[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Effective spatial navigation is enabled by reliable reference cues that derive from sensory information from the external environment, as well as from internal sources such as the vestibular system. The integration of information from these sources enables dead reckoning in the form of path integration. Navigation in the dark is associated with the accumulation of errors in terms of perception of allocentric position and this may relate to error accumulation in path integration. We assessed this by recording from place cells in the dark under circumstances where spatial sensory cues were suppressed. Spatial information content, spatial coherence, place field size, and peak and infield firing rates decreased whereas sparsity increased following exploration in the dark compared to the light. Nonetheless it was observed that place field stability in darkness was sustained by border information in a subset of place cells. To examine the impact of encountering the environment's border on navigation, we analyzed the trajectory and spiking data gathered during navigation in the dark. Our data suggest that although error accumulation in path integration drives place field drift in darkness, under circumstances where border contact is possible, this information is integrated to enable retention of spatial representations.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 06/2014; 8:222. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experience-dependent synaptic plasticity is widely expressed in the mammalian brain and is believed to underlie memory formation. Persistent forms of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) are particularly of interest, as evidence is accumulating that they are expressed as a consequence of, or at the very least in association with, hippocampus-dependent novel learning events. Learning-facilitated plasticity describes the property of hippocampal synapses to express persistent synaptic plasticity when novel spatial learning is combined with afferent stimulation that is subthreshold for induction of changes in synaptic strength. In mice it occurs following novel object recognition and novel object-place recognition. Calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CAMKII) is strongly expressed in synapses and has been shown to be required for hippocampal LTP in vitro and for spatial learning in the water maze. Here, we show that in mice that undergo persistent inhibitory autophosphorylation of αCAMKII, object-place learning is intact. Furthermore, these animals demonstrate a higher threshold for induction of persistent (>24h) hippocampal LTP in the hippocampal CA1 region during unrestrained behaviour. The transgenic mice also express short-term depression in response to afferent stimulation frequencies that are ineffective in controls. Furthermore, they express stronger LTD in response to novel learning of spatial configurations compared to controls. These findings support that modulation of αCAMKII activity via autophosphorylation at the Thr305/306 site comprises a key mechanism for the maintenance of synaptic plasticity within a dynamic range. They also indicate that a functional differentiation occurs in the way spatial information is encoded: whereas LTP is likely to be critically involved in the encoding of space per se, LTD appears to play a special role in the encoding of the content or features of space.
Behavioural brain research 01/2014; · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic plasticity comprises a cellular mechanism through which the hippocampus most likely enables memory formation. Neuromodulation, related to arousal, is a key aspect in information storage. The activation of locus coeruleus (LC) neurons by novel experience leads to noradrenaline release in the hippocampus at the level of the dentate gyrus (DG). We explored whether synaptic plasticity in the DG is influenced by activation of the LC via electrical stimulation. Coupling of test-pulses that evoked stable basal synaptic transmission in the DG with stimulation of the LC induced β-adrenoreceptor-dependent long-term depression (LTD) at perforant path-DG synapses in adult rats. Furthermore, persistent LTD (>24 h) induced by perforant path stimulation also required activation of β-adrenergic receptors: Whereas a β-adrenergic receptor antagonist (propranolol) prevented, an agonist (isoproterenol) strengthened the persistence of LTD for over 24 h. These findings support the hypothesis that persistent LTD in the DG is modulated by β-adrenergic receptors. Furthermore, LC activation potently facilitates DG LTD. This suggests in turn that synaptic plasticity in the DG is tightly regulated by activity in the noradrenergic system. This may reflect the role of the LC in selecting salient information for subsequent synaptic processing in the hippocampus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Noncompetitive N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonists such as phencyclidine and MK-801 are known to impair cognitive function in rodents and humans, and serve as a useful tool to study the cellular basis for pathogenesis of schizophrenia cognitive symptoms. In the present study, we tested in rats the effect of MK-801 on ventral hippocampus (HPC)-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) synaptic transmission and the performance in 2 cognitive tasks. We found that single injection of MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) induced gradual and long-lasting increases of the HPC-mPFC response, which shares the common expression mechanisms with long-term potentiation (LTP). But unlike LTP, its induction required no enhanced or synchronized synaptic inputs, suggesting aberrant