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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Oct 2023 - 20 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 13



Increased presynaptic excitability in a migraine with aura mutation.


Suryavanshi P, Sawant-Pokam P, Clair S, Brennan KC


Migraine is a common and disabling neurological disorder. The headache and sensory amplifications of migraine are attributed to hyperexcitable sensory circuits, but a detailed understanding remains elusive. A mutation in casein kinase 1 delta (CK1δ) was identified in non-hemiplegic familial migraine with aura and advanced sleep phase syndrome. Mice carrying the CK1δT44A mutation were more susceptible to spreading depolarization (SD; the phenomenon that underlies migraine aura), but mechanisms underlying this migraine-relevant phenotype were not known. We used a combination of whole-cell electrophysiology and multiphoton imaging, in vivo and in brain slices, to compare CK1δT44A mice (adult males) to their wild-type (WT) littermates. We found that despite comparable synaptic activity at rest, CK1δT44A neurons were more excitable upon repetitive stimulation than WT, with a reduction in presynaptic adaptation at excitatory but not inhibitory synapses. The mechanism of this adaptation deficit was a calcium-dependent enhancement of the size of the readily releasable pool of synaptic vesicles, and a resultant increase in glutamate release, in CK1δT44A compared to WT synapses. Consistent with this mechanism, CK1δT44A neurons showed an increase in the cumulative amplitude of excitatory post-synaptic currents, and a higher excitation-to-inhibition ratio during sustained activity compared to WT. At a local circuit level, action potential bursts elicited in CK1δT44A neurons triggered an increase in recurrent excitation compared to WT, and at a network level, CK1δT44A mice showed a longer duration of up state activity, which is dependent on recurrent excitation. Finally, we demonstrated that the SD susceptibility of CK1δT44A mice could be returned to WT levels with the same intervention (reduced extracellular calcium) that normalized presynaptic adaptation. Taken together, these findings show a stimulus-dependent presynaptic gain of function at glutamatergic synapses in a genetic model of migraine, that accounts for the increased SD susceptibility, and may also explain the sensory amplifications that are associated with the disease.