Disrupted hippocampal neuregulin-1/ErbB3 signaling and dentate gyrus granule cell alterations in suicide.
ABSTRACT: Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and ErbB receptors have been associated with psychopathology, and NRG1-ErbB3 signaling has been shown to increase hippocampal neurogenesis and induce antidepressant-like effects. In this study, we aimed to determine whether deficits in NRG1 or ErbBs might be present in the hippocampus of suicide completers. In well-characterized postmortem hippocampal samples from suicides and matched sudden-death controls, we assessed gene expression and methylation using qRT-PCR and EpiTYPER, respectively. Moreover, in hippocampal tissues stained with cresyl violet, stereology was used to quantify numbers of granule cells and of glia. Granule cell body size was examined with a nucleator probe, and granule cell layer volume with a Cavalieri probe. Unmedicated suicides showed sharply decreased hippocampal ErbB3 expression and decreased numbers of ErbB3-expressing granule cell neurons in the anterior dentate gyrus; a phenomenon seemingly reversed by antidepressant treatment. Furthermore, we found ErbB3 expression to be significantly decreased in the dentate gyrus of adult mice exposed to chronic social defeat stress. Taken together, these results reveal novel suicidal endophenotypes in the hippocampus, as well as a putative etiological mechanism underlying suicidality, and suggest that antidepressant or NRG1 treatment may reverse a potential deficit in anterior dentate gyrus granule cell neurons in individuals at risk of dying by suicide.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been implicated in the mechanism of antidepressant action, and neurotrophic factors can mediate the neurogenic changes underlying these effects. The neurotrophic factor neuregulin-1 (NRG1) is involved in many aspects of brain development, from cell fate determination to neuronal maturation. However, nothing is known about the influence of NRG1 on neurodevelopmental processes occurring in the mature hippocampus. METHODS: Adult male mice were given subcutaneous NRG1 or saline to assess dentate gyrus proliferation and neurogenesis, as well as cell fate determination. Mice also underwent behavioral testing. Expression of ErbB3 and ErbB4 NRG1 receptors in newborn dentate gyrus cells was assessed at various time points between birth and maturity. The phenotype of ErbB-expressing progenitor cells was also characterized with cell type-specific markers. RESULTS: The current study shows that subchronic peripheral NRG1? administration selectively increased cell proliferation (by 71%) and neurogenesis (by 50%) in the caudal dentate gyrus within the ventral hippocampus. This pro-proliferative effect did not alter neuronal fate, and may have been mediated by ErbB3 receptors, which were expressed by newborn dentate gyrus cells from cell division to maturity and colocalized with SOX2 in the subgranular zone. Furthermore, four weeks after cessation of subchronic treatment, animals displayed robust antidepressant-like behavior in the absence of changes in locomotor activity, whereas acute treatment did not produce antidepressant effects. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that neuregulin-1? has pro-proliferative, neurogenic and antidepressant properties, further highlight the importance of peripheral neurotrophic factors in neurogenesis and mood, and support the role of hippocampal neurogenesis in mediating antidepressant effects.
Project description:Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is associated with learning and affective behavioural regulation. Its diverse functionality is segregated along the septotemporal axis from the dorsal to ventral hippocampus. However, features distinguishing immature neurons in these regions have yet to be characterized. Additionally, although we have shown that administration of the neurotrophic factor neuregulin-1 (NRG1) selectively increases proliferation and overall neurogenesis in the mouse ventral dentate gyrus (DG), likely through ErbB3, NRG1's effects on intermediate neurogenic stages in immature neurons are unknown. We examined whether NRG1 administration increases DG ErbB3 phosphorylation. We labeled adultborn cells using BrdU, then administered NRG1 to examine in vivo neurogenic effects on immature neurons with respect to cell survival, morphology, and synaptogenesis. We also characterized features of immature neurons along the septotemporal axis. We found that neurogenic effects of NRG1 are temporally and subregionally specific to proliferation in the ventral DG. Particular morphological features differentiate immature neurons in the dorsal and ventral DG, and cytogenesis differed between these regions. Finally, we identified synaptic heterogeneity surrounding the granule cell layer. These results indicate neurogenic involvement of NRG1-induced antidepressant-like behaviour is particularly associated with increased ventral DG cell proliferation, and identify novel distinctions between dorsal and ventral hippocampal neurogenic development.
Project description:Adult-born granule cells in the mammalian dentate gyrus have long been implicated in hippocampal dependent spatial learning and behavioral effects of chronic antidepressant treatment. Although recent anatomical and functional evidence indicates a dissociation of the dorsal and ventral regions of the hippocampus, it is not known if adult neurogenesis within each region specifically contributes to distinct functions or whether adult-born cells along the entire dorsoventral axis are required for these behaviors. We examined the role of distinct subpopulations of adult-born hippocampal granule cells in learning- and anxiety-related behaviors using low-dose focal x-irradiation directed specifically to the dorsal or ventral dentate gyrus. Our findings indicate a functional dissociation between adult-born neurons along the longitudinal axis of the dentate gyrus wherein new neurons in the dorsal dentate gyrus are required for timely acquisition of contextual discrimination while immature neurons in the ventral dentate gyrus are necessary for anxiolytic/antidepressant-related effects of fluoxetine. Interestingly, when contexts are presented with altered temporal cues, or fluoxetine is administered alongside chronic glucocorticoid treatment, this dissociation is abrogated such that adult-born neurons across the entire dorsoventral extent of the dentate gyrus appear to contribute to these behaviors. Our results suggest that individual subpopulations of adult-born hippocampal neurons may be sufficient to mediate distinct behaviors in certain conditions, but are required to act in concert in more challenging situations.
Project description:Serotonergic antidepressant drugs have been commonly used to treat mood and anxiety disorders, and increasing evidence suggests potential use of these drugs beyond current antidepressant therapeutics. Facilitation of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus has been suggested to be a candidate mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs, but this mechanism may be only one of the broad effects of antidepressants. Here we show a distinct unique action of the serotonergic antidepressant fluoxetine in transforming the phenotype of mature dentate granule cells. Chronic treatments of adult mice with fluoxetine strongly reduced expression of the mature granule cell marker calbindin. The fluoxetine treatment induced active somatic membrane properties resembling immature granule cells and markedly reduced synaptic facilitation that characterizes the mature dentate-to-CA3 signal transmission. These changes cannot be explained simply by an increase in newly generated immature neurons, but best characterized as "dematuration" of mature granule cells. This granule cell dematuration developed along with increases in the efficacy of serotonin in 5-HT(4) receptor-dependent neuromodulation and was attenuated in mice lacking the 5-HT(4) receptor. Our results suggest that serotonergic antidepressants can reverse the established state of neuronal maturation in the adult hippocampus, and up-regulation of 5-HT(4) receptor-mediated signaling may play a critical role in this distinct action of antidepressants. Such reversal of neuronal maturation could affect proper functioning of the mature hippocampal circuit, but may also cause some beneficial effects by reinstating neuronal functions that are lost during development.
Project description:Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is known to induce structural rearrangements and changes in synaptic transmission in hippocampal circuitry. In the adult hippocampus, structural changes include neurogenesis, dendritic, and axonal plasticity of pyramidal and dentate granule neurons, and dedifferentiation of dentate granule neurons. However, much less is known about how chronic fluoxetine affects these processes along the septotemporal axis and during the aging process. Importantly, studies documenting the effects of fluoxetine on density and distribution of spines along different dendritic segments of dentate granule neurons and CA1 pyramidal neurons along the septotemporal axis of hippocampus in adulthood and during aging are conspicuously absent. Here, we use a transgenic mouse line in which mature dentate granule neurons and CA1 pyramidal neurons are genetically labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP) to investigate the effects of chronic fluoxetine treatment (18 mg/kg/day) on input-specific spine remodeling and mossy fiber structural plasticity in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus in adulthood and middle age. In addition, we examine levels of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, maturation state of dentate granule neurons, neuronal activity, and glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 expression in response to chronic fluoxetine in adulthood and middle age. Our studies reveal that while chronic fluoxetine fails to augment adult hippocampal neurogenesis in middle age, the middle-aged hippocampus retains high sensitivity to changes in the dentate gyrus (DG) such as dematuration, hypoactivation, and increased glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) expression. Interestingly, the middle-aged hippocampus shows greater sensitivity to fluoxetine-induced input-specific synaptic remodeling than the hippocampus in adulthood with the stratum-oriens of CA1 exhibiting heightened structural plasticity. The input-specific changes and circuit-level modifications in middle-age were associated with modest enhancement in contextual fear memory precision, anxiety-like behavior and antidepressant-like behavioral responses.
Project description:Neuroimaging consistently reveals smaller hippocampal volume in recurrent or chronic major depressive disorder (MDD). The underlying cellular correlates of the smaller volume are not clearly known. Postmortem tissues from 17 pairs of depressed and control subjects were obtained at autopsy, and informant-based retrospective psychiatric assessment was performed. Formalin-fixed left temporal lobes were sectioned (40 ?m), stained for Nissl substance, and every 60th section selected throughout the entire hippocampus. Total volume of the hippocampal formation was calculated, and total numbers of pyramidal neurons (in hippocampal fields CA1, CA2/3, hilus), dentate gyrus (DG) granule cells, and glial cells were estimated stereologically. While hippocampal volume in all MDD subjects was not significantly smaller versus control subjects, in recurrent/chronic MDD, total volume decreased with duration of depressive illness (r = -0.696, p < 0.026). There was no significant difference between MDD and controls in total number or density of pyramidal neurons/granule cells or glial cells in CA1, CA2/3, hilus, or DG. However, CA1 pyramidal neuron density increased with duration of illness in recurrent/chronic MDD (r = 0.840, p < 0.002). Granule cell (r = 0.971, p < 0.002) and glial cell numbers (r = 0.980, p < 0.001) increased with age in those taking antidepressant medication (n = 6). Increasing DG granule cell and glial cell numbers with age in antidepressant-treated subjects may reflect proliferative effects of antidepressant medications. Decreasing total volume and increasing CA1 pyramidal neuron density with duration of illness in recurrent/chronic MDD lends support to the neuropil hypothesis of MDD.
Project description:Throughout the adult life of most mammals, new neurons are continuously generated in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation. Recent work has documented specific cognitive deficits after elimination of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents, suggesting that these neurons may contribute to information processing in hippocampal circuits. Young adult-born neurons exhibit enhanced excitability and have altered capacity for synaptic plasticity in hippocampal slice preparations in vitro. Still, little is known about the effect of adult-born granule cells on hippocampal activity in vivo. To assess the impact of these new neurons on neural circuits in the dentate, we recorded perforant-path evoked responses and spontaneous network activity from the dentate gyrus of urethane-anesthetized mice whose hippocampus had been focally X-irradiated to eliminate the population of young adult-born granule cells. After X-irradiation, perforant-path responses were reduced in magnitude. In contrast, there was a marked increase in the amplitude of spontaneous ?-frequency bursts in the dentate gyrus and hilus, as well as increased synchronization of dentate neuron firing to these bursts. A similar increase in gamma burst amplitude was also found in animals in which adult neurogenesis was eliminated using the GFAP:TK pharmacogenetic ablation technique. These data suggest that young neurons may inhibit or destabilize recurrent network activity in the dentate and hilus. This unexpected result yields a new perspective on how a modest number of young adult-generated granule cells may modulate activity in the larger population of mature granule cells, rather than acting solely as independent encoding units.
Project description:Transgenic mice overexpressing the type I isoform of neuregulin 1 (Nrg1; NRG1) have alterations in hippocampal gamma oscillations and an age-emergent deficit in hippocampus-dependent spatial working memory. Here, we examined the molecular and morphological correlates of these findings. Microarrays showed over 100 hippocampal transcripts differentially expressed in Nrg1tg-type I mice, with enrichment of genes related to neuromodulation and, in older mice, of genes involved in inflammation and immunity. Nrg1tg-type I mice had an enlarged hippocampus with a widened dentate gyrus. The results show that Nrg1 type I impacts on hippocampal gene expression and structure in a multifaceted and partly age-related way, complementing the evidence implicating Nrg1 signaling in aspects of hippocampal function. The findings are also relevant to the possible role of NRG1 signaling in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia or other disorders affecting this brain region.
Project description:The dentate gyrus is the primary afferent into the hippocampal formation, with important functions in learning and memory. Granule cells, the principle neuronal type in the dentate gyrus, are mostly formed postnatally, in a process that continues into adulthood. External stimuli, including environmental enrichment, voluntary exercise and learning, have been shown to significantly accelerate the generation and maturation of dentate granule cells in adult rodents. Whether, and to what extent, such environmental stimuli regulate the development and maturation of dentate granule cells during early postnatal development is largely unknown. Furthermore, whether natural stimuli affect the synaptic properties of granule cells had been investigated neither in newborn neurons of the adult nor during early development. To examine the effect of natural sensory stimulation on the dentate gyrus, we reared newborn mice in an enriched environment (EE). Using immunohistochemistry, we showed that dentate granule cells from EE-reared mice exhibited earlier morphological maturation, manifested as faster peaking of doublecortin expression and elevated expression of mature neuronal markers (including NeuN, calbindin and MAP2) at the end of the second postnatal week. Also at the end of the second postnatal week, we found increased density of dendritic spines across the entire dentate gyrus, together with elevated levels of postsynaptic scaffold (post-synaptic density 95) and receptor proteins (GluR2 and GABA(A)R?2) of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Furthermore, dentate granule cells of P14 EE-reared mice had lower input resistances and increased glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic inputs. Together, our results demonstrate that EE-rearing promotes morphological and electrophysiological maturation of dentate granule cells, underscoring the importance of natural environmental stimulation on development of the dentate gyrus.
Project description:It is now well established that neurogenesis in the rodent subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus continues throughout adulthood. Neuroblasts born in the dentate subgranular zone migrate into the granule cell layer, where they differentiate into neurons known as dentate granule cells. Suppression of neurogenesis by irradiation or genetic ablation has been shown to disrupt synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus and impair some forms of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. Using a recently developed transgenic mouse model for suppressing neurogenesis, we sought to determine the long-term impact of ablating neurogenesis on synaptic plasticity in young-adult mice. Consistent with previous reports, we found that ablation of neurogenesis resulted in significant deficits in dentate gyrus long-term potentiation (LTP) when examined at a time proximal to the ablation. However, the observed deficits in LTP were not permanent. LTP in the dentate gyrus was restored within 6 wk and this recovery occurred in the complete absence of neurogenesis. The recovery in LTP was accompanied by prominent changes within the dentate gyrus, including an increase in the survival rate of newborn cells that were proliferating just before the ablation and a reduction in inhibitory input to the granule cells of the dentate gyrus. These findings suggest that prolonged suppression of neurogenesis in young-adult mice results in wide-ranging compensatory changes in the structure and dynamics of the dentate gyrus that function to restore plasticity.