The strength of synaptic connections in the brain varies with activity and this plasticity depends on remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton in dendritic spines. Critical to this are the Rho family GTPases, whose activity is controlled by various modulatory proteins including the Rho GEF, Lfc. In cultured neurons and non-neuronal cells, Lfc has been shown to both bind to microtubules and to regulate the actin cytoskeleton. Significantly, Lfc was found to be concentrated in the dendritic shafts of cultured hippocampal neurons under control conditions but then translocated into spines when neural activity was stimulated. In this study, we used immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy to examine activity dependent changes in the distribution of Lfc in the neuropil of monkey prefrontal cortex. We found that while Lfc was concentrated in dendrites, it also had a complex distribution in the neuropil, including being present in spines, axons, terminals and glial processes. Moreover, Lfc distribution varied in different layers of cortex. Using an in vitro slice preparation of monkey prefrontal cortex, we demonstrated an activity dependent translocation of Lfc from dendritic shafts to spines. The results of this study support a role for Lfc in activity-dependent spine plasticity and demonstrate the feasibility of studying activity dependent changes in protein localization in tissue slices.
dendritic spines; neuronal plasticity; actin; ultrastructure; immunoelectron microscopy; in vitro; electrophysiology
The digenetic trematode Schistosoma mansoni that causes the form of schistosomiasis found in the Western Hemisphere requires the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata as its primary intermediate host. It has been proposed that the transition from the free-living S. mansoni miracidium to parasitic mother sporocyst depends on uptake of biogenic amines, e.g. serotonin, from the snail host. However, little is known about potential sources of serotonin in B. glabrata tissues. This investigation examined the localization of serotonin-like immunoreactivity (5HTli) in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral tissues of B. glabrata. Emphasis was placed on the cephalic and anterior pedal regions that are commonly the sites of S. mansoni miracidium penetration. The anterior foot and body wall were densely innervated by 5HTli fibers but no peripheral immunoreactive neuronal somata were detected. Within the CNS, clusters of 5HTli neurons were observed in the cerebral, pedal, left parietal, and visceral ganglia, suggesting that the peripheral serotonergic fibers originate from the CNS. Double-labeling experiments (biocytin backfill × serotonin immunoreactivity) of the tentacular nerve and the three major pedal nerves (Pd n. 10, Pd n. 11, and Pd n. 12) disclosed central neurons that project to the cephalopedal periphery. Overall, the central distribution of 5HTli neurons suggests that, as in other gastropods, serotonin regulates the locomotion, reproductive, and feeding systems of Biomphalaria. The projections to the foot and body wall indicate that serotonin may also participate in defensive, nociceptive, or inflammation responses. These observations identify potential sources of host-derived serotonin in this parasite-host system.
Schistosoma mansoni; pulmonate mollusk; pond snail; miracidium
The lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTL) is involved in mediating anxiety-related behaviors to sustained aversive stimuli. The BSTL forms part of the central extended amygdala, a continuum composed of the BSTL, the amygdala central nucleus, and cell columns running between the two. The central subdivision (BSTLcn), and the juxtacapsular subdivision (BSTLJ) are two BSTL regions that lie above the anterior commissure, near the ventral striatum. The amygdala, a heterogeneous structure that encodes emotional salience, projects to both the BSTL and ventral striatum. We placed small injections of retrograde tracers into the BSTL, focusing on the BSTLcn and BSTLJ, and analyzed the distribution of labeled cells in amygdala subregions. We compared this to the pattern of labeled cells following injections into the ventral striatum. All retrograde results were confirmed by anterograde studies. We found that the BSTLcn receives stronger amygdala inputs relative to the BSTLJ. Furthermore, the BSTLcn is defined by inputs from the corticoamygdaloid transition area and central nucleus, while the BSTLJ receives inputs mainly from the magnocellular accessory basal and basal nucleus. In the ventral striatum, the dorsomedial shell receives inputs that are similar, but not identical, to inputs to the BSTLcn. In contrast, amygdala projections to the ventral shell/core are similar to projections to the BSTLJ. These findings indicate that the BSTLcn and BSTLJ receive distinct amygdala afferent inputs and that the dorsomedial shell is a transition zone with the BSTLcn, while the ventral shell/core are transition zones with the BSTLJ.
