(1/4513) Identification of the Kv2.1 K+ channel as a major component of the delayed rectifier K+ current in rat hippocampal neurons.

Molecular cloning studies have revealed the existence of a large family of voltage-gated K+ channel genes expressed in mammalian brain. This molecular diversity underlies the vast repertoire of neuronal K+ channels that regulate action potential conduction and neurotransmitter release and that are essential to the control of neuronal excitability. However, the specific contribution of individual K+ channel gene products to these neuronal K+ currents is poorly understood. We have shown previously, using an antibody, "KC, " specific for the Kv2.1 K+ channel alpha-subunit, the high-level expression of Kv2.1 protein in hippocampal neurons in situ and in culture. Here we show that KC is a potent blocker of K+ currents expressed in cells transfected with the Kv2.1 cDNA, but not of currents expressed in cells transfected with other highly related K+ channel alpha-subunit cDNAs. KC also blocks the majority of the slowly inactivating outward current in cultured hippocampal neurons, although antibodies to two other K+ channel alpha-subunits known to be expressed in these cells did not exhibit blocking effects. In all cases the blocking effects of KC were eliminated by previous incubation with a recombinant fusion protein containing the KC antigenic sequence. Together these studies show that Kv2.1, which is expressed at high levels in most mammalian central neurons, is a major contributor to the delayed rectifier K+ current in hippocampal neurons and that the KC antibody is a powerful tool for the elucidation of the role of the Kv2.1 K+ channel in regulating neuronal excitability.  (+info)

(2/4513) Cellular sites for dynorphin activation of kappa-opioid receptors in the rat nucleus accumbens shell.

The nucleus accumbens (Acb) is prominently involved in the aversive behavioral aspects of kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) agonists, including its endogenous ligand dynorphin (Dyn). We examined the ultrastructural immunoperoxidase localization of KOR and immunogold labeling of Dyn to determine the major cellular sites for KOR activation in this region. Of 851 KOR-labeled structures sampled from a total area of 10,457 microm2, 63% were small axons and morphologically heterogenous axon terminals, 31% of which apposed Dyn-labeled terminals or also contained Dyn. Sixty-eight percent of the KOR-containing axon terminals formed punctate-symmetric or appositional contacts with unlabeled dendrites and spines, many of which received convergent input from terminals that formed asymmetric synapses. Excitatory-type terminals that formed asymmetric synapses with dendritic spines comprised 21% of the KOR-immunoreactive profiles. Dendritic spines within the neuropil were the major nonaxonal structures that contained KOR immunoreactivity. These spines also received excitatory-type synapses from unlabeled terminals and were apposed by Dyn-containing terminals. These results provide ultrastructural evidence that in the Acb shell (AcbSh), KOR agonists play a primary role in regulating the presynaptic release of Dyn and other neuromodulators that influence the output of spiny neurons via changes in the presynaptic release of or the postsynaptic responses to excitatory amino acids. The cellular distribution of KOR complements those described previously for the reward-associated mu- and delta-opioid receptors in the Acb shell.  (+info)

(3/4513) Langerhans cells in the human oesophagus.

The dendrite cells of Langerhans, first identified in the epidermis, have now been observed in the middle and superficial layers of the normal human oesophageal mucosa. They exhibit typical Langerhans granules, but no desmosomes and tonofilaments. They often have irregular indented nuclei, with a relatively pale cytoplasm contrasting with that of the adjacent squamous cells. These cells are sometimes difficult to distinguish from intra-epithelial lymphocytes, which are also encountered in the oesophageal mucosa and which share certain ultrastructural characteristics with Langerhans cells.  (+info)

(4/4513) Single synaptic events evoke NMDA receptor-mediated release of calcium from internal stores in hippocampal dendritic spines.

We have used confocal microscopy to monitor synaptically evoked Ca2+ transients in the dendritic spines of hippocampal pyramidal cells. Individual spines respond to single afferent stimuli (<0.1 Hz) with Ca2+ transients or failures, reflecting the probability of transmitter release at the activated synapse. Both AMPA and NMDA glutamate receptor antagonists block the synaptically evoked Ca2+ transients; the block by AMPA antagonists is relieved by low Mg2+. The Ca2+ transients are mainly due to the release of calcium from internal stores, since they are abolished by antagonists of calcium-induced calcium release (CICR); CICR antagonists, however, do not depress spine Ca2+ transients generated by backpropagating action potentials. These results have implications for synaptic plasticity, since they show that synaptic stimulation can activate NMDA receptors, evoking substantial Ca2+ release from the internal stores in spines without inducing long-term potentiation (LTP) or depression (LTD).  (+info)

(5/4513) Voltage-dependent properties of dendrites that eliminate location-dependent variability of synaptic input.

