Frequency-dependent gating of feedforward inhibition in thalamofrontal synapses.
ABSTRACT: Thalamic recruitment of feedforward inhibition is known to enhance the fidelity of the receptive field by limiting the temporal window during which cortical neurons integrate excitatory inputs. Feedforward inhibition driven by the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD) has been previously observed, but its physiological function and regulation remain unknown. Accumulating evidence suggests that elevated neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex is required for the short-term storage of information. Furthermore, the elevated neuronal activity is supported by the reciprocal connectivity between the MD and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Therefore, detailed knowledge about the synaptic connections during high-frequency activity is critical for understanding the mechanism of short-term memory. In this study, we examined how feedforward inhibition of thalamofrontal connectivity is modulated by activity frequency. We observed greater short-term synaptic depression during disynaptic inhibition than in thalamic excitatory synapses during high-frequency activities. The strength of feedforward inhibition became weaker as the stimulation continued, which, in turn, enhanced the range of firing jitter in a frequency-dependent manner. We postulated that this phenomenon was primarily due to the increased failure rate of evoking action potentials in parvalbumin-expressing inhibitory neurons. These findings suggest that the MD-mPFC pathway is dynamically regulated by an excitatory-inhibitory balance in an activity-dependent manner. During low-frequency activities, excessive excitations are inhibited, and firing is restricted to a limited temporal range by the strong feedforward inhibition. However, during high-frequency activities, such as during short-term memory, the activity can be transferred in a broader temporal range due to the decreased feedforward inhibition.
Project description:The dynamic interactions between hippocampus and amygdala are critical for emotional memory. Theta synchrony between these structures occurs during fear memory retrieval and may facilitate synaptic plasticity, but the cellular mechanisms are unknown. We report that interneurons of the mouse basal amygdala are activated during theta network activity or optogenetic stimulation of ventral CA1 pyramidal cell axons, whereas principal neurons are inhibited. Interneurons provide feedforward inhibition that transiently hyperpolarizes principal neurons. However, synaptic inhibition attenuates during theta frequency stimulation of ventral CA1 fibers, and this broadens excitatory postsynaptic potentials. These effects are mediated by GABAB receptors and change in the Cl(-) driving force. Pairing theta frequency stimulation of ventral CA1 fibers with coincident stimuli of the lateral amygdala induces long-term potentiation of lateral-basal amygdala excitatory synapses. Hence, feedforward inhibition, known to enforce temporal fidelity of excitatory inputs, dominates hippocampus-amygdala interactions to gate heterosynaptic plasticity. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:Neuronal stimulus selectivity is shaped by feedforward and recurrent excitatory-inhibitory interactions. In the auditory cortex (AC), parvalbumin- (PV) and somatostatin-positive (SOM) inhibitory interneurons differentially modulate frequency-dependent responses of excitatory neurons. Responsiveness of neurons in the AC to sound is also dependent on stimulus history. We found that the inhibitory effects of SOMs and PVs diverged as a function of adaptation to temporal repetition of tones. Prior to adaptation, suppressing either SOM or PV inhibition drove both increases and decreases in excitatory spiking activity. After adaptation, suppressing SOM activity caused predominantly disinhibitory effects, whereas suppressing PV activity still evoked bi-directional changes. SOM, but not PV-driven inhibition, dynamically modulated frequency tuning with adaptation. Unlike PV-driven inhibition, SOM-driven inhibition elicited gain-like increases in frequency tuning reflective of adaptation. Our findings suggest that distinct cortical interneurons differentially shape tuning to sensory stimuli across the neuronal receptive field, altering frequency selectivity of excitatory neurons during adaptation.
Project description:In somatosensory cortex, the relative balance of excitation and inhibition determines how effectively feedforward inhibition enforces the temporal fidelity of action potentials. Within the CA3 region of the hippocampus, glutamatergic mossy fiber (MF) synapses onto CA3 pyramidal cells (PCs) provide strong monosynaptic excitation that exhibit prominent facilitation during repetitive activity. We demonstrate in the juvenile CA3 that MF-driven polysynaptic IPSCs facilitate to maintain a fixed EPSC-IPSC ratio during short-term plasticity. In contrast, in young adult mice this MF-driven polysynaptic inhibitory input can facilitate or depress in response to short trains of activity. Transgenic mice lacking the feedback inhibitory loop continue to exhibit both facilitating and depressing polysynaptic IPSCs, indicating that this robust inhibition is not caused by the secondary engagement of feedback inhibition. Surprisingly, eliminating MF-driven inhibition onto CA3 pyramidal cells by blockade of GABA(A) receptors did not lead to a loss of temporal precision of the first action potential observed after a stimulus but triggered in many cases a long excitatory plateau potential capable of triggering repetitive action potential firing. These observations indicate that, unlike other regions of the brain, the temporal precision of single MF-driven action potentials is dictated primarily by the kinetics of MF EPSPs, not feedforward inhibition. Instead, feedforward inhibition provides a robust regulation of CA3 PC excitability across development to prevent excessive depolarization by the monosynaptic EPSP and multiple action potential firings.
Project description:A brain network comprising the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and amygdala plays important roles in developmentally regulated cognitive and emotional processes. However, very little is known about the maturation of mPFC-amygdala circuitry. We conducted anatomical tracing of mPFC projections and optogenetic interrogation of their synaptic connections with neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) at neonatal to adult developmental stages in mice. Results indicate that mPFC-BLA projections exhibit delayed emergence relative to other mPFC pathways and establish synaptic transmission with BLA excitatory and inhibitory neurons in late infancy, events that coincide with a massive increase in overall synaptic drive. During subsequent adolescence, mPFC-BLA circuits are further modified by excitatory synaptic strengthening as well as a transient surge in feedforward inhibition. The latter was correlated with increased spontaneous inhibitory currents in excitatory neurons, suggesting that mPFC-BLA circuit maturation culminates in a period of exuberant GABAergic transmission. These findings establish a time course for the onset and refinement of mPFC-BLA transmission and point to potential sensitive periods in the development of this critical network.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Human mPFC-amygdala functional connectivity is developmentally regulated and figures prominently in numerous psychiatric disorders with a high incidence of adolescent onset. However, it remains unclear when synaptic connections between these structures emerge or how their properties change with age. Our work establishes developmental windows and cellular substrates for synapse maturation in this pathway involving both excitatory and inhibitory circuits. The engagement of these substrates by early life experience may support the ontogeny of fundamental behaviors but could also lead to inappropriate circuit refinement and psychopathology in adverse situations.
Project description:Small-scale neuronal networks may impose widespread effects on large network dynamics. To unravel this relationship, we analyzed eight multiscale recordings of spontaneous seizures from four patients with epilepsy. During seizures, multiunit spike activity organizes into a submillimeter-sized wavefront, and this activity correlates significantly with low-frequency rhythms from electrocorticographic recordings across a 10-cm-sized neocortical network. Notably, this correlation effect is specific to the ictal wavefront and is absent interictally or from action potential activity outside the wavefront territory. To examine the multiscale interactions, we created a model using a multiscale, nonlinear system and found evidence for a dual role for feedforward inhibition in seizures: while inhibition at the wavefront fails, allowing seizure propagation, feedforward inhibition of the surrounding centimeter-scale networks is activated via long-range excitatory connections. Bifurcation analysis revealed that distinct dynamical pathways for seizure termination depend on the surrounding inhibition strength. Using our model, we found that the mesoscopic, local wavefront acts as the forcing term of the ictal process, while the macroscopic, centimeter-sized network modulates the oscillatory seizure activity.
Project description:Neuronal theories of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) of autism and mental retardation propose that abnormal connectivity underlies deficits in attentional processing. We tested this theory by studying unitary synaptic connections between layer 5 pyramidal neurons within medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) networks in the Fmr1-KO mouse model for mental retardation and autism. In line with predictions from neurocognitive theory, we found that neighboring pyramidal neurons were hyperconnected during a critical period in early mPFC development. Surprisingly, excitatory synaptic connections between Fmr1-KO pyramidal neurons were significantly slower and failed to recover from short-term depression as quickly as wild type (WT) synapses. By 4-5 weeks of mPFC development, connectivity rates were identical for both KO and WT pyramidal neurons and synapse dynamics changed from depressing to facilitating responses with similar properties in both groups. We propose that the early alteration in connectivity and synaptic recovery are tightly linked: using a network model, we show that slower synapses are essential to counterbalance hyperconnectivity in order to maintain a dynamic range of excitatory activity. However, the slow synaptic time constants induce decreased responsiveness to low-frequency stimulation, which may explain deficits in integration and early information processing in attentional neuronal networks in NDDs.
