Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (11)
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- PloS One
- Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
- Journal of Neurophysiology
- Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
- Neurobiology of Disease
Articles by Rhiannon M. Meredith in JoVE
Functional Calcium Imaging in Developing Cortical Networks
Julia Dawitz, Tim Kroon, J.J. Johannes Hjorth, Rhiannon M. Meredith
Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, VU University, Amsterdam
Spontaneous activity of developing neuronal networks can be measured using AM-ester forms of calcium-sensitive indicator dyes. Changes in intracellular calcium, indicating neuronal activation, are detected as transient changes in indicator fluorescence with one- or two-photon imaging. This protocol can be adapted for a range of developmentally-dependent neuronal networks in vitro.
Other articles by Rhiannon M. Meredith on PubMed
Maturation of Long-term Potentiation Induction Rules in Rodent Hippocampus: Role of GABAergic Inhibition
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Dec, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14657173
The induction rules of synaptic plasticity are important for the functional operation of a neural network. We asked whether such synaptic plasticity rules change during development from juvenile to adult animals. Using perforated patch and whole-cell recordings from CA1 pyramidal cells in hippocampal slices, we demonstrate here that the postsynaptic requirements for induction of associative long-term potentiation (LTP) shift gradually. Presynaptic stimulation paired with single postsynaptic action potentials became progressively less effective at inducing LTP with advancing developmental age until, in adult hippocampus, postsynaptic bursts of action potentials were necessary to induce synaptic potentiation. This developmental change might be accounted for by changes in GABA(A) receptor-mediated inhibition known to occur in the hippocampus during this postnatal period, because blocking GABA(A) receptor-mediated inhibition re-established the effectiveness of single postsynaptic action potentials at inducing LTP in adult hippocampus. These data reveal a gradual shift in the induction rules for LTP, explained by a maturational change in GABAergic inhibition, and could have implications for our understanding of the role of inhibition in information processing in the brain.
Dissociation of Experience-dependent and -independent Changes in Excitatory Synaptic Transmission During Development of Barrel Cortex
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Oct, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15492224
A fundamental problem in the study of cortical development is the extent to which the formation and refinement of synaptic circuitry depends upon sensory experience. The barrel cortex is a useful model system to study experience-dependent cortical development because there is a simple mapping of individual whiskers to the corresponding barrel columns in the cortex. We investigated experience-dependent and -independent changes in glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the barrel cortex during the second postnatal week by comparing synaptic responses from whisker-intact mice at postnatal day (P) 7 and P14 with those from whisker-deprived mice at P14. alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor-mediated excitatory synaptic responses were recorded from layer 2/3 pyramidal cells in vitro during voltage-clamp in response to stimulation in layer 4. We observed that the ratio of synaptic AMPA- to NMDA-receptor-mediated current (A/N ratio) increased with developmental age. The development of the A/N ratio was unchanged by deprivation of the whisker input throughout the second postnatal week. In contrast, the NMDA-receptor current decay and sensitivity to the NMDA receptor 2B subunit-selective antagonist ifenprodil was affected strongly by such deprivation. These results demonstrate a concurrent dissociation between sensory experience-dependent and -independent changes of glutamatergic transmission in the barrel cortex during the second postnatal week. Furthermore, they suggest that the development of subunit composition of synaptic receptors is dependent on sensory experience, whereas maturation of the synaptic A/N ratio is independent of such experience. Thus, different components of synaptic development may be governed by different developmental rules.
Distributed Network Actions by Nicotine Increase the Threshold for Spike-timing-dependent Plasticity in Prefrontal Cortex
Neuron. Apr, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17408579
Nicotine enhances attention and working memory by activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is critical for these cognitive functions and is also rich in nAChR expression. Specific cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying nicotine's effects on cognition remain elusive. Here we show that nicotine exposure increases the threshold for synaptic spike-timing-dependent potentiation (STDP) in layer V pyramidal neurons of the mouse PFC. During coincident presynaptic and postsynaptic activity, nicotine reduces dendritic calcium signals associated with action potential propagation by enhancing GABAergic transmission. This results from a series of presynaptic actions involving different PFC interneurons and multiple nAChR subtypes. Pharmacological block of nAChRs or GABA(A) receptors prevented nicotine's actions and restored STDP, as did increasing dendritic calcium signals with stronger postsynaptic activity. Thus, by activating nAChRs distributed throughout the PFC neuronal network, nicotine affects PFC information processing and storage by increasing the amount of postsynaptic activity necessary to induce STDP.
