Group II mGluRs modulate baseline and arthritis pain-related synaptic transmission in the rat medial prefrontal cortex.
ABSTRACT: The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) serves executive control functions that are impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders and pain. Therefore, restoring normal synaptic transmission and output is a desirable goal. Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors mGluR2 and mGluR3 are highly expressed in the mPFC, modulate synaptic transmission, and have been targeted for neuropsychiatric disorders. Their pain-related modulatory effects in the mPFC remain to be determined. Here we evaluated their ability to restore pyramidal output in an arthritis pain model. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of layer V mPFC pyramidal cells show that a selective group II mGluR agonist (LY379268) decreased synaptically evoked spiking in brain slices from normal and arthritic rats. Effects were concentration-dependent and reversed by a selective antagonist (LY341495). LY379268 decreased monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) and glutamate-driven inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in the pain model. Effects on EPSCs preceded those on IPSCs and could explain the overall inhibitory effect on pyramidal output. LY379268 decreased frequency, but not amplitude, of miniature EPSCs without affecting miniature IPSCs. LY341495 alone increased synaptically evoked spiking under normal conditions and in the pain model. In conclusion, group II mGluRs act on glutamatergic synapses to inhibit direct excitatory transmission and feedforward inhibition onto pyramidal cells. Their net effect is decreased pyramidal cell output. Facilitatory effects of a group II antagonist suggest the system may be tonically active to control pyramidal output. Failure to release the inhibitory tone and enhance mPFC output could be a mechanism for the development or persistence of a disease state such as pain.
Project description:Previously, we identified progressive alterations in spontaneous EPSCs and IPSCs in the striatum of the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD). Medium-sized spiny neurons from these mice displayed a lower frequency of EPSCs, and a population of cells exhibited an increased frequency of IPSCs beginning at approximately 40 d, a time point when the overt behavioral phenotype begins. The cortex provides the major excitatory drive to the striatum and is affected during disease progression. We examined spontaneous EPSCs and IPSCs of somatosensory cortical pyramidal neurons in layers II/III in slices from three different mouse models of HD: the R6/2, the YAC128, and the CAG140 knock-in. Results revealed that spontaneous EPSCs occurred at a higher frequency, and evoked EPSCs were larger in behaviorally phenotypic mice whereas spontaneous IPSCs were initially increased in frequency in all models and subsequently decreased in R6/2 mice after they displayed the typical R6/2 overt behavioral phenotype. Changes in miniature IPSCs and evoked IPSC paired-pulse ratios suggested altered probability of GABA release. Also, in R6/2 mice, blockade of GABA(A) receptors induced complex discharges in slices and seizures in vivo at all ages. In conclusion, altered excitatory and inhibitory inputs to pyramidal neurons in the cortex in HD appear to be a prevailing deficit throughout the development of the disease. Furthermore, the differences between synaptic phenotypes in cortex and striatum are important for the development of future therapeutic approaches, which may need to be targeted early in the development of the phenotype.
Project description:The amygdala plays a critical role in emotional-affective aspects of behaviors and pain modulation. The central nucleus of amygdala (CeA) serves major output functions, and neuroplasticity in the CeA is linked to pain-related behaviors in different models. Activation of Gi/o-coupled group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which consist of mGluR2 and mGluR3, can decrease neurotransmitter release and regulate synaptic plasticity. Group II mGluRs have emerged as targets for neuropsychiatric disorders and can inhibit pain-related processing and behaviors. Surprisingly, site and mechanism of antinociceptive actions of systemically applied group II mGluR agonists are not clear. Our previous work showed that group II mGluR activation in the amygdala inhibits pain-related CeA activity, but behavioral and spinal consequences remain to be determined. Here we studied the contribution of group II mGluRs in the amygdala to the antinociceptive effects of a systemically applied group II mGluR agonist (LY379268) on behavior and spinal dorsal horn neuronal activity, using the kaolin/carrageenan-induced knee joint arthritis pain model. Audible and ultrasonic vocalizations (emotional responses) and mechanical reflex thresholds were measured in adult rats with and without arthritis (5-6?h postinduction). Extracellular single-unit recordings were made from spinal dorsal horn wide dynamic range neurons of anesthetized (isoflurane) rats with and without arthritis (5-6?h postinduction). Systemic (intraperitoneal) application of a group II mGluR agonist (LY379268) decreased behaviors and activity of spinal neurons in the arthritis pain model but not under normal conditions. Stereotaxic administration of LY379268 into the CeA mimicked the effects of systemic application. Conversely, stereotaxic administration of a group II mGluR antagonist (LY341495) into the CeA reversed the effects of systemic application of LY379268 on behaviors and dorsal horn neuronal activity in arthritic rats. The data show for the first time that the amygdala is the critical site of action for the antinociceptive behavioral and spinal neuronal effects of systemically applied group II mGluR agonists.
