Principles of Synaptic Organization of GABAergic Interneurons in the Striatum.
ABSTRACT: 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:Habit formation is a behavioral adaptation that automates routine actions. Habitual behavior correlates with broad reconfigurations of dorsolateral striatal (DLS) circuit properties that increase gain and shift pathway timing. The mechanism(s) for these circuit adaptations are unknown and could be responsible for habitual behavior. Here we find that a single class of interneuron, fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs), modulates all of these habit-predictive properties. Consistent with a role in habits, FSIs are more excitable in habitual mice compared to goal-directed and acute chemogenetic inhibition of FSIs in DLS prevents the expression of habitual lever pressing. <i>In vivo</i> recordings further reveal a previously unappreciated selective modulation of SPNs based on their firing patterns; FSIs inhibit most SPNs but paradoxically promote the activity of a subset displaying high fractions of gamma-frequency spiking. These results establish a microcircuit mechanism for habits and provide a new example of how interneurons mediate experience-dependent behavior.
Project description:Striatum processes a wide range of functions including goal-directed behavior and habit formation, respectively encoded by the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) and dorsolateral striatum (DLS). GABAergic feedforward inhibition is known to control the integration of cortical information by striatal projection neurons (SPNs). Here we questioned whether this control is specific between distinct striatal functional territories. Using opto-activation and opto-inhibition of identified GABAergic interneurons, we found that different circuits are engaged in DLS and DMS, both ex vivo and in vivo: while parvalbumin interneurons efficiently control SPNs in DLS, somatostatin interneurons control SPNs in DMS. Moreover, both parvalbumin and somatostatin interneurons use a dual hyperpolarizing/depolarizing effect to control cortical input integration depending on SPN activity state: GABAergic interneurons potently inhibit spiking SPNs while in resting SPNs, they favor cortical activity summation via a depolarizing effect. Our findings establish that striatal GABAergic interneurons exert efficient territory-specific and state-dependent control of SPN activity and functional output.
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:A system's wiring constrains its dynamics, yet modelling of neural structures often overlooks the specific networks formed by their neurons. We developed an approach for constructing anatomically realistic networks and reconstructed the GABAergic microcircuit formed by the medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) of the adult rat striatum. We grew dendrite and axon models for these neurons and extracted probabilities for the presence of these neurites as a function of distance from the soma. From these, we found the probabilities of intersection between the neurites of two neurons given their inter-somatic distance, and used these to construct three-dimensional striatal networks. The MSN dendrite models predicted that half of all dendritic spines are within 100µm of the soma. The constructed networks predict distributions of gap junctions between FSI dendrites, synaptic contacts between MSNs, and synaptic inputs from FSIs to MSNs that are consistent with current estimates. The models predict that to achieve this, FSIs should be at most 1% of the striatal population. They also show that the striatum is sparsely connected: FSI-MSN and MSN-MSN contacts respectively form 7% and 1.7% of all possible connections. The models predict two striking network properties: the dominant GABAergic input to a MSN arises from neurons with somas at the edge of its dendritic field; and FSIs are inter-connected on two different spatial scales: locally by gap junctions and distally by synapses. We show that both properties influence striatal dynamics: the most potent inhibition of a MSN arises from a region of striatum at the edge of its dendritic field; and the combination of local gap junction and distal synaptic networks between FSIs sets a robust input-output regime for the MSN population. Our models thus intimately link striatal micro-anatomy to its dynamics, providing a biologically grounded platform for further study.
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:Basal ganglia circuits make key contributions to decision making. Distributed, synchronous feedforward inhibition of striatal medium spiny neurons by fast-spiking GABAergic interneurons (FSIs) has been argued to be important for the suppression of unwanted actions, and a deficit in FSIs has been found in human patients with Tourette syndrome. However, no studies have yet examined how striatal FSIs change their activity during behavioral tasks. Here I describe 36 presumed striatal FSIs recorded in rats during well practiced performance of a radial maze win-stay task. Although most FSIs showed robust task-related activity, the temporal patterns of firing rate change were highly idiosyncratic. In contrast to other classes of striatal neurons, FSIs showed little or no coordinated population response to major task events such as instruction cues or rewards. Even when multiple FSIs were recorded simultaneously from the same local region of striatum, firing rate changes were dissimilar, and no clear evidence for synchronous firing was found using cross-correlograms (18 FSI pairs examined). These results suggest that FSIs play a more complex role in the information processing achieved by striatal microcircuits than supposed by current theoretical models.
Project description:Striatal spiny projection neurons (SPNs) receive convergent excitatory synaptic inputs from the cortex and thalamus. Activation of spatially clustered and temporally synchronized excitatory inputs at the distal dendrites could trigger plateau potentials in SPNs. Such supralinear synaptic integration is crucial for dendritic computation. However, how plateau potentials interact with subsequent excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs remains unknown. By combining computational simulation, two-photon imaging, optogenetics, and dual-color uncaging of glutamate and GABA, we demonstrate that plateau potentials can broaden the spatiotemporal window for integrating excitatory inputs and promote spiking. The temporal window of spiking can be delicately controlled by GABAergic inhibition in a cell-type-specific manner. This subtle inhibitory control of plateau potential depends on the location and kinetics of the GABAergic inputs and is achieved by the balance between relief and reestablishment of NMDA receptor Mg<sup>2+</sup> block. These findings represent a mechanism for controlling spatiotemporal synaptic integration in SPNs.
Project description:To understand striatal function, it is essential to know the functional organization of the numerous inputs targeting the diverse population of striatal neurons. Using optogenetics, we activated terminals from ipsi- or contralateral primary somatosensory cortex (S1) or primary motor cortex (M1), or thalamus while obtaining simultaneous whole-cell recordings from pairs or triplets of striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and adjacent interneurons. Ipsilateral corticostriatal projections provided stronger excitation to fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) than to MSNs and only sparse and weak excitation to low threshold-spiking interneurons (LTSIs) and cholinergic interneurons (ChINs). Projections from contralateral M1 evoked the strongest responses in LTSIs but none in ChINs, whereas thalamus provided the strongest excitation to ChINs but none to LTSIs. In addition, inputs varied in their glutamate receptor composition and their short-term plasticity. Our data revealed a highly selective organization of excitatory striatal afferents, which is determined by both pre- and postsynaptic neuronal identity.
Project description:Most adaptive behaviors require precise tracking of targets in space. In pursuit behavior with a moving target, mice use distance to target to guide their own movement continuously. Here, we show that in the sensorimotor striatum, parvalbumin-positive fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) can represent the distance between self and target during pursuit behavior, while striatal projection neurons (SPNs), which receive FSI projections, can represent self-velocity. FSIs are shown to regulate velocity-related SPN activity during pursuit, so that movement velocity is continuously modulated by distance to target. Moreover, bidirectional manipulation of FSI activity can selectively disrupt performance by increasing or decreasing the self-target distance. Our results reveal a key role of the FSI-SPN interneuron circuit in pursuit behavior and elucidate how this circuit implements distance to velocity transformation required for the critical underlying computation.
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.