Immunohistochemical and electrophysiological investigation of E/I balance alterations in animal models of frontotemporal dementia

Hill, Katie Beth and Clark, Martin orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3315-5629 (2021) Immunohistochemical and electrophysiological investigation of E/I balance alterations in animal models of frontotemporal dementia. Brain and Neuroscience Advances, 5 (5). pp. 201-255.

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Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by changes in behaviour. Apathy, behavioural disinhibition and stereotyped behaviours are the first symptoms to appear and all have a basis in reward and pleasure deficits. The ventral striatum and ventral regions of the globus pallidus are involved in reward and pleasure. It is therefore reasonable to suggest alterations in these regions may underpin bvFTD. One postulated contributory factor is alteration in E/I balance in striatal regions. GABAergic interneurons play a role in E/I balance, acting as local inhibitory brakes, they are therefore a rational target for research investigating early biological predictors of bvFTD.

To investigate this, we will carry out immunohistochemical staining for GABAergic interneurons (parvalbumin and neuronal nitric oxide synthase) in striatal regions of brains taken from CHMP2B mice, a validated animal model of bvFTD. We hypothesise that there will be fewer GABAergic interneurons in the striatum which may lead to ‘reward-seeking’ behaviour in bvFTD. This will also enable us to investigate any preclinical alterations in interneuron expression within this region. Results will be analysed using a mixed ANOVA and if significant, post hoc t-tests will be used. The second part of our study will involve extracellular recordings from CHMP2B mouse brains using a multi-electrode array (MEA). This will enable us to determine if there are alterations in local field potentials (LFP) in preclinical and symptomatic animals. We will also be able to see if neuromodulators such as serotonin and dopamine effect LFPs after bath application. We will develop slice preparations to preserve pathways between the ventral tegmental area and the ventral pallidum, an output structure of the striatum, and the dorsal raphe nucleus and the VP. Using the MEA we will stimulate an endogenous release of dopamine and serotonin using the slice preparations as described above. This will enable us to see if there are any changes in LFPs after endogenous release of neuromodulators. We hypothesise there will be an increase in LFPs due to loss of GABAergic interneurons.

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