Loss of TrkB Signaling in Parvalbumin-Expressing Basket Cells Results in Network Activity Disruption and Abnormal Behavior

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Abstract

The GABAergic system is regulated by the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)/Tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) pathway, but the cell-intrinsic role of TrkB signaling in parvalbumin cortical interneuron development and function is unclear. We performed conditional ablation of the TrkB receptor in parvalbumin-expressing (PV) interneurons to study whether postnatal loss of TrkB in parvalbumin cells affects their survival, connectivity, spontaneous and evoked neuronal activity and behavior. Using in vivo recordings of local field potentials, we found reduced gamma oscillations in the sensory cortex of PVcre+; TrkBF/F conditional knockout mice (TrkB cKO), along with increased firing of putative excitatory neurons. There was a significant downregulation in parvalbumin neuron number in cerebral and cerebellar cortices of TrkB cKO mice. In addition, inhibitory synaptic connections between basket cells and pyramidal neurons were profoundly reduced in the neocortex of TrkB cKO mice and there was a loss of cortical volume. TrkB cKO mice also showed profound hyperactivity, stereotypies, motor deficits and learning/memory defects. Our findings demonstrate that the targeting and/or synapse formation of PV-expressing basket cells with principal excitatory neurons require TrkB signaling in parvalbumin cells. Disruption of this signaling has major consequences for parvalbumin interneuron connectivity, network dynamics, cognitive and motor behavior.

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