141 research outputs found

    Long-Term Synaptic Changes Induced in the Cerebellar Cortex by Fear Conditioning

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    AbstractTo better understand learning mechanisms, one needs to study synaptic plasticity induced by behavioral training. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the cerebellum is involved in the consolidation of fear memory. Nevertheless, how the cerebellum contributes to emotional behavior is far from known. In cerebellar slices at 10 min and 24 hr following fear conditioning, we found a long-lasting potentiation of the synapse between parallel fibers and Purkinje cells in vermal lobules V-VI, but not in the climbing fiber synapses. The mechanism is postsynaptic, due to an increased AMPA response. In addition, in hotfoot mice with a primary deficiency of the parallel fiber to Purkinje cell synapse, cued (but not contextual) fear conditioning is affected. We propose that this synapse plays an important role in the learned fear and that its long-term potentiation may represent a contribution to the neural substrate of fear memory

    Modulation, plasticity and pathophysiology of the parallel fiber-purkinje cell synapse

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    The parallel fiber-Purkinje cell (PF-PC) synapse represents the point of maximal signal divergence in the cerebellar cortex with an estimated number of about 60 billion synaptic contacts in the rat and 100,000 billions in humans. At the same time, the Purkinje cell dendritic tree is a site of remarkable convergence of more than 100,000 parallel fiber synapses. Parallel fiber activity generates fast postsynaptic currents via α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors, and slower signals, mediated by mGlu1 receptors, resulting in Purkinje cell depolarization accompanied by sharp calcium elevation within dendritic regions. Long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP) have been widely described for the PF-PC synapse and have been proposed as mechanisms for motor learning. The mechanisms of induction for LTP and LTD involve different signaling mechanisms within the presynaptic terminal and/or at the postsynaptic site, promoting enduring modification in the neurotransmitter release and change in responsiveness to the neurotransmitter. The PF-PC synapse is finely modulated by several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, noradrenaline and acetylcholine. The ability of these neuromodulators to gate LTP and LTD at the PF-PC synapse could, at least in part, explain their effect on cerebellar-dependent learning and memory paradigms. Overall, these findings have important implications for understanding the cerebellar involvement in a series of pathological conditions, ranging from ataxia to autism. For example, PF-PC synapse dysfunctions have been identified in several murine models of spino-cerebellar ataxia (SCA) types 1, 3, 5 and 27. In some cases, the defect is specific for the AMPA receptor signaling (SCA27), while in others the mGlu1 pathway is affected (SCA1, 3, 5). Interestingly, the PF-PC synapse has been shown to be hyper-functional in a mutant mouse model of autism spectrum disorder, with a selective deletion of Pten in Purkinje cells. However, the full range of methodological approaches, that allowed the discovery of the physiological principles of PF-PC synapse function, has not yet been completely exploited to investigate the pathophysiological mechanisms of diseases involving the cerebellum. We, therefore, propose to extend the spectrum of experimental investigations to tackle this problem

    Effects of the administration of Elovl5-dependent fatty acids on a spino-cerebellar ataxia 38 mouse model

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    BACKGROUND: Spinocerebellar ataxia 38 (SCA38) is a rare autosomal neurological disorder characterized by ataxia and cerebellar atrophy. SCA38 is caused by mutations of ELOVL5 gene. ELOVL5 gene encodes a protein, which elongates long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Knockout mice lacking Elovl5 recapitulate SCA38 symptoms, including motor coordination impairment and disruption of cerebellar architecture. We asked whether, in Elovl5 knockout mice (Elovl5(−/−)), a diet with both ω3 and ω6 PUFAs downstream Elovl5 can prevent the development of SCA38 symptoms, and at which age such treatment is more effective. Elovl5(−/−) mice were fed either with a diet without or containing PUFAs downstream the Elovl5 enzyme, starting at different ages. Motor behavior was assessed by the balance beam test and cerebellar structure by morphometric analysis. RESULTS: The administration from birth of the diet containing PUFAs downstream Elovl5 led to a significant amelioration of the motor performance in the beam test of Elovl5(−/−) mice, with a reduction of foot slip errors at 6 months from 2.2 ± 0.3 to 1.3 ± 0.2 and at 8 months from 3.1 ± 0.5 to 1.9 ± 0.3. On the contrary, administration at 1 month of age or later had no effect on the motor impairment. The cerebellar Purkinje cell layer and the white matter area of Elovl5(−/ −)mice were not rescued even by the administration of diet from birth, suggesting that the improvement of motor performance in the beam test was due to a functional recovery of the cerebellar circuitry. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the dietary intervention in SCA38, whenever possible, should be started from birth or as early as possible

