Epidural electrical stimulation (ES) at spinal cord segment L2 can produce coordinated step-like movements in completely spinalized adult rats [R.M. Ichiyama, Y.P. Gerasimenko, H. Zhong, R.R. Roy, V.R. Edgerton, Hindlimb stepping movements in complete spinal rats induced by epidural spinal cord stimulation, Neurosci. Lett. 383 (2005) 339–344]. Plantar placement of the paws, however, was rarely observed. Here, we sought to determine the dose dependence of a 5-HT agonist (quipazine) on stepping kinematics when administered in combination with ES. Six adult female Sprague–Dawley rats received a complete mid-thoracic spinal cord transection and were implanted with epidural electrodes at the L2 spinal cord level. Quipazine (i.p.) was tested at doses of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 mg/kg. Rats were placed in a body weight support system, allowing them to walk bipedally on a moving treadmill belt (7 cm/s). 3D step kinematics analysis revealed that coordinated alternating bilateral stepping was induced by L2 stimulation (50 Hz) alone and by quipazine alone. Furthermore, the combination treatment produced significantly greater numbers of plantar steps and improved quality of stepping compared to either intervention alone. Both number and quality of stepping peaked at the intermediate dose of 0.3–0.4 mg/kg. The results indicate that quipazine and ES can have complementary effects on spinal circuits and that quipazine dosage is an important factor in differentially modulating these circuitries to improve the quality of the bipedal stepping on a treadmill belt.
Epidural electrical stimulation; Serotonin; Locomotion; Spinal cord; Rats
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that causes neurological pathology in the basal ganglia and related circuitry. A key site of HD pathology is striatum, the principal basal ganglia input structure; striatal pathology likely changes basal ganglia output but no existing studies address this issue. In this report, we characterize single-neuron activity in the substantia nigra reticulata (SNr) of awake, freely-behaving 140 CAG knock-in (KI) mice at 16 to 40 weeks. KI mice are a well characterized model of adult HD and are mildly symptomatic in this age range. As the primary basal ganglia output nucleus in rodents, the SNr receives direct innervation from striatum, as well as indirect influence via polysynaptic inputs. We analyzed 32 single neurons recorded from KI animals and 44 from wild-type (WT) controls. We found increased burst rates, without a concordant change in spike discharge rate, in KI animals relative to WTs. Furthermore, although metrics of burst structure, such as the inter-spike interval in bursts, do not differ between groups, burst rate increases with age in KI, but not WT, animals. Our findings suggest that altered basal ganglia output is a physiological feature of early HD pathology.
Huntington’s disease; knock-in mice; basal ganglia; substantia nigra reticulata; spike burst
Brain injury begins early after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Although cell death via apoptosis and necrosis is known to be present in brain 24 hours after SAH, it is not known how soon after SAH cell death begins. We have previously described structural changes in rat brain microvessels 10 minutes after induction of SAH by endovascular puncture. This study examined brain for evidence of cell death beginning 10 minutes after induction of SAH. Cleaved caspase-3 (cl-caspase-3) staining was evident in vascular and parenchymal cells at 10 minutes after SAH and was significantly greater than in time-matched, sham-operated controls. The number of cl-caspase-3 positive cells was increased further at 24 hour after SAH. TUNEL assay revealed apoptotic cells present at 10 minutes, with substantially more at 24 hours after SAH. Scattered Fluoro-Jade positive neurons appeared at 1 hour after SAH and their number increased with time. At 1 hour Fluoro-Jade positive neurons were present in cortical and subcortical regions but not in hippocampus; at 24 hours they were also present in hippocampus and were significantly greater in the hemisphere ipsilateral to the vascular puncture. No Fluoro-Jade staining was present in shams. These data demonstrate an early activation of endothelial and parenchymal cells apoptosis and neuronal necrosis after SAH and identifies endpoints that can be targeted to reduce early brain injury after SAH.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Early injury; Apoptosis; Necrosis; Caspase-3; Cleaved caspase-3; Non-apoptotic caspase-3
Wnts are secreted glycoproteins that play important roles in embryonic development. Wnt2b is transiently expressed in the primitive streak (PS) during gastrulation and in several organs during organogenesis. To determine the biological function of Wnt2b during mouse development, we established a conditional null allele of Wnt2b. Mice lacking Wnt2b were viable, fertile, and displayed a normal life span, however, the olfactory bulb in adult Wnt2b mutant mice was significantly reduced in length. Our results suggest that Wnt2b primarily plays a supportive role in gastrulation and organogenesis, functioning redundantly with canonical Wnts, such as Wnt2, in numerous tissues.
