Dopamine modulation of neuronal activity during memory tasks identifies a non-linear inverted-U shaped function. Both the dopamine transporter (DAT) and dopamine D2 receptors (encoded by DRD2) critically regulate dopamine signaling in the striatum and in prefrontal cortex during memory. Moreover, in vitro studies have demonstrated that DAT and D2 proteins reciprocally regulate each other presynaptically. Therefore, we have evaluated the genetic interaction between a DRD2 polymorphism (rs1076560) causing reduced presynaptic D2 receptor expression and the DAT 3’-VNTR variant (affecting DAT expression) in a large sample of healthy subjects undergoing BOLD - fMRI during memory tasks and structural MRI. Results indicated a significant DRD2/DAT interaction in prefrontal cortex and striatum BOLD activity during both working memory and encoding of recognition memory. The differential effect on BOLD activity of the DAT variant was mostly manifest in the context of the DRD2 allele associated with lower presynaptic expression. Similar results were also evident for gray matter volume in caudate. These interactions describe a non-linear relationship between compound genotypes and brain activity or gray matter volume. Complementary data from striatal protein extracts from wild-type and D2 knock-out animals (D2R−/−) indicate that DAT and D2 proteins interact in vivo. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the interaction between genetic variants in DRD2 and DAT critically modulates the non-linear relationship between dopamine and neuronal activity during memory processing.
working memory; Recognition Memory; FMRI; Dopamine; Transport; D2; Receptor
The dopamine receptor D2 (encoded by DRD2) is implicated in susceptibility to mental disorders and cocaine abuse, but mechanisms responsible for this relationship remain uncertain. DRD2 mRNA exists in two main splice isoforms with distinct functions: D2 long (D2L) and D2 short (D2S, lacking exon 6), expressed mainly postsynaptically and presynaptically, respectively. Two intronic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs rs2283265 (intron 5) and rs1076560 (intron 6)) in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other have been reported to alter D2S/D2L splicing and several behavioral traits in human subjects, such as memory processing. To assess the role of DRD2 variants in cocaine abuse, we measured levels of D2S and D2L mRNA in human brain autopsy tissues (prefrontal cortex and putamen) obtained from cocaine abusers and controls, and genotyped a panel of DRD2 SNPs (119 abusers and 95 controls). Robust effects of rs2283265 and rs1076560 on reducing formation of D2S relative to D2L were confirmed. The minor alleles of rs2283265/rs1076560 were considerably more frequent in Caucasians (18%) compared with African Americans (7%). Also, in Caucasians, rs2283265/rs1076560 minor alleles were significantly overrepresented in cocaine abusers compared with controls (rs2283265: 25 to 9%, respectively; p=0.001; OR=3.4 (1.7–7.1)). Several SNPs previously implicated in diverse clinical association studies are in high LD with rs2283265/rs1076560 and could have served as surrogate markers. Our results confirm the role of rs2283265/rs1076560 in D2 alternative splicing and support a strong role in susceptibility to cocaine abuse.
alternative splicing; cocaine; dopamine; DRD2; D2S; human; addiction and substance abuse; dopamine; neurogenetics; psychostimulants; drd2; d2s; human; alternative splicing; cocaine
Variation of the gene coding for D2 receptors (DRD2) has been associated with risk for schizophrenia and with working memory deficits. A functional intronic SNP (rs1076560) predicts relative expression of the two D2 receptors isoforms, D2S (mainly pre-synaptic) and D2L (mainly post-synaptic). However, the effect of functional genetic variation of DRD2 on striatal dopamine D2 signaling and on its correlation with prefrontal activity during working memory in humans is not known.
Thirty-seven healthy subjects were genotyped for rs1076560 (G>T) and underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM (which binds primarily to post-synaptic D2 receptors) and with [123I]FP-CIT (which binds to pre-synaptic dopamine transporters, whose activity and density is also regulated by pre-synaptic D2 receptors), as well as BOLD fMRI during N-Back working memory.
Subjects carrying the T allele (previously associated with reduced D2S expression) had striatal reductions of [123I]IBZM and of [123I]FP-CIT binding. DRD2 genotype also differentially predicted the correlation between striatal dopamine D2 signaling (as identified with factor analysis of the two radiotracers) and activity of the prefrontal cortex during working memory as measured with BOLD fMRI, which was positive in GG subjects and negative in GT.
Our results demonstrate that this functional SNP within DRD2 predicts striatal binding of the two radiotracers to dopamine transporters and D2 receptors as well as the correlation between striatal D2 signaling with prefrontal cortex activity during performance of a working memory task. These data are consistent with the possibility that the balance of excitatory/inhibitory modulation of striatal neurons may also affect striatal outputs in relationship with prefrontal activity during working memory performance within the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical pathway.
