Distinct roles of GABAergic interneurons in the regulation of striatal output pathways.
ABSTRACT: Striatal GABAergic microcircuits are critical for motor function, yet their properties remain enigmatic due to difficulties in targeting striatal interneurons for electrophysiological analysis. Here, we use Lhx6-GFP transgenic mice to identify GABAergic interneurons and investigate their regulation of striatal direct- and indirect-pathway medium spiny neurons (MSNs). We find that the two major interneuron populations, persistent low-threshold spiking (PLTS) and fast spiking (FS) interneurons, differ substantially in their excitatory inputs and inhibitory outputs. Excitatory synaptic currents recorded from PLTS interneurons are characterized by a small, nonrectifying AMPA receptor-mediated component and a NMDA receptor-mediated component. In contrast, glutamatergic synaptic currents in FS interneurons have a large, strongly rectifying AMPA receptor-mediated component, but no detectable NMDA receptor-mediated responses. Consistent with their axonal morphology, the output of individual PLTS interneurons is relatively weak and sparse, whereas FS interneurons are robustly connected to MSNs and other FS interneurons and appear to mediate the bulk of feedforward inhibition. Synaptic depression of FS outputs is relatively insensitive to firing frequency, and dynamic-clamp experiments reveal that these short-term dynamics enable feedforward inhibition to remain efficacious across a broad frequency range. Surprisingly, we find that FS interneurons preferentially target direct-pathway MSNs over indirect-pathway MSNs, suggesting a potential mechanism for rapid pathway-specific regulation of striatal output pathways.
Project description:DYT1 dystonia is caused by a deletion in a glutamic acid residue in the C-terminus of the protein torsinA, whose function is still largely unknown. Alterations in GABAergic signaling have been involved in the pathogenesis of dystonia. We recorded GABA- and glutamate-mediated synaptic currents from a striatal slice preparation obtained from a mouse model of DYT1 dystonia. In medium spiny neurons (MSNs) from mice expressing human mutant torsinA (hMT), we observed a significantly higher frequency, but not amplitude, of GABAergic spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs) and miniature currents (mIPSCs), whereas glutamate-dependent spontaneous excitatory synaptic currents (sEPSCs) were normal. No alterations were found in mice overexpressing normal human torsinA (hWT). To identify the possible sources of the increased GABAergic tone, we recorded GABAergic Fast-Spiking (FS) interneurons that exert a feed-forward inhibition on MSNs. However, both sEPSC and sIPSC recorded from hMT FS interneurons were comparable to hWT and non-transgenic (NT) mice. In physiological conditions, dopamine (DA) D2 receptor act presynaptically to reduce striatal GABA release. Of note, application of the D2-like receptor agonist quinpirole failed to reduce the frequency of sIPSCs in MSNs from hMT as compared to hWT and NT mice. Likewise, the inhibitory effect of quinpirole was lost on evoked IPSCs both in MSNs and FS interneurons from hMT mice. Our findings demonstrate a disinhibition of striatal GABAergic synaptic activity, that can be at least partially attributed to a D2 DA receptor dysfunction.
Project description:In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopamine depletion alters neuronal activity in the direct and indirect pathways and leads to increased synchrony in the basal ganglia network. However, the origins of these changes remain elusive. Because GABAergic interneurons regulate activity of projection neurons and promote neuronal synchrony, we recorded from pairs of striatal fast-spiking (FS) interneurons and direct- or indirect-pathway MSNs after dopamine depletion with 6-OHDA. Synaptic properties of FS-MSN connections remained similar, yet within 3 days of dopamine depletion, individual FS cells doubled their connectivity to indirect-pathway MSNs, whereas connections to direct-pathway MSNs remained unchanged. A model of the striatal microcircuit revealed that such increases in FS innervation were effective at enhancing synchrony within targeted cell populations. These data suggest that after dopamine depletion, rapid target-specific microcircuit organization in the striatum may lead to increased synchrony of indirect-pathway MSNs that contributes to pathological network oscillations and motor symptoms of PD.
Project description:Fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) are a prominent class of forebrain GABAergic cells implicated in two seemingly independent network functions: gain control and network plasticity. Little is known, however, about how these roles interact. Here, we use a combination of cell-type-specific ablation, optogenetics, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavior to describe a unified mechanism by which striatal FSIs control burst firing, calcium influx, and synaptic plasticity in neighboring medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs). In vivo silencing of FSIs increased bursting, calcium transients, and AMPA/NMDA ratios in MSNs. In a motor sequence task, FSI silencing increased the frequency of calcium transients but reduced the specificity with which transients aligned to individual task events. Consistent with this, ablation of FSIs disrupted the acquisition of striatum-dependent egocentric learning strategies. Together, our data support a model in which feedforward inhibition from FSIs temporally restricts MSN bursting and calcium-dependent synaptic plasticity to facilitate striatum-dependent sequence learning.
