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In current models, learning the relationship between environmental stimuli and the outcomes of actions involves both stimulus-driven and goal-directed systems, mediated in part by the DLS and DMS, respectively. However, though these models emphasize the importance of the DLS in governing actions after extensive experience has accumulated, there is growing evidence of DLS engagement from the onset of training. Here, we used in vivo photosilencing to reveal that DLS recruitment interferes with early touchscreen discrimination learning. We also show that the direct output pathway of the DLS is preferentially recruited and causally involved in early learning and find that silencing the normal contribution of the DLS produces plasticity-related alterations in a PL-DMS circuit. These data provide further evidence suggesting that the DLS is recruited in the construction of stimulus-elicited actions that ultimately automate behavior and liberate cognitive resources for other demands, but with a cost to performance at the outset of learning.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by widespread degeneration of monoaminergic (especially dopaminergic) networks, manifesting with a number of both motor and non-motor symptoms. Regional alterations to dopamine D receptors in PD patients are documented in striatal and some extrastriatal areas, and medications that target D receptors can improve motor and non-motor symptoms. However, data regarding the combined pattern of D receptor binding in both striatal and extrastriatal regions in PD are limited. We studied 35 PD patients off-medication and 31 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) using PET imaging with [F]fallypride, a high affinity D receptor ligand, to measure striatal and extrastriatal D nondisplaceable binding potential (BP). PD patients completed PET imaging in the off medication state, and motor severity was concurrently assessed. Voxel-wise evaluation between groups revealed significant BP reductions in PD patients in striatal and several extrastriatal regions, including the locus coeruleus and mesotemporal cortex. A region-of-interest (ROI) based approach quantified differences in dopamine D receptors, where reduced BP was noted in the globus pallidus, caudate, amygdala, hippocampus, ventral midbrain, and thalamus of PD patients relative to HC subjects. Motor severity positively correlated with D receptor density in the putamen and globus pallidus. These findings support the hypothesis that abnormal D expression occurs in regions related to both the motor and non-motor symptoms of PD, including areas richly invested with noradrenergic neurons.
BACKGROUND - Endocannabinoid signaling plays an important role in regulating synaptic transmission in the striatum, a brain region implicated as a central node of dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder. Deficits in signaling mediated by the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) have been reported in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder, but a causal role for striatal 2-AG deficiency in phenotypes relevant to autism spectrum disorder has not been explored.
METHODS - Using conditional knockout mice, we examined the electrophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral effects of 2-AG deficiency by deleting its primary synthetic enzyme, diacylglycerol lipase α (DGLα), from dopamine D receptor-expressing or adenosine A2a receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons (MSNs) to determine the role of 2-AG signaling in striatal direct or indirect pathways, respectively. We then used viral-mediated deletion of DGLα to study the effects of 2-AG deficiency in the ventral and dorsal striatum.
RESULTS - Targeted deletion of DGLα from direct-pathway MSNs caused deficits in social interaction, excessive grooming, and decreased exploration of a novel environment. In contrast, deletion from indirect-pathway MSNs had no effect on any measure of behavior examined. Loss of 2-AG in direct-pathway MSNs also led to increased glutamatergic drive, which is consistent with a loss of retrograde feedback inhibition. Subregional DGLα deletion from the dorsal striatum produced deficits in social interaction, whereas deletion from the ventral striatum resulted in repetitive grooming.
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest a role for 2-AG deficiency in social deficits and repetitive behavior, and they demonstrate a key role for 2-AG in regulating striatal direct-pathway MSNs.
Copyright © 2018 Society of Biological Psychiatry. All rights reserved.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the discrete genome which encodes subunits of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, is present at highly variable copy numbers across cell types. Though severe mtDNA depletion dramatically reduces mitochondrial function, the impact of tissue-specific mtDNA reduction remains debated. Previously, our lab identified reduced mtDNA quantity in the putamen of Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients who had developed L-DOPA Induced Dyskinesia (LID), compared to PD patients who had not developed LID and healthy subjects. Here, we present the consequences of mtDNA depletion by ethidium bromide (EtBr) treatment on the bioenergetic function of primary cultured neurons, astrocytes and neuron-enriched cocultures from rat striatum. We report that EtBr inhibition of mtDNA replication and transcription consistently reduces mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and that neurons are significantly more sensitive to EtBr than astrocytes. EtBr also increases glycolytic activity in astrocytes, whereas in neurons it reduces the expression of mitochondrial creatine kinase mRNA and levels of phosphocreatine. Further, we show that mitochondrial creatine kinase mRNA is similarly downregulated in dyskinetic PD patients, compared to both non-dyskinetic PD patients and healthy subjects. Our data support a hypothesis that reduced striatal mtDNA contributes to energetic dysregulation in the dyskinetic striatum by destabilizing the energy buffering system of the phosphocreatine/creatine shuttle.
