Systemic administration of nicotine increases dopaminergic (DA) neuron firing in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is thought to underlie nicotine reward. Here, we report that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) plays a critical role in nicotine-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons. In chloral hydrate-anesthetized rats, extracellular single-unit recordings showed that VTA DA neurons exhibited two types of firing responses to systemic nicotine. After nicotine injection, the neurons with type-I response showed a biphasic early inhibition and later excitation, whereas the neurons with type-II response showed a monophasic excitation. The neurons with type-I, but not type-II, response exhibited pronounced slow oscillations (SO) in firing. Pharmacological or structural mPFC inactivation abolished SO and prevented systemic nicotine-induced excitation in the neurons with type-I, but not type-II, response, suggesting that these VTA DA neurons are functionally coupled to the mPFC and nicotine increases firing rate in these neurons in part through the mPFC. Systemic nicotine also increased the firing rate and SO in mPFC pyramidal neurons. mPFC infusion of a non-α7 nAChR antagonist mecamylamine blocked the excitatory effect of systemic nicotine on the VTA DA neurons with type-I response, but mPFC infusion of nicotine failed to excite these neurons. These results suggest that nAChR activation in the mPFC is necessary, but not sufficient, for systemic nicotine-induced excitation of VTA neurons. Finally, systemic injection of bicuculline prevented nicotine-induced firing alterations in the neurons with type-I response. We propose that the mPFC plays a critical role in systemic nicotine-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons.
nicotine; prefrontal cortex; ventral tegmental area; dopamine neuron; in vivo recording; slow oscillation
Recent reports have demonstrated that somatic cells can be directly converted to other differentiated cell types through ectopic expression of sets of transcription factors, directly avoiding the transition through a pluripotent state. Our previous experiments generated induced neural progenitor-like cells (iNPCs) by a novel combination of five transcription factors (Sox2, Brn2, TLX, Bmi1 and c-Myc). Here we demonstrated that the iNPCs not only possess NPC-specific marker genes, but also have qualities of primary brain-derived NPCs (WT-NPCs), including tripotent differentiation potential, mature neuron differentiation capability and synapse formation. Importantly, the mature neurons derived from iNPCs exhibit significant physiological properties, such as potassium channel activity and generation of action potential-like spikes. These results suggest that directly reprogrammed iNPCs closely resemble WT-NPCs, which may suggest an alternative strategy to overcome the restricted proliferative and lineage potential of induced neurons (iNCs) and broaden applications of cell therapy in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
Cigarette smoking is associated with a decreased incidence of Parkinson disease (PD) through unknown mechanisms. Interestingly, a decrease in the numbers of α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α4β2-nAChRs) in PD patients suggests an α4β2-nAChR-mediated cholinergic deficit in PD. Although oligomeric forms of α-synuclein have been recognized to be toxic and involved in the pathogenesis of PD, their direct effects on nAChR-mediated cholinergic signaling remains undefined. Here, we report for the first time that oligomeric α-synuclein selectively inhibits human α4β2-nAChR-mediated currents in a dose-dependent, non-competitive and use-independent manner. We show that pre-loading cells with guanyl-5′-yl thiophosphate fails to prevent this inhibition, suggesting that the α-synuclein-induced inhibition of α4β2-nAChR function is not mediated by nAChR internalization. By using a pharmacological approach and cultures expressing transfected human nAChRs, we have shown a clear effect of oligomeric α-synuclein on α4β2-nAChRs, but not on α4β4- or α7-nAChRs, suggesting nAChR subunit selectivity of oligomeric α-synuclein-induced inhibition. In addition, by combining the size exclusion chromatography and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analyses, we find that only large (>4 nm) oligomeric α-synuclein aggregates (but not monomeric, small oligomeric or fibrillar α-synuclein aggregates) exhibit the inhibitory effect on human α4β2-nAChRs. Collectively, we have provided direct evidence that α4β2-nAChR is a sensitive target to mediate oligomeric α-synuclein-induced modulation of cholinergic signaling, and our data imply that therapeutic strategies targeted toward α4β2-nAChRs may have potential for developing new treatments for PD.
