Neuronal activity regulates neurotransmitter switching in the adult brain following light-induced stress.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1801598115
Neurotransmitter switching in the adult mammalian brain occurs following photoperiod-induced stress, but the mechanism of regulation is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that elevated activity of dopaminergic neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PaVN) in the adult rat is required for the loss of dopamine expression after long-day photoperiod exposure. The transmitter switch occurs exclusively in PaVN dopaminergic neurons that coexpress vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2), is accompanied by a loss of dopamine type 2 receptors (D2Rs) on corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons, and can lead to increased release of CRF. Suppressing activity of all PaVN glutamatergic neurons decreases the number of inhibitory PaVN dopaminergic neurons, indicating homeostatic regulation of transmitter expression in the PaVN.