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1.  Comparative MicroRNA Expression Profiles of Cynomolgus Monkeys, Rat, and Human Reveal that miR-182 Is Involved in T2D Pathogenic Processes 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:760397.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a prevalent disease that happens around the world and usually happens with insulin resistance. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represented important roles in the suppression of gene expression and were proven to be related to human diseases. In this study, we used cynomolgus monkey fed with normal and high fatty diet (HFD), respectively, to analyze the miRNA expression profile in whole blood by deep sequencing. Finally in total 24 miRNAs with differential expression were filtered. Among them, miR-182 related to the insulin resistance by modulating FOXO1 and PI3K/AKT cascade and had the greatest copy number in the whole blood. Decrease of miR-182 in T2D cynomolgus individuals is completely consistent with the previous studies in human and rat. Integrating miR-182 tissue expression profile, target genes, and copy number in blood reveals that miR-182 plays a key role in crucial genes modulation, such as FOXO1 and BHLHE22, which leads to potential hyperglycemia and modulates the insulin secretion. In addition, miR-182 might regulate the processes of both cell proliferation and apoptosis that play crucial role in determining the cells' fate. Therefore, miR-182 can be a biomarker in diagnosis of the potential T2D that has benefits for medical purpose.
PMCID: PMC4235598  PMID: 25530976
2.  Postsynaptic insertion of AMPA receptor onto cortical pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex after peripheral nerve injury 
Molecular Brain  2014;7(1):76.
Long-term potentiation (LTP) is the key cellular mechanism for physiological learning and pathological chronic pain. Postsynaptic accumulation of AMPA receptor (AMPAR) GluA1 plays an important role for injury-related cortical LTP. However, there is no direct evidence for postsynaptic GluA1 insertion or accumulation after peripheral injury. Here we report nerve injury increased the postsynaptic expression of AMPAR GluA1 in pyramidal neurons in the layer V of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), including the corticospinal projecting neurons. Electrophysiological recordings show that potentiation of postsynaptic responses was reversed by Ca2+ permeable AMPAR antagonist NASPM. Finally, behavioral studies show that microinjection of NASPM into the ACC inhibited behavioral sensitization caused by nerve injury. Our findings provide direct evidence that peripheral nerve injury induces postsynaptic GluA1 accumulation in cingulate cortical neurons, and inhibits postsynaptic GluA1 accumulation which may serve as a novel target for treating neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC4221704  PMID: 25359681
3.  Adenylyl cyclase subtype 1 is essential for late-phase long term potentiation and spatial propagation of synaptic responses in the anterior cingulate cortex of adult mice 
Molecular Pain  2014;10(1):65.
Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a key cellular mechanism for pathological pain in the central nervous system. LTP contains at least two different phases: early-phase LTP (E-LTP) and late-phase LTP (L-LTP). Among several major cortical areas, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a critical brain region for pain perception and its related emotional changes. Periphery tissue or nerve injuries cause LTP of excitatory synaptic transmission in the ACC. Our previous studies have demonstrated that genetic deletion of calcium-stimulated adenylyl cyclase 1 (AC1) or pharmacological application of a selective AC1 inhibitor NB001 blocked E-LTP in the ACC. However, the effect of AC1 on L-LTP, which requires new protein synthesis and is important for the process of chronic pain, has not been investigated. Here we tested the effects of NB001 on the ACC L-LTP and found that bath application of NB001 (0.1 μM) totally blocked the induction of L-LTP and recruitment of cortical circuitry without affecting basal excitatory transmission. In contrast, gabapentin, a widely used analgesic drug for neuropathic pain, did not block the induction of L-LTP and circuitry recruitment even at a high concentration (100 μM). Gabapentin non-selectively decreased basal synaptic transmission. Our results provide strong evidence that the selective AC1 inhibitor NB001 can be used to inhibit pain-related cortical L-LTP without affecting basal synaptic transmission. It also provides basic mechanisms for possible side effects of gabapentin in the central nervous system and its ineffectiveness in some patients with neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC4198686  PMID: 25304256
Adenylyl cyclase 1; Gabapentin; Anterior cingulate cortex; LTP; Chronic pain
4.  Long-Term Temporal Imprecision of Information Coding in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex of Mice with Peripheral Inflammation or Nerve Injury 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(32):10675-10687.
Temporal properties of spike firing in the central nervous system (CNS) are critical for neuronal coding and the precision of information storage. Chronic pain has been reported to affect cognitive and emotional functions, in addition to trigger long-term plasticity in sensory synapses and behavioral sensitization. Less is known about the possible changes in temporal precision of cortical neurons in chronic pain conditions. In the present study, we investigated the temporal precision of action potential firing in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) by using both in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological approaches. We found that peripheral inflammation caused by complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) increased the standard deviation (SD) of spikes latency (also called jitter) of ∼51% of recorded neurons in the ACC of adult rats in vivo. Similar increases in jitter were found in ACC neurons using in vitro brain slices from adult mice with peripheral inflammation or nerve injury. Bath application of glutamate receptor antagonists CNQX and AP5 abolished the enhancement of jitter induced by CFA injection or nerve injury, suggesting that the increased jitter depends on the glutamatergic synaptic transmission. Activation of adenylyl cyclases (ACs) by bath application of forskolin increased jitter, whereas genetic deletion of AC1 abolished the change of jitter caused by CFA inflammation. Our study provides strong evidence for long-term changes of temporal precision of information coding in cortical neurons after peripheral injuries and explains neuronal mechanism for chronic pain caused cognitive and emotional impairment.
PMCID: PMC4122801  PMID: 25100600
chronic pain; cingulate cortex; cortex; mice; synaptic transmission; temporal precision
5.  Effects of NB001 and gabapentin on irritable bowel syndrome-induced behavioral anxiety and spontaneous pain 
Molecular Brain  2014;7:47.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by recurrent abdominal discomfort, spontaneous pain, colorectal hypersensitivity and bowel dysfunction. Patients with IBS also suffer from emotional anxiety and depression. However, few animal studies have investigated IBS-induced spontaneous pain and behavioral anxiety. In this study, we assessed spontaneous pain and anxiety behaviors in an adult mouse model of IBS induced by zymosan administration. By using Fos protein as a marker, we found that sensory and emotion related brain regions were activated at day 7 after the treatment with zymosan; these regions include the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex and amygdala. Behaviorally, zymosan administration triggered spontaneous pain (decreased spontaneous activities in the open field test) and increased anxiety-like behaviors in three different tests (the open field, elevated plus maze and light/dark box tests). Intraperitoneal injection of NB001, an adenylyl cyclase 1 (AC1) inhibitor, reduced spontaneous pain but had no significant effect on behavioral anxiety. In contrast, gabapentin reduced both spontaneous pain and behavioral anxiety. These results indicate that NB001 and gabapentin may inhibit spontaneous pain and anxiety-like behaviors through different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4071154  PMID: 24935250
Irritable bowel syndrome; Zymosan; Visceral pain; Spontaneous pain; Anxiety
6.  Postsynaptic potentiation of corticospinal projecting neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex after nerve injury 
Molecular Pain  2014;10:33.
Long-term potentiation (LTP) is the key cellular mechanism for physiological learning and pathological chronic pain. In the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), postsynaptic recruitment or modification of AMPA receptor (AMPAR) GluA1 contribute to the expression of LTP. Here we report that pyramidal cells in the deep layers of the ACC send direct descending projecting terminals to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord (lamina I-III). After peripheral nerve injury, these projection cells are activated, and postsynaptic excitatory responses of these descending projecting neurons were significantly enhanced. Newly recruited AMPARs contribute to the potentiated synaptic transmission of cingulate neurons. PKA-dependent phosphorylation of GluA1 is important, since enhanced synaptic transmission was abolished in GluA1 phosphorylation site serine-845 mutant mice. Our findings provide strong evidence that peripheral nerve injury induce long-term enhancement of cortical-spinal projecting cells in the ACC. Direct top-down projection system provides rapid and profound modulation of spinal sensory transmission, including painful information. Inhibiting cortical top-down descending facilitation may serve as a novel target for treating neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC4060852  PMID: 24890933
7.  No requirement of TRPV1 in long-term potentiation or long-term depression in the anterior cingulate cortex 
Molecular Brain  2014;7:27.
One major interest in the study of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) in sensory system is that it may serve as a drug target for treating chronic pain. While the roles of TRPV1 in peripheral nociception and sensitization have been well documented, less is known about its contribution to pain-related cortical plasticity. Here, we used 64 multi-electrode array recording to examine the potential role of TRPV1 in two major forms of synaptic plasticity, long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We found that pharmacological blockade of TRPV1 with either [(E)-3-(4-t-Butylphenyl)-N-(2,3-dihydrobenzo[b][1,4]dioxin-6-yl)acrylamide] (AMG9810, 10 μM) or N-(3-methoxyphenyl)-4-chlorocinnamide (SB366791, 20 μM) failed to affect LTP induced by strong theta burst stimulation in the ACC of adult mice. Similarly, neither AMG9810 nor SB366791 blocked the cingulate LTD induced by low-frequency stimulation. Analysis of the results from different layers of the ACC obtained the same conclusions. Spatial distribution of LTP or LTD-showing channels among the ACC network was also unaltered by the TRPV1 antagonists. Since cortical LTP and LTD in the ACC play critical roles in chronic pain triggered by inflammation or nerve injury, our findings suggest that TRPV1 may not be a viable target for treating chronic pain, especially at the cortical level.
PMCID: PMC4234987  PMID: 24708859
Anterior cingulate cortex; Long-term potentiation; Long-term depression; Multi-electrode array; Transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1; Chronic pain
8.  DREAM Controls the On/Off Switch of Specific Activity-Dependent Transcription Pathways 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(5):877-887.
Changes in nuclear Ca2+ homeostasis activate specific gene expression programs and are central to the acquisition and storage of information in the brain. DREAM (downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator), also known as calsenilin/KChIP-3 (K+ channel interacting protein 3), is a Ca2+-binding protein that binds DNA and represses transcription in a Ca2+-dependent manner. To study the function of DREAM in the brain, we used transgenic mice expressing a Ca2+-insensitive/CREB-independent dominant active mutant DREAM (daDREAM). Using genome-wide analysis, we show that DREAM regulates the expression of specific activity-dependent transcription factors in the hippocampus, including Npas4, Nr4a1, Mef2c, JunB, and c-Fos. Furthermore, DREAM regulates its own expression, establishing an autoinhibitory feedback loop to terminate activity-dependent transcription. Ablation of DREAM does not modify activity-dependent transcription because of gene compensation by the other KChIP family members. The expression of daDREAM in the forebrain resulted in a complex phenotype characterized by loss of recurrent inhibition and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus and impaired learning and memory. Our results indicate that DREAM is a major master switch transcription factor that regulates the on/off status of specific activity-dependent gene expression programs that control synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.
PMCID: PMC4023831  PMID: 24366545
9.  Loss of long-term depression in the insular cortex after tail amputation in adult mice 
Molecular Pain  2014;10:1.
The insular cortex (IC) is an important forebrain structure involved in pain perception and taste memory formation. Using a 64-channel multi-electrode array system, we recently identified and characterized two major forms of synaptic plasticity in the adult mouse IC: long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). In this study, we investigate injury-related metaplastic changes in insular synaptic plasticity after distal tail amputation. We found that tail amputation in adult mice produced a selective loss of low frequency stimulation-induced LTD in the IC, without affecting (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG)-evoked LTD. The impaired insular LTD could be pharmacologically rescued by priming the IC slices with a lower dose of DHPG application, a form of metaplasticity which involves activation of protein kinase C but not protein kinase A or calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. These findings provide important insights into the synaptic mechanisms of cortical changes after peripheral amputation and suggest that restoration of insular LTD may represent a novel therapeutic strategy against the synaptic dysfunctions underlying the pathophysiology of phantom pain.
