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Title: Investigating circuits underlying acetylcholine-evoked striatal dopamine release in health and disease
Author: Kosillo, Polina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 4069
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Dopamine (DA) is a key striatal neuromodulator central to normal functioning of the basal ganglia. Identifying and characterizing circuits governing striatal DA transmission is necessary for understanding DA involvement in adaptive behaviour and pathology. Properties of evoked striatal DA release can be examined using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon fibre microelectrodes, a technique enabling live monitoring of transmitter release events with sub-millisecond resolution. Experimental work presented in this thesis employed this approach to study regulation of striatal DA by acetylcholine (ACh) in health and disease in acute brain slices. Synchronous activity in a small population of striatal cholinergic interneurons (ChIs) was previously shown to directly drive striatal DA release. Here using optogenetic approach I explore physiological relevance of ChI-evoked drive of striatal DA by examining whether corticostriatal and thalamostriatal afferents to ChIs can trigger ACh-evoked DA events. Following floxed vector injections in motor cortex or caudal intralaminar thalamus of CaMK2a-Cre mice I examine the properties of evoked DA upon light activation of channelrhodopsin-2-transduced inputs to striatal ChIs. These experiments revealed that both cortical and thalamic afferents are capable of driving ACh-evoked DA release, but operate using a different complement of post-synaptic ionotropic glutamate receptors and display distinct release recovery profiles. I further explore if rebound excitation in a population of striatal ChIs could drive DA events by examining whether ACh-evoked DA release follows optical inhibition of striatal ChIs selectively expressing hyperpolarizing halorhodopsin 3.0 or archaerhodopsin 3.0 in ChAT-Cre mice. This work showed that hyperpolarizing ion pumps were not successful in triggering ChI-evoked DA release. I also investigate whether cholinergic brainstem innervation of striatum could contribute to or drive ACh-evoked striatal DA events in ChAT-Cre rat, concurrently showing that ChI-evoked DA release is not a species artefact, and is present in mouse and rat alike. Current results also suggest that cholinergic brainstem afferents do not drive or contribute to striatal ACh-evoked DA events. Close interaction between DA and ACh systems further indicates that ACh could impact dopaminergic dysfunction. To explore this I examined the state of ACh transmission in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease overexpressing human wild type alpha–synuclein protein. These animals present with impaired striatal DA release from young age, but DA deficits could be mediated by changes in ACh tone. Here I show that impaired striatal DA release is the results of primary DA axon dysfunction, although in ventral striatum DA release deficits could be partially compensated by increased ACh tone at nicotinic receptors. I further show that the functional state of muscarinic ACh receptors in not altered following decreased DA transmission, although the data from aged animals suggest that alpha–synuclein-dependent changes in vesicle handling could contribute to impaired DA releasability. Finally, I show that vesicle handling may indeed be altered in this mouse model as impaired DA release is evident with short stimulation protocols, while with prolonged depolarization of DA axon terminals alpha–synuclein-overexpressor mice are better able to sustain evoked DA release. Overall, the main body of work presented in this thesis examined the processes regulating striatal DA transmission via ACh system. In particular, I show that ChI-evoked drive of striatal DA release can be recruited physiologically and further establish that changes in ACh transmission are not the primary drivers of impaired DA releasability in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease overexpressing human alpha–synuclein protein.
Supervisor: Cragg, Stephanie ; Threlfell, Sarah Sponsor: Clarendon Fund (University of Oxford) ; Christ Church College (University of Oxford)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neuroscience ; fast-scan cyclic voltammetry ; dopamine ; acetylcholine ; Parkinson's disease