Curcumin is the principal active ingredient found in turmeric (Curcuma longa), a plant used in traditional Asian diets and herbal medicines. It is known to have a wide range of biological actions including antidepressant-like effects which have been observed in stress-induced depression models. This study was designed to investigate the antidepressant potential of curcumin in a non-induced model of depression. Moreover, since brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in antidepressant effects of many drugs, we also evaluated the effects of curcumin on BDNF in the hippocampus. Adult male Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, a putative model of depression, were injected acutely or chronically (10 d) with 50, 100, and 200mg/kg curcumin. Open field locomotor activity (OFLA) and forced swim test (FST), a measure of helplessness, were measured 1 hour after acute and 18–20 hours after last chronic injection. Results showed a dose-dependent reduction of immobility in the FST by curcumin in both acute and chronic studies, without any significant effect on OFLA. The effect of higher chronic curcumin dose in FST was still evident a week later. Chronic curcumin also resulted in a dose-dependent increase in hippocampal BDNF. This data provides evidence for an antidepressant-like effect of curcumin, possibly through increased neurotrophic activity, in the WKY model of depression, and support the notion that curcumin may prove an effective and lasting natural antidepressant.
The Melanocortin (MC) system is one of the crucial neuropeptidergic systems that modulate energy balance. The roles of endogenous MC and MC-4 receptor (MC4-R) signaling within the hypothalamus in the control of homeostatic aspects of feeding are well established. Additional evidence points to a key role for the central MC system in ethanol consumption. Recently, we have shown that nucleus accumbens (NAc), but not lateral hypothalamic (LH), infusion of a selective MC4-R agonist decreases ethanol consumption. Given that MC signaling might contribute to non-homeostatic aspects of feeding within limbic circuits, we assessed here whether MC4-R signaling within the NAc and the lateral hypothalamus (LH) alters normal ingestive hedonic and/or aversive responses to ethanol in rats as measured by a taste reactivity test. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were given NAc- or LH- bilateral infusion of the selective MC4-R agonist cyclo (NH-CH2-CH2-CO-His-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Glu)-NH2 (0, 0.75 or 1.5 µg/0.5µl/site) and following 30 min, the animals received 1 ml of ethanol solution (6% w/v) intraoral for 1 minute and aversive and hedonic behaviors were recorded. We found that NAc-, but not LH-administration, of a selective MC4-R agonist decreased total duration of hedonic reactions and significantly increased aversive reactions relative to saline-infused animals which support the hypothesis that MC signaling within the NAc may contribute to ethanol consumption by modulating non-homeostatic aspects (palatability) of intake.
ethanol; palatability; MC4 receptors; lateral hypothalamus; nucleus accumbens; taste reactivity
Neuroadaptations associated with behavioral sensitization induced by repeated exposure to methamphetamine (MA) appear to be involved in compulsive drug pursuit and use. Increased histone acetylation, an epigenetic effect resulting in altered gene expression, may promote sensitized responses to psychostimulants. The role of histone acetylation in the expression and acquisition of MA-induced locomotor sensitization was examined by measuring the effect of histone deacetylase inhibition by sodium butyrate (NaB). For the effect on expression, vehicle or NaB (630 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was administered 30 min prior to MA challenge in mice treated repeatedly with MA (10 days of 2 mg/kg MA) or saline (10 days), and then locomotor response to MA challenge was measured. NaB treatment increased the locomotor response to MA in both acutely MA treated and sensitized animals. For acquisition, NaB was administered 30 min prior to each MA exposure (10 days of 1 or 2 mg/kg), but not prior to the MA challenge test. Treatment with NaB during the sensitization acquisition period significantly increased locomotor activation by MA in sensitized mice only. NaB alone did not significantly alter locomotor activity. Acute NaB or MA, but not the combination, appeared to increase striatal acetylation at histone H4. Repeated treatment with MA, but not NaB or MA plus NaB, increased striatal acetylation at histone H3. Although increased histone acetylation may alter the expression of genes involved in acute locomotor response to MA and in the acquisition of MA-induced sensitization, results for acetylation at H3 and H4 showed little correspondence with behavior.
