Publications by authors named "Angela Neitz"

15 Publications

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Neurogenesis of medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens continues into adulthood and is enhanced by pathological pain.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Sep 1;26(9):4616-4632. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology, University Hospital Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

In mammals, most adult neural stem cells (NSCs) are located in the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) along the wall of the lateral ventricles and they are the source of olfactory bulb interneurons. Adult NSCs exhibit an apico-basal polarity; they harbor a short apical process and a long basal process, reminiscent of radial glia morphology. In the adult mouse brain, we detected extremely long radial glia-like fibers that originate from the anterior-ventral V-SVZ and that are directed to the ventral striatum. Interestingly, a fraction of adult V-SVZ-derived neuroblasts dispersed in close association with the radial glia-like fibers in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Using several in vivo mouse models, we show that newborn neurons integrate into preexisting circuits in the NAc where they mature as medium spiny neurons (MSNs), i.e., a type of projection neurons formerly believed to be generated only during embryonic development. Moreover, we found that the number of newborn neurons in the NAc is dynamically regulated by persistent pain, suggesting that adult neurogenesis of MSNs is an experience-modulated process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0823-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8589654PMC
September 2021

Target selectivity of septal cholinergic neurons in the medial and lateral entorhinal cortex.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 03 27;115(11):E2644-E2652. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany;

The entorhinal cortex (EC) plays a pivotal role in processing and conveying spatial information to the hippocampus. It has long been known that EC neurons are modulated by cholinergic input from the medial septum. However, little is known as to how synaptic release of acetylcholine affects the different cell types in EC. Here we combined optogenetics and patch-clamp recordings to study the effect of cholinergic axon stimulation on distinct neurons in EC. We found dense cholinergic innervations that terminate in layer I and II (LI and LII). Light-activated stimulation of septal cholinergic projections revealed differential responses in excitatory and inhibitory neurons in LI and LII of both medial and lateral EC. We observed depolarizing responses mediated by nicotinic and muscarinic receptors primarily in putative serotonin receptor (p5HTR)-expressing interneurons. Hyperpolarizing muscarinic receptor-mediated responses were found predominantly in excitatory cells. Additionally, some excitatory as well as a higher fraction of inhibitory neurons received mono- and/or polysynaptic GABAergic inputs, revealing that medial septum cholinergic neurons have the capacity to corelease GABA alongside acetylcholine. Notably, the synaptic effects of acetylcholine were similar in neurons of both medial and lateral EC. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that EC activity may be differentially modulated via the activation or the suppression of distinct subsets of LI and LII neurons by the septal cholinergic system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716531115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5856533PMC
March 2018

Impaired path integration in mice with disrupted grid cell firing.

Nat Neurosci 2018 01 11;21(1):81-91. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology, Medical Faculty of University of Heidelberg and DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany.

Path integration (PI) is a highly conserved, self-motion-based navigation strategy. Since the discovery of grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, neurophysiological data and computational models have suggested that these neurons serve PI. However, more direct empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis has been missing due to a lack of selective manipulations of grid cell activity and suitable behavioral assessments. Here we report that selective disruption of grid cell activity in mice can be achieved by removing NMDA glutamate receptors from the retro-hippocampal region and that disrupted grid cell firing accounts for impaired PI performance. Notably, the genetic manipulation did not affect the activity of other spatially selective cells in the medial entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus. By directly linking grid cell activity to PI, these results contribute to a better understanding of how grid cells support navigation and spatial memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-017-0039-3DOI Listing
January 2018

Diazepam Binding Inhibitor Promotes Stem Cell Expansion Controlling Environment-Dependent Neurogenesis.

Neuron 2017 Apr 23;94(1):125-137.e5. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty of the Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Plasticity of adult neurogenesis supports adaptation to environmental changes. The identification of molecular mediators that signal these changes to neural progenitors in the niche has remained elusive. Here we report that diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI) is crucial in supporting an adaptive mechanism in response to changes in the environment. We provide evidence that DBI is expressed in stem cells in all neurogenic niches of the postnatal brain. Focusing on the hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) and employing multiple genetic manipulations in vivo, we demonstrate that DBI regulates the balance between preserving the stem cell pool and neurogenesis. Specifically, DBI dampens GABA activity in stem cells, thereby sustaining the proproliferative effect of physical exercise and enriched environment. Our data lend credence to the notion that the modulatory effect of DBI constitutes a general mechanism that regulates postnatal neurogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.003DOI Listing
April 2017

Local and Distant Input Controlling Excitation in Layer II of the Medial Entorhinal Cortex.

