Kenji F Tanaka

Keio University, Edo, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (53)379.37 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is believed to support hippocampus-dependent learning and emotional regulation. These putative functions of adult neurogenesis have typically been studied in isolation, and little is known about how they interact to produce adaptive behavior. We used trace fear conditioning as a model system to elucidate mechanisms through which adult hippocampal neurogenesis modulates processing of aversive experience. To achieve a specific ablation of neurogenesis, we generated transgenic mice that express herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase specifically in neural progenitors and immature neurons. Intracerebroventricular injection of the prodrug ganciclovir caused a robust suppression of neurogenesis without suppressing gliogenesis. Neurogenesis ablation via this method or targeted x-irradiation caused an increase in context conditioning in trace but not delay fear conditioning. Data suggest that this phenotype represents opposing effects of neurogenesis ablation on associative and nonassociative components of fear learning. Arrest of neurogenesis sensitizes mice to nonassociative effects of fear conditioning, as evidenced by increased anxiety-like behavior in the open field after (but not in the absence of) fear conditioning. In addition, arrest of neurogenesis impairs associative trace conditioning, but this impairment can be masked by nonassociative fear. The results suggest that adult neurogenesis modulates emotional learning via two distinct but opposing mechanisms: it supports associative trace conditioning while also buffering against the generalized fear and anxiety caused by fear conditioning. The role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in fear learning is controversial, with some studies suggesting neurogenesis is needed for aspects of fear learning and others suggesting it is dispensable. We generated transgenic mice in which neural progenitors can be selectively and inducibly ablated. Our data suggest that adult neurogenesis supports fear learning through two distinct mechanisms: it supports the ability to learn associations between traumatic events (unconditioned stimuli) and predictors (conditioned stimuli) while also buffering against nonassociative, anxiogenic effects of a traumatic experience. As a result, arrest of neurogenesis can enhance or impair learned fear depending on intensity of the traumatic experience and the extent to which it recruits associative versus nonassociative learning. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/3511330-16$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 08/2015; 35(32):11330-45. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0483-15.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cortical neural activities lead to changes in the cerebral blood flow (CBF), which involves astrocytic control of cerebrovascular tone. However, the manner in which astrocytic activity specifically leads to vasodilation or vasoconstriction is difficult to determine. Here, cortical astrocytes genetically expressing a light-sensitive cation channel, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), were transcranially activated with a blue laser while the spatiotemporal changes in CBF were noninvasively monitored with laser speckle flowgraphy in the anesthetised mouse cortex. A brief photostimulation induced a fast transient increase in CBF. The average response onset time was 0.7 ± 0.7 sec at the activation foci, and this CBF increase spread widely from the irradiation spot with an apparent propagation speed of 0.8-1.1 mm/sec. The broad increase in the CBF could be due to a propagation of diffusible vasoactive signals derived from the stimulated astrocytes. Pharmacological manipulation showed that topical administration of a K(+) channel inhibitor (BaCl2; 0.1-0.5 mM) significantly reduced the photostimulation-induced CBF responses, which indicates that the ChR2-evoked astrocytic activity involves K(+) signalling to the vascular smooth muscle cells. These findings demonstrate a unique model for exploring the role of the astrocytes in gliovascular coupling using non-invasive, time-controlled, cell-type specific perturbations.