sensitization; psychostimulant; histone acetylation; epigenetics; addiction
Exercise affects neuroplasticity and neurotransmission including dopamine (DA), which modulates drug-taking behavior. Previous research in rodents has shown that exercise may attenuate the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse. The present study examined the effects of high and low exercise on cocaine responses in male Wistar rats that had been trained to self-administer and were compared to a group of sedentary rats. High exercise rats (HE) ran daily on a treadmill for 2 h and low exercise (LE) ran daily for 1 h. After 6 weeks of this exercise regimen, rats were tested over 2 days for reinstatement (day 1: cue-induced reinstatement; day 2: cocaine-primed reinstatement). During cue-induced reinstatement, the sedentary rats showed the expected increase in active lever responses when compared to maintenance, whereas these increased responses were inhibited in the exercised rats (HE and LE). During cocaine-primed reinstatement, however, there was a significant increase in active lever presses when compared to maintenance only in the HE group. This data suggests that chronic exercise during abstinence attenuates the cue-induced reinstatement seen in the sedentary rats by 26% (LE) and 21% (HE). In contrast, only the high exercise rats exhibited sensitized cocaine-seeking behavior (active lever presses) following cocaine-primed reinstatement. Finally, while sedentary rats increased locomotor activity during cocaine-primed reinstatement over that seen with cocaine during maintenance, this was not observed in the exercised rats, suggesting that exercise may interfere with the sensitized locomotor response during cocaine reinstatement.
Dopamine; Exercise; Cocaine; Self-administration; Relapse; Abstinence
A previous study in this laboratory demonstrated, for the first time, that neonatal lesions of the hippocampus impair monitoring working memory, as measured by a self-order task, but spare recency memory, as measured by the session-unique delayed nonmatching task. To substantiate and extend this novel finding, we assessed working memory in these same animals using a serial order memory task. In humans and non-human primates the serial order memory task has been shown to be dependent upon the integrity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Additionally, the serial order task has the ability to examine the integrity of non-dorsolateral dependent working memory functions, providing specificity to conclusions drawn from this task. Thus, monkeys with neonatal lesions of the hippocampus and sham-operated control subjects were tested on two versions of the serial order memory task (3 and 4 object). The results of this study demonstrated that neonatal hippocampal lesions did not impair performance on the 3-object version of the task, confirming our previous finding of intact non-dlPFC dependent working memory. In contrast, these same animals showed a significant impairment on the dlPFC dependent phase of the 4-object serial order task. This finding was further confirmed through a series of probe trials. These results, in combination with our earlier finding, suggest that early lesions of the hippocampus may have impacted the function of the dlPFC or its interactions with the hippocampus.
dlPFC; schizophrenia; hippocampus; monkey
An herb derived compound, levo-tetrahydropalmatine (L-THP), attenuates self-administration of cocaine and opiates in rodents. Since L-THP mainly antagonizes dopamine D2 receptors (D2R) in the brain, it is likely to regulate other addictive behaviors as well. Here, we examined whether L-THP regulates ethanol drinking in C57BL/6J mice using a two-bottle choice drinking experiment. L-THP treated mice consumed less ethanol compared to vehicle-treated mice during the 15% ethanol drinking session while water consumption remained similar between each group. We then examined the molecular basis underlying the pharmacological effect of L-THP in mice. Our results indicated that a single injection L-THP increased active phosphorylated forms of PKA, AKT and ERK in the caudate-putamen (CPu), but not in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), of alcohol naïve mice. Interestingly, we found that systematic treatment with L-THP for 4 consecutive days while mice were drinking 15% ethanol increased pPKA levels in the CPu, but not in the NAc. In contrast to the effect of acute L-THP treatment, no differences were detected for pAKT or pERK in either striatal regions. Together, our findings suggest that reduction of ethanol drinking by L-THP treatment is possibly correlated with D2R-mediated PKA signaling in the CPu.
L-THP; ethanol drinking; dopamine D2 receptor; striatum
Neonatal ethanol exposure in the rat is known to partially damage the hippocampus, but such exposure causes only modest or inconsistent deficits on hippocampus-dependent behavioral tasks. This may reflect variable sensitivity of these tasks or residual function following partial hippocampal injury. The context preexposure facilitation effect (CPFE) is a variant of context conditioning in which context exposure and immediate shock occur on successive occasions. During testing, preexposed rats freeze more than non-preexposed controls. The CPFE is more sensitive to anterograde hippocampal injury than standard contextual fear conditioning (e.g., Rudy & O’Reilly, 2001, Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, 1, 66–82). We report that rats exposed to a high binge dose of ethanol (5.25 g/kg/day) over Postnatal Days [PD] 4–9 failed to demonstrate the CPFE when preexposed to the conditioning context on PD31, relative to sham-intubated and undisturbed controls (Exp. 1). Neonatal alcohol disrupted conditioned freezing to a much lesser extent relative to controls when context preexposure was followed by a standard context conditioning trial rather than immediate shock (Exp. 2). Fear conditioning to a discrete auditory cue (tone) was unaffected by neonatal alcohol exposure ruling out possible performance effects (Exp. 3). These findings suggest that the CPFE is an especially sensitive task for detecting hippocampal injury produced by neonatal alcohol. Mixed results with other tasks may reflect residual hippocampal function and/or the use of alternate neurobehavioral systems or “strategies” following alcohol-induced brain damage.
Crossmodal associations form a fundamental aspect of our daily lives. In this study we investigated the neural correlates of crossmodal association in early sensory cortices using magnetoencephalography (MEG). We used a paired associate recognition paradigm in which subjects were tested after multiple training sessions over a span of four weeks. Subjects had to learn 12 abstract, nonlinguistic, pairs of auditory and visual objects that consisted of crossmodal (visual-auditory, VA; auditory-visual, AV) and unimodal (visual-visual, VV; auditory-auditory, AA) paired items. Visual objects included abstract, non-nameable, fractal-like images, and auditory objects included abstract tone sequences. During scanning, subjects were shown the first item of a pair (S1), followed by a delay, then the simultaneous presentation of a visual and auditory stimulus (S2). Subjects were instructed to indicate whether either of the S2 stimuli contained the correct paired associate of S1. Synthetic Aperture Magnetometry (SAMspm), a minimum variance beamformer, was then used to assess source power differences between the crossmodal conditions and their corresponding unimodal conditions (i.e., AV-AA and VA-VV) in the beta (15-30 Hz) and low gamma frequencies (31-54 Hz) during the S1 period. We found greater power during S1 in the corresponding modality-specific association areas for crossmodal compared with unimodal stimuli. Thus, even in the absence of explicit sensory input, the retrieval of well-learned, crossmodal pairs activate sensory areas associated with the corresponding modality. These findings support theories which posit that modality-specific regions of cortex are involved in the storage and retrieval of sensory-specific items from long-term memory.
crossmodal association; long-term memory; magnetoencephalography
Repeated administration of antipsychotic drugs induces a sensitization-like or tolerance-like effect in many behavioral tasks, including the conditioned avoidance response (CAR) and the phencyclidine (PCP)-induced hyperlocomotion, two rodent models with high predictive validity for antipsychotic activity. This study investigated the impacts of contextual and behavioral variables on the expression of clozapine tolerance using a recently validated across-model transfer paradigm (Zhang and Li, 2012). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were first repeatedly treated with clozapine (2.5–10.0 mg/kg, sc) in the CAR model or PCP (1.6 mg/kg, sc)-induced hyperlocomotion model for five consecutive days. They were then tested for the expression of clozapine tolerance in another model for another five days. Finally, all rats were switched back to the original model and tested again for the expression of clozapine tolerance. When tested in the PCP model, rats previously treated with clozapine in the CAR model did not show an immediate weaker inhibition of PCP-induced hyperlocomotion than those treated with clozapine for the first time, but showed a significantly weaker inhibition over time. In contrast, when tested in the CAR model, rats previously treated with clozapine in the PCP model showed an immediate weaker disruption of avoidance response than those treated with clozapine for the first time, but this weaker effect diminished over time. These results suggest that the expression of clozapine tolerance is strongly modulated by the test environment and/or selected behavioral response. Clozapine tolerance and its situational specificity may be related to the drug’s low extrapyramidal motor side effect, its superior therapeutic efficacy and/or emergence of clozapine withdrawal syndrome.
