Cannabinoids disrupt memory encoding by functionally isolating hippocampal CA1 from CA3 (2017)
Paper Roman A. Sandler, Dustin Fetterhoff, Robert E. Hampson, Sam A. Deadwyler, Vasilis Z. Marmarelis . Cannabinoids disrupt memory encoding by functionally isolating hippocampal CA1 from CA3, PLOS Computational Biology, 13(7), pp1-16 (2017)
Much of the research on cannabinoids (CBs) has focused on their effects at the molecular and synaptic level. However, the effects of CBs on the dynamics of neural circuits remains poorly understood. This study aims to disentangle the effects of CBs on the functional dynamics of the hippocampal Schaffer collateral synapse by using data-driven nonparametric modeling. Multi-unit activity was recorded from rats doing an working memory task in control sessions and under the influence of exogenously administered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary CB found in marijuana. It was found that THC left firing rate unaltered and only slightly reduced theta oscillations. Multivariate autoregressive models, estimated from spontaneous spiking activity, were then used to describe the dynamical transformation from CA3 to CA1. They revealed that THC served to functionally isolate CA1 from CA3 by reducing feedforward excitation and theta information flow. The functional isolation was compensated by increased feedback excitation within CA1, thus leading to unaltered firing rates. Finally, both of these effects were shown to be correlated with memory impairments in the working memory task. By elucidating the circuit mechanisms of CBs, these results help close the gap in knowledge between the cellular and behavioral effects of CBs.
- Author Summary
Research into cannabinoids (CBs) over the last several decades has found that they induce a large variety of oftentimes opposing effects on various neuronal receptors and processes. Due to this plethora of effects, disentangling how CBs influence neuronal circuits has proven challenging. This paper contributes to our understanding of the circuit level effects of CBs by using data driven modeling to examine how THC affects the input-output relationship in the Schaffer collateral synapse in the hippocampus. It was found that THC functionally isolated CA1 from CA3 by reducing feedforward excitation and theta information flow while simultaneously increasing feedback excitation within CA1. By elucidating the circuit mechanisms of CBs, these results help close the gap in knowledge between the cellular and behavioral effects of CBs.