Homeostatic strengthening of inhibitory synapses is mediated by the accumulation of GABA A receptors

Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 11/2011; 31(48):17701-12. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4476-11.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity scale synaptic strength according to changes in overall activity to maintain stability in neuronal network function. This study investigated mechanisms of GABAergic homeostatic plasticity. Cultured neurons exposed to depolarizing conditions reacted with an increased firing rate (high activity, HA) that normalized to control levels after 48 h of treatment. HA-treated hippocampal neurons displayed an attenuated response to further changes in depolarization, and the firing rate in HA-treated neurons increased above normalized levels when inhibition was partially reduced back to the level of control neurons. The amplitude and frequency of mIPSCs in hippocampal neurons increased after 48 h of HA, and increases in the size of GABA(A) receptor γ2 subunit clusters and presynaptic GAD-65 puncta were observed. Investigation of the time course of inhibitory homeostasis suggested that accumulation of GABA(A) receptors preceded presynaptic increases in GAD-65 puncta size. Interestingly, the size of GABA(A) receptor γ2 subunit clusters that colocalized with GAD-65 were larger at 12 h, coinciding in time with the increase found in mIPSC amplitude. The rate of internalization of GABA(A) receptors, a process involved in regulating the surface expression of inhibitory receptors, was slower in HA-treated neurons. These data also suggest that increased receptor expression was consolidated with presynaptic changes. HA induced an increase in postsynaptic GABA(A) receptors through a decrease in the rate of internalization, leading to larger synaptically localized receptor clusters that increased GABAergic synaptic strength and contributed to the homeostatic stabilization of neuronal firing rate.

  • Source
    • "Previous results have reported that the hyperexcitationinduced homeostatic plasticity would result from a synaptic downscaling occurring at both excitatory (Chang et al, 2010; Goold and Nicoll, 2010) and inhibitory synapses (Hartmann et al, 2008; Rannals and Kapur, 2011). Although several mechanisms might be at the basis of such complex event, we concentrated our study on the downregulation of the VGNa þ channel-mediated intrinsic excitability of excitatory "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Intrinsic homeostasis enables neuronal circuits to maintain activity levels within an appropriate range by modulating neuronal voltage-gated conductances, but the signalling pathways involved in this process are largely unknown. We characterized the process of intrinsic homeostasis induced by sustained electrical activity in cultured hippocampal neurons based on the activation of the Repressor Element-1 Silencing Transcription Factor/Neuron-Restrictive Silencer Factor (REST/NRSF). We showed that 4-aminopyridine-induced hyperactivity enhances the expression of REST/NRSF, which in turn, reduces the expression of voltage-gated Na(+) channels, thereby decreasing the neuronal Na(+) current density. This mechanism plays an important role in the downregulation of the firing activity at the single-cell level, re-establishing a physiological spiking activity in the entire neuronal network. Conversely, interfering with REST/NRSF expression impaired this homeostatic response. Our results identify REST/NRSF as a critical factor linking neuronal activity to the activation of intrinsic homeostasis and restoring a physiological level of activity in the entire neuronal network.
    The EMBO Journal 10/2013; 32. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2013.231 · 10.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "This was postulated to work through both post-and pre-synaptic mechanisms. The former through an increase in the number of post-synaptic GABA A receptors, whereas the latter is mediated through the release of BDNF, a well-known retrograde signal, which leads to an up-regulation of inhibitory input by acting on the presynaptic side (Hartman et al., 2006; Peng et al., 2010; Rannals and Kapur, 2011). Hence, homeostasis of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs onto pyramidal cells can be achieved through regulation of spiking activity and/or a retrograde signaling from efferent synaptic partners (Harris, 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Functional neuronal homeostasis has been studied in a variety of model systems and contexts. Many studies have shown that there are a number of changes that can be activated within individual cells or networks in order to compensate for perturbations or changes in levels of activity. Dissociating the cell autonomous from the network-mediated events has been complicated due to the difficulty of sparsely targeting specific populations of neurons in vivo. Here, we make use of a recent in vivo approach we developed that allows for the sparse labeling and manipulation of activity within superficial caudal ganglionic eminence (CGE)-derived GABAergic interneurons. Expression of the inward rectifying potassium channel Kir2.1 cell-autonomously reduced neuronal activity and lead to specific developmental changes in their intrinsic electrophysiological properties and the synaptic input they received. In contrast to previous studies on homeostatic scaling of pyramidal cells, we did not detect any of the typically observed compensatory mechanisms in these interneurons. Rather, we instead saw a specific alteration of the kinetics of excitatory synaptic events within the reelin-expressing subpopulation of interneurons. These results provide the first in vivo observations for the capacity of interneurons to cell-autonomously regulate their excitability.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 09/2012; 6:66. DOI:10.3389/fncir.2012.00066 · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Indeed, rapid modulation of GABA reuptake into terminals can be one mechanism that alters its cytosolic concentration (Mathews and Diamond, 2003; Hartmann et al., 2008). Our results corroborate and extend previous findings in rat hippocampal neurons (Hartman et al., 2006) that the quantal size of inhibitory transmission can be regulated by changes in vesicle filling, in addition to regulation by postsynaptic receptor composition (Kilman et al., 2002; Saliba et al., 2007; Rannals and Kapur, 2011). For excitatory transmission, a prevailing view is that the postsynaptic sensitivity to glutamate release largely determines the quantal size for an individual synapse as the vesicular content of glutamate is relatively constant (Lisman et al., 2007). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Persistent alterations in network activity trigger compensatory changes in excitation and inhibition that restore neuronal firing rate to an optimal range. One example of such synaptic homeostasis is the downregulation of inhibitory transmission by chronic inactivity, in part through the reduction of vesicular transmitter content. The enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) is critical for GABA synthesis, but its involvement in homeostatic plasticity is unclear. We explored the role of GAD67 in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity using a mouse line (Gad1(-/-)) in which GAD67 expression is disrupted by genomic insertion of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). Homozygous deletion of Gad1 significantly reduced miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current (mIPSC) amplitudes and GABA levels in cultured hippocampal neurons. The fractional block of mIPSC amplitude by a low affinity, competitive GABA(A) receptor antagonist was higher in GAD67-lacking neurons, suggesting that GABA concentration in the synaptic cleft is lower in knockout animals. Chronic suppression of activity by the application of tetrodotoxin (TTX) reduced mIPSC amplitudes and the levels of GAD67 and GABA. Moreover, TTX reduced GFP levels in interneurons, suggesting that GAD67 gene expression is a key regulatory target of activity. These in vitro experiments were corroborated by in vivo studies in which olfactory deprivation reduced mIPSC amplitudes and GFP levels in glomerular neurons in the olfactory bulb. Importantly, TTX-induced downregulation of mIPSC was attenuated in Gad1(-/-) neurons. Altogether, these findings indicate that activity-driven expression of GAD67 critically controls GABA synthesis and, thus, vesicular filling of the transmitter.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2012; 32(25):8521-31. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1245-12.2012 · 6.75 Impact Factor
Show more


Available from