Clozapine; Conditioned avoidance response; Phencyclidine; Motor activity; Tolerance; Contextual control
Previous studies have identified an inhibitory regulatory role of the 5-HT2C receptor in serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission. As cocaine is known to enhance serotonin and dopamine transmission, the ability of 5-HT2C receptors to modulate cocaine-induced behaviors was investigated. Alterations in cocaine reward behavior were assessed in the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. Mice were injected with a selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist, Ro 60-0175 (0, 1, 3, 10 mg/kg, i.p.) prior to cocaine administration (10 mg/kg, i.p.) on cocaine-conditioning days. Administration of Ro 60-0175 (10 mg/kg) prior to cocaine attenuated the development of cocaine place preference. To assess the potential of the 5-HT2C receptor to influence cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization, mice were pretreated with either saline or Ro 60-0175 (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and 30 minutes later, administered cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline once daily for 5 days. Locomotor activity was measured daily following cocaine administration. After a 10-day drug-free period, locomotor activity was measured on day 16 following a challenge injection of cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p.). Pharmacological activation of 5-HT2C receptors with Ro 60-0175 attenuated acute cocaine-induced activity on days 1–5, as well as the development of long-term cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. Thus, activation of 5-HT2C receptors attenuated the rewarding and locomotor-stimulating effects of cocaine, as well as inhibited the development of sensitization. The current study shows that 5-HT2C receptor activity exerts an inhibitory influence on the short-term and long-term behavioral responses to cocaine.
cocaine; reward; hyperactivity; sensitization; 5-HT2C receptor
Evidence suggests that stress increases alcohol drinking and promotes relapse in humans. Animal models that assess related behaviors include the sipper tube ethanol self-administration and the stress-induced reinstatement paradigms. While selectively bred for the same high-ethanol-drinking behavior, alcohol-preferring P rats appear to show greater sensitivity to ethanol reinforcement than high-alcohol-drinking HAD rats. The present experiment tested the effects of the pharmacological stressor, yohimbine, on the motivation to seek and consume ethanol implementing a combined sipper tube/reinstatement model using male P and HAD-2 rats. Following training to self-administer ethanol using the sipper tube procedure, rats were tested for the effects of yohimbine (0.625-2.5 mg/kg) on ethanol drinking. Subsequently, rats were tested for the effects of 1.25 mg/kg yohimbine on reinstatement of ethanol seeking. Yohimbine (0.625 and 1.25 mg/kg) increased ethanol self-administration, and the latter dose also decreased latency to complete the response requirement. Yohimbine elicited reinstatement of ethanol seeking in both lines. HAD-2 rats drank more ethanol, but showed similar responding on the ethanol-associated lever compared to P rats. These findings extend both the reinstatement and sipper tube models and justify further exploration of this unique combined paradigm. Despite prior evidence suggesting that P rats are more motivated to seek and consume ethanol, differences in these behaviors between P and HAD-2 rats were not systematic in the present experiment. Further investigation may elucidate whether either selected line may be more sensitive than other selectively bred or outbred rats to stress-related changes in ethanol's reinforcing effects.
Stress; motivation; reinstatement; relapse; binge drinking
Several studies have examined impulsive choice behavior in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) as a possible pre-clinical model for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, this strain was not specifically selected for the traits of ADHD and as a result their appropriateness as a model has been questioned. The present study investigated whether SHRs would exhibit impulsive behavior in comparison to their control strain, Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats. In addition, we evaluated a strain that has previously shown high levels of impulsive choice, the Lewis (LEW) rats and compared them with their source strain, Wistar (WIS) rats. In the first phase, rats could choose between a Smaller-sooner (SS) reward of 1 pellet after 10 s and a Larger-later (LL) reward of 2 pellets after 30 s. Subsequently, the rats were exposed to increases in LL reward magnitude and SS delay. These manipulations were designed to assess sensitivity to magnitude and delay within the choice task to parse out possible differences in using the strains as models of specific deficits associated with ADHD. The SHR and WKY strains did not differ in their choice behavior under either delay or magnitude manipulations. In comparison to WIS, LEW showed deficits in choice behavior in the delay manipulation, and to a lesser extent in the magnitude manipulation. An examination of individual differences indicated that the SHR strain may not be sufficiently homogeneous in their impulsive choice behavior to be considered as a viable model for impulse control disorders such as ADHD. The LEW strain may be worthy of further consideration for their suitability as an animal model.