Wnt; embryogenesis; brain; redundancy; olfactory bulb
Previously, we reported that stimulation of selective serotonin (5-HT) receptor subtypes in the nucleus accumbens shell differentially affected consumption of freely available food. Specifically, activation of 5-HT6 receptors caused a dose-dependent increase in food intake, while the stimulation of 5-HT1/7 receptor subtypes decreased feeding . The current experiments tested whether similar pharmacological activation of nucleus accumbens serotonin receptors would also affect appetitive motivation, as measured by the amount of effort non-deprived rats exerted to earn sugar reinforcement. Rats were trained to lever press for sugar pellets on a progressive ratio 2 schedule of reinforcement. Across multiple treatment days, three separate groups (N = 8–10) received bilateral infusions of the 5-HT6 agonist EMD 386088 (at 0.0, 1.0 and 4.0 μg/0.5 μl/side), the 5-HT1/7 agonist 5-CT (at 0, 0.5, 1.0, or 4.0 μg/0.5 μl/side), or the 5-HT2C agonist RO 60-0175 fumarate (at 0, 2.0, or 5.0 μg/0.5 μl/side) into the anterior medial nucleus accumbens prior to a 1-hr progressive ratio session. Stimulation of 5-HT6 receptors caused a dose-dependent increase in motivation as assessed by break point, reinforcers earned, and total active lever presses. Stimulation of 5-HT1/7 receptors increased lever pressing at the 0.5 μg dose of 5-CT, but inhibited lever presses and break point at 4.0 μg/side. Injection of the 5- HT2C agonist had no effect on motivation within the task. Collectively, these experiments suggest that, in addition to their role in modulating food consumption, nucleus accumbens 5-HT6 and 5-HT1/7 receptors also differentially regulate the appetitive components of food-directed motivation.
Nucleus accumbens; serotonin; appetitive motivation; progressive ratio
Upper extremity (UE) hemiparesis persists after stroke, limiting hand function. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is an effective intervention to improve UE recovery, although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Our objective was to establish a reliable protocol to measure UE agonist–antagonist forearm monosynaptic reflexes in a pilot study to determine if NMES improves wrist function after stroke. We established the between-day reliability of the H-reflex in the extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL) and flexor carpi radialis (FCR) musculature for individuals with prior stroke (n = 18). The same-day generation of ECRL/FCR H-reflex recruitment curves was well tolerated, regardless of age or UE spasticity. The between-day reliability of the ECRL H-reflex was enhanced above FCR, similar to healthy subjects , with the Hmax the most reliable parameter quantified in both muscles. H-reflex and functional measures following NMES show the potential for NMES-induced increases in ECRL Hmax, but confirmation requires a larger clinical study. Our initial results support the safe, easy, and efficacious use of in-home NMES, and establish a potential method to measure UE monosynaptic reflexes after stroke.
Stroke; H-reflex; FCR; ECRL; Upper extremity spasticity; Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
Several lines of evidence point to a role for the hippocampal formation and contiguous temporal lobe structures in a variety of learning and memory paradigms. Presumably, these cognitive phenomena are mediated (and accompanied) by dynamic changes in neurochemical transmission that may differ between learning and recall phases. However, the neurotransmitter correlates of most memory-related tasks have not been thoroughly investigated. Here we used a one-trial object recognition paradigm paired with in vivo microdialysis to assess hippocampal acetylcholine (ACh), glutamate and GABA efflux when rats were exposed to familiar objects, and when given the option to explore familiar and novel objects. Rats preferentially explored the novel object over the familiar one when presented with the option. Regardless of object familiarity, object exploration was accompanied by an increase in hippocampal ACh efflux, while GABA efflux was unaffected. However, glutamate efflux was not increased above baseline levels by presentation of familiar objects, but was significantly enhanced in the presence of the novel object. These data suggest that the hippocampus, and in particular, hippocampal glutamate, may be involved in memory processes during novelty recognition paradigms.
