Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors inhibit GABA release at interneuron-Purkinje cell synapses through endocannabinoid production.
ABSTRACT: Actions of endocannabinoids in the cerebellum can be demonstrated following distinct stimulation protocols in Purkinje cells. First, depolarization-induced elevations of intracellular Ca2+ lead to the suppression of neurotransmitter release from both inhibitory and excitatory afferents. In another case, postsynaptic group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) trigger a strong inhibition of the glutamatergic inputs from parallel and climbing fibers. Both pathways involve endocannabinoids retrogradely acting on type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) at presynaptic terminals. Here, we show that group I mGluR activation also depresses GABAergic transmission at the synapses between molecular layer interneurons and Purkinje cells. Using paired recordings, we found that application of the group I mGluR agonist (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine reduced the evoked IPSCs in Purkinje cells. This effect was independent of postsynaptic Ca2+ increases and was completely blocked by a CB1R antagonist. Experiments performed with the GTP-analogues GDP-betaS and GTP-gammaS provided evidence that endocannabinoids released after G-protein activation can also inhibit GABAergic inputs onto nearby, unstimulated Purkinje cells. Block of the enzymes DAG lipase or phospholipase C reduced the group I mGluR-dependent inhibition, suggesting that 2-arachidonyl glycerol could act as retrograde messenger. Finally, group I mGluR activation by brief bursts of activity of the parallel fibers induced a short-lived depression of spontaneous IPSCs via presynaptic CB1Rs. Our results reveal a mechanism with potential physiological importance, by which glutamatergic synapses induce an endocannabinoid-mediated inhibition of the GABAergic inputs onto Purkinje cells.
Project description:Homeostatic regulation of synaptic strength in response to persistent changes of neuronal activity plays an important role in maintaining the overall level of circuit activity within a normal range. Absence of miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs) for a few hours is known to cause upregulation of excitatory synaptic strength, suggesting that mEPSCs contribute to the maintenance of excitatory synaptic functions. In the present study, we found that the absence of mEPSCs for 1-3 h also resulted in homeostatic suppression of presynaptic functions of inhibitory synapses in acute cortical slices from juvenile rats, as suggested by the reduced frequency (but not amplitude) of miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) as well as the reduced amplitude of IPSCs. This homeostatic regulation depended on endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling, because blockade of either the activation of cannabinoid type-1 receptors (CB1Rs) or the synthesis of its endogenous ligand 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) abolished the suppression of inhibitory synapses caused by the absence of mEPSCs. Blockade of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR-I) also abolished the suppression of inhibitory synapses, consistent with the mGluR-I requirement for eCB synthesis and release in cortical synapses. Furthermore, this homeostatic regulation also required eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2)-dependent protein synthesis, but not gene transcription. Activation of eEF2 alone was sufficient to suppress the mIPSC frequency, an effect abolished by inhibiting CB1Rs. Thus, mEPSCs contribute to the maintenance of inhibitory synaptic function and the absence of mEPSCs results in presynaptic suppression of inhibitory synapses via protein synthesis-dependent elevation of eCB signaling.
Project description:Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area have been implicated in psychiatric disorders and drug abuse. Understanding the mechanisms through which their activity is regulated via the modulation of afferent input is imperative to understanding their roles in these conditions. Here we demonstrate that endocannabinoids liberated from DA neurons activate cannabinoid CB1 receptors located on glutamatergic axons and on GABAergic terminals targeting GABA(B) receptors located on these cells. Endocannabinoid release was initiated by inhibiting either presynaptic type-III metabotropic glutamate receptors or postsynaptic calcium-activated potassium channels, two conditions that also promote enhanced DA neuron excitability and bursting. Thus, activity-dependent release of endocannabinoids may act as a regulatory feedback mechanism to inhibit synaptic inputs in response to DA neuron bursting, thereby regulating firing patterns that may fine-tune DA release from afferent terminals.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Presynaptic CB? cannabinoid receptors can be activated by endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) synthesized by postsynaptic neurones. The hypothesis of the present work was that activation of calcium-permeable transmitter-gated ion channels in postsynaptic neurones, specifically of P2X purine receptors, can lead to endocannabinoid production and retrograde synaptic signalling. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were recorded with patch-clamp techniques in Purkinje cells in mouse cerebellar slices. Purine receptors on Purkinje cells were activated by pressure ejection of ATP from a pipette. KEY RESULTS: ATP evoked an inward current in Purkinje cells, most likely due to P2X receptor activation. The ATP-evoked currents were accompanied by currents via voltage-gated calcium channels. ATP suppressed electrical stimulation-evoked IPSCs and miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) recorded in the presence of tetrodotoxin, and these effects were prevented by the CB? antagonist rimonabant and the calcium chelator BAPTA (applied into the Purkinje cell). ATP also suppressed mIPSCs when voltage-gated calcium channels were blocked by cadmium, and intracellular calcium stores were depleted by thapsigargin. However, ATP failed to suppress mIPSCs when the extracellular calcium concentration was zero. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: ATP elicits CB? receptor-dependent retrograde synaptic suppression, which is probably mediated by an endocannabinod released by the postsynaptic neurone. An increase in intracellular calcium concentration in the postsynaptic neurone is necessary for this retrograde signalling. We propose that ATP increases the calcium concentration by two mechanisms: calcium enters into the neurone via the P2X receptor ion channel and the ATP-evoked depolarization triggers voltage-gated calcium channels.
