University of Alberta

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 5)

Optogenetic excitation of preBötzinger complex neurons potently drives inspiratory activity in vivo.

PMID: 26010654

Alsahafi Z, Dickson CT, Pagliardini S

J Physiol. 2015 Aug


Understanding the sites and mechanisms underlying respiratory rhythmogenesis is of fundamental interest in the field of respiratory neurophysiology. Previous studies demonstrated the necessary and sufficient role of preBötzinger complex (preBötC) in generating inspiratory rhythms in vitro and in vivo. However, the influence of timed activation of the preBötC network in vivo is as yet unknown given the experimental approaches previously used. By unilaterally infecting preBötC neurons using an adeno-associated virus expressing channelrhodopsin we photo-activated the network in order to assess how excitation delivered in a spatially and temporally precise manner to the inspiratory oscillator influences ongoing breathing rhythms and related muscular activity in urethane-anaesthetized rats. We hypothesized that if an excitatory drive is necessary for rhythmogenesis and burst initiation, photo-activation of preBötC not only will increase respiratory rate, but also entrain it over a wide range of frequencies with fast onset, and have little effect on ongoing respiratory rhythm if a stimulus is delivered during inspiration. Stimulation of preBötC neurons consistently increased respiratory rate and entrained respiration up to fourfold baseline conditions. Furthermore, brief pulses of photostimulation delivered at random phases between inspiratory events robustly and consistently induced phase-independent (Type 0) respiratory reset and recruited inspiratory muscle activity at very short delays (∼100 ms). A 200 ms refractory period following inspiration was also identified. These data provide strong evidence for a fine control of inspiratory activity in the preBötC and provide further evidence that the preBötC network constitutes the fundamental oscillator of inspiratory rhythms.

Seizure Activity Occurs in the Collagenase but not the Blood Infusion Model of Striatal Hemorrhagic Stroke in Rats

PMID: 25053257

Klahr AC, Dickson CT, Colbourne F

Transl Stroke Res 2014 Jul;


Seizures are a frequent complication of brain injury, including intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), where seizures occur in about a third of patients. Rodents are used to study pathophysiology and neuroprotective therapies after ICH, but there have been no studies assessing the occurrence of seizures in these models. Thus, we compared seizure incidence and characteristics after infusing collagenase (0.14 U), which degrades blood vessels, and autologous blood (100 μL) into the striatum of rats. Saline was infused in others as a negative control, whereas iron, a by-product of degrading erythrocytes, served as a positive control. Ipsilateral and contralateral electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was continuously monitored with telemetry probes for a week after the stroke. There were no electrographic abnormalities during baseline recordings. As expected, saline did not elicit any epileptiform activity whereas iron caused seizure activity. Seizures occurred in 66 % of the collagenase group between 10 and 36 h, their duration ranged from 5 to 90 s, and these events were mostly observed bilaterally. No such activity occurred after blood infusion despite comparable lesion sizes of 32.5 and 40.9 mm(3) in the collagenase and blood models, respectively (p = 0.222). Therefore, seizures are a common acute occurrence in the collagenase but not whole blood models of striatal ICH (p = 0.028, for incidence). These findings have potential implications for ICH studies such as for understanding model differences, helping select which model to use, and determining how seizures may affect or be affected by treatments applied after stroke.

ANI-inactivation: Unconditioned anxiolytic effects of anisomycin in the ventral hippocampus

PMID: 24910137

Greenberg A, Ward-Flanagan R, Dickson CT, Treit D

Hippocampus 2014 Jun;


Although hippocampal function is typically described in terms of memory, recent evidence suggests a differentiation along its dorsal/ventral axis, with dorsal regions serving memory and ventral regions serving emotion. While long-term memory is thought to be dependent on de novo protein synthesis because it is blocked by translational inhibitors such as anisomycin (ANI), online (moment-to-moment) functions of the hippocampus (such as unconditioned emotional responding) should not be sensitive to such manipulations since they are unlikely to involve neuroplasticity. However, ANI has recently been shown to suppress neural activity which suggests 1) that protein synthesis is critical for neural function, and 2) that paradigms using ANI are confounded by its inactivating effects. We tested this idea by using a neuro-behavioral assay which compared the influence of intra-hippocampal infusions of ANI at dorsal and ventral sites on unconditioned emotional behavior of rats. We show that ANI infusions in ventral, but not dorsal, hippocampus produced a suppression of anxiety-related responses in two well-established rodent tests: the elevated plus-maze and shock-probe burying tests. These results are similar to those previously observed when ventral hippocampal activity is directly suppressed (e.g., by using sodium channel blockers). The present study offers compelling behavioral evidence for the proposal that ANI adversely affects ongoing neural function and therefore its influence is not simply limited to impairing the consolidation of long-term memories. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Lack of respiratory coupling with neocortical and hippocampal slow oscillations