Project description:Morphological studies show that repeated restraint stress leads to selective atrophy in the apical dendritic field of pyramidal cells in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). However, the functional consequence of this selectivity remains unclear. The apical dendrite of layer V pyramidal neurons in the mPFC is a selective locus for the generation of increased excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) by serotonin (5-HT) and hypocretin (orexin). On that basis, we hypothesized that apical dendritic atrophy might result in a blunting of 5-HT- and hypocretin-induced excitatory responses. Using a combination of whole-cell recording and two-photon imaging in rat mPFC slices, we were able to correlate electrophysiological and morphological changes in the same layer V pyramidal neurons. Repeated mild restraint stress produced a decrement in both 5-HT- and hypocretin-induced EPSCs, an effect that was correlated with a decrease in apical tuft dendritic branch length and spine density in the distal tuft branches. Chronic treatment with the stress hormone corticosterone, while reducing 5-HT responses and generally mimicking the morphological effects of stress, failed to produce a significant decrease in hypocretin-induced EPSCs. Accentuating this difference, pretreatment of stressed animals with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486 blocked reductions in 5-HT-induced EPSCs but not hypocretin-induced EPSCs. We conclude: (i) stress-induced apical dendritic atrophy results in diminished responses to apically targeted excitatory inputs and (ii) corticosterone plays a greater role in stress-induced reductions in EPSCs evoked by 5-HT as compared with hypocretin, possibly reflecting the different pathways activated by the two transmitters.
Project description:A fundamental property of small neuronal ensembles is their ability to be selectively activated by distinct stimuli. One cellular mechanism by which neurons achieve this input selectivity is by modulating the temporal dynamics of excitation and inhibition. We explored the interplay of excitation and inhibition in synapses between pyramidal neurons of cornu ammonis field 3 of the hippocampal formation (CA3) in cultured rat hippocampal slices, where activation of a single excitatory cell can readily recruit local interneurons. Simultaneous whole-cell recordings from pairs of CA3 pyramidal neurons revealed that the strength of connections was neither uniform nor balanced. Rather, stimulation of presynaptic neurons elicited distinct combinations of excitatory postsynaptic current-inhibitory postsynaptic current (EPSC-IPSC) amplitudes in the postsynaptic neurons. EPSC-IPSC sequences with small EPSCs had large IPSCs and sequences that contained large EPSCs had small IPSCs. In addition to differences in the amplitudes of the responses, the kinetics of the EPSCs were also different, creating distinct temporal dynamics of excitation and inhibition. Weaker EPSCs had significantly slower kinetics and were efficiently occluded by IPSCs, thereby further limiting their contribution to depolarizing the postsynaptic membrane. Our data suggest that hippocampal pyramidal cells may use an imbalance between excitation and inhibition as a filter to enhance selectivity toward preferential excitatory connections.
Project description:A single sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine, a short-acting NMDA receptor blocker, induces a rapid and prolonged antidepressant effect in treatment-resistant major depression. In animal models, ketamine (24 h) reverses depression-like behaviors and associated deficits in excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) generated in apical dendritic spines of layer V pyramidal cells of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). However, little is known about the effects of ketamine on basal dendrites. The basal dendrites of layer V cells receive an excitatory input from pyramidal cells of the basolateral amygdala (BLA), neurons that are activated by the stress hormone CRF. Here we found that CRF induces EPSCs in PFC layer V cells and that ketamine enhanced this effect through the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 synaptogenic pathway; the CRF-induced EPSCs required an intact BLA input and were generated primarily in basal dendrites. In contrast to its detrimental effects on apical dendritic structure and function, chronic stress did not induce a loss of CRF-induced EPSCs in basal dendrites, thereby creating a relative imbalance in favor of amygdala inputs. The effects of ketamine were complex: ketamine enhanced apical EPSC responses in all mPFC subregions, anterior cingulate (AC), prelimbic (PL), and infralimbic (IL) but enhanced CRF-induced EPSCs only in AC and PL-responses were unchanged in IL, a critical area for suppression of stress responses. We propose that by restoring the strength of apical inputs relative to basal amygdala inputs, especially in IL, ketamine would ameliorate the hypothesized disproportional negative influence of the amygdala in chronic stress and major depression.