characteristics. In parallel, rats injected with MK-801 showed impairments of mPFC-dependent cognitive flexibility and HPC-mPFC pathway-dependent spatial working memory. The effects of MK-801 on HPC-mPFC responses and spatial working memory decayed in parallel within 24 h. Moreover, the therapeutically important subtype 2/3 metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist LY379268, which blocked MK-801-induced potentiation, ameliorated the MK-801-induced impairment of spatial working memory. Our results show a novel form of use-independent long-lasting potentiation in HPC-mPFC pathway induced by MK-801, which is associated with impairment of HPC-mPFC projection-dependent cognitive function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spatial encoding in the hippocampus is multifactorial, and it is well established that metric information about space is conferred by place cells that fire when an animal finds itself in a specific environmental location. Visuospatial contexts comprise a key element in the formation of place fields. Nevertheless, hippocampus does not only use visual cues to generate spatial representations. In the absence of visual input, both humans and other vertebrates studied in this context, are capable of generating very effective spatial representations. However, little is known about the relationship between nonvisual sensory modalities and the establishment of place fields. Substantial evidence exists that olfactory information can be used to learn spatial contexts. Here, we report that learning about a distinct odor constellation in an environment, where visual and auditory cues are suppressed, results in stable place fields that rotate when the odor constellations are rotated and remap when the odor constellations are shuffled. These data support that the hippocampus can use nonvisuospatial resources, and specifically can use spatial olfactory information, to generate spatial representations. Despite the less precise nature of olfactory stimuli compared with visual stimuli, these can substitute for visual inputs to enable the acquisition of metric information about space.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: De novo gene transcription is a prerequisite for long-term information storage in the brain. Learning-facilitated synaptic plasticity describes the ability of hippocampal synapses to respond with long-lasting synaptic plasticity to the coupling of afferent stimulation with a spatial learning experience. Strikingly, long-term depression (LTD) is facilitated by context-dependent spatial learning experiences suggesting it may play a role in information storage to enable spatial memory. Here, we investigated if learning-facilitated LTD requires the transcription factor, c-Fos and is transcription-dependent. Novel spatial learning about object-place configurations coupled with weak low frequency afferent stimulation induced robust LTD in control animals that persisted for>24h and was associated with elevations in hippocampal expression of c-Fos. Intracerebral application of a c-fos antisense oligonucleotide prevented the facilitation of LTD by novel spatial learning, inhibited elevations of c-Fos triggered by LTD and impaired spatial learning. The expression of the transcription factor zif268 was unaffected by the c-fos antisense oligonucleotide. Learning-facilitated LTD was prevented by a transcription inhibitor. These data support that learning-facilitated LTD requires elevations in c-Fos and is transcription dependent. The observation that LTD shares key regulatory mechanisms with learning and memory processes argues strongly for a role for this form of synaptic plasticity in long-term information storage in the hippocampus.
Behavioural brain research 04/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hippocampus may be functionally differentiated along its dorsoventral axis. In contrast to the wealth of data available on synaptic plasticity mechanisms in the dorsal hippocampus, little is known about synaptic plasticity processes in the intermediate hippocampus. Behavioural data suggest that this structure may play a distinct role in learning and memory. Here, we compared amplitudes, frequency-dependency and persistency of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in the dorsal (DDG) and intermediate dentate gyrus (IDG). In freely moving rats, high-frequency stimulation (HFS) at 200Hz (10 burst of 15 stimuli) elicited LTP of similar magnitude in both structures that persisted for over 24h. The intermediate dentate gyrus is more likely to exhibit persistent LTP than its dorsal counterpart, however: HFS at 200Hz (3 or 1 burst(s)) or 100Hz elicited short-term potentiation (STP) in DDG, unlike in the IDG, where LTP could be recorded for at least 4 hours. Whereas low frequency stimulation (LFS) at 1Hz elicited long-lasting LTD (>24h) in the DDG, it had no significant effect on fEPSP profile in the IDG. LFS at 2 Hz elicited short-term depression in DDG and had no effect in IDG. LTP in both IDG and DDG required activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Paired-pulse and input-output responses differed in IDG and DDG. Our data suggest that afferent input from the entorhinal cortex generates a different response profile in the dorsal vs. intermediate DG, which may in turn relate to their postulated distinct roles in synaptic information processing and memory formation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is postulated that disruptions of glutamatergic signalling may underlie the pathophysiology of psychosis and schizophrenia. A strong body of evidence indicates that antagonism of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) leads to similar molecular, cellular, cognitive and behavioural changes in rodents and/or humans to those that have been identified to occur in psychosis. One of the main loci of change appears to comprise the hippocampus, raising the question as to whether changes in hippocampal glutamatergic transmission may drive changes in GABAergic and dopaminergic-mediated signalling in schizophreniform diseases. NMDAR antagonists such as MK801, PCP and ketamine all elicit similar psychosis-related effects, with MK801 inducing the most potent psychotomimetic reactions. Treatment with MK801 is associated with a loss of hippocampal synaptic plasticity, hippocampus-dependent learning and cognitive deficits. These findings have raised the question as to whether targeting the NMDA receptors or its modulators could prove an effective strategy in treatment of psychosis and schizophrenia. Specifically, the otherwise untreatable negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia currently comprise the highest research priority. A single injection with MK801 has been used to emulate first-episode psychosis in animals. This treatment induces both, psychosis-related acute effects but interestingly also persisting consequences, which might be more sensitive as indicators of drug efficacy. Here, we review the current status of the field with regard to the MK801 animal model of first-episode psychosis and its relevance for the glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia. Furthermore, we argue that synaptic plasticity may be a better assay for assessing novel schizophrenia therapeutics than behavioural evaluation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) are two mechanisms involved in the long-term storage of information in hippocampal synapses. In the hippocampal CA1 region, the late phases of LTP and LTD are protein-synthesis dependent. In the dentate gyrus, late-LTP but not LTD requires protein synthesis. The protein synthesis-dependency of persistent plasticity at CA3 synapses has not yet been characterized. Here, the roles of protein transcription and translation at mossy fiber (mf) and associational/commissural (AC)- synapses were studied in freely behaving rats. In control animals, low-frequency stimulation (LFS) evoked robust LTD (>24 h), whereas high-frequency stimulation (HFS) elicited robust LTP (>24 h) at both mf-CA3 and AC-CA3 synapses. Translation inhibitors prevented early and late phases of LTP and LTD at mf-CA3 synapses. In contrast, at AC-CA3 synapses, translation inhibitors prevented intermediate/late-LTP and late-LTD only. Transcription effects were also synapse-specific: whereas transcription inhibitors inhibited late-LTP and late-LTD (>3 h) at mf-CA3 synapses, at AC-CA3 synapses, protein transcription affected early-LTP and late-LTD. These results show that the AC-CA3 and mf-CA3 synapses display different properties in terms of their protein synthesis dependency, suggesting different roles in the processing of short- and long term synaptic plasticity.
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:10.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Irreversible N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonism is known to provoke symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia in healthy humans. NMDAR hypofunction is believed to play a central role in the pathophysiology of both disorders and in an animal model of psychosis, that is based on irreversible antagonism of NMDARs, pronounced deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity have been reported shortly after antagonist treatment. Here, we examined the long-term consequences for long-term potentiation (LTP) of a single acute treatment with an irreversible antagonist and investigated whether deficits are associated with memory impairments. The ability to express LTP at the perforant pathway - dentate gyrus synapse, as well as object recognition memory was assessed 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after a single treatment of the antagonist, MK801. Here, LTP in freely behaving rats was significantly impaired at all time-points compared to control LTP before treatment. Object recognition memory was also significantly poorer in MK801-treated compared to vehicle-treated animals for several weeks after treatment. Histological analysis revealed no changes in brain tissue. Taken together, these data support that acute treatment with an irreversible NMDAR-antagonist persistently impairs hippocampal functioning on behavioral, as well as synaptic levels. The long-term deficits in synaptic plasticity may underlie the cognitive impairments that are associated with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:12.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dorsoventral axis of the hippocampus is differentiated into dorsal, intermediate, and ventral parts. Whereas the dorsal part is believed to specialize in processing spatial information, the ventral may be equipped to process non-spatial information. The precise role of the intermediate hippocampus is unclear, although recent data suggests it is functionally distinct, at least from the dorsal hippocampus. Learning-facilitated synaptic plasticity describes the ability of hippocampal synapses to respond with robust synaptic plasticity (>24 h) when a spatial learning event is coupled with afferent stimulation that would normally not lead to a lasting plasticity response: in the dorsal hippocampus novel space facilitates robust expression of long-term potentiation (LTP), whereas novel spatial content facilitates long-term depression (LTD). We explored whether the intermediate hippocampus engages in this kind of synaptic plasticity in response to novel spatial experience. In freely moving rats, high-frequency stimulation at 200 Hz (3 bursts of 15 stimuli) elicited synaptic