    Scientific Reports 06/2015; 5:11455. DOI:10.1038/srep11455 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    Akiyo Natsubori · Norio Takata · Kenji F. Tanaka
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    ABSTRACT: The development of gene-encoded indicators and actuators to observe and manipulate cellular functions is being advanced and investigated. Expressing these probe molecules in glial cells is expected to enable observation and manipulation of glial cell activity, leading to elucidate the behaviors and causal roles of glial cells. The first step toward understanding glial cell functions is to express the probes in sufficient amounts, and the Knockin-mediated ENhanced Gene Expression (KENGE)-tet system provides a strategy for achieving this. In the present article, three examples of KENGE-tet system application are reviewed: depolarization of oligodendrocytes, intracellular acidification of astrocytes, and observation of intracellular calcium levels in the fine processes of astrocytes.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 05/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00176 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the CRISPR/Cas system has enabled one-step generation of knockout mice, low success rates of cassette knock-in limit its application range. Here we show that cloning-free, direct nuclear delivery of Cas9 protein complex with chemically synthesized dual RNAs enables highly efficient target digestion, leading to generation of knock-in mice carrying a functional cassette with up to 50% efficiency, compared with just 10% by a commonly used method consisting of Cas9 mRNA and single guide RNA. Our cloning-free CRISPR/Cas system facilitates rapid one-step generation of cassette knock-in mice, accelerating functional genomic research by providing various in vivo genetic tools. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0653-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Genome biology 04/2015; 16(1):87. DOI:10.1186/s13059-015-0653-x · 10.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cortical spreading depression (CSD) is a phenomenon associated with a propagating large shift in direct current (DC) potential followed by suppression of electrophysiological activity. For temporal analysis of CSD propagation, electrophysiological recording is the most reliable tool. However, it is difficult to completely identify the spatial area of the brain influenced by CSD, because recording sites are technically limited. Histological post hoc identification of activated neurons by labeling the induction of an immediate early gene (IEG) could determine areas of CSD propagation. We found that cortical application of potassium chloride induced expression of Npas4 IEG mRNA in the ipsilateral dorsal cortex. Interestingly, induction of Npas4 was never observed in the ipsilateral hippocampus and there was a clear boundary to the area of Npas4 expression. To determine whether the boundary of the area of Npas4 mRNA expression was the limit of CSD propagation, we recorded local field potentials from multiple sites that crossed the boundary of Npas4 expression. We found that the area of Npas4 mRNA expression coincided with the area of DC-potential shift propagation. We propose that induction of Npas4 identifies the area influenced by CSD propagation. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Neuroscience Research 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neures.2015.04.003 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impulsive and aggressive behaviors are both modulated by serotonergic signaling, specifically through the serotonin 1B receptor (5-HT1BR). 5-HT1BR knockout mice show increased aggression and impulsivity, and 5-HT1BR polymorphisms are associated with aggression and drug addiction in humans. To dissect the mechanisms by which the 5-HT1BR affects these phenotypes, we developed a mouse model to spatially and temporally regulate 5-HT1BR expression. Our results demonstrate that forebrain 5-HT1B heteroreceptors expressed during an early postnatal period contribute to the development of the neural systems underlying adult aggression. However, distinct heteroreceptors acting during adulthood are involved in mediating impulsivity. Correlating with the impulsivity, dopamine in the nucleus accumbens is elevated in the absence of 5-HT1BRs and normalized following adult rescue of the receptor. Overall, these data show that while adolescent expression of 5-HT1BRs influences aggressive behavior, a distinct set of 5-HT1B receptors modulates impulsive behavior during adulthood. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neuron 04/2015; 86(3). DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.041 · 15.98 Impact Factor
  • PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0121417. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121417 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An increase in the ratio of cellular excitation to inhibition (E/I ratio) has been proposed to underlie the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome (TS). A proper E/I ratio is achieved via factors expressed in neuron and glia. In astrocytes, the glutamate transporter GLT1 is critical for regulating an E/I ratio. However, the role of GLT1 dysfunction in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders remains unknown because mice with a complete deficiency of GLT1 exhibited seizures and premature death. Here, we show that astrocyte-specific GLT1 inducible knockout (GLAST(CreERT2/+)/GLT1(flox/flox), iKO) mice exhibit pathological repetitive behaviors including excessive and injurious levels of self-grooming and tic-like head shakes. Electrophysiological studies reveal that excitatory transmission at corticostriatal synapse is normal in a basal state but is increased after repetitive stimulation. Furthermore, treatment with an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist memantine ameliorated the pathological repetitive behaviors in iKO mice. These results suggest that astroglial GLT1 plays a critical role in controlling the synaptic efficacy at cortico-striatal synapses and its dysfunction causes pathological repetitive behaviors.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 09 February 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.26.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2015; 40(7). DOI:10.1038/npp.2015.26 · 7.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin is a neuromodulator that is involved extensively in behavioral, affective, and cognitive functions in the brain. Previous recording studies of the midbrain dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) revealed that the activation of putative serotonin neurons correlates with the levels of behavioral arousal [1], rhythmic motor outputs [2], salient sensory stimuli [3-6], reward, and conditioned cues [5-8]. The classic theory on serotonin states that it opposes dopamine and inhibits behaviors when aversive events are predicted [9-14]. However, the therapeutic effects of serotonin signal-enhancing medications have been difficult to reconcile with this theory [15, 16]. In contrast, a more recent theory states that serotonin facilitates long-term optimal behaviors and suppresses impulsive behaviors [17-21]. To test these theories, we developed optogenetic mice that selectively express channelrhodopsin in serotonin neurons and tested how the activation of serotonergic neurons in the DRN affects animal behavior during a delayed reward task. The activation of serotonin neurons reduced the premature cessation of waiting for conditioned cues and food rewards. In reward omission trials, serotonin neuron stimulation prolonged the time animals spent waiting. This effect was observed specifically when the animal was engaged in deciding whether to keep waiting and was not due to motor inhibition. Control experiments showed that the prolonged waiting times observed with optogenetic stimulation were not due to behavioral inhibition or the reinforcing effects of serotonergic activation. These results show, for the first time, that the timed activation of serotonin neurons during waiting promotes animals' patience to wait for a delayed reward.
