Control of hippocampal gamma oscillation frequency by tonic inhibition and excitation of interneurons.
ABSTRACT: Gamma-frequency oscillations depend on phasic synaptic GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R)-mediated inhibition to synchronize spike timing. The spillover of synaptically released GABA can also activate extrasynaptic GABA(A)Rs, and such tonic inhibition may also contribute to modulating network dynamics. In many neuronal cell types, tonic inhibition is mediated by delta subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs. We found that the frequency of in vitro cholinergically induced gamma oscillations in the mouse hippocampal CA3 region was increased by the activation of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) on interneurons. The NMDAR-dependent increase of gamma oscillation frequency was counteracted by the tonic inhibition of the interneurons mediated by delta subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs. Recordings of synaptic currents during gamma activity revealed that NMDAR-mediated increases in oscillation frequency correlated with a progressive synchronization of phasic excitation and inhibition in the network. Thus, the balance between tonic excitation and tonic inhibition of interneurons may modulate gamma frequency by shaping interneuronal synchronization.
Project description:α5 subunit GABA type A receptor (GABA<sub>A</sub>R) preferring negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) are cognitive enhancers with antidepressant-like effects. α5-NAM success in treating mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders with excessive inhibition have led to Phase 2 clinical trials for Down syndrome. Despite in vivo efficacy, no study has examined the effects of continued α5-NAM treatment on inhibitory and excitatory synapse plasticity to identify mechanisms of action. Here we used L-655,708, an imidazobenzodiazepine that acts as a highly selective but weak α5-NAM, to investigate the impact of sustained treatment on hippocampal neuron synapse and dendrite development. We show that 2-day pharmacological reduction of α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>R signaling from DIV12-14, when GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs contribute to depolarization, delays dendritic spine maturation and the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) GluN2B/GluN2A developmental shift. In contrast, α5-NAM treatment from DIV19-21, when hyperpolarizing GABA<sub>A</sub>R signaling predominates, enhances surface synaptic GluN2A while decreasing GluN2B. Despite changes in NMDAR subtype surface levels and localization, total levels of key excitatory synapse proteins were largely unchanged, and mEPSCs were unaltered. Importantly, 2-day α5-NAM treatment does not alter the total surface levels or distribution of α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs, reduce the gephyrin inhibitory synaptic scaffold, or impair phasic or tonic inhibition. Furthermore, α5-NAM inhibition of the GABA<sub>A</sub>R tonic current in mature neurons is maintained after 2-day α5-NAM treatment, suggesting reduced tolerance liability, in contrast to other clinically relevant GABA<sub>A</sub>R-targeting drugs such as benzodiazepines. Together, these results show that α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs contribute to dendritic spine maturation and excitatory synapse development via a NMDAR dependent mechanism without perturbing overall neuronal excitability.
Project description:Neurosteroids are potent allosteric modulators of GABA<sub>A</sub> receptors (GABA<sub>A</sub> Rs). Although the effects of exogenous neurosteroids on GABA<sub>A</sub> R function are well documented, less is known about effects of neurosteroids produced by local endogenous biosynthesis. The neurosteroidogenic enzymes 5α-reductase and 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase are expressed in two nuclei of somatosensory thalamus, the thalamic reticular nucleus (nRT) and ventrobasal nucleus (VB). Here, the effects of acute blockade of neurosteroidogenesis by the 5α-reductase inhibitor finasteride on phasic and tonic GABA<sub>A</sub> R-mediated currents were examined in nRT and VB of mice. In nRT, finasteride altered the decay and amplitude, but not the frequency, of phasic currents, with no effect on tonic inhibition. In VB neurons, by contrast, finasteride reduced both the size and frequency of phasic currents, and also reduced the degree of tonic inhibition. These studies thus provide novel evidence for endogenous modulation of GABA<sub>A</sub> R function by 5α-reduced neurosteroids in the mature thalamus.
Project description:High-affinity extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are a prominent feature of cerebellar granule neurons and thalamic relay neurons. In both cell types, the presence of synaptic glomeruli would be expected to promote activation of these GABA(A)Rs, contributing to phasic spillover-mediated currents and tonic inhibition. However, the precise role of different receptor subtypes in these two phenomena is unclear. To address this question, we made recordings from neurons in acute brain slices from mice, and from tsA201 cells expressing recombinant GABA(A)Rs. We found that ? subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs of both cerebellar granule neurons and thalamic relay neurons of the lateral geniculate nucleus contributed to tonic conductance caused by ambient GABA but not to spillover-mediated currents. In the presence of a low "ambient" GABA concentration, recombinant "extrasynaptic" ? subunit-containing GABA(A)Rs exhibited profound desensitization, rendering them insensitive to brief synaptic- or spillover-like GABA transients. Together, our results demonstrate that phasic spillover and tonic inhibition reflect the activation of distinct receptor populations.
