Stereological Estimates of Glutamatergic, GABAergic, and Cholinergic Neurons in the Pedunculopontine and Laterodorsal Tegmental Nuclei in the Rat.
ABSTRACT: The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are functionally associated brainstem structures implicated in behavioral state control and sensorimotor integration. The PPN is also involved in gait and posture, while the LDT plays a role in reward. Both nuclei comprise characteristic cholinergic neurons intermingled with glutamatergic and GABAergic cells whose absolute numbers in the rat have been only partly established. Here we sought to determine the complete phenotypical profile of each nucleus to investigate potential differences between them. Counts were obtained using stereological methods after the simultaneous visualization of cholinergic and either glutamatergic or GABAergic cells. The two isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), GAD65 and GAD67, were separately analyzed. Dual in situ hybridization revealed coexpression of GAD65 and GAD67 mRNAs in ?90% of GAD-positive cells in both nuclei; thus, the estimated mean numbers of (1) cholinergic, (2) glutamatergic, and (3) GABAergic cells in PPN and LDT, respectively, were (1) 3,360 and 3,650; (2) 5,910 and 5,190; and (3) 4,439 and 7,599. These data reveal significant differences between PPN and LDT in their relative phenotypical composition, which may underlie some of the functional differences observed between them. The estimation of glutamatergic cells was significantly higher in the caudal PPN, supporting the reported functional rostrocaudal segregation in this nucleus. Finally, a small subset of cholinergic neurons (8% in PPN and 5% in LDT) also expressed the glutamatergic marker Vglut2, providing anatomical evidence for a potential corelease of transmitters at specific target areas.
Project description:The laterodorsal tegmentum (LDT) is associated with reward considering that it modulates VTA neuronal activity, but recent anatomical evidence shows that the LDT also directly projects to nucleus accumbens (NAc). We show that the majority of LDT-NAc inputs are cholinergic, but there is also GABAergic and glutamatergic innervation; activation of LDT induces a predominantly excitatory response in the NAc. Non-selective optogenetic activation of LDT-NAc projections in rats enhances motivational drive and shifts preference to an otherwise equal reward; whereas inhibition of these projections induces the opposite. Activation of these projections also induces robust place preference. In mice, specific activation of LDT-NAc cholinergic inputs (but not glutamatergic or GABAergic) is sufficient to shift preference, increase motivation, and drive positive reinforcement in different behavioral paradigms. These results provide evidence that LDT-NAc projections play an important role in motivated behaviors and positive reinforcement, and that distinct neuronal populations differentially contribute for these behaviors.
Project description:Non-overlapping groups of cortical ?-aminobutyric acid-releasing (GABAergic) neurons are identifiable by the presence of calbindin (CB), calretinin (CR), or parvalbumin (PV). Boutons from PV neuron subtypes are also distinguishable by differences in protein levels of the GABA-synthesizing enzymes GAD65 and GAD67. Multilabel fluorescence microscopy was used to determine if this diversity extends to boutons of CB and CR neurons in monkey prefrontal cortex. CB and CR neurons gave rise to 3 subpopulations of GAD-containing boutons: GAD65+, GAD67+, and GAD65/GAD67+. Somatostatin and vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing neurons, subtypes of CB and CR neurons, respectively, also gave rise to these distinct bouton subpopulations. At the transcript level, CB and CR neurons contained mRNA encoding GAD67-only or both GADs. Thus, the distinct subpopulations of CB/GAD+ and CR/GAD+ boutons arise from 2 unique subtypes of CB and CR neurons. The different CB and CR GAD-expressing neurons targeted the same projection neurons and neuronal structures immunoreactive for PV, CR, or CB. These findings suggest that GABA synthesis from CB/GAD67+ and CR/GAD67+ neurons would presumably be more vulnerable to disease-associated deficits in GAD67 expression, such as in schizophrenia, than neurons that also contain GAD65.
Project description:Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons have traditionally been defined by their peptide transmitters, which are important regulators of energy balance and reward. Recent work shows that POMC neurons can also release the amino acid transmitters ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, although studying GABAergic and glutamatergic populations of POMC neurons has been hindered by the difficulty in reliably identifying amino acid (AA) transmitter phenotypes. In the present study, fluorescent in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry were used to identify POMC neurons and to detect the presence of mRNA for the transporters responsible for packaging either GABA (vesicular GABA transporter [vGAT]) or glutamate (vesicular glutamate transporter [vGLUT]) into vesicles, as well as the enzymes responsible for GABA synthesis, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65 and GAD67. Approximately 7% of POMC neurons expressed vGlut2 and the highest percentage of vGlut2-positive POMC cells were located in the rostral arcuate nucleus. Despite the reports of GABA release from POMC neurons, vGat was not detected in POMC neurons, although Gad65 and Gad67 were present in ~40% of POMC neurons. Approximately half of the vGlut2-expressing POMC cells also expressed Gad65. Markers of neurotransmitter phenotype were better detected by using in situ hybridization techniques rather than transgenic expression of fluorophores under the control of the vGat or Gad67 promoters. It is now clear that the expression of markers of AA phenotype provides a useful means to identify distinct subpopulations of POMC neurons. Additionally, the method described will be useful to explore the possibility that plasticity of AA phenotype is an important aspect of POMC neuron function.
