Structural plasticity of dentate granule cell mossy fibers during the development of limbic epilepsy.
ABSTRACT: Altered granule cell>>CA3 pyramidal cell synaptic connectivity may contribute to the development of limbic epilepsy. To explore this possibility, granule cell giant mossy fiber bouton plasticity was examined in the kindling and pilocarpine models of epilepsy using green fluorescent protein-expressing transgenic mice. These studies revealed significant increases in the frequency of giant boutons with satellite boutons 2 days and 1 month after pilocarpine status epilepticus, and increases in giant bouton area at 1 month. Similar increases in giant bouton area were observed shortly after kindling. Finally, both models exhibited plasticity of mossy fiber giant bouton filopodia, which contact GABAergic interneurons mediating feedforward inhibition of CA3 pyramids. In the kindling model, however, all changes were fleeting, having resolved by 1 month after the last evoked seizure. Together, these findings demonstrate striking structural plasticity of granule cell mossy fiber synaptic terminal structure in two distinct models of adult limbic epileptogenesis. We suggest that these plasticities modify local connectivities between individual mossy fiber terminals and their targets, inhibitory interneurons, and CA3 pyramidal cells potentially altering the balance of excitation and inhibition during the development of epilepsy.
Project description:Impaired gating by hippocampal dentate granule cells may promote the development of limbic epilepsy by facilitating seizure spread through the hippocampal trisynaptic circuit. The second synapse in this circuit, the dentate granule cell?CA3 pyramidal cell connection, may be of particular importance because pathological changes occurring within the dentate likely exert their principal effect on downstream CA3 pyramids. Here, we utilized GFP-expressing mice and immunolabeling for the zinc transporter ZnT-3 to reveal the pre- and postsynaptic components of granule cell?CA3 pyramidal cell synapses following pilocarpine-epileptogenesis. Confocal analyses of these terminals revealed that while granule cell presynaptic giant boutons increased in size and complexity 1 month after status epilepticus, individual thorns making up the postsynaptic thorny excrescences of the CA3 pyramidal cells were reduced in number. This reduction, however, was transient, and 3 months after status, thorn density recovered. This recovery was accompanied by a significant change in the distribution of thorns along pyramidal cells dendrites. While thorns in control animals tended to be tightly clustered, thorns in epileptic animals were more evenly distributed. Computational modeling of thorn distributions predicted an increase in the number of boutons required to cover equivalent numbers of thorns in epileptic vs. control mice. Confirming this prediction, ZnT-3 labeling of presynaptic giant boutons apposed to GFP-expressing thorns revealed a near doubling in bouton density, while the number of individual thorns per bouton was reduced by half. Together, these data provide clear evidence of novel plastic changes occurring within the epileptic hippocampus.
Project description:Presynaptic kainate receptors (KARs) modulate transmission between dentate granule cells and CA3 pyramidal neurons. Whether presynaptic KARs affect other synapses made by granule cell axons [mossy fibers (MFs)], on hilar mossy cells or interneurons, is not known. Nor is it known whether glutamate release from a single MF is sufficient to activate these receptors. Here, we monitor Ca(2+) in identified MF boutons traced from granule cell bodies. We show that a single action potential in a single MF activates both presynaptic KARs and Ca(2+) stores, contributing to use-dependent facilitation at MF-CA3 pyramidal cell synapses. Rapid local application of kainate to the giant MF bouton has no detectable effect on the resting Ca(2+) but facilitates action-potential-evoked Ca(2+) entry through a Ca(2+) store-dependent mechanism. Localized two-photon uncaging of the Ca(2+) store receptor ligand IP(3) directly confirms the presence of functional Ca(2+) stores at these boutons. In contrast, presynaptic Ca(2+) kinetics at MF synapses on interneurons or mossy cells are insensitive to KAR blockade, to local kainate application or to photolytic release of IP(3). Consistent with this, postsynaptic responses evoked by activation of a single MF show KAR-dependent paired-pulse facilitation in CA3 pyramidal cells, but not in interneurons or mossy cells. Thus, KAR-Ca(2+) store coupling acts as a synapse-specific, short-range autoreceptor mechanism.
Project description:Subthreshold somatic depolarization has been shown recently to modulate presynaptic neurotransmitter release in cortical neurons. To understand the mechanisms underlying this mode of signaling in the axons of dentate granule cells (hippocampal mossy fibers), we have combined two-photon Ca2+ imaging with dual-patch recordings from somata and giant boutons forming synapses on CA3 pyramidal cells. In intact axons, subthreshold depolarization propagates both orthodromically and antidromically, with an estimated length constant of 200-600 microm depending on the signal waveform. Surprisingly, presynaptic depolarization sufficient to enhance glutamate release at mossy fiber-CA3 pyramidal cell synapses has no detectable effect on either basal Ca2+-dependent fluorescence or action-potential-evoked fluorescence transients in giant boutons. We further estimate that neurotransmitter release varies with presynaptic Ca2+ entry with a 2.5-power relationship and that depolarization-induced synaptic facilitation remains intact in the presence of high-affinity presynaptic Ca2+ buffers or after blockade of local Ca2+ stores. We conclude that depolarization-dependent modulation of transmission at these boutons does not rely on changes in presynaptic Ca2+.
