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2.  Recurrent synapses and circuits in the CA3 region of the hippocampus: an associative network 
In the CA3 region of the hippocampus, pyramidal cells excite other pyramidal cells and interneurons. The axons of CA3 pyramidal cells spread throughout most of the region to form an associative network. These connections were first drawn by Cajal and Lorente de No. Their physiological properties were explored to understand epileptiform discharges generated in the region. Synapses between pairs of pyramidal cells involve one or few release sites and are weaker than connections made by mossy fibers on CA3 pyramidal cells. Synapses with interneurons are rather effective, as needed to control unchecked excitation. We examine contributions of recurrent synapses to epileptiform synchrony, to the genesis of sharp waves in the CA3 region and to population oscillations at theta and gamma frequencies. Recurrent connections in CA3, as other associative cortices, have a lower connectivity spread over a larger area than in primary sensory cortices. This sparse, but wide-ranging connectivity serves the functions of an associative network, including acquisition of neuronal representations as activity in groups of CA3 cells and completion involving the recall from partial cues of these ensemble firing patterns.
PMCID: PMC3884140  PMID: 24409118
CA3; recurrent; synapse; circuit; hippocampus; associative
3.  A candidate mechanism underlying the variance of interictal spike propagation 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(9):3009-3021.
Synchronous activation of neural networks is an important physiological mechanism, and dysregulation of synchrony forms the basis of epilepsy. We analyzed the propagation of synchronous activity through chronically epileptic neural networks. Electrocortigraphic recordings from epileptic patients demonstrate remarkable variance in the pathways of propagation between sequential interictal spikes (IIS). Calcium imaging in chronically epileptic slice cultures demonstrates that pathway variance depends on the presence of GABAergic inhibition and that spike propagation becomes stereotyped following GABA-R blockade. Computer modeling suggests that GABAergic quenching of local network activations leaves behind regions of refractory neurons, whose late recruitment forms the anatomical basis of variability during subsequent network activation. Targeted path scanning of slice cultures confirmed local activations, while ex vivo recordings of human epileptic tissue confirmed the dependence of interspike variance on GABA-mediated inhibition. These data support the hypothesis that the paths by which synchronous activity spread through an epileptic network change with each activation, based on the recent history of localized activity that has been successfully inhibited.
PMCID: PMC3319688  PMID: 22378874
4.  Glutathione S-transferase omega genes in Alzheimer and Parkinson disease risk, age-at-diagnosis and brain gene expression: an association study with mechanistic implications 
Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 and 2 genes (GSTO1, GSTO2), residing within an Alzheimer and Parkinson disease (AD and PD) linkage region, have diverse functions including mitigation of oxidative stress and may underlie the pathophysiology of both diseases. GSTO polymorphisms were previously reported to associate with risk and age-at-onset of these diseases, although inconsistent follow-up study designs make interpretation of results difficult. We assessed two previously reported SNPs, GSTO1 rs4925 and GSTO2 rs156697, in AD (3,493 ADs vs. 4,617 controls) and PD (678 PDs vs. 712 controls) for association with disease risk (case-controls), age-at-diagnosis (cases) and brain gene expression levels (autopsied subjects).
We found that rs156697 minor allele associates with significantly increased risk (odds ratio = 1.14, p = 0.038) in the older ADs with age-at-diagnosis > 80 years. The minor allele of GSTO1 rs4925 associates with decreased risk in familial PD (odds ratio = 0.78, p = 0.034). There was no other association with disease risk or age-at-diagnosis. The minor alleles of both GSTO SNPs associate with lower brain levels of GSTO2 (p = 4.7 × 10-11-1.9 × 10-27), but not GSTO1. Pathway analysis of significant genes in our brain expression GWAS, identified significant enrichment for glutathione metabolism genes (p = 0.003).
These results suggest that GSTO locus variants may lower brain GSTO2 levels and consequently confer AD risk in older age. Other glutathione metabolism genes should be assessed for their effects on AD and other chronic, neurologic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3393625  PMID: 22494505
GSTO genes; Disease risk; Gene expression; Association
5.  Association of common KIBRA variants with episodic memory and AD risk 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;32(3):557.e1-557.e9.
KIBRA SNP rs17070145 was identified in a GWAS of memory performance, with some but not all follow-up studies confirming association of its T allele with enhanced memory. This allele was associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in one study, which also found overexpression of KIBRA in memory-related brain regions of ADs. We genotyped rs17070145 and 14 additional SNPs in 2571 LOADs vs. 2842 controls, including African-Americans. We found significantly reduced risk for rs17070145 T allele in the older African-American subjects (p=0.007) and a suggestive effect in the older Caucasian series. Meta-analysis of this allele in >8000 subjects from our and published series showed a suggestive protective effect (p=0.07). Analysis of episodic memory in control subjects did not identify associations with rs17070145, though other SNPs showed significant associations in one series. KIBRA showed evidence of overexpression in the AD temporal cortex (p=0.06) but not cerebellum. These results suggest a modest role for KIBRA as a cognition and AD risk gene, and also highlight the multifactorial complexity of its genetic associations.
