The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Contrary to the notion that neurology but not psychiatry is the domain of disorders evincing structural brain alterations, it is now clear that there are subtle but consistent neuropathological changes in schizophrenia. These range from increases in ventricular size to dystrophic changes in dendritic spines. A decrease in dendritic spine density in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is among the most replicated of postmortem structural findings in schizophrenia. Examination of the mechanisms that account for the loss of dendritic spines has in large part focused on genes and molecules that regulate neuronal structure. But the simple question of what is the effector of spine loss, ie, where do the lost spines go, is unanswered. Recent data on glial cells suggest that microglia (MG), and perhaps astrocytes, play an important physiological role in synaptic remodeling of neurons during development. Synapses are added to the dendrites of pyramidal cells during the maturation of these neurons; excess synapses are subsequently phagocytosed by MG. In the PFC, this occurs during adolescence, when certain symptoms of schizophrenia emerge. This brief review discusses recent advances in our understanding of MG function and how these non-neuronal cells lead to structural changes in neurons in schizophrenia.
Active coping is an adaptive stress response that improves outcomes in medical and neuropsychiatric diseases. To date, most research into coping style has focused on neurotransmitter activity and little is known about the intrinsic excitability of neurons in the associated brain regions that facilitate coping. Previous studies have shown that HCN channels regulate neuronal excitability in pyramidal cells and that HCN channel current (I ) in the CA1 area increases with chronic mild stress. Reduction of I in the CA1 area leads to antidepressant-like behavior, and this region has been implicated in the regulation of coping style. We hypothesized that the antidepressant-like behavior achieved with CA1 knockdown of I is accompanied by increases in active coping. In this report, we found that global loss of TRIP8b, a necessary subunit for proper HCN channel localization in pyramidal cells, led to active coping behavior in numerous assays specific to coping style. We next employed a viral strategy using a dominant negative TRIP8b isoform to alter coping behavior by reducing HCN channel expression. This approach led to a robust reduction in I in CA1 pyramidal neurons and an increase in active coping. Together, these results establish that changes in HCN channel function in CA1 influences coping style.
© 2018 International Society for Neurochemistry.
Voltage-gated ion channels are critical for neuronal integration. Some of these channels, however, are misregulated in several neurological disorders, causing both gain- and loss-of-function channelopathies in neurons. Using several transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we find that sub-threshold voltage signals strongly influenced by hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels progressively deteriorate over chronological aging in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. The degraded signaling via HCN channels in the transgenic mice is accompanied by an age-related global loss of their non-uniform dendritic expression. Both the aberrant signaling via HCN channels and their mislocalization could be restored using a variety of pharmacological agents that target the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Our rescue of the HCN channelopathy helps provide molecular details into the favorable outcomes of ER-targeting drugs on the pathogenesis and synaptic/cognitive deficits in AD mouse models, and implies that they might have beneficial effects on neurological disorders linked to HCN channelopathies.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Neuroinflammation is consistently found in many neurological disorders, but whether or not the inflammatory response independently affects neuronal network properties is poorly understood. Here, we report that intracerebroventricular injection of the prototypical inflammatory molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rats triggered a strong and long-lasting inflammatory response in hippocampal microglia associated with a concomitant upregulation of Toll-like receptor (TLR4) in pyramidal and hilar neurons. This, in turn, was associated with a significant reduction of the dendritic hyperpolarization-activated cyclic AMP-gated channel type 1 (HCN1) protein level while Kv4.2 channels were unaltered as assessed by western blot. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the HCN1 decrease in CA1 pyramidal neurons and showed that these changes were associated with a reduction of TRIP8b, an auxiliary subunit for HCN channels implicated in channel subcellular localization and trafficking. At the physiological level, this effect translated into a 50% decrease in HCN1-mediated currents (I) measured in the distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells. At the functional level, the band-pass-filtering properties of dendrites in the theta frequency range (4-12 Hz) and their temporal summation properties were compromised. We conclude that neuroinflammation can independently trigger an acquired channelopathy in CA1 pyramidal cell dendrites that alters their integrative properties. By directly changing cellular function, this phenomenon may participate in the phenotypic expression of various brain diseases.