Project description:Clinical and experimental data suggest that fronto-cortical GABAergic deficits contribute to the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). To further test this hypothesis, we used a well characterized rat model for depression and examined the effect of stress on GABAergic neuron numbers and GABA-mediated synaptic transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of rats. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to 9-weeks of chronic mild stress (CMS) and based on their hedonic-anhedonic behavior they were behaviorally phenotyped as being stress-susceptible (anhedonic) or stress-resilient. Post mortem quantitative histopathology was used to examine the effect of stress on parvalbumin (PV)-, calretinin- (CR), calbindin- (CB), cholecystokinin- (CCK), somatostatin-(SST) and neuropeptide Y-positive (NPY+) GABAergic neuron numbers in all cortical subareas of the mPFC (anterior cingulate (Cg1), prelimbic (PrL) and infralimbic (IL) cortexes). In vitro, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from layer II-III pyramidal neurons of the ventral mPFC was used to examine GABAergic neurotransmission. The cognitive performance of the animals was assessed in a hippocampal-prefrontal-cortical circuit dependent learning task. Stress exposure reduced the number of CCK-, CR- and PV-positive GABAergic neurons in the mPFC, most prominently in the IL cortex. Interestingly, in the stress-resilient animals, we found higher number of neuropeptide Y-positive neurons in the entire mPFC. The electrophysiological analysis revealed reduced frequencies of spontaneous and miniature IPSCs in the anhedonic rats and decreased release probability of perisomatic-targeting GABAergic synapses and alterations in GABAB receptor mediated signaling. In turn, pyramidal neurons showed higher excitability. Anhedonic rats were also significantly impaired in the object-place paired-associate learning task. These data demonstrate that long-term stress results in functional and structural deficits of prefrontal GABAergic networks. Our findings support the concept that fronto-limbic GABAergic dysfunctions may contribute to emotional and cognitive symptoms of MDD.
Project description:Multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, e.g., depression, are linked to imbalances in excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission and prefrontal cortical dysfunction, and are concomitant with chronic stress.We used electrophysiologic (n = 5-6 animals, 21-25 cells/group), neuroanatomic (n = 6-8/group), and behavioral (n = 12/group) techniques to test the hypothesis that chronic stress increases inhibition of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamatergic output neurons.Using patch clamp recordings from infralimbic mPFC pyramidal neurons, we found that chronic stress selectively increases the frequency of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents with no effect on amplitude, which suggests that chronic stress increases presynaptic gamma-aminobutyric acid release. Elevated gamma-aminobutyric acid release under chronic stress is accompanied by increased inhibitory appositions and terminals onto glutamatergic cells, as assessed by both immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Furthermore, chronic stress decreases glucocorticoid receptor immunoreactivity specifically in a subset of inhibitory neurons, which suggests that increased inhibitory tone in the mPFC after chronic stress may be caused by loss of a glucocorticoid receptor-mediated brake on interneuron activity. These neuroanatomic and functional changes are associated with impairment of a prefrontal-mediated behavior. During chronic stress, rats initially make significantly more errors in the delayed spatial win-shift task, an mPFC-mediated behavior, which suggests a diminished impact of the mPFC on decision making.Taken together, the data suggest that chronic stress increases synaptic inhibition onto prefrontal glutamatergic output neurons, limiting the influence of the prefrontal cortex in control of stress reactivity and behavior. Thus, these data provide a mechanistic link among chronic stress, prefrontal cortical hypofunction, and behavioral dysfunction.