hippocampus; microdialysis; acetylcholine; glutamate; GABA; memory
Animals will acquire an operant task using sensory stimuli as a primary reinforcer. Many operant tasks use sensory stimuli as cues that are paired with other primary reinforcers. Recent studies have called attention to this potential confound, but there has not been a parametric assessment of the effect of stimulus variability on operant responding. We found that stimulus variability increased the amount of operant responding exhibited by mice, a phenomenon observed under both fixed- and progressive-ratio schedules.
Operant sensation seeking; sensory stimuli; operant learning; novelty seeking
In the rabbit retina, there are two types of horizontal cell (HC). The axonless A-type HCs form a coupled network via connexin 50 (Cx50) gap junctions in the outer plexiform layer (OPL). The axon-bearing B-type HCs form two independent coupled networks; the dendritic network via gap junctions consisted of unknown Cx and the axon terminal network via Cx57. The present study was conducted to examine the localization and morphological features of Cx50 and Cx57 gap junctions in rabbit HCs at cellular and subcellular levels. The results showed that each gap junction composed of Cx50 or Cx57 showed distinct features. The larger Cx50 gap junctions were located more proximally than the smaller Cx50 gap junctions. Both Cx50 plaques formed symmetrical homotypic gap junctions, but some small ones had an asymmetrical appearance, suggesting the presence of heterotypic gap junctions or hemichannels. In contrast, Cx57 gap junctions were found in the more distal part of the OPL but never on the axon terminal endings entering the rod spherules, and they were exclusively homotypic. Interestingly, about half of Cx57 gap junctions appeared to be invaginated. These distinct features of Cx50 and Cx57 gap junctions show variety of HC gap junctions and may provide insights into the function of different types of HCs.
gap junction; Cx50; Cx57; electron microscopy; horizontal cells; rabbit retina
Type 1 diabetes mellitus in children may be associated with neurocognitive deficits of unclear cause. A recent retrospective study in children suggested possible associations between diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and decreased memory. The current investigation was undertaken to determine whether cognitive deficits could be detected after a single episode of DKA in an animal model.
Streptozotocin was used to induce diabetes in juvenile rats, and rats were then treated with subcutaneous insulin injections. In one group, insulin was subsequently withdrawn to allow development of DKA, which was then treated with insulin and saline. After recovery from DKA, subcutaneous insulin injections were re-started. In the diabetes control group, rats continued to receive subcutaneous insulin and underwent sham procedures identical to the DKA group. One week after recovery, cognitive function was tested using the Morris Water Maze, a procedure that requires rats to locate a hidden platform in a water pool using visual cues. During a 10 day period, mean time to locate the platform (latency) during 4 trials per day was recorded.
Comparison of latency curves demonstrated longer mean latency times on days 7 and 8 in the DKA group indicating delayed learning compared to diabetic controls.
These data demonstrate that a single DKA episode results in measurable deficits in learning in rats, consistent with findings that DKA may contribute to neurocognitive deficits in children with type 1 diabetes.
brain injury; diabetic ketoacidosis; neurocognitive; pediatric
Imaging studies indicate smaller orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) volume in mood disorder patients compared with healthy subjects. We sought to determine whether child and adolescent patients with bipolar disorder have smaller OFC volumes than healthy controls. Fourteen children and adolescents meeting DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder (six males and eight females with a mean age ± S.D. = 15.5 ± 3.2 years) and 20 healthy controls (11 males and nine females with mean age ± S.D. = 16.9 ± 3.8 years) were studied. Orbitofrontal cortex volume was measured using magnetic resonance imaging. Male bipolar patients had smaller gray matter volumes in medial (p = 0.044), right medial (0.037) and right (p = 0.032) lateral OFC subdivisions compared to male controls. In contrast, female patients had larger gray matter volumes in left (p = 0.03), lateral (p = 0.012), left lateral (p = 0.007), and trends for larger volumes in right lateral and left medial OFC subdivisions compared with female controls. Male patients exhibit smaller gray matter volumes, while female patients exhibit larger volumes in some OFC sub-regions. Gender differences in OFC abnormalities may be involved in illness pathophysiology among young bipolar patients.