Central insulin resistance (IR) influences striatal dopamine (DA) tone, an important determinant of behavioral self-regulation. We hypothesized that an association exists between the degree of peripheral IR and impulse control, mediated by the impact of IR on brain circuits controlling the speed of executing "go" and/or "stop" responses. We measured brain activation and associated performance on a stop signal task (SST) in obese adults with type 2 diabetes (age, 48.1 ± 6.9 yrs (mean ± SD); BMI, 36.5 ± 4.0 kg/m2; HOMA-IR, 7.2 ± 4.1; 12 male, 18 female). Increasing IR, but not BMI, was a predictor of shorter critical stop signal delay (cSSD), a measure of the time window during which a go response can be successfully countermanded (R2 = 0.12). This decline was explained by an IR-associated increase in go speed (R2 = 0.13) with little impact of IR or BMI on stop speed. Greater striatal fMRI activation contrast in stop error (SE) compared with stop success (SS) trials (CONSE>SS) was a significant predictor of faster go speeds (R2 = 0.33, p = 0.002), and was itself predicted by greater IR (CONSE>SS vs HOMA-IR: R2 = 0.10, p = 0.04). Furthermore, this impact of IR on striatal activation was a significant mediator of the faster go speeds and greater impulsivity observed with greater IR. These findings suggest a neural mechanism by which IR may increase impulsivity and degrade behavioral self-regulation.
In a recent study, we found that blocking the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) with the small molecule inhibitor (SMI) KU-55933 can completely abrogate Mn-induced phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (p-p53) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated striatal neuroprogenitors. However, in the immortalized mouse striatal progenitor cell line STHdh, a concentration of KU55933 far exceeding its IC for ATM was required to inhibit Mn-induced p-p53. This suggested an alternative signaling system redundant with ATM kinase for activating p53 in this cell line- one that was altered by KU55933 at these higher concentrations (i.e. mTORC1, DNApk, PI3K). To test the hypothesis that one or more of these signaling pathways contributed to Mn-induced p-p53, we utilized a set of SMIs (e.g. NU7441 and LY294002) known to block DNApk, PI3K, and mTORC1 at distinct concentrations. We found that the SMIs inhibit Mn-induced p-p53 expression near the expected IC for PI3K, versus other known targets. We hypothesized that inhibiting PI3K reduces intracellular Mn and thereby decreases activation of p53 by Mn. Using the cellular fura-2 manganese extraction assay (CFMEA), we determined that KU55933/60019, NU7441, and LY294002 (at concentrations near their IC for PI3K) all decrease intracellular Mn (∼50%) after a dual, 24-h Mn and SMI exposure. Many pathways are activated by Mn aside from p-p53, including AKT and mTOR pathways. Thus, we explored the activation of these pathways by Mn in STHdh cells as well as the effects of other pathway inhibitors. p-AKT and p-S6 activation by Mn is almost completely blocked upon addition of NU7441(5μM) or LY294002(7μM), supporting PI3K's upstream role in the AKT/mTOR pathway. We also investigated whether PI3K inhibition blocks Mn uptake in other cell lines. LY294002 exposure did not reduce Mn uptake in ST14A, Neuro2A, HEK293, MEF, or hiPSC-derived neuroprogenitors. Next, we sought to determine whether inhibition of PI3K blocked p53 phosphorylation by directly blocking an unknown PI3K/p53 interaction or indirectly reducing intracellular Mn, decreasing p-p53 expression. In-Cell Western and CFMEA experiments using multiple concentrations of Mn exposures demonstrated that intracellular Mn levels directly correlated with p-p53 expression with or without addition of LY294002. Finally, we examined whether PI3K inhibition was able to block Mn-induced p-p53 activity in hiPSC-derived striatal neuroprogenitors. As expected, LY294002 does not block Mn-induced p-p53 as PI3K inhibition is unable to reduce Mn net uptake in this cell line, suggesting the effect of LY294002 on Mn uptake is relatively specific to the STHdh mouse striatal cell line.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The dorsolateral striatum is critically involved in movement control and motor learning. Striatal function is regulated by a variety of neuromodulators including acetylcholine. Previous studies have shown that cholinergic activation excites striatal principal projection neurons, medium spiny neurons (MSNs), and this action is mediated by muscarinic acetylcholine subtype 1 receptors (M) through modulating multiple potassium channels. In the present study, we used electrophysiology techniques in conjunction with optogenetic and pharmacological tools to determine the long-term effects of striatal cholinergic activation on MSN intrinsic excitability. A transient increase in acetylcholine release in the striatum by optogenetic stimulation resulted in a long-lasting increase in excitability of MSNs, which was associated with hyperpolarizing shift of action potential threshold and decrease in afterhyperpolarization (AHP) amplitude, leading