Cell types, connectivity and behavior-dependent recruitment of vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing interneurons in the mouse hippocampus

Authors: Francavilla, Ruggiero
Advisor: Topolnik, Lisa
Abstract: Inhibition plays an important role in the spatio-temporal organization of synchronized network activity, which is important for cognitive performance. However, understanding cortical inhibition has been a challenging task as it is executed through a large diversity of local and long-range projecting (LRP) GABAergic neurons (Soltesz, 2006). In the hippocampus, the interneuron-selective (IS) vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-expressing (VIP+) interneurons play a role of local disinhibition and are subdivided into 2 groups: type 2 and type 3 interneuron-specific (IS2, IS3) cells. Recently, a novel long-range projecting VIP+ cell (VIP-LRP) with the soma located in the hippocampal cornu ammonis (CA1) stratum oriens/alveus (O/A) and axon innervating CA1 and the subiculum (SUB) has been discovered. Since little is known about the postsynaptic targets and function of GABAergic projecting cells during different network states in awake animals, we aimed to determine the targets of VIP-LRP cells in CA1 and SUB. I first performed single-cell two-photon glutamate uncaging-based mapping of connections by combining the photoactivation of CA1 O/A VIP-GFP+ cells and patch-clamp recordings of interneuron and PCs targets. We found that VIP-LRP cells locally act as disinhibitory cells contacting different classes of inhibitory interneurons, either in the O/A or in the stratum radiatum (RAD). However distally in the SUB, they were contacting both pyramidal cells (PCs) and interneurons. Next, to study the functional role of these cells we performed in vivo two-photon calcium (Ca2+) imaging of VIP+ interneuron activity in head-restrained awake mice running on a treadmillI. We found that VIP-LRP cells were recruited during immobility periods and were behaving as theta-off cells, decreasing their activity during theta-run episodes. Based on these findings we can consider VIP-LRPs as important key regulator of mnemonic process such as memory retrieval requiring coherency between hippocampal CA1 and SUB areas during quiet states (Jackson et al., 2011; Roy et al., 2017). Furthermore, in the hippocampal CA1 area, VIP+ IS interneurons, in particular IS3 cells have been characterized intensively based on their cell identity, physiological properties and connectivity pattern (Chamberland et al., 2010; Tyan et al., 2014). However, differently from neocortical VIP+ interneurons very little is known about the involvement of IS3 in hippocampus-dependent behaviors, such as spatial memory and anxiety. Using a water T-maze (WTM) to investigate egocentric and allocentric spatial learning, we found that silencing VIP+ cells worsens mouse performance. This data indicated clearly the involvement of hippocampal VIP+ IS cell in hippocampus-dependent memory tasks. In the context of memory, the alpha5 subunit-containing GABAA receptor (α5-GABAAR) has been seen as one of the most interesting pharmacological targets, as blocking this subunit improves hippocampus-dependent memory (Atack et al., 2006; Caraiscos et al., 2004; Collinson et al., 2002). Blocking the α5-GABAAR subunit in mice performing WTM successfully rescued the memory impairment induced by silencing of VIP+ input, confirming the involvement of tonic inhibition in the regulation of spatial learning. However this improvement in cognitive performance is associated with an increase in anxiety, indicating that phasic inhibition by the α5-GABAAR-containing VIP+ inputs onto CA1 interneurons may be involved in regulating anxiety. Finally, memory deficits and cognitive decline are considered a hallmark of the aging brain, with neocortical circuits being affected the most during age-dependent functional decline (Murman, 2015). So far, it has been reported that calretinin (CR)-positive IS interneurons were among the early targets in mouse models of age-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Baglietto-Vargas et al., 2010). Considering the above, I performed patch-clamp recordings from IS3 cells to study their involvement in age-related memory decline. The results showed that, while the morphology of these cells was preserved during aging, functional remodelling occurred, such as a longer duration of the action potential as well as reduction in the firing rate. These modifications led to an increase inhibitory drive onto O/A interneurons targeted by IS3 cells. This could account for the hyperactivity of PCs associated with cognitive impairment and could increase the risk for AD development (Bakker et al., 2012; Busche et al., 2012; El-Hayek et al., 2013). In conclusion, this study reveals new properties and activity patterns of hippocampal VIP+ neurons during specific behavioral states and across the animal lifespan, which should be important for understanding the circuit mechanisms of learning and memory, as well as cognitive impairments during aging.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 23 September 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/36597
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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