extended amygdala; corticoamygdaloid transition region; juxtacapsular; oval; amygdalopiriform transition area; dorsomedial shell; anxiety
The neural crest is a population of mesenchymal cells that after migrating from the neural tube give rise to a structures and cell-types: jaw, part of the peripheral ganglia and melanocytes. Although much is known about neural crest development in jawed vertebrates, a clear picture of trunk neural crest development for elasmobranchs is yet to be developed. Here we present a detailed study of trunk neural crest development in the bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum. Vital labeling with DiI and in situ hybridization using cloned Sox8 and Sox9 probes demonstrated that trunk neural crest cells follow a pattern similar to the migratory paths already described in zebrafish and amphibians. We found shark trunk neural crest along the rostral side of the somites, the ventromedial pathway, branchial arches, gut, sensory ganglia and nerves. Interestingly, Chiloscyllium punctatum Sox8 and Sox9 sequences aligned with vertebrate SoxE genes, but appeared to be more ancient than the corresponding vertebrate paralogs. The expression of these two SoxE genes in trunk neural crest cells, especially Sox9, matched the Sox10 migratory patterns observed in teleosts. Interestingly, we observed DiI cells and Sox9 labeling along the lateral line, suggesting that in C. punctatum, glial cells in the lateral line are likely of neural crest origin. Though this has been observed in other vertebrates, we are the first to show that the pattern is present in cartilaginous fishes. These findings demonstrate that trunk neural crest cell development in Chiloscyllium punctatum follows the same highly conserved migratory pattern observed in jawed vertebrates
shark embryo; sox8; sox9; neural crest; Chiloscyllium punctatum
Despite its anatomical prominence, the function of primate pulvinar is poorly understood. A few electrophysiological studies in simian primates have investigated the functional organization of pulvinar by examining visuotopic maps. Multiple visuotopic maps have been found in all studied simians, with differences in organization reported between New and Old World simians. Given that prosimians are considered closer to the common ancestors of New and Old World primates, we investigated the visuotopic organization of pulvinar in the prosimian bush baby (Otolemur garnettii). Single electrode extracellular recording was used to find the retinotopic maps in the lateral (PL) and inferior (PI) pulvinar. Based on recordings across cases a 3D model of the map was constructed. From sections stained for Nissl bodies, myelin, acetylcholinesterase, calbindin or cytochrome oxidase, we identified three PI chemoarchitectonic subdivisions, lateral central (PIcl), medial central (PIcm) and medial (PIm) inferior pulvinar. Two major retinotopic maps were identified that cover PL and PIcl, the dorsal one in dorsal PL and the ventral one in PIcl and ventral PL. Both maps represent the central vision at the posterior end of the border between the maps, the upper visual field in the lateral half and the lower visual field in the medial half. They share many features with the maps reported in the pulvinar of simians, including location in pulvinar and the representation of the upper-lower and central-peripheral visual field axes. The second order representation in the lateral map and a laminar organization are likely features specific to Old World simians.
electrophysiology; greater galago; chemoarchitecture; single unit; thalamus; vision
The major regulators of synaptic glutamate in the cerebral cortex are the excitatory amino acid transporters 1–3 (EAAT1–3). In this study, we determined the cellular and temporal expression of EAAT1–3 in the developing human cerebral cortex. We applied single- and double-label immunocytochemistry to normative frontal or parietal (associative) cortex samples from 14 cases ranging in age from 23 gestational weeks to 2.5 postnatal years. The most striking finding was the transient expression of EAAT2 in layer V pyramidal neuronal cell bodies up until 8 postnatal months prior to its expression in protoplasmic astrocytes at 41 postconceptional weeks onward. EAAT2 was also expressed in neurons in layer I (presumed Cajal-Retzius cells), and white matter (interstitial) neurons. This expression in neurons in the developing human cortex contrasts with findings by others of transient expression exclusively in axon tracts in the developing sheep and rodent brain. With western blotting, we found that EAAT2 was expressed as a single band until two postnatal months after which it was expressed as two bands. The expression of EAAT2 in pyramidal neurons during human brain development may contribute to cortical vulnerability to excitotoxicity during the critical period for perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. In addition, by studying the expression of EAAT1 and EAAT2 glutamate transporters it was possible to document the development of protoplasmic astrocytes.