    The Emerging Role of Altered Cerebellar Synaptic Processing in Alzheimer’s Disease

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    The role of the cerebellum in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been neglected for a long time. Recent studies carried out using transgenic mouse models have demonstrated that amyloid-b (Ab) is deposited in the cerebellum and affects synaptic transmission and plasticity, sometimes before plaque formation. A wide variability of motor phenotype has been observed in the different murine models of AD, without a consistent correlation with the extent of cerebellar histopathological changes or with cognitive deficits. The loss of noradrenergic drive may contribute to the impairment of cerebellar synaptic function and motor learning observed in these mice. Furthermore, cerebellar neurons, particularly granule cells, have been used as in vitro model of Ab-induced neuronal damage. An unexpected conclusion is that the cerebellum, for a long time thought to be somehow protected from AD pathology, is actually considered as a region vulnerable to Ab toxic damage, even at the early stage of the disease, with consequences on motor performance

    Mouse brain expression patterns of Spg7, Afg3l1, and Afg3l2 transcripts, encoding for the mitochondrial m-AAA protease

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The <it>m</it>-AAA (<b>A</b>TPases <b>A</b>ssociated with a variety of cellular <b>A</b>ctivities) is an evolutionary conserved metalloprotease complex located in the internal mitochondrial membrane. In the mouse, it is a hetero-oligomer variably formed by the <it>Spg7</it>, <it>Afg3l1</it>, and <it>Afg3l2 </it>encoded proteins, or a homo-oligomer formed by either Afg3l1 or Afg3l2. In humans, <it>AFG3L2 </it>and <it>SPG7 </it>genes are conserved, whereas <it>AFG3L1 </it>became a pseudogene. Both <it>AFG3L2 </it>and <it>SPG7 </it>are involved in a neurodegenerative disease, namely the autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia SCA28 and a recessive form of spastic paraplegia, respectively.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Using quantitative RT-PCR, we measured the expression levels of <it>Spg7</it>, <it>Afg3l1</it>, and <it>Afg3l2 </it>in the mouse brain. In all regions <it>Afg3l2 </it>is the most abundant transcript, followed by <it>Spg7</it>, and <it>Afg3l1</it>, with a ratio of approximately 5:3:1 in whole-brain mRNA. Using <it>in-situ </it>hybridization, we showed that <it>Spg7</it>, <it>Afg3l1 </it>and <it>Afg3l2 </it>have a similar cellular pattern of expression, with high levels in mitral cells, Purkinje cells, deep cerebellar nuclei cells, neocortical and hippocampal pyramidal neurons, and brainstem motor neurons. However, in some neuronal types, differences in the level of expression of these genes were present, suggesting distinct degrees of contribution of their proteins.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Neurons involved in SCA28 and hereditary spastic paraplegia display high levels of expression, but similar or even higher expression is also present in other types of neurons, not involved in these diseases, suggesting that the selective cell sensitivity should be attributed to other, still unknown, mechanisms.</p

    Resurgent Current and Voltage Sensor Trapping Enhanced Activation by a β-Scorpion Toxin Solely in Nav1.6 Channel SIGNIFICANCE IN MICE PURKINJE NEURONS

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    Abstract Resurgent currents are functionally crucial in sustaining the high frequency firing of cerebellar Purkinje neurons expressing Nav1.6 channels. β-Scorpion toxins, such as CssIV, induce a left shift in the voltage-dependent activation of Nav1.2 channels by "trapping" the IIS4 voltage sensor segment. We found that the dangerous Cn2 β-scorpion peptide induces both the left shift voltage-dependent activation and a transient resurgent current only in human Nav1.6 channels (among 1.1-1.7), whereas CssIV did not induce the resurgent current. Cn2 also produced both actions in mouse Purkinje cells. These findings suggest that only distinct β-toxins produce resurgent currents. We suggest that the novel and unique selectivity of Cn2 could make it a model drug to replace deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in patients with Parkinson disease
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