Orbitofrontal cortex; Adolescents; Bipolar disorder; MRI; Mood disorders
The organization of developing auditory circuits depends on the elimination of aberrant connections and strengthening of appropriate ones. Endocannabinoid mediated plasticity is a proposed mechanism for this refinement. Here we investigated for the anatomical presence of cannabinoid receptors (CB1R) in the lateral superior olive (LSO) and medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) of developing rats. We found that CB1R is present within the LSO and that it colocalized with vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT3), a presynaptic marker for MTNB terminals. Both before (P5) and around hearing onset (P12), the expression levels of CB1R were higher in the lateral limb of the LSO than in the medial limb. These results suggest that endocannabinoid signaling can modulate the strength of the developing MNTB-LSO synapse.
Lateral Superior Olive (LSO); Medial nucleus of trapezoid body (MNTB); Endocannabinoids; Cannabinoid receptors (CB1R)
After clinical resolution of signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) it is still not clear if there are residual abnormalities of structural or functional brain networks. We have previously documented disrupted interhemispheric functional connectivity in “asymptomatic” concussed individuals during the sub-acute phase of injury. Testing of 15 normal volunteers (NV) and 15 subacute MTBI subjects was performed within 24 hours of clinical symptoms resolution and medical clearance for the first stage of aerobic activity. In this MRS study we report (a) both in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum NAA/Cho and NAA/Cr ratios were significantly (p<0.05) lower in MTBI subjects shortly after the injury compared to NVs, and (b) the metabolic ratio NAA/Cho in the splenium significantly correlated with the magnitude of inter-hippocampal functional connectivity in normal volunteers, but not in MTBI. This novel finding supports our hypothesis that the functional disruption of interhemispheric brain networks in MTBI subjects results from compromised metabolic integrity of the corpus callosum and that this persists despite apparent clinical return to baseline.
Given the posited role of enhanced AMPA-mediated synaptic transmission in relapse to drug seeking, we investigated whether the systemic administration of AMPA receptor antagonist GYKI 52466 inhibits cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine until stable self-administration was achieved. Effects of GYKI 52466 (1, 3, or 10 mg/kg, i.v.) on cocaine self-administration were assessed. Animals were allowed to reestablish stable cocaine self-administration and were then behaviorally extinguished from drug taking. The effects of GYKI 52466 (3, 10 mg/kg, i.v.) on cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior were assessed. We found that GYKI 52466 failed to inhibit cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking in both the self-administration and reinstatement paradigms. We suggest that although AMPA receptors may be involved in cocaine reward and addiction, the AMPA receptor antagonist GYKI 52466 has low therapeutic potential for cocaine addiction treatment.
GYKI 52466; AMPA receptor antagonist; cocaine; self-administration; reinstatement
Activation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu2 and mGlu3) has been implicated as a potential therapeutic strategy for treating both motor symptoms and progressive neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Modulation of excitatory transmission in the basal ganglia represents a possible mechanism by which group II mGlu agonists could exert antiparkinsonian effects. Previous studies have identified reversible effects of mGlu2/3 activation on excitatory transmission at various synapses in the basal ganglia, including the excitatory synapse between the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Using whole-cell patch clamp studies of GABAergic SNr neurons in rat midbrain slices, we have found that a prolonged activation of group II mGlus by the selective agonist LY379268 induces a long-term depression (LTD) of evoked excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) amplitude. Bath application of LY379268 (100 nM, 10 minutes) induced a marked reduction in EPSC amplitude, and excitatory transmission remained depressed for at least 40 minutes after agonist washout. The effect of LY379268 was concentration-dependent and was completely blocked by the group II mGlu-preferring antagonist LY341495 (500 nM). To determine the relative contributions of mGlu2 and mGlu3 to the LTD induced by LY379268, we tested the ability of LY379268 (100 nM) to induce LTD in wild type mice and mice lacking mGlu2 or mGlu3. LY379268 induced similar LTD in wild type mice and mGlu3 knockout mice, whereas LTD was absent in mGlu2 knockout mice, indicating that mGlu2 activation is necessary for the induction of LTD in the SNr. These studies suggest a novel role for mGlu2 in the long-term regulation of excitatory transmission in the SNr and invite further exploration of mGlu2 as a therapeutic target for treating the motor symptoms of PD.