Cajal-Retzius cell; ischemia; periventricular leukomalacia; prematurity; pyramidal; subplate; cerebral palsy
Two neurogenic regions have been described in the adult brain, the lateral ventricle subventricular zone and the dentate gyrus subgranular zone. It has been suggested that neural stem cells also line the central canal of the adult spinal cord. Using transmission and scanning electron microscopy and immunostaining, we describe here the organization and cell types of the central canal epithelium in adult mice. The identity of dividing cells was determined by three-dimensional ultrastructural reconstructions of [3H]thymidine-labeled cells and confocal analysis of bromodeoxyuridine labeling. The most common cell type lining the central canal had two long motile (9+2) cilia and was vimentin+, CD24+, FoxJ1+, Sox2+ and CD133+, but nestin- and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-. These biciliated ependymal cells of the central canal (Ecc) resembled E2 cells of the lateral ventricles, but their basal bodies were different from that of E2 or E1 cells. Interestingly, we frequently found Ecc cells with two nuclei and four cilia, suggesting they are formed by incomplete cytokinesis or cell fusion. GFAP+ astrocytes with a single cilium and an orthogonally oriented centriole were also observed. The majority of dividing cells corresponded to biciliated Ecc cells. Central canal proliferation was most common during the active period of spinal cord growth. Pairs of labeled Ecc cells were observed within the central canal in adult mice 2.5 weeks post-labeling. Our work suggests that the vast majority of postnatal dividing cells in the central canal are Ecc cells and their proliferation is associated with the growth of the spinal cord.
central canal; ultrastructure; ependyma; cilia
Brain injury affecting the frontal motor cortex or its descending axons often causes contralateral upper extremity paresis. Although recovery is variable, the underlying mechanisms supporting favorable motor recovery remain unclear. Since the medial wall of the cerebral hemisphere is often spared following brain injury and recent functional neuroimaging studies in patients indicate a potential role for this brain region in the recovery process, we investigated the long-term effects of isolated lateral frontal motor cortical injury on the corticospinal projection (CSP) from intact, ipsilesional supplementary motor cortex (M2). Following injury to the arm region of the primary motor (M1) and lateral premotor (LPMC) cortices, upper extremity recovery is accompanied by terminal axon plasticity in the contralateral CSP but not the ipsilateral CSP from M2. Furthermore, significant contralateral plasticity occurs only in lamina VII and dorsally within lamina IX. Thus, selective intraspinal sprouting transpires in regions containing interneurons, flexor-related motor neurons and motor neurons supplying intrinsic hand muscles which all play important roles in mediating reaching and digit movements. Following recovery, subsequent injury of M2 leads to reemergence of hand motor deficits. Considering the importance of the CSP in humans and the common occurrence of lateral frontal cortex injury, these findings suggest that spared supplementary motor cortex may serve as an important therapeutic target that should be considered when designing acute and long-term post-injury patient intervention strategies aimed to enhance the motor recovery process following lateral cortical trauma.
Pyramidal Tract; Frontal Lobe; Corticofugal; Neurosurgical Resection; Plasticity; Spinal Cord
Filamin A (FLNa) is an actin-binding protein that regulates cell motility, adhesion, and elasticity by cross-linking filamentous actin. Additional roles of FLNa include regulation of protein trafficking and surface expression. Although the functions of FLNa during brain development are well studied, little is known on its expression, distribution, and function in the adult brain. Here we characterize in detail the neuroanatomical distribution and subcellular localization of FLNa in the mature rat brain, by using two antisera directed against epitopes at either the N′ or the C′ terminus of the protein, further validated by mRNA expression. FLNa was widely and selectively expressed throughout the brain, and the intensity of immunoreactivity was region dependent. The most intensely FLNa-labeled neurons were found in discrete neuronal systems, including basal forebrain structures, anterior nuclear group of thalamus, and hypothalamic parvocellular neurons. Pyramidal neurons in neocortex and hippocampus and magnocellular cells in basolateral amygdaloid nucleus were also intensely FLNa immunoreactive, and strong FLNa labeling was evident in the pontine and medullary raphe nuclei and in sensory and spinal trigeminal nuclei. The subcellular localization of FLNa was evaluated in situ as well as in primary hippocampal neurons. Punctate expression was found in somata and along the dendritic shaft, but FLNa was not detected in dendritic spines. These subcellular distribution patterns were recapitulated in hippocampal and neocortical pyramidal neurons in vivo. The characterization of the expression and subcellular localization of FLNa may provide new clues to the functional roles of this cytoskeletal protein in the adult brain.
