Reduced cognitive performance in aged rats correlates with increased excitation/inhibition ratio in the dentate gyrus in response to lateral entorhinal input

Trinh Tran, Michelle Bridi, Ming Teng Koh, Michela Gallagher, Alfredo Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aging often impairs cognitive functions associated with the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Anatomical studies identified the layer II pyramidal cells of the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) as one of the most vulnerable elements within the MTL. These cells provide a major excitatory input to the dentate gyrus hippocampal subfield through synapses onto granule cells and onto local inhibitory interneurons, and a fraction of these contacts are lost in aged individuals with impaired learning. Using optogenetics, we evaluated the functional status of the remaining inputs in an outbred rat model of aging that distinguishes between learning-impaired and learning-unimpaired individuals. We found that aging affects the presynaptic and postsynaptic strength of the LEC inputs onto granule cells. However, the magnitude of these changes was similar in impaired and unimpaired rats. In contrast, the recruitment of inhibition by LEC activation was selectively reduced in the aged impaired subjects. These findings are consistent with the notion that the preservation of an adequate balance of excitation and inhibition is crucial to maintaining proficient memory performance during aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume82
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Fingerprint

Entorhinal Cortex
Dentate Gyrus
Learning
Temporal Lobe
Optogenetics
Pyramidal Cells
Interneurons
Synapses
Cognition
Inhibition (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Disynaptic inhibition
  • E/I balance
  • Excitation/inhibition balance
  • Granule cells
  • Lateral entorhinal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

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title = "Reduced cognitive performance in aged rats correlates with increased excitation/inhibition ratio in the dentate gyrus in response to lateral entorhinal input",
abstract = "Aging often impairs cognitive functions associated with the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Anatomical studies identified the layer II pyramidal cells of the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) as one of the most vulnerable elements within the MTL. These cells provide a major excitatory input to the dentate gyrus hippocampal subfield through synapses onto granule cells and onto local inhibitory interneurons, and a fraction of these contacts are lost in aged individuals with impaired learning. Using optogenetics, we evaluated the functional status of the remaining inputs in an outbred rat model of aging that distinguishes between learning-impaired and learning-unimpaired individuals. We found that aging affects the presynaptic and postsynaptic strength of the LEC inputs onto granule cells. However, the magnitude of these changes was similar in impaired and unimpaired rats. In contrast, the recruitment of inhibition by LEC activation was selectively reduced in the aged impaired subjects. These findings are consistent with the notion that the preservation of an adequate balance of excitation and inhibition is crucial to maintaining proficient memory performance during aging.",
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AU - Koh, Ming Teng

AU - Gallagher, Michela

AU - Kirkwood, Alfredo

PY - 2019/10/1

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N2 - Aging often impairs cognitive functions associated with the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Anatomical studies identified the layer II pyramidal cells of the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) as one of the most vulnerable elements within the MTL. These cells provide a major excitatory input to the dentate gyrus hippocampal subfield through synapses onto granule cells and onto local inhibitory interneurons, and a fraction of these contacts are lost in aged individuals with impaired learning. Using optogenetics, we evaluated the functional status of the remaining inputs in an outbred rat model of aging that distinguishes between learning-impaired and learning-unimpaired individuals. We found that aging affects the presynaptic and postsynaptic strength of the LEC inputs onto granule cells. However, the magnitude of these changes was similar in impaired and unimpaired rats. In contrast, the recruitment of inhibition by LEC activation was selectively reduced in the aged impaired subjects. These findings are consistent with the notion that the preservation of an adequate balance of excitation and inhibition is crucial to maintaining proficient memory performance during aging.

AB - Aging often impairs cognitive functions associated with the medial temporal lobe (MTL). Anatomical studies identified the layer II pyramidal cells of the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) as one of the most vulnerable elements within the MTL. These cells provide a major excitatory input to the dentate gyrus hippocampal subfield through synapses onto granule cells and onto local inhibitory interneurons, and a fraction of these contacts are lost in aged individuals with impaired learning. Using optogenetics, we evaluated the functional status of the remaining inputs in an outbred rat model of aging that distinguishes between learning-impaired and learning-unimpaired individuals. We found that aging affects the presynaptic and postsynaptic strength of the LEC inputs onto granule cells. However, the magnitude of these changes was similar in impaired and unimpaired rats. In contrast, the recruitment of inhibition by LEC activation was selectively reduced in the aged impaired subjects. These findings are consistent with the notion that the preservation of an adequate balance of excitation and inhibition is crucial to maintaining proficient memory performance during aging.

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