Frontiers in neurology

Interactions of Human Autoantibodies with Hippocampal GABAergic Synaptic Transmission - Analyzing Antibody-Induced Effects ex vivo.

PMID 26124746


Autoantibodies (aAB) to the presynaptic located enzyme glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) are a characteristic attribute for a variety of autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system including subtypes of limbic encephalitis, stiff person-syndrome, cerebellar ataxia, and Batten's disease. Clinical signs of hyperexcitability and improvement of disease symptoms upon immunotherapy in some of these disorders suggest a possible pathogenic role of associated aAB. Recent experimental studies report inconsistent results regarding a direct pathogenic influence of anti-GAD65 aAB affecting inhibitory synaptic transmission in central GABAergic pathways. We here provide a method for direct evaluation of aAB-induced pathomechanisms in the intact hippocampal network. Purified patient IgG fractions containing aAB to GAD65 together with fixable lipophilic styryl dyes (FMdyes) are stereotactically injected into the hilus and the dentate gyrus in anesthetized mice. Twenty-four hours after intrahippocampal injection, acute hippocampal slices are prepared and transferred to a patch-clamp recording setup equipped with a fluorescence light source. Intraneural incorporated FMdyes show correct injection site for patch-clamp recording. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings are performed from granule cells in the dentate gyrus and extracellular stimulation is applied in the border area of the dentate gyrus-hilus region to stimulate GABAergic afferents arising from parvalbumin positive basket cells. GABA-A receptor mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSC) and miniature IPSC are recorded after blocking glutamatergic transmission. This approach allows investigation of potential aAB-induced effects on GABA-A receptor signaling ex vivo in an intact neuronal network. This offers several advantages compared to experimental procedures used in previous studies by in vitro AB preincubation of primary neurons or slice preparations. Furthermore, this method requires only small amounts of patient material that are often limited in rare diseases.