Inhibitory transmission controls the action potential firing rate and pattern of Purkinje cell activity in the cerebellum. A long-term change in inhibitory transmission is likely to have a profound effect on the activity of cerebellar neuronal circuits. However little is known about how neuronal activity regulates synaptic transmission in GABAergic inhibitory interneurons (stellate/basket cells) in the cerebellar cortex. We have examined how glutamate released from parallel fibres (the axons of granule cells) influences postsynaptic AMPA receptors in stellate cells and modulates GABA release from these neurons. First, we found that burst stimulation of presynaptic parallel fibres changes the subunit composition of post-synaptic AMPA receptors from GluR2-lacking to GluR2-containing receptors. This switch reduces the Ca2+ permeability of AMPA receptors and the EPSP amplitude, and prolongs the duration of the synaptic current, producing a qualitative change in synaptic transmission. This switch in AMPA receptor phenotype can be induced by activation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors and involves PICK1 and the activation of PKC. Second, activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors triggers a lasting increase in GABA release from stellate cells. These changes may provide a cellular mechanism underlying associative learning involving the cerebellum.
Previous studies of NMDA receptor (NMDAR) expression on axons of cerebellar molecular layer interneurons have produced conflicting results. We made use of the calcium sensitivity of vesicular release machinery to test for NMDAR activity in basket cell axons. Iontophoresis of L-aspartate, an NMDAR agonist, onto basket cell axon collaterals had no effect on evoked IPSCs measured in synaptically coupled Purkinje cells. Furthermore, calcium indicators in basket cell varicosities did not report any change in intracellular calcium following iontophoresis of L-aspartate or two-photon uncaging of glutamate. In contrast, activation of presynaptic purinergic receptors by iontophoresis of ATP decreased evoked IPSC amplitudes and AP-evoked calcium transients in axonal varicosities, demonstrating the effectiveness of activating presynaptic receptors by iontophoresis. We find no evidence for functional NMDARs in basket cell varicosities.
Purkinje; cerebellum; presynaptic; purinergic receptors; subthreshold
A classic view in cerebellar physiology holds that Purkinje cells do not express functional N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and that, therefore, postsynaptic NMDA receptors are not involved in the induction of long-term depression (LTD) at parallel fiber (PF) to Purkinje cell synapses. Recently, it has been demonstrated that functional NMDA receptors are postsynaptically expressed at climbing fiber (CF) to Purkinje cell synapses in mice, reaching full expression levels at about 2 months after birth. Here, we show that in the mature mouse cerebellum LTD (induced by paired PF and CF activation), but not long-term potentiation (LTP; PF stimulation alone) at PF to Purkinje cell synapses is blocked by bath application of the NMDA receptor antagonist D-APV. A blockade of LTD, but not LTP, was also observed when the non-competitive NMDA channel blocker MK-801 was added to the patch-pipette saline, suggesting that postsynaptically expressed NMDA receptors are required for LTD induction. Using confocal calcium imaging, we show that CF-evoked calcium transients in dendritic spines are reduced in the presence of D-APV. This observation confirms that NMDA receptor signaling occurs at CF synapses, and suggests that NMDA receptor-mediated calcium transients at the CF input site might contribute to LTD induction. Finally, we performed dendritic patch-clamp recordings from rat Purkinje cells. Dendritically recorded CF responses were reduced when D-APV was bath-applied. Together, these data suggest that the late developmental expression of postsynaptic NMDA receptors at CF synapses onto Purkinje cells is associated with a switch towards an NMDA receptor-dependent LTD induction mechanism.
calcium; climbing fiber; long-term depression; long-term potentiation; parallel fiber; synaptic plasticity
Ethanol has actions on cerebellar Purkinje neurons that can result either in a net excitation or in inhibition of neuronal activity. The present study examines the interplay of presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms to determine the net effect of ethanol on the neuronal firing rate of cerebellar Purkinje neurons.
Whole-cell voltage-clamp recording of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs) from Purkinje neurons in cerebellar slices was used to examine the effect of ethanol on presynapticsynaptic release of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. Extracellular recording was used to examine the net action of both presynaptic and postsynaptic effects of ethanol on the firing rate of Purkinje neurons.
Under whole-cell voltage clamp, the frequency of bicuculline-sensitive miniature post-synaptic currents (mIPSCs) was increased dose-dependently by 25, 50, and 100 mM ethanol without any change in amplitude or decay time. Despite this evidence of increased release of GABA by ethanol, application of 50 mM ethanol caused an increase in firing in some neurons and a decrease in firing in others with a nonrandom distribution. When both glutamatergic and GABAergic influences were removed by simultaneous application of 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione and picrotoxin, respectively, ethanol caused only an increase in firing rate.
These data are consistent with a dual action of ethanol on cerebellar Purkinje neuron activity. Specifically, ethanol acts presynaptically to increase inhibition by release of GABA, while simultaneously acting postsynaptically to increase intrinsic excitatory drive.
Ethanol; GABA; Glutamate; mIPSC; Presynaptic; Postsynaptic; Intrinsic Drive
We have previously shown that when postsynaptic NMDA receptors are blocked, the frequency, but not amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) at synapses in the entorhinal cortex is reduced by NMDA receptor antagonists, demonstrating that glutamate release is tonically facilitated by presynaptic NMDA autoreceptors. In the present study, we recorded sEPSCs using whole cell voltage clamp in neurones in layer V in slices of the rat entorhinal cortex. Using specific antagonists for NR2A (NVP-AAM077) and NR2B (Ro 25-6981) subunit containing receptors, we confirmed that in slices from juvenile rats (4-6 weeks) the autoreceptor is predominantly of the NR1-NR2B sub-type. In older (4-6 months) control animals the effect of the NR2B antagonist was less marked, suggesting a decline in autoreceptor function with development. In slices from rats (aged 4-6 months) exhibiting spontaneous recurrent seizures induced with a lithium-pilocarpine protocol, Ro 25-6981 again robustly reduced sEPSC frequency. The effect was equal to or greater than that seen in the juvenile slices, and much more pronounced than that seen in the age matched control animals. In all three groups, the NR2A antagonist was without effect on sEPSCs. These results suggest that there is a developmental decrease in NMDA autoreceptor function, which is reversed in a chronic epileptic condition. The enhanced autoreceptor function may contribute to seizure susceptibility and epileptogenesis in temporal lobe structures.
NMDA; NR2B receptors; presynaptic; glutamate; entorhinal; chronic epilepsy
Spike timing–dependent plasticity (STDP) is a strong candidate for an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent form of synaptic plasticity that could underlie the development of receptive field properties in sensory neocortices. Whilst induction of timing-dependent long-term potentiation (t-LTP) requires postsynaptic NMDA receptors, timing-dependent long-term depression (t-LTD) requires the activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses in barrel cortex. Here we investigated the developmental profile of t-LTD at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses of mouse barrel cortex and studied their NMDA receptor subunit dependence. Timing-dependent LTD emerged in the first postnatal week, was present during the second week and disappeared in the adult, whereas t-LTP persisted in adulthood. An antagonist at GluN2C/D subunit–containing NMDA receptors blocked t-LTD but not t-LTP. Conversely, a GluN2A subunit–preferring antagonist blocked t-LTP but not t-LTD. The GluN2C/D subunit requirement for t-LTD appears to be synapse specific, as GluN2C/D antagonists did not block t-LTD at horizontal cross-columnar layer 2/3-to-layer 2/3 synapses, which was blocked by a GluN2B antagonist instead. These data demonstrate an NMDA receptor subunit-dependent double dissociation of t-LTD and t-LTP mechanisms at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses, and suggest that t-LTD is mediated by distinct molecular mechanisms at different synapses on the same postsynaptic neuron.