The default mode network (DMN) comprises a set of brain regions with “increased” activity during rest relative to cognitive processing. Activity in the DMN is associated with functional connections with the striatum and dopamine (DA) levels in this brain region. A functional single-nucleotide polymorphism within the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560 G > T) shifts splicing of the 2 D2 isoforms, D2 short and D2 long, and has been associated with striatal DA signaling as well as with cognitive processing. However, the effects of this polymorphism on DMN have not been explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of rs1076560 on DMN and striatal connectivity and on their relationship with striatal DA signaling. Twenty-eight subjects genotyped for rs1076560 underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a working memory task and 123 55 I-Fluoropropyl-2-beta-carbomethoxy-3-beta(4-iodophenyl) nortropan Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography ([123I]-FP-CIT SPECT) imaging (a measure of dopamine transporter [DAT] binding). Spatial group-independent component (IC) analysis was used to identify DMN and striatal ICs. Within the anterior DMN IC, GG subjects had relatively greater connectivity in medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), which was directly correlated with striatal DAT binding. Within the posterior DMN IC, GG subjects had reduced connectivity in posterior cingulate relative to T carriers. Additionally, rs1076560 genotype predicted connectivity differences within a striatal network, and these changes were correlated with connectivity in MPFC and posterior cingulate within the DMN. These results suggest that genetically determined D2 receptor signaling is associated with DMN connectivity and that these changes are correlated with striatal function and presynaptic DA signaling.
DRD2; dopamine; default mode network; functional magnetic resonance imaging; single-photon emission computerized tomography
Personality traits related to emotion processing are, at least in part, heritable and genetically determined. Dopamine D2 receptor signaling is involved in modulation of emotional behavior and activity of associated brain regions such as the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. An intronic single nucleotide polymorphism within the D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560, guanine>thymine - G>T) shifts splicing of the two protein isoforms (D2 short, D2S, mainly presynaptic, and D2 long, D2L) and has been associated with modulation of memory performance and brain activity. Here, our aim was to investigate the association of DRD2 rs1076560 genotype with personality traits of emotional stability and with brain physiology during processing of emotionally relevant stimuli. DRD2 genotype and Big Five Questionnaire scores were evaluated in 134 healthy subjects demonstrating that GG subjects have reduced ‘emotion control’ compared with GT subjects. fMRI in a sample of 24 individuals indicated greater amygdala activity during implicit processing and greater dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) response during explicit processing of facial emotional stimuli in GG subjects compared with GT. Other results also demonstrate an interaction between DRD2 genotype and facial emotional expression on functional connectivity of both amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal regions with overlapping medial prefrontal areas. Moreover, rs1076560 genotype is associated with differential relationships between amygdala/DLPFC functional connectivity and emotion control scores. These results suggest that genetically determined D2 signaling may explain part of personality traits related to emotion processing and individual variability in specific brain responses to emotionally relevant inputs.
amygdala; DRD2; dopamine; emotion; fMRI; prefrontal cortex
Epistatic gene–gene interactions could contribute to the heritability of complex multigenic disorders, but few examples have been reported. Here, we focus on the role of aberrant dopaminergic signaling, involving the dopamine transporter DAT, a cocaine target, and the dopamine D2 receptor, which physically interacts with DAT. Splicing polymorphism rs2283265 of DRD2, encoding D2 receptors, were shown to confer risk of cocaine overdose/death (odds ratio ∼3) in subjects and controls from the Miami Dade County Brain Bank.1 Risk of cocaine-related death attributable to the minor allele of rs2283265 was significantly enhanced to OR=7.5 (P=0.0008) in homozygous carriers of the main 6-repeat allele of DAT rs3836790, a regulatory VNTR in intron8 lacking significant effect itself. In contrast, carriers of the minor 5-repeat DAT allele showed no significant risk (OR=1.1, P=0.84). DAT rs3836790 and DRD2 rs2283265 also interacted by modulating DAT protein activity in the ventral putamen of cocaine abusers. In high-linkage disequilibrium with the VNTR, DAT rs6347 in exon9 yielded similar results. Assessing the impact of DAT alone, a rare DAT haplotype formed by the minor alleles of rs3836790 and rs27072, a regulatory DAT variant in the 3′-UTR, occurred in nearly one-third of the cocaine abusers but was absent in African American controls, apparently conferring strong risk. These results demonstrate gene–gene–drug interaction affecting risk of fatal cocaine intoxication.
