basso mouse scale scores, and synapse survival. Moreover, we found that autophagosome formation and autolysosome degradation enhanced by Mst-1 deficiency were crucial to attenuate the death of injured spinal motor neurons. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Mst-1 deficiency promotes post-traumatic spinal motor neuron survival via enhancement of autophagy flux.
Literature context: , #AB144, RRID:AB_90650) diluted 1
Dopamine (DA) is a conserved modulator of vertebrate neural circuitry, yet our knowledge of its role in peripheral auditory processing is limited to mammals. The present study combines immunohistochemistry, neural tract tracing, and electron microscopy to investigate the origin and synaptic characteristics of DA fibers innervating the inner ear and the hindbrain auditory efferent nucleus in the plainfin midshipman, a vocal fish that relies upon the detection of mate calls for reproductive success. We identify a DA cell group in the diencephalon as a common source for innervation of both the hindbrain auditory efferent nucleus and saccule, the main hearing endorgan of the inner ear. We show that DA terminals in the saccule contain vesicles but transmitter release appears paracrine in nature, due to the apparent lack of synaptic contacts. In contrast, in the hindbrain, DA terminals form traditional synaptic contacts with auditory efferent neuronal cell bodies and dendrites, as well as unlabeled axon terminals, which, in turn, form inhibitory-like synapses on auditory efferent somata. Our results suggest a distinct functional role for brain-derived DA in the direct and indirect modulation of the peripheral auditory system of a vocal nonmammalian vertebrate.
Literature context: erase (ChAT)Human placental ChATChemicon, goat polyclonal, AB144, AB_906501:400 (LM), 1:400 (EM)Counts and
We have previously found that thalamostriatal axodendritic terminals are reduced as early as 1 month of age in heterozygous Q140 HD mice (Deng et al.  Neurobiol Dis 60:89-107). Because cholinergic interneurons are a major target of thalamic axodendritic terminals, we examined the VGLUT2-immunolabeled thalamic input to striatal cholinergic interneurons in heterozygous Q140 males at 1 and 4 months of age, using choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunolabeling to identify cholinergic interneurons. Although blinded neuron counts showed that ChAT+ perikarya were in normal abundance in Q140 mice, size measurements indicated that they were significantly smaller. Sholl analysis further revealed the dendrites of Q140 ChAT+ interneurons were significantly fewer and shorter. Consistent with the light microscopic data, ultrastructural analysis showed that the number of ChAT+ dendritic profiles per unit area of striatum was significantly decreased in Q140 striata, as was the abundance of VGLUT2+ axodendritic terminals making synaptic contact with ChAT+ dendrites per unit area of striatum. The density of thalamic terminals along individual cholinergic dendrites was, however, largely unaltered, indicating that the reduction in the areal striatal density of axodendritic thalamic terminals on cholinergic neurons was due to their dendritic territory loss. These results show that the abundance of thalamic input to individual striatal cholinergic interneurons is reduced early in the life span of Q140 mice, raising the possibility that this may occur in human HD as well. Because cholinergic interneurons differentially affect striatal direct vs. indirect pathway spiny projection neurons, their reduced thalamic excitatory drive may contribute to early abnormalities in movement in HD. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3518-3529, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Projections from the nucleus incertus (NI) to the septum have been implicated in the modulation of hippocampal theta rhythm. In this study we describe a previously uncharacterized projection from the septum to the NI, which may provide feedback modulation of the ascending circuitry. Fluorogold injections into the NI resulted in retrograde labeling in the septum that was concentrated in the horizontal diagonal band and areas of the posterior septum including the septofimbrial and triangular septal nuclei. Double-immunofluorescent staining indicated that the majority of NI-projecting septal neurons were calretinin-positive and some were parvalbumin-, calbindin-, or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-67-positive. Choline acetyltransferase-positive neurons were Fluorogold-negative. Injection of anterograde tracers into medial septum, or triangular septal and septofimbrial nuclei, revealed fibers descending to the supramammillary nucleus, median raphe, and the NI. These anterogradely labeled varicosities displayed synaptophysin immunoreactivity, indicating septal inputs form synapses on NI neurons. Anterograde tracer also colocalized with GAD-67-positive puncta in labeled fibers, which in some cases made close synaptic contact with GAD-67-labeled NI neurons. These data provide evidence for the existence of an inhibitory descending projection from medial and posterior septum to the NI that provides a "feedback loop" to modulate the comparatively more dense ascending NI projections to medial septum and hippocampus. Neural processes and associated behaviors activated or modulated by changes in hippocampal theta rhythm may depend on reciprocal connections between ascending and descending pathways rather than on unidirectional regulation via the medial septum.
