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  • 1
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: GluR1 and GluR2 subunits of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA) receptor are expressed at high levels by neurones in laminae I–III of rat spinal dorsal horn, an area which contains numerous, densely packed small neurones. In order to determine whether these subunits are expressed by inhibitory or excitatory neurones, we combined pre-embedding immunocytochemistry with antibodies that recognize either GluR1, or an epitope common to GluR2 and 3, with postembedding detection of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine. Most (78%) of the neurones with GluR1-immunoreactivity were GABA-immunoreactive, and some of these were also glycine-immunoreactive, whereas nearly all (97%) of the GluR2/3-immunoreactive neurones were not GABA- or glycine-immunoreactive.We carried out double-immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy to provide further information on the neurochemistry of cells that express these subunits. As expected, all neurotensin- and virtually all somatostatin-immunoreactive cells (which are thought to be excitatory interneurones) were GluR2/3- but not GluR1-immunoreactive, whereas parvalbumin-containing cells (most of which are GABAergic) possessed GluR1-, but usually not GluR2/3-immunoreactivity. Neurones that contained nitric oxide synthase (most of which are GABAergic) were more variable, with 57% GluR1-immunoreactive and 41% GluR2/3-immunoreactive. Cholinergic neurones in lamina III (which are also GABAergic) invariably showed each type of GluR-immunoreactivity.These results suggest that neuronal populations in laminae I–III have characteristic patterns of GluR expression: GluR1 is particularly associated with inhibitory neurones, and GluR2 with excitatory neurones. This makes it likely that some of the AMPA receptors present on the inhibitory interneurones lack the GluR2 subunit, and may therefore have significant Ca2+-permeability.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: We have generated embryonic stem (ES) cells and transgenic mice with green fluorescent protein (GFP) inserted into the Pitx3 locus via homologous recombination. In the central nervous system, Pitx3-directed GFP was visualized in dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. Live primary DA neurons can be isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting from these transgenic mouse embryos. In culture, Pitx3–GFP is coexpressed in a proportion of ES-derived DA neurons. Furthermore, ES cell-derived Pitx3–GFP expressing DA neurons responded to neurotrophic factors and were sensitive to DA-specific neurotoxin N-4-methyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine. We anticipate that the Pitx3–GFP ES cells could be used as a powerful model system for functional identification of molecules governing mDA neuron differentiation and for preclinical research including pharmaceutical drug screening and transplantation. The Pitx3 knock-in mice, on the other hand, could be used for purifying primary neurons for molecular studies associated with the midbrain-specific DA phenotype at a level not previously feasible. These mice would also provide a useful tool to study DA fate determination from embryo- or adult-derived neural stem cells.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Modulatory actions of monoamines were investigated on spinal commissural interneurons which coordinate left–right hindlimb muscle activity through direct projections to the contralateral motor nuclei. Commissural interneurons located in Rexed lamina VIII, with identified projections to the contralateral gastrocnemius–soleus motor nuclei, were investigated in deeply anaesthetized cats. Most interneurons had dominant input from either the reticular formation or from group II muscle afferents; a small proportion of neurons had input from both. Actions of ionophoretically applied serotonin and noradrenaline were examined on extracellularly recorded spikes evoked monosynaptically by group II muscle afferents or reticulospinal tract fibres. Activation by reticulospinal fibres was facilitated by both serotonin and noradrenaline. Activation by group II afferents was also facilitated by serotonin but was strongly depressed by noradrenaline. To investigate the possible morphological substrates of this differential modulation, seven representative commissural interneurons were labelled intracellularly with tetramethylrhodamine–dextran and neurobiotin. Contacts from noradrenergic and serotoninergic fibres were revealed by immunohistochemistry and analysed with confocal microscopy. There were no major differences in the numbers and distributions of contacts among the interneurons studied. The findings suggest that differences in modulatory actions of monoamines, and subsequent changes in the recruitment of subpopulations of commissural interneurons in various behavioural situations, depend on intrinsic interneuron properties rather than on the patterns of innervation by monoaminergic fibres. The different actions of noradrenaline on different populations of interneurons might permit reconfiguration of the actions of the commissural neurons according to behavioural context.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Axonal projections and neurotransmitters used by commissural interneurons mediating crossed actions of reticulospinal neurons were investigated in adult cats. Eighteen interneurons, located in or close to lamina VIII in midlumbar segments, that were monosynaptically excited by reticulospinal tract fibres and projected to contralateral motor nuclei were labelled by intracellular injection of tetramethylrhodamine-dextran and Neurobiotin. The nine most completely labelled interneurons were analysed with combined confocal and light microscopy. None of the stem axons gave off ipsilateral axon collaterals. Seven cells had axon collaterals that arborized in the contralateral grey matter in the ventral horn of the same segments. Transmitters were identified by using antibodies raised against vesicular glutamate transporters 1 and 2, glutamic acid decarboxylase and the glycine transporter 2. The axons of two cells were immunoreactive for the glycine transporter 2 and hence were glycinergic. Three cells were immunoreactive for the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 and hence were glutamatergic. None of the axons displayed immunoreactivity for glutamic acid decarboxylase. Electron microscopy of two cells revealed direct synaptic connections with motoneurons and other neurons. Axonal swellings of one neuron formed synapses with profiles in motor nuclei whereas those of the other formed synapses with other structures, including cell bodies in lamina VII. The results show that this population of commissural interneurons includes both excitatory and inhibitory cells that may excite or inhibit contralateral motoneurons directly. They may also influence the activity of motoneurons indirectly by acting through interneurons located outside motor nuclei in the contralateral grey matter but are unlikely to have direct actions on interneurons in the ipsilateral grey matter.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Two vesicular glutamate transporters, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, have recently been identified, and it has been reported that they are expressed by largely nonoverlapping populations of glutamatergic neurons in the brain. We have used immunocytochemistry with antibodies against both transporters, together with markers for various populations of spinal neurons, in an attempt to identify glutamatergic interneurons in the dorsal horn of the mid-lumbar spinal cord of the rat. The great majority (94–100%) of nonprimary axonal boutons that contained somatostatin, substance P or neurotensin, as well as 85% of those that contained enkephalin, were VGLUT2-immunoreactive, which suggests that most dorsal horn neurons that synthesize these peptides are glutamatergic. In support of this, we found that most somatostatin- and enkephalin-containing boutons (including somatostatin-immunoreactive boutons that lacked calcitonin gene-related peptide and were therefore probably derived from local interneurons) formed synapses at which AMPA receptors were present.We also investigated VGLUT expression in central terminals of primary afferents. Myelinated afferents were identified with cholera toxin B subunit; most of those in lamina I were VGLUT2-immunoreactive, whereas all those in deeper laminae were VGLUT1-immunoreactive, and some (in laminae III–VI) appeared to contain both transporters. However, peptidergic primary afferents that contained substance P or somatostatin (most of which are unmyelinated), as well as nonpeptidergic C fibres (identified with Bandeiraea simplicifolia isolectin B4) showed low levels of VGLUT2-immunoreactivity, or were not immunoreactive with either VGLUT antibody. As all primary afferents are thought to be glutamatergic, this raises the possibility that unmyelinated afferents, most of which are nociceptors, express a different vesicular glutamate transporter.
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