FLNa; ABP-280; dendrite; immunocytochemistry; rodent
In daylight vision, parallel processing starts at the cone synapse. Cone signals flow to On and Off bipolar cells, which are further divided into types according to morphology, immunocytochemistry, and function. The axons of the bipolar cell types stratify at different levels in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), and can interact with costratifying amacrine and ganglion cells. These interactions endow the ganglion cell types with unique functional properties. The wiring that underlies the interactions between bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells is poorly understood. It may be easier to elucidate this wiring if organizational rules can be established. We identify 13 types of cone bipolar cells in the ground squirrel, 11 of which contact contiguous cones with the possible exception of short-wavelength sensitive cones. Cells were identified by antibody labeling, tracer filling, and Golgi-like filling following transduction with an adeno-associated virus encoding for GFP. The 11 bipolar cell types displayed two organizational patterns. In the first pattern, 8-10 of the 11 types came in pairs with partially overlapping axonal stratification. Pairs shared morphological, immunocytochemical, and functional properties. The existence of similar pairs is a new motif that may have implications for how signals first diverge from a cone to bipolar cells, and then re-converge onto a costratifying ganglion cell. The second pattern is a mirror symmetric organization about the middle of the IPL involving at least 7 bipolar cell types. This anatomical symmetry may be associated with a functional symmetry in On and Off ganglion cell responses.
ground squirrel; adeno-associated virus; inner plexiform layer; retina
The medial parietal, posterior cingulate and retrospenial cortices collectively constitute a region of cortex referred to as the posteromedial cortices (PMC). In an effort to shed light on the neuroanatomical organization of the PMC, we undertook a study to identify and analyze the thalamocortical connections of these cortices. Retrograde tracer injections were placed in the posterior cingulate (PCC), retrosplenial (RSC), medial parietal cortices (MPC) and posterior cingulate sulcus (PCS), and the labeling patterns within the thalamus were analyzed. Three afferent projection patterns were observed to the PMC from the thalamus: a PCC/RSC pattern that involved the anterior thalamic nuclei, a MPC pattern that involved the lateral posterior and pulvinar nuclei and a PCS pattern that involved the ventral thalamic nuclei. Additionally, a shared pattern of projections from the anterior intralaminar nuclei (AILN) and posterior thalamic nuclei (PTN) to all cortical regions of the PMC was observed. Our findings suggest that distinct regions within the PMC are supplied by distinctive patterns of thalamic input, but also share common projections from intralaminar and posterior thalamic sources. In addition, we relate our findings to functional abnormalities in aging and dementia, and address a domain-like pattern of thalamocortical labeling of the PMC that is drawn selectively and collectively from multiple thalamic nuclei.
thalamus; medial parietal cortex; posterior cingulate cortex; retrosplenial cortex; precuneus; neuroanatomy
Identification of two markers of neurons in the pre- Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC), the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) and somatostatin (Sst) peptide, has been of great utility in understanding the essential role of the pre-BötC in breathing. Recently, the transcription factor dbx1 was identified as a critical, but transient, determinant of glutamatergic pre-BötC neurons. Here, to identify additional markers, we constructed and screened a single-cell subtractive cDNA library from pre-BötC inspiratory neurons. We identified the glycoprotein reelin as a potentially useful marker, because it is expressed in distinct populations of pre-BötC and inspiratory bulbospinal ventral respiratory group (ibsVRG) neurons. Reelin ibsVRG neurons were larger (27.1 ± 3.8 µm in diameter) and located more caudally (>12.8 mm caudal to Bregma) than reelin pre-BötC neurons (15.5 ± 2.4 µm in diameter, <12.8 mm rostral to Bregma). Pre-BötC reelin neurons coexpress NK1R and Sst. Reelin neurons were also found in the parahypoglossal and dorsal parafacial regions, pontine respiratory group, and ventromedial medulla. Reelin-deficient (Reeler) mice exhibited impaired respones to hypoxia compared with littermate controls. We suggest that reelin is a useful molecular marker for pre-BötC neurons in adult rodents and may play a functional role in pre- BötC microcircuits.
