AMPA-preferring glutamate receptors in cochlear physiology of adult guinea-pig.
1. The present study was designed to determine which glutamate (Glu) receptors are involved in excitatory neurotransmission at the first auditory synapse between the inner hair cells and the spiral ganglion neurons. 2. The Glu receptors present at the membrane level were investigated on isolated spiral ganglion neuron somata from guinea-pigs by whole-cell voltage-clamp measurements. Glu and AMPA induced a fast onset inward current that was rapidly desensitized, while kainate induced only a non-desensitizing, steady-state current. NMDA induced no detectable current. 3. To further discriminate between the AMPA and kainate receptors present, we used the receptor-specific desensitization blockers, cyclothiazide and concanavalin A. While no effect was observed with concanavalin A, cyclothiazide greatly enhanced the Glu-, AMPA- and kainate-induced steady-state currents and potentiated Glu-induced membrane depolarization. 4. To extrapolate the results obtained from the somata to the events occurring in situ at the dendrites, the effects of these drugs were evaluated in vivo. Cyclothiazide reversibly increased spontaneous activity of single auditory nerve fibres, while concanavalin A had no effect, suggesting that the functional Glu receptors on the somata may be the same as those at the dendrites. 5. The combination of a moderate-level sound together with cyclothiazide increased and subsequently abolished the spontaneous and the sound-evoked activity of the auditory nerve fibres. Histological examination revealed destruction of the dendrites, suggesting that cyclothiazide potentiates sound-induced Glu excitotoxicity via AMPA receptors. 6. Our results reveal that fast synaptic transmission in the cochlea is mainly mediated by desensitizing AMPA receptors. (+info)
Expression of an inwardly rectifying K(+) channel, Kir4.1, in satellite cells of rat cochlear ganglia.
Satellite cells are glial cells wrapped around somata of sensory and autonomic ganglion neurons. Neither their functional roles nor electrical properties have been fully clarified so far. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that inwardly rectifying K(+) channel subunit Kir4.1 (also called Kir1.2 or K(AB)-2) was expressed prominently in the satellite cells of cochlear ganglia. The Kir4.1 immunoreactivity was localized specifically at the myelin sheaths of satellite cells wrapping the somata of the ganglion neurons. Developmental expression of Kir4.1 in satellite cells paralleled development of the action potential in the auditory nerve. These results suggest that this channel in satellite cells may be responsible for the regulation of K(+) extruded from the ganglion neurons during excitation. (+info)
Electrical cochlear stimulation in the deaf cat: comparisons between psychophysical and central auditory neuronal thresholds.
Cochlear prostheses for electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve ("electrical hearing") can provide auditory capacity for profoundly deaf adults and children, including in many cases a restored ability to perceive speech without visual cues. A fundamental challenge in auditory neuroscience is to understand the neural and perceptual mechanisms that make rehabilitation of hearing possible in these deaf humans. We have developed a feline behavioral model that allows us to study behavioral and physiological variables in the same deaf animals. Cats deafened by injection of ototoxic antibiotics were implanted with either a monopolar round window electrode or a multichannel scala tympani electrode array. To evaluate the effects of perceptually significant electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve on the central auditory system, an animal was trained to avoid a mild electrocutaneous shock when biphasic current pulses (0.2 ms/phase) were delivered to its implanted cochlea. Psychophysical detection thresholds and electrical auditory brain stem response (EABR) thresholds were estimated in each cat. At the conclusion of behavioral testing, acute physiological experiments were conducted, and threshold responses were recorded for single neurons and multineuronal clusters in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC) and the primary auditory cortex (A1). Behavioral and neurophysiological thresholds were evaluated with reference to cochlear histopathology in the same deaf cats. The results of the present study include: 1) in the cats implanted with a scala tympani electrode array, the lowest ICC and A1 neural thresholds were virtually identical to the behavioral thresholds for intracochlear bipolar stimulation; 2) behavioral thresholds were lower than ICC and A1 neural thresholds in each of the cats implanted with a monopolar round window electrode; 3) EABR thresholds were higher than behavioral thresholds in all of the cats (mean difference = 6.5 dB); and 4) the cumulative number of action potentials for a sample of ICC neurons increased monotonically as a function of the amplitude and the number of stimulating biphasic pulses. This physiological result suggests that the output from the ICC may be integrated spatially across neurons and temporally integrated across pulses when the auditory nerve array is stimulated with a train of biphasic current pulses. Because behavioral thresholds were lower and reaction times were faster at a pulse rate of 30 pps compared with a pulse rate of 2 pps, spatial-temporal integration in the central auditory system was presumably reflected in psychophysical performance. (+info)
Essential role of BETA2/NeuroD1 in development of the vestibular and auditory systems.