development; LTD; LTP; rodent; synaptic plasticity
A major subtype of glutamate receptors, AMPA receptors (AMPARs), are generally thought to mediate excitation at mammalian central synapses via the ionotropic action of ligand-gated channel opening. It has recently emerged, however, that synaptic activation of AMPARs by glutamate released from the climbing fibre input elicits not only postsynaptic excitation but also presynaptic inhibition of GABAergic transmission onto Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex. Although presynaptic inhibition is critical for information processing at central synapses, the molecular mechanisms by which AMPARs take part in such actions are not known. This study therefore aimed at further examining the properties of AMPAR-mediated presynaptic inhibition at GABAergic synapses in the rat cerebellum. Our data provide evidence that the climbing fibre-induced inhibition of GABA release from interneurons depends on AMPAR-mediated activation of GTP-binding proteins coupled with down-regulation of presynaptic voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. A Gi/o-protein inhibitor, N-ethylmaleimide, selectively abolished the AMPAR-mediated presynaptic inhibition at cerebellar GABAergic synapses but did not affect AMPAR-mediated excitatory actions on Purkinje cells. Furthermore, both Gi/o-coupled receptor agonists, baclofen and DCG-IV, and the P/Q-type calcium channel blocker ω-agatoxin IVA markedly occluded the AMPAR-mediated inhibition of GABAergic transmission. Conversely, AMPAR activation inhibited action potential-triggered Ca2+ influx into individual axonal boutons of cerebellar GABAergic interneurons. By suppressing the inhibitory inputs to Purkinje cells, the AMPAR-mediated presynaptic inhibition could thus provide a feed-forward mechanism for the information flow from the cerebellar cortex.
AMPA-type glutamate receptor; cerebellum; GABAergic inhibitory synapse; presynaptic inhibition; rat
Glutamate spillover in the mossy fiber to granule cell cerebellar glomeruli has been hypothesized to increase neurotransmission reliability. In this study, we evaluate this hypothesis using an experimentally-based quantitative model of glutamate spillover on the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDA-Rs) at the cerebellar glomerulus. The transient and steady-state responses of NMDA-Rs were examined over a physiological range of firing rates. Examined cases included direct glutamate release activation, glutamate spillover activation, and a combination of direct and spillover activation. Our results illustrate that the effects of spillover alone are equivalent to direct release and, notably, combined spillover and direct release effects on NMDA-Rs are not additive. Our results show that spillover does in fact provide a high degree of reliability given that the synaptic vesicle release rate must fall to approximately 15–25% of what is considered the normal baseline level in order to substantially alter neurotransmission across the examined range of frequencies. We suggest that the high reliability provided by activation due to glutamate spillover could be used to conserve energy by reducing the required overall glutamate load at higher frequencies.
quantitative model; NMDA receptor; granule cell; mossy fiber; glutamate diffusion; neurotransmitter spillover; synaptic vesicle release failure; glutamate uptake
N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) at a subtoxic concentration (100 μM) promotes neuronal survival against glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity via a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) autocrine loop in cultured cerebellar granule cells. The signal transduction mechanism(s) underlying NMDA neuroprotection, however, remains elusive. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3-K) pathways alter gene expression and are involved in synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival. This study tested whether neuroprotective activation of NMDA receptors, together with TrkB receptors, coactivated the MAPK or PI3-K pathways to protect rat cerebellar neurons. NMDA receptor activation caused a concentration- and time-dependent activation of MAPK lasting 24 hr. This activation was blocked by the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 but was attenuated only partially by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor k252a, suggesting that activation of both NMDA and TrkB receptors are required for maximal neuroprotection. The MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitor U0126 (10 μM) partially blocked NMDA neuroprotection, whereas LY294002, a selective inhibitor of the PI3-K pathway, did not affect the neuroprotective activity of NMDA. Glutamate excitotoxicity decreased bcl-2, bcl-XL, and bax mRNA levels,. NMDA increases Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL protein levels and decreases Bax protein levels. NMDA and TrkB receptor activation thus converge on the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 signaling pathway to protect neurons against glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity. By increasing antiapoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family, NMDA receptor activation may also promote neuronal survival by preventing apoptosis. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
NMDA; cerebellar granule cells; TrkB receptors; MAPK; Akt; BDNF; excitotoxicity; glutamate; Bcl-2; Bcl-XL; Bax
Activity through NMDA type glutamate receptors sculpts connectivity in the developing nervous system. This topic is typically studied in the visual system in vivo, where activity of inputs can be differentially regulated, but in which individual synapses are difficult to visualize and mechanisms governing synaptic competition can be difficult to ascertain. Here, we develop a model of NMDA-receptor dependent synaptic competition in dissociated cultured hippocampal neurons.
GluN1 -/- (KO) mouse hippocampal neurons lacking the essential NMDA receptor subunit were cultured alone or cultured in defined ratios with wild type (WT) neurons. The absence of functional NMDA receptors did not alter neuron survival. Synapse development was assessed by immunofluorescence for postsynaptic PSD-95 family scaffold and apposed presynaptic vesicular glutamate transporter VGlut1. Synapse density was specifically enhanced onto minority wild type neurons co-cultured with a majority of GluN1 -/- neighbour neurons, both relative to the GluN1 -/- neighbours and relative to sister pure wild type cultures. This form of synaptic competition was dependent on NMDA receptor activity and not conferred by the mere physical presence of GluN1. In contrast to these results in 10% WT and 90% KO co-cultures, synapse density did not differ by genotype in 50% WT and 50% KO co-cultures or in 90% WT and 10% KO co-cultures.
The enhanced synaptic density onto NMDA receptor-competent neurons in minority coculture with GluN1 -/- neurons represents a cell culture paradigm for studying synaptic competition. Mechanisms involved may include a retrograde ‘reward’ signal generated by WT neurons, although in this paradigm there was no ‘punishment’ signal against GluN1 -/- neurons. Cell culture assays involving such defined circuits may help uncover the rules and mechanisms of activity-dependent synaptic competition in the developing nervous system.
Delineating the mechanisms of survival pathways that exist in neurons will provide important insight into how neurons utilize intracellular proteins as neuroprotectants against the causes of acute neurodegeneration. We have employed cultured rat cerebellar granule cells as a model for determining the mechanisms of these intraneuronal survival pathways. Glutamate has long been known to kill neurons by an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated mechanism. Paradoxically, subtoxic concentrations of NMDA protect neurons against glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity. Because NMDA protects neurons in physiologic concentrations of glucose and oxygen, we refer to this phenomenon as physiologic preconditioning. One of the major mechanisms of NMDA neuroprotection involves the activation of NMDA receptors leading to the rapid release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF then binds to and activates its cognate receptor, receptor tyrosine kinase B (TrkB). The efficient utilization of these two receptors confers remarkable resistance against millimolar concentrations of glutamate that kill more than eighty percent of the neurons in the absence of preconditioning the neurons with a subtoxic concentration of NMDA. Exactly how the neurons mediate neuroprotection by activation of both receptors is just beginning to be understood. Both NMDA and TrkB receptors activate nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB), a transcription factor known to be involved in protecting neurons against many different kinds of toxic insults. By converging on survival transcription factors, such as NF-kB, NMDA and TrkB receptors protect neurons. Thus, crosstalk between these very different receptors provides a rapid means of neuronal communication to upregulate survival proteins through release and transcriptional activation of messenger RNA.
N-methyl-d-aspartate; TrkB; receptor activation; cerebellar granular cells; survival pathways; neurons
► We investigated the involvement of NMDA receptors in synaptic transmission. ► The voltage dependency of EPSPs was target interneuron dependent. ► Postsynaptic NMDA receptors contributed to EPSPs elicited in interneurons studied. ► Blocking NMDA receptors abolished non-conventional voltage dependency. ► Presynaptic NMDA receptors modulate inhibition in pyramidal cells.
To investigate the involvement of N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in local neocortical synaptic transmission, dual whole-cell recordings – combined with biocytin labelling – were obtained from bitufted adapting, multipolar adapting or multipolar non-adapting interneurons and pyramidal cells in layers II–V of rat (postnatal days 17–22) sensorimotor cortex. The voltage dependency of the amplitude of Excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) received by the three types of interneuron appeared to coincide with the interneuron subclass; upon depolarisation, EPSPs received by multipolar non-adapting interneurons either decreased in amplitude or appeared insensitive, multipolar adapting interneuron EPSP amplitudes increased or appeared insensitive, whereas bitufted interneuron EPSP amplitudes increased or decreased. Connections were challenged with the NMDA receptor antagonist d-(−)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (d-AP5) (50 μM) revealing NMDA receptors to contribute to EPSPs received by all cell types, this also abolished the non-conventional voltage dependency. Reciprocal connections were frequent between pyramidal cells and multipolar interneurons, and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) elicited in pyramidal cells by both multipolar adapting and multipolar non-adapting interneurons were sensitive to a significant reduction in amplitude by d-AP5. The involvement of presynaptic NMDA receptors was indicated by coefficient of variation analysis and an increase in the failures of transmission. Furthermore, by loading MK-801 into the pre- or postsynaptic neurons, we observed that a reduction in inhibition requires presynaptic and not postsynaptic NMDA receptors. These results suggest that NMDA receptors possess pre- and postsynaptic roles at selective neocortical synapses that are probably important in governing spike-timing and information flow.