Increased Threshold for Spike-timing-dependent Plasticity is Caused by Unreliable Calcium Signaling in Mice Lacking Fragile X Gene FMR1
Neuron. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17521574
Fragile X syndrome, caused by a mutation in the Fmr1 gene, is characterized by mental retardation. Several studies reported the absence of long-term potentiation (LTP) at neocortical synapses in Fmr1 knockout (FMR1-KO) mice, but underlying cellular mechanisms are unknown. We find that in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of FMR1-KO mice, spike-timing-dependent LTP (tLTP) is not so much absent, but rather, the threshold for tLTP induction is increased. Calcium signaling in dendrites and spines is compromised. First, dendrites and spines more often fail to show calcium transients. Second, the activity of L-type calcium channels is absent in spines. tLTP could be restored by improving reliability and amplitude of calcium signaling by increasing neuronal activity. In FMR1-KO mice that were raised in enriched environments, tLTP was restored to WT levels. Our results show that mechanisms for synaptic plasticity are in place in the FMR1-KO mouse PFC, but require stronger neuronal activity to be triggered.
High Speed Two-photon Imaging of Calcium Dynamics in Dendritic Spines: Consequences for Spine Calcium Kinetics and Buffer Capacity
PloS One. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17957255
Rapid calcium concentration changes in postsynaptic structures are crucial for synaptic plasticity. Thus far, the determinants of postsynaptic calcium dynamics have been studied predominantly based on the decay kinetics of calcium transients. Calcium rise times in spines in response to single action potentials (AP) are almost never measured due to technical limitations, but they could be crucial for synaptic plasticity. With high-speed, precisely-targeted, two-photon point imaging we measured both calcium rise and decay kinetics in spines and secondary dendrites in neocortical pyramidal neurons. We found that both rise and decay kinetics of changes in calcium-indicator fluorescence are about twice as fast in spines. During AP trains, spine calcium changes follow each AP, but not in dendrites. Apart from the higher surface-to-volume ratio (SVR), we observed that neocortical dendritic spines have a markedly smaller endogenous buffer capacity with respect to their parental dendrites. Calcium influx time course and calcium extrusion rate were both in the same range for spines and dendrites when fitted with a dynamic multi-compartment model that included calcium binding kinetics and diffusion. In a subsequent analysis we used this model to investigate which parameters are critical determinants in spine calcium dynamics. The model confirmed the experimental findings: a higher SVR is not sufficient by itself to explain the faster rise time kinetics in spines, but only when paired with a lower buffer capacity in spines. Simulations at zero calcium-dye conditions show that calmodulin is more efficiently activated in spines, which indicates that spine morphology and buffering conditions in neocortical spines favor synaptic plasticity.
Double Dissociation of Spike Timing-dependent Potentiation and Depression by Subunit-preferring NMDA Receptor Antagonists in Mouse Barrel Cortex
Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991). Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19363149
Spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) is a strong candidate for an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent form of synaptic plasticity that could underlie the development of receptive field properties in sensory neocortices. Whilst induction of timing-dependent long-term potentiation (t-LTP) requires postsynaptic NMDA receptors, timing-dependent long-term depression (t-LTD) requires the activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses in barrel cortex. Here we investigated the developmental profile of t-LTD at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses of mouse barrel cortex and studied their NMDA receptor subunit dependence. Timing-dependent LTD emerged in the first postnatal week, was present during the second week and disappeared in the adult, whereas t-LTP persisted in adulthood. An antagonist at GluN2C/D subunit-containing NMDA receptors blocked t-LTD but not t-LTP. Conversely, a GluN2A subunit-preferring antagonist blocked t-LTP but not t-LTD. The GluN2C/D subunit requirement for t-LTD appears to be synapse specific, as GluN2C/D antagonists did not block t-LTD at horizontal cross-columnar layer 2/3-to-layer 2/3 synapses, which was blocked by a GluN2B antagonist instead. These data demonstrate an NMDA receptor subunit-dependent double dissociation of t-LTD and t-LTP mechanisms at layer 4-to-layer 2/3 synapses, and suggest that t-LTD is mediated by distinct molecular mechanisms at different synapses on the same postsynaptic neuron.
Journal of Neurophysiology. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20386042
Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21423496
Development of cognitive function requires the formation and refinement of synaptic networks of neurons in the brain. Morphological abnormalities of synaptic spines occur throughout the brain in a wide variety of syndromic and non-syndromic disorders of mental retardation (MR). In both neurons from human post-mortem tissue and mouse models of retardation, the changes observed in synaptic spine and dendritic morphology can be subtle, in the range of 10-20% alterations for spine protrusion length and density. Functionally, synapses in hippocampus and cortex show deficits in long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in an array of neurodevelopmental disorders including Down's, Angelman, Fragile X and Rett syndrome. Recent studies have shown that in principle the machinery for synaptic plasticity is in place in these synapses, but that significant alterations in spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) induction rules exist in cortical synaptic pathways of Fragile X MR syndrome. In this model, the threshold for inducing timing-dependent long-term potentiation (tLTP) is increased in these synapses. Increased postsynaptic activity can overcome this threshold and induce normal levels of tLTP. In this review, we bring together recent studies investigating STDP in neurodevelopmental learning disorders using Fragile X syndrome as a model and we argue that alterations in dendritic excitability underlie deficits seen in STDP. Known and candidate dendritic mechanisms that may underlie the plasticity deficits are discussed. Studying STDP in monogenic MR syndromes with clear deficits in information processing at the cognitive level also provides the field with an opportunity to make direct links between cognition and processing rules at the synapse during development.