BETA2/NeuroD1 is a bHLH transcription factor that is expressed during development in the mammalian pancreas and in many locations in the central and peripheral nervous systems. During inner ear ontogenesis, it is present in both sensory ganglion neurons and sensory epithelia. Although studies have shown that BETA2/NeuroD1 is important in the development of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and the cerebellum, its functions in the peripheral nervous system and in particular in the inner ear are unclear. Mice carrying a BETA2/NeuroD1 null mutation exhibit behavioral abnormalities suggestive of an inner ear defect, including lack of responsiveness to sound, hyperactivity, head tilting, and circling. Here we show that these defects can be explained by a severe reduction of sensory neurons in the cochlear-vestibular ganglion (CVG). A developmental study of CVG formation in the null demonstrates that BETA2/NeuroD1 does not play a primary role in the proliferation of neuroblast precursors or in their decision to become neuroblasts. Instead, the reduction in CVG neuron number is caused by a combination both of delayed or defective delamination of CVG neuroblast precursors from the otic vesicle epithelium and of enhanced apoptosis both in the otic epithelium and among those neurons that do delaminate to form the CVG. There are also defects in differentiation and patterning of the cochlear duct and sensory epithelium and loss of the dorsal cochlear nucleus. BETA2/NeuroD1 is, thus, the first gene to be shown to regulate neuronal and sensory cell development in both the cochlear and vestibular systems. (+info)
Multiple distinct signal pathways, including an autocrine neurotrophic mechanism, contribute to the survival-promoting effect of depolarization on spiral ganglion neurons in vitro.
We have shown previously that BDNF, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), chlorphenylthio-cAMP (cpt-cAMP) (a permeant cAMP analog), and membrane depolarization promote spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) survival in vitro in an additive manner, depolarization having the greatest efficacy. Expression of both BDNF and of NT-3 is detectable in cultured SGNs after plating in either depolarizing or nondepolarizing medium. These neurotrophins promote survival by an autocrine mechanism; TrkB-IgG or TrkC-IgG, which block neurotrophin binding to, respectively, TrkB and TrkC, partially inhibit the trophic effect of depolarization. The mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor PD98059 and the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase inhibitor LY294002 both abolish trophic support by neurotrophins but only partially inhibit support by depolarization. Inhibition by these compounds is not additive with inhibition by Trk-IgGs. The cAMP antagonist Rp-adenosine-3',5'-cyclic-phosphorothioate (Rp-cAMPS) abolishes survival attributable to cpt-cAMP but has no effect on that attributable to neurotrophins, nor do inhibitors of neurotrophin-dependent survival affect survival attributable to cpt-cAMP. However, Rp-cAMPS does partially inhibit depolarization-dependent survival, an inhibition that is additive with that by Trk-IgGs, PD98059, or LY294002. Moreover, Rp-cAMPS prevents depolarization-dependent survival of PC12 cells maintained in subthreshold levels of NGF. Inhibition of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMKs) with KN-62 reduces SGN survival independently of Rp-cAMPS, Trk-IgGs, and LY294002 and additively with them. Combined inhibition of Trk, cAMP, and CaMK signaling prevents depolarization-dependent survival. Thus, survival of SGNs under depolarizing conditions involves additivity among a depolarization-independent autocrine pathway, a cAMP-dependent pathway, and a CaMK-dependent pathway. (+info)