The "ascending reticular activating system" theory proposed that neurons in the upper brainstem reticular formation projected to forebrain targets that promoted wakefulness. More recent formulations have emphasized that most neurons at the pontomesencephalic junction that participate in these pathways are actually in monoaminergic and cholinergic cell groups. However, cell-specific lesions of these cell groups have never been able to reproduce the deep coma seen after acute paramedian midbrain lesions that transect ascending axons at the caudal midbrain level. To determine whether the cortical afferents from the thalamus or the basal forebrain were more important in maintaining arousal, we first placed large cell-body-specific lesions in these targets. Surprisingly, extensive thalamic lesions had little effect on electroencephalographic (EEG) or behavioral measures of wakefulness or on c-Fos expression by cortical neurons during wakefulness. In contrast, animals with large basal forebrain lesions were behaviorally unresponsive and had a monotonous sub-1-Hz EEG, and little cortical c-Fos expression during continuous gentle handling. We then retrogradely labeled inputs to the basal forebrain from the upper brainstem, and found a substantial input from glutamatergic neurons in the parabrachial nucleus and adjacent precoeruleus area. Cell-specific lesions of the parabrachial-precoeruleus complex produced behavioral unresponsiveness, a monotonous sub-1-Hz cortical EEG, and loss of cortical c-Fos expression during gentle handling. These experiments indicate that in rats the reticulo-thalamo-cortical pathway may play a very limited role in behavioral or electrocortical arousal, whereas the projection from the parabrachial nucleus and precoeruleus region, relayed by the basal forebrain to the cerebral cortex, may be critical for this process.
The Kv2 voltage-gated potassium channels, Kv2.1 and Kv2.2, are important regulators of neuronal excitability in mammalian brain. It has been shown that Kv2.1 channels are expressed in virtually all neurons in the brain. However, the cellular localization of Kv2.2 has not been fully elucidated. In this article we report that Kv2.2 is highly expressed in a subset of neurons in the magnocellular preoptic nucleus (MCPO) and the horizontal limb of the diagonal band of Broca (HDB) of the basal forebrain complex, which are areas highly implicated in the regulation of cortical activity and the sleep/wake cycle. It has been shown that MCPO and HDB contain distinct populations of neurons that differ in their neurochemicals, cholinergic, glutamatergic, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons. Using specific immunolabeling and knockin mice in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) is expressed in GABAergic neurons, we found that Kv2.2 is abundantly expressed in a large subpopulation of the GABAergic neurons in the MCPO and HDB. These data offer Kv2.2 as a molecular target to study the role of the specific subpopulation of basal forebrain GABAergic neurons.
Evidence showing expression of endogenous opioids in the mammalian retina is sparse. In the present study we examined a transgenic mouse line expressing an obligate dimerized form of Discosoma red fluorescent protein (DsRed) under the control of the pro-opiomelanocortin promoter and distal upstream regulatory elements to assess whether pro-opiomelanocortin peptide (POMC), and its opioid cleavage product, beta-endorphin, are expressed in the mouse retina. Using double label immunohistochemistry we found that DsRed fluorescence was restricted to a subset of GAD-67-positive cholinergic amacrine cells of both orthotopic and displaced subtypes. About 50% of cholinergic amacrine cells colocalized DsRed and a large fraction of DsRed-expressing amacrine cells was positive for beta-endorphin immunostaining, whereas beta-endorphin-immunoreactive neurons were absent in retinas of POMC null mice. Our findings contribute to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that opioid peptides are an integral component of vertebrate retinas, including those of mammals.
