Producing sounds by a musical instrument can lead to audiomotor coupling, i.e. the joint activation of the auditory and motor system, even when only one modality is probed. The sonification of otherwise mute movements by sounds based on kinematic parameters of the movement has been shown to improve motor performance and perception of movements.
Here we demonstrate in a group of healthy young non-athletes that congruently (sounds match visual movement kinematics) vs. incongruently (no match) sonified breaststroke movements of a human avatar lead to better perceptual judgement of small differences in movement velocity. Moreover, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed enhanced activity in superior and medial posterior temporal regions including the superior temporal sulcus, known as an important multisensory integration site, as well as the insula bilaterally and the precentral gyrus on the right side. Functional connectivity analysis revealed pronounced connectivity of the STS with the basal ganglia and thalamus as well as frontal motor regions for the congruent stimuli. This was not seen to the same extent for the incongruent stimuli.
We conclude that sonification of movements amplifies the activity of the human action observation system including subcortical structures of the motor loop. Sonification may thus be an important method to enhance training and therapy effects in sports science and neurological rehabilitation.
Errorless learning has advantages over errorful learning. The erroneous items produced during errorful learning compete with correct items at retrieval resulting in decreased memory performance. This interference is associated with an increased demand on executive monitoring processes. Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to contrast errorless and errorful learning. Learning mode was manipulated by the number of distractors during learning of face-name associations: in errorless learning only the correct name was introduced. During errorful learning either one incorrect name or two incorrect names were additionally introduced in order to modulate the interference in recognition.
The behavioural results showed an enhanced memory performance after errorless learning. The veridicality of recognition of the face-name associations was reflected in a left lateralized fronto-temporal-parietal network. The different learning modes were associated with modulations in left prefrontal and parietal regions.
Errorless learning enhances memory performance as compared to errorful learning and underpins the known advantages for errorless learning. During memory retrieval different networks are engaged for specific purposes: Recognition of face-name associations engaged a lateralized fronto-temporal-parietal network and executive monitoring processes of memory engaged the left prefrontal and parietal regions.
Errorless; Errorful; Executive control; Face-name associations; Recognition; Parietal; Prefrontal
Post-stroke hyperglycemia appears to be associated with poor outcome from stroke, greater mortality, and reduced functional recovery. Focal cerebral ischemia data support that neural stem cells (NSCs) play an important role in post-ischemic repair. Here we sought to evaluate the negative effects of hyperglycemia on the cellular biology of NSCs following anoxia, and to test whether high glucose affects NSC recovery from ischemic injury.
In this study, we used immortalized adult neural stem cells lines and we induced in vitro ischemia by 6 h oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) in an anaerobic incubator. Reperfusion was performed by returning cells to normoxic conditions and the cells were then incubated in experimental medium with various concentrations of glucose (17.5, 27.75, 41.75, and 83.75 mM) for 24 h. We found that high glucose (≥27.75 mM) exposure induced apoptosis of NSCs in a dose-dependent manner after exposure to OGD, using an Annexin V/PI apoptosis detection kit. The cell viability and proliferative activity of NSCs following OGD in vitro, evaluated with both a Cell Counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and a 5-ethynyl-2’-deoxyuridine (EdU) incorporation assay, were inhibited by high glucose exposure. Cell cycle analysis showed that high glucose exposure increased the percentage of cells in G0/G1-phase, and reduced the percentage of cells in S-phase. Furthermore, high glucose exposure was found to significantly induce the activation of c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and suppress extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activity.
Our results demonstrate that high glucose induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation of NSCs following OGD in vitro, which may be associated with the activation of JNK/p38 MAPK pathways and the delay of G1-S transition in the cells.
Neural stem cells; Hyperglycemia; Proliferation; Apoptosis; Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)
Somatosensory nerve fibres arising from cell bodies within the trigeminal ganglia (TG) in the head and from a string of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) located lateral to the spinal cord convey endogenous and environmental stimuli to the central nervous system. Although several members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily of cation channels have been implicated in somatosensation, the expression levels of TRP channel genes in the individual sensory ganglia have never been systematically studied.
Here, we used quantitative real-time PCR to analyse and compare mRNA expression of all TRP channels in TG and individual DRGs from 27 anatomically defined segments of the spinal cord of the mouse. At the mRNA level, 17 of the 28 TRP channel genes, TRPA1, TRPC1, TRPC3, TRPC4, TRPC5, TRPM2, TRPM3, TRPM4, TRPM5, TRPM6, TRPM7, TRPM8, TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV4, TRPML1 and TRPP2, were detectable in every tested ganglion. Notably, four TRP channels, TRPC4, TRPM4, TRPM8 and TRPV1, showed statistically significant variation in mRNA levels between DRGs from different segments, suggesting ganglion-specific regulation of TRP channel gene expression. These ganglion-to-ganglion differences in TRP channel transcript levels may contribute to the variability in sensory responses in functional studies.