AHP, after-hyperpolarisation; CV−2, inverse square of the coefficient of variation; d-AP5, d-(−)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid; HW, width at half-amplitude; MK-801, (5S,10R)-(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate; PB, phosphate buffer; PPR, paired-pulse ratio; RT, rise time; EPSP; IPSP; interneuron; NMDA; synapse; cortex
In the developing cerebellum, NMDA receptors promote the maturation of axonal terminals of inhibitory interneurons. We compared the effects of AMPA/kainate receptor agonists in cultured cerebellar cells from GAD65-eGFP mice. Both AMPA and kainate augmented granule cell survival without affecting interneurons. The action of kainate was blocked by an AMPA but not by a NMDA receptor antagonist, suggesting AMPA receptor involvement. AMPA and kainate increased the size of the GABAergic terminals and the action of kainate was insensitive to NMDA blockers. Whole cell recordings in granule neurons revealed that chronic treatments for 5 days with kainate as well as NMDA decreased AMPA receptors expression while interneuronal kainate receptors were depressed by kainate treatment. Acute kainate applications increased mIPSCs frequency in both granule neurons and interneurons and this effect was only partially blocked by an AMPA receptor antagonist. In contrast to what was reported for NMDA, chronic treatments with kainate induced a significant decrease of the basal mIPSCs frequency but increased the acute action of kainate on mIPSCs. Direct recordings from presynaptic GABAergic terminals suggest that AMPA and kainate receptors are present in developing GABAergic terminals and their activation affect the size of GABAergic terminals and spontaneous GABA release.
cerebellum; survival; synapses; interneuron; patch-clamp; eGFP
The striatum receives glutamatergic afferents from the cortex and thalamus, and these synaptic transmissions are mediated by α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. The purpose of this study was to characterize glutamate receptors by analyzing NMDA/AMPA ratio and rectification of AMPA and NMDA excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) using a whole-cell voltage-clamp method in the dorsal striatum. Receptor antagonists were used to isolate receptor or subunit specific EPSC, such as (DL)-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV), an NMDA receptor antagonist, ifenprodil, an NR2B antagonist, CNQX, an AMPA receptor antagonist and IEM-1460, a GluR2-lacking AMPA receptor blocker. AMPA and NMDA EPSCs were recorded at -70 and +40 mV, respectively. Rectification index was calculated by current ratio of EPSCs between +50 and -50 mV. NMDA/AMPA ratio was 0.20±0.05, AMPA receptor ratio of GluR2-lacking/GluR2-containing subunit was 0.26±0.05 and NMDA receptor ratio of NR2B/NR2A subunit was 0.32±0.03. The rectification index (control 2.39±0.27) was decreased in the presence of both APV and combination of APV and IEM-1460 (1.02±0.11 and 0.93±0.09, respectively). These results suggest that the major components of the striatal glutamate receptors are GluR2-containing AMPA receptors and NR2A-containing NMDA receptors. Our results may provide useful information for corticostriatal synaptic transmission and plasticity studies.
Striatum; AMPA; Glutamate receptor; NMDA; Patch clamp
In developing cerebellar molecular layer interneurons (MLIs), NMDA increases spontaneous GABA release. This effect had been attributed to either direct activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors (preNMDARs) or an indirect pathway involving activation of somato-dendritic NMDARs followed by passive spread of somatic depolarization along the axon and activation of axonal voltage dependent Ca2+ channels (VDCCs). Using Ca2+ imaging and electrophysiology, we searched for preNMDARs by uncaging NMDAR agonists either broadly throughout the whole field or locally at specific axonal locations. Releasing either NMDA or glutamate in the presence of NBQX using short laser pulses elicited current transients that were highly sensitive to the location of the spot and restricted to a small number of varicosities. The signal was abolished in the presence of high Mg2+ or by the addition of APV. Similar paradigms yielded restricted Ca2+ transients in interneurons loaded with a Ca2+ indicator. We found that the synaptic effects of NMDA were not inhibited by blocking VDCCs but were impaired in the presence of the ryanodine receptor antagonist dantrolene. Furthermore, in voltage clamped cells, bath applied NMDA triggers Ca2+ elevations and induces neurotransmitter release in the axonal compartment. Our results suggest the existence of preNMDARs in developing MLIs and propose their involvement in the NMDA-evoked increase in GABA release by triggering a Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release process mediated by presynaptic Ca2+ stores. Such a mechanism is likely to exert a crucial role in various forms of Ca2+-mediated synaptic plasticity.
