[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The memory of fear extinction is context dependent: fear that is suppressed in one context readily renews in another. Understanding of the underlying neuronal circuits is, therefore, of considerable clinical relevance for anxiety disorders. Prefrontal cortical and hippocampal inputs to the amygdala have recently been shown to regulate the retrieval of fear memories, but the cellular organization of these projections remains unclear. By using anterograde tracing in a transgenic rat in which neurons express a dendritically-targeted PSD-95:Venus fusion protein under the control of a c-fos promoter, we found that, during the retrieval of extinction memory, the dominant input to active neurons in the lateral amygdala was from the infralimbic cortex, whereas the retrieval of fear memory was associated with greater hippocampal and prelimbic inputs. This pattern of retrieval-related afferent input was absent in the central nucleus of the amygdala. Our data show functional anatomy of neural circuits regulating fear and extinction, providing a framework for therapeutic manipulations of these circuits.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Local and regulated expression of exogenous genes in the central nervous system is one of the major challenges of modern neuroscience. We have approached this issue by applying the inducible tetracycline system to regulate the expression of EGFP reporter gene in double transgenic rats. We have obtained a strong induction of EGFP only in male testes, which correlated with a high level of rtTA expression only in this organ. To overcome the problem of lack of rtTA protein in the transgenic rat brain, we have delivered this Tet system activator with lentiviral vectors into the dentate gyrus of hippocampus of transgenic EGFP rats. As a result, after systemic application of doxycycline we have obtained inducible, stable and restricted to the desired brain region expression of EGFP. An advantage of this strategy is that the transgene is located in the same genetic milieu in every cell of the transgenic organism. This is crucial to obtain uniform expression of the regulated gene within the target brain structure. Combination of rat transgenesis and lentiviral vectors is a novel approach enabling precise spatiotemporal regulation of genes of interest strictly in the brain structure of choice or in other tissues.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a devastating disease in which aberrant synaptic plasticity plays a major role. We identify matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 as a novel synaptic enzyme and a key pathogenic factor in two animal models of TLE: kainate-evoked epilepsy and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) kindling-induced epilepsy. Notably, we show that the sensitivity to PTZ epileptogenesis is decreased in MMP-9 knockout mice but is increased in a novel line of transgenic rats overexpressing MMP-9. Immunoelectron microscopy reveals that MMP-9 associates with hippocampal dendritic spines bearing asymmetrical (excitatory) synapses, where both the MMP-9 protein levels and enzymatic activity become strongly increased upon seizures. Further, we find that MMP-9 deficiency diminishes seizure-evoked pruning of dendritic spines and decreases aberrant synaptogenesis after mossy fiber sprouting. The latter observation provides a possible mechanistic basis for the effect of MMP-9 on epileptogenesis. Our work suggests that a synaptic pool of MMP-9 is critical for the sequence of events that underlie the development of seizures in animal models of TLE.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2008 · The Journal of Cell Biology