Learning-induced bidirectional enhancement of inhibitory synaptic metaplasticity

Sankhanava Kundu, Blesson Paul, Iris Reuevni, Raphael Lamprecht, Edi Barkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract: Training rodents in a particularly difficult olfactory-discrimination (OD) task results in the acquisition of the ability to perform the task well, termed ‘rule learning’. In addition to enhanced intrinsic excitability and synaptic excitation in piriform cortex pyramidal neurons, rule learning results in increased synaptic inhibition across the whole cortical network to the point where it precisely maintains the balance between inhibition and excitation. The mechanism underlying such precise inhibitory enhancement remains to be explored. Here, we use brain slices from transgenic mice (VGAT-ChR2-EYFP), enabling optogenetic stimulation of single GABAergic neurons and recordings of unitary synaptic events in pyramidal neurons. Quantal analysis revealed that learning-induced enhanced inhibition is mediated by increased quantal size of the evoked inhibitory events. Next, we examined the plasticity of synaptic inhibition induced by long-lasting, intrinsically evoked spike firing in post-synaptic neurons. Repetitive depolarizing current pulses from depolarized (−70 mV) or hyperpolarized (−90 mV) membrane potentials induced long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic inhibition, respectively. We found a profound bidirectional increase in the ability to induce both LTD, mediated by L-type calcium channels, and LTP, mediated by R-type calcium channels after rule learning. Blocking the GABAB receptor reversed the effect of intrinsic stimulation at −90 mV from LTP to LTD. We suggest that learning greatly enhances the ability to modify the strength of synaptic inhibition of principal neurons in both directions. Such plasticity of synaptic plasticity allows fine-tuning of inhibition on each particular neuron, thereby stabilizing the network while maintaining the memory of the rule. (Figure presented.). Key points: Olfactory discrimination rule learning results in long-lasting enhancement of synaptic inhibition on piriform cortex pyramidal neurons. Quantal analysis of unitary inhibitory synaptic events, evoked by optogenetic minimal stimulation, revealed that enhanced synaptic inhibition is mediated by increased quantal size. Surprisingly, metaplasticity of synaptic inhibition, induced by intrinsically evoked repetitive spike firing, is increased bidirectionally. The susceptibility to both long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP) of inhibition is enhanced after learning. LTD of synaptic inhibition is mediated by L-type calcium channels and LTP by R-type calcium channels. LTP is also dependent on activation of GABAB receptors. We suggest that learning-induced changes in the metaplasticity of synaptic inhibition enable the fine-tuning of inhibition on each particular neuron, thereby stabilizing the network while maintaining the memory of the rule.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physiology
Early online date23 Apr 2024
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Physiological Society.

Keywords

  • LTD and LTP
  • metaplasticity
  • piriform cortex
  • pyramidal neurons
  • rule learning
  • synaptic inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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