High-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1), which mainly exists in the nucleus, has recently been shown to function as a sentinel molecule for viral nucleic acid sensing and an autophagy regulator in the cytoplasm. In this study, we studied the chaperone-like activity of HMGB1 and found that HMGB1 inhibited the chemically induced aggregation of insulin and lysozyme, as well as the heat-induced aggregation of citrate synthase. HMGB1 also restored the heat-induced suppression of cytoplasmic luciferase activity as a reporter protein in hamster lung fibroblast O23 cells with expression of HMGB1. Next, we demonstrated that HMGB1 inhibited the formation of aggregates and toxicity caused by expanded polyglutamine (polyQ), one of the main causes of Huntington disease. HMGB1 directly interacted with polyQ on immunofluorescence and coimmunoprecipitation assay, whereas the overexpression of HMGB1 or exogenous administration of recombinant HMGB1 protein remarkably reduced polyQ aggregates in SHSY5Y cells and hmgb1−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts upon filter trap and immunofluorescence assay. Finally, overexpressed HMGB1 proteins in mouse embryonic primary striatal neurons also bound to polyQ and decreased the formation of polyQ aggregates. To this end, we have demonstrated that HMGB1 exhibits chaperone-like activity and a possible therapeutic candidate in polyQ disease.
We present two cases of glioma (WHO grade III) in pregnant females presenting in the third trimester. Gliomas during pregnancy are rare. At present, the association between gliomas and pregnancy is poorly understood and little has been reported with regard to the management of patients with gliomas in pregnancy. Management of these cases presents a medical dilemma. Gliomas during pregnancy pose a risk to maternal and fetal life. The benefit-to-risk ratio should be carefully evaluated and discussed prior to surgery. In the present cases, caesarean section (CS) followed by craniotomy was performed under the same general anesthesia at 34 weeks’ gestation. The mothers received radiotherapy and chemotherapy following surgery. They have been followed up to the present date and remain in good health. These two cases indicate that early CS followed by craniotomy is an effective choice in pregnant patients with gliomas at ≥34 weeks’ gestation. In the present study, we describe these two cases and review the literature with regard to gliomas during pregnancy.
brain tumors; pregnancy; treatment; outcome research
β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation is described as a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ perturbs a number of synaptic components including nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing α7 subunits (α7-nAChRs), which are abundantly expressed in the hippocampus and found on GABAergic interneurons. We have previously demonstrated the existence of a novel, heteromeric α7β2-nAChR in basal forebrain cholinergic neurons that exhibits high sensitivity to acute Aβ exposure. To extend our previous work, we evaluated the expression and pharmacology of α7β2-nAChRs in hippocampal interneurons and their sensitivity to Aβ.
GABAergic interneurons in the CA1 subregion of the hippocampus expressed functional α7β2-nAChRs, which were characterized by relatively slow whole-cell current kinetics, pharmacological sensitivity to dihydro-β-erythroidine (DHβE), a nAChR β2* subunit selective blocker, and α7 and β2 subunit interaction using immunoprecipitation assay. In addition, α7β2-nAChRs were sensitive to 1 nM oligomeric Aβ. Similar effects were observed in identified hippocampal interneurons prepared from GFP-GAD mice.
These findings suggest that Aβ modulation of cholinergic signaling in hippocampal GABAergic interneurons via α7β2-nAChRs could be an early and critical event in Aβ-induced functional abnormalities of hippocampal function, which may be relevant to learning and memory deficits in AD.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; Amyloid; Hippocampal interneuron; Patch-clamp; Acutely dissociated neuron
The increase in urban migrants is one of major challenges for tuberculosis control in China. The different characteristics of tuberculosis cases between urban migrants and local residents in China have not been investigated before.
