Acetylcholine (ACh) release from the medial septum-diagonal band of Broca (MS-DBB) to the hippocampus profoundly alters cellular excitability, network synchronization, and behavioral state. Deficits in cholinergic function induce memory impairments, such as in Alzheimer's disease, while excessive cholinergic activity resulting from nerve agent or organophosphate pesticide poisoning can induce seizures and lead to neuronal death. ACh has diverse pre- and postsynaptic targets onto both glutamatergic and GABAergic cell populations in the hippocampus. Recent evidence has emerged indicating that the actions of ACh can be highly specific, altering the excitability of distinct GABAergic circuits a cell type-specific manner. Although activation of interneurons and principal cells underlie these oscillations, cholinergic synaptic transmission onto specific target cells remains poorly understood due to technical difficulties in systematically studying defined interneuron populations, the lack of information on the density and spatial localization of cholinergic afferents received by hippocampal target cells, and the inability to activate diffusely distributed populations of MS-DBB neurons in a selective yet coordinated manner. Through bulk fiber stimulation, cholinergic responses can be observed only through a cocktail of synaptic receptor antagonists, yet at the same time, this pharmacological isolation prohibits a complete understanding of how MS-DBB transmission impacts the excitability GABAergic and glutamatergic hippocampal networks. Moreover, the recent discovery of GABA and glutamate transmission machinery co-existing in MS-DBB cholinergic neurons raises the possibility of co-transmission, which would not be observed unless MS-DBB cholinergic fibers can be selectively activated with glutamate and GABAA receptors intact. In this proposal, using a combination of photoactivation of MS-DBB afferents, post-hoc immunocytochemical visualization of photoactivated fibers, electrophysiology, and computational modeling, we will test the central hypothesis that the efficacy of MS-DBB cholinergic and GABAergic transmission depends on the postsynaptic interneuron subtype. For the first time, we will be able to define the relationship between the spatial localization of MS-DBB afferents and the physiological consequence of cell type specific modulation.
In Aim 1, we will determine the efficacy of synaptic transmission between MS-DBB cholinergic neurons and postsynaptic hippocampal interneuron subtypes.
In Aim 2, we will determine the efficacy of synaptic transmission between MS-DBB GABAergic neurons and postsynaptic hippocampal interneuron subtypes. Finally, in Aim 3, we will determine the role of M1 mAChRs present on PV cells in cholinergically-induced network oscillations.

Public Health Relevance

Dysfunction of the medial septum-diagonal band of Broca (MS-DBB) is implicated in a large number of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease states, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and nerve gas and organic pesticide poisoning. A more complete understanding of the efficacy of synaptic transmission from MS-DBB neurons to hippocampal targets will greatly elucidate the role of the MS-DBB in hippocampal information processing, facilitating the development of new therapeutic approaches for these diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Neurotransporters, Receptors, and Calcium Signaling Study Section (NTRC)
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Silberberg, Shai D
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University of Montana
Other Health Professions
Schools of Pharmacy
United States
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