impulsive choice; impulse control; differences among rat strains; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; individual differences
A reversible neuronal inactivation procedure was used to study the role of the medial orbital cortex (MO) and medial tip of the subthalamic nucleus (mSTN) in maintenance of cocaine self-administration studied under a second-order schedule of drug and cue presentation. Lidocaine or vehicle was infused 5-min before 1-hr self-administration test sessions, using bilateral, asymmetric or unilateral manipulations. The results demonstrated that whether the MO was inactivated bilaterally, unilaterally or asymmetrically (with contralateral mSTN inactivation), cocaine seeking and cocaine intake were reduced. In contrast, bilateral mSTN inactivation did not impact cocaine seeking or cocaine intake, suggesting that the reductions in these measures following asymmetric inactivation may have been due to a unilateral influence of lidocaine in MO. Expression of c-Fos protein was measured in sites downstream of the STN to ensure that the lidocaine inactivation procedure was effective in selectively altering activity of neurons in mSTN. Cocaine-induced c-Fos protein expression was augmented only in the ipsilateral nucleus accumbens core after mSTN lidocaine pretreatment, consistent with the expectation that inactivation of mSTN would disinhibit nucleus accumbens core, but not shell, activity. The present investigation shows the critical importance of the MO for maintaining cocaine seeking and cocaine intake in rats, though its projections to mSTN appear to be unimportant for this purpose. Because cocaine seeking was impacted to such a great extent (45% of baseline, on average), it is likely that MO inactivation exerts its influence on maintenance of cocaine self-administration by interfering primarily with cue-controlled behavior rather than by modifying the reinforcing effects of cocaine.
c-Fos protein; Cocaine; Medial orbital cortex; Medial subthalamic nucleus; Nucleus accumbens; Self-administration
The addictive nature of nicotine remains a global health problem. Despite the availability of treatments for smoking cessation, relapse to smoking after quit attempts still remains very high. Here, we evaluated the effects of chronic nicotine in male C57BL/6J mice in an operant cognitive flexibility task that required the animals to progress sequentially through multiple phases including visual discrimination, strategy shifting and response reversal. As frontostriatal circuits involving discrete regions of dorsal striatum contribute directly to decision-making processes, and BDNF modulates synaptic plasticity and learning, we also assessed the effects of nicotine on striatal BDNF expression. Osmotic minipumps containing either of the two doses of nicotine (low: 6.3 mg/kg/day; high: 18 mg/kg/day) or saline (control) were implanted for chronic delivery that lasted 4 weeks. Nicotine-treated mice exhibited greater response accuracy during visual discrimination. Neither dose of nicotine affected learning of new egocentric response strategy during set-shifting. However, higher but not lower dose of nicotine impaired reversal learning by increasing perseverative responding to the previously non-reinforced stimulus. Furthermore, this effect was associated with reduced BDNF levels in the dorsal striatum. Collectively, these findings suggest that higher relapse rates often observed in high nicotine-dependent smokers may be attributed to impairments in inhibitory control processes. Moreover, striatal BDNF may play a critical role in nicotine-induced alterations in cognitive flexibility.
Nicotine; addiction; cognitive flexibility; BDNF; mice
Rats repeatedly exposed to variable prenatal stress (PNS) exhibit behavioral features often observed in neuropsychiatric disorders including elevated sensitivity to stimulants and impairments of attention, inhibitory control and memory-related task performance. However, to date there have been relatively few studies designed to assess the effects of PNS on anxiety, stress and fear responses, or the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (a system clearly linked to stress and fear-related responses as well as neuropsychiatric disorders). In the current study, rats exposed to variable PNS were evaluated for anxiety-related behaviors in open field, elevated plus maze, and light/dark preference tasks. Innate fear responses were assessed using a predatory odor task and learned fear and extinction were assessed with a contextual fear conditioning task. As an indicator of HPA axis function, serum corticosterone levels were determined by enzyme immunoassay at various time points. The results indicated that PNS resulted in several behavioral anomalies including decreased innate fear responses to predator odor, impaired fear extinction, increased locomotor activity and stereotypic-like behaviors. Baseline levels of corticosterone in PNS subjects were similar to non-stressed controls; however, when exposed to acute stress, they exhibited an increase in corticosterone that was greater in magnitude. PNS was not associated with increased anxiety-like behaviors or deficits in learning or retention during contextual fear conditioning. Collectivity, these data support the argument that variable PNS in rats is a valid model system for studying some behavioral components of neuropsychiatric disorders as well as the influence of stress hormones.
