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Current Opinion in Neurobiology

Chun Yang, Stephen Thankachan, Robert W McCarley, Ritchie E Brown
The diverse cell-types of the basal forebrain control sleep-wake states, cortical activity and reward processing. Large, slow-firing, cholinergic neurons suppress cortical delta activity and promote cortical plasticity in response to reinforcers. Large, fast-firing, cortically-projecting GABAergic neurons promote wakefulness and fast cortical activity. In particular, parvalbumin/GABAergic neurons promote neocortical gamma band activity. Conversely, excitation of slower-firing somatostatin/GABAergic neurons promotes sleep through inhibition of cortically-projecting neurons...
May 21, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Jozelia Gomes Pacheco Ferreira, Jackson Cioni Bittencourt, Antoine Adamantidis
The melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is an essential neuromodulator involved with homeostatic regulation and motivated behaviors. The majority of MCH neurons are localized within the zona incerta, lateral hypothalamic and incerto-hypothalamic areas but others regions, as the olfactory turbecle, the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, the paramediam pontine reticular formation and the medial preoptic area, can also express the peptide depending on the gender and metabolic state of the animal. If the MCH on these novel sites of expression are also related with the control of wake-sleep cycle will be discuss in this review...
May 17, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Oleg I Lyamin, Lev M Mukhametov, Jerome M Siegel
The pattern of sleep in the fur seal, a semiaquatic pinniped, has several striking behavioral and physiological adaptations that allow this species to inhabit both the land and water environment. These features include unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS, also being unihemispheric waking), the ability to maintain movement for stabilization of the sleep posture and to briefly open one eye while having a sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) in one hemisphere. In vivo microdialysis studies suggest that acetylcholine release is required for cortical activation during USWS, and that monoamines are not required for USWS...
May 12, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Wendy A Herbst, Kelsey C Martin
Synapse-to-nucleus communication is essential for neural development, plasticity, and repair. In addition to fast electrochemical signaling, neurons employ a slower mechanism of protein transport from synapse-to-nucleus. This mechanism provides potential advantages, including the encoding of spatial information. Many synaptonuclear signaling proteins are transported from the postsynaptic compartment to the nucleus in an activity-dependent manner. The phosphorylation state of two such proteins, CRTC1 and Jacob, is dependent on the stimulus type...
May 11, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Adam J Granger, Michael L Wallace, Bernardo L Sabatini
It is firmly established that many mammalian neurons release various combinations of amino acids, their derivatives, and other small molecules from presynaptic terminals in order to signal to their postsynaptic targets. Here we discuss recent findings about four types of multi-transmitter neurons-those that release GABA and acetylcholine (Ach); dopamine (DA) and GABA or glutamate; and glutamate and GABA. The mechanisms of co-release in each class differ and highlight the complex and dynamic nature of neurotransmitter release...
May 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Henning Sprekeler
Computational neuroscience has a long-standing tradition of investigating the consequences of excitatory synaptic plasticity. In contrast, the functions of inhibitory plasticity are still largely nebulous, particularly given the bewildering diversity of interneurons in the brain. Here, we review recent computational advances that provide first suggestions for the functional roles of inhibitory plasticity, such as a maintenance of the excitation-inhibition balance, a stabilization of recurrent network dynamics and a decorrelation of sensory responses...
May 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Christelle Anaclet, Patrick M Fuller
Recent work has helped reconcile puzzling results from brainstem transection studies first performed over 60 years ago, which suggested the existence of a sleep-promoting system in the medullary brainstem. It was specifically shown that GABAergic neurons located in the medullary brainstem parafacial zone (PZ(GABA)) are not only necessary for normal slow-wave-sleep (SWS) but that their selective activation is sufficient to induce SWS in behaving animals. In this review we discuss early experimental findings that inspired the hypothesis that the caudal brainstem contained SWS-promoting circuitry...
May 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Ada Eban-Rothschild, William J Giardino, Luis de Lecea
Daily, animals need to decide when to stop engaging in cognitive processes and behavioral responses to the environment, and go to sleep. The main processes regulating the daily organization of sleep and wakefulness are circadian rhythms and homeostatic sleep pressure. In addition, motivational processes such as food seeking and predator evasion can modulate sleep/wake behaviors. Here, we discuss the principal processes regulating the propensity to stay awake or go to sleep-focusing on neuronal and behavioral aspects...
May 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Miho Nakajima, Michael M Halassa
The thalamus is an evolutionarily conserved structure with extensive reciprocal connections to cortical regions. While its role in transmitting sensory signals is well-studied, its broader engagement in cognition is unclear. In this review, we discuss evidence that the thalamus regulates functional connectivity within and between cortical regions, determining how a cognitive process is implemented across distributed cortical microcircuits. Within this framework, thalamic circuits do not necessarily determine the categorical content of a cognitive process (e...
May 6, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Roland Zemla, Jayeeta Basu
The hippocampus is crucial for the formation and recall of long-term memories about people, places, objects, and events. Capitalizing on high-resolution microscopy, in vivo electrophysiology, and genetic manipulation, recent research in rodents provides evidence for hippocampal ensemble coding on the spatial, episodic, and contextual dimensions. Here we highlight the functional contribution of newly described long-range connections between hippocampus and cortical areas, and the relative impact of inhibitory and excitatory dynamics in generating behaviorally relevant population activity...
