Oligodendrocytes form myelin for central nervous system axons and release factors which signal to neurons during myelination. Here, we ask how oligodendroglial factors influence hippocampal GABAergic neuron physiology. In mixed hippocampal cultures, GABAergic neurons fired action potentials (APs) of short duration and received high frequencies of excitatory synaptic events. In purified neuronal cultures without glial cells, GABAergic neuron excitability increased and the frequency of synaptic events decreased. These effects were largely reversed by adding oligodendrocyte conditioned medium (OCM). We compared the transcriptomic signature with the electrophysiological phenotype of single neurons in these three culture conditions. Genes expressed by single pyramidal or GABAergic neurons largely conformed to expected cell-type specific patterns. Multiple genes of GABAergic neurons were significantly downregulated by the transition from mixed cultures containing glial cells to purified neuronal cultures. Levels of these genes were restored by the addition of OCM to purified cultures. Clustering genes with similar changes in expression between different culture conditions revealed processes affected by oligodendroglial factors. Enriched genes are linked to roles in synapse assembly, AP generation, and transmembrane ion transport, including of zinc. These results provide new insight into the molecular targets by which oligodendrocytes influence neuron excitability and synaptic function.
Keywords: GABAergic neurons; neuro-glia interactions; oligodendrocytes; secreted factors; single-cell RNAseq.
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