Project description:We have reported the antidepressant effects of both metabotropic glutamate 2/3 (mGlu2/3) receptor antagonists and ketamine in several animal models, and proposed that serotonergic (5-HTergic) transmission is involved in these actions. Given that the projections from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), where the majority of serotonin (5-HT) neurons exist, are reportedly involved in the antidepressant effects, in this study, we investigated using the forced swimming test (FST) of C57BL/6J male mice, the role of 5-HT neurons in the DRN regulated by the mPFC-DRN projections in the antidepressant effects of an mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist, LY341495, and ketamine. Following systemic administration/microinjection into the mPFC, both LY341495 and ketamine were found to exert antidepressant effects in the FST, and the effects were attenuated by depletion of 5-HT by treatment with an inhibitor of 5-HT synthesis, PCPA. The antidepressant effects of LY341495 and ketamine were also blocked by systemic administration/microinjection into the mPFC of an AMPA receptor antagonist, NBQX. Moreover, systemic administration/microinjection into the mPFC of LY341495 and ketamine significantly increased the c-Fos expression in the 5-HT neurons in the DRN, and the effect of systemic administration of these drugs on the neuronal c-Fos expression was attenuated by microinjection of NBQX into the mPFC. Our findings suggest that activation of 5-HT neurons in the DRN regulated by stimulation of the AMPA receptor in the mPFC may be involved in the antidepressant effects of an mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist and ketamine.
Project description:Stress is a leading risk factor for the onset and recurrence of major depression. Enhancing stress resilience may be a therapeutic strategy to prevent the development of depression in at-risk populations or its recurrence in depressed patients. Group II metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGlu2/3) antagonists have been recognized for antidepressant-like actions in preclinical models, but have not been evaluated for prophylactic effects. We assessed the role of mGlu2/3 in modulating stress resilience using subtype-specific knockout mice lacking mGlu2 (Grm2-/-) or mGlu3 (Grm3-/-), and pharmacological manipulations of mGlu2/3 activity during or prior to the induction and reinstatement of stress-induced behavioral deficits. Grm2-/-, but not Grm3-/-, mice exhibited reduced forced-swimming test immobility time and were resilient to developing inescapable shock (IES)-induced escape deficits. Grm2-/- mice were also resilient to developing corticosterone (CORT)-induced escape deficits and chronic social defeat stress-induced anhedonia. Pharmacological blockade of mGlu2/3 with the antagonist LY341495 during stress prevented the development of IES- and CORT-induced escape deficits, while activation with the agonist LY379268 increased susceptibility to escape deficits. Prophylactic treatment with the LY341495, both systemically and via microinjection into the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), up to 7 days before IES, prevented both the induction of escape deficits and their reinstatement by brief re-exposure to IES up to 20 days after treatment. Overall, blockade of mGlu2/3 enhanced stress resilience and deletion of mGlu2, but not mGlu3, conferred a stress-resilient phenotype, indicating that prophylactic treatments reducing mGlu2 activity may protect against stress-induced changes underlying the development or recurrence of stress-induced disorders, including depression.
Project description:The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is a critical component of a cortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop regulating limbic and cognitive functions. Within this circuit, two distinct nucleus accumbens (NAc) output neuron types, dopamine D1 or D2 receptor-expressing neurons, dynamically control the flow of information through basal ganglia nuclei that eventually project back to the mPFC to complete the loop. Thus, chronic dysfunction of the NAc may result in mPFC transcriptomal changes, which in turn contribute to disease conditions associated with the mPFC and basal ganglia. Here, we used RNA sequencing to analyse differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the mPFC following a reversible neurotransmission blocking technique in D1 or D2 receptor-expressing NAc neurons, respectively (D1-RNB, or D2-RNB). Gene Set Enrichment Analysis revealed that gene sets of layer 5b and 6 pyramidal neurons were enriched in DEGs of the mPFC downregulated in both NAc D1- and D2-RNB mice. In contrast, gene sets of layer 5a pyramidal neurons were enriched in upregulated DEGs of the mPFC in D1-RNB mice, and downregulated DEGs of the mPFC in D2-RNB mice. These findings reveal for the first time that NAc output pathways play an important role in controlling mPFC gene expression.