cocaine-related death; DAT; DRD2; epistasis; gene–gene interaction; gene regulation; haplotype
The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural substrates of mental rotation in 11 individuals with HIV infection and 13 demographically similar HIV seronegative volunteers. Individuals with HIV showed increased brain response to mental rotation in prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices, striatum, and thalamus, with significant HIV by angle interactions emerging in the prefrontal cortex and caudate. Results indicate that HIV infection is associated with altered brain response to mental rotation in fronto-striato-parietal pathways, which may reflect compensatory strategies, recruitment of additional brain regions, and/or increased neuroenergetic demands during mental rotation needed to offset underlying HIV-associated neural injury.
Human immunodeficiency virus; Mental rotation; Spatial cognition; Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Background: Dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) polymorphisms are proposed to be important factors in the presentation of neuropsychiatric symptoms in many disorders, including decreased striatum levels of dopamine D2 receptors in Wilson disease. The present study investigated the association between DRD2 gene polymorphisms and clinical manifestation of Wilson disease.
Methods: Analyzing data from 97 symptomatic Wilson disease patients, we investigated the DRD2 gene polymorphisms rs1800497, rs1799732, and rs12364283. We assessed the polymorphisms impact on the phenotypic presentation of the disease.
Results: Generally, the DRD2 gene polymorphisms had no impact on the hepatic or neuropsychiatric clinical presentation of Wilson disease. However, rs1799732 deletion allele carriers with neuropsychiatric symptoms had earlier onset of WD symptoms by almost 6 years compared with individuals without this allele (22.5 vs. 28.3 years; P < 0.05). This unfavorable effect of the rs1799732 polymorphism was even more pronounced among adenosine triphosphatase 7B gene (ATP7B) p.H1069Q homozygous patients, in whom carriership of the deletion allele was related to earlier initial neuropsychiatric manifestation by 14 years (18.4 vs. 32.2 years; P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Genetic variation of DRD2, specifically the rs1799732 polymorphism, may produce an earlier clinical presentation of Wilson disease neuropsychiatric symptoms and signs that occur in the course of dopaminergic system impairment due to copper accumulation in the brain. We speculate that this effect may be due to the impact of DRD2 polymorphism on dopamine D2 receptor density, but further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms of such phenotypic effects.
The timeline of dopamine (DA) system maturation and the signaling properties of dopamine receptors (DRs) during rat brain development are not fully characterized. We used in situ hybridization and quantitative PCR to map DR mRNA transcripts in the medial frontal cortex (mFC) and striatum (STR) of the rat from embryonic day (E) 15 to E21. The developmental trajectory of DR mRNAs revealed distinct patterns of DA receptors 1 and 2 (DRD1, DRD2) in these brain regions. Whereas the mFC had a steeper increase in DRD1 mRNA, the STR had a steeper increase in DRD2 mRNA. Both DR mRNAs were expressed at a higher level in the STR compared to the mFC. To identify the functional properties of DRs during embryonic development, the phosphorylation states of cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β) were examined after DR stimulation in primary neuronal cultures obtained from E15 and E18 embryos and cultured for 3 days to ensure a stable baseline level. DR-mediated signaling cascades were functional in E15 cultures in both brain regions. Because DA fibers do not reach the mFC by E15, and DA was not present in cultures, these data indicate that DRs can become functional in the absence of DA innervation. Since activation of DR signal transduction pathways can affect network organization of the developing brain, maternal exposure to drugs that affect DR activity may be liable to interfere with fetal brain development.
dopamine receptors; prenatal brain development; medial frontal cortex; striatum; QPCR; primary neuronal culture
Dopamine and dopamine-receptor function are often implicated in behavioral inhibition, and deficiencies within behavioral inhibition processes linked to ADHD, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug addiction. In the stop-signal task, which measures the speed of the process of inhibition (stop-signal reaction time, SSRT), psychostimulant-related improvement of SSRT in ADHD is linked with dopamine function. However, the precise nature of dopaminergic control over SSRT remains unclear.