breathing; hypoxia; reelin; Ahi1; latexin; PRMC1
Estrogens play a salient role in the development and maintenance of both male and female nervous systems and behaviors. The plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus), a teleost fish, has two male reproductive morphs that follow alternative mating tactics and diverge in multiple somatic, hormonal and neural traits, including the central control of morph-specific vocal behaviors. After we identified duplicate estrogen receptors (ERβ1 and ERβ2) in midshipman, we developed antibodies to localize protein expression in the central vocal-acoustic networks and saccule, the auditory division of the inner ear. As in other teleost species, ERβ1 and ERβ2 were robustly expressed in the telencephalon and hypothalamus in vocal-acoustic and other brain regions shown previously to exhibit strong expression of ERα and aromatase (estrogen synthetase, CYP19) in midshipman. Like aromatase, ERβ1 label co-localized with glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in telencephalic radial glial cells. Quantitative PCR revealed similar patterns of transcript abundance across reproductive morphs for ERβ1, ERβ2, ERα and aromatase in the forebrain and saccule. In contrast, transcript abundance for ERs and aromatase varied significantly between morphs in and around the sexually polymorphic vocal motor nucleus (VMN). Together, the results suggest that VMN is the major estrogen target within the estrogen-sensitive hindbrain vocal network that directly determines the duration, frequency and amplitude of morph-specific vocalizations. Comparable regional differences in steroid receptor abundances likely regulate morph-specific behaviors in males and females of other species exhibiting alternative reproductive tactics.
duplicate estrogen receptors; auditory; vocal; midshipman fish; central pattern generator
Dynein, the retrograde motor protein, is essential for the transport of cargo along axons and proximal dendrites in neurons. The dynein heavy chain mutation, Loa, has been reported to cause degeneration of spinal motor neurons, as well as defects of spinal sensory proprioceptive neurons, but cranial nerve nuclei have received little attention. Here, we examined the number and morphology of neurons in cranial nerve nuclei of young, adult and aged heterozygous Loa mice, with focus on the trigeminal, facial, and trochlear motor nuclei, as well as the proprioceptive mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus. Using stereological counting techniques, we report a slowly progressive and significant reduction, to 75% of wildtype controls, in the number of large trigeminal motoneurons, while normal numbers were found for sensory mesencephalic trigeminal, and facial and trochlear motoneurons. The morphology of many surviving large trigeminal motoneurons was substantially altered, in particular the size and length of perpendicularly extending primary dendrites, but not those of facial or trochlear motoneurons. At the ultrastructural level, proximal dendrites of large trigeminal motoneurons, but not other neurons, were significantly depleted in organelle content such as polyribosomes and showed abnormal (vesiculated) mitochondria. These data indicate primary defects in trigeminal alpha motoneurons more than gamma motoneurons. Our findings expand the Loa heterozygote phenotype in two important ways: we reveal dendritic in addition to axonal defects or abnormalities, and we identify the Loa mutation as a mouse model for mixed motor-sensory loss when the entire neuraxis is considered, rather than a model primarily for sensory loss.
cranial motor neuron; mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus; stereology; dynein mutation; mitochondria; ultrastructure
Identifying neuronal molecular markers with restricted patterns of expression is a crucial step in dissecting the numerous pathways and functions of the brain. While the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMH) has been implicated in a host of physiological processes, current functional studies have been limited by the lack of molecular markers specific for DMH. Identification of such markers would facilitate the development of mouse models with DMH-specific genetic manipulations. Here we used a combination of laser-capture microdissection (LCM) and gene expression profiling to identify genes that are highly expressed within the DMH relative to adjacent hypothalamic regions. Six of the most highly expressed of these genes, Gpr50, 4930511J11Rik, Pcsk5, Grp, Sulf1, and Rorβ, were further characterized by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and in situ hybridization histochemistry. The genes identified in this article will provide the basis for future gene-targeted approaches for studying DMH function.
