lateral geniculate nucleus [keywords]
- Highly Efficient Delivery of AAV vectors to the Primate Retina. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Hum Gene Ther 2016 Jul 20.
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 with ophthalmological exam or optical coherence tomography. In-life fluorescent 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 Muller glia, ON bipolar cells, and photoreceptors was also observed. Robust central labeling from GFP-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 is 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 3 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 towards 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. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- 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.
- Multilaminar networks of cortical neurons integrate common inputs from sensory thalamus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Nat Neurosci 2016 Jul 4.
Neurons in the thalamorecipient layers of sensory cortices integrate thalamic and recurrent cortical input. Cortical neurons form fine-scale, functionally cotuned networks, but whether interconnected cortical neurons within a column process common thalamocortical inputs is unknown. We tested how local and thalamocortical connectivity relate to each other by analyzing cofluctuations of evoked responses in cortical neurons after photostimulation of thalamocortical axons. We found that connected pairs of pyramidal neurons in layer (L) 4 of mouse visual cortex share more inputs from the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus than nonconnected pairs. Vertically aligned connected pairs of L4 and L2/3 neurons were also preferentially contacted by the same thalamocortical axons. Our results provide a circuit mechanism for the observed amplification of sensory responses by L4 circuits. They also show that sensory information is concurrently processed in L4 and L2/3 by columnar networks of interconnected neurons contacted by the same thalamocortical axons.
- Effects of aging on low luminance contrast processing in humans. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuroimage 2016 Jul 1.:415-426.
Luminance contrast is a fundamental visual cue. Using a dedicated neuroimaging framework, we sought to characterize typical Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) responses in two subcortical regions, the superior colliculus (SC) and the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), and V1, the primary visual cortex area, and how they change over the lifespan. For imaging subcortical activity related to luminance contrast modulation, specific measurements were introduced to rule out possible signal contamination by cardiovascular activity and vascular alterations with age that could hamper the BOLD signal interpretation. Clearly, BOLD responses increased in these three regions with luminance contrast, with a statistically significant diminution in LGN and V1 for older compared to younger participants, while basal perfusion remained unchanged. Additionally, perceptual responses, as assessed with psychophysical experiments, were highly correlated to BOLD measures in the three studied regions. Taken together, fMRI and psychophysics results indicate an alteration of luminance contrast processing with normal aging. Based on this knowledge we can better recognize when age-related brain changes vary from these expectations especially during neurodegenerative diseases progression where the functioning of subcortical structures is altered. The proposed fMRI-physchophysics methodology allows performing such investigation.
- Nonlinear computations shaping temporal processing of pre-cortical vision. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurophysiol 2016 Jun 22.:jn.00878.2015.
Computations performed by the visual pathway are constructed by neural circuits distributed over multiple stages of processing, and thus it is challenging to determine how different stages contribute based on recordings from single areas. Here, we address this problem in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), using experiments combined with nonlinear modeling capable of isolating various circuit contributions. We recorded cat LGN neurons presented with temporally modulated spots of various sizes, which drove temporally precise LGN responses. We utilized simultaneously recorded S-potentials, corresponding to the primary retinal ganglion cell (RGC) input to each LGN cell, in order to distinguish the computations underlying temporal precision in the retina from those in the LGN. Nonlinear models with excitatory and delayed suppressive terms were sufficient to explain temporal precision in the LGN, and we found that models of the S-potentials were nearly identical, although with a lower threshold. To determine whether additional influences shaped the response at the level of the LGN, we extended this model to use the S-potential input in combination with stimulus-driven terms to predict the LGN response. We found that the S-potential input "explained away" the major excitatory and delayed suppressive terms responsible for temporal patterning of LGN spike trains, but revealed additional contributions - largely PULL suppression - to the LGN response. Using this novel combination of recordings and modeling, we were thus able to dissect multiple circuit contributions to LGN temporal responses across retina and LGN, and set the foundation for targeted study of each stage.
- fMRI mapping of the visual system in the mouse brain with interleaved snapshot GE-EPI. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuroimage 2016 Jun 10.:337-345.
The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in mice is increasingly prevalent, providing a means to non-invasively characterise functional abnormalities associated with genetic models of human diseases. The predominant stimulus used in task-based fMRI in the mouse is electrical stimulation of the paw. Task-based fMRI in mice using visual stimuli remains underexplored, despite visual stimuli being common in human fMRI studies. In this study, we map the mouse brain visual system with BOLD measurements at 9.4T using flashing light stimuli with medetomidine anaesthesia. BOLD responses were observed in the lateral geniculate nucleus, the superior colliculus and the primary visual area of the cortex, and were modulated by the flashing frequency, diffuse vs focussed light and stimulus context. Negative BOLD responses were measured in the visual cortex at 10Hz flashing frequency; but turned positive below 5Hz. In addition, the use of interleaved snapshot GE-EPI improved fMRI image quality without diminishing the temporal contrast-noise-ratio. Taken together, this work demonstrates a novel methodological protocol in which the mouse brain visual system can be non-invasively investigated using BOLD fMRI.
- c-FOS expression in the visual system of tree shrews after monocular inactivation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Comp Neurol 2016 Jun 8.
Tree shrews possess an unusual segregation of ocular inputs to sublayers rather than columns in the primary visual cortex (V1). In this study, the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), superior colliculus (SC), pulvinar, and V1 were examined for changes in c-FOS, an immediate-early gene, expression after 1 or 24 hours of monocular inactivation with tetrodotoxin (TTX) in tree shrews. Monocular inactivation greatly reduced gene expression in LGN layers related to the blocked eye, whereas normally high to moderate levels were maintained in the layers that receive inputs from the intact eye. The SC and caudal pulvinar contralateral to the blocked eye had greatly (SC) or moderately (pulvinar) reduced gene expressions reflective of dependence on the contralateral eye. c-FOS expression in V1 was greatly reduced contralateral to the blocked eye, with most of the expression that remained in upper layer 4a and lower 4b and lower layer 6 regions. In contrast, much of V1 contralateral to the active eye showed normal levels of c-FOS expression, including the inner parts of sublayers 4a and 4b and layers 2, 3, and 6. In some cases, upper layer 4a and lower 4b showed a reduction of gene expression. Layers 5 and sublayer 3c had normally low levels of gene expression. The results reveal the functional dominance of the contralateral eye in activating the SC, pulvinar, and V1, and the results from V1 suggest that the sublaminar organization of layer 4 is more complex than previously realized. J. Comp. Neurol., 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.