We performed a retrospective study of all pulmonary tuberculosis patients reported in Songjiang district, Shanghai, to determine the demographic, clinical and microbiological characteristics of tuberculosis cases between urban migrants and local residents. We calculated the odds ratios (OR) and performed multivariate logistic regression to identify the characteristics that were independently associated with tuberculosis among urban migrants. A total of 1,348 pulmonary tuberculosis cases were reported during 2006–2008, among whom 440 (32.6%) were local residents and 908 (67.4%) were urban migrants. Urban migrant (38.9/100,000 population) had higher tuberculosis rates than local residents (27.8/100,000 population), and the rates among persons younger than age 35 years were 3 times higher among urban migrants than among local residents. Younger age (adjusted OR per additional year at risk = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.91–0.94, p<0.001), poor treatment outcome (adjusted OR = 4.12, 95% CI: 2.65–5.72, p<0.001), and lower frequency of any comorbidity at diagnosis (adjusted OR = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.13–0.26, p = 0.013) were significantly associated with tuberculosis patients among urban migrants. There were poor treatment outcomes among urban migrants, mainly from transfers to another jurisdiction (19.3% of all tuberculosis patients among urban migrants).
A considerable proportion of tuberculosis cases in Songjiang district, China, during 2006–2008 occurred among urban migrants. Our findings highlight the need to develop and implement specific tuberculosis control strategies for urban migrants, such as more exhaustive case finding, improved case management and follow-up, and use of directly observed therapy (DOT).
Conditional gene knockout (cKO) mediated by the Cre/LoxP system is indispensable for exploring gene functions in mice. However, a major limitation of this method is that gene KO is not reversible. A number of methods have been developed to overcome this, but each method has its own limitations.
We describe a simple method we have named LOFT [LoxP-flippase (FLP) recognition target (FRT) Trap], which is capable of reversible cKO and free of the limitations associated with existing techniques. This method involves two alleles of a target gene: a standard floxed allele, and a multi-functional allele bearing an FRT-flanked gene-trap cassette, which inactivates the target gene while reporting its expression with green fluorescent protein (GFP); the trapped allele is thus a null and GFP reporter by default, but is convertible into a wild-type allele. The floxed and trapped alleles can typically be generated using a single construct bearing a gene-trap cassette doubly flanked by LoxP and FRT sites, and can be used independently to achieve conditional and constitutive gene KO, respectively. More importantly, in mice bearing both alleles and also expressing the Cre and FLP recombinases, sequential function of the two enzymes should lead to deletion of the target gene, followed by restoration of its expression, thus achieving reversible cKO. LOFT should be generally applicable to mouse genes, including the growing numbers of genes already floxed; in the latter case, only the trapped alleles need to be generated to confer reversibility to the pre-existing cKO models. LOFT has other applications, including the creation and reversal of hypomorphic mutations. In this study we proved the principle of LOFT in the context of T-cell development, at a hypomorphic allele of Baf57/Smarce1 encoding a subunit of the chromatin-remodeling Brg/Brahma-associated factor (BAF) complex. Interestingly, the FLP used in the current work caused efficient reversal in peripheral T cells but not thymocytes, which is advantageous for studying developmental epigenetic programming of T-cell functions, a fundamental issue in immunology.
LOFT combines well-established basic genetic methods into a simple and reliable method for reversible gene targeting, with the flexibility of achieving traditional constitutive and conditional KO.