    Current Biology 08/2014; 24(17). DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2014.07.041 · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plastic changes in white matter have received considerable attention in relation to normal cognitive function and learning. Oligodendrocytes and myelin, which constitute the white matter in the central nervous system, can respond to neuronal activity with prolonged depolarization of membrane potential and/or an increase in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration. Depolarization of oligodendrocytes increases the conduction velocity of an action potential along axons myelinated by the depolarized oligodendrocytes, indicating that white matter shows functional plasticity, as well as structural plasticity. However, the properties and mechanism of oligodendrocyte depolarization-induced functional plastic changes in white matter are largely unknown. Here, we investigated the functional plasticity of white matter in the hippocampus using mice with oligodendrocytes expressing channelrhodopsin-2. Using extracellular recordings of compound action potentials at the alveus of the hippocampus, we demonstrated that light-evoked depolarization of oligodendrocytes induced early- and late-onset facilitation of axonal conduction that was dependent on the magnitude of oligodendrocyte depolarization; the former lasted for approximately 10 min, whereas the latter continued for up to 3 h. Using whole-cell recordings from CA1 pyramidal cells and recordings of antidromic action potentials, we found that the early-onset short-lasting component included the synchronization of action potentials. Moreover, pharmacological analysis demonstrated that the activation of Ba2+-sensitive K+ channels was involved in early- and late-onset facilitation, whereas 4-aminopyridine-sensitive K+ channels were only involved in the early-onset component. These results demonstrate that oligodendrocyte depolarization induces short- and long-term functional plastic changes in the white matter of the hippocampus and plays active roles in brain functions. GLIA 2014
    Glia 08/2014; 62(8). DOI:10.1002/glia.22681 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes regulate the activity of neighboring neurons by releasing chemical transmitters, including ATP. Adenosine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of mice that express a mutant human glial fibrillary acidic protein in astrocytes are slightly elevated compared to those in wild type mice and this might result from the observed increased release by mutant astrocytes of ATP, which can be used to produce adenosine. Using hippocampal slices from these mutant mice, we examined whether the increased endogenous adenosine levels in the hippocampus modulate the reversal of long-term potentiation (LTP), i.e. depotentiation (DP), in CA1 neurons. In hippocampal slices from wild type mice, a stable LTP was induced by tetanic stimulation consisting of 100 pulses at 100 Hz, and this was reversed by a train of low frequency stimulation (LFS) of 500 pulses at 1 Hz applied 30 min later. This induction of DP was inhibited by application of either 100 nM adenosine or 0.5 nM N6-cyclopentyladenosine, an adenosine A1 receptor agonist, during LFS, indicating that the increase in extracellular adenosine levels attenuated DP induction by acting on adenosine A1 receptors. In contrast, although a stable LTP was also induced in hippocampal slices from mutant mice, induction of DP was inhibited, but DP could be induced by application, during LFS, of 50 nM 8-cyclopentyltheophylline, an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist. These results suggest that a small increase in extracellular adenosine levels resulting from increased ATP release by astrocytes results in attenuation of DP in hippocampal CA1 neurons in the mutant mice.