PMID: 24623771

Viczko J, Sharma AV, Pagliardini S, Wolansky T, Dickson CT

J. Neurosci. 2014 Mar;34(11):3937-46


Previous work has demonstrated an influence of the respiratory cycle and, more specifically, rhythmic nasal inspiration for the entrainment of slow oscillations in olfactory cortex during ketamine-xylazine anesthesia. This respiratory entrainment has been suggested to occur more broadly during slow-wave states (including sleep) throughout the forebrain, in particular in the frontal and parahippocampal and hippocampal cortices. Using multisite local field potential recording methods and spectral coherence analysis in the rat, we show here that no such broad forebrain coupling takes place during slow-wave activity patterns under either ketamine-xylazine or urethane anesthesia and, furthermore, that it also does not arise during natural slow-wave sleep. Therefore, respiratory-related oscillatory neural activities are likely limited to primary olfactory structures during slow-wave forebrain states.

Spontaneous and electrically modulated spatiotemporal dynamics of the neocortical slow oscillation and associated local fast activity

PMID: 23876244

Greenberg A, Dickson CT

Neuroimage 2013 Dec;83:782-94


The neocortical slow oscillation (SO; ~1Hz) of non-REM sleep and anesthesia reflects synchronized network activity composed of alternating active and silent (ON/OFF) phases at the local network and cellular level. The SO itself shows self-organized spatiotemporal dynamics as it appears to originate at unique foci on each cycle and then propagates across the cortical surface. During sleep, this rhythm is relevant for neuroplastic processes mediating memory consolidation especially since its enhancement by slow, rhythmic electrical fields improves subsequent recall. However, the neurobiological mechanism by which spontaneous or enhanced SO activity might operate on memory traces is unknown. Here we show a series of original results, using cycle to cycle tracking across multiple neocortical sites in urethane anesthetized rats: The spontaneous spatiotemporal dynamics of the SO are complex, showing interfering propagation patterns in the anterior-to-posterior plane. These patterns compete for expression and tend to alternate following phase resets that take place during the silent OFF phase of the SO. Applying sinusoidal electrical field stimulation to the anterior pole of the cerebral cortex progressively entrained local field, gamma, and multi-unit activity at all sites, while disrupting the coordination of endogenous SO activity. Field stimulation also biased propagation in the anterior-to-posterior direction and more notably, enhanced the long-range gamma synchrony between cortical regions. These results are the first to show that changes to slow wave dynamics cause enhancements in high frequency cortico-cortical communication and provide mechanistic clues into how the SO is relevant for sleep-dependent memory consolidation.

FG7142, yohimbine, and βCCE produce anxiogenic-like effects in the elevated plus-maze but do not affect brainstem activated hippocampal theta

PMID: 23851259

Yeung M, Lu L, Hughes AM, Treit D, Dickson CT

Neuropharmacology 2013 Dec;75:47-52


The neurobiological underpinnings of anxiety are of paramount importance to selective and efficacious pharmaceutical intervention. Hippocampal theta frequency in urethane anaesthetized rats is suppressed by all known (and some previously unknown) anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drugs. Although these findings support the predictive validity of this assay, its construct validity (i.e., whether theta frequency actually indexes anxiety per se) has not been a subject of systematic investigation. We reasoned that if anxiolytic drugs suppress hippocampal theta frequency, then drugs that increase anxiety (i.e., anxiogenic agents) should increase theta frequency, thus providing evidence of construct validity. We used three proven anxiogenic drugs–two benzodiazepine receptor inverse agonists, N-methyl-β-carboline-3-carboxamide (FG7142) and β-carboline-3-carboxylate ethyl ester (βCCE), and one α2 noradrenergic receptor antagonist, 17α-hydroxy-yohimban-16α-carboxylic acid methyl ester (yohimbine) as pharmacological probes to assess the construct validity of the theta model. Although all three anxiogenic drugs significantly increased behavioural measures of anxiety in the elevated plus-maze, none of the three increased the frequency of hippocampal theta oscillations in the neurophysiological model. As a positive control, we demonstrated that diazepam, a proven anxiolytic drug, decreased the frequency of hippocampal theta, as in all other studies using this model. Given this discrepancy between the significant effects of anxiogenic drugs in the behavioural model and the null effects of these drugs in the neurophysiological model, we conclude that the construct validity of the hippocampal theta model of anxiety is questionable.

Breathing and brain state: urethane anesthesia as a model for natural sleep

PMID: 23751523

Pagliardini S, Funk GD, Dickson CT

Respir Physiol Neurobiol 2013 Sep;188(3):324-32


Respiratory control differs dramatically across sleep stages. Indeed, along with rapid eye movements (REM), respiration was one of the first physiological variables shown to be modulated across sleep stages. The study of sleep stages, their physiological correlates, and neurobiological underpinnings present a challenge because of the fragility and unpredictability of individual stages, not to mention sleep itself. Although anesthesia has often substituted as a model for a unitary stage of slow-wave (non-REM) sleep, it is only recently that urethane anesthesia has been proposed to model the full spectrum of sleep given the presence of spontaneous brain state alternations and concurrent physiological correlates that appear remarkably similar to natural sleep. We describe this model, its parallels with natural sleep, and its power for studying modulation of respiration. Specifically, we report data on the EEG characteristics across brain states under urethane anesthesia, the dependence of brain alternations on neurotransmitter systems, and the observations on state dependent modulation of respiration.