In the prefrontal cortex, N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors are critical not only for normal prefrontal functions but also for the pathological processes of schizophrenia. Little is known, however, about the developmental properties of NMDA receptors in the functionally diverse subpopulations of interneurons. We investigated the developmental changes of NMDA receptors in rat prefrontal interneurons using patch clamp recording in cortical slices. We found that fast-spiking (FS) interneurons exhibited properties of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and NMDA currents distinct from those in regular spiking (RS) and low-threshold spiking (LTS) interneurons, particularly during the adolescent period. In juvenile animals, most (73%) of the FS cells demonstrated both AMPA and NMDA currents. The NMDA currents, however, gradually became undetectable during cortical development, with most (74%) of the FS cells exhibiting no NMDA current in adults. In contrast, AMPA and NMDA currents in RS and LTS interneurons were relatively stable, without significant changes from juveniles to adults. Moreover, even in FS cells with NMDA currents, the NMDA/AMPA ratio dramatically decreased during the adolescent period but returned to juvenile level in adults, compared to the relatively stable ratios in RS and LTS interneurons. These data suggest that FS interneurons in the PFC undergo dramatic changes in glutamatergic receptors during the adolescent period. These properties may make FS cells particularly sensitive and vulnerable to epigenetic stimulation, thus contributing to the onset of many psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.
cerebral cortex; GABAergic interneurons; glutamatergic receptors; psychiatric disorders; schizophrenia
The role of NMDA and non-NMDA glutamate receptors in long-term potentiation has been intensely investigated, yet recent evidence on the dynamics of synaptic depolarization suggests that the original view should be extended. NMDA receptor-mediated currents, apart from their Ca2+
permeability, show a marked voltage dependence, consisting of current increase and slowdown during membrane depolarization. During highfrequency synaptic transmission, NMDA current increase and slowdown are primed by non-NMDA receptor-dependent depolarization and proceed regeneratively. Thus, NMDA receptors make a decisive contribution to membrane depolarization and spike-firing. From the data obtained at the mossy fiber- granule cell synapse of the cerebellum, we propose that the electrogenic role of NMDA receptors is functional to LTP induction. Moreover, during LTP, both NMDA and non- NMDA receptor currents are potentiated, thus establishing a feed-forward mechanism that ultimately enhances spike firing. Thus, NMDA receptors exert an integrated control on signal coding and plasticity. This mechanism may have important implications for information processing at the cerebellar mossy fibergranule cell relay.
Research on the actions of ethanol at the GABAergic synapse has traditionally focused on postsynaptic mechanisms, but recent data demonstrate that ethanol also increases both evoked and spontaneous GABA release in many brain regions. Using whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings, we previously showed that ethanol increases spontaneous GABA release at the rat interneuron-Purkinje cell synapse. This presynaptic ethanol effect is dependent on calcium release from internal stores, possibly through activation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs). After confirming that ethanol targets vesicular GABA release, in the present study we used electron microscopic immunohistochemistry to demonstrate that IP3Rs are located in presynaptic terminals of cerebellar interneurons. Activation of IP3Rs requires binding of IP3, generated through activation of phospholipase C (PLC). We find that the PLC antagonist edelfosine prevents ethanol from increasing spontaneous GABA release. Diacylglycerol generated by PLC and calcium released by activation of the IP3R activate protein kinase C (PKC). Ethanol-enhanced GABA release was blocked by two PKC antagonists, chelerythrine and calphostin C. When a membrane impermeable PKC antagonist, PKC (19-36), was delivered intracellularly to the postsynaptic neuron, ethanol continued to increase spontaneous GABA release. Overall, these results suggest that activation of the PLC/IP3R/PKC pathway is necessary for ethanol to increase spontaneous GABA release from presynaptic terminals onto Purkinje cells.