Neuron 2016 Jan 17;89(1):194-208. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology, Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Layer II (LII) of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) comprises grid cells that support spatial navigation. The firing pattern of grid cells might be explained by attractor dynamics in a network, which requires either direct excitatory connectivity between phase-specific grid cells or indirect coupling via interneurons. However, knowledge regarding local networks that support in vivo activity is incomplete. Here we identified essential components of LII networks in the MEC. We distinguished four types of excitatory neurons that exhibit cell-type-specific local excitatory and inhibitory connectivity. Furthermore, we found that LII neurons contribute to the excitation of contralateral neurons in the corresponding layer. Finally, we demonstrated that the medial septum controls excitation in the MEC via two subpopulations of long-range GABAergic neurons that target distinct interneurons in LII, thereby disinhibiting local circuits. We thus identified local connections that could support attractor dynamics and external inputs that likely govern excitation in LII.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712190PMC
January 2016

Physiological properties of supragranular cortical inhibitory interneurons expressing retrograde persistent firing.

Neural Plast 2015 11;2015:608141. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Institute of Physiology, University Medical Center of the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, 55128 Mainz, Germany.

Neurons are polarized functional units. The somatodendritic compartment receives and integrates synaptic inputs while the axon relays relevant synaptic information in form of action potentials (APs) across long distance. Despite this well accepted notion, recent research has shown that, under certain circumstances, the axon can also generate APs independent of synaptic inputs at axonal sites distal from the soma. These ectopic APs travel both toward synaptic terminals and antidromically toward the soma. This unusual form of neuronal communication seems to preferentially occur in cortical inhibitory interneurons following a period of intense neuronal activity and might have profound implications for neuronal information processing. Here we show that trains of ectopically generated APs can be induced in a large portion of neocortical layer 2/3 GABAergic interneurons following a somatic depolarization inducing hundreds of APs. Sparsely occurring ectopic spikes were also observed in a large portion of layer 1 interneurons even in absence of prior somatic depolarization. Remarkably, we found that interneurons which produce ectopic APs display specific membrane and morphological properties significantly different from the remaining GABAergic cells and may therefore represent a functionally unique interneuronal subpopulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/608141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339824PMC
November 2015

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells modulate the neuronal network by activity-dependent ectodomain cleavage of glial NG2.

PLoS Biol 2014 Nov 11;12(11):e1001993. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Institute of Physiology, University Medical Center of the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

The role of glia in modulating neuronal network activity is an important question. Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) characteristically express the transmembrane proteoglycan nerve-glia antigen 2 (NG2) and are unique glial cells receiving synaptic input from neurons. The development of NG2+ OPC into myelinating oligodendrocytes has been well studied, yet the retention of a large population of synapse-bearing OPC in the adult brain poses the question as to additional functional roles of OPC in the neuronal network. Here we report that activity-dependent processing of NG2 by OPC-expressed secretases functionally regulates the neuronal network. NG2 cleavage by the α-secretase ADAM10 yields an ectodomain present in the extracellular matrix and a C-terminal fragment that is subsequently further processed by the γ-secretase to release an intracellular domain. ADAM10-dependent NG2 ectodomain cleavage and release (shedding) in acute brain slices or isolated OPC is increased by distinct activity-increasing stimuli. Lack of NG2 expression in OPC (NG2-knockout mice), or pharmacological inhibition of NG2 ectodomain shedding in wild-type OPC, results in a striking reduction of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) in pyramidal neurons of the somatosensory cortex and alterations in the subunit composition of their α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepr opionicacid (AMPA) receptors. In NG2-knockout mice these neurons exhibit diminished AMPA and NMDA receptor-dependent current amplitudes; strikingly AMPA receptor currents can be rescued by application of conserved LNS protein domains of the NG2 ectodomain. Furthermore, NG2-knockout mice exhibit altered behavior in tests measuring sensorimotor function. These results demonstrate for the first time a bidirectional cross-talk between OPC and the surrounding neuronal network and demonstrate a novel physiological role for OPC in regulating information processing at neuronal synapses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001993DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227637PMC
November 2014

Focal cortical lesions induce bidirectional changes in the excitability of fast spiking and non fast spiking cortical interneurons.

PLoS One 2014 27;9(10):e111105. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Institute of Physiology, University Medical Center of the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

A physiological brain function requires neuronal networks to operate within a well-defined range of activity. Indeed, alterations in neuronal excitability have been associated with several pathological conditions, ranging from epilepsy to neuropsychiatric disorders. Changes in inhibitory transmission are known to play a key role in the development of hyperexcitability. However it is largely unknown whether specific interneuronal subpopulations contribute differentially to such pathological condition. In the present study we investigated functional alterations of inhibitory interneurons embedded in a hyperexcitable cortical circuit at the border of chronically induced focal lesions in mouse visual cortex. Interestingly, we found opposite alterations in the excitability of non fast-spiking (Non Fs) and fast-spiking (Fs) interneurons in acute cortical slices from injured animals. Non Fs interneurons displayed a depolarized membrane potential and a higher frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs). In contrast, Fs interneurons showed a reduced sEPSCs amplitude. The observed downscaling of excitatory synapses targeting Fs interneurons may prevent the recruitment of this specific population of interneurons to the hyperexcitable network. This mechanism is likely to seriously affect neuronal network function and to exacerbate hyperexcitability but it may be important to protect this particular vulnerable population of GABAegic neurons from excitotoxicity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111105PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210267PMC
June 2015

The transcription factor Fezf2 directs the differentiation of neural stem cells in the subventricular zone toward a cortical phenotype.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jul 7;111(29):10726-31. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Department of Clinical Neurobiology, University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg (DKFZ), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Postnatal neurogenesis in mammals is confined to restricted brain regions, including the subventricular zone (SVZ). In rodents, the SVZ is a lifelong source of new neurons fated to migrate to the olfactory bulb (OB), where the majority become GABAergic interneurons. The plastic capacity of neonatal and adult SVZ stem/progenitor cells is still largely unknown. By overexpressing the transcription factor Fezf2, a powerful master gene specifying the phenotype of glutamatergic subcerebral projecting neurons, we investigated whether the fate of postnatally generated SVZ neurons can be altered. Following lentiviral delivery of Fezf2 in the neonatal and adult SVZ niche, we showed that ectopic Fezf2 expression is sufficient to redirect the fate of SVZ stem cells. Thus, based on in vivo and in vitro experiments, we provide evidence that numerous Fezf2-positive OB neurons expressed glutamatergic pyramidal cell molecular markers instead of developing a GABAergic identity. Overexpression of Fezf2 had no effect on transit-amplifying progenitors or neuroblasts but was restricted to neural stem cells. Fezf2-respecified neurons bore features of pyramidal cells, exhibiting a larger cell body and a more elaborate dendritic tree, compared with OB granule cells. Patch-clamp recordings further indicated that Fezf2-respecified neurons had synaptic properties and a firing pattern reminiscent of a pyramidal cell-like phenotype. Together, the results demonstrate that neonatal and adult SVZ stem cells retain neuronal fate plasticity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1320290111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115522PMC
July 2014

Postsynaptic NO/cGMP increases NMDA receptor currents via hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in the hippocampus.

Cereb Cortex 2014 Jul 28;24(7):1923-36. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center of the Johannes-Gutenberg University, D-55128 Mainz, Germany and.

The nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling cascade participates in the modulation of synaptic transmission. The effects of NO are mediated by the NO-sensitive cGMP-forming guanylyl cyclases (NO-GCs), which exist in 2 isoforms with indistinguishable regulatory properties. The lack of long-term potentiation (LTP) in knock-out (KO) mice deficient in either one of the NO-GC isoforms indicates the contribution of both NO-GCs to LTP. Recently, we showed that the NO-GC1 isoform is located presynaptically in glutamatergic neurons and increases the glutamate release via hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide (HCN)-gated channels in the hippocampus. Electrophysiological analysis of hippocampal CA1 neurons in whole-cell recordings revealed a reduction of HCN currents and a hyperpolarizing shift of the activation curve in the NO-GC2 KOs associated with reduced resting membrane potentials. These features were mimicked in wild-type (WT) neurons with an NO-GC inhibitor. Analysis of glutamate receptors revealed a cGMP-dependent reduction of NMDA receptor currents in the NO-GC2 KO mice, which was mimicked in WT by HCN channel inhibition. Lowering extracellular Mg(2+) increased NMDA receptor currents in the NO-GC2 KO and allowed the induction of LTP that was absent at physiological Mg(2+). In sum, our data indicate that postsynaptic cGMP increases the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor current by gating HCN channels and thereby is required for LTP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bht048DOI Listing
July 2014

Presynaptic nitric oxide/cGMP facilitates glutamate release via hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in the hippocampus.

Eur J Neurosci 2011 May 17;33(9):1611-21. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Department of Neurophysiology, Medical School, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