Proteomics, Ultrastructure, and Physiology of Hippocampal Synapses in a Fragile X Syndrome Mouse Model Reveal Presynaptic Phenotype
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21596744
Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of hereditary mental retardation, is caused by a loss-of-function mutation of the Fmr1 gene, which encodes fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). FMRP affects dendritic protein synthesis, thereby causing synaptic abnormalities. Here, we used a quantitative proteomics approach in an FXS mouse model to reveal changes in levels of hippocampal synapse proteins. Sixteen independent pools of Fmr1 knock-out mice and wild type mice were analyzed using two sets of 8-plex iTRAQ experiments. Of 205 proteins quantified with at least three distinct peptides in both iTRAQ series, the abundance of 23 proteins differed between Fmr1 knock-out and wild type synapses with a false discovery rate (q-value) <5%. Significant differences were confirmed by quantitative immunoblotting. A group of proteins that are known to be involved in cell differentiation and neurite outgrowth was regulated; they included Basp1 and Gap43, known PKC substrates, and Cend1. Basp1 and Gap43 are predominantly expressed in growth cones and presynaptic terminals. In line with this, ultrastructural analysis in developing hippocampal FXS synapses revealed smaller active zones with corresponding postsynaptic densities and smaller pools of clustered vesicles, indicative of immature presynaptic maturation. A second group of proteins involved in synaptic vesicle release was up-regulated in the FXS mouse model. In accordance, paired-pulse and short-term facilitation were significantly affected in these hippocampal synapses. Together, the altered regulation of presynaptically expressed proteins, immature synaptic ultrastructure, and compromised short-term plasticity points to presynaptic changes underlying glutamatergic transmission in FXS at this stage of development.
Hyperconnectivity and Slow Synapses During Early Development of Medial Prefrontal Cortex in a Mouse Model for Mental Retardation and Autism
Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991). Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21856714
Neuronal theories of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) of autism and mental retardation propose that abnormal connectivity underlies deficits in attentional processing. We tested this theory by studying unitary synaptic connections between layer 5 pyramidal neurons within medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) networks in the Fmr1-KO mouse model for mental retardation and autism. In line with predictions from neurocognitive theory, we found that neighboring pyramidal neurons were hyperconnected during a critical period in early mPFC development. Surprisingly, excitatory synaptic connections between Fmr1-KO pyramidal neurons were significantly slower and failed to recover from short-term depression as quickly as wild type (WT) synapses. By 4-5 weeks of mPFC development, connectivity rates were identical for both KO and WT pyramidal neurons and synapse dynamics changed from depressing to facilitating responses with similar properties in both groups. We propose that the early alteration in connectivity and synaptic recovery are tightly linked: using a network model, we show that slower synapses are essential to counterbalance hyperconnectivity in order to maintain a dynamic range of excitatory activity. However, the slow synaptic time constants induce decreased responsiveness to low-frequency stimulation, which may explain deficits in integration and early information processing in attentional neuronal networks in NDDs.
Functional Rescue of Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in the Developing Hippocampus in Fmr1-KO Mouse
Neurobiology of Disease. Jan, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 20817093
Pharmaceutical treatments are being developed to correct specific behavioural and morphological aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders such as mental retardation. Fragile X syndrome is an X-linked mental retardation with abnormal dendritic protrusions from neurons in the brain. Increased signalling via excitatory metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) pathways is hypothesised to contribute to this disorder. Targeting these receptors has shown improvements in both behaviour and morphology with the Fmr1-KO mouse model for the syndrome. It is not known whether similar changes occur in excitatory synaptic activity following treatment with mGluR antagonists. We tested the effects of prolonged mGluR blockade on excitatory synaptic activity at three developmental time points in hippocampal slices. We observed a rescue effect of the antagonist MPEP upon spontaneous EPSC amplitude and charge at 2 weeks but not 1 week or 8-10 weeks of development. These data support the role of mGluR antagonist treatment for functional synaptic correction at an early developmental stage in a model for fragile X syndrome.