ethanol; γ-aminobutyric acid; miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents; phospholipase C; protein kinase C; inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors
Excess glutamate release and stimulation of post-synaptic glutamatergic receptors have been implicated in the pathophysiology of many neurological diseases. The hippocampus, and the pyramidal cell layer of the cornu ammonus 1 (CA1) region in particular, has been noted for its selective sensitivity to excitotoxic insults. The current studies examined the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit composition and sensitivity to stimulatory effects of the polyamine spermidine, an allosteric modulator of NMDA NR2 subunit activity, in hippocampal CA1 region sensitivity to excitotoxic insult. Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures of 8 day-old neonatal rat were obtained and maintained in vitro for 5 days. At this time, immunohistochemical analysis of mature neuron density (NeuN); microtubule associated protein-2(a,b) density (MAP-2); and NMDA receptor NR1 and NR2B subunit density in the primary cell layers of the dentate gyrus (DG), CA3, and CA1 regions, was conducted. Further, autoradiographic analysis of NMDA receptor distribution and density (i.e. [125I]MK-801 binding) and spermidine (100 μM)-potentiated [125I]MK-801 binding in the primary cell layers of these regions was examined. A final series of studies examined effects of prolonged exposure to NMDA (0.1–10 μM) on neurodegeneration in the primary cell layers of the DG, CA3, and CA1 regions, in the absence and presence of spermidine (100 μM) or ifenprodil (100 μM), an allosteric inhibitor of NR2B polypeptide subunit activity. The pyramidal cell layer of the CA1 region demonstrated significantly greater density of mature neurons, MAP-2, NR1 and NR2B subunits, and [125I]MK-801 binding than the CA3 region or DG. Twenty-four hour NMDA (10 μM) exposure produced marked neurodegeneration (~350% of control cultures) in the CA1 pyramidal cell region that was significantly reduced by co-exposure to ifenprodil or APV. The addition of spermidine significantly potentiated [125I]MK-801 binding and neurodegeneration induced by exposure to a non-toxic concentration of NMDA, exclusively in the CA1 region. This neurodegeneration was markedly reduced with co-exposure to ifenprodil. These data suggest that selective sensitivity of the CA1 region to excitotoxic stimuli may be attributable to the density of mature neurons expressing polyamine-sensitive NR2B polypeptide subunits.
glutamate; calcium; head injury; amino acid; spermidine
It is believed that gene/environment interaction (GEI) plays a pivotal role in the development of motor skills, which are acquired via practicing or motor training. However, the underlying molecular/neuronal mechanisms are still unclear. Here, we reported that the expression of NR2B, a subunit of NMDA receptors, in cerebellar granule cells specifically enhanced the effect of voluntary motor training on motor learning in the mouse. Moreover, this effect was characterized as motor learning-specific and developmental stage-dependent, because neither emotional/spatial memory was affected nor was the enhanced motor learning observed when the motor training was conducted starting at the age of 3 months old in these transgenic mice. These results indicate that changes in the expression of gene(s) that are involved in regulating synaptic plasticity in cerebellar granule cells may constitute a molecular basis for the cerebellum to be involved in the GEI by facilitating motor skill learning.
Several lines of evidence suggest that the modulation of presynaptic GABA release is mediated by a variety of receptors including; presynaptic AMPA, cannabinoid, GABAB, kainate, metabotropic glutamate, NMDA, and opioid receptors. The evidence supporting presynaptic modulation of inhibition is predominantly obtained from studying stimulus elicited, spontaneous or miniature synaptic events, where the information regarding the identity of the presynaptic cell is lost. This article summarises these findings then focuses on another approach to study the presynaptic modulation of GABA release by comparing the modulation of GABA release at unitary synapses identified morphologically, immunocytochemically and electrophysiologically. To date, evidence for cell-type specific regulation of presynaptic inhibition at identified synapses involving most of the above presynaptic receptors does not exist. Therefore, the key presynaptic modulators that will be focused on here are kainate and cannabinoid receptors and their intracellular signalling cascades that orchestrate GABA release. There will be some discussion on presynaptic modulation via opioid receptors at identified synapses. This review provides evidence to suggest a cell-type specific modulation of presynaptic inhibition in cortical regions.
