Plasticity of adult neurogenesis supports adaptation to environmental changes. The identification of molecular mediators that signal these changes to neural progenitors in the niche has remained elusive. Here we report that diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI) is crucial in supporting an adaptive mechanism in response to changes in the environment. We provide evidence that DBI is expressed in stem cells in all neurogenic niches of the postnatal brain. Focusing on the hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) and employing multiple genetic manipulations in vivo, we demonstrate that DBI regulates the balance between preserving the stem cell pool and neurogenesis. Specifically, DBI dampens GABA activity in stem cells, thereby sustaining the proproliferative effect of physical exercise and enriched environment. Our data lend credence to the notion that the modulatory effect of DBI constitutes a general mechanism that regulates postnatal neurogenesis.
The prevailing view is that striatal parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons primarily function to downregulate medium spiny projection neuron (MSN) activity via monosynaptic inhibitory signaling. Here, by combining in vivo neural recordings and optogenetics, we unexpectedly find that both suppressing and over-activating PV cells attenuates spontaneous MSN activity. To account for this, we find that, in addition to monosynaptic coupling, PV-MSN interactions are mediated by a competing disynaptic inhibitory circuit involving a variety of neuropeptide Y-expressing interneurons. Next we use optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches to show that dorsolateral striatal PV interneurons influence the initial expression of reward-conditioned responses but that their contribution to performance declines with experience. Consistent with this, we observe with large-scale recordings in behaving animals that the relative contribution of PV cells on MSN activity diminishes with training. Together, this work provides a possible mechanism by which PV interneurons modulate striatal output and selectively enhance performance early in learning.
Precise regulation of cellular metabolism is hypothesized to constitute a vital component of the developmental sequence underlying the life-long generation of hippocampal neurons from quiescent neural stem cells (NSCs). The identity of stage-specific metabolic programs and their impact on adult neurogenesis are largely unknown. We show that the adult hippocampal neurogenic lineage is critically dependent on the mitochondrial electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation machinery at the stage of the fast proliferating intermediate progenitor cell. Perturbation of mitochondrial complex function by ablation of the mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) reproduces multiple hallmarks of aging in hippocampal neurogenesis, whereas pharmacological enhancement of mitochondrial function ameliorates age-associated neurogenesis defects. Together with the finding of age-associated alterations in mitochondrial function and morphology in NSCs, these data link mitochondrial complex function to efficient lineage progression of adult NSCs and identify mitochondrial function as a potential target to ameliorate neurogenesis-defects in the aging hippocampus.