lateral geniculate nucleus [keywords]
- The Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Subtype 1 Mediates Experience-Dependent Maintenance of Mature Synaptic Connectivity in the Visual Thalamus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuron 2016 Aug 18.
Neural circuits formed during postnatal development have to be maintained stably thereafter, but their mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here we report that the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 1 (mGluR1) is essential for the maintenance of mature synaptic connectivity in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN). In mGluR1 knockout (mGluR1-KO) mice, strengthening and elimination at retinogeniculate synapses occurred normally until around postnatal day 20 (P20). However, during the subsequent visual-experience-dependent maintenance phase, weak retinogeniculate synapses were newly recruited. These changes were similar to those of wild-type (WT) mice that underwent visual deprivation or inactivation of mGluR1 in the dLGN from P21. Importantly, visual deprivation was ineffective in mGluR1-KO mice, and the changes induced by visual deprivation in WT mice were rescued by pharmacological activation of mGluR1 in the dLGN. These results demonstrate that mGluR1 is crucial for the visual-experience-dependent maintenance of mature synaptic connectivity in the dLGN.
- Mapping of methionine-enkephalin-arg(6)-gly(7)-leu(8) in the human diencephalon. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuroscience 2016 Aug 12.
Using an immunohistochemical technique, we mapped the immunoreactive structures containing methionine-enkephalin-Arg(6)-Gly(7)-Leu(8) (Met-8) (a marker for the pro-enkephalin system) in the human diencephalon. Compared with previous studies, we observed a more widespread distribution of Met-8 in the human diencephalon. Met-8-immunoreactive cell bodies and fibers exhibited a more widespread distribution in the hypothalamus than in the thalamus. We observed six populations of Met-8-immunoreactive cell bodies. These perikarya were observed in the paratenial thalamic nucleus, ventromedial and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei, lateral hypothalamic area, pallidohypothalamic nucleus and in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (posterior part). In the thalamus, Met-8-immunoreactive fibers were primarily observed in the midline region, whereas in the hypothalamus, these fibers were widely distributed. In general, a moderate/low density of Met-8-immunoreactive fibers was observed in the diencephalic nuclei. A moderate density was observed in the paraventricular thalamic nucleus, reuniens thalamic nucleus, lateral and medial geniculate nuclei, dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (posterior part) and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. The present study is the first to demonstrate the presence of clusters of Met-8-immunoreactive cell bodies in the human thalamus and hypothalamus, the distribution of fibers containing neuropeptides in the hypothalamus and the presence of these fibers in several thalamic nuclei. This neuroanatomical study will serve to elucidate the physiological roles of Met-8 in future studies of the human diencephalon.
- Disruption of visual circuit formation and refinement in a mouse model of autism. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Autism Res 2016 Aug 16.
Aberrant connectivity is believed to contribute to the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recent neuroimaging studies have increasingly identified such impairments in patients with ASD, including alterations in sensory systems. However, the cellular substrates and molecular underpinnings of disrupted connectivity remain poorly understood. Utilizing eye-specific segregation in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) as a model system, we investigated the formation and refinement of precise patterning of synaptic connections in the BTBR T + tf/J (BTBR) mouse model of ASD. We found that at the neonatal stage, the shape of the dLGN occupied by retinal afferents was altered in the BTBR group compared to C57BL/6J (B6) animals. Notably, the degree of overlap between the ipsi- and contralateral afferents was significantly greater in the BTBR mice. Moreover, these abnormalities continued into mature stage in the BTBR animals, suggesting persistent deficits rather than delayed maturation of axonal refinement. Together, these results indicate disrupted connectivity at the synaptic patterning level in the BTBR mice, suggesting that in general, altered neural circuitry may contribute to autistic behaviours seen in this animal model. In addition, these data are consistent with the notion that lower-level, primary processing mechanisms contribute to altered visual perception in ASD. Autism Res 2016. © 2016 The Authors Autism Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Autism Research.
- Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection in Glaucoma. [Journal Article]
- Yale J Biol Med 2016 Mar; 89(1):73-9.
Glaucoma is the principal cause of irreversible blindness in the world. The disease leads to progressive optic nerve degeneration with a gradual loss of retinal ganglion cells. Neurodegeneration in glaucoma extends beyond the eye into the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex, and the disease even shares some characteristics with other central nervous system degenerative disorders. Glaucoma destroys neurons through oxidative stress, impairment in axonal transport, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity. Autophagy may promote or inhibit disease progression. Currently, lowering intraocular pressure is the only way proven to delay glaucoma advancement. However, many new therapies are being developed, including antioxidants, adenosine receptor antagonists, Rho-pathway inhibitors, stem cell therapy, and neurotrophic factors. These therapies focus on neuroprotection, and they may eventually halt glaucoma progression or reverse the process of the disease itself.