to an increase in probability of EPSP-action potential coupling. The M selective antagonist VU0255035 prevented, while the M selective positive allosteric modulator (PAM) VU0453595 potentiated the cholinergic activation-induced persistent increase in MSN intrinsic excitability, suggesting that M receptors are critically involved in the induction of this long-lasting response. This M receptor-dependent long-lasting change in MSN intrinsic excitability could have significant impact on striatal processing and might provide a novel mechanism underlying cholinergic regulation of the striatum-dependent motor learning and cognitive function. Consistent with this, behavioral studies indicate that potentiation of M receptor signaling by VU0453595 enhanced performance of mice in cue-dependent water-based T-maze, a dorsolateral striatum-dependent learning task.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene (HTT), resulting in profound striatal neurodegeneration through an unknown mechanism. Perturbations in the urea cycle have been reported in HD models and in HD patient blood and brain. In neurons, arginase is a central urea cycle enzyme, and the metal manganese (Mn) is an essential cofactor. Deficient biological responses to Mn, and reduced Mn accumulation have been observed in HD striatal mouse and cell models. Here we report in vivo and ex vivo evidence of a urea cycle metabolic phenotype in a prodromal HD mouse model. Further, either in vivo or in vitro Mn supplementation reverses the urea-cycle pathology by restoring arginase activity. We show that Arginase 2 (ARG2) is the arginase enzyme present in these mouse brain models, with ARG2 protein levels directly increased by Mn exposure. ARG2 protein is not reduced in the prodromal stage, though enzyme activity is reduced, indicating that altered Mn bioavailability as a cofactor leads to the deficient enzymatic activity. These data support a hypothesis that mutant HTT leads to a selective deficiency of neuronal Mn at an early disease stage, contributing to HD striatal urea-cycle pathophysiology through an effect on arginase activity.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Muscarinic receptors represent a promising therapeutic target for schizophrenia, but the mechanisms underlying the antipsychotic efficacy of muscarinic modulators are not well understood. Here, we report that activation of M4 receptors on striatal spiny projection neurons results in a novel form of dopaminergic regulation resulting in a sustained depression of striatal dopamine release that is observed more than 30 min after removal of the muscarinic receptor agonist. Furthermore, both the M4-mediated sustained inhibition of dopamine release and the antipsychotic-like efficacy of M4 activators were found to require intact signaling through CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These findings highlight a novel mechanism by which striatal cholinergic and cannabinoid signaling leads to sustained reductions in dopaminergic transmission and concurrent behavioral effects predictive of antipsychotic efficacy.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Development of treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is hampered by a lack of mechanistic understanding about this prevalent neuropsychiatric condition. Although circuit changes such as elevated frontostriatal activity are linked to OCD, the underlying molecular signaling that drives OCD-related behaviors remains largely unknown. Here, we examine the significance of type 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR5s) for behavioral and circuit abnormalities relevant to OCD.
METHODS - Sapap3 knockout (KO) mice treated acutely with an mGluR5 antagonist were evaluated for OCD-relevant phenotypes of self-grooming, anxiety-like behaviors, and increased striatal activity. The role of mGluR5 in the striatal circuit abnormalities of Sapap3 KO mice was further explored using two-photon calcium imaging to monitor striatal output from the direct and indirect pathways. A contribution of constitutive signaling to increased striatal mGluR5 activity in Sapap3 KO mice was investigated using pharmacologic and biochemical approaches. Finally, sufficiency of mGluR5 to drive OCD-like behavior in wild-type mice was tested by potentiating mGluR5 with a positive allosteric modulator.
RESULTS - Excessive mGluR5 signaling underlies OCD-like behaviors and striatal circuit abnormalities in Sapap3 KO mice. Accordingly, enhancing mGluR5 activity acutely recapitulates these behavioral phenotypes in wild-type mice. In Sapap3 KO mice, elevated mGluR5 signaling is associated with constitutively active receptors and increased and imbalanced striatal output that is acutely corrected by antagonizing striatal mGluR5.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings demonstrate a causal role for increased mGluR5 signaling in driving striatal output abnormalities and behaviors with relevance to OCD and show the tractability of acute mGluR5 inhibition to remedy circuit and behavioral abnormalities.
Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.