metabotropic glutamate receptor; substantia nigra pars reticulata; long-term depression; synaptic plasticity; basal ganglia; Parkinson's disease
Neuroinflammation and neuronal degeneration observed in Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been attributed in part to glial-mediated events. Increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and abnormal accumulation of the neuronal protein, α-synuclein in the brain are also characteristic of PD. While increasing evidence suggests that astrocytes contribute to neuroinflammation and dopaminergic neuronal degeneration associated with PD, there remains much to learn about these astroglial-mediated events. Therefore, we investigated the in vitro effects of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and α-synuclein on astroglial expression of interferon-γ inducible protein-10 (CXCL10), a proinflammatory and neurotoxic chemokine. IL-1β-induced CXCL10 protein expression was potentiated by co-exposure to α-synuclein. α-Synuclein did not significantly affect IL-1β-induced CXCL10 mRNA expression, but did mediate increased CXCL10 mRNA stability, which may explain, in part, the increased levels of secreted CXCL10 protein. Future investigations are warranted to more fully define the mechanism by which α-synuclein enhances IL-1β-induced astroglial CXCL10 expression. These findings highlight the importance of α-synuclein in modulating inflammatory events in astroglia. These events may be particularly relevant to the pathology of CNS disorders involving α-synuclein accumulation, including PD and HIV-1 associated dementia.
Parkinson’s disease; alpha-synuclein; astrocyte; neuroinflammation; chemokine; NF-κB
Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease, associated with neuronal amyloid inclusions comprised of the presynaptic protein α-synuclein (α-syn); however the biological events that initiate and lead to the formation of these inclusions are still poorly understood. There is mounting evidence that intracellular α-syn aggregation may proceed via a seeding mechanism and could spread between neurons through a prion-like mechanism that may involve other amyloidogenic proteins. Several lines of evidence suggest that Aβ peptides and/or extracellular Aβ deposits may directly or indirectly promote intracellular α-syn aggregation. To assess the effects of Aβ peptides and extracellular Aβ deposits on α-syn aggregate formation, transgenic mice (line M83) expressing A53T human α-syn that are sensitive to developing α-syn pathological inclusions were cross bred to Tg2576 transgenic mice that generated elevated levels of Aβ peptides and develop abundant Aβ plaques. In addition these mice were bred to mice with the P264L presenilin-1 knock-in mutation that further promotes Aβ plaque formation. These mice demonstrated the expected formation of Aβ plaques; however despite the accumulation of hyperphosphorylated α-syn dystrophic neurites within or surrounding Aβ plaques, no additional α-syn pathologies were observed. These studies show that Aβ amyloid deposits can cause the local aggregation of α-syn, but these did not lead to more extensive α-syn pathology.
Aggregation; amyloid; pathology; Parkinson disease; α-synuclein; transgenic
Recent observations have demonstrated that nanomaterials may be toxic to human tissue. While the ability of nano-scaled particulate matter is known to cause a range of problems in respiratory system, recent observations suggest that the nervous system may be vulnerable as well. In the current paper we asked whether exposure of primary neuronal cell cultures to nanoparticles might compromise regenerative axon growth. Regenerative response was triggered by performing a conditioning lesion of sciatic nerve five days prior to collection of dorsal root ganglia (DRG). DRG neurons were plated at a low density and incubated with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) (0.1 – 10 μg/ml in 10% of surfactant in saline) overnight. The experiments showed that exposure of DRG cultures to MWCNT significantly impaired regenerative axonogenesis without concomitant cell death. These results indicate that MWNCTs may have detrimental effect on nerve regeneration and may potentially trigger axonal pathology.
nanoparticles; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; regenerative axon growth; dorsal root ganglion
► Crry is the murine ortholog of the sporadic Alzheimer's risk gene CR1. ► Deletion of Crry results in decreased tau phosphorylation. ► Deletion of Crry results in reduction in brain CFH – a biomarker of disease progression.