Project description:Epileptic seizures potently modulate hippocampal adult neurogenesis, and adult-born dentate granule cells contribute to the pathologic retrograde sprouting of mossy fiber axons, both hallmarks of temporal lobe epilepsy. The characteristics of these sprouted synapses, however, have been largely unexplored, and the specific contribution of adult-born granule cells to functional mossy fiber sprouting is unknown, primarily due to technical barriers in isolating sprouted mossy fiber synapses for analysis. Here, we used DcxCreERT2 transgenic mice to permanently pulse-label age-defined cohorts of granule cells born either before or after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE). Using optogenetics, we demonstrate that adult-born granule cells born before SE form functional recurrent monosynaptic excitatory connections with other granule cells. Surprisingly, however, although healthy mossy fiber synapses in CA3 are well characterized "detonator" synapses that potently drive postsynaptic cell firing through their profound frequency-dependent facilitation, sprouted mossy fiber synapses from adult-born cells exhibited profound frequency-dependent depression, despite possessing some of the morphological hallmarks of mossy fiber terminals. Mature granule cells also contributed to functional mossy fiber sprouting, but exhibited less synaptic depression. Interestingly, granule cells born shortly after SE did not form functional excitatory synapses, despite robust sprouting. Our results suggest that, although sprouted mossy fibers form recurrent excitatory circuits with some of the morphological characteristics of typical mossy fiber terminals, the functional characteristics of sprouted synapses would limit the contribution of adult-born granule cells to hippocampal hyperexcitability in the epileptic hippocampus.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the hippocampal dentate gyrus, seizures drive retrograde sprouting of granule cell mossy fiber axons. We directly activated sprouted mossy fiber synapses from adult-born granule cells to study their synaptic properties. We reveal that sprouted synapses from adult-born granule cells have a diminished ability to sustain recurrent excitation in the epileptic hippocampus, which raises questions about the role of sprouting and adult neurogenesis in sustaining seizure-like activity.
Project description:In searching for persistent seizure-induced alterations in brain function that might be causally related to epilepsy, presynaptic transmitter release has relatively been neglected. To measure directly the long-term effects of pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus on vesicular release and recycling in hippocampal mossy fibre presynaptic boutons, we used (i) two-photon imaging of FM1-43 vesicular release in rat hippocampal slices; and (ii) transgenic mice expressing the genetically encoded pH-sensitive fluorescent reporter synaptopHluorin preferentially at glutamatergic synapses. In this study we found that, 1-2 months after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, there were significant increases in mossy fibre bouton size, faster rates of action potential-driven vesicular release and endocytosis. We also analysed the ultrastructure of rat mossy fibre boutons using transmission electron microscopy. Pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus led to a significant increase in the number of release sites, active zone length, postsynaptic density area and number of vesicles in the readily releasable and recycling pools, all correlated with increased release probability. Our data show that presynaptic release machinery is persistently altered in structure and function by status epilepticus, which could contribute to the development of the chronic epileptic state and may represent a potential new target for antiepileptic therapies.
Project description:A fundamental property of neuronal networks in Ammon's horn is that each area comprises a single glutamatergic cell population and various types of GABAergic neurons. Here we describe an exception to this rule, in the form of granule cells that reside within the CA3 area and function as glutamatergic nonprincipal cells with distinct properties. CA3 granule cells in normal, healthy rats, similarly to dentate gyrus granule cells, coexpressed calbindin and the homeobox protein Prox1. However, CA3 granule cells were located outside of the dentate gyrus, often hundreds of micrometers from the hilar border, in the lucidum and radiatum layers. CA3 granule cells were present in numbers that were comparable to the rarer GABAergic neuronal subtypes, and their somato-dendritic morphology, intrinsic properties, and perforant path inputs were similar to those of dentate gyrus granule cells. CA3 granule cell axons displayed giant mossy fiber terminals with filopodial extensions, demonstrating that not all mossy fibers originate from the dentate gyrus. Somatic paired recordings revealed that CA3 granule cells innervated CA3 pyramidal and GABAergic cells similarly to conventional mossy fiber synapses. However, CA3 granule cells were distinct in the specific organization of their GABAergic inputs. They received GABAergic synapses from cholecystokinin-expressing mossy fiber-associated cells that did not innervate the dentate granule cell layer, and these synapses demonstrated unusually strong activity-dependent endocannabinoid-mediated inhibition of GABA release. These results indicate that granule cells in the CA3 constitute a glutamatergic, nonprincipal neuronal subtype that is integrated into the CA3 synaptic network.
