Vesicular glutamate transporters define two sets of glutamatergic afferents to the somatosensory thalamus and two thalamocortical projections in the mouse.
ABSTRACT The ventral posterior nucleus of the thalamus (VP) receives two major sets of excitatory inputs, one from the ascending somatosensory pathways originating in the dorsal horn, dorsal column nuclei, and trigeminal nuclei, and the other originating from the cerebral cortex. Both systems use glutamate as neurotransmitter, as do the thalamocortical axons relaying somatosensory information from the VP to the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). The synapses formed by these projection systems differ anatomically, physiologically, and in their capacity for short-term synaptic plasticity. Glutamate uptake into synaptic vesicles and its release at central synapses depend on two isoforms of vesicular glutamate transporters, VGluT1 and VGluT2. Despite ample evidence of their complementary distribution, some instances exist of co-localization in the same brain areas or at the same synapses. In the thalamus, the two transcripts coexist in cells of the VP and other nuclei but not in the posterior or intralaminar nuclei. We show that the two isoforms are completely segregated at VP synapses, despite their widespread expression throughout the dorsal and ventral thalamus. We present immunocytochemical, ultrastructural, gene expression, and connectional evidence that VGluT1 in the VP is only found at corticothalamic synapses, whereas VGluT2 is only found at terminals made by axons originating in the spinal cord and brainstem. By contrast, the two VGluT isoforms are co-localized in thalamocortical axon terminals targeting layer IV, but not in those targeting layer I, suggesting the presence of two distinct projection systems related to the core/matrix pattern of organization of thalamocortical connectivity described in other mammals.
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ABSTRACT: A large forebrain circuit, including the thalamus, amygdala and frontal cortical regions, is responsible for the establishment and extinction of fear-related memories. Understanding interactions among these three regions is critical to deciphering the basic mechanisms of fear. With the advancement of molecular and optogenetics techniques, the mouse has become the main species used to study fear-related behaviours. However, the basic connectivity pattern of the forebrain circuits involved in processing fear has not been described in this species. In this study we mapped the connectivity between three key nodes of the circuit, i.e. the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA), the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD) and the medial prefrontal cortex, which were shown to have closed triangular connectivity in rats. In contrast to rat, we found no evidence for this closed loop in mouse. There was no major input from the BLA to the MD and little overlap between medial prefrontal regions connected with both the BLA and MD. The common nodes in the frontal cortex, which displayed reciprocal connection with both the BLA and MD were the agranular insular cortex and the border zone of the cingulate and secondary motor cortex. In addition, the BLA can indirectly affect the MD via the orbital cortex. We attribute the difference between our results and earlier rat studies to methodological problems rather than to genuine species difference. Our data demonstrate that the BLA and MD communicate via cortical sectors, the roles in fear-related behaviour of which have not been extensively studied. In general, our study provides the morphological framework for studies of murine fear-related behaviours.European Journal of Neuroscience 05/2014; · 3.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Vesicular glutamate transporter isoforms, VGluT1-VGluT3, accumulate glutamate into synaptic vesicles and are considered to be important molecules in glutamatergic transmission. Among them, VGluT2 mRNA is expressed predominantly throughout the dorsal thalamus, whereas VGluT1 mRNA is expressed in a few thalamic nuclei. In the thalamic nuclei that project to the retrosplenial cortex (RSC), VGluT1 mRNA is expressed strongly in the anterodorsal thalamic nucleus (AD), is expressed moderately in the anteroventral and laterodorsal thalamic nuclei, and is not expressed in the anteromedial thalamic nucleus. Thus, it has been strongly suggested that a subset of thalamocortical projections to RSC possesses both VGluT1 and VGluT2. In this study, double-labeled neuronal somata showing both VGluT1 and VGluT2 immunolabelings were found exclusively in the ventral region of AD (vAD). Many double-labeled axon terminals were also found in two major targets of vAD, the rostral part of the reticular thalamic nucleus and layers Ia and III-IV of the retrosplenial granular b cortex (RSGb). Some were also found in layer Ia of the retrosplenial granular a cortex (RSGa). These axon terminals contain significant amounts of both VGluTs. Because the subset of thalamocortical projections to RSC has a unique molecular basis in the glutamatergic transmission system, it might play an important role in the higher cognitive functions processed in the RSC. Furthermore, double-labeled axon terminals of a different type were distributed in RSGb and RSGa. Because they are small and the immunoreactivity of VGluT2 is significantly weaker than that of VGluT1, they seemed to be a subset of corticocortical terminals. J. Comp. Neurol. 522:2089-2106, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.The Journal of Comparative Neurology 06/2014; · 3.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Comprehensive knowledge of the brain's wiring diagram is fundamental for understanding how the nervous system processes information at both local and global scales. However, with the singular exception of the C. elegans microscale connectome, there are no complete connectivity data sets in other species. Here we report a brain-wide, cellular-level, mesoscale connectome for the mouse. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas uses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-expressing adeno-associated viral vectors to trace axonal projections from defined regions and cell types, and high-throughput serial two-photon tomography to image the EGFP-labelled axons throughout the brain. This systematic and standardized approach allows spatial registration of individual experiments into a common three dimensional (3D) reference space, resulting in a whole-brain connectivity matrix. A computational model yields insights into connectional strength distribution, symmetry and other network properties. Virtual tractography illustrates 3D topography among interconnected regions. Cortico-thalamic pathway analysis demonstrates segregation and integration of parallel pathways. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas is a freely available, foundational resource for structural and functional investigations into the neural circuits that support behavioural and cognitive processes in health and disease.Nature 04/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor