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: Astrocytes participate in information processing by actively modulating synaptic properties via gliotransmitter release. Various mechanisms of astrocytic release have been reported, including release from storage organelles via exocytosis and release from the cytosol via plasma membrane ion channels and pumps. It is still not fully clear which mechanisms operate under which conditions, but some of them, being Ca(2+)-regulated, may be physiologically relevant. The properties of Ca(2+)-dependent transmitter release via exocytosis or via ion channels are different and expected to produce different extracellular transmitter concentrations over time and to have distinct functional consequences. The molecular aspects of these two release pathways are still under active investigation. Here, we discuss the existing morphological and functional evidence in support of either of them. Transgenic mouse models, specific antagonists and localization studies have provided insight into regulated exocytosis, albeit not in a systematic fashion. Even more remains to be uncovered about the details of channel-mediated release. Better functional tools and improved ultrastructural approaches are needed in order fully to define specific modalities and effects of astrocytic gliotransmitter release pathways.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 10/2014; 369(1654). · 6.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits in fragile X syndrome (FXS) are attributed to molecular abnormalities of the brain's vast and heterogeneous synapse populations. Unfortunately, the density of synapses coupled with their molecular heterogeneity presents formidable challenges in understanding the specific contribution of synapse changes in FXS. We demonstrate powerful new methods for the large-scale molecular analysis of individual synapses that allow quantification of numerous specific changes in synapse populations present in the cortex of a mouse model of FXS. Analysis of nearly a million individual synapses reveals distinct, quantitative changes in synaptic proteins distributed across over 6,000 pairwise metrics. Some, but not all, of these synaptic alterations are reversed by treatment with the candidate therapeutic fenobam, an mGluR5 antagonist. These patterns of widespread, but diverse synaptic protein changes in response to global perturbation suggest that FXS and its treatment must be understood as a networked system at the synapse level. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Neuron 12/2014; 84(6):1273-86. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dynamic thalamic regulation of sensory signals allows the cortex to adjust better to rapidly changing behavioral, physiological and environmental demands. To fulfill this role, thalamic neurons must themselves be subjected to constantly changing modulatory inputs that originate in multiple neurochemical pathways involved in autonomic, affective and cognitive functions. Our overall goal is to define an anatomical framework for conceptualizing how a 'decision' is made on whether a trigeminovascular thalamic neuron fires, for how long, and at what frequency. To begin answering this question, we determine which neuropeptides/neurotransmitters are in a position to modulate thalamic trigeminovascular neurons. Using a combination of in-vivo single-unit recording, juxtacellular labeling with tetramethylrhodamine dextran (TMR) and in-vitro immunohistochemistry, we found that thalamic trigeminovascular neurons were surrounded by high density of axons containing biomarkers of glutamate, GABA, dopamine and serotonin; moderate density of axons containing noradrenaline and histamine; low density of axons containing orexin and melanin concentrating hormone (MCH); but not axons containing CGRP, serotonin 1D receptor, oxytocin or vasopressin. In the context of migraine, the findings suggest that the transmission of headache-related nociceptive signals from the thalamus to the cortex may be modulated by opposing forces (i.e., facilitatory, inhibitory) that are governed by continuous adjustments needed to keep physiological, behavioral, cognitive and emotional homeostasis.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e103929. · 3.53 Impact Factor