Inactivation of Presenilin in inhibitory neurons results in decreased GABAergic responses and enhanced synaptic plasticity

Mol Brain. 2021 May 25;14(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s13041-021-00796-5.


Mutations in the Presenilin genes are the major genetic cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Presenilin (PS) is highly expressed in the hippocampus, which is particularly vulnerable in AD. Previous studies of PS function in the hippocampus, however, focused exclusively on excitatory neurons. Whether PS regulates inhibitory neuronal function remained unknown. In the current study, we investigate PS function in GABAergic neurons by performing whole-cell and field-potential electrophysiological recordings using acute hippocampal slices from inhibitory neuron-specific PS conditional double knockout (IN-PS cDKO) mice at 2 months of age, before the onset of age-dependent loss of interneurons. We found that the frequency of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs) is reduced in hippocampal CA1 neurons of IN-PS cDKO mice, whereas the amplitude of sIPSCs is normal. Moreover, the efficacy of inhibitory neurotransmission as assessed with synaptic input/output relations for evoked mono- and di-synaptic IPSCs is markedly lowered in hippocampal CA1 neurons of IN-PS cDKO mice. Consistent with these findings, IN-PS cDKO mice display enhanced paired-pulse facilitation, frequency facilitation and long-term potentiation in the Schaffer collateral-CA1 pathway. Interestingly, depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores by inhibition of sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase results in a reduction of IPSC amplitude in control hippocampal neurons but not in IN-PS cDKO neurons, suggesting that impaired intracellular calcium homeostasis in the absence of PS may contribute to the deficiencies in inhibitory neurotransmission. Furthermore, the amplitude of IPSCs induced by short trains of presynaptic stimulation and paired-pulse ratio are decreased in IN-PS cDKO mice. These findings show that inactivation of PS in interneurons results in decreased GABAergic responses and enhanced synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, providing additional evidence for the importance of PS in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and calcium homeostasis.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Calcium homeostasis; Conditional knockout; Hippocampus; Interneuron; Long-term potentiation; Schaffer collateral; Short-term synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Presenilin-1 / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Presenilin-1
  • Calcium