The cytoarchitecture and cortical connections of the anterior cingulate, medial and dorsal premotor, and precentral region are investigated using the Nissl and NeuN staining method and the fluorescent retrodgrade tract tracing technique. There is a gradual stepwise laminar change in the cytoarchitectonic organization from the proisocortical anterior cingulate region, through the lower and upper banks of the cingulate sulcus, to the dorsolateral isocortical premotor and precentral motor regions of the frontal lobe. These changes are characterized by a gradational emphasis on the lower stratum layers (V and VI) in the proisocortical cingulate region to the upper stratum layers (II and III) in the premotor and precentral motor region. This is accompanied by a progressive widening of layers III and VI, a poorly delineated border between layers III and V and a sequential increase in the size of layer V neurons culminating in the presense of giant Betz cells in the precentral motor region. The overall patterns of corticocortical connections paralleled the sequential changes in cytoarchitectonic organization. The proisocortical areas have connections with cingulate motor, supplementary motor, premotor and precentral motor areas on the one hand and have widespread connections with the frontal, parietal, temporal and multimodal association cortex and limbic regions on the other. The dorsal premotor areas have connections with the proisocortical areas including cingulate motor areas and supplementary motor area on the one hand, and premotor and precentral motor cortex on the other. Additionally, this region has significant connections with posterior parietal cortex and limited connections with prefrontal, limbic and multimodal regions. The precentral motor cortex also has connections with the proisocortical areas and premotor areas. Its other connections are limited to the somatosensory regions of the parietal lobe. Since the isocortical motor areas on the dorsal convexity mediate voluntary motor function, their close connectional relationship with the cingulate areas form a pivitol limbic-motor interface that could provide critical sources of cognitive, emotional and motivational influence on complex motor function.
Cerebral Cortex; Frontal Lobe; Limbic System; Motivation; Motor Behavior
Methylphenidate (MPD) is a psychostimulant that enhances dopaminergic neurotransmission in the central nervous system by using mechanisms similar to cocaine and amphetamine. The mode of action of brain circuitry responsible for an animal’s neuronal response to MPD is not fully understood. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) has been implicated in regulating the rewarding effects of psychostimulants. The present study used permanently implanted microelectrodes to investigate the acute and chronic effects of MPD on the firing rates of NAc neuronal units in freely behaving rats. On experimental day 1 (ED1), following a saline injection (control), a 30 minute baseline neuronal recording was obtained immediately followed by a 2.5 mg/kg i.p. MPD injection and subsequent 60 min neuronal recording. Daily 2.5 mg/kg MPD injections were given on ED2 through ED6 followed by 3 washout days (ED7 to 9). On ED10, neuronal recordings were resumed from the same animal after a saline and MPD (rechallenge) injection exactly as obtained on ED1. Sixty-seven NAc neuronal units exhibited similar wave shape, form and amplitude on ED1 and ED10 and their firing rates were used for analysis. MPD administration on ED1 elicited firing rate increases and decreases in 54% of NAc units when compared to their baselines. Six consecutive MPD administrations altered the neuronal baseline firing rates of 85% of NAc units. MPD rechallenge on ED10 elicited significant changes in 63% of NAc units. These alterations in firing rates are hypothesized to be through mechanisms that include D1 and D2-like DA receptor induced cellular adaptation and homeostatic adaptations/deregulation caused by acute and chronic MPD administration.
Methylphenidate; Nucleus accumbens; Electrophysiology; Behavior sensitization/tolerance
The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), important second messengers in brain, are released from membrane phospholipid following receptor-mediated activation of specific phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes. We developed an in vivo method in rodents using quantitative autoradiography to image PUFA incorporation into brain from plasma, and showed that their incorporation rates equal their rates of metabolic consumption by brain. Thus, quantitative imaging of unesterified plasma AA or DHA incorporation into brain can be used as a biomarker of brain PUFA metabolism and neurotransmission. We have employed our method to image and quantify effects of mood stabilizers on brain AA/DHA incorporation during neurotransmission by muscarinic M1,3,5, serotonergic 5-HT2A/2C, dopaminergic D2-like (D2, D3, D4) or glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors, and effects of inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, of selective serotonin and dopamine reuptake transporter inhibitors, of neuroinflammation (HIV-1 and lipopolysaccharide) and excitotoxicity, and in genetically modified rodents. The method has been extended for the use with positron emission tomography (PET), and can be employed to determine how human brain AA/DHA signaling and consumption are influenced by diet, aging, disease and genetics.
