Bidirectional influence of limbic GIRK channel activation on innate avoidance behavior

Baovi N. Vo, Ezequiel Marron Fernandez de Velasco, Timothy R. Rose, Hannah Oberle, Haichang Luo, Corey R. Hopkins, Kevin Wickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Systemic administration of ML297, a selective activator of G-protein-gated inwardly rectifying K1 (GIRK) channels, decreases innate avoidance behavior in male C57BL/6J mice. The cellular mechanisms mediating the ML297-induced suppression of avoidance behavior are unknown. Here, we show that systemic ML297 administration suppresses elevated plus maze (EPM)induced neuronal activation in the ventral hippocampus (vHPC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA) and that ML297 activates GIRK1-containing GIRK channels in these limbic structures. While intracranial infusion of ML297 into the vHPC suppressed avoidance behavior in the EPM test, mirroring the effect of systemic ML297, intra-BLA administration of ML297 provoked the opposite effect. Using neuron-specific viral genetic and chemogenetic approaches, we found that the combined inhibition of excitatory neurons in CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) subregions of the vHPC was sufficient to decrease innate avoidance behavior in the EPM, open-field, and light-dark tests in male C57BL/6J mice, while performance in the marble-burying test was not impacted. Furthermore, genetic ablation of GIRK channels in CA3/DG excitatory neurons precluded the suppression of avoidance behavior evoked by systemic ML297 in the EPM test. Thus, acute inhibition of excitatory neurons in the ventral CA3 and DG subregions of the vHPC is necessary for the apparent anxiolytic efficacy of systemic ML297 and is sufficient to decrease innate avoidance behavior in male C57BL/6J mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5809-5821
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume41
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2021

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Basolateral amygdala
  • Elevated plus maze
  • Kir3
  • ML297
  • Ventral hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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