This study examined region- and receptor-specific modulation of SSRT in the rat using direct infusions, into the dorsomedial striatum (DMStr) or nucleus accumbens core (NAcbC), of the dopamine D1-receptor (DRD1) antagonist SCH 23390 or dopamine D2-receptor (DRD2) antagonist sulpiride. DRD1 and DRD2 antagonists had contrasting effects on SSRT that were specific to the DMStr. SCH 23390 decreased SSRT with little effect on the go response. Conversely, sulpiride increased SSRT but also increased go-trial reaction time and reduced trial completion at the highest doses. These results suggest that DRD1 and DRD2 function within the DMStr, but not the NAcbC, may act to balance behavioral inhibition in a manner that is independent of behavioral activation.
stopping; SSRT; caudate; ADHD; schizophrenia; OCD
Dopamine D3 receptors have the highest dopamine affinity of all dopamine receptors, and may thereby regulate dopamine signaling mediated by volume transmission. Changes in D3 receptor isoform expression may alter D3 receptor function, however little is known regarding coordination of D3 isoform expression in response to perturbations in dopaminergic stimulation. In order to determine the effects of dopamine receptor stimulation and blockade on D3 receptor alternative splicing, we determined D3 and D3nf isoform mRNA expression following treatment with the D3 receptor antagonist NGB 2904, and the indirect dopamine agonist amphetamine. Expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA, the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, was also determined. The D3/D3nf mRNA expression ratio was increased in ventral striatum, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus six hours following D3 antagonist NGB 2904 treatment, and remained persistently elevated at 24 hours in hippocampus and substantia nigra/ ventral tegmentum. D3 mRNA decreased 65% and D3nf mRNA expression decreased 71% in prefrontal cortex 24 hours following amphetamine treatment, however these changes did not reach statistical significance. TH mRNA expression was unaffected by D3 antagonist NGB 2904, but was elevated by amphetamine in ventral striatum, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These findings provide evidence for an adaptive response to altered D3 receptor stimulation involving changes in D3 receptor alternative splicing. Additionally, these data suggest D3 autoreceptor regulation of dopamine synthesis does not involve regulation of TH mRNA expression. Finally, the observation of regulated TH mRNA expression in dopamine terminal fields provides experimental support for the model of local control of mRNA expression in adaptation to synaptic activity.
Dopamine D3 receptor; NGB 2904; D3nf; alternative splicing; Amphetamine; Hippocampus; tyrosine hydroxylase; Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
BAC transgenic mice expressing the fluorescent reporter protein EGFP under the control of the D1 and D2 dopamine receptor promoters (Drd1-EGFP and Drd2-EGFP) have been widely used to study striatal function and have contributed to our understanding of the physiological and pathological function of the basal ganglia. These tools were produced and promptly made available to address questions in a cell-specific manner that has transformed the way we frame hypotheses in neuroscience. However, these mice have not been fully characterized until now. We found that Drd2-EGFP mice display a ~40% increase in membrane expression of the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) and a two-fold increase in D2R mRNA levels in the striatum when compared to wild-type and Drd1-EGFP mice D2R over-expression was accompanied by behavioral hypersensitivity to D2R-like agonists, as well as enhanced electrophysiological responses to D2R activation in midbrain dopaminergic neurons. DA transients evoked by stimulation in the nucleus accumbens showed slower clearance in Drd2-EGFP mice and cocaine actions on DA clearance were impaired in these mice. Thus, it was not surprising to find that Drd2-EGFP mice were hyperactive when exposed to a novel environment and locomotion was suppressed by acute cocaine administration. All together, this study demonstrates that Drd2-EGFP mice over-express D2R and have altered dopaminergic signaling that fundamentally differentiates them from wild-type and Drd1-EGFP mice.
cocaine; dorsal striatum; ventral tegmental area; nucleus accumbens; ankyrin repeat and kinase domain-containing 1 (Ankk1); tetratricopeptide repeat domain 12
The aim of this study was to detect the mRNA expression levels of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and dopamine transporter (DAT) in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) of schizophrenia patients and to explore the relationship between the mRNA expression levels and the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia. The research included 25 cases of acute schizophrenia patients, 27 cases of chronic schizophrenia patients, and 30 healthy controls. In every case, we measured the mRNA levels of DRD2 and DAT in PBLs by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR), and we evaluated the patients’ clinical symptoms using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). DRD2 mRNA levels in PBLs of acute schizophrenia patients, chronic schizophrenia patients, and healthy controls were 0.32±0.13, 0.37±0.19, and 0.34±0.09, respectively, and the difference was not significant. DAT mRNA levels in PBLs of the abovementioned groups were 0.48±0.24, 0.58±0.21 and 0.39±0.24, respectively (F = 4.330, P = 0.017), and comparisons between every group showed that DAT mRNA levels in PBLs of chronic schizophrenia patients were significantly higher than those in healthy controls (MS interclass = 0.198, p = 0.005). The correlation between DRD2 mRNA levels in PBLs and the positive symptom points of PANSS in acute schizophrenia patients was significant (r = 0.443, p = 0.044). In conclusion, DRD2 mRNA levels in PBLs are correlated with positive symptoms in acute schizophrenia patients, and DAT mRNA levels in PBLs of chronic schizophrenia patients are over-expressed.
Complex cognitive tasks such as visual working memory (WM) involve networks of interacting brain regions. Several neurotransmitters, including an appropriate dopamine concentration, are important for WM performance. A number of gene polymorphisms are associated with individual differences in cognitive task performance. COMT, for example, encodes catechol-o-methyl transferase the enzyme primarily responsible for catabolizing dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. Striatal dopamine function, linked with cognitive tasks as well as habit learning, is influenced by the Taq-Ia polymorphism of the DRD2/ANKK1 gene complex; this gene influences the density of dopamine receptors in the striatum. Here, we investigated the effects of these polymorphisms on a WM task requiring the maintenance of 4 or 6 items over delay durations of 1 or 5 seconds. We explored main effects and interactions between the COMT and DRD2/ANKK1-Taq-Ia polymorphisms on WM performance. Participants were genotyped for COMT (Val158Met) and DRD2/ANKK1-Taq-Ia (A1+, A1−) polymorphisms. There was a significant main effect of both polymorphisms. Participants' WM reaction times slowed with increased Val loading such that the Val/Val homozygotes made the slowest responses and the Met/Met homozygotes were the fastest. Similarly, WM reaction times were slower and more variable for the DRD2/ANKK1-Taq-Ia A1+ group than the A1− group. The main effect of COMT was only apparent in the DRD2/ANKK1-Taq-Ia A1− group. These findings link WM performance with slower dopaminergic metabolism in the prefrontal cortex as well as a greater density of dopamine receptors in the striatum.
Alteration of dopamine neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex, especially hypofunction of dopamine D1 receptors, contributes to psychotic symptoms and cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. D1 receptors signal through the cAMP/PKA second messenger cascade, which is modulated by phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes that hydrolyze and inactivate cyclic nucleotides. Though several PDEs are expressed in cortical neurons, the PDE4 enzyme family (PDE4A-D) has been implicated in the control of cognitive function. The best studied isoform, PDE4B, interacts with a schizophrenia susceptibility factor, disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1).
We explore the control of mouse frontal cortex dopamine D1 receptor signaling and associated behavior by PDE4.
Inhibition of PDE4 by rolipram induced activation of cAMP/PKA signaling in cortical slices and in vivo, leading to the phosphorylation of DARPP-32 and other postsynaptic and presynaptic PKA-substrates. Rolipram also enhanced DARPP-32 phosphorylation invoked by D1 receptor activation. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated PDE4A, PDE4B and PDE4D expression in DARPP-32-positive neurons in layer VI of frontal cortex, most likely in D1 receptor-positive, glutamatergic corticothalamic pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, the ability of rolipram treatment to improve the performance of mice in a sensorimotor gating test was DARPP-32-dependent.
PDE4, which is co-expressed with DARPP-32 in D1 receptor-positive cortical pyramidal neurons in layer VI, modulates the level of D1 receptor signaling and DARPP-32 phosphorylation in the frontal cortex, likely influencing cognitive function. These biochemical and behavioral actions of PDE4 inhibitors may contribute to the hypothesized antipsychotic actions of this class of compounds.
PDE4; DARPP-32; PKA; frontal cortex; prepulse inhibition; rolipram
Dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of molecular weight 32 kDa (DARPP-32), encoded by PPP1R1B, is a pivotal integrator of information in dopaminoceptive neurons, regulating the response to neuroleptics, psychotomimetics, and drugs of abuse, and affecting striatal function and plasticity. Despite extensive preclinical work, there are almost no data on DARPP-32 function in humans. Here, we identify, through resequencing in 298 chromosomes, a frequent PPP1R1B haplotype predicting mRNA expression of PPP1R1B isoforms in postmortem human brain. This haplotype was associated with enhanced performance on several cognitive tests that depend on frontostriatal function. Multimodal imaging of healthy subjects revealed an impact of the haplotype on neostriatal volume, activation, and the functional connectivity of the prefrontal cortex. The haplotype was associated with the risk for schizophrenia in 1 family-based association analysis. Our convergent results identify a prefrontal-neostriatal system affected by variation in PPP1R1B and suggest that DARPP-32 plays a pivotal role in cognitive function and possibly in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
Exposure to psychostimulants increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein levels in the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures. Because BDNF is co-localized with dopamine and glutamate in afferents to the striatum of rats, it may be co-released with those neurotransmitters upon stimulation. Further, there may be an interaction between the intracellular signaling cascades activated by dopamine, glutamate, and TrkB receptors in medium spiny striatal neurons. In the present study, the effect of acute amphetamine administration on TrkB phosphorylation, as an indirect indicator of activation, and striatal gene expression, was evaluated. In Experiment 1, 15 min or 2 h after a single saline or amphetamine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) injection, the caudate–putamen (CPu), nucleus accumbens (NAc), and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) were extracted and processed for phospho (p)-TrkB immunoreactivity. Immunoprecipitation analyses indicated that neither the tyrosine phosphorylation (p-Tyr) or autophosphorylation sites of TrkB (706) were changed in NAc, CPu, or dmPFC 15 min after amphetamine administration. In contrast, p-Tyr and the PLCγ phosphorylation site of TrkB (816) were increased in the NAc and CPu 2 h after amphetamine. In Experiment 2, intra-striatal infusion of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, K252a, increased amphetamine-induced vertical activity but not total distance traveled. In addition, K252a inhibited amphetamine-induced preprodynorphin, but not preproenkephalin, mRNA expression in the striatum. These data indicate that acute amphetamine administration induces p-TrkB activation and signaling in a time- and brain region-dependent manner and that TrkB/BDNF signaling plays an important role in amphetamine-induced behavior and striatal gene expression.
dynorphin; enkephalin; neurotrophic factors; phosphorylation; psychostimulants; striatum; TrkB receptors
The trumpet-tailed rat or degu (Octodon degus) is an established model to investigate the consequences of early stress on the development of emotional brain circuits and behavior. The aim of this study was to identify brain circuits, that respond to different stress conditions and to test if acute stress alters functional coupling of brain activity among prefrontal and limbic regions. Using functional imaging (2-Fluoro-deoxyglucose method) in 8-day-old male degu pups the following stress conditions were compared: (A) pups together with parents and siblings (control), (B) separation of the litter from the parents, (C) individual separation from parents and siblings, and (D) individual separation and presentation of maternal calls. Condition (B) significantly downregulated brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and sensory areas compared to controls. Activity decrease was even more pronounced during condition (C), where, in contrast to all other regions, activity in the PAG was increased. Interestingly, brain activity in stress-associated brain regions such as the amygdala and habenula was not affected. In condition (D) maternal vocalizations “reactivated” brain activity in the cingulate and precentral medial cortex, NAcc, and striatum and in sensory areas. In contrast, reduced activity was measured in the prelimbic and infralimbic cortex (IL) and in the hippocampus and amygdala. Correlation analysis revealed complex, region- and situation-specific changes of interregional functional coupling among prefrontal and limbic brain regions during stress exposure. We show here for the first time that early life stress results in a widespread reduction of brain activity in the infant brain and changes interregional functional coupling. Moreover, maternal vocalizations can partly buffer stress-induced decrease in brain activity in some regions and evoked very different functional coupling patterns compared to the three other conditions.
limbic system; prefrontal cortex; functional imaging; functional coupling; stress; PAG; maternal separation
Prefrontal left-right functional imbalance and disrupted prefronto-thalamic circuitry are plausible mechanisms for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Add-on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), effective in treating antidepressant-refractory TRD, was administered to verify the core mechanisms underlying the refractoriness to antidepressants. Thirty TRD patients received a 2-week course of 10-Hz rTMS to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Depression scores were evaluated at baseline (W0), and the ends of weeks 1, 2, and 14 (W14). Responders were defined as those who showed an objective improvement in depression scores ≥50% after rTMS. Left-right frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA) was measured by magnetoencephalography at each time point as a proxy for left-right functional imbalance. Prefronto-thalamic connections at W0 and W14 were assessed by studying couplings between prefrontal alpha waves and thalamic glucose metabolism (PWTMC, reflecting intact thalamo-prefrontal connectivity). A group of healthy control subjects received magnetoencephalography at W0 (N = 50) to study whether FAA could have a diagnostic value for TRD, or received both magnetoencephalography and positron-emission-tomography at W0 (N = 10) to confirm the existence of PWTMC in the depression-free state. We found that FAA changes cannot differentiate between TRD and healthy subjects or between responders and non-responders. No PWTMC were found in the TRD group at W0, whereas restitution of the PWTMC was demonstrated only in the sustained responders at W14 and euthymic healthy controls. In conclusion, we affirmed impaired prefronto-thalamic functional connections, but not frontal functional imbalance, as a core deficit in TRD.
Arrestins and G proteins-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) regulate signaling and trafficking of G protein-coupled receptors. We investigated changes in the expression of arrestins and GRKs in the striatum of patients with Parkinson's disease without (PD) or with dementia (PDD) at post mortem using Western blotting and ribonuclease protection assay. Both PD and PDD groups had similar degree of dopamine depletion in all striatal regions. Arrestin proteins and mRNAs were increased in the PDD group throughout striatum. Protein and mRNA of GRK5, the major subtype in the human striatum, and GRK3 were also upregulated, whereas GRK2 and 6 were mostly unchanged. The PD group had lower concentration of arrestins and GRKs than the PDD group. There was no statistical link between the load of Alzheimer's pathology and the expression of these signaling proteins. Upregulation of arrestins and GRK in PDD may confer resistance to the therapeutic effects of levodopa often observed in these patients. In addition, increased arrestin and GRK concentrations may lead to dementia via perturbation of multiple signaling mechanisms.
arrestin; G proteins-coupled receptor kinases; Parkinson's disease; Parkinson's disease with dementia; signaling mechanisms
Dopamine D2 receptor antagonists modulate gene transcription in the striatum. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this effect remains elusive. Here we used the expression of Nur77, a transcription factor of the orphan nuclear receptor family, as readout to explore the role of dopamine, glutamate, and adenosine receptors in the effect of a dopamine D2 antagonist in the striatum. First, we investigated D2 antagonist-induced Nur77 mRNA in D2L receptor knockout mice. Surprisingly, deletion of the D2L receptor isoform did not reduce eticlopride-induced upregulation of Nur77 mRNA levels in the striatum. Next, we tested if an ibotenic acid-induced cortical lesion could block the effect of eticlopride on Nur77 expression. Cortical lesions strongly reduced eticlopride-induced striatal upregulation of Nur77 mRNA. Then, we investigated if glutamatergic neurotransmission could modulate eticlopride-induced Nur77 expression. A combination of a metabotropic glutamate type 5 (mGlu5) and adenosine A2A receptor antagonists abolished eticlopride-induced upregulation of Nur77 mRNA levels in the striatum. Direct modulation of Nur77 expression by striatal glutamate and adenosine receptors was confirmed using corticostriatal organotypic cultures. Taken together, these results indicate that blockade of postsynaptic D2 receptors is not sufficient to trigger striatal transcriptional activity and that interaction with corticostriatal presynaptic D2 receptors and subsequent activation of postsynaptic glutamate and adenosine receptors in the striatum is required. Thus, these results uncover an unappreciated role of presynaptic D2 heteroreceptors and support a prominent role of glutamate in the effect of D2 antagonists.
antipsychotic drugs; neuroleptics; Nr4a1; transcription factor; organotypic culture; glutamate receptors; adenosine receptors; striatum
Excitement and controversy have followed neuregulin (NRG1) since its discovery as a putative schizophrenia susceptibility gene; however, the mechanism of action of the associated risk haplotype (HapICE) has not been identified, and specific genetic variations, which may increase risk to schizophrenia have remained elusive. Using a postmortem brain cohort from 37 schizophrenia cases and 37 controls, we resequenced upstream of the type I–IV promoters, and the HapICE repeat regions in intron 1. Relative abundance of seven NRG1 mRNA transcripts in the prefrontal cortex were determined and compared across diagnostic and genotypic groups. We identified 26 novel DNA variants and showed an increased novel variant load in cases compared with controls (χ2=7.815; P=0.05). The average nucleotide diversity (θ=10.0 × 10−4) was approximately twofold higher than that previously reported for BDNF, indicating that NRG1 may be particularly prone to genetic change. A greater nucleotide diversity was observed in the HapICE linkage disequilibrium block in schizophrenia cases (θ(case)=13.2 × 10−4; θ(control)=10.0 × 10−4). The specific HapICE risk haplotype was associated with increased type III mRNA (F=3.76, P=0.028), which in turn, was correlated with an earlier age of onset (r=−0.343, P=0.038). We found a novel intronic five-SNP haplotype ∼730 kb upstream of the type I promoter and determined that this region functions as transcriptional enhancer that is suppressed by SRY. We propose that the HapICE risk haplotype increases expression of the most brain-abundant form of NRG1, which in turn, elicits an earlier clinical presentation, thus providing a novel mechanism through which this genetic association may increase risk of schizophrenia.
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; HapICE; NRG1 isoform expression; postmortem brain; schizophrenia
Stress has been implicated in the onset and illness course of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The effects of stress in these disorders may be mediated by abnormalities of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, and its corticosteroid receptors. We investigated mRNA expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), and protein expression of multiple GRα isoforms, in the prefrontal cortex of 37 schizophrenia cases and 37 matched controls. Quantitative real-time PCR, western blotting, and luciferase assays were employed. In multiple regression analysis, schizophrenia diagnosis was a significant predictor of total GR mRNA expression (p<0.05), which was decreased (11.4%) in schizophrenia cases relative to controls. No significant effect of diagnosis on MR mRNA was detected. At the protein level, no significant predictors of total GRα protein or the full-length GRα isoform were identified. However, schizophrenia diagnosis was a strong predictor (p<0.0005) of the abundance of a truncated ∼50 kDa GRα protein isoform, putative GRα-D1, which was increased in schizophrenia cases (80.4%) relative to controls. This finding was replicated in a second cohort of 35 schizophrenia cases, 34 bipolar disorder cases, and 35 controls, in which both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder diagnoses were significant predictors of putative GRα-D1 abundance (p<0.05 and p=0.005, respectively). Full-length GRα was increased in bipolar disorder relative to schizophrenia cases. Luciferase assays demonstrated that the GRα-D1 isoform can activate transcription at glucocorticoid response elements. These findings confirm total GR mRNA reductions in schizophrenia and provide the first evidence of GR protein isoform abnormalities in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
stress; schizophrenia; bipolar; glucocorticoid; suicide; development; developmental disorders; schizophrenia; antipsychotics, mood; anxiety; stress disorders; molecular & cellular neurobiology; stress; schizophrenia; bipolar; glucocorticoid; suicide
Polymorphic variants of the dopamine D4 receptor have been consistently associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However the functional significance of the risk polymorphism (variable number of tandem repeats in exon 3) is still unclear. Here we show that whereas the most frequent 4-repeat (D4.4) and the 2-repeat (D4.2) variants form functional heteromers with the short isoform of the dopamine D2 receptor (D2S), the 7-repeat risk allele (D4.7) does not. D2 receptor activation in the D2S-D4 receptor heteromer potentiates D4 receptor-mediated MAPK signaling in transfected cells and in the striatum, which did not occur in cells expressing D4.7 or in the striatum of knock-in mutant mice carrying the 7 repeats of the human D4.7 in the third intracellular loop of the D4 receptor. In the striatum D4 receptors are localized in cortico-striatal glutamatergic terminals, where they selectively modulate glutamatergic neurotransmission by interacting with D2S receptors. This interaction shows the same qualitative characteristics than the D2S-D4 receptor heteromer-mediated MAPK signaling and D2S receptor activation potentiates D4 receptor-mediated inibition of striatal glutamate release. It is therefore postulated that dysfunctional D2S-D4.7 heteromers may impair presynaptic dopaminergic control of corticostriatal glutamatergic neurotransmission and explain functional deficits associated with ADHD.
Dopamine receptors; receptor heteromers; ADHD; striatum; glutamate
Abnormal patterns of HPA axis activation, under basal conditions and in response to stress, are found in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Altered glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA and protein expression in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in psychiatric illness have also been reported, but the cause of these abnormalities is not known. We quantified expression of GR mRNA transcript variants which employ different 5′ promoters, in 35 schizophrenia cases, 31 bipolar disorder cases and 34 controls. We also explored whether sequence variation within the NR3C1 (GR) gene is related to GR mRNA variant expression. Total GR mRNA was decreased in the DLPFC in schizophrenia cases relative to controls (15.1%, p<0.0005) and also relative to bipolar disorder cases (8.9%, p<0.05). GR-1B mRNA was decreased in schizophrenia cases relative to controls (20.2%, p<0.05), while GR-1C mRNA was decreased in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder cases relative to controls (16.1% and 17.2% respectively, both p<0.005). A dose-dependent effect of rs10052957 genotype on GR-1B mRNA expression was observed, where CC homozygotes displayed 18.4% lower expression than TC heterozygotes (p<0.05), and 31.8% lower expression than TT homozygotes (p<0.005). Similarly, a relationship between rs6190 (R23K) genotype and GR-1C expression was seen, with 24.8% lower expression in GG homozygotes than GA heterozygotes (p<0.01). We also observed an effect of rs41423247 (Bcl1) SNP on expression of 67 kDa GRα isoform, the most abundant GRα isoform in the DLPFC. These findings suggest possible roles for the GR-1B and GR-1C promoter regions in mediating GR gene expression changes in psychotic illness, and highlight the potential importance of sequence variation within the NR3C1 gene in modulating GR mRNA expression in the DLPFC.