Stress enhances hippocampal neuronal synchrony and prolongs sharp-wave ripples


Chronic stress affects hippocampal function at multiple levels of neural organization. However, much of this understanding is derived from postmortem analyses of molecular, morphological, physiological and behavioral changes at fixed time points. Neural signatures of an ongoing stressful experience in the intact brain of awake animals and their links to later hippocampal dysfunction remain poorly understood. Here we used in vivo tetrode recordings to analyze the dynamic impact of 10 days of immobilization stress on neuronal activity in area CA1 of mice. Unexpectedly, there was a net decrease in pyramidal cell activity in stressed animals. Although these results suggest a lack of stress-induced hyperexcitability, more detailed analysis revealed that a greater fraction of spikes occurred specifically during sharp-wave ripples, resulting in an increase in neuronal synchrony. After repeated stress some of these alterations were visible during rest even in the absence of stress. These findings offer new insights into stress-induced alterations in ripple-spike interactions and mechanisms through which chronic stress may interfere with subsequent information processing.

bioRxiv 2020.06.19.162487
Anupratap Tomar
Research Scientist