Pathogens and parasites represent significant threats to the health and well-being of honeybee species that are key pollinators of agricultural crops and flowers worldwide. We conducted a nationwide survey to determine the occurrence and prevalence of pathogens and parasites in Asian honeybees, Apis cerana, in China. Our study provides evidence of infections of A. cerana by pathogenic Deformed wing virus (DWV), Black queen cell virus (BQCV), Nosema ceranae, and C. bombi species that have been linked to population declines of European honeybees, A. mellifera, and bumble bees. However, the prevalence of DWV, a virus that causes widespread infection in A. mellifera, was low, arguably a result of the greater ability of A. cerana to resist the ectoprasitic mite Varroa destructor, an efficient vector of DWV. Analyses of microbial communities from the A. cerana digestive tract showed that Nosema infection could have detrimental effects on the gut microbiota. Workers infected by N. ceranae tended to have lower bacterial quantities, with these differences being significant for the Bifidobacterium and Pasteurellaceae bacteria groups. The results of this nationwide screen show that parasites and pathogens that have caused serious problems in European honeybees can be found in native honeybee species kept in Asia. Environmental changes due to new agricultural practices and globalization may facilitate the spread of pathogens into new geographic areas. The foraging behavior of pollinators that are in close geographic proximity likely have played an important role in spreading of parasites and pathogens over to new hosts. Phylogenetic analyses provide insights into the movement and population structure of these parasites, suggesting a bidirectional flow of parasites among pollinators. The presence of these parasites and pathogens may have considerable implications for an observed population decline of Asian honeybees.
Motivation: Alternative splicing (AS) is a pre-mRNA maturation process leading to the expression of multiple mRNA variants from the same primary transcript. More than 90% of human genes are expressed via AS. Therefore, quantifying the inclusion level of every exon is crucial for generating accurate transcriptomic maps and studying the regulation of AS.
Results: Here we introduce SpliceTrap, a method to quantify exon inclusion levels using paired-end RNA-seq data. Unlike other tools, which focus on full-length transcript isoforms, SpliceTrap approaches the expression-level estimation of each exon as an independent Bayesian inference problem. In addition, SpliceTrap can identify major classes of alternative splicing events under a single cellular condition, without requiring a background set of reads to estimate relative splicing changes. We tested SpliceTrap both by simulation and real data analysis, and compared it to state-of-the-art tools for transcript quantification. SpliceTrap demonstrated improved accuracy, robustness and reliability in quantifying exon-inclusion ratios.
Conclusions: SpliceTrap is a useful tool to study alternative splicing regulation, especially for accurate quantification of local exon-inclusion ratios from RNA-seq data.
Availability and Implementation: SpliceTrap can be implemented online through the CSH Galaxy server http://cancan.cshl.edu/splicetrap and is also available for download and installation at http://rulai.cshl.edu/splicetrap/.
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Incomplete combustion produces a pollutant mixture that includes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Previous work by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) and others linked exposure to PAH with symptoms of asthma and other adverse health effects in young children. Inhaled β2-adrenergic agonists are mainstays in the treatment of reactive airway diseases. These exogenous catecholamines engage membrane-bound β2-adrenergic receptors (β2AR) on airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells to cause airway dilation. We hypothesized that exposure to PAH might similarly interfere with the function of β2AR in airway epithelial or smooth muscle cells, reducing the efficacy of a medication important for the treatment of asthma symptoms. A PAH mixture was devised, based on ambient levels measured prenatally among a cohort of pregnant women participating at the CCCEH. Primary airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells were exposed to varying concentrations of the PAH mixture, and expression, function, and signaling of β2AR were assessed. Murine tracheal epithelial cells and human airway smooth muscle cells, after exposure to a PAH mixture, exhibited reduced expression and function of β2AR. These findings support our hypothesis that environmentally relevant PAHs can impede β2AR-mediated airway relaxation, and suggest a new paradigm where air pollutants not only contribute to the pathogenesis of childhood asthma, but also diminish responsiveness to standard therapy.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; β2-adrenergic receptors
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) warrant attention, as they play many critical roles in brain and body function and have been implicated in a number of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including nicotine dependence. nAChRs are composed as diverse subtypes containing specific combinations of genetically-distinct subunits and that have different functional properties, distributions, and pharmacological profiles. There had been confidence that the rules that define ranges of assembly partners for specific subunits were well-established, especially for the more prominent nAChR subtypes. However, we review here some newer findings indicating that nAChRs having largely the same, major subunits exist as isoforms with unexpectedly different properties. Moreover, we also summarize our own studies indicating that novel nAChR subtypes exist and/or have distributions not heretofore described. Importantly, the nAChRs that exist as new isoforms or subtypes or have interesting distributions require alteration in thinking about their roles in health and disease.
nicotine; nicotinic receptor; acetylcholine; Alzheimer’s disease; drug dependence
The aim of this study is to compare clinical outcomes between patients with solitary lymph node metastasis and node-negative (N0) patients in squamous cell carcinoma of the middle thoracic esophagus.
