Aging-Associated Changes to Intrinsic Neuronal Excitability in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis Is Cell Type-Dependent
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Copyright © 2017 Smithers, Terry, Brown and Randall. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Intrinsic neuronal excitability has been reported to change during normal aging. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a limbic forebrain structure, is involved in fear, stress and anxiety; behavioral features that exhibit age-dependent properties. To examine the effect of aging on intrinsic neuronal properties in BNST we compared patch clamp recordings from cohorts of female mice at two ages, 3-4 months (Young) and 29-30 months (Aged) focusing on 2 types of BNST neurons. Aged Type I neurons exhibited a hyperpolarized resting membrane potential (RMP) of circa -80 mV compared to circa -70 mV in the Young. A key finding in this study is a hyper-excitability of Type II neurons with age reflected in an increase in firing frequency in response to depolarizing current injections; activation of Type II neurons is believed to dampen anxiety like responses. Such age-related changes in intrinsic neurophysiological function are likely to modulate how the limbic system, acting via BNST, shapes function in the HPA-axis.
This Ph.D. studentship was supported by AstraZeneca and the University of Exeter Medical School. JT gratefully acknowledges the support of the EPSRC via grant EP/N014391/01, this work was also supported by MRC award G1100623 to AR and JB.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Frontiers Media via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 9, article 424
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