Project description:A proportionality or balance between coactivated excitatory and inhibitory inputs is often observed for individual cortical neurons and is proposed to be important for their functions. This feature of neural circuits may arise from coordinated modulation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs, a mechanism that remains unknown. Here, in vivo whole-cell recordings from tectal neurons of young Xenopus tadpoles reveals activity-dependent bidirectional modifications of GABAergic inputs. At early developmental stages when GABAergic inputs dominate visually evoked responses, repetitive visual stimulation leads to long-term depression of GABAergic inputs. At later stages when convergent glutamatergic inputs are much stronger, long-term potentiation (LTP) of GABAergic inputs is induced. The polarity of GABAergic plasticity depends on the ratio between the magnitude of coactivated glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs (E/I ratio) to the tectal cell: LTP is induced only when the E/I ratio is above a threshold, and the level of LTP correlates linearly with the logarithm of the E/I ratio. The induction of LTP requires the activation of postsynaptic NMDA receptors, as well as presynaptic TrkB signaling likely through retrograde BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and is achieved by overcoming a predominant depression process mediated by NMDA receptors on the presynaptic GABAergic neurons. Our results indicate that the strength of developing GABAergic synapses can be scaled in accordance to coactivated convergent glutamatergic input. This mechanism may contribute to the formation of functional neural circuits with correlated excitatory and inhibitory inputs.
Project description:Increasing evidence indicates that the neural circuitry within glomeruli of the olfactory bulb plays a major role in affecting information flow between olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and output mitral cells (MCs). Glutamatergic external tufted (ET) cells, located at glomeruli, can act as intermediary cells in excitation between OSNs and MCs, whereas activation of MCs by OSNs is, in turn, suppressed by inhibitory synapses onto ET cells. In this study, we used patch-clamp recordings in rat olfactory bulb slices to examine the function of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in altering these glomerular signaling mechanisms. We found that activation of group II mGluRs profoundly reduced inhibition onto ET cells evoked by OSN stimulation. The mGluRs that mediated disinhibition were located on presynaptic GABAergic periglomerular cells and appeared to be activated by glutamate transients derived from dendrites in glomeruli. In terms of glomerular output, the mGluR-mediated reduction in GABA release led to a robust increase in the number of action potentials evoked by OSN stimulation in both ET cells and MCs. Importantly, however, the enhanced excitation was specific to when a glomerulus was strongly activated by OSN inputs. By being selective for strong vs. weak glomerular activation, mGluR-mediated disinhibition provides a mechanism to enhance the contrast in odor signals that activate OSN inputs into a single glomerulus at varying intensities.
Project description:The globus pallidus (GP) is a key GABAergic nucleus in the basal ganglia (BG). The predominant input to the GP is an inhibitory striatal projection that forms the first synapse in the indirect pathway. The GP GABAergic neurons project to the subthalamic nucleus, providing an inhibitory control of these glutamatergic cells. Given its place within the BG circuit, it is not surprising that alterations in GP firing pattern are postulated to play a role in both normal and pathological motor behavior. Because the inhibitory striatal input to the GP may play an important role in shaping these firing patterns, we set out to determine the role that the group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (GluRs) play in modulating transmission at the striatopallidal synapse. In rat midbrain slices, electrical stimulation of the striatum evoked GABA(A)-mediated IPSCs recorded in all three types of GP neurons. The group III mGluR-selective agonist L-(+)-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4) inhibited these IPSCs through a presynaptic mechanism of action. L-AP4 exhibited high potency and a pharmacological profile consistent with mediation by mGluR4. Furthermore, the effect of L-AP4 on striatopallidal transmission was absent in mGluR4 knock-out mice, providing convincing evidence that mGluR4 mediates this effect. The finding that mGluR4 may selectively modulate striatopallidal transmission raises the interesting possibility that activation of mGluR4 could decrease the excessive inhibition of the GP that has been postulated to occur in Parkinson's disease. Consistent with this, we find that intracerebroventricular injections of L-AP4 produce therapeutic benefit in both acute and chronic rodent models of Parkinson's disease.