Project description:GABAergic function of the subiculum is central to the regulation of hippocampal output activity. Subicular neuronal networks are indeed under potent control by local inhibition. However, information about the properties of GABAergic currents generated by neurons of this parahippocampal area in normal tissue is still missing. Here, we describe GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R)-mediated phasic and tonic currents generated by principal cells (PCs) and interneurons (INs) of the rat subiculum. We show that in spite of similar synaptic current densities, INs generate spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) that occur less frequently and exhibit smaller charge transfer, thus receiving less synaptic total current than PCs. Further distinction of PCs between intrinsically bursting (IB) and regular-spiking (RS) neurons suggested that sIPSCs generated by the two PC sub-types are likely to be similar. PCs and INs are also controlled by a similar tonic inhibition. However, whereas a comparable tonic current density is found in RS cells and INs, IB neurons are constrained by a greater inhibitory tone. Finally, pharmacological blockade of GABA(A)R did not promote functional switch of RS neurons to IB mode, but influenced the bursting propensity of IB cells and released fast spiking activity in INs. Our findings reveal differences in GABAergic currents between PCs and INs as well as within PC sub-types. We propose that GABAergic inhibition may shape hippocampal output activity by providing cell type-specific fine-tuning of subicular excitatory and inhibitory drives.
Project description:Tonic inhibition mediated by extrasynaptic GABA<sub>A</sub>Rs regulates various brain functions. However, the mechanisms that regulate tonic inhibition remain largely unclear. Here, we report distinct actions of GluN2A- and GluN2B-NMDA receptors (NMDARs) on tonic inhibition in hippocampal neurons under basal and high activity conditions. Specifically, overexpression of GluN2B, but not GluN2A, reduces α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>R surface expression and tonic currents. Additionally, knockout of GluN2A and GluN2B decreases and increases tonic currents, respectively. Mechanistically, GluN2A-NMDARs inhibit and GluN2B-NMDARs promote α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>R internalization, resulting in increased and decreased surface α5-GABA<sub>A</sub>R expression, respectively. Furthermore, GluN2A-NMDARs, but not GluN2B-NMDARs, are required for homeostatic potentiation of tonic inhibition induced by prolonged increase of neuronal activity. Last, tonic inhibition decreases during acute seizures, whereas it increases 24 h later, involving GluN2-NMDAR-dependent signaling. Collectively, these data reveal an NMDAR subunit-specific regulation of tonic inhibition in physiological and pathological conditions and provide mechanistic insight into activity-dependent modulation of tonic inhibition.
Project description:The family of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABA(A)Rs) mediates two types of inhibition in the mammalian brain. Phasic inhibition is mediated by synaptic GABA(A)Rs that are mainly comprised of alpha(1), beta(2), and gamma(2) subunits, whereas tonic inhibition is mediated by extrasynaptic GABA(A)Rs comprised of alpha(4/6), beta(2), and delta subunits. We investigated the activation properties of recombinant alpha(4)beta(2)delta and alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) GABA(A)Rs in response to GABA and 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo[5,4-c]pyridin-3(2H)-one (THIP) using electrophysiological recordings from outside-out membrane patches. Rapid agonist application experiments indicated that THIP produced faster opening rates at alpha(4)beta(2)delta GABA(A)Rs (beta approximately 1600 s(-1)) than at alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) GABA(A)Rs (beta approximately 460 s(-1)), whereas GABA activated alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) GABA(A)Rs more rapidly (beta approximately 1800 s(-1)) than alpha(4)beta(2)delta GABA(A)Rs (beta < 440 s(-1)). Single channel recordings of alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) and alpha(4)beta(2)delta GABA(A)Rs showed that both channels open to a main conductance state of approximately 25 pS at -70 mV when activated by GABA and low concentrations of THIP, whereas saturating concentrations of THIP elicited approximately 36 pS openings at both channels. Saturating concentrations of GABA elicited brief (<10 ms) openings with low intraburst open probability (P(O) approximately 0.3) at alpha(4)beta(2)delta GABA(A)Rs and at least two "modes" of single channel bursting activity, lasting approximately 100 ms at alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) GABA(A)Rs. The most prevalent bursting mode had a P(O) of approximately 0.7 and was described by a reaction scheme with three open and three shut states, whereas the "high" P(O) mode ( approximately 0.9) was characterized by two shut and three open states. Single channel activity elicited by THIP in alpha(4)beta(2)delta and alpha(1)beta(2)gamma(2S) GABA(A)Rs occurred as a single population of bursts (P(O) approximately 0.4-0.5) of moderate duration (approximately 33 ms) that could be described by schemes containing two shut and two open states for both GABA(A)Rs. Our data identify kinetic properties that are receptor-subtype specific and others that are agonist specific, including unitary conductance.
Project description:Neuronal activity at gamma frequency is impaired in schizophrenia (SZ) and is considered critical for cognitive performance. Such impairments are thought to be due to reduced N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-mediated inhibition from parvalbumin interneurons, rather than a direct role of impaired NMDAR signaling on pyramidal neurons. However, recent studies suggest a direct role of pyramidal neurons in regulating gamma oscillations. In particular, a computational model has been proposed in which phasic currents from pyramidal cells could drive synchronized feedback inhibition from interneurons. As such, impairments in pyramidal neuron activity could lead to abnormal gamma oscillations. However, this computational model has not been tested experimentally and the molecular mechanisms underlying pyramidal neuron dysfunction in SZ remain unclear.In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that SZ-related phenotypes could arise from reduced NMDAR signaling in pyramidal neurons using forebrain pyramidal neuron specific NMDA receptor 1 knockout mice.The mice displayed increased baseline gamma power, as well as sociocognitive impairments. These phenotypes were associated with increased pyramidal cell excitability due to changes in inherent membrane properties. Interestingly, mutant mice showed decreased expression of GIRK2 channels, which has been linked to increased neuronal excitability.Our data demonstrate for the first time that NMDAR hypofunction in pyramidal cells is sufficient to cause electrophysiological, molecular, neuropathological, and behavioral changes related to SZ.
Project description:GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is predominantly released by local interneurons in the cerebral cortex to particular subcellular domains of the target cells. This suggests that compartmentalized, synapse-specific action of GABA is required in cortical networks for phasic inhibition. However, GABA released at the synaptic cleft diffuses to receptors outside the postsynaptic density and thus tonically activates extrasynaptic GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors, which include subtypes of both receptor families especially sensitive to low concentrations of GABA. The synaptic and extrasynaptic action of GABA corroborates the idea that neurons of the brain use synaptic (or wiring) transmission and non-synaptic (or volume) transmission for communication. However, re-uptake mechanisms restrict the spatial extent of extrasynaptic GABA-mediated effects, and it has been proposed that the concerted action of several presynaptic interneurons, the sustained firing of individual cells or an increase in release-site density is required to reach ambient GABA levels sufficient to activate extrasynaptic receptors. Here we show that individual neurogliaform cells release enough GABA for volume transmission within the axonal cloud and, thus, that neurogliaform cells do not require synapses to produce inhibitory responses in the overwhelming majority of nearby neurons. Neurogliaform cells suppress connections between other neurons acting on presynaptic terminals that do not receive synapses at all in the cerebral cortex. They also reach extrasynaptic, delta-subunit-containing GABA(A) (GABA(Adelta)) receptors responsible for tonic inhibition. We show that GABA(Adelta) receptors are localized to neurogliaform cells preferentially among cortical interneurons. Neurosteroids, which are modulators of GABA(Adelta) receptors, alter unitary GABA-mediated effects between neurogliaform cells. In contrast to the specifically placed synapses formed by other interneurons, the output of neurosteroid-sensitive neurogliaform cells represents the ultimate form of the lack of spatial specificity in GABA-mediated systems, leading to long-lasting network hyperpolarization combined with widespread suppression of communication in the local circuit.
Project description:GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) exist as different subtype variants showing unique functional properties and defined spatio-temporal expression pattern. The molecular mechanisms underlying the developmental expression of different GABA(A)R are largely unknown. The intracellular concentration of chloride ([Cl(-)](i)), the main ion permeating through GABA(A)Rs, also undergoes considerable changes during maturation, being higher at early neuronal stages with respect to adult neurons. Here we investigate the possibility that [Cl(-)](i) could modulate the sequential expression of specific GABA(A)Rs subtypes in primary cerebellar neurons. We show that [Cl(-)](i) regulates the expression of α3-1 and δ-containing GABA(A) receptors, responsible for phasic and tonic inhibition, respectively. Our findings highlight the role of [Cl(-)](i) in tuning the strength of GABAergic responses by acting as an intracellular messenger.
Project description:Light is a powerful external cue modulating the biological rhythm of internal clock neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). GABA signaling in SCN is critically involved in this process. Both phasic and tonic modes of GABA signaling exist in SCN. Of the two modes, the tonic mode of GABA signaling has been implicated in light-mediated synchrony of SCN neurons. However, modulatory effects of external light on tonic GABA signalling are yet to be explored. Here, we systematically characterized electrophysiological properties of the clock neurons and determined the spatio-temporal profiles of tonic GABA current. Based on the whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from 76 SCN neurons, the cells with large tonic GABA current (>15 pA) were more frequently found in dorsal SCN. Moreover, tonic GABA current in SCN was highly correlated with the frequency of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic current (sIPSC), raising a possibility that tonic GABA current is due to spill-over from synaptic release. Interestingly, tonic GABA current was inversely correlated with slice-to-patch time interval, suggesting a critical role of retinal light exposure in intact brain for an induction of tonic GABA current in SCN. To test this possibility, we obtained meticulously prepared retina-attached SCN slices and successfully recorded tonic and phasic GABA signaling in SCN neurons. For the first time, we observed an early-onset, long-lasting tonic GABA current, followed by a slow-onset, short-lasting increase in the phasic GABA frequency, upon direct light-illumination of the attached retina. This result provides the first evidence that external light cue can directly trigger both tonic and phasic GABA signaling in SCN cell. In conclusion, we propose tonic GABA as the key mediator of external light in SCN.