Profound desensitization by ambient GABA limits activation of ?-containing GABAA receptors during spillover.
ABSTRACT: 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:The neurotransmitter GABA mediates the majority of rapid inhibition in the CNS. Inhibition can occur via the conventional mechanism, the transient activation of subsynaptic GABAA receptors (GABAA-Rs), or via continuous activation of high-affinity receptors by low concentrations of ambient GABA, leading to "tonic" inhibition that can control levels of excitability and network activity. The GABAA-R alpha4 subunit is expressed at high levels in the dentate gyrus and thalamus and is suspected to contribute to extrasynaptic GABAA-R-mediated tonic inhibition. Mice were engineered to lack the alpha4 subunit by targeted disruption of the Gabra4 gene. alpha4 Subunit knockout mice are viable, breed normally, and are superficially indistinguishable from WT mice. In electrophysiological recordings, these mice show a lack of tonic inhibition in dentate granule cells and thalamic relay neurons. Behaviorally, knockout mice are insensitive to the ataxic, sedative, and analgesic effects of the novel hypnotic drug, gaboxadol. These data demonstrate that tonic inhibition in dentate granule cells and thalamic relay neurons is mediated by extrasynaptic GABAA-Rs containing the alpha4 subunit and that gaboxadol achieves its effects via the activation of this GABAA-R subtype.
Project description: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:The release of GABA from local interneurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN-INs) provides inhibitory control during visual processing within the thalamus. It is commonly assumed that this important class of interneurons originates from within the thalamic complex, but we now show that during early postnatal development Sox14/Otx2-expressing precursor cells migrate from the dorsal midbrain to generate dLGN-INs. The unexpected extra-diencephalic origin of dLGN-INs sets them apart from GABAergic neurons of the reticular thalamic nucleus. Using optogenetics we show that at increased firing rates tectal-derived dLGN-INs generate a powerful form of tonic inhibition that regulates the gain of thalamic relay neurons through recruitment of extrasynaptic high-affinity GABAA receptors. Therefore, by revising the conventional view of thalamic interneuron ontogeny we demonstrate how a previously unappreciated mesencephalic population controls thalamic relay neuron excitability.
Project description:Extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs)-mediated tonic inhibition is reported to involve in the pathogenesis of epilepsy. In this study, we used cyclothiazide (CTZ)-induced in vitro brain slice seizure model to explore the effect of selective activation of extrasynaptic GABA(A)Rs by 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo[5,4-c] pyridine-3-ol (THIP) on the CTZ-induced epileptiform activity in hippocampal neurons. Perfusion with CTZ dose-dependently induced multiple epileptiform peaks of evoked population spikes (PSs) in CA1 pyramidal neurons, and treatment with THIP (5 μmol/L) significantly reduced the multiple PS peaks induced by CTZ stimulation. Western blot showed that the δ-subunit of the GABA(A)R, an extrasynaptic specific GABA(A)R subunit, was also significantly down-regulated in the cell membrane 2 h after CTZ treatment. Our results suggest that the CTZ-induced epileptiform activity in hippocampal CA1 neurons is suppressed by the activation of extrasynaptic GABA(A)Rs, and further support the hypothesis that tonic inhibition mediated by extrasynaptic GABA(A)Rs plays a prominent role in seizure generation.
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:Phasic (synaptic) and tonic (extrasynaptic) inhibition represent the two most fundamental forms of GABA(A) receptor-mediated transmission. Inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) generated by GABA(A) receptors are typically extremely rapid synaptic events that do not last beyond a few milliseconds. Although unusually slow GABA(A) IPSCs, lasting for tens of milliseconds, have been observed in recordings of spontaneous events, their origin and mechanisms are not known. We show that neocortical GABA(A,slow) IPSCs originate from a specialized interneuron called neurogliaform cells. Compared with classical GABA(A,fast) IPSCs evoked by basket cells, single spikes in neurogliaform cells evoke extraordinarily prolonged GABA(A) responses that display tight regulation by transporters, low peak GABA concentration, unusual benzodiazepine modulation, and spillover. These results reveal a form of GABA(A) receptor mediated communication by a dedicated cell type that produces slow ionotropic responses with properties intermediate between phasic and tonic inhibition.
