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Physiological and pathophysiological activities of hippocampal network in rat: implication of the monoamines systems

décembre 2011 Directeur(s) de thèse : Xavier LEINEKUGEL Résumé de thèse

Mental representations, especially spatial ones are closely related to correlated activity in cellular assembly in the hippocampus. In this work, we analyzed the properties and the spontaneous activity of the hippocampal network in order to unravel its functioning in normal and pathological conditions. Several neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease seems to be also associated to cognitive disorder related to hippocampus dysfunction. We first characterized the temporal dynamic properties of spontaneous excitatory and inhibitory signal. We then studied the functional alteration of the hippocampal network in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease using behavioral and electrophysiological investigations. Our work showed that controlled lesion of the various monoaminergic systems induced hippocampus dysfunction related to spatial disorientation.

In the first part of my thesis, we characterized the temporal dynamic of excitatory and inhibitory signals with electrophysiological recordings in vivo on hippocampal slices but also in anesthetized animals with multi-units multi-sites recordings. These studies allowed us to highlight that dynamic of CA3 network meets the criteria of cells assembly concept. Moreover, we characterize the functional properties of hippocampus in physiological conditions. These results could be useful for further studies on hippocampo-dependant pathologies in the context of spatial coding and memory.

Thus, in the second part of my work, we studied the functional alterations of hippocampal network in the context of Parkinson disease. This pathology is a neurodegenerative disease which affects the central nervous system and leads essentially to motor symptoms. The cause is the degeneration of dopamine neurons but also of noradrenalin and serotonin neurons. Nevertheless, this pathology is also associated to cognitive disorders notably a form of spatial disorientation. Our project consisted to analyze the mechanisms by which monoamines depletions led to spatial learning impairments. This work was realized on rats with a study combinating behavioral approach with electrophysiological recordings in anesthetized animals but also in awake animals. We showed that some monoamines depletions (and notably dopamine and noradrenalin depletions) led to spatial impairments in behavioral tasks correlated to a change in firing and coding of neurons of hippocampus.

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