maternal stress; corticosterone; cognition; memory; schizophrenia; stereotypy
The GluN2B subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor shows age-related declines in expression across the frontal cortex and hippocampus. This decline is strongly correlated to age-related memory declines. This study was designed to determine if increasing GluN2B subunit expression in the frontal lobe or hippocampus would improve memory in aged mice. Mice were injected bilaterally with either the GluN2B vector, containing cDNA specific for the GluN2B subunit and enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (eGFP); a control vector or vehicle. Spatial memory, cognitive flexibility, and associative memory were assessed using the Morris water maze. Aged mice, with increased GluN2B subunit expression, exhibited improved long-term spatial memory, comparable to young mice. However, memory was rescued on different days in the Morris water maze; early for hippocampal GluN2B subunit enrichment and later for the frontal lobe. A higher concentration of the GluN2B antagonist, Ro 25-6981, was required to impair long-term spatial memory in aged mice with enhanced GluN2B expression, as compared to aged controls, suggesting there was an increase in the number of GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors. In addition, hippocampal slices from aged mice with increased GluN2B subunit expression exhibited enhanced NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSP). Treatment with Ro 25-6981 showed that a greater proportion of the NMDA receptor-mediated EPSP was due to the GluN2B subunit in these animals, as compared to aged controls. These results suggest that increasing the production of the GluN2B subunit in aged animals enhances memory and synaptic transmission. Therapies that enhance GluN2B subunit expression within the aged brain may be useful for ameliorating age-related memory declines.
Aging; spatial memory; NMDA receptor; NR2B subunit; C57BL/6 mice; adenoviral vector
Brain regional analyses of total GluA1 and GluA1-pSer845 were used to delineate plasticity of the AMPA receptor in conjunction with cocaine-cue extinction learning. Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine paired with a 2-sec light cue and later underwent a single 2hr extinction session for which cocaine was withheld but response-contingent cues were presented. Control groups received yoked-saline sessions or received cocaine self-administration training without undergoing extinction training. Extinction-related increases and decreases, respectively, in total GluA1 were observed in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA). Phosphorylation of GluA1 at Ser845 was increased in the vmPFC and nucleus accumbens (NAc). Though total GluA1 did not change in NAc, there was a positive association between the number of responses during extinction training and the magnitude of total GluA1 in NAc. No significant changes were evident in the dorsal hippocampus. We conclude that the BLA and vmPFC, in particular, appear to be loci for the inhibition of learned behavior induced via extinction training, but each site may have different signaling functions for cocaine-cue extinction learning.
Basolateral amygdala; Cocaine; Cocaine-cue extinction learning; GluA1 receptor; Self-administration; Ventromedial prefrontal cortex
The LRRTM family proteins have been shown to act as synaptogenic cell adhesion molecules via interaction with presynaptic neurexins and are associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. LRRTM1-knockout mice have subtle morphological deficits in excitatory hippocampal synapses and were suggested to have impaired cognitive function. Here we report that LRRTM1-knockout mice exhibit an extraordinary phenotype of avoiding small enclosures. In the light–dark box, the knockout mice escape to dark through a standard opening as quickly as wild-type littermates but avoid escaping through a small doorway. While all wild-type mice spontaneously enter a small tube, most knockout mice do not. This apparent aversion to enter narrow space may explain other abnormalities such as increased time in open arms in the elevated plus maze and less visits through a tunnel in the IntelliCage. Moreover, LRRTM1-knockout mice show increased social interaction, reduced nest building and MK801-induced locomotion, and slower swim speed but normal water maze learning. Since LRRTM1 is predominantly expressed in thalamus, hippocampus and limbic cortex, specific synaptic defects in those areas presumably cause these behavioural abnormalities.
Anxiety; Leucine-rich repeat; Neurexin; Species-typical behaviour; Social interaction; Claustrophobia
•Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common and disabling psychiatric disorder.•Support vector machines (SVM) were trained to separate SAD from controls.•Neural face processing in the fear network separated SAD patients from controls.•Gray matter volume alterations over the whole brain separated SAD from controls.•SVM classifiers may be useful for identifying imaging biomarkers of SAD.