DMH; LCM; hypothalamus
γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is likely expressed in horizontal cells of all species, although conflicting physiological findings have led to considerable controversy regarding its role as a transmitter in the outer retina. This study has evaluated key components of the GABA system in the outer retina of guinea pig, an emerging retinal model system. The presence of GABA, its rate-limiting synthetic enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 and GAD67 isoforms), the plasma membrane GABA transporters (GAT-1 and GAT-3), and the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) was evaluated by using immunohistochemistry with well-characterized antibodies. The presence of GAD65 mRNA was also evaluated by using laser capture microdissection and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Specific GABA, GAD65, and VGAT immunostaining was localized to horizontal cell bodies, as well as to their processes and tips in the outer plexiform layer. Furthermore, immunostaining of retinal whole mounts and acutely dissociated retinas showed GAD65 and VGAT immunoreactivity in both A-type and B-type horizontal cells. However, these cells did not contain GAD67, GAT-1, or GAT-3 immunoreactivity. GAD65 mRNA was detected in horizontal cells, and sequencing of the amplified GAD65 fragment showed approximately 85% identity with other mammalian GAD65 mRNAs. These studies demonstrate the presence of GABA, GAD65, and VGAT in horizontal cells of the guinea pig retina, and support the idea that GABA is synthesized from GAD65, taken up into synaptic vesicles by VGAT, and likely released by a vesicular mechanism from horizontal cells.
GABA; GAD; GAT; VGAT; VIAAT; horizontal cells; retina; visual system
Melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) ligands are known to modulate nociception, but the site of action of MC4R signaling on nociception remains to be elucidated. The current study investigated MC4R expression in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of the MC4R-GFP reporter mouse. Because MC4R is known to be expressed in vagal afferent neurons in the nodose ganglion (NG), we also systematically compared MC4R-expressing vagal and spinal afferent neurons. Abundant green fluorescent protein (GFP) immunoreactivity was found in about 45% of DRG neuronal profiles (at the mid-thoracic level), the majority being small-sized profiles. Immunohistochemistry combined with in situ hybridization confirmed that GFP was genuinely produced in MC4R-expressing neurons in the DRG. While a large number of GFP profiles in the DRG coexpressed Nav1.8 mRNA (84%) and bound isolectin B4 (72%), relatively few GFP profiles were positive for NF200 (16%) or CGRP (13%), suggesting preferential MC4R expression in C-fiber nonpeptidergic neurons. By contrast, GFP in the NG frequently colocalized with Nav1.8 mRNA (64%) and NF200 (29%), but only to a moderate extent with isolectin B4 (16%). Lastly, very few GFP profiles in the NG expressed CGRP (5%) or CART (4%). Together, our findings demonstrate variegated MC4R expression in different classes of vagal and spinal primary afferent neurons, and underscore the role of the melanocortin system in modulating nociceptive and nonnociceptive peripheral sensory modalities.
Dorsal root ganglion; green fluorescent protein; neuropeptide; nociceptor; nodose ganglion; vagus nerve
Although the extracellular space in the neuropil of the brain is an important channel for volume communication between cells and has other important functions, its morphology on the micron scale has not been analyzed quantitatively owing to experimental limitations. We used manual and computational techniques to reconstruct the 3D geometry of 180 μm3 of rat CA1 hippocampal neuropil from serial electron microscopy and corrected for tissue shrinkage to reflect the in vivo state. The reconstruction revealed an interconnected network of 40–80 nm diameter tunnels, formed at the junction of three or more cellular processes, spanned by sheets between pairs of cell surfaces with 10–40 nm width. The tunnels tended to occur around synapses and axons, and the sheets were enriched around astrocytes. Monte Carlo simulations of diffusion within the reconstructed neuropil demonstrate that the rate of diffusion of neurotransmitter and other small molecules was slower in sheets than in tunnels. Thus, the non-uniformity found in the extracellular space may have specialized functions for signaling (sheets) and volume transmission (tunnels).
extracellular space; reconstruction; shrinkage; electron microscopy; MCell
Presynaptic active zones are essential structures for synaptic vesicle release, but the developmental regulation of their number and maintenance during aging at mammalian neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the distribution of active zones in developing, mature, and aged mouse NMJs by immunohistochemical detection of the active zone-specific protein Bassoon. Bassoon is a cytosolic scaffolding protein essential for the active zone assembly in ribbon synapses and some brain synapses. Bassoon staining showed a punctate pattern in nerve terminals and axons at the nascent NMJ on embryonic days 16.5–18.5. Three-dimensional reconstruction of NMJs revealed that the majority of Bassoon puncta within an NMJ were attached to the presynaptic membrane from postnatal day 0 to adulthood, and colocalized with another active zone protein Piccolo. During postnatal development, the number of Bassoon puncta increased as the size of the synapses increased. Importantly, the density of Bassoon puncta remained relatively constant from postnatal day 0 to 54 at 2.3 puncta/μm2, while the synapse size increased 3.3-fold. However, Bassoon puncta density and signal intensity were significantly attenuated at the NMJs of 27-month-old aged mice. These results suggest that synapses maintain the density of synaptic vesicle release sites while the synapse size changes, but this density becomes impaired during aging.