Large-scale genome-wide SNP association studies have identified an association between variants of CR1, the gene encoding complement component receptor 1, and the sporadic form of Alzheimer's disease. The role of CR1 and the complement system in Alzheimer's disease remains far from clear. In rodents the closest ortholog of CR1 is the Crry gene (Cr1-related protein Y). To begin to explore its role in Alzheimer's disease we examined hippocampal lysates from Crry−/− mice and age matched controls by immunoblotting. We measured complement factor H, a component of the complement system and biomarker for Alzheimer's disease progression, and tau phosphorylation at the serine 235 site, hyperphosphorylated forms of tau being a defining neuropathological hallmark of the disease. We found that levels of CFH and of tau phosphorylation at serine 235 were strongly and significantly reduced in Crry−/− samples. These observations provide a starting point for further attempts to determine the role of CR1 in the neuropathological process driving Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's; Tau; CR1; Crry; CFH; Sporadic
The −174G>C (rs1800795) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter of the interleukin-6 (IL6) gene and the 1730G>A (rs4986938) SNP in the estrogen receptor beta (ESR2) may influence the risk of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We investigated these SNPs in 380 unrelated US Caucasian PD cases and 522 controls, including 452 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) origin (260 PD, 192 controls). The G allele of the −174G>C SNP was more common in AJ PD cases (p=0.033) as well as in Non-Jewish (NJ) men with PD (p=0.022). The GG genotype increased the risk of PD by over two fold in NJ men (OR=2.11, 95%CI: 1.14–3.89, p=0.017), and approached significance in the total AJ group with PD (OR=1.42, 95%CI: 0.97–2.06, p=0.067). The A allele of the ESR2 1730G>A SNP was associated with a decreased risk for PD in AJ women, and in this group, having the AA genotype decreased the risk of PD by half (OR=0.45, 95%CI: 0.22–0.92, p=0.029). Our data supports a role for the IL6 −174G>C G allele in AJ individuals overall. In NJ Caucasians, this role appears to be gender mediated. In both groups, the effect is independent from ESR2 1730G>A. A separate association for the ESR2 1730G>A SNP was found exclusively in women of AJ descent. Other polymorphisms in tight linkage disequilibrium with the SNP differentially influencing expression, ethnic differences in allele distribution, and gender differences in genetic load related to PD, may underlie our findings. Larger studies in diverse populations, including analysis of surrounding regions are recommended.
Interleukin 6; Parkinson’s disease; estrogen receptor; polymorphism; inflammation; gender
The importance of cholinergic neurons projecting from the medial septum (MS) of the basal forebrain to the hippocampus in memory function has been controversial. The aim of this study was to determine whether loss of cholinergic neurons in the MS disrupts object and/or object location recognition in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Animals received intraseptal injections of either vehicle, or the selective cholinergic immunotoxin 192 IgG-saporin (SAP). 14 days later, rats were tested for novel object recognition (NOR). Twenty-four hours later, these same rats were tested for object location recognition (OLR) (recognition of a familiar object moved to a novel location). Intraseptal injections of SAP produced an 86% decrease in choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity in the hippocampus, and a 31% decrease in ChAT activity in the frontal cortex. SAP lesion had no significant effect on NOR, but produced a significant impairment in OLR in these same rats. The results support a role for septo-hippocampal cholinergic projections in memory for the location of objects, but not for novel object recognition.