May 3, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Dilja Krueger-Burg, Theofilos Papadopoulos, Nils Brose
While the postsynaptic density of excitatory synapses is known to encompass a highly complex molecular machinery, the equivalent organizational structure of inhibitory synapses has long remained largely undefined. In recent years, however, substantial progress has been made towards identifying the full complement of organizational proteins present at inhibitory synapses, including submembranous scaffolds, intracellular signaling proteins, transsynaptic adhesion proteins, and secreted factors. Here, we summarize these findings and discuss future challenges in assigning synapse-specific functions to the newly discovered catalog of proteins, an endeavor that will depend heavily on newly developed technologies such as proximity biotinylation...
April 28, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Igor Timofeev, Sylvain Chauvette
It is well documented that sleep contributes to memory consolidation and it is also accepted that long-term synaptic plasticity plays a critical role in memory formation. The mechanisms of this sleep-dependent memory formation are unclear. Two main hypotheses are proposed. According to the first one, synapses are potentiated during wake; and during sleep they are scaled back to become available for the learning tasks in the next day. The other hypothesis is that sleep slow oscillations potentiate synapses that were depressed due to persistent activities during the previous day and that potentiation provides physiological basis for memory consolidation...
April 25, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Bartlett W Mel, Jackie Schiller, Panayiota Poirazi
The elaborate morphology, nonlinear membrane mechanisms and spatiotemporally varying synaptic activation patterns of dendrites complicate the expression, compartmentalization and modulation of synaptic plasticity. To grapple with this complexity, we start with the observation that neurons in different brain areas face markedly different learning problems, and dendrites of different neuron types contribute to the cell's input-output function in markedly different ways. By committing to specific assumptions regarding a neuron's learning problem and its input-output function, specific inferences can be drawn regarding the synaptic plasticity mechanisms and outcomes that we 'ought' to expect for that neuron...
April 25, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Meng Liu, Carlos Blanco-Centurion, Priyattam J Shiromani
Narcolepsy was first identified almost 130 years ago, but it was only 15 years ago that it was identified as a neurodegenerative disease linked to a loss of orexin neurons in the brain. It is unclear what causes the orexin neurons to die, but our strategy has been to place the gene for orexin into surrogate neurons in the validated mouse models of narcolepsy, and test whether it can block narcolepsy symptoms, such as cataplexy. In both the orexin knockout and the orexin-ataxin-3 mouse models of narcolepsy we have found that cataplexy can be blocked if the surrogate neurons are part of the circuit responsible for cataplexy...
April 23, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Barbara E Jones
Electrophysiological recordings indicate that neurons which discharge maximally in association with distinct sleep-wake states are distributed through the brain, albeit in differing proportions. As studied using juxtacellular recording and labeling within the basal forebrain, four functional principal cell types are distinguished as: wake/paradoxical sleep (W/PS)-, slow wave sleep (SWS)-, W- and PS-max active. They are each comprised by both GABA and glutamate neurons, in addition to acetylcholine neurons belonging to the W/PS group...
April 19, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Friedemann Zenke, Wulfram Gerstner, Surya Ganguli
Hebbian plasticity, a synaptic mechanism which detects and amplifies co-activity between neurons, is considered a key ingredient underlying learning and memory in the brain. However, Hebbian plasticity alone is unstable, leading to runaway neuronal activity, and therefore requires stabilization by additional compensatory processes. Traditionally, a diversity of homeostatic plasticity phenomena found in neural circuits is thought to play this role. However, recent modelling work suggests that the slow evolution of homeostatic plasticity, as observed in experiments, is insufficient to prevent instabilities originating from Hebbian plasticity...
April 18, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Tim P Vogels, Leslie C Griffith
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 17, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Takayuki Yamashita, Akihiro Yamanaka
The lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) of the diencephalon is crucially involved in controlling instinctive behavior such as sleep-wake cycle and feeding behavior. LHA is a heterogeneous structure that contains spatially intermingled, genetically distinct cell populations. Among LHA neurons, orexin/hypocretin (OX) neuron is the key cell type that promotes waking, and specific loss of OX neurons results in narcolepsy. Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) containing neurons are known to be active during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and stimulation of these neurons promotes REM sleep...
April 17, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Tobias Kaiser, Yang Zhou, Guoping Feng
Monogenic animal models for psychiatric diseases have enabled researchers to dissect the relationship between certain candidate genes, neural circuit abnormalities, and behavioral phenotypes along development. Early reports of phenotypic reversal after genetic restoration in mouse models sparked hope that genetic defects do not damage circuits irreversibly in early-onset disorders. However, further studies have suggested that only some circuits exhibit this plasticity, while many others require proper gene function during development...
April 15, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Talia Levitas-Djerbi, Lior Appelbaum
What are the molecular and cellular mechanisms that link neurological disorders and sleep disturbances? The transparent zebrafish model could bridge this gap in knowledge due to its unique genetic and imaging toolbox, and amenability to high-throughput screening. Sleep is well-characterized in zebrafish and key regulators of the sleep/wake cycle are conserved, including melatonin and hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt), whereas novel sleep regulating proteins are continually being identified, such as Kcnh4a, Neuromedin U, and QRFP...
April 14, 2017: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
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