Developmental synaptic changes increase the range of integrative capabilities of an identified excitatory neocortical connection.
Excitatory synaptic transmission between pyramidal cells and fast-spiking (FS) interneurons of layer V of the motor cortex was investigated in acute slices by using paired recordings at 30 degrees C combined with morphological analysis. The presynaptic and postsynaptic properties at these identified central synapses were compared between 3- and 5-week-old rats. At these two postnatal developmental stages, unitary EPSCs were mediated by the activation of AMPA receptors with fast kinetics at a holding potential of -72 mV. The amplitude distribution analysis of the EPSCs indicates that, at both stages, pyramidal-FS connections consisted of multiple functional release sites. The apparent quantal size obtained by decreasing the external calcium ([Ca2+]e) varied from 11 to 29 pA near resting membrane potential. In young rats, pairs of presynaptic action potentials elicited unitary synaptic responses that displayed paired-pulse depression at all tested frequencies. In older animals, inputs from different pyramidal cells onto the same FS interneuron had different paired-pulse response characteristics and, at most of these connections, a switch from depression to facilitation occurred when decreasing the rate of presynaptic stimulation. The balance between facilitation and depression endows pyramidal-FS connections from 5-week-old animals with wide integrative capabilities and confers unique functional properties to each synapse. (+info
Plasticity of first-order sensory synapses: interactions between homosynaptic long-term potentiation and heterosynaptically evoked dopaminergic potentiation.
Persistent potentiations of the chemical and electrotonic components of the eighth nerve (NVIII) EPSP recorded in vivo in the goldfish reticulospinal neuron, the Mauthner cell, can be evoked by afferent tetanization or local dendritic application of an endogenous transmitter, dopamine (3-hydroxytyramine). These modifications are attributable to the activation of distinct intracellular kinase cascades. Although dopamine-evoked potentiation (DEP) is mediated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), tetanization most likely activates a Ca2+-dependent protein kinase via an increased intracellular Ca2+ concentration. We present evidence that the eighth nerve tetanus that induces LTP does not act by triggering dopamine release, because it is evoked in the presence of a broad spectrum of dopamine antagonists. To test for interactions between these pathways, we applied the potentiating paradigms sequentially. When dopamine was applied first, tetanization produced additional potentiation of the mixed synaptic response, but when the sequence was reversed, DEP was occluded, indicating that the synapses potentiated by the two procedures belong to the same or overlapping populations. Experiments were conducted to determine interactions between the underlying regulatory mechanisms and the level of their convergence. Inhibiting PKA does not impede tetanus-induced LTP, and chelating postsynaptic Ca2+ with BAPTA does not block DEP, indicating that the initial steps of the induction processes are independent. Pharmacological and voltage-clamp analyses indicate that the two pathways converge on functional AMPA/kainate receptors for the chemically mediated EPSP and gap junctions for the electrotonic component or at intermediaries common to both pathways. A cellular model incorporating these interactions is proposed on the basis of differential modulation of synaptic responses via receptor-protein phosphorylation. (+info
Low resting potential and postnatal upregulation of NMDA receptors may cause Cajal-Retzius cell death.
Using in situ patch-clamp techniques in rat telencephalic slices, we have followed resting potential (RP) properties and the functional expression of NMDA receptors in neocortical Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells from embryonic day 18 to postnatal day 13, the time around which these cells normally disappear. We find that throughout their lives CR cells have a relatively depolarized RP (approximately -50 mV), which can be made more hyperpolarized (approximately -70 mV) by stimulation of the Na/K pump with intracellular ATP. The NMDA receptors of CR cells are subjected to intense postnatal upregulation, but their similar properties (EC50, Hill number, sensitivity to antagonists, conductance, and kinetics) throughout development suggest that their subunit composition remains relatively homogeneous. The low RP of CR cells is within a range that allows for the relief of NMDA channels from Mg2+ blockade. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that CR cells may degenerate and die subsequent to uncontrolled overload of intracellular Ca2+ via NMDA receptor activation by ambient glutamate. In support of this hypothesis we have obtained evidence showing the protection of CR cells via in vivo blockade of NMDA receptors with dizocilpine. (+info
Activity-dependent metaplasticity of inhibitory and excitatory synaptic transmission in the lamprey spinal cord locomotor network.
