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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (6)
Articles by Ann M. Benz in JoVE
Presynaptically Silent Synapses Studied with Light Microscopy
Krista L. Moulder1, Xiaoping Jiang1, Amanda A. Taylor1, Ann M. Benz1, Steven Mennerick1,2,3
1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine, 3Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine
Glutamatergic synapses can switch from an active mode to a silent mode. We demonstrate that presynaptic activity status in dissociated culture of rodent neurons is visualized using a fixable form of the FM1-43 dye to visualize active synapses and immunostaining with vGluT-1 antibody to visualize all glutamate synapses.
Other articles by Ann M. Benz on PubMed
Glia. Jul, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12112376
Glutamate appears to play a major role in several degenerative retinal disorders. However, exogenous glutamate is only weakly toxic to the retina when glutamate transporters on Müller glial cells are operational. In an ex vivo rat retinal preparation, we previously found that exogenous glutamate causes Müller cell swelling but does not trigger excitotoxic neurodegeneration unless very high concentrations that overwhelm the capacity of glutamate transporters are administered. To determine the role of glutamate transporters in Müller cell swelling and glutamate-mediated retinal degeneration, we examined the effects of DL-threo-beta-benzyloxyaspartate (TBOA), an agent that blocks glutamate transport but that unlike most available transport inhibitors is neither a substrate for transport nor a glutamate receptor agonist. We found that TBOA triggered severe retinal neurodegeneration attenuated by ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists. TBOA-induced neuronal damage was also diminished by riluzole, an agent that inhibits endogenous glutamate release. In the presence of riluzole, to inhibit glutamate release plus TBOA to block glutamate uptake, the addition of low concentrations of exogenous glutamate triggered severe excitotoxic neuronal damage without inducing Müller cell swelling. We conclude that TBOA-sensitive glutamate transporters play an important role in regulating the neurodegenerative effects of glutamate in the rat retina.
Visual Neuroscience. Mar-Apr, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12916732
Retinal ischemia, a major cause of visual loss, is believed to result from overexcitation of glutamate receptors. However, under euglycemic and normoxic conditions, exogenously applied glutamate is not neurotoxic in the retina. Under such conditions, exogenous glutamate typically causes glia swelling and requires very high concentrations to produce neurotoxicity. To determine whether ischemic conditions enhance the neurotoxicity of endogenous and exogenous glutamate, we examined the effects of simulated ischemia (deprivation of both glucose and oxygen) on retinal morphology and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. In an ex vivo rat retinal preparation, glutamate was administered during simulated ischemia in the presence of riluzole, an inhibitor of glutamate release. Deprivation of both glucose and oxygen for 60 min at 30 degrees C produced severe acute neurodegeneration. This neurodegeneration, characterized by bull's eye formation in the inner nuclear layer and spongy appearance in the inner plexiform layer, was prevented by the combination of MK-801 and DNQX, antagonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptors, indicating that the damage results from activation of both glutamate receptors. We also found that administration of glutamate pyruvate transaminase (alanine aminotransaminase) with pyruvate diminished the neurodegeneration during simulated ischemia. Furthermore, riluzole, an inhibitor of glutamate release, attenuated the neurodegeneration, suggesting the importance of endogenous glutamate in ischemic damage. In the presence of riluzole and simulated ischemia, exogenously applied glutamate failed to cause Müller cell swelling but was extremely neurotoxic. These results suggest that simulated ischemia enhances glutamate-mediated neurotoxicity in part by depressing glutamate uptake. When glutamate transport is impaired, sub-millimolar glutamate concentrations become profoundly neurotoxic.
Glia. Oct, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15326614
Glutamate is thought to participate in a variety of retinal degenerative disorders. However, when exposed to glutamate at concentrations up to 1 mM, ex vivo rat retinas typically exhibit Müller cell swelling, but not excitotoxic neuronal damage. This Müller cell swelling is reversible following glutamate washout, indicating that the glial edema is not required for glutamate-induced neuronal injury. It is unclear whether glutamate directly induces the Müller cell swelling or whether a metabolite of glutamate such as glutamine acts as an osmolyte to generate the cellular edema. To examine this issue, ex vivo rat retinas were exposed to 1 mM glutamate or 1 mM glutamine and were evaluated histologically. Glutamate was also combined with 1 mM ammonia or with methionine sulfoximine (MSO), an inhibitor of glutamine synthetase, the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of glutamine from glutamate and ammonia. Glutamate-mediated Müller cell swelling was blocked by co-administration of ammonia and the reversibility of Müller cell swelling was inhibited by MSO administered following glutamate exposure. Glutamine alone failed to induce Müller cell swelling. These results indicate that glutamate-mediated Müller cell swelling is unlikely to result from glutamine accumulation. Rather, conversion of glutamate to glutamine in a reaction involving ammonia helps reverse Müller cell swelling following exposure to exogenous glutamate.
