Dysfunction of parvalbumin-expressing cells in the thalamic reticular nucleus induces cortical spike-and-wave discharges and an unconscious state

Manal S. Abdelaal, Mitsuharu Midorikawa, Toru Suzuki, Kenta Kobayashi, Norio Takata, Mariko Miyata, Masaru Mimura, Kenji F. Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Spike-and-wave discharges and an accompanying loss of consciousness are hallmarks of absence seizure, which is a childhood generalized epilepsy disorder. In absence seizure, dysfunction of the cortico-thalamo-cortico circuitry is thought to engage in abnormal cortical rhythms. Previous studies demonstrated that the thalamic reticular nucleus has a critical role in the formation of normal cortical rhythms; however, whether thalamic reticular nucleus dysfunction leads directly to abnormal rhythms, such as epilepsy, is largely unknown. We found that expressing the inhibitory opsin, archaerhodopsin, including in the thalamic reticular nucleus, caused abnormal cortical rhythms in Pvalb-tetracycline transactivator::tetO-ArchT (PV-ArchT) double transgenic mice. We validated the PV-ArchT line as a new mouse model of absence seizure through physiological and pharmacological analyses, as well as through examining their behavioural features. We then discovered that archaerhodopsin expression exclusively in thalamic reticular nucleus parvalbumin-positive neurons was sufficient to induce cortical spike-and-wave discharges using adeno-associated virus-mediated thalamic reticular nucleus targeting. Furthermore, we found that archaerhodopsin expression impaired rebound burst firing and T-current in thalamic reticular nucleus parvalbumin-positive cells by slice physiology. Although T-current in the thalamic reticular nucleus was impaired, the T-current blocker ethosuximide still had a therapeutic effect in PV-ArchT mice, suggesting a gain of function of T-type calcium channels in this absence seizure model. However, we did not find any over- or misexpression of T-type calcium channel genes in the thalamus or the cortex. Thus, we demonstrated that thalamic reticular nucleus dysfunction led to an absence seizure-like phenotype in mice. In a final set of experiments, we showed that the archaerhodopsin-mediated absence seizure-like phenotype disappeared after the removal of archaerhodopsin by using a time-controllable transgenic system. These data may provide a hint as to why many absence seizures naturally regress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcac010
JournalBrain Communications
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • T-type calcium channel
  • animal model of absence seizure
  • inhibitory opsin
  • rebound burst firing
  • tetracycline-controllable gene induction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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