Chondrychthyans (cartilaginous fishes) are key to understanding the ancestral gnathostome condition since they provide an outgroup to sarcopterygians and actinopterygians. To gain comparative knowledge about the development of the vertebrate serotoninergic systems, we studied by immunohistochemistry the origin, spatiotemporal organization, and migration patterns of serotonin-containing neurons and the growth of axonal pathways in the central nervous system of a shark, the lesser spotted dogfish. Hindbrain serotonin-immunoreactive cells arose close to the floor plate and most populations migrated ventrally and mediolaterally to form the various raphe and reticular groups. The order of appearance of serotoninergic populations in the rhombencephalon and spinal cord (first the superior groups and then the inferior and spinal populations) roughly matched with that reported in other vertebrates but important differences were noted in the formation of prosencephalic groups in fishes. In addition to preoptic and hypothalamic areas, serotoninergic cerebrospinal fluid-contacting cells were observed in the isthmus (raphe dorsalis anterioris). Transient serotonin-immunoreactive cells were noted in the pineal organ, habenula, and pretectum. Further, we provide a revised anatomical framework for reticular and raphe serotoninergic populations considering their origin and segmental organization. Two distinct phases of development of the serotoninergic innervation were distinguished, that of the formation of the main axonal pathways and that of the branching of fibers. The development of main serotoninergic ascending pathways in dogfish was notably similar to that described in mammals. Our findings suggest the conservation of developmental patterns in serotoninergic systems and enhance the importance of elasmobranchs for understanding the early evolution of this system in vertebrates.
Dopamine has been implicated in mediating contextual modulation of motor behaviors and learning in many species. In songbirds, dopamine may act on the basal ganglia nucleus Area X to influence the neural activity that contributes to vocal learning and contextual changes in song variability. Neurons in midbrain dopamine centers, the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), densely innervate Area X and show singing-related changes in firing rate. In addition, dopamine levels in Area X change during singing. It is unknown, however, how song-related information could reach dopaminergic neurons. Here we report an anatomical pathway that could provide song-related information to the SNc and VTA. By using injections of bidirectionally transported fluorescent tracers in adult male zebra finches, we show that Area X and other song control nuclei do not project directly to the SNc or VTA. Instead, we describe an indirect pathway from Area X to midbrain dopaminergic neurons via a connection in the ventral pallidum (VP). Specifically, Area X projects to the VP via axon collaterals of Area X output neurons that also project to the thalamus. Dual injections revealed that the area of VP receiving input from Area X projects to the SNc and VTA. Furthermore, VP terminals in the SNc and VTA overlap with cells that project back to Area X. A portion of the arcopallium also projects to the SNc and VTA and could carry auditory information. These data demonstrate an anatomical loop through which Area X activity could influence its dopaminergic input.
