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Restricted cortical and amygdaloid removal of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 in preadolescent mice impacts dopaminergic activity and neuronal circuitry of higher brain function.

Journal article
Authors Åsa Wallén-Mackenzie
Karin Nordenankar
Kim Fejgin
Malin C Lagerström
Lina Emilsson
Robert Fredriksson
Caroline Wass
Daniel Andersson
Emil Egecioglu
My Andersson
Joakim Strandberg
Örjan Lindhe
Helgi B Schiöth
Karima Chergui
Eric Hanse
Bengt Långström
Anders Fredriksson
Lennart Svensson
Erika Roman
Klas Kullander
Published in The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume 29
Issue 7
Pages 2238-51
ISSN 1529-2401
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 2238-51
Language en
Keywords Aging, metabolism, Amygdala, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Animals, Antipsychotic Agents, pharmacology, Behavior, Animal, physiology, Cell Differentiation, genetics, Cerebral Cortex, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Corpus Striatum, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Dopamine, metabolism, Glutamic Acid, metabolism, Hippocampus, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Male, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Neural Pathways, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Neuronal Plasticity, genetics, Nucleus Accumbens, growth & development, metabolism, physiopathology, Schizophrenia, genetics, metabolism, physiopathology, Sensory Gating, genetics, Synaptic Transmission, genetics, Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2, genetics
Subject categories Physiology


A major challenge in neuroscience is to resolve the connection between gene functionality, neuronal circuits, and behavior. Most, if not all, neuronal circuits of the adult brain contain a glutamatergic component, the nature of which has been difficult to assess because of the vast cellular abundance of glutamate. In this study, we wanted to determine the role of a restricted subpopulation of glutamatergic neurons within the forebrain, the Vglut2-expressing neurons, in neuronal circuitry of higher brain function. Vglut2 expression was selectively deleted in the cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala of preadolescent mice, which resulted in increased locomotor activity, altered social dominance and risk assessment, decreased sensorimotor gating, and impaired long-term spatial memory. Presynaptic VGLUT2-positive terminals were lost in the cortex, striatum, nucleus accumbens, and hippocampus, and a downstream effect on dopamine binding site availability in the striatum was evident. A connection between the induced late-onset, chronic reduction of glutamatergic neurotransmission and dopamine signaling within the circuitry was further substantiated by a partial attenuation of the deficits in sensorimotor gating by the dopamine-stabilizing antipsychotic drug aripiprazole and an increased sensitivity to amphetamine. Somewhat surprisingly, given the restricted expression of Vglut2 in regions responsible for higher brain function, our analyses show that VGLUT2-mediated neurotransmission is required for certain aspects of cognitive, emotional, and social behavior. The present study provides support for the existence of a neurocircuitry that connects changes in VGLUT2-mediated neurotransmission to alterations in the dopaminergic system with schizophrenia-like behavioral deficits as a major outcome.

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