Project description: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:Migraine is a complex brain disorder, characterized by attacks of unilateral headache and global dysfunction in multisensory information processing, whose underlying cellular and circuit mechanisms remain unknown. The finding of enhanced excitatory, but unaltered inhibitory, neurotransmission at intracortical synapses in mouse models of familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) suggested the hypothesis that dysregulation of the excitatory-inhibitory balance in specific circuits is a key pathogenic mechanism. Here, we investigated the thalamocortical (TC) feedforward inhibitory microcircuit in FHM1 mice of both sexes carrying a gain-of-function mutation in CaV2.1. We show that TC synaptic transmission in somatosensory cortex is enhanced in FHM1 mice. Due to similar gain of function of TC excitation of layer 4 excitatory and fast-spiking inhibitory neurons elicited by single thalamic stimulations, neither the excitatory-inhibitory balance nor the integration time window set by the TC feedforward inhibitory microcircuit was altered in FHM1 mice. However, during repetitive thalamic stimulation, the typical shift of the excitatory-inhibitory balance toward excitation and the widening of the integration time window were both smaller in FHM1 compared with WT mice, revealing a dysregulation of the excitatory-inhibitory balance, whereby the balance is relatively skewed toward inhibition. This is due to an unexpected differential effect of the FHM1 mutation on short-term synaptic plasticity at TC synapses on cortical excitatory and fast-spiking inhibitory neurons. Our findings point to enhanced transmission of sensory, including trigeminovascular nociceptive, signals from thalamic nuclei to cortex and TC excitatory-inhibitory imbalance as mechanisms that may contribute to headache, increased sensory gain, and sensory processing dysfunctions in migraine.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Migraine is a complex brain disorder, characterized by attacks of unilateral headache and by global dysfunction in multisensory information processing, whose underlying cellular and circuit mechanisms remain unknown. Here we provide insights into these mechanisms by investigating thalamocortical (TC) synaptic transmission and the function of the TC feedforward inhibitory microcircuit in a mouse model of a rare monogenic migraine. This microcircuit is critical for gating information flow to cortex and for sensory processing. We reveal increased TC transmission and dysregulation of the cortical excitatory-inhibitory balance set by the TC feedforward inhibitory microcircuit, whereby the balance is relatively skewed toward inhibition during repetitive thalamic activity. These alterations may contribute to headache, increased sensory gain, and sensory processing dysfunctions in migraine.
Project description:Sleep disturbances have been recognized as a core symptom of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). However, the neural basis of PTSD-related sleep disturbances remains unclear. It has been challenging to establish the causality link between a specific brain region and traumatic stress-induced sleep abnormalities. Here, we found that single prolonged stress (SPS) could induce acute changes in sleep/wake duration as well as short- and long-term electroencephalogram (EEG) alterations in the isogenic mouse model. Moreover, the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) showed persistent high number of c-fos expressing neurons, of which more than 95% are excitatory neurons, during and immediately after SPS. Chemogenetic inhibition of the prelimbic region of mPFC during SPS could specifically reverse the SPS-induced acute suppression of delta power (1-4 Hz EEG) of non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREMS) as well as most of long-term EEG abnormalities. These findings suggest a causality link between hyper-activation of mPFC neurons and traumatic stress-induced specific sleep-wake EEG disturbances.
Project description:Striatal GABAergic microcircuits are critical for motor function, yet their properties remain enigmatic due to difficulties in targeting striatal interneurons for electrophysiological analysis. Here, we use Lhx6-GFP transgenic mice to identify GABAergic interneurons and investigate their regulation of striatal direct- and indirect-pathway medium spiny neurons (MSNs). We find that the two major interneuron populations, persistent low-threshold spiking (PLTS) and fast spiking (FS) interneurons, differ substantially in their excitatory inputs and inhibitory outputs. Excitatory synaptic currents recorded from PLTS interneurons are characterized by a small, nonrectifying AMPA receptor-mediated component and a NMDA receptor-mediated component. In contrast, glutamatergic synaptic currents in FS interneurons have a large, strongly rectifying AMPA receptor-mediated component, but no detectable NMDA receptor-mediated responses. Consistent with their axonal morphology, the output of individual PLTS interneurons is relatively weak and sparse, whereas FS interneurons are robustly connected to MSNs and other FS interneurons and appear to mediate the bulk of feedforward inhibition. Synaptic depression of FS outputs is relatively insensitive to firing frequency, and dynamic-clamp experiments reveal that these short-term dynamics enable feedforward inhibition to remain efficacious across a broad frequency range. Surprisingly, we find that FS interneurons preferentially target direct-pathway MSNs over indirect-pathway MSNs, suggesting a potential mechanism for rapid pathway-specific regulation of striatal output pathways.