Project description:The role of extra-synaptic receptors in the regulation of excitation and inhibition in the brain has attracted increasing attention. Because activity in the extra-synaptic receptors plays a role in regulating the level of excitation and inhibition in the brain, they may be important in determining the level of consciousness. This paper reviews briefly the literature on extra-synaptic GABA and NMDA receptors and their affinity to anesthetic drugs. We propose a neural population model that illustrates how the effect of the anesthetic drug propofol on GABAergic extra-synaptic receptors results in changes in neural population activity and the electroencephalogram (EEG). Our results show that increased tonic inhibition in inhibitory cortical neurons cause a dramatic increase in the power of both ?- and ?- bands. Conversely, the effects of increased tonic inhibition in cortical excitatory neurons and thalamic relay neurons have the opposite effect and decrease the power in these bands. The increased ?-activity is in accord with observed data for deepening propofol anesthesia; but is absolutely dependent on the inclusion of extrasynaptic (tonic) GABA action in the model.
Project description:Thalamic relay neurons have well-characterized dual firing modes: bursting and tonic spiking. Studies in brain slices have led to a model in which rhythmic synchronized spiking (phasic firing) in a population of relay neurons leads to hyper-synchronous oscillatory cortico-thalamo-cortical rhythms that result in absence seizures. This model suggests that blocking thalamocortical phasic firing would treat absence seizures. However, recent in vivo studies in anesthetized animals have questioned this simple model. Here we resolve this issue by developing a real-time, mode-switching approach to drive thalamocortical neurons into or out of a phasic firing mode in two freely behaving genetic rodent models of absence epilepsy. Toggling between phasic and tonic firing in thalamocortical neurons launched and aborted absence seizures, respectively. Thus, a synchronous thalamocortical phasic firing state is required for absence seizures, and switching to tonic firing rapidly halts absences. This approach should be useful for modulating other networks that have mode-dependent behaviors.
Project description:Penicillin, an open-channel blocker of GABA(A) receptors, was recently reported to inhibit phasic, but not tonic, currents in hippocampal neurons. To distinguish between isoform-specific and context-dependent modulation as possible explanations for this selectivity, the effects of penicillin were evaluated on recombinant GABA(A) receptors expressed in HEK293T cells. When co-applied with saturating GABA, penicillin decreased peak amplitude, induced rebound, and prolonged deactivation of currents evoked from both synaptic and extrasynaptic receptor isoforms. However, penicillin had isoform-specific effects on the extent of desensitization, reflecting its ability to differentially modulate peak (non-equilibrium) and residual (near-equilibrium) currents. This suggested that the context of activation could determine the apparent sensitivity of a given receptor isoform to penicillin. To test this hypothesis, we explored the ability of penicillin to modulate synaptic and extrasynaptic isoform currents that were activated under more physiologically relevant conditions. Interestingly, while currents evoked from synaptic isoforms under phasic conditions (transient activation by a saturating concentration of GABA) were substantially inhibited by penicillin, currents evoked from extrasynaptic isoforms under tonic conditions (prolonged application by a sub-saturating concentration of GABA) were minimally affected. We therefore concluded that the reported inability of penicillin to modulate tonic currents could not simply be attributed to insensitivity of extrasynaptic receptors, but rather, reflected an inability to modulate these receptors in their native context of activation.
Project description:Ischaemic stroke is the leading cause of severe long-term disability yet lacks drug therapies that promote the repair phase of recovery. This repair phase of stroke occurs days to months after stroke onset and involves brain remapping and plasticity within the peri-infarct zone. Elucidating mechanisms that promote this plasticity is critical for the development of new therapeutics with a broad treatment window. Inhibiting tonic (extrasynaptic) GABA signalling during the repair phase was reported to enhance functional recovery in mice suggesting that GABA plays an important function in modulating brain repair. While tonic GABA appears to suppress brain repair after stroke, less is known about the role of phasic (synaptic) GABA during the repair phase. We observed an increase in postsynaptic phasic GABA signalling in mice within the peri-infarct cortex specific to layer 5; we found increased numbers of ?1 receptor subunit-containing GABAergic synapses detected using array tomography, and an associated increased efficacy of spontaneous and miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents in pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, we demonstrate that enhancing phasic GABA signalling using zolpidem, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved GABA-positive allosteric modulator, during the repair phase improved behavioural recovery. These data identify potentiation of phasic GABA signalling as a novel therapeutic strategy, indicate zolpidem's potential to improve recovery, and underscore the necessity to distinguish the role of tonic and phasic GABA signalling in stroke recovery.