A series of 135 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the middle thoracic esophagus were retrospectively investigated. There were 33 patients with solitary lymph node metastasis and 102 N0 patients. Skip metastasis in 33 patients with solitary lymph node metastasis was defined according to three criteria: Japanese Society for Esophageal Disease (JSED), American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC), and the anatomical compartment.
In 33 patients with solitary lymph node metastasis, skip metastasis was shown in 13, 23, and 8 patients according JSED, AJCC and anatomical compartment respectively. The 5-year survival rates for N0 patients and patients with solitary lymph node metastasis were 58% and 32% respectively (P =0.008). Multivariate analysis revealed that skip metastasis was not an independent prognostic factor.
For patients with middle thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, solitary lymph node metastasis has a negative impact on survival compared with N0 disease; skip metastasis, however, is comparable to N0 diseases in predicting prognosis.
Esophageal cancer; Solitary lymph node; Prognosis; Lymphadenectomy
Anterior gradient homolog 2 (AGR2) is a functional protein with critical roles in a diverse range of biological systems, including vertebrate tissue development, inflammatory tissue injury responses, and cancer progression. Clinical studies have shown that the AGR2 protein is overexpressed in a wide range of human cancers, including carcinomas of the esophagus, pancreas, breast, prostate, and lung, making the protein as a potential cancer biomarker. However, the general biochemical functions of AGR2 in human cells remain undefined, and the signaling mechanisms that drive AGR2 to inhibit p53 are still not clearly illustrated. Therefore, it is of great interest to develop molecular probes specifically recognizing AGR2 for its detection and for the elucidation of AGR2-associated molecular mechanism.
Through a bead-based and flow cytometry monitored SELEX technology, we have identified a group of DNA aptamers that can specifically bind to AGR2 with Kd values in the nanomolar range after 14 rounds of selections. Aptamer C14B was chosen to further study, due to its high binding affinity and specificity. The optimized and shortened C14B1 has special G-rich characteristics, and the G-rich region of this binding motif was further characterized to reveal an intramolecular parallel G-quadruplex by CD spectroscopy and UV spectroscopy. Our experiments confirmed that the stability of the G-quadruplex structure was strongly dependent on the nature of the monovalent ions and the formation of G-quadruplex structure was also important for the binding capacity of C14B1 to the target. Furthermore, we have designed a kind of allosteric molecule beacon (aMB) probe for selective and sensitive detection of AGR2.
In this work, we have developed new aptamer probes for specific recognition of the AGR2. Structural study have identified that the binding motif of aptamer is an intramolecular parallel G-quadruplex structure and its structure and binding affinity are strongly dependent on the nature of the monovalent ion. Furthermore, with our design of AGR2-aMB, AGR2 could be sensitively and selectively detected. This aptamer probe has great potential to serve as a useful tool for early diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and for fundamental research to elucidate the biochemical functions of AGR2.