    Brain Research 08/2014; 1578. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2014.07.005 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Memory traces are believed to be ensembles of cells used to store memories. To visualize memory traces, we created a transgenic line that allows for the comparison between cells activated during encoding and expression of a memory. Mice re-exposed to a fear-inducing context froze more and had a greater percentage of reactivated cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA3 than mice exposed to a novel context. Over time, these differences disappeared, in keeping with the observation that memories become generalized. Optogenetically silencing DG or CA3 cells that were recruited during encoding of a fear-inducing context prevented expression of the corresponding memory. Mice with reduced neurogenesis displayed less contextual memory and less reactivation in CA3 but, surprisingly, normal reactivation in the DG. These studies suggest that distinct memory traces are located in the DG and in CA3 but that the strength of the memory is related to reactivation in CA3. VIDEO ABSTRACT:
    Neuron 07/2014; 83(1):189-201. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.018 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes generate local calcium (Ca(2+)) signals that are thought to regulate their functions. Visualization of these signals in the intact brain requires an imaging method with high spatiotemporal resolution. Here, we describe such a method using transgenic mice expressing the ultrasensitive ratiometric Ca(2+) indicator yellow Cameleon-Nano 50 (YC-Nano50) in astrocytes. In these mice, we detected a unique pattern of Ca(2+) signals. These occur spontaneously, predominantly in astrocytic fine processes, but not the cell body. Upon sensory stimulation, astrocytes initially responded with Ca(2+) signals at fine processes, which then propagated to the cell body. These observations suggest that astrocytic fine processes function as a high-sensitivity detector of neuronal activities. Thus, the method provides a useful tool for studying the activity of astrocytes in brain physiology and pathology.
    Cell Reports 06/2014; 8(1). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.05.056 · 8.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whether increased serotonin (5-HT) release in the forebrain attenuates or enhances anxiety has been controversial for over 25 yr. Although there is considerable indirect evidence, there is no direct evidence that indicates a relationship between acute 5-HT release and anxiety. In particular, there is no known method that can reversibly, selectively, and temporally control serotonergic activity. To address this issue, we generated transgenic animals to manipulate the firing rates of central 5-HT neurons by optogenetic methods. Activation of serotonergic neurons in the median raphe nucleus was correlated to enhanced anxiety-like behaviour in mice, whereas activation of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus had no effect on anxiety-like behaviour. These results indicate that an acute increase in 5-HT release from the median raphe nucleus enhances anxiety.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 05/2014; 17(11):1-7. DOI:10.1017/S1461145714000637 · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a neuropeptide produced in neurons sparsely distributed in the lateral hypothalamic area. Recent studies have reported that MCH neurons are active during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but their physiological role in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness is not fully understood. To determine the physiological role of MCH neurons, newly developed transgenic mouse strains that enable manipulation of the activity and fate of MCH neurons in vivo were generated using the recently developed knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction system. The activity of these cells was controlled by optogenetics by expressing channelrhodopsin2 (E123T/T159C) or archaerhodopsin-T in MCH neurons. Acute optogenetic activation of MCH neurons at 10 Hz induced transitions from non-REM (NREM) to REM sleep and increased REM sleep time in conjunction with decreased NREM sleep. Activation of MCH neurons while mice were in NREM sleep induced REM sleep, but activation during wakefulness was ineffective. Acute optogenetic silencing of MCH neurons using archaerhodopsin-T had no effect on any vigilance states. Temporally controlled ablation of MCH neurons by cell-specific expression of diphtheria toxin A increased wakefulness and decreased NREM sleep duration without affecting REM sleep. Together, these results indicate that acute activation of MCH neurons is sufficient, but not necessary, to trigger the transition from NREM to REM sleep and that MCH neurons also play a role in the initiation and maintenance of NREM sleep.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 05/2014; 34(20):6896-909. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5344-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brain demands high-energy supply and obstruction of blood flow causes rapid deterioration of the healthiness of brain cells. Two major events occur upon ischemia: acidosis and liberation of excess glutamate, which leads to excitotoxicity. However, cellular source of glutamate and its release mechanism upon ischemia remained unknown. Here we show a causal relationship between glial acidosis and neuronal excitotoxicity. As the major cation that flows through channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is proton, this could be regarded as an optogenetic tool for instant intracellular acidification. Optical activation of ChR2 expressed in glial cells led to glial acidification and to release of glutamate. On the other hand, glial alkalization via optogenetic activation of a proton pump, archaerhodopsin (ArchT), led to cessation of glutamate release and to the relief of ischemic brain damage in vivo. Our results suggest that controlling glial pH may be an effective therapeutic strategy for intervention of ischemic brain damage.