potentiation that lasted for at least 4 h. Coupling of this stimulation with the exploration of a novel holeboard resulted in LTP that lasted for over 24 h. Low frequency afferent stimulation (1 Hz, 900 pulses) resulted in short-term depression (STD) that was significantly enhanced and prolonged by exposure to a novel large orientational (landmark) cues, however LTD was not enabled. Exposure to a holeboard that included novel objects in the holeboard holes elicited a transient enhancement of STD of the population spike (PS) but not field EPSP, and also failed to facilitate the expression of LTD. Our data suggest that the intermediate dentate gyrus engages in processing of spatial information, but is functionally distinct to the dorsal dentate gyrus. This may in turn reflect their assumed different roles in synaptic information processing and memory formation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persistent synaptic plasticity has been subjected to intense study in the decades since it was first described. Occurring in the form of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), it shares many cellular and molecular properties with hippocampus-dependent forms of persistent memory. Recent reports of both LTP and LTD occurring endogenously under specific learning conditions provide further support that these forms of synaptic plasticity may comprise the cellular correlates of memory. Most studies of synaptic plasticity are performed using in vitro or in vivo preparations where patterned electrical stimulation of afferent fibers is implemented to induce changes in synaptic strength. This strategy has proven very effective in inducing LTP, even under in vivo conditions. LTD in vivo has proven more elusive: although LTD occurs endogenously under specific learning conditions in both rats and mice, its induction has not been successfully demonstrated with afferent electrical stimulation alone. In this study we screened a large spectrum of protocols that are known to induce LTD either in hippocampal slices or in the intact rat hippocampus, to clarify if LTD can be induced by sole afferent stimulation in the mouse CA1 region in vivo. Low frequency stimulation at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, or 10 Hz given in the range of 100 through 1800 pulses produced, at best, short-term depression (STD) that lasted for up to 60 min. Varying the administration pattern of the stimuli (e.g., 900 pulses given twice at 5 min intervals), or changing the stimulation intensity did not improve the persistency of synaptic depression. LTD that lasts for at least 24 h occurs under learning conditions in mice. We conclude that a coincidence of factors, such as afferent activity together with neuromodulatory inputs, play a decisive role in the enablement of LTD under more naturalistic (e.g., learning) conditions.
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In terms of its sub-regional differentiation, the hippocampal CA1 region receives cortical information directly via the perforant (temporoammonic) path (pp-CA1 synapse) and indirectly via the tri-synaptic pathway where the last relay station is the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapse (Sc-CA1 synapse). Research to date on pp-CA1 synapses has been conducted predominantly in vitro and never in awake animals, but these studies hint that information processing at this synapse might be distinct to processing at the Sc-CA1 synapse. Here, we characterized synaptic properties and synaptic plasticity at the pp-CA1 synapse of freely behaving adult rats. We observed that field excitatory postsynaptic potentials at the pp-CA1 synapse have longer onset latencies and a shorter time-to-peak compared to the Sc-CA1 synapse. LTP (>24 h) was successfully evoked by tetanic afferent stimulation of pp-CA1 synapses. Low frequency stimulation evoked synaptic depression at Sc-CA1 synapses, but did not elicit LTD at pp-CA1 synapses unless the Schaffer collateral afferents to the CA1 region had been severed. Paired-pulse responses also showed significant differences. Our data suggest that synaptic plasticity at the pp-CA1 synapse is distinct from the Sc-CA1 synapse and that this may reflect its specific role in hippocampal information processing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dopamine (DA) plays an essential role in the enablement of cognition. It adds color to experience-dependent information storage, conferring salience to the memories that result. At the synaptic level, experience-dependent information storage is enabled by synaptic plasticity, and given its importance for memory formation, it is not surprising that DA comprises a key neuromodulator in the enablement of synaptic plasticity, and particularly of plasticity that persists for longer periods of time: Analogous to long-term memory. The hippocampus, that is a critical structure for the synaptic processing of semantic, episodic, spatial, and declarative memories, is specifically affected by DA, with the D1/D5 receptor proving crucial for hippocampus-dependent memory. Furthermore, D1/D5 receptors are pivotal in conferring the properties of novelty and reward to information being processed by the hippocampus. They also facilitate the expression of persistent forms of synaptic plasticity, and given reports that both long-term potentiation and long-term depression encode different aspects of spatial representations, this suggests that D1/D5 receptors can drive the nature and qualitative content of stored information in the hippocampus. In light of these observations, we propose that D1/D5 receptors gate hippocampal long-term plasticity and memory and are pivotal in conferring the properties of novelty and reward to information being processed by the hippocampus.