Project description:In temporal lobe epilepsy, sprouting of hippocampal mossy fiber axons onto dentate granule cell dendrites creates a recurrent excitatory network. However, unlike mossy fibers projecting to CA3, sprouted mossy fiber synapses depress upon repetitive activation. Thus, despite their proximal location, relatively large presynaptic terminals, and ability to excite target neurons, the impact of sprouted mossy fiber synapses on hippocampal hyperexcitability is unclear. We find that despite their short-term depression, single episodes of sprouted mossy fiber activation in hippocampal slices initiated bursts of recurrent polysynaptic excitation. Consistent with a contribution to network hyperexcitability, optogenetic activation of sprouted mossy fibers reliably triggered action potential firing in postsynaptic dentate granule cells after single light pulses. This pattern resulted in a shift in network recruitment dynamics to an "early detonation" mode and an increased probability of release compared with mossy fiber synapses in CA3. A lack of tonic adenosine-mediated inhibition contributed to the higher probability of glutamate release, thus facilitating reverberant circuit activity.
Project description:Dentate granule cells exhibit exceptionally low levels of activity and rarely elicit action potentials in targeted CA3 pyramidal cells. It is thus unclear how such weak input from the granule cells sustains adequate levels of synaptic plasticity in the targeted CA3 network. We report that subthreshold potentials evoked by mossy fibers are sufficient to induce synaptic plasticity between CA3 pyramidal cells, thereby complementing the sparse action potential discharge. Repetitive pairing of a CA3-CA3 recurrent synaptic response with a subsequent subthreshold mossy fiber response induced long-term potentiation at CA3 recurrent synapses in rat hippocampus in vitro. Reversing the timing of the inputs induced long-term depression. The underlying mechanism depends on a passively conducted giant excitatory postsynaptic potential evoked by a mossy fiber that enhances NMDA receptor-mediated current at active CA3 recurrent synapses by relieving magnesium block. The resulting NMDA spike generates a supralinear depolarization that contributes to synaptic plasticity in hippocampal neuronal ensembles implicated in memory.
Project description:Pyramidal neuron dendrites integrate synaptic input from multiple partners. Different inputs converging on the same dendrite have distinct structural and functional features, but the molecular mechanisms organizing input-specific properties are poorly understood. We identify the orphan receptor GPR158 as a binding partner for the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) glypican 4 (GPC4). GPC4 is enriched on hippocampal granule cell axons (mossy fibers), whereas postsynaptic GPR158 is restricted to the proximal segment of CA3 apical dendrites receiving mossy fiber input. GPR158-induced presynaptic differentiation in contacting axons requires cell-surface GPC4 and the co-receptor LAR. Loss of GPR158 increases mossy fiber synapse density but disrupts bouton morphology, impairs ultrastructural organization of active zone and postsynaptic density, and reduces synaptic strength of this connection, while adjacent inputs on the same dendrite are unaffected. Our work identifies an input-specific HSPG-GPR158 interaction that selectively organizes synaptic architecture and function of developing mossy fiber-CA3 synapses in the hippocampus.
Project description:Structural and functional plasticity of synapses are critical neuronal mechanisms underlying learning and memory. While activity-dependent regulation of synaptic strength has been extensively studied, much less is known about the transcriptional control of synapse maintenance and plasticity. Hippocampal mossy fiber (MF) synapses connect dentate granule cells to CA3 pyramidal neurons and are important for spatial memory formation and consolidation. The transcription factor Bcl11b/Ctip2 is expressed in dentate granule cells and required for postnatal hippocampal development. Ablation of Bcl11b/Ctip2 in the adult hippocampus results in impaired adult neurogenesis and spatial memory. The molecular mechanisms underlying the behavioral impairment remained unclear. Here we show that selective deletion of Bcl11b/Ctip2 in the adult mouse hippocampus leads to a rapid loss of excitatory synapses in CA3 as well as reduced ultrastructural complexity of remaining mossy fiber boutons (MFBs). Moreover, a dramatic decline of long-term potentiation (LTP) of the dentate gyrus-CA3 (DG-CA3) projection is caused by adult loss of Bcl11b/Ctip2. Differential transcriptomics revealed the deregulation of genes associated with synaptic transmission in mutants. Together, our data suggest Bcl11b/Ctip2 to regulate maintenance and function of MF synapses in the adult hippocampus.