hippocampus; cholinergic denervation; object recognition; place recognition; memory
Multisensory integration of information from different sensory modalities is an essential component of perception. Neurophysiological studies have revealed that audio-visual interactions occur early in time and even within sensory cortical areas believed to be modality-specific. Here we investigated the effect of auditory stimuli on visual perception of phosphenes induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) delivered to the occipital visual cortex. TMS applied at subthreshold intensity led to the perception of phosphenes when coupled with an auditory stimulus presented within close spatiotemporal congruency at the expected retinotopic location of the phosphene percept. The effect was maximal when the auditory stimulus preceded the occipital TMS pulse by 40 ms. Follow-up experiments confirmed a high degree of temporal and spatial specificity of this facilitatory effect. Furthermore, audiovisual facilitation was only present at subthreshold TMS intensity for the phosphenes, suggesting that suboptimal levels of excitability within unisensory cortices may be better suited for enhanced cross-modal interactions. Overall, our findings reveal early auditory–visual interactions due to the enhancement of visual cortical excitability by auditory stimuli. These interactions may reflect an underlying anatomical connectivity between unisensory cortices.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) pathology includes contusions, cavitation, cell death; all of which can be exacerbated by inflammation. We hypothesized that an anti-inflammatory drug, rolipram, may reduce pathology after TBI, since in several CNS injury models rolipram reduces inflammation and improves cell survival and functional recovery. Adult male C57BL/6 mice received a craniotomy over the right parietotemporal cortex. Vertically-directed controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury was delivered. Naïve controls were used for comparison. At 30 min post-surgery, animals were treated with vehicle or rolipram (1 mg/kg), and then once per day for 3 days. On day 3, the brains were systematically sectioned and stained to visualize the resulting pathology using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and NeuN immunocytochemistry. Total parietotemporal cortical contusion and cavity volume were significantly increased in rolipram-treated as compared to vehicle-treated CCI animals. Contusion areas at specific bregma levels indicated a significant effect of drug across bregma levels. Neuronal cell loss in the dentate hilus and area CA3 of the hippocampus were similar between vehicle and rolipram-treated animals. Although rolipram is well known to reduce pathology and inflammation in several other CNS injury models, the pathology resulting from CCI was worsened with rolipram at this particular dose and administration schedule. These studies suggest that consideration of the unique characteristics of TBI pathology is important in the extrapolation of promising therapeutic interventions from other CNS injury models.
cyclic AMP; contusion; controlled cortical impact; mice; phosphodiesterase; rolipram
Neuroglobin (Ngb) is a hypoxia-inducible protein with cytoprotective effects in animal models of stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and related disorders, but the molecular mechanisms involved in its induction are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) regulates Ngb levels, using shRNA-mediated knockdown and lentiviral vector-mediated overexpression of the HIF-1α subunit, in cultured neural (HN33) cells. HIF-1α knockdown decreased and HIF-1α overexpression increased Ngb levels, consistent with a connection between HIF-1 and Ngb induction. These findings may have implications for understanding the hypoxia-response repertoire of neural cells and devising therapeutic strategies for neurologic disorders.
neuroglobin; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor-1; stroke
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) exerts neuroprotective effects under hypoxic or ischemic conditions. To explore whether mTOR participates in neuroprotective signaling through regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and neuronal apoptosis in developing rat brain with hypoxia-ischemia (HI), we operated on postnatal day 10 rats by ligating the common carotid artery followed by exposure to systemic hypoxia. Brains were collected at various intervals to detect the expression of mTOR, phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR), HIF-1α, VEGF and cleaved caspase 3 (CC3), using immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. We also used terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-nick end labeling (TUNEL) to detect neuronal apoptosis. The p-mTOR protein expression increased at 2 h after HI, peaked at 8 h, lasted 24 h, and then dropped to the basal level. Also, the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF was significantly enhanced and peaked at 8 h after HI. Up-regulated expression of CC3 was observed at 2 h, peaked at 24 h, and lasted 72 h after HI. Increased neuronal apoptosis is associated with reduced HIF-1α and VEGF expression. Furthermore, pretreatment with rapamycin, a mTOR specific inhibitor, significantly inhibited HIF-1α and VEGF protein after HI. The expression of CC3 and the number of TUNEL-positive cells were up-regulated at 8 h and down-regulated at 24 h after HI in the rapamycin-treated group. Our findings suggest that mTOR may participate in the regulation of HIF-1α, VEGF and neuronal apoptosis, serving neuroprotective functions after HI in developing rat brain.
hypoxia-ischemia; mammalian target of rapamycin; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; vascular endothelial growth factor; apoptosis