arachidonic acid; bipolar disorder; brain imaging; docosahexaenoic acid; mood stabilizers; neuroinflammation
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by loss of nigrostriatal neurons and depletion of dopamine. This pathological feature leads to alterations to basal ganglia circuitry and subsequent motor disability. Pharmacological dopamine replacement therapy with medications such as levodopa ameliorates the symptoms of PD but can lead to motor complications known as drug-induced dyskinesias. We have recently shown that clinically hemiparkinsonian rhesus monkeys do not develop levodopa-induced dyskinesias despite chronic intermittent exposure and significant unilateral loss of nigrostriatal neurons and dopamine. It is currently unclear what mechanisms prevent the onset of dyskinesias in these animals. However, based on our study and results from previous lesioning studies in both the rat and monkey models of PD, we hypothesize that one potential mechanism that may prevent the genesis of dyskinesias in these animals is interhemispheric inhibition. Two potential interhemispheric connections that may modulate dyskinesias are the interhemispheric nigrostriatal and corticostriatal pathways. Few investigators have examined the interhemispheric nigrostriatal and corticostriatal connections and the functional role they may play in drug-induced dyskinesias in PD. Therefore, in the following review, we assess the neuroanatomical, electrophysiological and behavioral properties of these interhemispheric connections. Future studies evaluating these interhemispheric striatal pathways and the pathophysiological changes that occur to these pathways in the dyskinetic state are warranted to further develop treatments that prevent or mitigate drug-induced dyskinesias in PD.
basal ganglia; nigrostriatal degeneration; movement disorders; dopamine replacement therapy
Measures that quantify the relationship between two or more brain signals are drawing attention as neuroscientists explore the mechanisms of large-scale integration that enable coherent behavior and cognition. Traditional Fourier-based measures of coherence have been used to quantify frequency-dependent relationships between two signals. More recently, several off-line studies examined Phase-Locking Value (PLV) as a possible feature for use in brain-computer interface (BCI) systems. However, only a few individuals have been studied and full statistical comparisons among the different classes of features and their combinations have not been conducted. The present study examines the relative BCI performance of spectral power, coherence, and PLV, alone and in combination. The results indicate that spectral power produced classification at least as good as PLV, coherence, or any possible combination of these measures. This may be due to the fact that all three measures reflect mainly the activity of a single signal source (i.e., an area of sensorimotor cortex). This possibility is supported by the finding that EEG signals from different channels generally had near-zero phase differences. Coherence, PLV, and other measures of inter-channel relationships may be more valuable for BCIs that use signals from more than one distinct cortical source.
Brain-Computer Interface; Sensorimotor Rhythms; Coherence; Phase-Locking Value
Although there is increasing clinical acceptance of acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) as a treatment of substance abuse-related disorders, our understanding of this treatment remains incomplete. Previous clinical and pre-clinical studies have shown that acupuncture and EA are effective in reducing ethanol consumption. Recent studies have shown that Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats under an intermittent-access two-bottle choice drinking procedure (IE procedure) voluntarily drank high amounts of ethanol. However, an effect of EA on ethanol consumption of the SD rats under this drinking procedure has not been demonstrated.
In the present study, we demonstrated that SD rats escalated their ethanol intake and subsequently developed ethanol dependence under the IE procedure. A single low (2 Hz), but not high frequency (100 Hz) EA treatment applied at the bilateral acupoint Zusanli (ST36), but not at the tail reduced voluntary intake of, and preference for ethanol, but not sucrose. Furthermore, repeated EA treatments decreased the intake of and preference for ethanol, without resulting in a rebound increase in ethanol intake when the EA treatments were terminated. These observations indicate that EA may be a useful treatment for alcohol abuse.
Acupuncture; Addiction; Alcohol dependence; Sprague-Dawley rats; treatment
Epidemiologic studies support a connection between organophosphate pesticide exposures and subsequent risk of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We used differentiating, neuronotypic PC12 cells to compare organophosphates (chlorpyrifos, diazinon), an organochlorine (dieldrin) and a metal (Ni2+) for their effects on the transcription of PD-related genes. Both of the organophosphates elicited significant changes in gene expression but with differing patterns: chlorpyrifos evoked both up- and downregulation whereas diazinon elicited overall reductions in expression. Dieldrin was without effect but Ni2+ produced a pattern resembling that of diazinon. We then exposed neonatal rats to chlorpyrifos or diazinon for the first four days after birth and examined the expression of PD-related genes in the brainstem and forebrain. Chlorpyrifos had no significant effect whereas diazinon produced significant increases and decreases in expression of the same PD genes that were targeted in vitro. Our results provide some of the first evidence for a mechanistic relationship between developmental organophosphate exposure and the genes known to confer PD risk in humans; but they also point to disparities between different organophosphates that reinforce the concept that their neurotoxic actions do not rest solely on their shared property as cholinesterase inhibitors. The parallel effects of diazinon and Ni2+ also show how otherwise unrelated developmental neurotoxicants can nevertheless produce similar outcomes by converging on common molecular pathways, further suggesting a need to examine metals such as Ni2+ as potential contributors to PD risk.
Chlorpyrifos; Developmental neurotoxicity; Diazinon; Dieldrin; Gene transcription; Microarray; Nickel; Organophosphate insecticides; Organochlorine insecticides; Parkinson’s disease
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm delivery, which in turn necessitates the common use of glucocorticoids to prevent respiratory distress syndrome. Accordingly, there is a substantial population exposed conjointly to fetal nicotine and glucocorticoids (typically dexamethasone). We administered nicotine to pregnant rats throughout gestation, using a regimen (3 mg/kg/day by osmotic minipump) that maintains plasma nicotine levels within the range seen in smokers; on gestational days 17, 18 and 19, we gave 0.2 mg/kg of dexamethasone. We assessed norepinephrine levels in three brain regions (frontal/parietal cortex, brainstem, cerebellum) throughout adolescence, young adulthood and later adulthood, and contrasted the persistent effects with comparable measures in peripheral tissues (heart, liver). In adolescence, males showed initial deficits in the frontal/parietal cortex with either dexamethasone alone or the combined treatment, with resolution to normal by young adulthood; the group exposed to both nicotine + dexamethasone showed subsequent elevations that emerged in full adulthood and persisted through five months of age, an effect not seen with either agent separately. In females, the combined exposure produced an initial deficit that resolved by young adulthood, without any late-emerging changes. We did not see comparable effects in the other brain regions or peripheral tissues. This indicates that nicotine exposure sensitizes the developing brain to the adverse effects of dexamethasone treatment, producing sex-selective changes in innervation and/or activity of specific noradrenergic circuits. The fact that the combined treatment produced greater effects points to potentially worsened neurobehavioral outcomes after pharmacotherapy of preterm labor in the offspring of smokers.
Brain development; Dexamethasone; Glucocorticoids; Nicotine; Norepinephrine; Preterm delivery
Proper expression of synaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) is necessary to regulate synaptic Ca2+ influx and the induction the long-term potentiation (LTP) in the mammalian hippocampus. Previously we reported that expressing the A-type K+ channel subunit Kv4.2 in CA1 neurons of organotypic slice cultures reduced synaptic NR2B-containing NMDAR expression and completely blocked LTP induced by a pairing protocol. As pretreatment with an NMDAR antagonist (APV) overnight blocked the reduction of NR2B-containing receptors in neurons expressing EGFP-labeled Kv4.2 (Kv4.2g), we hypothesized that LTP would be rescued in Kv4.2g neurons by overnight treatment with APV. We report here that the overnight APV pretreatment in Kv4.2g-expressing neurons only partially restored potentiation. This partial potentiation was completely blocked by inhibition of the CAMKII kinase. These results indicate that A-type K+ channels must regulate synaptic integration and plasticity through another mechanism in addition to their regulation of synaptic NR2 subunit composition. We suggest that dendritic excitability, which is regulated by Kv4.2 expression, also contributes to synaptic plasticity.