    Neuron 01/2014; 81(2):314-20. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.011 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Orexin/hypocretin neurons have a crucial role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Recent optogenetic studies revealed that the activation or inhibition of orexin neuronal activity affects the probability of sleep/wakefulness transition in the acute phase. To expand our understanding of how orexin neurons maintain wakefulness, we generated new transgenic mice in which orexin neurons expressed archaerhodopsin from Halorubrum strain TP009 (ArchT), a green light-driven neuronal silencer, using the tet-off system (orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice). Slice patch clamp recordings of ArchT-expressing orexin neurons demonstrated that long-lasting photic illumination was able to silence the activity of orexin neurons. We further confirmed that green light illumination for 1 hr in the dark period suppressed orexin neuronal activity in vivo using c-Fos expression. Continuous 1 hr silencing of orexin neurons in freely moving orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice during the night (the active period, 20:00-21:00) significantly increased total time spent in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and decreased total wake time. Additionally, photic inhibition increased sleep/wakefulness state transitions, which is also evident in animals lacking the prepro-orexin gene, orexin neurons, or functional orexin-2 receptors. However, continuous 1 hr photic illumination produced little effect on sleep/wakefulness states during the day (the inactive period, 12:00-13:00). These results suggest that orexin neuronal activity plays a crucial role in the maintenance of wakefulness especially in the active phase in mice.
    Behavioural brain research 05/2013; 255. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.05.021 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In chronic demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system, insufficient generation of oligodendrocytes (OLs) is not due to a lack of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), because the accumulation of OPCs and premyelinating OLs can be observed within these lesions. Here we sought to identify the basis for the failure of OLs to achieve terminal differentiation in chronic demyelinating lesions through the utilization of plp1-overexpressing (Plp( tg/-) ) mice. These mice are characterized by progressive demyelination in young adults and chronic demyelinating lesions at more mature stages. We show that neural stem cells, which are the precursors of OL-lineage cells, are present in the Plp( tg/-) mouse brain and that their multipotentiality and ability to self-renew are comparable to those of wild-type adults in culture. Lineage-tracing experiments using a transgenic mouse line, in which an inducible Cre recombinase is knocked in at the Olig2 locus, revealed that Olig2-lineage cells preferentially differentiated into OPCs and premyelinating OLs, but not into astrocytes, in the Plp( tg/-) mouse brain. These Olig2-lineage cells matured to express myelin basic protein but after that their processes degenerated in the chronic demyelinating lesions of the Plp( tg/-) brain. These results indicate that in chronic demyelinated lesions more OL-lineage cells are produced as part of the repair process, but their processes degenerate after maturation. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 02/2013; 91(2). DOI:10.1002/jnr.23153 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes, a major subtype of glia, interact with neurons as a supportive partner supplying energy sources and growth factors. Astrocytes regulate the activity of neighboring neurons by releasing chemical transmitters (gliotransmitters). However, the precise role of gilotransmitters in regulating neuronal activity is still under debate. Here, we report that a subtle enhancement in the release of one gliotransmitter, ATP, affects synaptic potentiation from an analysis of mice containing an astrocyte-selective (GFAP) mutation. We found that, relative to normal mice, weaker stimulation induced long-term potentiation (LTP) in mutant mice, indicating that the threshold to induce LTP was lowered in the mutant. While excitatory transmission was normal in the mutant, inhibitory GABAergic transmission was suppressed. We found that a low concentration of adenosine selectively attenuated inhibitory neuronal activity and lowered the threshold to induce LTP in wild type mice. In comparison, adenosine A(1) receptor antagonism reversed the lowered LTP threshold back to normal in the mutant mouse. We verified that adenosine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of mutant mice were slightly elevated compared to wild type mice. This was apparently caused by an increase in ATP release from mutant astrocytes that could provide a source of augmented adenosine levels in the mutant. ATP is thought to suppress the excitability of neuronal circuits; however, a small increase in ATP release can result in a suppressed inhibitory tone and enhanced excitability of neuronal circuitry. These findings demonstrate that ATP released from astrocytes acts in a bidirectional fashion to regulate neuronal excitability depending on concentration. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Glia 02/2013; 61(2). DOI:10.1002/glia.22427 · 6.03 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
379.37 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012–2015
    • Keio University
      • Department of Neuropsychiatry
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2014
    • New York State Psychiatric Institute
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2005–2013
    • The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
      • • Department of Physiological Sciences
      • • Division of Neurobiology and Bioinformatics
      Миура, Kanagawa, Japan
  • 2008–2012
    • Columbia University
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • College of Physicians and Surgeons
      • • Department of Genetics and Development
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2009
    • National Institutes Of Natural Sciences
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan