Axonal myelination of neocortical pyramidal neurons is modulated dynamically by neuronal activity. Recent studies have shown that a substantial proportion of neocortical myelin content is contributed by fast-spiking, parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons. However, it remains unknown whether the myelination of PV+ interneurons is also modulated by intrinsic activity. Here, we used cell-type-specific Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) in adult mice to activate a sparse population of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) PV+ interneurons. Using single-cell axonal reconstructions, we found that DREADD-stimulated PV+ interneurons exhibited a nearly two-fold increase in total length of myelination, predominantly mediated by a parallel increase of axonal arborization and number of internodes. In contrast, the distribution of axonal interbranch segment distance and myelin internode length were not altered significantly. Topographical analysis revealed that myelination of DREADD-stimulated cells extended to higher axonal branch orders while retaining a similar interbranch distance threshold for myelination. Together, our results demonstrate that chemogenetically induced neuronal activity increases the myelination of neocortical PV+ interneurons mediated at least in part by an elaboration of their axonal morphology.

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The Journal of Neuroscience
Department of Psychiatry

Stedehouder, J., Brizee, D. (Demi), Shpak, G., & Kushner, S. (2018). Activity-dependent myelination of parvalbumin interneurons mediated by axonal morphological plasticity. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38(15), 3631–3642. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0074-18.2018