Forebrain GABAergic projections to locus coeruleus in mouse

Authors

  • Eugene L. Dimitrov,

    1. Section on Fundamental Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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  • Yuchio Yanagawa,

    1. Department of Genetic and Behavioral Neuroscience, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine and JST, CREST, Maebashi 371-8511, Japan
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  • Ted B. Usdin

    Corresponding author
    1. Section on Fundamental Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
    • Section on Fundamental Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, 35 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892
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Abstract

The noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) regulates arousal, memory, sympathetic nervous system activity, and pain. Forebrain projections to LC have been characterized in rat, cat, and primates, but not systematically in mouse. We surveyed mouse forebrain LC-projecting neurons by examining retrogradely labeled cells following LC iontophoresis of Fluoro-Gold and anterograde LC labeling after forebrain injection of biotinylated dextran amine or viral tracer. Similar to other species, the central amygdalar nucleus (CAmy), anterior hypothalamus, paraventricular nucleus, and posterior lateral hypothalamic area (PLH) provide major LC inputs. By using mice expressing green fluorescent protein in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons, we found that more than one-third of LC-projecting CAmy and PLH neurons are GABAergic. LC colocalization of biotinylated dextran amine, following CAmy or PLH injection, with either green fluorescent protein or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)65/67 immunoreactivity confirmed these GABAergic projections. CAmy injection of adeno-associated virus encoding channelrhodopsin-2-Venus showed similar fiber labeling and association with GAD65/67-immunoreactive (ir) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-ir neurons. CAmy and PLH projections were densest in a pericoerulear zone, but many fibers entered the LC proper. Close apposition between CAmy GABAergic projections and TH-ir processes suggests that CAmy GABAergic neurons may directly inhibit noradrenergic principal neurons. Direct LC neuron targeting was confirmed by anterograde transneuronal labeling of LC TH-ir neurons following CAmy or PLH injection of a herpes virus that expresses red fluorescent protein following activation by Cre recombinase in mice that express Cre recombinase in GABAergic neurons. This description of GABAergic projections from the CAmy and PLH to the LC clarifies important forebrain sources of inhibitory control of central nervous system noradrenergic activity. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:2373–2397, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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