Bassoon; neuromuscular junction; synapse formation; aging; unitary assembly
Recent anatomical tracing experiments in rodents have established that a subset of mitral cells in the main olfactory bulb (MOB) project directly to the medial amygdala (MeA) traditionally considered a target of the accessory olfactory bulb. Importantly, neurons that project from the MOB to the MeA also show activation in response to conspecific (opposite sex) volatile urine exposure, establishing a direct role of the MOB in semiochemical processing. In addition, olfactory sensory neurons (OSN) that express the transient receptor potential M5 (TRPM5) channel innervate a subset of glomeruli that respond to putative semiochemical stimuli. In this study, we examined whether the subset of glomeruli targeted by TRPM5 expressing OSNs are innervated by the population of mitral cells that project to the MeA. We injected the retrograde tracer cholera toxin B (CTB) into the MeA of mice in which the TRPM5 promoter drives green fluorescent protein (GFP). We found overlapping clusters of CTB-labeled mitral cell dendritic branches (CTB (+)) in TRPM5-GFP positive (TRPM5-GFP (+)) glomeruli at significantly greater frequency than expected by chance. Despite the significant degree of co-localization, some amygdalopetal mitral cells extended dendrites to non-TRPM5-GFP glomeruli and vice versa, suggesting that although significant overlapping glomerular innervation is observed between these two features, it is not absolute.
TRPM5; medial amygdala; main olfactory bulb; semiochemical
A subpopulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) expresses the photopigment melanopsin, rendering these cells intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs). These cells are critical for competent circadian entrainment, pupillary light reflex, and other non-image-forming photic responses. Research has now demonstrated the presence of multiple subpopulations of ipRGC based on the dendritic stratification in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), those monostratified in the Off sublamina (M1), those monostratified in the On sublamina (M2,4,5), and those bistratified in both the On and Off sublaminas (M3). Despite evidence that M1 and M2 cells are distinct subpopulations of ipRGC based on distinct morphological and physiological properties, the inclusion of M3 cells as a distinct subtype has remained controversial. Aside from the identification of M3 cells as a morphological subpopulation of ipRGC, to date there have been no functional descriptions of M3 cell physiology or synaptic inputs. Our data provide the first in-depth description of M3 cell structural and functional properties. We report that M3 cells form a morphologically heterogeneous population, but one that is physiologically homogeneous with properties similar to those of M2 cells.
intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cell; circadian entrainment; melanopsin; patch clamp; retina; dendritic arborization; dendrite; synaptic; On pathway; M3 cells
The pulvinar complex of prosimian primates is not as architectonically differentiated as that of anthropoid primates. Thus, the functional subdivisions of the complex have been more difficult to determine. In the present study, we related patterns of connections of cortical visual areas (primary visual area, V1; secondary visual area, V2; and middle temporal visual area, MT) as well as the superior colliculus of the visual midbrain, with subdivisions of the pulvinar complex of prosimian galagos (Otolemur garnetti) that were revealed in brain sections processed for cell bodies (Nissl), cytochrome oxidase, or myelin. As in other primates, the architectonic methods allowed us to distinguish the lateral pulvinar (PL) and inferior pulvinar (PI) as major divisions of the visual pulvinar. The connection patterns further allowed us to divide PI into a large central nucleus (PIc), a medial nucleus (PIm), and a posterior nucleus (PIp). Both PL and PIc have separate topographic patterns of connections with V1 and V2. A third, posterior division of PI, PIp, does not appear to project to V1 and V2 and is further distinguished by receiving inputs from the superior colliculus. All these subdivisions of PI project to MT. The evidence suggests that PL of galagos contains a single, large nucleus, as in monkeys, and that PI may have only three subdivisions, rather than the four subdivisions of monkeys. In addition, the cortical projections of PI nuclei are more widespread than those in monkeys. Thus, the pulvinar nuclei in prosimian primates and anthropoid primates have evolved along somewhat different paths.