Ototoxicity is a major dose-limiting side effect of cisplatin (DDP) administration due to its propensity to induce destruction of hair cells and neurons in the auditory system. Previous studies demonstrated that TrkC-expressing spiral ganglion neurons (SGN) are protected from the cytotoxic effects of DDP by localized delivery of the trophic factor neurotrophin-3 (NT-3). Successful in vivo implementation of such a therapy requires the development of an efficient gene delivery vehicle for expression of NT-3 within the cochlea. To this end, we constructed a herpes simplex virus (HSV) amplicon vector that expressed a c-Myc-tagged NT-3 chimera (HSVnt-3myc). Helper virus-free vector stocks were initially evaluated in vitro for their capacity to direct expression of NT-3 mRNA and protein. Transduction of cultured murine cochlear explants with HSVnt-3myc resulted in production of NT-3 mRNA and protein up to 3 ng/ml as measured over a 48-h period in culture supernatants. To determine whether NT-3 overexpression could abrogate DDP toxicity, cochlear explants were transduced with HSVnt-3myc or a murine intestinal alkaline phosphatase-expressing control vector, HSVmiap, and then exposed to cisplatin. HSVnt-3myc-transduced cochlear explants harbored significantly greater numbers of surviving SGNs than those infected with control virus. These data demonstrate that amplicon-mediated NT-3 transduction can attenuate the ototoxic action of DDP on organotypic culture. The potency of NT-3 in protecting spiral ganglion neurons from degeneration suggests that in vivo neurotrophin-based gene therapy may be useful for the prevention and/or treatment of hearing disorders. (+info)
Spatial shaping of cochlear innervation by temporally regulated neurotrophin expression.
Previous work suggested qualitatively different effects of neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) in cochlear innervation patterning in different null mutants. We now show that all NT-3 null mutants have a similar phenotype and lose all neurons in the basal turn of the cochlea. To understand these longitudinal deficits in neurotrophin mutants, we have compared the development of the deficit in the NT-3 mutant to the spatial-temporal expression patterns of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and NT-3, using lacZ reporters in each gene and with expression of the specific neurotrophin receptors, trkB and trkC. In the NT-3 mutant, almost normal numbers of spiral ganglion neurons form, but fiber outgrowth to the basal turn is eliminated by embryonic day (E) 13.5. Most neurons are lost between E13.5 and E15.5. During the period preceding apoptosis, NT-3 is expressed in supporting cells, whereas BDNF is expressed mainly in hair cells, which become postmitotic in an apical to basal temporal gradient. During the period of neuronal loss, BDNF is absent from the basal cochlea, accounting for the complete loss of basal turn neurons in the NT-3 mutant. The spatial gradients of neuronal loss in these two mutants appear attributable to spatial-temporal gradients of neurotrophin expression. Our immunocytochemical data show equal expression of their receptors, TrkB and TrkC, in spiral sensory neurons and thus do not relate to the basal turn loss. Mice in which NT-3 was replaced by BDNF show a qualitative normal pattern of innervation at E13.5. This suggests that the pattern of expression of neurotrophins rather than their receptors is essential for the spatial loss of spiral sensory neurons in NT-3 null mutants. (+info)
Brn3a is a transcriptional regulator of soma size, target field innervation and axon pathfinding of inner ear sensory neurons.
The POU domain transcription factors Brn3a, Brn3b and Brn3c are required for the proper development of sensory ganglia, retinal ganglion cells, and inner ear hair cells, respectively. We have investigated the roles of Brn3a in neuronal differentiation and target innervation in the facial-stato-acoustic ganglion. We show that absence of Brn3a results in a substantial reduction in neuronal size, abnormal neuronal migration and downregulation of gene expression, including that of the neurotrophin receptor TrkC, parvalbumin and Brn3b. Selective loss of TrkC neurons in the spiral ganglion of Brn3a(-/-) cochlea leads to an innervation defect similar to that of TrkC(-/-) mice. Most remarkably, our results uncover a novel role for Brn3a in regulating axon pathfinding and target field innervation by spiral and vestibular ganglion neurons. Loss of Brn3a results in severe retardation in development of the axon projections to the cochlea and the posterior vertical canal as early as E13.5. In addition, efferent axons that use the afferent fibers as a scaffold during pathfinding also show severe misrouting. Interestingly, despite the well-established roles of ephrins and EphB receptors in axon pathfinding, expression of these molecules does not appear to be affected in Brn3a(-/-) mice. Thus, Brn3a must control additional downstream genes that are required for axon pathfinding. (+info)