Intrahippocampal infusion of the Ih blocker ZD7288 slows evoked theta rhythm and produces anxiolytic-like effects in the elevated plus maze

PMID: 23280856

Yeung M, Dickson CT, Treit D

Hippocampus 2013 Apr;23(4):278-86


Hippocampal theta rhythm has been associated with a number of behavioral processes, including learning and memory, spatial behavior, sensorimotor integration and affective responses. Suppression of hippocampal theta frequency has been shown to be a reliable neurophysiological signature of anxiolytic drug action in tests using known anxiolytic drugs (i.e., correlational evidence), but only one study to date (Yeung et al. (2012) Neuropharmacology 62:155-160) has shown that a drug with no known effect on either hippocampal theta or anxiety can in fact separately suppress hippocampal theta and anxiety in behavioral tests (i.e., prima facie evidence). Here, we attempt a further critical test of the hippocampal theta model by performing intrahippocampal administrations of the Ih blocker ZD7288, which is known to disrupt theta frequency subthreshold oscillations and resonance at the membrane level but is not known to have anxiolytic action. Intrahippocampal microinfusions of ZD7288 at high (15 µg), but not low (1 µg) doses slowed brainstem-evoked hippocampal theta responses in the urethane anesthetized rat, and more importantly, promoted anxiolytic action in freely behaving rats in the elevated plus maze. Taken together with our previous demonstration, these data provide converging, prima facie evidence of the validity of the theta suppression model.

Spontaneous sleep-like brain state alternations and breathing characteristics in urethane anesthetized mice

PMID: 23936201

Pagliardini S, Gosgnach S, Dickson CT

PLoS ONE 2013;8(7):e70411


Brain state alternations resembling those of sleep spontaneously occur in rats under urethane anesthesia and they are closely linked with sleep-like respiratory changes. Although rats are a common model for both sleep and respiratory physiology, we sought to determine if similar brain state and respiratory changes occur in mice under urethane. We made local field potential recordings from the hippocampus and measured respiratory activity by means of EMG recordings in intercostal, genioglossus, and abdominal muscles. Similar to results in adult rats, urethane anesthetized mice displayed quasi-periodic spontaneous forebrain state alternations between deactivated patterns resembling slow wave sleep (SWS) and activated patterns resembling rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These alternations were associated with an increase in breathing rate, respiratory variability, a depression of inspiratory related activity in genioglossus muscle and an increase in expiratory-related abdominal muscle activity when comparing deactivated (SWS-like) to activated (REM-like) states. These results demonstrate that urethane anesthesia consistently induces sleep-like brain state alternations and correlated changes in respiratory activity across different rodent species. They open up the powerful possibility of utilizing transgenic mouse technology for the advancement and translation of knowledge regarding sleep cycle alternations and their impact on respiration.

State-dependent modulation of breathing in urethane-anesthetized rats

PMID: 22895710

Pagliardini S, Greer JJ, Funk GD, Dickson CT

J. Neurosci. 2012 Aug;32(33):11259-70


Respiratory activity is most fragile during sleep, in particular during paradoxical [or rapid eye movement (REM)] sleep and sleep state transitions. Rats are commonly used to study respiratory neuromodulation, but rodent sleep is characterized by a highly fragmented sleep pattern, thus making it very challenging to examine different sleep states and potential pharmacological manipulations within them. Sleep-like brain-state alternations occur in rats under urethane anesthesia and may be an effective and efficient model for sleep itself. The present study assessed state-dependent changes in breathing and respiratory muscle modulation under urethane anesthesia to determine their similarity to those occurring during natural sleep. Rats were anesthetized with urethane and respiratory airflow, as well as electromyographic activity in respiratory muscles were recorded in combination with local field potentials in neocortex and hippocampus to determine how breathing pattern and muscle activity are modulated with brain state. Measurements were made in normoxic, hypoxic, and hypercapnic conditions. Results were compared with recordings made from rats during natural sleep. Brain-state alternations under urethane anesthesia were closely correlated with changes in breathing rate and variability and with modulation of respiratory muscle tone. These changes closely mimicked those observed in natural sleep. Of great interest was that, during both REM and REM-like states, genioglossus muscle activity was strongly depressed and abdominal muscle activity showed potent expiratory modulation. We demonstrate that, in urethane-anesthetized rats, respiratory airflow and muscle activity are closely correlated with brain-state transitions and parallel those shown in natural sleep, providing a useful model to systematically study sleep-related changes in respiratory control.

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