Catecholamine metabolism plays an important role in the determination of insect body color and cuticle sclerotization. To date, limited research has focused on these processes in silkworm. In the current study, we analyzed the interactions between catecholamines and melanin genes and their effects on the pigmentation patterns and physical properties of sclerotized regions in silkworm, using the melanic mutant melanism (mln) silkworm strain as a model. Injection of β-alanine into mln mutant silkworm induced a change in catecholamine metabolism and turned its body color yellow. Further investigation of the catecholamine content and expression levels of the corresponding melanin genes from different developmental stages of Dazao-mln (mutant) and Dazao (wild-type) silkworm revealed that at the larval and adult stages, the expression patterns of melanin genes precipitated dopamine accumulation corresponding to functional loss of Bm-iAANAT, a repressive effect of excess NBAD on ebony, and upregulation of tan in the Dazao-mln strain. During the early pupal stage, dopamine did not accumulate in Dazao-mln, since upregulation of ebony and black genes led to conversion of high amounts of dopamine into NBAD, resulting in deep yellow cuticles. Scanning electron microscope analysis of a cross-section of adult dorsal plates from both wild-type and mutant silkworm disclosed the formation of different layers in Dazao-mln owing to lack of NADA, compared to even and dense layers in Dazao. Analysis of the mechanical properties of the anterior wings revealed higher storage modulus and lower loss tangent in Dazao-mln, which was closely associated with the altered catecholamine metabolism in the mutant strain. Based on these findings, we conclude that catecholamine metabolism is crucial for the color pattern and physical properties of cuticles in silkworm. Our results should provide a significant contribution to Lepidoptera cuticle tanning research.
Genome-wide studies have identified thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) lacking protein coding capacity. However, most lncRNAs are expressed at a very low level, and in most cases there is no genetic evidence to support their in vivo function. Malat1 (metastasis associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1) is among the most abundant and highly conserved lncRNAs, and it exhibits an uncommon 3′-end processing mechanism. In addition, its specific nuclear localization, developmental regulation, and dysregulation in cancer are suggestive of it having a critical biological function. We have characterized a Malat1 loss-of-function genetic model that indicates Malat1 is not essential for mouse pre- and post-natal development. Furthermore, depletion of Malat1 does not impact global gene expression, splicing factor level and phosphorylation status, or alternative pre-mRNA splicing. However, among a small number of genes that were dysregulated in adult Malat1 knockout mice, many were Malat1 neighboring genes, thus indicating a potential cis regulatory role of Malat1 gene transcription.
Automated hemorrhage detection and segmentation in traumatic pelvic injuries is vital for fast and accurate treatment decision making. Hemorrhage is the main cause of deaths in patients within first 24 hours after the injury. It is very time consuming for physicians to analyze all Computed Tomography (CT) images manually. As time is crucial in emergence medicine, analyzing medical images manually delays the decision-making process. Automated hemorrhage detection and segmentation can significantly help physicians to analyze these images and make fast and accurate decisions. Hemorrhage segmentation is a crucial step in the accurate diagnosis and treatment decision-making process. This paper presents a novel rule-based hemorrhage segmentation technique that utilizes pelvic anatomical information to segment hemorrhage accurately. An evaluation measure is used to quantify the accuracy of hemorrhage segmentation. The results show that the proposed method is able to segment hemorrhage very well, and the results are promising.
School bullying is an emerging problem in China. The present study aimed to measure the prevalence of bullying behaviors among Chinese adolescents and to examine the association of bullying and being bullied with family factors, school factors and indicators of psychosocial adjustment.
A cross-sectional study was conducted. A total of 8,342 middle school students were surveyed in four cities in the Guangdong Province. Self-reports on bullying involvement and information regarding family factors, school factors and psychosocial adjustment were collected. Descriptive statistics and multi-level logistic regression analysis were used to evaluate the prevalence of school bullying and explore potentially influential factors.
Of the total sample, 20.83% (1,738) reported being involved in bullying behaviors. Of the respondents, 18.99% were victims of bullying, 8.60% were bullies and 6.74% both bullied themselves and bullied others. Factors that were determined to be correlated with bullying behaviors included grade, parental caring, consideration of suicide, running away from home, time spent online per day and being in a physical fight.
Bullying was determined to be prevalent among Chinese adolescents. Given the concurrent psychosocial adjustment, family and school factors associated with bullying, as well as the potential long-term negative outcomes for these youth, this issue merits serious attention, both for future research and preventive intervention.
In the triarylamine group of the title compound, C26H20N2O2, the N atom adopts an approximately trigonal–planar geometry, lying 0.046 (5) Å from the plane P defined by its three neighbouring C atoms; the benzene and two terminal phenyl rings are twisted by 37.4 (1), 31.4 (1) and 47.8 (1)°, respectively from plane P. In the trans-stilbene fragment, the two benzene rings form a dihedral angle of 31.3 (1)°. In the crystal, weak intermolecular C—H⋯O interactions link the molecules into ribbons in .
