The psychomotor symptoms of Huntington’s disease (HD) are linked to degeneration of the basal ganglia indirect pathway. To determine how this pathway is perturbed prior to cell loss, optogenetic- and reporter-guided electrophysiological interrogation approaches were applied to early symptomatic 6-month-old Q175 HD mice. Although cortical activity was unaffected, indirect pathway striatal projection neurons were hypoactive in vivo, consistent with reduced cortical input strength and dendritic excitability. Downstream parvalbumin-expressing prototypic external globus pallidus (GPe) neurons were hyperactive in vivo and exhibited elevated autonomous firing ex vivo. Optogenetic inhibition of prototypic GPe neurons ameliorated the abnormal hypoactivity of postsynaptic subthalamic nucleus (STN) and putative arkypallidal neurons in vivo. In contrast to STN neurons, autonomous arkypallidal activity was unimpaired ex vivo. Together with previous studies, these findings demonstrate that basal ganglia indirect pathway neurons are highly dysregulated in Q175 mice through changes in presynaptic activity and/or intrinsic properties 6-12 months before cell loss.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience