Elife, Dec 2018

Spinal Shox2 interneuron interconnectivity related to function and development

Ha NT, Dougherty KJ


Neuronal networks generating hindlimb locomotion are located in the spinal cord. The mechanisms underlying spinal rhythmogenesis are unknown but network activity and interconnectivity of excitatory interneurons likely play prominent roles. Here, we investigate interconnectivity within the Shox2 interneuron population, a subset of which has been suggested to be involved in locomotor rhythm generation, using paired recordings in isolated spinal cords or slices from transgenic mice. Sparse unidirectional connections consistent with chemical synaptic transmission and prominent bidirectional connections mediated by electrical synapses were present within distinct subsets of Shox2 interneurons. Moreover, bidirectional electrical connections were preferentially found between functionally-related Shox2 interneurons. Though prevalent in neonatal mice, electrical coupling began to decline in incidence and strength in mice ~ 3 weeks of age. Overall, our data suggest that gap junctional coupling promotes synchronization of Shox2 interneurons, and may be implicated in locomotor rhythmicity in developing mice.

© 2018, Ha and Dougherty.


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