superior colliculus; visual cortex; middle temporal area; area 17; area 18; primate evolution; thalamus
The ventral nerve cord of holometabolous insects is reorganized during metamorphosis. A prominent feature of this reorganization is the migration of subsets of thoracic and abdominal larval ganglia to form fused compound ganglia. Studies in the hawkmoth Manduca sexta revealed that pulses of the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) regulate ganglionic fusion, but little is known about the cellular mechanisms that make migration and fusion possible. To test the hypothesis that modulation of cell adhesion molecules is an essential component of ventral nerve cord reorganization, we used antibodies selective for either the transmembrane isoform of the cell adhesion receptor fasciclin II (TM-MFas II) or the glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-linked isoform (GPI-MFas II) to study cell adhesion during ganglionic migration and fusion. Our observations show that expression of TM-MFas II is regulated temporally and spatially. GPI-MFas II was expressed on the surface of the segmental ganglia and the transverse nerve, but no evidence was obtained for regulation of GPI-MFas II expression during metamorphosis of the ventral nerve cord. Manipulation of 20E titers revealed that TM-MFas II expression on neurons in migrating ganglia is regulated by hormonal events previously shown to choreograph ganglionic migration and fusion. Injections of actinomycin D (an RNA synthesis inhibitor) or cycloheximide (a protein synthesis inhibitor) blocked ganglionic movement and the concomitant increase in TM-MFas II, suggesting that 20E regulates transcription of TM-MFas II. The few neurons that showed TM-MFas II immunoreactivity independent of endocrine milieu were immunoreactive to an antiserum specific for eclosion hormone (EH), a neuropeptide regulator of molting.
20-hydroxyecdysone; cell adhesion molecule; eclosion hormone; interstitial axonal growth; neurometamorphosis; pterothoracic ganglion
Sympathetic ganglia are primarily composed of noradrenergic neurons and satellite glial cells. Although both cell types originate from neural crest cells, the identities of the progenitor populations at intermediate stages of the differentiation process remain to be established. Here we report the identification in vivo of glial and neuronal progenitor cells in postnatal sympathetic ganglia, using mouse superior cervical ganglia as a model system. There are significant levels of cellular proliferation in mouse superior cervical ganglia during the first 18 days after birth. A majority of the proliferating cells express both nestin and brain lipid-binding protein (BLBP). BrdU fate-tracing experiments demonstrate that these nestin and BLBP double positive cells represent a population of glial progenitors for sympathetic satellite cells. The glial differentiation process is characterized by a marked downregulation of nestin and upregulation of S100, with no significant changes in the levels of BLBP expression. We also identify a small number of proliferating cells that express nestin and tyrosine hydroxylase, a key enzyme of catecholamine biosynthesis that defines sympathetic noradrenergic neurons. Together, these results establish nestin as a common marker for sympathetic neuronal and glial progenitor cells and delineate the cellular basis for the generation and maturation of sympathetic satellite cells.
noradrenergic neurons; satellite cells; superior cervical ganglia; postnatal sympathetic development
Poor functional recovery found after peripheral nerve injury has been attributed to the misdirection of regenerating axons to reinnervate functionally inappropriate muscles. We applied brief electrical stimulation (ES) to the common fibular (CF) but not the tibial (Tib) nerve just prior to transection and repair of the entire rat sciatic nerve, to attempt to influence the misdirection of its regenerating axons. The specificity with which regenerating axons reinnervated appropriate targets was evaluated physiologically using compound muscle action potentials (M responses) evoked from stimulation of the two nerve branches above the injury site. Functional recovery was assayed using the timing of electromyography (EMG) activity recorded from the tibialis anterior (TA) and soleus (Sol) muscles during treadmill locomotion and kinematic analysis of hindlimb locomotor movements. Selective ES of the CF nerve resulted in restored M-responses at earlier times than in unstimulated controls in both TA and Sol muscles. Stimulated CF axons reinnervated inappropriate targets to a greater extent than unstimulated Tib axons. During locomotion, functional antagonist muscles, TA and Sol, were coactivated both in stimulated rats and in unstimulated but injured rats. Hindlimb kinematics in stimulated rats were comparable to untreated rats, but significantly different from intact controls. Selective ES promotes enhanced axon regeneration but does so with decreased fidelity of muscle reinnervation. Functional recovery is neither improved nor degraded, suggesting that compensatory changes in the outputs of the spinal circuits driving locomotion may occur irrespective of the extent of misdirection of regenerating axons in the periphery.
peripheral nerve; regeneration; electrical stimulation; neuromuscular specificity; electromyography; locomotion