Pharmacological and optical activation of TrkB in Parvalbumin interneurons regulate intrinsic states to orchestrate cortical plasticity

Frederike Winkel, Maria Ryazantseva, Mathias B. Voigt, Giuliano Didio, Antonia Lilja, Maria Llach Pou, Anna Steinzeig, Juliana Harkki, Jonas Englund, Stanislav Khirug, Claudio Rivera, Satu Palva, Tomi Taira, Sari E. Lauri, Juzoh Umemori*, Eero Castren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Elevated states of brain plasticity typical for critical periods of early postnatal life can be reinstated in the adult brain through interventions, such as antidepressant treatment and environmental enrichment, and induced plasticity may be critical for the antidepressant action. Parvalbumin-positive (PV) interneurons regulate the closure of developmental critical periods and can alternate between high and low plasticity states in response to experience in adulthood. We now show that PV plasticity states and cortical networks are regulated through the activation of TrkB neurotrophin receptors. Visual cortical plasticity induced by fluoxetine, a widely prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, was lost in mice with reduced expression of TrkB in PV interneurons. Conversely, optogenetic gain-of-function studies revealed that activation of an optically activatable TrkB (optoTrkB) specifically in PV interneurons switches adult cortical networks into a state of elevated plasticity within minutes by decreasing the intrinsic excitability of PV interneurons, recapitulating the effects of fluoxetine. TrkB activation shifted cortical networks towards a low PV configuration, promoting oscillatory synchrony, increased excitatory-inhibitory balance, and ocular dominance plasticity. OptoTrkB activation promotes the phosphorylation of Kv3.1 channels and reduces the expression of Kv3.2 mRNA providing a mechanism for the lower excitability. In addition, decreased expression and puncta of Synaptotagmin2 (Syt2), a presynaptic marker of PV interneurons involved in Ca2+-dependent neurotransmitter release, suggests lower inputs onto pyramidal neurons suppressing feed-forward inhibition. Together, the results provide mechanistic insights into how TrkB activation in PV interneurons orchestrates the activity of cortical networks and mediating antidepressant responses in the adult brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7247-7256
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed




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