Classical anesthetics of the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor (GABA(A))-enhancing class (e.g., pentobarbital, chloral hydrate, muscimol, and ethanol) produce analgesia and unconsciousness (sedation). Dissociative anesthetics that antagonize the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (e.g., ketamine, MK-801, dextromethorphan, and phencyclidine) produce analgesia but do not induce complete loss of consciousness. To understand the mechanisms underlying loss of consciousness and analgesia induced by general anesthetics, we examined the patterns of expression of c-Fos protein in the brain and correlated these with physiological effects of systemically administering GABAergic agents and ketamine at dosages used clinically for anesthesia in rats. We found that GABAergic agents produced predominantly delta activity in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and sedation. In contrast, anesthetic doses of ketamine induced sedation, followed by active arousal behaviors, and produced a faster EEG in the theta range. Consistent with its behavioral effects, ketamine induced Fos expression in cholinergic, monoaminergic, and orexinergic arousal systems and completely suppressed Fos immunoreactivity in the sleep-promoting ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO). In contrast, GABAergic agents suppressed Fos in the same arousal-promoting systems but increased the number of Fos-immunoreactive neurons in the VLPO compared with waking control animals. All anesthetics tested induced Fos in the spinally projecting noradrenergic A5-7 groups. 6-hydroxydopamine lesions of the A5-7 groups or ibotenic acid lesions of the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray matter (vlPAG) attenuated antinociceptive responses to noxious thermal stimulation (tail-flick test) by both types of anesthetics. We hypothesize that neural substrates of sleep-wake behavior are engaged by low-dose sedative anesthetics and that the mesopontine descending noradrenergic cell groups contribute to the analgesic effects of both NMDA receptor antagonists and GABA(A) receptor-enhancing anesthetics.
Area X is a songbird basal ganglia nucleus that is required for vocal learning. Both Area X and its immediate surround, the medial striatum (MSt), contain cells displaying either striatal or pallidal characteristics. We used pathway-tracing techniques to compare directly the targets of Area X and MSt with those of the lateral striatum (LSt) and globus pallidus (GP). We found that the zebra finch LSt projects to the GP, substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) and pars compacta (SNc), but not the thalamus. The GP is reciprocally connected with the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and projects to the SNr and motor thalamus analog, the ventral intermediate area (VIA). In contrast to the LSt, Area X and surrounding MSt project to the ventral pallidum (VP) and dorsal thalamus via pallidal-like neurons. A dorsal strip of the MSt contains spiny neurons that project to the VP. The MSt, but not Area X, projects to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and SNc, but neither MSt nor Area X projects to the SNr. Largely distinct populations of SNc and VTA dopaminergic neurons innervate Area X and surrounding the MSt. Finally, we provide evidence consistent with an indirect pathway from the cerebellum to the basal ganglia, including Area X. Area X projections thus differ from those of the GP and LSt, but are similar to those of the MSt. These data clarify the relationships among different portions of the oscine basal ganglia as well as among the basal ganglia of birds and mammals.
Although acetylcholine is one of the most widely studied neurotransmitters in the retina, many questions remain about its downstream signaling mechanisms. In this study we initially characterized the cholinergic neurotransmitter system in the salamander retina by localizing a variety of cholinergic markers. We then examined the link between both muscarinic and nicotinic receptor activation and nitric oxide production by using immunocytochemistry for cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) as an indicator. We found a large increase in cGMP-like immunoreactivity (cGMP-LI) in the inner retina in response to muscarinic (but not nicotinic) receptor activation. Based on the amplification of mRNA transcripts, receptor immunocytochemistry, and the use of selective antagonists, we identified these receptors as M2 muscarinic receptors. Using double-labeling techniques, we established that these increases in cGMP-LI were seen in GABAergic but not cholinergic amacrine cells, and that the increases were blocked by inhibitors of nitric oxide production. The creation of nitric oxide in response to cholinergic receptor activation may provide a mechanism for modulating the well-known mutual interactions of acetylcholine-glycine-GABA in the inner retina. As GABA and glycine are the primary inhibitory neurotransmitters in the retina, signaling pathways that modulate their levels or release will have major implications for the processing of complex stimuli by the retina.