Epilepsia. Sep, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15329067
Vigabatrin (VGB) is an irreversible inhibitor of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase. Its use as an antiepileptic drug (AED) has been limited because it causes retinal dysfunction, leading to visual field defects (VFDs). We performed this study to identify factors contributing to acute VGB retinotoxicity.
A Specific Role for Ca2+-dependent Adenylyl Cyclases in Recovery from Adaptive Presynaptic Silencing
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. May, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18480272
Glutamate generates fast postsynaptic depolarization throughout the CNS. The positive-feedback nature of glutamate signaling likely necessitates flexible adaptive mechanisms that help prevent runaway excitation. We have previously explored presynaptic adaptive silencing, a form of synaptic plasticity produced by ongoing neuronal activity and by strong depolarization. Unsilencing mechanisms that maintain active synapses and restore normal function after adaptation are also important, but mechanisms underlying such presynaptic reactivation remain unexplored. Here we investigate the involvement of the cAMP pathway in the basal balance between silenced and active synapses, as well as the recovery of baseline function after depolarization-induced presynaptic silencing. Activation of the cAMP pathway activates synapses that are silent at rest, and pharmacological inhibition of cAMP signaling silences basally active synapses. Adenylyl cyclase (AC) 1 and AC8, the major Ca2+-sensitive AC isoforms, are not crucial for the baseline balance between silent and active synapses. In cells from mice doubly deficient in AC1 and AC8, the baseline percentage of active synapses was only modestly reduced compared with wild-type synapses, and forskolin unsilencing was similar in the two genotypes. Nevertheless, after strong presynaptic silencing, recovery of normal function was strongly inhibited in AC1/AC8-deficient synapses. The entire recovery phenotype of the double null was reproduced in AC8-deficient but not AC1-deficient cells. We conclude that, under normal conditions, redundant cyclase activity maintains the balance between presynaptically silent and active synapses, but AC8 plays a particularly important role in rapidly resetting the balance of active to silent synapses after adaptation to strong activity.
Molecular Pharmacology. Oct, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19596835
We have shown that fluorescent, 7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl amino (NBD)-conjugated neurosteroid analogs photopotentiate GABA(A) receptor function. These compounds seem to photosensitize a modification of receptor function, resulting in long-lived increases in responses to exogenous or synaptic GABA. Here we extend this work to examine the effectiveness of different fluorophore positions, conjugations, steroid structures, and fluorophores. Our results are generally in agreement with the idea that steroids with activity at GABA(A) receptors are the most potent photopotentiators. In particular, we find that an unnatural enantiomer of an effective photopotentiating steroid is relatively weak, excluding the idea that membrane solubility alone, which is identical for enantiomer pairs, is solely responsible for potent photopotentiation. Furthermore, there is a significant correlation between baseline GABA(A) receptor activity and photopotentiation. Curiously, both sulfated steroids, which bind a presumed external neurosteroid antagonist site, and hydroxysteroids, which bind an independent site, are effective. We also find that a rhodamine dye conjugated to a 5beta-reduced 3alpha-hydroxy steroid is a particularly potent and effective photopotentiator, with minimal baseline receptor activity up to 10 muM. Steroid conjugated fluorescein and Alexa Fluor 546 also supported photopotentiation, although the Alexa Fluor conjugate was weaker and required 10-fold higher concentration to achieve similar potentiation to the best NBD and rhodamine conjugates. Filling cells with steroid-conjugated or free fluorophores via whole-cell patch pipette did not support photopotentiation. FM1-43, another membrane-targeted, structurally unrelated fluorophore, also produced photopotentiation at micromolar concentrations. We conclude that further optimization of fluorophore and carrier could produce an effective, selective, light-sensitive GABA(A) receptor modulator.