PMCID: PMC3912895  PMID: 24398034
10.  NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation comprises a family of temporally overlapping forms of synaptic plasticity that are induced by different patterns of stimulation 
N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) is extensively studied since it is believed to use the same molecular mechanisms that are required for many forms of learning and memory. Unfortunately, many controversies exist, not least the seemingly simple issue concerning the locus of expression of LTP. Here, we review our recent work and some of the extensive literature on this topic and present new data that collectively suggest that LTP can be explained, during its first few hours, by the coexistence of at least three mechanistically distinct processes that are all triggered by the synaptic activation of NMDARs.
PMCID: PMC3843864  PMID: 24298134
NMDA receptor; AMPA receptor; long-term potentiation; short-term potentiation; hippocampus; learning and memory
11.  Long-term potentiation in the anterior cingulate cortex and chronic pain 
Glutamate is the primary excitatory transmitter of sensory transmission and perception in the central nervous system. Painful or noxious stimuli from the periphery ‘teach’ humans and animals to avoid potentially dangerous objects or environments, whereas tissue injury itself causes unnecessary chronic pain that can even last for long periods of time. Conventional pain medicines often fail to control chronic pain. Recent neurobiological studies suggest that synaptic plasticity taking place in sensory pathways, from spinal dorsal horn to cortical areas, contributes to chronic pain. Injuries trigger long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission in the spinal cord dorsal horn and anterior cingulate cortex, and such persistent potentiation does not require continuous neuronal activity from the periphery. At the synaptic level, potentiation of excitatory transmission caused by injuries may be mediated by the enhancement of glutamate release from presynaptic terminals and potentiated postsynaptic responses of AMPA receptors. Preventing, ‘erasing’ or reducing such potentiation may serve as a new mechanism to inhibit chronic pain in patients in the future.
PMCID: PMC3843878  PMID: 24298148
chronic pain; anterior cingulate cortex; long-term potentiation; analgesia; adenylyl cyclase; cyclic adenosine monophosphate
12.  Identifying Candidate Genes for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity through Gene Expression Profiling in Multiple Tissues or Cells 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:970435.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and obesity have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Recent studies have focused on identifying causal variations or candidate genes for obesity and T2DM via analysis of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) within a single tissue. T2DM and obesity are affected by comprehensive sets of genes in multiple tissues. In the current study, gene expression levels in multiple human tissues from GEO datasets were analyzed, and 21 candidate genes displaying high percentages of differential expression were filtered out. Specifically, DENND1B, LYN, MRPL30, POC1B, PRKCB, RP4-655J12.3, HIBADH, and TMBIM4 were identified from the T2DM-control study, and BCAT1, BMP2K, CSRNP2, MYNN, NCKAP5L, SAP30BP, SLC35B4, SP1, BAP1, GRB14, HSP90AB1, ITGA5, and TOMM5 were identified from the obesity-control study. The majority of these genes are known to be involved in T2DM and obesity. Therefore, analysis of gene expression in various tissues using GEO datasets may be an effective and feasible method to determine novel or causal genes associated with T2DM and obesity.
PMCID: PMC3888709  PMID: 24455749
13.  N-type voltage gated calcium channels mediate excitatory synaptic transmission in the anterior cingulate cortex of adult mice 
Molecular Pain  2013;9:58.
Voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) are well known for its importance in synaptic transmission in the peripheral and central nervous system. However, the role of different VGCCs in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has not been studied. Here, we use a multi-electrode array recording system (MED64) to study the contribution of different types of calcium channels in glutamatergic excitatory synaptic transmission in the ACC. We found that only the N-type calcium channel blocker ω-conotoxin-GVIA (ω-Ctx-GVIA) produced a great inhibition of basal synaptic transmission, especially in the superficial layer. Other calcium channel blockers that act on L-, P/Q-, R-, and T-type had no effect. We also tested the effects of several neuromodulators with or without ω-Ctx-GVIA. We found that N-type VGCC contributed partially to (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid- and (R)-Baclofen-induced synaptic inhibition. By contrast, the inhibitory effects of 2-Chloroadenosine and carbamoylcholine chloride did not differ with or without ω-Ctx-GVIA, indicating that they may act through other mechanisms. Our results provide strong evidence that N-type VGCCs mediate fast synaptic transmission in the ACC.
PMCID: PMC3842823  PMID: 24228737
14.  Reviewer acknowledgement 
Molecular Pain  2013;9:10.
Contributing reviewers
The editors of Molecular Pain would like to thank all the reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 8 (2012).
PMCID: PMC3606359
15.  Delay-dependent impairment of spatial working memory with inhibition of NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in hippocampal CA1 region of rats 
Molecular Brain  2013;6:13.
Hippocampal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is required for spatial working memory. Although evidence from genetic manipulation mice suggests an important role of hippocampal NMDAR NR2B subunits (NR2B-NMDARs) in spatial working memory, it remains unclear whether or not the requirement of hippocampal NR2B-NMDARs for spatial working memory depends on the time of spatial information maintained. Here, we investigate the contribution of hippocampal NR2B-NMDARs to spatial working memory on delayed alternation task in T-maze (DAT task) and delayed matched-to-place task in water maze (DMP task). Our data show that infusions of the NR2B-NMDAR selective antagonists, Ro25-6981 or ifenprodil, directly into the CA1 region, impair spatial working memory in DAT task with 30-s delay (not 5-s delay), but severely impair error-correction capability in both 5-s and 30-s delay task. Furthermore, intra-CA1 inhibition of NR2B-NMDARs impairs spatial working memory in DMP task with 10-min delay (not 30-s delay). Our results suggest that hippocampal NR2B-NMDARs are required for spatial working memory in long-delay task, whereas spare for spatial working memory in short-delay task. We conclude that the requirement of NR2B-NMDARs for spatial working memory is delay-dependent in the CA1 region.
PMCID: PMC3616959  PMID: 23497405
NR2B; Hippocampus; Working memory; T-maze; Rat
16.  Alteration of neuronal activity after digit amputation in rat anterior cingulate cortex 
Phantom limb pain is experienced by nearly 50 - 80% of the patients following limb amputation. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a part of the limbic system that is an essential component in mediating the affective and emotional component of pain responses. To explore the role of ACC in the phantom limb pain, we recorded evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs), cortical network activity and electrophysiological properties of pyramid neurons in adult rat ACC before and after a third hind paw digit amputation using in vivo intracellular or extracellular recording and staining techniques. The recorded neurons were morphologically identified as pyramidal neurons in the ACC region. The spontaneous activity of ACC neurons significantly reduced with a more percentage of down state after amputation, this is correlated with a decrease in spontaneous spikes in medial thalamus. However, the amplitude of the evoked EPSPs was increased significantly shortly after amputation and lasted for up to 7 days. This potentiation is associated with an increase of paired-pulse facilitation (PPF), suggesting the involvement of presynaptic component in this process. No significant difference in membrane properties was observed after amputation. On the other hand, administration of Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) into the hind paw, a model of inflammatory pain, induced the potentiation of EPSPs in ACC neurons at 7 days after injection. These results demonstrate that digit amputation induced a long-lasting potentiation of synaptic transmission and decrease of cortical network activity in ACC in rats, which might contribute to the phantom limb pain.
PMCID: PMC3601461  PMID: 23525689
Phantom pain; cortex; pyramidal neurons; EPSPs; in vivo; intracellular recording
17.  Reviewer acknowledgement 
Molecular Brain  2013;6:7.
Contributing reviewers
The editors of Molecular Brain would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 5 (2012).
PMCID: PMC3598960
18.  Experiences with Assisted Peritoneal Dialysis in China 
♦ Objective: About half the patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD) in China need to be assisted by family members or home assistants. We explored whether these patients have a higher risk for peritonitis and death compared with self-care PD patients.
♦ Methods: We prospectively followed 313 incident PD patients until death or censoring. This cohort was divided into assisted and self-care PD groups according to the independence of bag exchange. Data on baseline demographics, Charlson comorbidity index, biochemistry, and residual renal function were recorded during the first 3 – 6 months. The outcome variables were first episode of peritonitis and all-cause mortality.
♦ Results: Of the 313 patients in this cohort study, 122 needed assistance in performing bag exchanges (86 from a family member, 36 from a home assistant); the remaining 191 patients did not need assistance. During a follow-up period averaging 44.5 months, 122 patients developed a first episode of peritonitis, and 135 patients died. Compared with patients having a family assistant, those with a home assistant had similar peritonitis-free and survival times, but a higher risk of mortality after adjustments for variables such as age, sex, Charlson comorbidity score, hemoglobin, serum albumin, and residual renal function. Furthermore, compared with self-care patients, assisted patients overall had a similar peritonitis-free time, but a higher risk of mortality, even after adjusting for covariates.
♦ Conclusions: Based on our single-center experience in China, we conclude that assisted PD is a good option for patients with poor self-care ability. This result provides evidence for recruiting patients who need assistance to PD programs in China.
PMCID: PMC3525378  PMID: 21632447
Assisted peritoneal dialysis; peritonitis; mortality
19.  Advanced Nursing Experience Is Beneficial for Lowering the Peritonitis Rate in Patients on Peritoneal Dialysis 
♦ Objectives: We explored the relationship between the experience level of nurses and the peritonitis risk in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients.
♦ Methods: Our observational cohort study followed 305 incident PD patients until a first episode of peritonitis, death, or censoring. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to the work experience in general medicine of their nurses—that is, least experience (<10 years), moderate experience (10 to <15 years), and advanced experience (≥15 years). Demographic characteristics, baseline biochemistry, and residual renal function were also recorded. Multivariate Cox regression was used to analyze the association of risks for all-cause and gram-positive peritonitis with patient training provided by nurses at different experience levels.
♦ Results: Of the 305 patients, 91 were trained at the initiation of PD by nurses with advanced experience, 100 by nurses with moderate experience, and 114 by nurses with the least experience. Demographic and clinical variables did not vary significantly between the groups. During 13 582 patient–months of follow-up, 129 first episodes of peritonitis were observed, with 48 episodes being attributed to gram-positive organisms. Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that training by nurses with advanced experience predicted the longest period free of first-episode gram-positive peritonitis. After adjustment for some recognized confounders, the advanced experience group was still associated with the lowest risk for first-episode gram-positive peritonitis. The level of nursing experience was not significantly correlated with all-cause peritonitis risk.
♦ Conclusions: The experience in general medicine of nurses might help to lower the risk of gram-positive peritonitis among PD patients. These data are the first to indicate that nursing experience in areas other than PD practice can be vital in the training of PD patients.
PMCID: PMC3525366  PMID: 21719682
Peritonitis; nurse; training
20.  Genetic enhancement of neuropathic and inflammatory pain by forebrain upregulation of CREB-mediated transcription 
Molecular Pain  2012;8:90.