Project description:Recent discoveries of striatal GABAergic interneurons require a new conceptualization of the organization of intrastriatal circuitry and their cortical and thalamic inputs. We investigated thalamic inputs to the two populations of striatal neuropeptide Y (NPY) interneurons, plateau low threshold spike (PLTS) and NPY-neurogliaform (NGF) cells. Optogenetic activation of parafascicular inputs evokes suprathreshold monosynaptic glutamatergic excitation in NGF interneurons and a disynaptic, nicotinic excitation through cholinergic interneurons. In contrast, the predominant response of PLTS interneurons is a disynaptic inhibition dependent on thalamic activation of striatal tyrosine hydroxylase interneurons (THINs). In contrast, THINs do not innervate NGF or fast spiking interneurons, showing significant specificity in THINs outputs. Chemospecific ablation of THINs impairs prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response suggesting an important behavioural role of this disynaptic pathway. Our findings demonstrate that the impact of the parafascicular nucleus on striatal activity and some related behaviour critically depend on synaptic interactions within interneuronal circuits.
Project description:Striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) receive lateral inhibitory projections from other MSNs and feedforward inhibitory projections from fast-spiking, parvalbumin-containing striatal interneurons (FSIs). The functional roles of these connections are unknown, and difficult to study in an experimental preparation. We therefore investigated the functionality of both lateral (MSN-MSN) and feedforward (FSI-MSN) inhibition using a large-scale computational model of the striatal network. The model consists of 2744 MSNs comprised of 189 compartments each and 121 FSIs comprised of 148 compartments each, with dendrites explicitly represented and almost all known ionic currents included and strictly constrained by biological data as appropriate. Our analysis of the model indicates that both lateral inhibition and feedforward inhibition function at the population level to limit non-ensemble MSN spiking while preserving ensemble MSN spiking. Specifically, lateral inhibition enables large ensembles of MSNs firing synchronously to strongly suppress non-ensemble MSNs over a short time-scale (10-30 ms). Feedforward inhibition enables FSIs to strongly inhibit weakly activated, non-ensemble MSNs while moderately inhibiting activated ensemble MSNs. Importantly, FSIs appear to more effectively inhibit MSNs when FSIs fire asynchronously. Both types of inhibition would increase the signal-to-noise ratio of responding MSN ensembles and contribute to the formation and dissolution of MSN ensembles in the striatal network.
Project description:Parvalbumin-containing fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) exert a powerful feed-forward GABAergic inhibition on striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs), playing a critical role in timing striatal output. However, how glutamatergic inputs modulate their firing activity is still unexplored. Here, by means of a combined optogenetic and electrophysiological approach, we provide evidence for a differential modulation of cortico- vs thalamo-striatal synaptic inputs to FSIs in transgenic mice carrying light-gated ion channels channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in glutamatergic fibers. Corticostriatal synapses show a postsynaptic facilitation, whereas thalamostriatal synapses present a postsynaptic depression. Moreover, thalamostriatal synapses exhibit more prominent AMPA-mediated currents than corticostriatal synapses, and an increased release probability. Furthermore, during current-evoked firing activity, simultaneous corticostriatal stimulation increases bursting activity. Conversely, thalamostriatal fiber activation shifts the canonical burst-pause activity to a more prolonged, regular firing pattern. However, this change in firing pattern was accompanied by a significant rise in the frequency of membrane potential oscillations. Notably, the responses to thalamic stimulation were fully abolished by blocking metabotropic glutamate 1 (mGlu1) receptor subtype, whereas both acetylcholine and dopamine receptor antagonists were ineffective. Our findings demonstrate that cortical and thalamic glutamatergic input differently modulate FSIs firing activity through specific intrinsic and synaptic properties, exerting a powerful influence on striatal outputs.
Project description:Striatal fast-spiking (FS) interneurons are interconnected by gap junctions into sparsely connected networks. As demonstrated for cortical FS interneurons, these gap junctions in the striatum may cause synchronized spiking, which would increase the influence that FS neurons have on spiking by the striatal medium spiny (MS) neurons. Dysfunction of the basal ganglia is characterized by changes in synchrony or periodicity, thus gap junctions between FS interneurons may modulate synchrony and thereby influence behavior such as reward learning and motor control. To explore the roles of gap junctions on activity and spike synchronization in a striatal FS population, we built a network model of FS interneurons. Each FS connects to 30-40% of its neighbors, as found experimentally, and each FS interneuron in the network is activated by simulated corticostriatal synaptic inputs. Our simulations show that the proportion of synchronous spikes in FS networks with gap junctions increases with increased conductance of the electrical synapse; however, the synchronization effects are moderate for experimentally estimated conductances. Instead, the main tendency is that the presence of gap junctions reduces the total number of spikes generated in response to synaptic inputs in the network. The reduction in spike firing is due to shunting through the gap junctions; which is minimized or absent when the neurons receive coincident inputs. Together these findings suggest that a population of electrically coupled FS interneurons may function collectively as input detectors that are especially sensitive to synchronized synaptic inputs received from the cortex.
Project description:The striatum, the entry nucleus of the basal ganglia, lacks laminar or columnar organization of its principal cells; nevertheless, functional data suggest that it is spatially organized. Here we examine whether the connectivity and synaptic organization of striatal GABAergic interneurons contributes to such spatial organization. Focusing on the two main classes of striatal GABAergic interneurons (fast-spiking interneurons [FSIs] and low-threshold-spiking interneurons [LTSIs]), we apply a combination of optogenetics and viral tracing approaches to dissect striatal microcircuits in mice. Our results reveal fundamental differences between the synaptic organizations of both interneuron types. FSIs target exclusively striatal projection neurons (SPNs) within close proximity and form strong synapses on the proximal somatodendritic region. In contrast, LTSIs target both SPNs and cholinergic interneurons, and synaptic connections onto SPNs are made exclusively over long distances and onto distal dendrites. These results suggest fundamentally different functions of FSIs and LTSIs in shaping striatal output.
Project description:In mice lacking the central domain of the presynaptic scaffold Bassoon the occurrence of repeated cortical seizures induces cell-type-specific plasticity changes resulting in a general enhancement of the feedforward inhibition within the striatal microcircuit. Early antiepileptic treatment with valproic acid (VPA) reduces epileptic attacks, inhibits the emergence of pathological form of plasticity in fast-spiking (FS) interneurons and restores physiological striatal synaptic plasticity in medium spiny (MS) neurons. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a key factor for the induction and maintenance of synaptic plasticity and it is also implicated in the mechanisms underlying epilepsy-induced adaptive changes. In this study, we explore the possibility that the TrkB/BDNF system is involved in the striatal modifications associated with the Bassoon gene (Bsn) mutation. In epileptic mice abnormal striatum-dependent learning was paralleled by higher TrkB levels and an altered distribution of BDNF. Accordingly, subchronic intrastriatal administration of k252a, an inhibitor of TrkB receptor tyrosine kinase activity, reversed behavioral alterations in Bsn mutant mice. In addition, in vitro manipulations of the TrkB/BDNF complex by k252a, prevented the emergence of pathological plasticity in FS interneurons. Chronic treatment with VPA, by reducing seizures, was able to rebalance TrkB to control levels favoring a physiological redistribution of BDNF between MS neurons and FS interneurons with a concomitant recovery of striatal plasticity. Our results provide the first indication that BDNF is involved in determining the striatal alterations occurring in the early-onset epileptic syndrome associated with the absence of presynaptic protein Bassoon.
Project description:Thalamocortical (TC) afferents relay sensory input to the cortex by making synapses onto both excitatory regular-spiking principal cells (RS cells) and inhibitory fast-spiking interneurons (FS cells). This divergence plays a crucial role in coordinating excitation with inhibition during the earliest steps of somatosensory processing in the cortex. Although the same TC afferents contact both FS and RS cells, FS cells receive larger and faster excitatory inputs from individual TC afferents. Here, we show that this larger thalamic excitation of FS cells occurs via GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors (AMPARs), and results from a fourfold larger quantal amplitude compared with the thalamic inputs onto RS cells. Thalamic afferents also activate NMDA receptors (NMDARs) at synapses onto both cells types, yet RS cell NMDAR currents are slower and pass more current at physiological membrane potentials. Because of these synaptic specializations, GluR2-lacking AMPARs selectively maintain feedforward inhibition of RS cells, whereas NMDARs contribute to the spiking of RS cells and hence to cortical recurrent excitation. Thus, thalamic afferent activity diverges into two routes that rely on unique complements of postsynaptic AMPARs and NMDARs to orchestrate the dynamic balance of excitation and inhibition as sensory input enters the cortex.