Hilar mossy cells (HMCs) in the hippocampus receive glutamatergic input from dentate granule cells (DGCs) via mossy fibers (MFs) and back-projections from CA3 pyramidal neuron collateral axons. Many fundamental features of these excitatory synapses have not been characterized in detail despite their potential relevance to hippocampal cognitive processing and epilepsy-induced adaptations in circuit excitability. In this study, we compared pre- and postsynaptic parameters between MF and CA3 inputs to HMCs in young and adult mice of either sex and determined the relative contributions of the respective excitatory inputs during and models of hippocampal hyperexcitability. The two types of excitatory synapses both exhibited a modest degree of short-term plasticity, with MF inputs to HMCs exhibiting lower paired-pulse (PP) and frequency facilitation than was described previously for MF-CA3 pyramidal cell synapses. MF-HMC synapses exhibited unitary excitatory synaptic currents (EPSCs) of larger amplitude, contained postsynaptic kainate receptors, and had a lower NMDA/AMPA receptor ratio compared to CA3-HMC synapses. Pharmacological induction of hippocampal hyperexcitability transformed the abundant but relatively weak CA3-HMC connections to very large amplitude spontaneous bursts of compound EPSCs (cEPSCs) in young mice (∼P20) and, to a lesser degree, in adult mice (∼P70). CA3-HMC cEPSCs were also observed in slices prepared from mice with spontaneous seizures several weeks after intrahippocampal kainate injection. Strong excitation of HMCs during synchronous CA3 activity represents an avenue of significant excitatory network generation back to DGCs and might be important in generating epileptic networks.
OBJECTIVE - The mutant γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA ) receptor γ2(Q390X) subunit (Q351X in the mature peptide) has been associated with the epileptic encephalopathy, Dravet syndrome, and the epilepsy syndrome genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+). The mutation generates a premature stop codon that results in translation of a stable truncated and misfolded γ2 subunit that accumulates in neurons, forms intracellular aggregates, disrupts incorporation of γ2 subunits into GABA receptors, and affects trafficking of partnering α and β subunits. Heterozygous Gabrg2 knock-in (KI) mice had reduced cortical inhibition, spike wave discharges on electroencephalography (EEG), a lower seizure threshold to the convulsant drug pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), and spontaneous generalized tonic-clonic seizures. In this proof-of-principal study, we attempted to rescue these deficits in KI mice using a γ2 subunit gene (GABRG2) replacement therapy.
METHODS - We introduced the GABRG2 allele by crossing Gabrg2 KI mice with bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice overexpressing HA (hemagglutinin)-tagged human γ2 subunits, and compared GABA receptor subunit expression by Western blot and immunohistochemical staining, seizure threshold by monitoring mouse behavior after PTZ-injection, and thalamocortical inhibition and network oscillation by slice recording.
RESULTS - Compared to KI mice, adult mice carrying both mutant allele and transgene had increased wild-type γ2 and partnering α1 and β2/3 subunits, increased miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current (mIPSC) amplitudes recorded from layer VI cortical neurons, reduced thalamocortical network oscillations, and higher PTZ seizure threshold.
SIGNIFICANCE - Based on these results we suggest that seizures in a genetic epilepsy syndrome caused by epilepsy mutant γ2(Q390X) subunits with dominant negative effects could be rescued potentially by overexpression of wild-type γ2 subunits.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 International League Against Epilepsy.
Dravet syndrome, an epileptic encephalopathy affecting children, largely results from heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the brain voltage-gated sodium channel gene SCN1A. Heterozygous Scn1a knockout (Scn1a ) mice recapitulate the severe epilepsy phenotype of Dravet syndrome and are an accepted animal model. Because clinical observations suggest conventional sodium channel blocking antiepileptic drugs may worsen the disease, we predicted the phenotype of Scn1a mice would be exacerbated by GS967, a potent, unconventional sodium channel blocker. Unexpectedly, GS967 significantly improved survival of Scn1a mice and suppressed spontaneous seizures. By contrast, lamotrigine exacerbated the seizure phenotype. Electrophysiological recordings of acutely dissociated neurons revealed that chronic GS967-treatment had no impact on evoked action potential firing frequency of interneurons, but did suppress aberrant spontaneous firing of pyramidal neurons and was associated with significantly lower sodium current density. Lamotrigine had no effects on neuronal excitability of either neuron subtype. Additionally, chronically GS967-treated Scn1a mice exhibited normalized pyramidal neuron sodium current density and reduced hippocampal Na1.6 protein levels, whereas lamotrigine treatment had no effect on either pyramidal neuron sodium current or hippocampal Na1.6 levels. Our findings demonstrate unexpected efficacy of a novel sodium channel blocker in Dravet syndrome and suggest a potential mechanism involving a secondary change in Na1.6.