CREB has been reported to be activated by injury and is commonly used as marker for pain-related plasticity changes in somatosensory pathways, including spinal dorsal horn neurons and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). However no evidence has been reported to support the direct role of activated CREB in injury-related behavioral sensitization (or allodynia). Here we report that genetic enhancement of CREB-mediated transcription selectively in forebrain areas enhanced behavioral responses to non-noxious stimuli after chronic inflammation (CFA model) or nerve injury. In contrast, behavioral acute responses to peripheral subcutaneous injection of formalin did not show any significant difference. Furthermore, acute pain responses to noxious thermal stimuli were also not affected. Our results thus provide direct evidence that cortical CREB-mediated transcription contributes to behavioral allodynia in animal models of chronic inflammatory or neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC3545978  PMID: 23272977
21.  Cortical Depression and Potentiation: Basic Mechanisms for Phantom Pain 
Experimental Neurobiology  2012;21(4):129-135.
People experience the feeling of the missing body part long after it has been removed after amputation are known as phantom limb sensations. These sensations can be painful, sometimes becoming chronic and lasting for several years (or called phantom pain). Medical treatment for these individuals is limited. Recent neurobiological investigations of brain plasticity after amputation have revealed new insights into the changes in the brain that may cause phantom limb sensations and phantom pain. In this article, I review recent progresses of the cortical plasticity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a critical cortical area for pain sensation, and explore how they are related to abnormal sensory sensations such as phantom pain. An understanding of these alterations may guide future research into medical treatment for these disorders.
PMCID: PMC3538176  PMID: 23319872
anterior cingulate cortex; long-term potentiation; long-term depression; phantom pain; amputation; mice
22.  Group I Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor-Mediated Gene Transcription and Implications for Synaptic Plasticity and Diseases 
Stimulation of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) initiates a wide variety of signaling pathways. Group I mGluR activation can regulate gene expression at both translational and transcriptional levels, and induces translation or transcription-dependent synaptic plastic changes in neurons. The group I mGluR-mediated translation-dependent neural plasticity has been well reviewed. In this review, we will highlight group I mGluR-induced gene transcription and its role in synaptic plasticity. The signaling pathways (PKA, CaMKs, and MAPKs) which have been shown to link group I mGluRs to gene transcription, the relevant transcription factors (CREB and NF-κB), and target proteins (FMRP and ARC) will be documented. The significance and future direction for characterizing group I mGluR-mediated gene transcription in fragile X syndrome, schizophrenia, drug addiction, and other neurological disorders will also be discussed.
PMCID: PMC3485740  PMID: 23125836
group I metabotropic glutamate receptors; gene transcription; CREB; FMRP; signal transduction; synaptic plasticity; fragile X syndrome
23.  The growth of Molecular Brain: impact factor is coming in 2013 
Molecular Brain  2012;5:37.
PMCID: PMC3499237  PMID: 23057854
25.  Roles of CREB in the regulation of FMRP by group I metabotropic glutamate receptors in cingulate cortex 
Molecular Brain  2012;5:27.
Fragile X syndrome is caused by lack of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) due to silencing of the FMR1 gene. The metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in the central nervous system contribute to higher brain functions including learning/memory, mental disorders and persistent pain. The transcription factor cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) is involved in important neuronal functions, such as synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival. Our recent study has shown that stimulation of Group I mGluRs upregulated FMRP and activated CREB in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a key region for brain cognitive and executive functions, suggesting that activation of Group I mGluRs may upregulate FMRP through CREB signaling pathway.
In this study, we demonstrate that CREB contributes to the regulation of FMRP by Group I mGluRs. In ACC neurons of adult mice overexpressing dominant active CREB mutant, the upregulation of FMRP by stimulating Group I mGluR is enhanced compared to wild-type mice. However, the regulation of FMRP by Group I mGluRs is not altered by overexpression of Ca2+-insensitive mutant form of downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator (DREAM), a transcriptional repressor involved in synaptic transmission and plasticity.
Our study has provided further evidence for CREB involvement in regulation of FMRP by Group I mGluRs in ACC neurons, and may help to elucidate the pathogenesis of fragile X syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3478997  PMID: 22867433
CREB; FMRP; Group I mGluRs; Gene expression; Cingulate cortex; Fragile X syndrome

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