Although evidence suggests that the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is lower in smokers than in non-smokers, the mechanisms of nicotine-induced neuroprotection remain unclear. Stimulation of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) seems to be a crucial mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory potential of cholinergic agonists in immune cells, including astrocytes, and inhibition of astrocyte activation has been proposed as a novel strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as PD. The objective of the present study was to determine whether nicotine-induced neuroprotection in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model occurs via α7-nAChR-mediated inhibition of astrocytes.
Both in vivo (MPTP) and in vitro (1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) models of PD were used to investigate the role(s) of and possible mechanism(s) by which α7-nAChRs protect against dopaminergic neuron loss. Multiple experimental approaches, including behavioral tests, immunochemistry, and stereology experiments, astrocyte cell cultures, reverse transcriptase PCR, laser scanning confocal microscopy, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α assays, and western blotting, were used to elucidate the mechanisms of the α7-nAChR-mediated neuroprotection.
Systemic administration of nicotine alleviated MPTP-induced behavioral symptoms, improved motor coordination, and protected against dopaminergic neuron loss and the activation of astrocytes and microglia in the substantia nigra. The protective effects of nicotine were abolished by administration of the α7-nAChR-selective antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA). In primary cultured mouse astrocytes, pretreatment with nicotine suppressed MPP+-induced or LPS-induced astrocyte activation, as evidenced by both decreased production of TNF-α and inhibition of extracellular regulated kinase1/2 (Erk1/2) and p38 activation in astrocytes, and these effects were also reversed by MLA.
Taken together, our results suggest that α7-nAChR-mediated inhibition of astrocyte activation is an important mechanism underlying the protective effects of nicotine.
α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; Parkinson’s disease; Astrocyte; Neuroinflammation; Neuroprotection
1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, 1,25(OH)2D3, regulates gene expression through the vitamin D receptor. The present studies identify the epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFR, as a target gene suppressed by 1,25(OH)2D3 in human ovarian cancer cells. The suppression was detected at both mRNA and protein levels in vitamin D-sensitive human ovarian cancer cells. A novel vitamin D response element was identified in intron 1 of the EGFR genome, a known hotspot for its transcriptional regulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitations and reporter gene analyses showed that the intronic DNA element bound to vitamin D receptor and a co-repressor and was functional in mediating transcriptional suppression of EGFR promoter by 1,25(OH)2D3 under stable transfection conditions. Consistent with the EGFR down regulation, 1,25(OH)2D3 suppressed activation of the external signal regulated kinase by epidermal growth factors. Over expression of an active EGFR in vitamin D sensitive ovarian cancer cells caused resistance to 1,25(OH)2D3-induced growth suppression and diminished the hormonal regulation of cyclin D1, cyclin E, Skp2 and p27, a group of cell cycle regulators that mediate 1,25(OH)2D3-induced cell cycle arrest at G1-S checkpoint. Taken together, our studies demonstrate that 1,25(OH)2D3 suppresses the response of human ovarian cancer cells to mitogenic growth factors and couple the suppression to the cell cycle arrest at G1-S checkpoint by the hormone.
Cell cycle; EGF; EGFR; Ovarian cancer; Vitamin D; Vitamin D receptor
The central pyridine ring of the 2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine fragment of the title compound, C35H24N4O2, forms dihedral angles of 8.3 (2), 10.6 (3) and 39.4 (3)°, respectively, with the two outer pyridine rings and the attached benzene ring. In the crystal, weak C—H⋯O interactions link the molecules into chains in .
So far, many studies have investigated the distribution of CCR5 genotype between HIV-1 infected patients and uninfected people. However, no definite results have been put forward about whether heterozygosity for a 32-basepair deletion in CCR5 gene (CCR5-Δ32) can affect HIV-1 susceptibility.