In hippocampal neurons, synaptic transmission is affected by a variety of modulators, including nitric oxide (NO), which was proposed as a retrograde messenger as long as two decades ago. NO signals via two NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclases (NO-GCs) (NO-GC1 and NO-GC2) and the subsequent increase in cGMP. Lack of long-term potentiation in mice deficient in either one of the two NO-GCs demonstrates the involvement of both NO-GCs in synaptic transmission. However, the physiological consequences of NO/cGMP and the cellular mechanisms involved are unknown. Here, we analyzed glutamatergic synaptic transmission, most likely reflecting glutamate release, in the hippocampal CA1 region of NO-GC knockout mice by single-cell recording, and found glutamate release to be reduced under basal and stimulated conditions in the NO-GC1 knockout mice, but restorable to wild-type-like levels with a cGMP analog. Conversely, an inhibitor of NO/cGMP signaling, ODQ, reduced glutamate release in wild-type mice to knockout-like levels; thus, we conclude that presynaptic cGMP formed by NO-GC1 facilitates glutamate release. In this pathway, NO is supplied by endothelial NO synthase. In search of a cGMP target, we found that two mechanistically distinct blockers of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels (ZD7288 and DK-AH269) abolished the cGMP-induced increase in glutamate release, suggesting that cGMP either directly or indirectly signals via HCN channels. In summary, we unravel a presynaptic role of NO/cGMP most likely in glutamate release and propose that HCN channels act as effectors for cGMP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07654.xDOI Listing
May 2011

More than a retrograde messenger: nitric oxide needs two cGMP pathways to induce hippocampal long-term potentiation.

J Neurosci 2009 Jul;29(29):9344-50

Department of Neurophysiology, Medical School, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany.

Although nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated as a messenger molecule in hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) for almost 20 years, its precise function has not been elucidated because presynaptic and/or postsynaptic actions of NO have been reported. Most of the effects of NO as a signaling molecule are mediated by the NO receptor guanylyl cyclases (NO-GCs), two heme-containing enzymes with pronounced homology in which cGMP-forming activity is stimulated on NO binding. Here we report on knock-out (KO) mice in which either one of the NO-GC receptors has been genetically deleted. By measuring NO-induced cGMP levels, similar quantities of both NO-GC receptors were determined in the hippocampus. Surprisingly, hippocampal LTP was abolished in either one of the KO strains, demonstrating that both NO-GC receptors are required in the course of LTP. Expression of LTP was restored with a cGMP analog in one of the KO strains but did not recover in the other one. Moreover, single-cell recordings of paired pulse facilitation revealed a presynaptic role of one of the NO-GC isoforms in neurotransmitter release, confirming different roles of the NO-GC receptors in LTP. Because neither one of the NO/cGMP-induced responses by itself is sufficient for LTP, two divergent, possibly presynaptically and postsynaptically localized NO-stimulated cGMP pathways are apparently required for the expression of LTP. The unexpected role of cGMP at two sites of the synaptic cleft explains many of the controversial results in former NO research in LTP and demonstrates the necessity of presynaptic and postsynaptic changes for LTP expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1902-09.2009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6665562PMC
July 2009

Focal laser-lesions activate an endogenous population of neural stem/progenitor cells in the adult visual cortex.

Brain 2009 Aug 13;132(Pt 8):2252-64. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitaetsstrasse, Bochum, Germany.

CNS lesions stimulate adult neurogenic niches. Endogenous neural stem/progenitor cells represent a potential resource for CNS regeneration. Here, we investigate the response to unilateral focal laser-lesions applied to the visual cortex of juvenile rats. Within 3 days post-lesion, an ipsilateral increase of actively cycling cells was observed in cortical layer one and in the callosal white matter within the lesion penumbra. The cells expressed the neural stem/progenitor cell marker Nestin and the 473HD-epitope. Tissue prepared from the lesion area by micro-dissection generated self-renewing, multipotent neurospheres, while cells from the contralateral visual cortex did not. The newly formed neural stem/progenitor cells in the lesion zone might support neurogenesis, as suggested by the expression of Pax6 and Doublecortin, a marker of newborn neurons. We propose that focal laser-lesions may induce the emergence of stem/progenitor cells with neurogenic potential. This could underlie the beneficial effects of laser application in neurosurgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp043DOI Listing
August 2009

Loss of Sox9 function results in defective chondrocyte differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells in vitro.

Int J Dev Biol 2008 ;52(4):323-32

Dept. of Medical Molecular Biology, University of Lubeck, Lubeck, Germany.

The transcription factor Sox9 plays an important role during chondrogenesis. After early conditional inactivation of Sox9 in mesenchymal limb bud cells of mice, mesenchymal condensations as well as cartilage and bone are completely absent in the developing limbs. We analyzed chondrogenic differentiation of Sox9-/- mouse embryonic stem cells in vitro, using two clones with different targeted mutations. We found that the development of mature and hypertrophic chondrocytes is completely inhibited in the absence of Sox9 confirming that Sox9 is required for the formation of cartilage. In contrast, Sox9+/- mouse embryonic stem cells showed continuous but reduced differentiation into mature chondrocytes. Interestingly, the formation of early chondrogenic condensations expressing characteristic marker genes such as scleraxis, Sox5 and Sox6 was not inhibited in the absence of Sox9 in vitro. Thus, we propose that the earliest step of chondrogenesis could be regulated by a non cell-autonomous function of Sox9.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/ijdb.072490ghDOI Listing
August 2008
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