OCTOBER 22, 2020 — A team of researchers from UTSA’s Neurosciences Institute is challenging the historical belief that the organization of the cortical circuit of GABAergic neurons is exclusively local.
College of Sciences researchers Alice Bertero, Hector Zurita and Marc Normandin and biology associate professor Alfonso Junior Apicella collaborated on the research project.
In the past, labeling individual neurons allowed researchers to study the neurons that project from the brain’s cortex to the striatum. The results suggested that the pathways are exclusively excitatory. For this reason most people assumed that inhibition must occur when excitatory cortical neurons activate intrastriatal inhibitory.
The UTSA team contested this view by providing anatomical and physiological evidence for the existence of long-range parvalbumin-expression neurons from the cortex to the striatum in the brains of mice.
This finding is an essential step toward better understanding the neuronal mechanism of cortical long-range GABAerginc neurons in healthy and diseased brains. In particular this could lead to new treatments for patients with epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and other mental conditions in which GABAergic neurons play a significant role.
“Daily we are bombarded by multiple auditory stimuli, including various speeches,” said Apicella. “Particularly, listeners must determine which speech acoustic features are relevant and generalize across irrelevant ones during speech perception. We think that the interaction between the cortex and the striatum is fundamental to optimize nonnative speech learning in adulthood. Therefore, it is crucial to determine which of the cortical-striatum pathway’s cellular elements are involved in this process.”
The discovery that the striatum receives both excitatory and inhibitory inputs from the cortex suggests that these inputs’ timing and relative strength can modulate the striatum’s activity. This is important because it invites the scientific community to speculate that the long-range parvalbumin-expressing projects could play a role through gamma oscillation synchronization between the auditory cortex and striatum.
The team proposes that future experiments will provide further insight into the role of the timing and ratio of excitation and inhibition, two opposing forces in the mammalian cerebral cortex, affecting the cortico-striatal dynamic.
“Future studies,” said Apicella, “will provide a general mechanism of cortico-striatal oscillation involved in reward learning and action-selection behavior driven by the auditory stimuli.”
Part III of Cultivating Wellness series will focus on looking after your own mental health, stress in the workplace, building resilience in yourself and your team and managing personal energy.Virtual Event
Victory celebrations in San Antonio always include honking car horns, and we are carrying that tradition over to UTSA. Graduates are encouraged to bring someone along to drive, so they can wave and take photos from their vehicle. To ensure safety everyone is encouraged remain in their vehicles and limit their celebration to one car per graduate. All cars must begin at the parade starting point and stay in line as the drive goes through campus. Share your videos on social media using #UTSAGrad20 for a chance to be featured on our channels.UTSA Main Campus
At UTSA, Commencement is more than a ceremony. It’s a celebration, a defining moment, of the diligence, dedication and collaborations from this educational community which culminate in earning that significant degree.Virtual Event
You will learn great safety tips to keep you and your families safe for everyday potential hazards as well as during emergency situations, such as severe weather or flooding. Please email BePrepared@utsa.edu for further questions.Virtual Event
As a continuation of the great discussion from the "Coping on the Fly" webinar in early summer, Mary McNaughton-Cassil, Professor of Psychology and Donna Edmondson, the University Ombuds are providing four 30-minute interactive webinars. The topics will address workplace issues facing faculty and staff such as communication and change, social support, burnout and compassion fatigue, and holiday stress.Virtual Event
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.