We performed a meta-analysis of 18 studies including more than 12000 subjects for whom the CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism was genotyped. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were employed to assess the association of CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism with HIV-1 susceptibility.
Compared with the wild-type CCR5 homozygotes, the pooled OR for CCR5-Δ32 heterozygotes was 1.02 (95%CI, 0.88–1.19) for healthy controls (HC) and 0.95 (95%CI, 0.71–1.26) for exposed uninfected (EU) controls. Similar results were found in stratified analysis by ethnicity, sample size and method of CCR5-Δ32 genotyping.
The meta-analysis indicated that HIV-1 susceptibility is not significantly affected by heterozygosity for CCR5-Δ32.
Human hypothalamic hamartomas (HH) are highly associated with treatment-resistant gelastic seizures. HH are intrinsically epileptogenic, although the basic cellular mechanisms responsible for seizure activity are unknown. Altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) function can contribute to epileptogenesis in humans and animal models. Recently, functional GABAA receptor (GABAAR) rundown has been described in surgically-resected human temporal lobe epilepsy tissue. We asked whether functional GABAAR rundown also occurs in human HH neurons.
GABAAR-mediated currents were measured using perforated patch-clamp recordings in single neurons acutely dissociated from surgically-resected HH tissue. In addition, functional GABAARs were expressed in Xenopus oocytes after microinjection with membrane fractions from either HH or control hypothalamus, and were studied with two-electrode voltage-clamp recordings.
Perforated patch-clamp recordings in dissociated HH neurons showed that repetitive exposure to GABA (5 consecutive exposures to 0.1 mM GABA with 1 sec duration and at 20 sec intervals) induced a time-dependent rundown of whole-cell currents in small HH neurons, while large HH neurons showed much less rundown using the same protocol. Functional rundown was not observed in HH neurons with repetitive exposure to glycine or glutamate. Two-electrode voltage-clamp recordings (6 consecutive exposures to 1 mM GABA with 10 sec duration and at 40 sec intervals) induced GABA-current rundown in Xenopus oocytes microinjected with HH membrane proteins, but not in the oocytes expressing hypothalamic membrane proteins derived from human autopsy controls. Functional rundown of GABA-currents was significantly attenuated by intracellular application of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or the non-specific phosphatase inhibitor, okadaic acid.
Neurons from surgically-resected human HH demonstrate functional rundown of GABAAR-mediated transmembrane currents in response to GABA agonist exposure. Rundown may be a marker for impaired GABAergic function and a contributing mechanism for seizure genesis within HH tissue.
γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA); GABAA receptor; rundown; hypothalamic hamartoma; Xenopus oocytes; patch-clamp; epilepsy; gelastic seizures
A ternary surface monolayer, consisting of co-assembled thiolated capture probe (SHCP) mercaptohexanol (MCH) and dithiothreitol (DTT), is shown to offer dramatic improvements in the signal-to-noise characteristics of electrochemical DNA hybridization biosensors based on common self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Remarkably low detection limits down to 40 zmole (in 4 μL samples) as well as only 1 CFU E. coli per sensor are thus obtained without any additional amplification step in connection to the commonly used horseradish peroxidase/3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine (HRP/TMB) system. Such dramatic improvements in the detection limits (compared to common binary alkanethiol interfaces and to most electrochemical DNA sensing strategies without target or signal amplification) are attributed primarily to the remarkably higher resistance to non-specific adsorption. This reflects the highly compact layer (with lower pinhole density) produced by the coupling of the cyclic- and linear-configuration ‘backfillers’ that leads to a remarkably low background noise even in the presence of complex sample matrices. A wide range of surface compositions have been investigated and the ternary mixed monolayer has been systematically optimized. Detailed impedance spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetric studies shed useful insights into the surface coverage. The impressive sensitivity and high specificity of the simple developed methodology indicate great promise for a wide range of nucleic acid testing, including clinical diagnostics, biothreat detection, food safety and forensic analysis.