- Neural plasticity following lesions of the primate occipital lobe: The marmoset as an animal model for studies of blindsight. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Neurobiol 2016 Aug 1.
For nearly a century it has been observed that some residual visually guided behavior can persist after damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) in primates. The age at which damage to V1 occurs leads to different outcomes, with V1 lesions in infancy allowing better preservation of visual faculties in comparison with those incurred in adulthood. While adult V1 lesions may still allow retention of some limited visual abilities, these are subconscious-a characteristic that has led to this form of residual vision being referred to as blindsight. The neural basis of blindsight has been of great interest to the neuroscience community, with particular focus on understanding the contributions of the different subcortical pathways and cortical areas that may underlie this phenomenon. More recently, research has started to address which forms of neural plasticity occur following V1 lesions at different ages, including work using marmoset monkeys. The relatively rapid postnatal development of this species, allied to the lissencephalic brains and well-characterized visual cortex provide significant technical advantages, which allow controlled experiments exploring visual function in the absence of V1. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2016.
- Highly Efficient Delivery of Adeno-Associated Viral Vectors to the Primate Retina. [Journal Article]
- Hum Gene Ther 2016 Aug; 27(8):580-97.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has emerged as the preferred vector for targeting gene expression to the retina. Subretinally injected AAV can efficiently transduce retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors in primate retina. Inner and middle primate retina can be transduced by intravitreally delivered AAV, but with low efficiency. This is due to dilution of vector, potential neutralization of capsid because it is not confined to the immune-privileged retinal compartment, and the presence of the inner limiting membrane (ILM), a barrier separating the vitreous from the neural retina. We here describe a novel "subILM" injection method that addresses all three issues. Specifically, vector is placed in a surgically induced, hydrodissected space between the ILM and neural retina. In an initial experiment, we injected viscoelastic (Healon(®)), a substance we confirmed was biocompatible with AAV, to create a subILM bleb and subsequently injected AAV2-GFP into the bleb after irrigation with basic salt solution. For later experiments, we used a Healon-AAV mixture to place single, subILM injections. In all cases, subILM delivery of AAV was well tolerated-no inflammation or gross structural changes were observed by ophthalmological examination or optical coherence tomography. In-life fluorescence imaging revealed profound transgene expression within the area of the subILM injection bleb that persisted for the study duration. Uniform and extensive transduction of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) was achieved in the areas beneath the subILM bleb. Transduction of Müller glia, ON bipolar cells, and photoreceptors was also observed. Robust central labeling from green fluorescent protein-expressing RGCs confirmed their continued survival, and was observed in the lateral geniculate nucleus, the superior colliculus, and the pretectum. Our results confirm that the ILM is a major barrier to transduction by AAV in primate retina and that, when it is circumvented, the efficiency and depth to which AAV2 promotes transduction of multiple retinal cell classes are greatly enhanced.
- Hemispheric asymmetries in subcortical visual and auditory relay structures in congenital deafness. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Eur J Neurosci 2016 Jul 16.
Neuroplasticity - the capacity of the brain to change as a response to internal and external pressures - has been studied from a number of different perspectives. Perhaps one of the most powerful models is the study of populations that have been congenitally deprived of a sense. It has been shown that the right Auditory Cortex (AC) of congenitally deaf humans is neuroplastically modified in order to represent visual properties of a stimulus. One unresolved question is how this visual information is routed to the AC of congenitally deaf individuals. Here, we performed volumetric analysis of subcortical auditory and visual brains regions - namely the thalamus (along with three thalamic nuclei: the pulvinar, the lateral geniculate nucleus and the medial geniculate nucleus), and the inferior and superior colliculi - in deaf and hearing participants in order to identify which structures may be responsible for relaying visual information toward the altered AC. Because there is a hemispheric asymmetry in the neuroplastic changes observed in the AC of the congenitally deaf, we reasoned that subcortical structures that also showed a similar asymmetry in their total volume could have been enlisted in the effort of relaying visual information to the neuroplastically altered right AC. We show that for deaf, but not for hearing individuals, the right thalamus, right lateral geniculate nucleus and right inferior colliculus are larger than their left counterparts. These results suggest that these subcortical structures may be responsible for rerouting visual information to the AC in congenital deafness.
- Glutamate-Like Neurons in the Turtle Brain. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Anat Histol Embryol 2016 Jul 11.
