Properties of the cortico-subthalamic synapse : an optogenetic studynovembre 2014 Directeur(s) de thèse : Anne TAUPIGNON Résumé de thèse
Basal ganglia (BG) are a group of subcortical nuclei involved in action selection and in cognitive and motivational aspects of motor behavior. Dopamine is essential for proper functioning of BG. The cortico-subthalamic (cortico-STN) synapse is a glutamatergic (excitatory) synapse involved in signal transmission from cortex to subthalamic nucleus (STN). The cortico-STN synapse is the first synapse in the hyperdirect pathway, one of the three pathways of BG. Even if the cortico-STN pathway is involved in “go-no-go” tasks (stopping of an already started motor act) and in the beneficial effects of the high frequency stimulation of the STN on Parkinsonian symptoms, properties of the cortico-STN synapse are not well described. The lack of data is due, at least in part, to the specific anatomy of the cortico-STN pathway which does not allow the use of standard methods in vitro. The use of optogenetics allowed us to circumvent this issue. By coupling this approach with electrophysiology on brain slices in rodents, we show that dopaminergic D5 receptors stimulation reduces glutamatergic transmission at cortico-STN synapses. We also show that short-term plasticity properties of this synapse reduce the influence of high frequency cortical inputs on the STN. Our findings indicate that optogenetics enables studying the cortico-STN synapse in vitro and contributes to improving our knowledge of the properties of the synapse.