Target-Dependent Control of Synaptic Inhibition by Endocannabinoids in the Thalamus

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 06/2011; 31(25):9222-30. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0531-11.2011
Source: PubMed


Inhibitory neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) play a critical role in controlling information transfer between thalamus and neocortex. GABAergic synapses formed by TRN neurons contact both thalamic relay cells and neurons within TRN. These two types of synapses are thought to have distinct roles for the generation of thalamic network activity, but their selective regulation is poorly understood. In many areas throughout the brain, retrograde signaling mediated by endocannabinoids acts to dynamically regulate synaptic strength over both short and long time scales. However, retrograde signaling has never been demonstrated in the thalamus. Here, we show that depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) is prominent at inhibitory synapses interconnecting TRN neurons. DSI is completely abolished in the presence of a cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) antagonist and in mice lacking CB1Rs. DSI is prevented by DAG lipase inhibitors and prolonged by blocking the 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) degradation enzyme monoacylglycerol lipase, indicating that it is mediated by the release of 2-AG from TRN neurons. By contrast, DSI is not observed at TRN synapses targeting thalamic relay neurons. A combination of pharmacological and immunohistochemical data indicate that the differences in endocannabinoid signaling at the two synapses are mediated by a synapse-specific targeting of CB1Rs, as well as differences in endocannabinoid release between the two target neurons. Together, our results show that endocannabinoids control transmitter release at specific thalamic synapses, and could dynamically regulate sensory information processing and thalamus-mediated synchronous oscillations.

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    • "Only very little is known about the possible signaling role of DAG in thalamic neurons. At intra reticular thalamic synapses, the endocannabinoid-dependent activation of postsynaptic G αq/11 protein-coupled receptors may trigger the activation of PLC, the production of DAG and subsequently the synthesis and release of 2- arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) which results in the suppression of synaptic strength (Sun et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Key points: During the behavioural states of sleep and wakefulness thalamocortical relay neurons fire action potentials in high frequency bursts or tonic sequences, respectively. The modulation of specific K(+) channel types, termed TASK and TREK, allows these neurons to switch between the two modes of activity. In this study we show that the signalling lipids phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and diacylglycerol (DAG), which are components of their membrane environment, switch on and shut off TREK and TASK channels, respectively. These channel modulations contribute to a better understanding of the molecular basis of the effects of neurotransmitters such as ACh which are released by the brainstem arousal system. The present report introduces PIP2 and DAG as new elements of signal transduction in the thalamus. The activity of two-pore domain potassium channels (K2P ) regulates the excitability and firing modes of thalamocortical (TC) neurons. In particular, the inhibition of two-pore domain weakly inwardly rectifying K(+) channel (TWIK)-related acid-sensitive K(+) (TASK) channels and TWIK-related K(+) (TREK) channels, as a consequence of the stimulation of muscarinic ACh receptors (MAChRs) which are coupled to phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (PLCβ), induces a shift from burst to tonic firing. By using a whole cell patch-clamp approach, the contribution of the membrane-bound second messenger molecules phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2 ) and diacylglycerol (DAG) acting downstream of PLCβ was probed. The standing outward current (ISO ) was used to monitor the current through TASK and TREK channels in TC neurons. By exploiting different manoeuvres to change the intracellular PIP2 level in TC neurons, we here show that the scavenging of PIP2 (by neomycin) results in an increased muscarinic effect on ISO whereas increased availability of PIP2 (inclusion to the patch pipette; histone-based carrier) decreased muscarinic signalling. The degree of muscarinic inhibition specifically depends on phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) and PIP2 but no other phospholipids (phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylserine). The use of specific blockers revealed that PIP2 is targeting TREK but not TASK channels. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the inhibition of TASK channels is induced by the application of the DAG analogue 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG). Under current clamp conditions the activation of MAChRs and PLCβ as well as the application of OAG resulted in membrane depolarization, while PIP2 application via histone carrier induced a hyperpolarization. These results demonstrate a differential role of PIP2 and DAG in K2P channel modulation in native neurons which allows a fine-tuned inhibition of TREK (via PIP2 depletion) and TASK (via DAG) channels following MAChR stimulation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The Journal of Physiology
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    • "Similarly, reducing release probability at TRN GABAergic terminals should have similar effects on the short-and long-latency responses. Indeed, we found that reducing transmitter release by bath application of the CB1 receptor agonist WIN55,212 (5 μM) led to a differential reduction of short-and long-latency amplitude (Fig. 6C,D,G), consistent with a block of GABA-induced bursting in the TRN (Fig. 1C,D) and a more moderate reduction in transmitter release at GABAergic synapses in VB (Sun et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: GABAergic neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) form powerful inhibitory connections with several dorsal thalamic nuclei, thereby controlling attention, sensory processing, and synchronous oscillations in the thalamocortical system. TRN neurons are interconnected by a network of GABAergic synapses, but their properties and their role in shaping TRN neuronal activity are not well understood. Using recording techniques aimed to minimize changes in the intracellular milieu, we show that synaptic GABA(A) receptor activation triggers postsynaptic depolarizations in mouse TRN neurons. Immunohistochemical data indicate that TRN neurons express very low levels of the Cl(-) transporter KCC2. In agreement, perforated-patch recordings show that intracellular Cl(-) levels are high in TRN neurons, resulting in a Cl(-) reversal potential (E(Cl)) significantly depolarized from rest. Additionally, we find that GABA(A) receptor-evoked depolarizations are amplified by the activation of postsynaptic T-type Ca(2+) channels, leading to dendritic Ca(2+) increases and the generation of burst firing in TRN neurons. In turn, GABA-evoked burst firing results in delayed and long-lasting feedforward inhibition in thalamic relay cells. Our results show that GABA-evoked depolarizations can interact with T-type Ca(2+) channels to powerfully control spike generation in TRN neurons.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    • "The availability of MGL (and ABHD6) inhibitors, as well as the use of compounds or genetic deletion strategies to block 2-AG synthesis, have demonstrated convincingly that in rodents, 2-AG is the eCB primarily responsible for retrograde signalling contributing to DSE and DSI in the cerebellum and hippocampus (Szabo et al., 2006; Hashimotodani et al., 2007; Pan et al., 2009; Gao et al., 2010), DSI in the thalamus and prefrontal cortex (Sun et al., 2011; Yoshino et al., 2011) and long-term depression in the prefrontal cortex (Lafourcade et al., 2007; Marrs et al., 2010). This role of 2-AG is not confined to rodents (or even the brain, for that matter), and has been reported for the retrograde inhibition of calcium-activated potassium channels in goldfish retinal cones (Fan and Yazulla, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is involved in processes as diverse as control of appetite, perception of pain and the limitation of cancer cell growth and invasion. The enzymes responsible for eCB breakdown are attractive pharmacological targets, and fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors, which potentiate the levels of the eCB anandamide, are now undergoing pharmaceutical development. 'Drugable' selective inhibitors of monoacylglycerol lipase, a key enzyme regulating the levels of the other main eCB, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, were however not identified until very recently. Their availability has resulted in a large expansion of our knowledge concerning the pharmacological consequences of monoacylglycerol lipase inhibition and hence the role(s) played by the enzyme in the body. In this review, the pharmacology of monoacylglycerol lipase will be discussed, together with an analysis of the therapeutic potential of monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitors as analgesics and anticancer agents.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2012 · British Journal of Pharmacology
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