Project description:The mesopontine tegmentum, including the pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei (PPN and LDT), provides major cholinergic inputs to midbrain and regulates locomotion and reward. To delineate the underlying projection-specific circuit mechanisms, we employed optogenetics to control mesopontine cholinergic neurons at somata and at divergent projections within distinct midbrain areas. Bidirectional manipulation of PPN cholinergic cell bodies exerted opposing effects on locomotor behavior and reinforcement learning. These motor and reward effects were separable via limiting photostimulation to PPN cholinergic terminals in the ventral substantia nigra pars compacta (vSNc) or to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), respectively. LDT cholinergic neurons also form connections with vSNc and VTA neurons; however, although photo-excitation of LDT cholinergic terminals in the VTA caused positive reinforcement, LDT-to-vSNc modulation did not alter locomotion or reward. Therefore, the selective targeting of projection-specific mesopontine cholinergic pathways may offer increased benefit in treating movement and addiction disorders.
Project description:Striatum is one of the brain regions that are highly sensitive to transient cerebral ischemia. Most of the striatal neurons die shortly after ischemia but interneurons including large aspiny (LA) neurons survive the same insult. Previous studies have shown that inhibitory synaptic transmission is enhanced in LA neurons after ischemia. The present study is aimed at revealing the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. Immunohistochemical studies and Western blotting were performed to examine the expression of glutamic decarboxylase (GAD), the key enzyme in the synthesis of GABA, in the striatum. GAD65 expression and the number of GAD67-positive cells were increased after ischemia. GAD67-positive cells in the striatum co-expressed GAD65 after ischemia. The increase of GAD67-positive cells did not result from neurogenesis. Double-labeling of GAD67 and SOM indicates that some of the GAD67-positive cells are from the phenotypic shift of pre-existing somatostatin (SOM)-containing GABAergic interneurons after ischemia. Facilitation of inhibitory synaptic transmission by muscimol, a specific GABA(A) receptor agonist, increased the number of survived cells in the striatum after ischemia. Altogether, these data suggest that GAD expression is increased in the striatum after ischemia, which might contribute to the facilitated inhibitory synaptic transmission and the consequent survival of LA neurons.
Project description:The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) is a part of the reticular activating system which is composed of cholinergic, glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons. Early electrophysiological studies characterized and grouped PPN neurons based on certain functional properties (i.e., the presence or absence of the A-current, spike latency, and low threshold spikes). Although other electrophysiological characteristics of these neurons were also described (as high threshold membrane potential oscillations, great differences in spontaneous firing rate and the presence or absence of the M-current), systematic assessment of these properties and correlation of them with morphological markers are still missing. In this work, we conducted electrophysiological experiments on brain slices of genetically identified cholinergic neurons in the PPN. Electrophysiological properties were compared with rostrocaudal location of the neuronal soma and selected morphometric features obtained with post hoc reconstruction. We found that functional subgroups had different proportions in the rostral and caudal subregions of the nucleus. Neurons with A-current can be divided to early-firing and late-firing neurons, where the latter type was found exclusively in the caudal subregion. Similar to this, different parameters of high threshold membrane potential oscillations also showed characteristic rostrocaudal distribution. Furthermore, based on our data, we propose that high threshold oscillations rather emerge from neuronal somata and not from the proximal dendrites. In summary, we demonstrated the existence and spatial distribution of functional subgroups of genetically identified PPN cholinergic neurons, which are in accordance with differences found in projection and in vivo functional findings of the subregions. Being aware of functional differences of PPN subregions will help the design and analysis of experiments using genetically encoded opto- and chemogenetic markers for in vivo experiments.
Project description:In human prefrontal cortex (PFC), ~85% of ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-expressing neurons can be subdivided into non-overlapping groups by the presence of calbindin (CB), calretinin (CR) or parvalbumin (PV). Substantial research has focused on the differences in the laminar locations of the cells bodies of these neurons, with limited attention to the distribution of their axon terminals, their sites of action. We previously reported that in non-human primates subtypes of these cells are distinguishable by differences in terminal protein levels of the GABA synthesizing enzymes glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) and GAD67. Here we used multi-label fluorescence microscopy in human PFC to assess: (1) the laminar distributions of axon terminals containing CB, CR, or PV; and (2) the relative protein levels of GAD65, GAD67 and vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT) in CB, CR and PV terminals. The densities of the different CB, CR and PV terminal subpopulations differed across layers of the PFC. PV terminals comprised two subsets based on the presence of only GAD67 (GAD67+) or both GADs (GAD65/GAD67+), whereas CB and CR terminals comprised three subsets (GAD65+, GAD67+, or GAD65/GAD67+). The densities of the different CB, CR and PV GAD terminal subpopulations also differed across layers. Finally, within each of the three calcium-binding protein subpopulations intra-terminal protein levels of GAD and vGAT differed by GAD subpopulation. These findings are discussed in the context of the laminar distributions of CB, CR and PV cell bodies and the synaptic targets of their axons.
