Brain state-dependent abnormal LFP activity in the auditory cortex of a schizophrenia mouse model

Front Neurosci. 2014 Jul 1:8:168. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00168. eCollection 2014.


In schizophrenia, evoked 40-Hz auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs) are impaired, which reflects the sensory deficits in this disorder, and baseline spontaneous oscillatory activity also appears to be abnormal. It has been debated whether the evoked ASSR impairments are due to the possible increase in baseline power. GABAergic interneuron-specific NMDA receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction mutant mice mimic some behavioral and pathophysiological aspects of schizophrenia. To determine the presence and extent of sensory deficits in these mutant mice, we recorded spontaneous local field potential (LFP) activity and its click-train evoked ASSRs from primary auditory cortex of awake, head-restrained mice. Baseline spontaneous LFP power in the pre-stimulus period before application of the first click trains was augmented at a wide range of frequencies. However, when repetitive ASSR stimuli were presented every 20 s, averaged spontaneous LFP power amplitudes during the inter-ASSR stimulus intervals in the mutant mice became indistinguishable from the levels of control mice. Nonetheless, the evoked 40-Hz ASSR power and their phase locking to click trains were robustly impaired in the mutants, although the evoked 20-Hz ASSRs were also somewhat diminished. These results suggested that NMDAR hypofunction in cortical GABAergic neurons confers two brain state-dependent LFP abnormalities in the auditory cortex; (1) a broadband increase in spontaneous LFP power in the absence of external inputs, and (2) a robust deficit in the evoked ASSR power and its phase-locking despite of normal baseline LFP power magnitude during the repetitive auditory stimuli. The "paradoxically" high spontaneous LFP activity of the primary auditory cortex in the absence of external stimuli may possibly contribute to the emergence of schizophrenia-related aberrant auditory perception.

Keywords: GABAergic interneurons; NMDA receptors; auditory steady-state responses; gamma oscillation; local field potentials; mouse models; parvalbumin; schizophrenia.