Functional neuroimaging of social anxiety disorder (SAD) support altered neural activation to threat-provoking stimuli focally in the fear network, while structural differences are distributed over the temporal and frontal cortices as well as limbic structures. Previous neuroimaging studies have investigated the brain at the voxel level using mass-univariate methods which do not enable detection of more complex patterns of activity and structural alterations that may separate SAD from healthy individuals. Support vector machine (SVM) is a supervised machine learning method that capitalizes on brain activation and structural patterns to classify individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate if it is possible to discriminate SAD patients (n = 14) from healthy controls (n = 12) using SVM based on (1) functional magnetic resonance imaging during fearful face processing and (2) regional gray matter volume. Whole brain and region of interest (fear network) SVM analyses were performed for both modalities. For functional scans, significant classifications were obtained both at whole brain level and when restricting the analysis to the fear network while gray matter SVM analyses correctly classified participants only when using the whole brain search volume. These results support that SAD is characterized by aberrant neural activation to affective stimuli in the fear network, while disorder-related alterations in regional gray matter volume are more diffusely distributed over the whole brain. SVM may thus be useful for identifying imaging biomarkers of SAD.
Support vector machine; Classification; Social anxiety disorder; Multivoxel pattern analysis; Biomarker
The opiate-receptor antagonist naloxone was administered to rats after passive-avoidance training either alone or in combination with forced-swim stress. A retention test revealed that while naloxone enhanced retention when administered alone, it impaired retention when administered in combination with forced-swim stress. The findings provide evidence for a “protective” endogenous opioid-based system that, when not blocked pharmacologically, limits enhancement or impairment of retention under conditions of mild and intense stress, respectively.
Naloxone; Memory modulation; Opioid; Stress; Forced-swim; Adrenergic
Olfaction is often impaired in Alzheimer‟s disease (AD) and is also dysfunctional in mouse models of the disease. We recently demonstrated that short-term passive anti-murine-Aβ immunization can rescue olfactory behavior in the Tg2576 mouse model overexpressing a human mutation of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) after β-amyloid deposition. Here we tested the ability to preserve normal olfactory behaviors by means of long-term passive anti-murine-Aβ immunization. Seven-month-old Tg2576 and non-transgenic littermate (NTg) mice were IP-injected biweekly with the m3.2 murine-Aβ-specific antibody until 16 months of age when mice were tested in the odor habituation test. While Tg2576 mice treated with a control antibody showed elevations in odor investigation times and impaired odor habituation compared to NTg, olfactory behavior was preserved to NTg levels in m3.2-immunized Tg2576 mice. Immunized Tg2576 mice had significantly less β-amyloid immunolabeling in the olfactory bulb and entorhinal cortex, yet showed elevations in Thioflavin-S labeled plaques in the piriform cortex. No detectable changes in APP metabolite levels other than Aβ were found following m3.2 immunization. These results demonstrate efficacy of chronic, long-term anti-murine-Aβ m3.2 immunization in preserving normal odor-guided behaviors in a human APP Tg model. Further, these results provide mechanistic insights into olfactory dysfunction as a biomarker for AD by yielding evidence that focal reductions of Aβ may be sufficient to preserve olfaction.
Olfaction; Neurodegeneration; Alzheimer's disease; amyloid-beta; APP; immunization
Neural processes influenced by γ-aminobutyric acid B (GABAB) receptors appear to contribute to acute ethanol sensitivity, including the difference between lines of mice bred for extreme sensitivity (FAST) or insensitivity (SLOW) to the locomotor stimulant effect of ethanol. One goal of the current study was to determine whether selection of the FAST and SLOW lines resulted in changes in GABAB receptor function, since the lines differ in sensitivity to the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen and baclofen attenuates the stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice. A second goal was to determine whether the baclofen-induced reduction in ethanol stimulation in FAST mice is associated with an attenuation of the mesolimbic dopamine response to ethanol. In Experiment 1, the FAST and SLOW lines were found to not differ in GABAB receptor function (measured by baclofen-stimulated [35S]GTP!S binding) in whole brain or in several regional preparations, except in the striatum in one of the two replicate sets of selected lines. In Experiment 2, baclofen-induced attenuation of the locomotor stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice was not accompanied by a reduction in dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens, as measured by microdialysis. These data suggest that, overall, GABAB receptor function does not play an integral role in the genetic difference in ethanol sensitivity between the FAST and SLOW lines. Further, although GABAB receptors do modulate the locomotor stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice, this effect does not appear to be due to a reduction in tonic dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens.
