Hippocampal Granule Cells Opt for Early Retirement

The Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Centre for Biology of Memory, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Hippocampus (Impact Factor: 4.16). 10/2010; 20(10):1109-23. DOI: 10.1002/hipo.20810
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Increased excitability and plasticity of adult-generated hippocampal granule cells during a critical period suggests that they may "orthogonalize" memories according to time. One version of this "temporal tag" hypothesis suggests that young granule cells are particularly responsive during a specific time period after their genesis, allowing them to play a significant role in sculpting CA3 representations, after which they become much less responsive to any input. An alternative possibility is that the granule cells active during their window of increased plasticity, and excitability become selectively tuned to events that occurred during that time and participate in later reinstatement of those experiences, to the exclusion of other cells. To discriminate between these possibilities, rats were exposed to different environments at different times over many weeks, and cell activation was subsequently assessed during a single session in which all environments were revisited. Dispersing the initial experiences in time did not lead to the increase in total recruitment at reinstatement time predicted by the selective tuning hypothesis. The data indicate that, during a given time frame, only a very small number of granule cells participate in many experiences, with most not participating significantly in any. Based on these and previous data, the small excitable population of granule cells probably correspond to the most recently generated cells. It appears that, rather than contributing to the recollection of long past events, most granule cells, possibly 90-95%, are effectively "retired." If granule cells indeed sculpt CA3 representations (which remains to be shown), then a possible consequence of having a new set of granule cells participate when old memories are reinstated is that new representations of these experiences might be generated in CA3. Whatever the case, the present data may be interpreted to undermine the standard "orthogonalizer" theory of the role of the dentate gyrus in memory.

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Available from: Diano F Marrone, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "The hippocampus and associated cortices are neural structures thought to be fundamentally involved in the learning and retention of facts, events and space in time (Alme et al. 2010; Buzsáki and Moser 2013). In mammals, the hippocampus is reciprocally connected, through the entorhinal cortex, to virtually all areas of the neocortex. "
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    ABSTRACT: The hippocampus is essential for the formation and retrieval of memories and is a crucial neural structure sub-serving complex cognition. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the birth, migration and integration of new neurons, is thought to contribute to hippocampal circuit plasticity to augment function. We evaluated hippocampal volume in relation to brain volume in 375 mammal species and examined 71 mammal species for the presence of adult hippocampal neurogenesis using immunohistochemistry for doublecortin, an endogenous marker of immature neurons that can be used as a proxy marker for the presence of adult neurogenesis. We identified that the hippocampus in cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) is both absolutely and relatively small for their overall brain size, and found that the mammalian hippocampus scaled as an exponential function in relation to brain volume. In contrast, the amygdala was found to scale as a linear function of brain volume, but again, the relative size of the amygdala in cetaceans was small. The cetacean hippocampus lacks staining for doublecortin in the dentate gyrus and thus shows no clear signs of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. This lack of evidence of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, along with the small hippocampus, questions current assumptions regarding cognitive abilities associated with hippocampal function in the cetaceans. These anatomical features of the cetacean hippocampus may be related to the lack of postnatal sleep, causing a postnatal cessation of hippocampal neurogenesis.
    Brain Structure and Function 01/2015; 220(1):361. DOI:10.1007/s00429-013-0660-1 · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    • "Although it is possible to use an alternative IEG imaging approach more appropriate for the DG (Satvat et al., 2011), there are still important technical issues. For instance, electrophysiological data indicate that granule cells have sparse firing rates and that they can fire in multiple environments (Jung and McNaughton, 1993; Skaggs et al., 1996; Leutgeb et al., 2007; Alme et al., 2010). Importantly , very few granule cells (ϳ2%) are active during exploration to different environments (Chawla et al., 2005; Ramirez-Amaya et al., 2006, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is known that immune system activation can impair cognition, no study to date has linked cognitive deficits during acute neuroinflammation to dysregulation of task-relevant neuronal ensemble activity. Here, we assessed both neural circuit activity and context discrimination memory retrieval, in a within-subjects design, of male rats given systemic administration of saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Rats were exposed over several days to two similar contexts: one of which was paired with weak foot shock and the other was not. After reaching criteria for discriminative freezing, rats were given systemic LPS or saline injection and tested for retrieval of context discrimination 6 h later. Importantly, LPS administration produced an acute neuroinflammatory response in dorsal hippocampus at this time (as assessed by elevation of proinflammatory cytokine mRNA levels) and abolished retrieval of the previously acquired discrimination. The impact of neuroinflammation on hippocampal CA3 and CA1 neural circuit activity was assessed using the Arc/Homer1a cellular analysis of temporal activity by fluorescence in situ hybridization imaging method. Whereas the saline-treated subjects discriminated and had low overlap of hippocampal ensembles activated in the two contexts, LPS-treated subjects did not discriminate and had greater ensemble overlap (i.e., reduced orthogonalization). Additionally, retrieval of standard contextual fear conditioning, which does not require context discrimination, was not affected by pretesting LPS administration. Together, the behavioral and circuit analyses data provide compelling evidence that LPS administration impairs context discrimination memory by disrupting cellular pattern separation processes within the hippocampus, thus linking acute neuroinflammation to disruption of specific neural circuit functions and cognitive impairment.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 09/2014; 34(37):12470-80. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0542-14.2014 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    • "However, since the response speed ratio of inner to outer DG cells is roughly maintained in epileptic animals, it is possible that dentate function is maintained during ID scaling. Alternatively, or in addition, the ID regulation may be a molecular mechanism for the “early retirement” of DG cells (Alme et al., 2010). Accordingly one may formulate: faced with epileptic excitotoxicity, DG cells opt to retire, lose and survive, rather than to win and die. "
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    ABSTRACT: Action potential (AP) responses of dentate gyrus granule (DG) cells have to be tightly regulated to maintain hippocampal function. However, which ion channels control the response delay of DG cells is not known. In some neuron types, spike latency is influenced by a dendrotoxin (DTX)-sensitive delay current (ID) mediated by unidentified combinations of voltage-gated K(+) (Kv) channels of the Kv1 family Kv1.1-6. In DG cells, the ID has not been characterized and its molecular basis is unknown. The response phenotype of mature DG cells is usually considered homogenous but intrinsic plasticity likely occurs in particular in conditions of hyperexcitability, for example during temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). In this study, we examined response delays of DG cells and underlying ion channel molecules by employing a combination of gramicidin-perforated patch-clamp recordings in acute brain slices and single-cell reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (SC RT-qPCR) experiments. An in vivo mouse model of TLE consisting of intrahippocampal kainate (KA) injection was used to examine epilepsy-related plasticity. Response delays of DG cells were DTX-sensitive and strongly increased in KA-injected hippocampi; Kv1.1 mRNA was elevated 10-fold, and the response delays correlated with Kv1.1 mRNA abundance on the single cell level. Other Kv1 subunits did not show overt changes in mRNA levels. Kv1.1 immunolabeling was enhanced in KA DG cells. The biophysical properties of ID and a delay heterogeneity within the DG cell population was characterized. Using organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHCs), where KA incubation also induced ID upregulation, the homeostatic reversibility and neuroprotective potential for DG cells were tested. In summary, the AP timing of DG cells is effectively controlled via scaling of Kv1.1 subunit transcription. With this antiepileptic mechanism, DG cells delay their responses during hyperexcitation.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 12/2013; 7:248. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2013.00248 · 4.29 Impact Factor
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