Synaptic plasticity; A-type K+ channel; Kv4.2; LTP; NMDA receptor; CaMKII
Exaggerated reactivity to food cues in obese women appears to be mediated in part by a hyperactive reward system that includes the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex. The present study used fMRI to investigate whether differences between 12 obese and 12 normal-weight women in reward-related brain activation in response to food images can be explained by changes in the functional interactions between key reward network regions. A two-step path analysis/General Linear Model approach was used to test whether there were group differences in network connections between nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex in response to high- and low-calorie food images. There was abnormal connectivity in the obese group in response to both high- and low-calorie food cues compared to normal-weight controls. Compared to controls, the obese group had a relative deficiency in the amygdala’s modulation of activation in both orbitofrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens, but excessive influence of orbitofrontal cortex’s modulation of activation in nucleus accumbens. The deficient projections from the amygdala might relate to suboptimal modulation of the affective/emotional aspects of a food’s reward value or an associated cue’s motivational salience, whereas increased orbitofrontal cortex to nucleus accumbens connectivity might contribute to a heightened drive to eat in response to a food cue. Thus, it is possible that not only greater activation of the reward system, but also differences in the interaction of regions in this network may contribute to the relatively increased motivational value of foods in obese individuals.
connectivity; food cues; obesity; reward system
Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) is a trophic and differentiation factor that signals through ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases to regulate nervous system development. Previous studies have demonstrated that NRG1 affects plasticity at glutamatergic synapses in principal glutamatergic neurons of the hippocampus and frontal cortex; however, immunohistochemical and genetic analyses strongly suggest these effects are indirect and mediated via ErbB4 receptors on GABAergic interneurons. Here, we used cultured cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) that express ErbB4 to analyze the cell-autonomous effects of NRG1 stimulation on glutamatergic function. These cultures have the advantage that they are relatively homogenous and consist primarily of granule neurons that express ErbB4. We show that acute NRG1 treatment does not affect whole-cell AMPA or NMDA receptor (NMDAR) mediated currents in CGCs at 10–12 days in vitro. NRG1 also does not affect the frequency or amplitude of spontaneous AMPAR or NMDAR mediated miniature excitatory post-synaptic currents (mEPSCs). To further investigate the effects of NRG1 on activity-dependent plasticity of glutamatergic synapses in CGCs, we characterized the effects of activation of synaptic NMDAR with high-glyine/0 Mg2+ on AMPAR-mEPSC frequency and amplitude. We show that high-glycine induces a form of chemical long-term potentiation (chemLTP) in CGCs characterized by an increase in AMPAR-mEPSC frequency but not amplitude. Moreover, NRG1 induces a decrease in AMPAR-mEPSC frequency following chemLTP, but does not affect AMPAR-mEPSC amplitude. CGCs in our cultures conditions express low levels of GluR1, in contrast to dissociated hippocampal cultures, but do express the long isoform of GluR4. This study provides first evidence that (1) high-glycine can induce plasticity at glutamatergic synapses in CGCs, and (2) that acute NRG1/ErbB-signaling can regulate glutamatergic plasticity in CGCs. Taken together with previous reports, our results suggest that, similar to Schaeffer collateral to CA1 synapses, NRG1 effects are activity dependent and mediated via modulation of synaptic AMPARs.
cerebellar granule neurons; neuregulin-1; ErbB; chemical LTP; synaptic plasticity
Previously it has been reported that neural stem cells undergoing apoptotic stress have increased levels of Amyloid precursor protein (APP) and increased APP expression results in glial differentiation. APP activity was also shown to be required for staurosporine induced glial differentiation of neuroprogenitor cells. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a chemokine that is expressed early during inflammation. The binding of MCP-1 to its chemokine receptor induces expression of novel transcription factor MCP-1 induced protein (MCPIP). MCPIP expression subsequently leads to cell death. Previous studies have shown that pro apoptotic factors have the ability to induce neural differentiation. Therefore, we investigated if MCPIP expression leads to differentiation of NT2 neuroprogenitor cells. Results showed that MCPIP expression increased glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) expression and also caused distinct morphological changes, both indicative of glial differentiation. Similar results were observed with MCP-1 treatment. Interestingly, APP expression decreased in response to MCPIP. Instead, we found APP activity regulates expression of both MCP-1 and MCPIP. Furthermore, inhibition of either p38 MAPK or JAK signaling pathways significantly reduced APP’s effect on MCP-1 and MCPIP. These data demonstrates the role APP has in glial differentiation of NT2 cells through MCP-1/MCPIP signaling. It is possible that increased APP expression after CNS injury could play a role in MCP-1 production, possibly promoting astrocyte activation at injured site.
Amyloid precursor protein; Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1; glial differentiation; astrocyte; neuroprogenitor
This study investigated whether L-dopa (DOPA), locomotor-like passive exercise (Ex) using a Motorized Bicycle Exercise Trainer (MBET), or their combination in adult rats with complete spinal cord transection (Tx) preserves and restores low frequency-dependent depression (FDD) of the H-reflex. Adult Sprague Dawley rats (n=56) transected at T8-9 had one of five treatments beginning seven days after transection: Tx (transection only), Tx+Ex, Tx+DOPA, Tx+Ex+DOPA, and Control (Ctl, no treatment) groups. After 30 days of treatment, FDD of the H-reflex was tested. Stimulation of the tibial nerve at 0.2, 1, 5, and 10 Hz evoked an H-reflex that was recorded from plantar muscles of the hind paw. No significant differences were found at the stimulation rate of 1 Hz. However, at 5 Hz, FDD of the H-reflex in the Tx+Ex, Tx+DOPA and Ctl groups was significantly different from the Tx group (p<0.01). At 10 Hz, all of the treatment groups were significantly different from the Tx group (p<0.01). No significant difference was identified between the Ctl and any of the treatment groups. These results suggest that DOPA significantly preserved and restored FDD after transection as effectively as exercise alone or exercise in combination with DOPA. Thus, there was no additive benefit when DOPA was combined with exercise.
H-reflex; hyperreflexia; spasticity; spinal cord injury; exercise; DOPA; low frequency-dependent depression
The purpose of this study was to examine the pharmacologic plasticity of cholinergic, non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC), and purinergic contractions in neurogenic bladder strips from spinal cord injured (SCI) rats. Bladder strips were harvested from female rats three to four weeks after T9–T10 spinal cord transection. The strips were electrically stimulated using two experimental protocols to compare the contribution of muscarinic and NANC/purinergic contractions in the presence and the absence of carbachol or muscarine. The endpoints of the study were: (1) percent NANC contraction that was unmasked by the muscarinic antagonist 4-DAMP, and (2) P2X purinergic contraction that was evoked by α,β–methylene ATP. NANC contraction accounted for 78.5% of the neurally evoked contraction in SCI bladders. When SCI bladder strips were treated with carbachol (10 µM) prior to 4-DAMP (500 nM), the percent NANC contraction decreased dramatically to only 13.1% of the neurally evoked contraction (p=0.041). This was accompanied by a substantial decrease in α,β–methylene ATP evoked P2X contraction, and desensitization of purinergic receptors (the ratio of subsequent over initial P2X contraction decreased from 97.2% to 42.1%, p=0.0017). Sequential activation of the cholinergic receptors with carbachol (or with muscarine in neurally intact bladders) and unmasking of the NANC response with 4-DAMP switched the neurally evoked bladder contraction from predominantly NANC to predominantly cholinergic. We conclude that activation of muscarinic receptors (with carbachol or muscarine) blocks NANC and purinergic contractions in neurally intact or in SCI rat bladders. The carbachol-induced inhibition of the NANC contraction is expressed more in SCI bladders compared to neurally intact bladders. Along with receptor plasticity, this change in bladder function may involve P2X-independent mechanisms.
neurogenic bladder; bladder contractility; spinal cord injury; purinergic receptor; cholinergic receptor
Postpartum female rats exhibit a suppression of anxiety-related behaviors when compared to diestrous virgin females, pregnant females, and males. This blunted anxiety promotes optimal maternal care and involves elevated GABA neurotransmission, possibly including greater density of GABAA and benzodiazepine receptors in the postpartum brain. We here examined autoradiographic binding of [3H]muscimol to measure the total population of GABAA receptors and [3H]flunitrazepam to assess density of benzodiazepine sites in the medial prefrontal cortex, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, amygdala, hippocampus, and periaqueductal gray of female rats sacrificed on day 7 postpartum, day 10 of pregnancy, or as diestrous virgins. A group of sexually naïve male rats was also included. We found that [3H]muscimol binding did not differ among groups in any site but that diestrous virgin females had greater [3H]flunitrazepam binding in the CA1 and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus compared to mid-pregnant females and males. Notably, postpartum and diestrous virgin females did not significantly differ in binding of either ligand in any site examined. This is the first study to evaluate the densities of GABAA and benzodiazepine binding sites simultaneously across three female reproductive states and sex with a focus on brain sites influencing anxiety-related behaviors. The results suggest that changes other GABAA receptor characteristics, such as subunit composition or increased presynaptic GABA release during interactions with offspring, must instead play a greater role in the postpartum suppression of anxiety in laboratory rats.
anxiety; autoradiography; fear; GABA; postpartum; sex difference
While conventional antidepressants benefit many patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), as much as eight to 12 weeks can elapse before significant improvements in depressive symptoms are seen. Treatments that act more rapidly in MDD are urgently needed. Sleep deprivation (SD) has been shown to produce a rapid antidepressant response within one day in 50–60% of patients with MDD; thus, identifying its antidepressant mechanism may contribute to the development of antidepressants that act more rapidly. The present study evaluated the effects of 39 hours of SD on mood, as well as on plasma levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with MDD. After a drug-free period of at least two weeks, 11 patients (6 males, 5 females; ages 25–62) who met DSM-IV criteria for MDD underwent total SD. Plasma samples for BDNF and VEGF assays were collected on Days 1 (baseline) and 2. The six-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD-6) was the primary outcome measure. HAMD-6 scores decreased significantly after SD (Day 2). SD was negatively correlated with change in HAMD-6 score and change in VEGF levels, indicating that as depression scores decreased following SD, VEGF plasma levels increased. In contrast, SD did not alter plasma BDNF concentrations, nor was an association found between BDNF levels and clinical improvement on the HAMD-6. These results suggest that SD is associated with mood-related changes in plasma VEGF levels, but not plasma BDNF levels. Further studies using larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
antidepressant; depression; neurotrophic factors; sleep deprivation
Stressful experiences during adolescence can alter the trajectory of neural development and contribute to psychiatric disorders in adulthood. We previously demonstrated that adolescent male rats exposed to repeated social defeat stress show changes in mesocorticolimbic dopamine content both at baseline and in response to amphetamine when tested in adulthood. In the present study we examined whether markers of adult dopamine function are also compromised by adolescent experience of social defeat. Given that the dopamine transporter as well as dopamine D1 receptors act as regulators of psychostimulant action, are stress sensitive and undergo changes during adolescence, quantitative autoradiography was used to measure [3H]-GBR12935 binding to the dopamine transporter and [3H]-SCH23390 binding to dopamine D1 receptors, respectively. Our results indicate that social defeat during adolescence led to higher dopamine transporter binding in the infralimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex and higher dopamine D1 receptor binding in the caudate putamen, while other brain regions analyzed were comparable to controls. Thus it appears that social defeat during adolescence causes specific changes to the adult DA system, which may contribute to behavioral alterations and increased drug seeking.
adolescent stress; dopamine, social defeat; dopamine transporter; dopamine D1 receptor
► Summary of the existing literature on gene expression in Parkinson's disease, concentrating on alterations in gene expression in the brain. ► Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a genome wide approach to assessing gene expression in Parkinson's. ► A preview of what lies ahead for gene expression in Parkinson's disease as technology advances.