alcohol; stimulation; catecholamine; animal model; selected line; drug abuse
Accumulating evidence has revealed that dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system could contribute to the development of major depression. Studies carried out post-mortem in depressed suicide victims have revealed increased CB1 receptor binding site density in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Accordingly, exposure of rodents to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) results in phenotypic changes that mirror those of human depression, including increased CB1 receptor binding site density in the PFC. Our goal in these studies was to examine the effects of CUS on the density of CB1 receptor binding sites in the rodent medial PFC and to explore the role of this alteration in the behavioral changes invoked by CUS. Rodents exposed to CUS exhibited increased CB1 receptor maximal binding site density (Bmax) within the ventromedial PFC, but not the dorsomedial PFC. To determine whether this change in the ventromedial PFC is an adaptive response, or alternatively, a consequence of chronic stress that contributes to the adoption of passive coping, we examined whether local CB1 receptor blockade within the ventromedial PFC following CUS would significantly alter behaviors in the forced swim test (FST). CUS exposure significantly increased passive coping in the FST, and this was further augmented by discrete ventromedial PFC microinfusions of the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 prior to swim stress. Moreover, local CB1 receptor blockade reduced active coping responses in CUS-exposed rats. These findings suggest that the increase in CB1 receptor Bmax observed in the ventromedial PFC of rodents exposed to CUS maintains proactive coping strategies following chronic stress exposure.
CB1 receptor; ventromedial prefrontal cortex; chronic unpredictable stress; forced swim test; microinfusion
Long Evans Rats (n=32) were trained for 2 weeks to respond to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) which signaled the delivery of a 20% sucrose unconditioned stimulus (US) with varying probabilities. Animals were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. In the control groups, the CS signaled sucrose delivery with equal probabilities across two weeks, at 100% (Group 100–100) and 25% (Group 25–25) respectively. In the experimental groups, (Group 100–25) and (Group 25–100), sucrose probabilities were switched between weeks 1 and 2. Three behavioral measures were recorded; latency to enter the sucrose port upon CS presentation, head entries throughout the session and ultrasonic vocalizations. The results suggest that all groups formed associations between the CS and US, as evidenced by a decrease in latency to respond to the CS across days. The experimental groups were also able to detect when sucrose probability changed, as evidenced by Group 25–100’s increase in head entries, to the level of Group 100–100 in week 2, and Group 100–25’s decrease in head entries, to the level of Group 25–25 in week 2. Group 100–25 also produced an increase in “22 kHz” ultrasonic vocalizations following the downshift on the first day of week 2. The increase in this ultrasonic frequency range, which is associated with negative affect in rats, preceded both the decrease in head entries and the increase in missed trials, consistent with a multistage model of behaviors resulting from US probability reduction.
ultrasonic vocalizations; sucrose; affect; pavlovian conditioning
BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J inbred mouse strains have been proposed as useful models of low and high levels of sociability (tendency to seek social interaction), respectively, based primarily on behaviors of ~30-day-old mice in the Social Approach Test (SAT). In the SAT, approach and sniffing behaviors of a test mouse toward an unfamiliar stimulus mouse are measured in a novel environment. However, it is unclear whether such results generalize to a familiar environment with a familiar social partner, such as with a littermate in a home cage environment. We hypothesized that C57BL/6J mice would show higher levels of social behaviors than BALB/cJ mice in the home cage environment, particularly at 30 days-of-age. We measured active and passive social behaviors in home cages by pairs of BALB/cJ or C57BL/6J littermates at ages 30, 41, and 69 days. The strains did not differ robustly in their active social behaviors. C57BL/6J mice were more passively social than BALB/cJ mice at 30 days, and C57BL/6J levels of passive social behaviors declined to BALB/cJ levels by 69 days. The differences in passive social behaviors at 30 days-of-age were primarily attributable to differences in huddling. These results indicate that different test conditions (SAT conditions vs. home cage conditions) elicit strain differences in distinct types of behaviors (approach/sniffing vs. huddling behaviors, respectively). Assessment of the more naturalistic social interactions in the familiar home cage environment with a familiar littermate will provide a useful component of a comprehensive assessment of social behaviors in mouse models relevant to autism.
mouse; social; behavior; development; genetic; environment