The dendritic patterning of retinal horizontal cells has been shown to be specified by the cone photoreceptor afferents. The present investigation has addressed whether this specification is due to visually dependent synaptic transmission in the outer plexiform layer or to some other early, pre-visual, neural activity. Individually labeled horizontal cells from dark-reared mice, as well as from mice carrying a mutation in the Cacna1f gene, which encodes the pore-forming calcium channel subunit Ca(v)1.4, were assessed for various morphological features. The dark-reared mice showed no alteration in any of these features, despite showing a compromised maximal voltage response in the electroretinograms. The retinas of Cacna1f mutant mice, by contrast, showed conspicuous morphological changes that mimicked the effects observed previously in coneless transgenic mice. These changes were present as early as postnatal day 10, when the shape and density of the cone pedicles appeared normal. Ultrastructurally, however, the pedicles at this early stage, as well as in maturity, lacked synaptic ribbons and the invaginations associated with postsynaptic processes. These results suggest a role for this calcium channel subunit in ribbon assembly in addition to its role in modulating calcium influx and glutamate release. Together, they suggest a complex cascade of interactions between developing cone pedicles and horizontal cell dendrites involving early spontaneous activity, dendritic attraction, ribbon assembly, and pedicle invagination.
The amygdala controls emotional and social behavior and regulates instinctive reflexes such as defense and reproduction by way of descending projections to the hypothalamus and brainstem. The descending amygdalar projections are suggested to show a cortico-striato-pallidal organization similar to that of the basal ganglia (Swanson  Brain Res 886:113-164). To test this model we investigated the embryological origin and molecular properties of the mouse centromedial and extended amygdalar subdivisions, which constitute major sources of descending projections. We analyzed the distribution of key regulatory genes that show restricted expression patterns within the subpallium (Dlx5, Nkx2.1, Lhx6, Lhx7/8, Lhx9, Shh, and Gbx1), as well as genes considered markers for specific subpallial neuronal subpopulations. Our results indicate that most of the centromedial and extended amygdala is formed by cells derived from multiple subpallial subdivisions. Contrary to a previous suggestion, only the central--but not the medial--amygdala derives from the lateral ganglionic eminence and has striatal-like features. The medial amygdala and a large part of the extended amygdala (including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis) consist of subdivisions or cell groups that derive from subpallial, pallial (ventral pallium), or extratelencephalic progenitor domains. The subpallial part includes derivatives from the medial ganglionic eminence, the anterior peduncular area, and possibly a novel subdivision, called here commissural preoptic area, located at the base of the septum and related to the anterior commissure. Our study provides a molecular and morphological foundation for understanding the complex embryonic origins and adult organization of the centromedial and extended amygdala.
Kv3.3 proteins are pore-forming subunits of voltage-dependent potassium channels, and mutations in the gene encoding for Kv3.3 have recently been linked to human disease, spinocerebellar ataxia 13, with cerebellar and extracerebellar symptoms. To understand better the functions of Kv3.3 subunits in brain, we developed highly specific antibodies to Kv3.3 and analyzed immunoreactivity throughout mouse brain. We found that Kv3.3 subunits are widely expressed, present in important forebrain structures but particularly prominent in brainstem and cerebellum. In forebrain and midbrain, Kv3.3 expression was often found colocalized with parvalbumin and other Kv3 subunits in inhibitory neurons. In brainstem, Kv3.3 was strongly expressed in auditory and other sensory nuclei. In cerebellar cortex, Kv3.3 expression was found in Purkinje and granule cells. Kv3.3 proteins were observed in axons, terminals, somas, and, unlike other Kv3 proteins, also in distal dendrites, although precise subcellular localization depended on cell type. For example, hippocampal dentate granule cells expressed Kv3.3 subunits specifically in their mossy fiber axons, whereas Purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex strongly expressed Kv3.3 subunits in axons, somas, and proximal and distal, but not second- and third-order, dendrites. Expression in Purkinje cell dendrites was confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy. Kv3 channels have been demonstrated to rapidly repolarize action potentials and support high-frequency firing in various neuronal populations. In this study, we identified additional populations and subcellular compartments that are likely to sustain high-frequency firing because of the expression of Kv3.3 and other Kv3 subunits.