We examined the hypothesis that voltage-dependent properties of dendrites allow for the accurate transfer of synaptic information to the soma independent of synapse location. This hypothesis is motivated by experimental evidence that dendrites contain a complex array of voltage-gated channels. How these channels affect synaptic integration is unknown. One hypothesized role for dendritic voltage-gated channels is to counteract passive cable properties, rendering all synapses electrotonically equidistant from the soma. With dendrites modeled as passive cables, the effect a synapse exerts at the soma depends on dendritic location (referred to as location-dependent variability of the synaptic input). In this theoretical study we used a simplified three-compartment model of a neuron to determine the dendritic voltage-dependent properties required for accurate transfer of synaptic information to the soma independent of synapse location. A dendrite that eliminates location-dependent variability requires three components: 1) a steady-state, voltage-dependent inward current that together with the passive leak current provides a net outward current and a zero slope conductance at depolarized potentials, 2) a fast, transient, inward current that compensates for dendritic membrane capacitance, and 3) both alpha amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid- and N-methyl-D-aspartate-like synaptic conductances that together permit synapses to behave as ideal current sources. These components are consistent with the known properties of dendrites. In addition, these results indicate that a dendrite designed to eliminate location-dependent variability also actively back-propagates somatic action potentials.  (+info)

(6/4513) In vivo intracellular analysis of granule cell axon reorganization in epileptic rats.

In vivo intracellular recording and labeling in kainate-induced epileptic rats was used to address questions about granule cell axon reorganization in temporal lobe epilepsy. Individually labeled granule cells were reconstructed three dimensionally and in their entirety. Compared with controls, granule cells in epileptic rats had longer average axon length per cell; the difference was significant in all strata of the dentate gyrus including the hilus. In epileptic rats, at least one-third of the granule cells extended an aberrant axon collateral into the molecular layer. Axon projections into the molecular layer had an average summed length of 1 mm per cell and spanned 600 microm of the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus-a distance within the normal span of granule cell axon collaterals. These findings in vivo confirm results from previous in vitro studies. Surprisingly, 12% of the granule cells in epileptic rats, and none in controls, extended a basal dendrite into the hilus, providing another route for recurrent excitation. Consistent with recurrent excitation, many granule cells (56%) in epileptic rats displayed a long-latency depolarization superimposed on a normal inhibitory postsynaptic potential. These findings demonstrate changes, occurring at the single-cell level after an epileptogenic hippocampal injury, that could result in novel, local, recurrent circuits.  (+info)

(7/4513) The fine structural organization of the cuneate nucleus in the monkey (Macaca fascicularis).

The fine structure of the cuneate nucleus of the monkey (Macaca fascicularis) has been studied. The neurons were classified into three groups according to their nuclear morphology, the arrangement of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and the appearance of the Golgi complexes. Group I neurons had a regular nucleus and contained abundant cytoplasm in which were found well-developed RER and Golgi complexes. Group II neurons had a slightly irregular nucleus and a variable arrangement of the RER and Golgi complexes. Group III neurons were characterized by a deeply indented nucleus, and scanty cytoplasm in which the cytoplasmic organelles were poorly developed. Group II neurons were the most commonly encountered while Group I neurons were the rarest. Axon terminals contained either round of flattened vesicles. Axon terminals and dendrites commonly formed synaptic complexes. In one type the axon terminal, containing round vesicles, formed the central element, which is presynaptic to the dendrites surrounding it; in addition it is postsynaptic to axon terminals containing flattened vesicles. In another type a large dendrite formed the central element which is postsynaptic to axon terminals containing round or flattened vesicles.  (+info)

(8/4513) Blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activation suppresses learning-induced synaptic elimination.

Auditory filial imprinting in the domestic chicken is accompanied by a dramatic loss of spine synapses in two higher associative forebrain areas, the mediorostral neostriatum/hyperstriatum ventrale (MNH) and the dorsocaudal neostriatum (Ndc). The cellular mechanisms that underlie this learning-induced synaptic reorganization are unclear. We found that local pharmacological blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the MNH, a manipulation that has been shown previously to impair auditory imprinting, suppresses the learning-induced spine reduction in this region. Chicks treated with the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) during the behavioral training for imprinting (postnatal day 0-2) displayed similar spine frequencies at postnatal day 7 as naive control animals, which, in both groups, were significantly higher than in imprinted animals. Because the average dendritic length did not differ between the experimental groups, the reduced spine frequency can be interpreted as a reduction of the total number of spine synapses per neuron. In the Ndc, which is reciprocally connected with the MNH and not directly influenced by the injected drug, learning-induced spine elimination was partly suppressed. Spine frequencies of the APV-treated, behaviorally trained but nonimprinted animals were higher than in the imprinted animals but lower than in the naive animals. These results provide evidence that NMDA receptor activation is required for the learning-induced selective reduction of spine synapses, which may serve as a mechanism of information storage specific for juvenile emotional learning events.  (+info)