Multiple sclerosis is characterized by intermingled episodes of de- and remyelination and the occurrence of white- and grey-matter damage. To mimic the randomly distributed pathophysiological brain lesions observed in MS, we assessed the impact of focal white and grey matter demyelination on thalamic function by directing targeted lysolecithin-induced lesions to the capsula interna (CI), the auditory cortex (A1), or the ventral medial geniculate nucleus (vMGN) in mice. Pathophysiological consequences were compared with those of cuprizone treatment at different stages of demyelination and remyelination. Combining single unit recordings and auditory stimulation in freely behaving mice revealed changes in auditory response profile and electrical activity pattern in the thalamus, depending on the region of the initial insult and the state of remyelination. Cuprizone-induced general demyelination significantly diminished vMGN neuronal activity and frequency-specific responses. Targeted lysolecithin-induced lesions directed either to A1 or to vMGN revealed a permanent impairment of frequency-specific responses, an increase in latency of auditory responses and a reduction in occurrence of burst firing in vMGN neurons. These findings indicate that demyelination of grey matter areas in the thalamocortical system permanently affects vMGN frequency specificity and the prevalence of bursting in the auditory thalamus.
Keywords: Burst activity; Demyelination; Multiple sclerosis; Remyelination; Single unit activity; Thalamocortical system; Thalamus.
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