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Reorganization of GABAergic circuits maintains GABAA receptor-mediated transmission onto CA1 interneurons in alpha1-subunit-null mice


Schneider Gasser, Edith M; Duveau, Venceslas; Prenosil, George A; Fritschy, Jean-Marc (2007). Reorganization of GABAergic circuits maintains GABAA receptor-mediated transmission onto CA1 interneurons in alpha1-subunit-null mice. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25(11):3287-304.

Abstract

The majority of hippocampal interneurons strongly express GABA(A) receptors containing the alpha1 subunit, suggesting that inhibitory control of interneurons is important for proper function of hippocampal circuits. Here, we investigated with immunohistochemical and electrophysiological techniques how these GABA(A) receptors are replaced in mice carrying a targeted deletion of the alpha1-subunit gene (alpha1(0/0) mice). Using markers of five major populations of CA1 interneurons (parvalbumin, calretinin, calbindin, neuropeptide Y and somatostatin), we show that these interneurons remain unaffected in alpha1(0/0) mice. In triple immunofluorescence staining experiments combining these markers with the GABA(A) receptor alpha1, alpha2 or alpha3 subunit and gephyrin, we demonstrate a strong increase in alpha3- and alpha2-GABA(A) receptors clustered at postsynaptic sites along with gephyrin in most CA1 interneurons in alpha1(0/0) mice. The changes were cell type-specific and resulted in an increased number of GABAergic synapses on interneurons. These adjustments were mirrored functionally by retention of spontaneous IPSCs with prolonged decay kinetics, as shown by whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of CA1 interneurons. However, a significant decrease in frequency and amplitude of miniature IPSCs was evident, suggesting reduced affinity of postsynaptic receptors and/or impaired vesicular GABA release. Finally, to assess whether these compensatory changes are sufficient to protect against a pathological challenge, we tested the susceptibility of alpha1(0/0) mice against kainic acid-induced excitotoxicity. No genotype difference was observed in the effects of kainic acid, indicating that the absence of a major GABA(A) receptor subtype is functionally compensated for in hippocampal interneurons by a reorganization of inhibitory circuits.

Abstract

The majority of hippocampal interneurons strongly express GABA(A) receptors containing the alpha1 subunit, suggesting that inhibitory control of interneurons is important for proper function of hippocampal circuits. Here, we investigated with immunohistochemical and electrophysiological techniques how these GABA(A) receptors are replaced in mice carrying a targeted deletion of the alpha1-subunit gene (alpha1(0/0) mice). Using markers of five major populations of CA1 interneurons (parvalbumin, calretinin, calbindin, neuropeptide Y and somatostatin), we show that these interneurons remain unaffected in alpha1(0/0) mice. In triple immunofluorescence staining experiments combining these markers with the GABA(A) receptor alpha1, alpha2 or alpha3 subunit and gephyrin, we demonstrate a strong increase in alpha3- and alpha2-GABA(A) receptors clustered at postsynaptic sites along with gephyrin in most CA1 interneurons in alpha1(0/0) mice. The changes were cell type-specific and resulted in an increased number of GABAergic synapses on interneurons. These adjustments were mirrored functionally by retention of spontaneous IPSCs with prolonged decay kinetics, as shown by whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of CA1 interneurons. However, a significant decrease in frequency and amplitude of miniature IPSCs was evident, suggesting reduced affinity of postsynaptic receptors and/or impaired vesicular GABA release. Finally, to assess whether these compensatory changes are sufficient to protect against a pathological challenge, we tested the susceptibility of alpha1(0/0) mice against kainic acid-induced excitotoxicity. No genotype difference was observed in the effects of kainic acid, indicating that the absence of a major GABA(A) receptor subtype is functionally compensated for in hippocampal interneurons by a reorganization of inhibitory circuits.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:June 2007
Deposited On:19 Jan 2017 08:53
Last Modified:22 Jan 2017 06:17
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0953-816X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05558.x
PubMed ID:17552997

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