Presynaptic; inhibition; cortical; GABAA; cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1); kainate receptors; mGluRs; depolarisation induced suppression of inhibition (DSI).
NMDA spikes are prominent in the basal dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons and greatly expand their ability to integrate synaptic inputs. Calcium (Ca) signals during these spikes are important for synaptic plasticity and fundamentally depend on activation of NMDA receptors. However, the factors that shape the activation of these receptors and the initiation of NMDA spikes remain unclear. Here we examine the properties of NMDA spikes in the basal dendrites of layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the mouse prefrontal cortex. Using two-photon imaging, we demonstrate that NMDA spikes evoke large Ca signals in both postsynaptic spines and nearby dendrites. We find that the dendrite Ca signals depend on NMDA and AMPA receptors but not sodium (Na) or Ca channels. Using voltage-clamp recordings, we show that activation of dendrite NMDA receptors is enhanced by concerted synaptic activity. Blocking glutamate re-uptake further increases activation of these receptors and promotes the initiation of NMDA spikes. We conclude that glutamate spillover and recruitment of extra-synaptic receptors contribute to the initiation of NMDA spikes. These results have important implications for how synaptic activity generates both electrical and biochemical signals in dendrites and spines.
NMDA receptor; NMDA spike; glutamate spillover; prefrontal cortex; pyramidal neuron; dendrite; spine; two-photon microscopy
Recent evidence suggests that presynaptic-acting NMDA receptors (preNMDARs) are important for neocortical synaptic transmission and plasticity. We found that unique properties of the Nr3a subunit enable preNMDARs to enhance spontaneous and evoked glutamate release and that Nr3a is required for spike timing–dependent long-term depression in the juvenile mouse visual cortex. In the mature cortex, Nr2b-containing preNMDARs enhanced neurotransmission in the absence of magnesium, indicating that presynaptic NMDARs may function under depolarizing conditions throughout life. Our findings indicate that Nr3a relieves preNMDARs from the dual-activation requirement of ligand-binding and depolarization; the developmental removal of Nr3a limits preNMDAR functionality by restoring this associative property.
We used multipotent stem cells (MSCs) derived from the young rat subventricular zone (SVZ) to study the effects of glutamate in oligodendrocyte maturation. Glutamate stimulated oligodendrocyte differentiation from SVZ-derived MSCs through the activation of specific N-methyl--aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunits. The effect of glutamate and NMDA on oligodendrocyte differentiation was evident in both the number of newly generated oligodendrocytes and their morphology. In addition, the levels of NMDAR1 and NMDAR2A protein increased during differentiation, whereas NMDAR2B and NMDAR3 protein levels decreased, suggesting differential expression of NMDA receptor subunits during maturation. Microfluorimetry showed that the activation of NMDA receptors during oligodendrocyte differentiation elevated cytosolic calcium levels and promoted myelination in cocultures with neurons. Moreover, we observed that stimulation of MSCs by NMDA receptors induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which were negatively modulated by the NADPH inhibitor apocynin, and that the levels of ROS correlated with the degree of differentiation. Taken together, these findings suggest that ROS generated by NADPH oxidase by the activation of NMDA receptors promotes the maturation of oligodendrocytes and favors myelination.
adult multipotent stem cells; oligodendrocyte differentiation; myelination; NADPH oxidase
Changes in synaptic strength mediated by ionotropic glutamate N-methyl-d-asparate (NMDA) receptors is generally considered to be the molecular mechanism underlying memory and learning. NMDA receptors themselves are subject to regulation through signaling pathways that are activated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In this study we investigate the ability of NMDA receptors to regulate the signaling of GPCRs by focusing on the Gq/11-coupled M3-muscarinic receptor expressed endogenously in mouse cerebellar granule neurons. We show that NMDA receptor activation results in the phosphorylation and desensitization of M3-muscarinic receptors through a mechanism dependent on NMDA-mediated calcium influx and the activity of calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. Our study reveals a complex pattern of regulation where GPCRs (M3-muscarinic) and NMDA receptors can feedback on each other in a process that is likely to influence the threshold value of signaling networks involved in synaptic plasticity.