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1.  Characterization of excitatory and inhibitory neuron activation in the mouse medial prefrontal cortex following palatable food ingestion and food driven exploratory behavior 
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is implicated in aspects of executive function, that include the modulation of attentional and memory processes involved in goal selection. Food-seeking behavior has been shown to involve activation of the mPFC, both during the execution of strategies designed to obtain food and during the consumption of food itself. As these behaviors likely require differential engagement of the prefrontal cortex, we hypothesized that the pattern of neuronal activation would also be behavior dependent. In this study we describe, for the first time, the expression of Fos in different layers and cell types of the infralimbic/dorsal peduncular and prelimbic/anterior cingulate subdivisions of mouse mPFC following both the consumption of palatable food and following exploratory activity of the animal directed at obtaining food reward. While both manipulations led to increases of Fos expression in principal excitatory neurons relative to control, food-directed exploratory activity produced a significantly greater increase in Fos expression than observed in the food intake condition. Consequently, we hypothesized that mPFC interneuron activation would also be differentially engaged by these manipulations. Interestingly, Fos expression patterns differed substantially between treatments and interneuron subtype, illustrating how the differential engagement of subsets of mPFC interneurons depends on the behavioral state. In our experiments, both vasoactive intestinal peptide- and parvalbumin-expressing neurons showed enhanced Fos expression only during the food-dependent exploratory task and not during food intake. Conversely, elevations in arcuate and paraventricular hypothalamic fos expression were only observed following food intake and not following food driven exploration. Our data suggest that select activation of these cell types may be required to support high cognitive demand states such as observed during exploration while being dispensable during the ingestion of freely available food.
PMCID: PMC4076747  PMID: 25071465
vasoactive intestinal peptide; parvalbumin; somatostatin; palatable food seeking and ingestion; prefrontal cortex; prelimbic; infralimbic
2.  SNP array mapping of 20p deletions: Genotypes, Phenotypes and Copy Number Variation 
Human mutation  2009;30(3):371-378.
The use of array technology to define chromosome deletions and duplications is bringing us closer to establishing a genotype/phenotype map of genomic copy number alterations. We studied 21 patients and 5 relatives with deletions of the short arm of chromosome 20 using the Illumina HumanHap550 SNP array to 1) more accurately determine the deletion sizes, 2) identify and compare breakpoints, 3) establish genotype/phenotype correlations and 4) investigate the use of the HumanHap550 platform for analysis of chromosome deletions. Deletions ranged from 95kb to 14.62Mb, and all of the breakpoints were unique. Eleven patients had deletions between 95kb and 4Mb and these individuals had normal development, with no anomalies outside of those associated with Alagille syndrome. The proximal and distal boundaries of these eleven deletions constitute a 5.4MB region, and we propose that haploinsufficiency for only 1 of the 12 genes in this region causes phenotypic abnormalities. This defines the JAG1 associated critical region, in which deletions do not confer findings other than those associated with Alagille syndrome. The other 10 patients had deletions between 3.28Mb and 14.62Mb, which extended outside the critical region, and notably, all of these patients, had developmental delay. This group had other findings such as autism, scoliosis and bifid uvula. We identified 47 additional polymorphic genome-wide copy number variants (>20 SNPs), with 0–5 variants called per patient. Deletions of the short arm of chromosome 20 are associated with relatively mild and limited clinical anomalies. The use of SNP arrays provides accurate high-resolution definition of genomic abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC2650004  PMID: 19058200
SNP array analysis; 20p deletion; copy number variants; Alagille syndrome; haploinsufficiency; JAG1

Results 1-2 (2)