The study of gene expression has undergone a transformation in the past decade as the benefits of the sequencing of the human genome have made themselves felt. Increasingly, genome wide approaches are being applied to the analysis of gene expression in human disease as a route to understanding the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. In this review, we will summarise current state of gene expression studies of the brain in Parkinson's disease, and examine how these techniques can be used to gain an insight into aetiology of this devastating disorder.
Parkinson's disease; Microarray; Gene expression; Neuropathology; Genome wide
Early-life exposure to organophosphate pesticides leads to subsequent hyperresponsiveness of β-adrenergic receptor-mediated cell signaling that regulates hepatic gluconeogenesis, culminating in metabolic abnormalities resembling prediabetes. In the current study, we evaluated the effects of chlorpyrifos or parathion on presynaptic sympathetic innervation to determine whether the postsynaptic signaling effects are accompanied by defects in neuronal input. We administered either chlorpyrifos or parathion to newborn rats using exposure paradigms known to elicit the later metabolic changes but found no alterations in either hepatic or cardiac norepinephrine levels in adolescence or adulthood. However, shifting chlorpyrifos exposure to the prenatal period did evoke changes: exposure early in gestation produced subsequent elevations in norepinephrine, whereas later gestational exposure produced significant deficits. We also distinguished the organophosphate effects from those of the glucocorticoid, dexamethasone, a known endocrine disruptor that leads to later-life metabolic and cardiovascular disruption. Postnatal exposure to dexamethasone elicited deficits in peripheral norepinephrine levels but prenatal exposure did not. Our results indicate that early-life exposure to organophosphates leads to subsequent abnormalities of peripheral sympathetic innervation through mechanisms entirely distinct from those of glucocorticoids, ruling out the possibility that the organophosphate effects are secondary to stress or disruption of the HPA axis. Further, the effects on innervation were separable from those on postsynaptic signaling, differing in critical period as well as tissue- and sex-selectivity. Organophosphate targeting of both presynaptic and postsynaptic β-adrenergic sites, each with different critical periods of vulnerability, thus sets the stage for compounding of hepatic and cardiac functional abnormalities.
β-Adrenergic receptor; Dexamethasone; Glucocorticoids; Heart; Liver; Norepinephrine; Organophosphate insecticides; Parathion; Sympathetic nervous system
Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) responses to single-dose nicotine (NIC) are sexually diergic: Female rats have higher adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT) responses than do males. In the present study we determined HPA responses in male and female rats following single doses of NIC, a single-dose of NIC immediately following continuous NIC for two weeks, and NIC withdrawal by single-dose mecamylamine (MEC) following continuous NIC infusion for two weeks. Blood sampling occurred before and after MEC and NIC administrations for determination of ACTH and CORT.
In accordance with our previous findings, female ACTH and CORT responses to single-dose NIC were greater than male responses. This sex difference remained after single-dose NIC followed continuous NIC infusion, but HPA responses in both sexes were significantly lower in magnitude and duration than in the single-dose NIC alone groups. Sex differences also were observed following NIC withdrawal by MEC: The HPA responses to pretreatment with MEC were significantly higher in magnitude and duration in the continuous NIC groups than in the single-dose NIC groups. These results demonstrate that HPA responses to NIC are reduced and transient following continuous NIC infusion but are enhanced and sustained following NIC withdrawal by MEC after continuous NIC, suggesting that NIC habituation and withdrawal influence the stress responses in a diergic manner. These findings highlight the importance of sex differences in the effect of NIC on HPA axis activity and stress responsiveness, which may have implications for directing NIC-addiction treatment specifically towards men and women.