Glutamate acts as the excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and is mediated largely by the vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs). The objective of the study was to determine the distribution of VGLUT2 mRNA in the turtle brain by in situ hybridization. Intense expression was observed in the olfactory bulb, cerebral cortex, nucleus dorsomedialis thalami, nucleus dorsolateralis thalami, dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, nucleus reuniens and nucleus periventricularis hypothalami. Moderate expression was noticed in the nucleus rotundus, area lateralis hypothalami, reticular nucleus, cerebellar nucleus and nucleus cochlearis. In conclusion, this study reveals many glutamatergic neurons in the turtle brain.
- Pou4f2 knock-in Cre mouse: A multifaceted genetic tool for vision researchers. [Journal Article]
- Mol Vis 2016.:705-17.
A transgenic mouse that expresses Cre recombinase under control of the Pou4f2-promoter (also referred to as Brn-3b and Brn-3.2) was characterized. Pou4f2 expression has been reported in a subset of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the retina, in the midbrain, and in the germline. In this study, we characterize the expression pattern of this Cre-recombinase line and report its utility in targeted deletion, temporal deletion, RGC depletion, and germline targeting, which can be regulated by the sex of the Cre-carrying mouse.Pou4f2(Cre) was mapped by using a combination of PCR and sequencing of PCR products to better understand the construct and to locate where it was inserted within the Pou4f2 locus. Cre expression patterns were examined by crossing Pou4f2(Cre/+) mice to Cre reporter mice. Immunohistochemistry was used to further define the pattern of Cre expression and Cre-mediated recombination within the retina, brain, and other tissues.An internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-Cre cassette was inserted into the Pou4f2 gene disrupting normal gene function, as verified by the depletion of RGCs in mice homozygous for the insert. Pou4f2(Cre) expression was observed in the retina, brain, peripheral neurons, and male germ cells. Germline recombination was observed when the sire carried the Cre and the target for recombination. In all other breeding schemes, recombination was observed within subsets of cells within the retina, brain, intestines, heart, and gonads. In the retina, Cre efficiently targets recombination in neurons within the RGC layer (RGL), the inner nuclear layer (INL), and a small percentage of photoreceptors, activity that has not been previously reported. Unlike most other Cre lines active in the inner retina, recombination in Müller and other glia was not observed in mice carrying Pou4f2(Cre) . Within the visual centers of the brain, Cre targets recombination in about 15% of cells within the superchiasmatic nucleus, lateral geniculate nucleus, and superior colliculus.Pou4f2(Cre) provides multiple uses for the vision researcher's genetic toolkit. First, Pou4f2(Cre) is a knock-in allele that can be used to eliminate Pou4f2, resulting in depletion of RGCs. Second, expression of Cre in male germ cells makes this strain an efficient germline activator of recombination, for example, to target LoxP-flanked sequences in the whole mouse. Third, Pou4f2(Cre) efficiently targets RGCs, amacrine cells, bipolar cells, horizontal cells, and a small number of photoreceptors within the retina, as well as the visual centers in the brain. Unlike other Cre recombinase lines that target retinal neurons, no recombination was observed in Müller or other retinal glia. These properties make this Cre recombinase line a useful tool for vision researchers.
- Semi-Automatic Segmentation of Optic Radiations and LGN, and Their Relationship to EEG Alpha Waves. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2016; 11(7):e0156436.
At rest, healthy human brain activity is characterized by large electroencephalography (EEG) fluctuations in the 8-13 Hz range, commonly referred to as the alpha band. Although it is well known that EEG alpha activity varies across individuals, few studies have investigated how this may be related to underlying morphological variations in brain structure. Specifically, it is generally believed that the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and its efferent fibres (optic radiation, OR) play a key role in alpha activity, yet it is unclear whether their shape or size variations contribute to its inter-subject variability. Given the widespread use of EEG alpha in basic and clinical research, addressing this is important, though difficult given the problems associated with reliably segmenting the LGN and OR. For this, we employed a multi-modal approach and combined diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and EEG in 20 healthy subjects to measure structure and function, respectively. For the former, we developed a new, semi-automated approach for segmenting the OR and LGN, from which we extracted several structural metrics such as volume, position and diffusivity. Although these measures corresponded well with known morphology based on previous post-mortem studies, we nonetheless found that their inter-subject variability was not significantly correlated to alpha power or peak frequency (p >0.05). Our results therefore suggest that alpha variability may be mediated by an alternative structural source and our proposed methodology may in general help in better understanding the influence of anatomy on function such as measured by EEG or fMRI.