Project description:Homeostatic synaptic plasticity, or synaptic scaling, is a mechanism that tunes neuronal transmission to compensate for prolonged, excessive changes in neuronal activity. Both excitatory and inhibitory neurons undergo homeostatic changes based on synaptic transmission strength, which could effectively contribute to a fine-tuning of circuit activity. However, gene regulation that underlies homeostatic synaptic plasticity in GABAergic (GABA, gamma aminobutyric) neurons is still poorly understood. The present study demonstrated activity-dependent dynamic scaling in which NMDA-R (N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor) activity regulated the expression of GABA synthetic enzymes: glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 and 67 (GAD65 and GAD67). Results revealed that activity-regulated BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) release is necessary, but not sufficient, for activity-dependent up-scaling of these GAD isoforms. Bidirectional forms of activity-dependent GAD expression require both BDNF-dependent and BDNF-independent pathways, both triggered by NMDA-R activity. Additional results indicated that these two GAD genes differ in their responsiveness to chronic changes in neuronal activity, which could be partially caused by differential dependence on BDNF. In parallel to activity-dependent bidirectional scaling in GAD expression, the present study further observed that a chronic change in neuronal activity leads to an alteration in neurotransmitter release from GABAergic neurons in a homeostatic, bidirectional fashion. Therefore, the differential expression of GAD65 and 67 during prolonged changes in neuronal activity may be implicated in some aspects of bidirectional homeostatic plasticity within mature GABAergic presynapses.
Project description:Whereas basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic neurons are known to participate in processes of cortical activation during wake (W) and paradoxical sleep (PS or P, also called REM sleep), codistributed GABAergic neurons have been thought to participate in processes of cortical deactivation and slow-wave sleep (SWS or S). To learn the roles the GABAergic neurons might play, in relation to cholinergic and glutamatergic neurons, we juxtacellularly recorded and labeled neurons during natural sleep-wake states in head-fixed rats. Neurobiotin (Nb)-labeled cells were identified immunohistochemically as choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)+, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)+, or ChAT-/GAD-. Of the latter, some were identified as glutamatergic by immunostaining of their terminals with the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGluT2). In contrast to ChAT+ neurons, which all discharged maximally during W and PS, GAD+ neurons comprised multiple sleep-wake subgroups. Some GABAergic neurons discharged maximally during W and PS, as WP-max active cells (36%), and in positive correlation with gamma electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. Some discharged maximally during SWS, as S-max active cells (28%), and in positive correlation with delta EEG activity. Others increased their discharge progressively during sleep to discharge maximally during PS, as P-max active cells (36%), and in negative association with electromyographic (EMG) activity. ChAT-/GAD- cells comprised WP-max (46%), S-max (17%), P-max (17%), and W-max active cells (14%), whose discharge was positively correlated with EMG activity. GABAergic neurons would thus play similar or reciprocal roles to other cholinergic and glutamatergic BF neurons in regulating cortical activity and muscle tone along with behavior across sleep-wake states.
Project description:We report that half striatal cholinergic interneurons are dual transmitter cholinergic and GABAergic interneurons (CGINs) expressing ChAT, GAD65, Lhx7, and Lhx6 mRNAs, labeled with GAD and VGAT, generating monosynaptic dual cholinergic/GABAergic currents and an inhibitory pause response. Dopamine deprivation increases CGINs ongoing activity and abolishes GABAergic inhibition including the cortico-striatal pause because of high [Cl-]i levels. Dopamine deprivation also dramatically increases CGINs dendritic arbors and monosynaptic interconnections probability, suggesting the formation of a dense CGINs network. The NKCC1 chloride importer antagonist bumetanide, which reduces [Cl-]i levels, restores GABAergic inhibition, the cortico-striatal pause-rebound response, and attenuates motor effects of dopamine deprivation. Therefore, most of the striatal cholinergic excitatory drive is balanced by a concomitant powerful GABAergic inhibition that is impaired by dopamine deprivation. The attenuation by bumetanide of cardinal features of Parkinson's disease paves the way to a novel therapeutic strategy based on a restoration of low [Cl-]i levels and GABAergic inhibition.