Stress enhances hippocampal neuronal synchrony and alters ripple-spike interaction


Adverse effects of chronic stress include anxiety, depression, and memory deficits. Some of these stress-induced behavioural deficits are mediated by impaired hippocampal function. Much of our current understanding about how stress affects the hippocampus has been derived from post-mortem analyses of brain slices at fixed time points. Consequently, neural signatures of an ongoing stressful experiences in the intact brain of awake animals and their links to later hippocampal dysfunction remain poorly understood. Further, no information is available on the impact of stress on sharp-wave ripples (SPW-Rs), high frequency oscillation transients crucial for memory consolidation. Here, we used in vivo tetrode recordings to analyze the dynamic impact of 10 days of immobilization stress on neural activity in area CA1 of mice. While there was a net decrease in pyramidal cell activity in stressed animals, a greater fraction of CA1 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 changes in ripple-spike interactions and mechanisms through which chronic stress may interfere with subsequent information processing.

Neurobiology of Stress, Volume 14, May 2021, 100327
Anupratap Tomar
Research Scientist