Abnormalities in the signaling of the N-methyl-d-aspartate subtype of the glutamate receptor (NMDAR) within cortical and limbic brain regions are thought to underlie many of the complex cognitive and affective symptoms observed in individuals with schizophrenia. The M muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) subtype is a closely coupled signaling partner of the NMDAR. Accumulating evidence suggests that development of selective positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the M receptor represent an important treatment strategy for the potential normalization of disruptions in NMDAR signaling in patients with schizophrenia. In the present studies, we evaluated the effects of the novel and highly potent M PAM, VU6004256, in ameliorating selective prefrontal cortical (PFC)-mediated physiologic and cognitive abnormalities in a genetic mouse model of global reduction in the NR1 subunit of the NMDAR (NR1 knockdown [KD]). Using slice-based extracellular field potential recordings, deficits in muscarinic agonist-induced long-term depression (LTD) in layer V of the PFC in the NR1 KD mice were normalized with bath application of VU6004256. Systemic administration of VU6004256 also reduced excessive pyramidal neuron firing in layer V PFC neurons in awake, freely moving NR1 KD mice. Moreover, selective potentiation of M by VU6004256 reversed the performance impairments of NR1 KD mice observed in two preclinical models of PFC-mediated learning, specifically the novel object recognition and cue-mediated fear conditioning tasks. VU6004256 also produced a robust, dose-dependent reduction in the hyperlocomotor activity of NR1 KD mice. Taken together, the current findings provide further support for M PAMs as a novel therapeutic approach for the PFC-mediated impairments in schizophrenia.
We investigated whether a frontal area that lacks granular layer IV, supplementary eye field, exhibits features of laminar circuitry similar to those observed in primary sensory areas. We report, for the first time, visually evoked local field potentials (LFPs) and spiking activity recorded simultaneously across all layers of agranular frontal cortex using linear electrode arrays. We calculated current source density from the LFPs and compared the laminar organization of evolving sinks to those reported in sensory areas. Simultaneous, transient synaptic current sinks appeared first in layers III and V followed by more prolonged current sinks in layers I/II and VI. We also found no variation of single- or multi-unit visual response latency across layers, and putative pyramidal neurons and interneurons displayed similar response latencies. Many units exhibited pronounced discharge suppression that was strongest in superficial relative to deep layers. Maximum discharge suppression also occurred later in superficial than in deep layers. These results are discussed in the context of the canonical cortical microcircuit model originally formulated to describe early sensory cortex. The data indicate that agranular cortex resembles sensory areas in certain respects, but the cortical microcircuit is modified in nontrivial ways.
Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated nonselective cation channels (HCN or h-channels) are important regulators of neuronal physiology contributing to passive membrane properties, such as resting membrane potential and input resistance (R(N)), and to intrinsic oscillatory activity and synaptic integration. The correct membrane targeting of h-channels is regulated in part by the auxiliary h-channel protein TRIP8b. The genetic deletion of TRIP8b results in a loss of functional h-channels, which affects the postsynaptic integrative properties of neurons. We investigated the impact of TRIP8b deletion on long-term potentiation (LTP) at the two major excitatory inputs to CA1 pyramidal neurons: Schaffer collateral (SC) and perforant path (PP). We found that SC LTP was not significantly different between neurons from wild-type and TRIP8b-knockout mice. There was, however, significantly more short-term potentiation in knockout neurons. We also found that the persistent increase in h-current (I(h)) that normally occurs after LTP induction was absent in knockout neurons. The lack of I(h) plasticity was not restricted to activity-dependent induction, because the depletion of intracellular calcium stores also failed to produce the expected increase in I(h). Interestingly, pairing of SC and PP inputs resulted in a form of LTP in knockout neurons that did not occur in wild-type neurons. These results suggest that the physiological impact of TRIP8b deletion is not restricted to the integrative properties of neurons but also includes both synaptic and intrinsic plasticity.