Project description:Competition among different axons to reach the somatodendritic region of the target neuron is an important event during development to achieve the final architecture typical of the mature brain. Trasmitter-receptor matching is a critical step for the signaling between neurons. In the cerebellar cortex, there is a persistent competition between the two glutamatergic inputs, the parallel fibers and the climbing fibers, for the innervation of the Purkinje cells. The activity of the latter input is necessary to maintain its own synaptic contacts on the proximal dendritic domain and to confine the parallel fibers in the distal one. Here, we show that climbing fiber activity also limits the distribution of the GABAergic input in the proximal domain. In addition, blocking the activity by tetrodotoxin infusion in Wistar rat cerebellum, a synapse made by GABAergic terminals onto the recently formed Purkinje cell spines appear in the proximal dendrites. The density of GABAergic terminals is increased, and unexpected double symmetric/asymmetric postsynaptic densities add to the typical symmetric phenotype of the GABAergic shaft synapses. Moreover, glutamate receptors appear in these ectopic synapses even in the absence of glutamate transmitter inside the presynaptic terminal and close to GABA receptors. These results suggest that the Purkinje cell has an intrinsic tendency to develop postsynaptic assemblies of excitatory types, including glutamate receptors, over the entire dendritic territory. GABA receptors are induced in these assemblies when contacted by GABAergic terminals, thus leading to the formation of hybrid synapses.
Project description:GABAergic activity is important in neocortical development and plasticity. Because the maturation of GABAergic interneurons is regulated by neural activity, the source of excitatory inputs to GABAergic interneurons plays a key role in development. We show, by laser-scanning photostimulation, that layer 4 and layer 5 GABAergic interneurons in the auditory cortex in neonatal mice (<P7) receive extensive translaminar glutamatergic input via NMDAR-only synapses. Extensive translaminar AMPAR-mediated input developed during the second postnatal week, whereas NMDAR-only presynaptic connections decreased. GABAergic interneurons showed two spatial patterns of translaminar connection: inputs originating predominantly from supragranular or from supragranular and infragranular layers, including the subplate, which relays early thalamocortical activity. Sensory deprivation altered the development of translaminar inputs. Thus, distinct translaminar circuits to GABAergic interneurons exist throughout development, and the maturation of excitatory synapses is input-specific. Glutamatergic signaling from subplate and intracortical sources likely plays a role in the maturation of GABAergic interneurons.
Project description:Cannabis can be rewarding or aversive. Cannabis reward is believed to be mediated by activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) on GABAergic neurons that disinhibit dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying cannabis aversion in rodents. In the present study, CB1Rs are found not only on VTA GABAergic neurons, but also on VTA glutamatergic neurons that express vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VgluT2). We then used Cre-Loxp transgenic technology to selectively delete CB1Rs in VgluT2-expressing glutamatergic neurons (VgluT2-CB1 <sup>-/-</sup>) and Cre-dependent viral vector to express light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 into VTA glutamatergic neurons. We found that photoactivation of VTA glutamatergic neurons produced robust intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) behavior, which was dose-dependently blocked by DA receptor antagonists, but enhanced by cocaine. In contrast, Δ<sup>9</sup>-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ<sup>9</sup>-THC), the major psychoactive component of cannabis, produced dose-dependent conditioned place aversion and a reduction in the above optical ICSS in VgluT2-cre control mice, but not in VgluT2-CB1 <sup>-/-</sup> mice. These findings suggest that activation of CB1Rs in VgluT2-expressing glutamate neurons produces aversive effects that might explain why cannabinoid is not rewarding in rodents and might also account for individual differences in the hedonic effects of cannabis in humans.
Project description:Endocannabinoids (ECs) act as retrograde messengers that enable postsynaptic cells to regulate the strength of their synaptic inputs. Here, by using physiological and histological techniques, we showed that, unlike in other parts of the brain, excitatory inputs are more sensitive than inhibitory inputs to EC signaling in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN), an auditory brainstem nucleus. The principal cells of the DCN, fusiform cells, integrate acoustic signals through nonplastic synapses located in the deep layer with multimodal sensory signals carried by plastic parallel fibers in the molecular layer. Parallel fibers contact fusiform cells and inhibitory interneurons, the cartwheel cells, which in turn inhibit fusiform cells. Postsynaptic depolarization or pairing of postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) with action potentials (APs) induced EC-mediated modulation of excitatory inputs but did not affect inhibitory inputs. Quantitative electron microscopical studies showed that glutamatergic terminals express more cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1Rs) than glycinergic terminals. Fusiform and cartwheel cells express diacylglycerol lipase alpha and beta (DGLalpha/beta), the two enzymes involved in the generation of the EC, 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG). DGLalpha and DGLbeta are found in the spines of cartwheel but not fusiform cells indicating that the synthesis of ECs is more distant from parallel fiber synapses in fusiform than cartwheel cells. The differential localization and density of DGLalpha/beta and CB1Rs leads to cell- and input-specific EC signaling that favors activity-dependent EC-mediated suppression at synapses between parallel fibers and cartwheel cell spines, thus leading to reduced feedforward inhibition in fusiform cells. We propose that EC signaling is a major modulator of the balance of excitation and inhibition in auditory circuits.