PMCID: PMC3065956  PMID: 21185624
Alzheimer's disease; Association studies in genetics; Case control studies
6.  Developmental regulation of CB1-mediated spike-time dependent depression at immature mossy fiber-CA3 synapses 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:285.
Early in postnatal life, mossy fibres (MF), the axons of granule cells in the dentate gyrus, release GABA which is depolarizing and excitatory. Synaptic currents undergo spike-time dependent long-term depression (STD-LTD) regardless of the temporal order of stimulation (pre versus post and viceversa). Here we show that at P3 but not at P21, STD-LTD, induced by negative pairing, is mediated by endocannabinoids mobilized from the postsynaptic cell during spiking-induced membrane depolarization. By diffusing backward, endocannabinoids activate cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptors probably expressed on MF. Thus, STD-LTD was prevented by CB1 receptor antagonists and was absent in CB1-KO mice. Consistent with these data, in situ hybridization experiments revealed detectable level of CB1 mRNA in the granule cell layer at P3 but not at P21. These results indicate that CB1 receptors are transiently expressed on immature MF terminals where they counteract the enhanced neuronal excitability induced by the excitatory action of GABA.
PMCID: PMC3285903  PMID: 22368777
7.  Electroclinical characterization of epileptic seizures in leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1-deficient mice 
Brain  2010;133(9):2749-2762.
Mutations of the LGI1 (leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1) gene underlie autosomal dominant lateral temporal lobe epilepsy, a focal idiopathic inherited epilepsy syndrome. The LGI1 gene encodes a protein secreted by neurons, one of the only non-ion channel genes implicated in idiopathic familial epilepsy. While mutations probably result in a loss of function, the role of LGI1 in the pathophysiology of epilepsy remains unclear. Here we generated a germline knockout mouse for LGI1 and examined spontaneous seizure characteristics, changes in threshold for induced seizures and hippocampal pathology. Frequent spontaneous seizures emerged in homozygous LGI1−/− mice during the second postnatal week. Properties of these spontaneous events were examined in a simultaneous video and intracranial electroencephalographic recording. Their mean duration was 120 ± 12 s, and behavioural correlates consisted of an initial immobility, automatisms, sometimes followed by wild running and tonic and/or clonic movements. Electroencephalographic monitoring indicated that seizures originated earlier in the hippocampus than in the cortex. LGI1−/− mice did not survive beyond postnatal day 20, probably due to seizures and failure to feed. While no major developmental abnormalities were observed, after recurrent seizures we detected neuronal loss, mossy fibre sprouting, astrocyte reactivity and granule cell dispersion in the hippocampus of LGI1−/− mice. In contrast, heterozygous LGI1+/− littermates displayed no spontaneous behavioural epileptic seizures, but auditory stimuli induced seizures at a lower threshold, reflecting the human pathology of sound-triggered seizures in some patients. We conclude that LGI1+/− and LGI1−/− mice may provide useful models for lateral temporal lobe epilepsy, and more generally idiopathic focal epilepsy.
PMCID: PMC2929330  PMID: 20659958
autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy; temporal lobe epilepsy; audiogenic; monogenic
8.  Epilepsy in Dcx Knockout Mice Associated with Discrete Lamination Defects and Enhanced Excitability in the Hippocampus 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2473.
Patients with Doublecortin (DCX) mutations have severe cortical malformations associated with mental retardation and epilepsy. Dcx knockout (KO) mice show no major isocortical abnormalities, but have discrete hippocampal defects. We questioned the functional consequences of these defects and report here that Dcx KO mice are hyperactive and exhibit spontaneous convulsive seizures. Changes in neuropeptide Y and calbindin expression, consistent with seizure occurrence, were detected in a large proportion of KO animals, and convulsants, including kainate and pentylenetetrazole, also induced seizures more readily in KO mice. We show that the dysplastic CA3 region in KO hippocampal slices generates sharp wave-like activities and possesses a lower threshold for epileptiform events. Video-EEG monitoring also demonstrated that spontaneous seizures were initiated in the hippocampus. Similarly, seizures in human patients mutated for DCX can show a primary involvement of the temporal lobe. In conclusion, seizures in Dcx KO mice are likely to be due to abnormal synaptic transmission involving heterotopic cells in the hippocampus and these mice may therefore provide a useful model to further study how lamination defects underlie the genesis of epileptiform activities.
PMCID: PMC2429962  PMID: 18575605

Results 1-8 (8)