ACTH; CORT; HPA axis; Mecamylamine; Nicotine; Sexual diergism
Post-weaning social isolation of rats is utilized as a model of early life stress. We have previously demonstrated that rats exposed to post-weaning social isolation exhibit greater anxiety-like behaviors as adults. Furthermore, these rats exhibit greater density of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) type 2 receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Therefore, we examined whether antagonism of CRF2 receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus reverses the effects of post-weaning social isolation on anxiety states. Male rats were reared in isolation or in groups from day of weaning (postnatal day [PND] 21) to mid-adolescence (PND42) and then allowed to develop to early adulthood housed in groups. At PND62, rats were either infused with vehicle, the CRF1 receptor antagonist antalarmin (0.25-0.5 μg) or the CRF2 receptor antagonist antisauvagine-30 (2 μg) into the dorsal raphe nucleus, 20 minutes prior to being introduced to the elevated plus maze. Isolation-reared rats showed reduced open arm behavior compared to group-reared rats, confirming the anxiogenic effects of post-weaning social isolation. Infusion of the CRF2 receptor antagonist, but not the CRF1 receptor antagonist, into the dorsal raphe nucleus of isolation-reared rats increased open arm behavior when compared to that of group-reared rats. Overall, the findings suggest that CRF2 receptors within the dorsal raphe nucleus mediate anxiety-like states following post-weaning social isolation, and CRF2 receptors may represent an important target for the treatment of anxiety disorders following early life stressors.
Social isolation; corticotropin-releasing factor; anxiety; antisauvagine-30; antalarmin; elevated plus maze
It has long been believed that genetically-determined, but not environmentally-acquired, phenotypes can be inherited. However, a large number of recent studies have reported that phenotypes acquired from an animal’s environment can be transmitted to the next generation. Moreover, epidemiology studies have hinted that a similar phenomenon occurs in humans. This type of inheritance does not involve gene mutations that change DNA sequence. Instead, it is thought that epigenetic changes in chromatin, such as DNA methylation and histone modification, occur. In this review, we will focus on one exciting new example of this phenomenon, transfer across generations of enhanced synaptic plasticity and memory formation induced by exposure to an “enriched” environment.
LTP; epigenetics; Ras-GRF; enriched environment; transgenerational
Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a proline-directed serine/threonine kinase that is ubiquitous in the nervous system and interacts with a myriad of substrates. Its modulation of synaptic plasticity and associated mechanisms of learning and memory as well as neurodegeneration and cognitive disease highlights its importance in the human brain. Cdk5 is active throughout the neuron via its kinase activity, protein-protein interactions, and nuclear associations. It regulates functions thought vital to memory and plasticity, including synaptic vesicle recycling, dendritic spine formation, neurotransmitter receptor density, and neuronal excitability. Although conditional knockout of Cdk5 improves learning and plasticity, the associated deleterious effects of increased excitability cast doubts on the therapeutic efficacy of systemic inhibitors. However, through further work on the regulation of Cdk5 and its effectors, this important molecule promises to aid in elucidating key pathways involved in learning and memory and uncover innovative therapeutic targets to treat neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.
Cdk5; Learning and memory; Plasticity; Neurodegeneration; Cognition
In various physiological contexts, Nr4a genes are transcribed in response to external stimuli as part of an immediate early response that initiates a cascade of gene expression ultimately leading to distinct physiological outcomes in each of these contexts. The signaling pathway that initiates Nr4a gene expression in most of these contexts consists of elevated intracellular cAMP activating PKA, which in turn leads to phosphorylation of CREB and new gene synthesis. This cAMP-PKA-CREB pathway is a central molecular pathway in the formation of a long-term memory. Indeed, learning induces Nr4a family gene expression, and long-term memory formation requires at least two waves of transcription after learning, suggesting that NR4A nuclear receptors may contribute to the second of these waves of gene expression. In this article, we review insights gained in other physiological contexts regarding Nr4a function and regulation and highlight how these lessons can be applied to the study of memory formation.
Memory; Consolidation; Hippocampus; Nuclear Receptor; Transcription
Long-term memories are created when labile short-term memory traces are converted to more enduring forms. This process, called consolidation, is associated with changes in the synthesis of proteins that alter the biophysical properties of neurons and the strength of their synaptic connections. Recently, it has become clear that the consolidation process requires not only protein synthesis but also degradation. Here, we discuss recent findings on the roles of ubiquitination and protein degradation in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory.
ubiquitin; neuron; learning; memory; plasticity; proteasome