Paired intracellular recordings have been used to examine the activity-dependent plasticity and neuromodulator-induced metaplasticity of synaptic inputs from identified inhibitory and excitatory interneurons in the lamprey spinal cord. Trains of spikes at 5-20 Hz were used to mimic the frequency of spiking that occurs in network interneurons during NMDA or brainstem-evoked locomotor activity. Inputs from inhibitory and excitatory interneurons exhibited similar activity-dependent changes, with synaptic depression developing during the spike train. The level of depression reached was greater with lower stimulation frequencies. Significant activity-dependent depression of inputs from excitatory interneurons and inhibitory crossed caudal interneurons, which are central elements in the patterning of network activity, usually developed between the fifth and tenth spikes in the train. Because these interneurons typically fire bursts of up to five spikes during locomotor activity, this activity-dependent plasticity will presumably not contribute to the patterning of network activity. However, in the presence of the neuromodulators substance P and 5-HT, significant activity-dependent metaplasticity of these inputs developed over the first five spikes in the train. Substance P induced significant activity-dependent depression of inhibitory but potentiation of excitatory interneuron inputs, whereas 5-HT induced significant activity-dependent potentiation of both inhibitory and excitatory interneuron inputs. Because these metaplastic effects are consistent with the substance P and 5-HT-induced modulation of the network output, activity-dependent metaplasticity could be a potential mechanism underlying the coordination and modulation of rhythmic network activity. (+info
Ischemic tolerance in murine cortical cell culture: critical role for NMDA receptors.
Murine cortical cultures containing both neurons and glia (days in vitro 13-15) were exposed to periods of oxygen-glucose deprivation (5-30 min) too brief to induce neuronal death. Cultures "preconditioned" by sublethal oxygen-glucose deprivation exhibited 30-50% less neuronal death than controls when exposed to a 45-55 min period of oxygen-glucose deprivation 24 hr later. This preconditioning-induced neuroprotection was specific in that neuronal death induced by exposure to excitotoxins or to staurosporine was not attenuated. Neuroprotection was lost if the time between the preconditioning and severe insult were decreased to 7 hr or increased to 72 hr and was blocked if the NMDA antagonist 100 microM 3-((D)-2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid was applied during the preconditioning insult. This was true even if the duration of preconditioning was increased as far as possible (while still remaining sublethal). A similar preconditioning effect was also produced by sublethal exposure to high K+, glutamate, or NMDA but not to kainate or trans-1-aminocyclopentane-1, 3-dicarboxylic acid. (+info
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
Impairment of neocortical long-term potentiation in mice deficient of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.
The role of the possible retrograde messenger nitric oxide (NO) in the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) was studied in supragranular layers of somatosensory cortical slices obtained from adult mice. High-frequency stimulation produced a slowly rising, long-lasting (50 min) and significant (P < 0.001) increase in the extracellular synaptic response by 23%. The induction of LTP was independent from activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, but prevented by bath application of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), indicating that one or several of the different NO synthases (NOS) produced NO within the postsynaptic neuron. No LTP could be induced in knockout mice lacking the endothelial NOS (eNOS) isoform. These data suggest that eNOS is involved in an NMDA receptor-independent form of LTP in the rodent cerebral cortex. (+info
NMDA-dependent currents in granule cells of the dentate gyrus contribute to induction but not permanence of kindling.
Single-electrode voltage-clamp techniques and bath application of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) were used to study the time course of seizure-induced alterations in NMDA-dependent synaptic currents in granule cells of the dentate gyrus in hippocampal slices from kindled and normal rats. In agreement with previous studies, granule cells from kindled rats examined within 1 wk after the last of 3 or 30-35 generalized tonic-clonic (class V) seizures demonstrated an increase in the NMDA receptor-dependent component of the perforant path-evoked synaptic current. Within 1 wk of the last kindled seizure, NMDA-dependent charge transfer underlying the perforant path-evoked current was increased by 63-111% at a holding potential of -30 mV. In contrast, the NMDA-dependent component of the perforant-evoked current in granule cells examined at 2.5-3 mo after the last of 3 or 90-120 class V seizures did not differ from age-matched controls. Because the seizure-induced increases in NMDA-dependent synaptic currents declined toward control values during a time course of 2.5-3 mo, increases in NMDA-dependent synaptic transmission cannot account for the permanent susceptibility to evoked and spontaneous seizures induced by kindling. The increase in NMDA receptor-dependent transmission was associated with the induction of kindling but was not responsible for the maintenance of the kindled state. The time course of alterations in NMDA-dependent synaptic current and the dependence of the progression of kindling and kindling-induced mossy fiber sprouting on repeated NMDA receptor activation are consistent with the possibility that the NMDA receptor is part of a transmembrane signaling pathway that induces long-term cellular alterations and circuit remodeling in response to repeated seizures, but is not required for permanent seizure susceptibility in circuitry altered by kindling. (+info