We developed, compared and refined techniques to quantitatively analyse the relative mRNA expression of all TRP channel genes at the single ganglion level. This study also provides for the first time a comparative mRNA distribution profile in TG and DRG along the entire vertebral column for the mammalian TRP channel family.
Dorsal root ganglia; Trigeminal ganglia; TRP channels; Somatosensation; mRNA expression analysis; Sensory neurons
Like emotional symptoms such as anxiety, modulations in working memory are among the frequently-reported but controversial psychiatric symptoms associated with nicotine (NC) administration. In the present study, repeated NC-induced modulations in working memory, along with concurrently-observed anxiety-related behavioral alterations, were investigated in mice, and compared with the effects of a typical cognition-impairing stressor, immobilization stress (IM). Furthermore, considering the structural and functional contributions of brain cannabinoid (CB) receptors in NC-induced psychiatric symptoms including emotional symptoms, the interactive effects of brain CB receptor ligands (CB ligands) and NC and/or IM on the working memory- and anxiety-related behaviors were examined.
Statistically significant working memory impairment-like behavioral alterations in the Y-maze test and anxiety-like behavioral alterations in the elevated plus-maze (EPM) test were observed in the groups of mice treated with 0.8 mg/kg NC (subcutaneous (s.c.) 0.8 mg/kg treatment, 4 days) and/or IM (10 min treatment, 4 days). In the group of mice treated with NC plus IM (NC-IM group), an enhancement of the behavioral alterations was observed. Among the CB type 1 (CB1) antagonist AM 251 (AM), the non-selective CB agonist CP 55,940 (CP), and the CB1 partial agonist/antagonist virodhamine (VD), significant recovering effects were provided by AM (0.2-2.5 mg/kg) and VD (5 mg/kg) against the working memory impairment-like behaviors, whereas significant anxiolytic-like effects (recoveries from both attenuated percentage of entries into open arms and attenuated percentage of time spent on open arms) were provided by VD (1–10 mg/kg) and CP (2 mg/kg) against the anxiety-like behaviors.
Although working memory impairment- and anxiety-like behavioral alterations were commonly induced in the NC, IM, and NC-IM groups and the therapeutic involvement of CB receptors was shown, there were discrepancies in the types of effective CB ligands between the working memory- and anxiety-related behaviors. The differential involvements of CB receptor subtypes and indirectly activated neurotransmitter systems may contribute to these discrepancies.
Nicotine; Immobilization stress; Working memory; Anxiety; Cannabinoid; AM 251; CP 55,940; virodhamine
The study of the cerebrovascular physiology is crucial to understand the pathogenesis of neurological disease and the pharmacokinetic of drugs. Appropriate models in vitro often fail to represent in vivo physiology. To address these issues we propose the use of a novel artificial vascular system that closely mimics capillary and venous segments of human cerebrovasculature while also allowing for an extensive control of the experimental variables and their manipulation.
Using hollow fiber technology, we modified an existing dynamic artificial model of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) (DIV-capillary) to encompass the distal post-capillary (DIV-venules) segments of the brain circulatory system. This artificial brain vascular system is comprised of a BBB module serially connected to a venule segment. A pump generates a pulsatile flow with arterial pressure feeding the system. The perfusate of the capillary module achieves levels of shear stress, pressure, and flow rate comparable to what observed in situ. Endothelial cell exposure to flow and abluminal astrocytic stimuli allowed for the formation of a highly selective capillary BBB with a trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER; >700 ohm cm2) and sucrose permeability (< 1X10-u cm/sec) comparable to in vivo. The venule module, which attempted to reproduce features of the hemodynamic microenvironment of venules, was perfused by media resulting in shear stress and intraluminal pressure levels lower than those found in capillaries. Because of altered cellular and hemodynamic factors, venule segments present a less stringent vascular bed (TEER <250 Ohm cm2; Psucrose > 1X10-4 cm/sec) than that of the BBB. Abluminal human brain vascular smooth muscle cells were used to reproduce the venular abluminal cell composition.
The unique characteristics afforded by the DIV-BBB in combination with a venule segment will realistically expand our ability to dissect and study the physiological and functional behavior of distinct segments of the human cerebrovascular network.
Neurological diseases; Shear stress; Venule; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Transmural pressure; Cerebral blood flow; Drug delivery; Organ-on-a-chip
Anti-NMDA-encephalitis is caused by antibodies against the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and characterized by a severe encephalopathy with psychosis, epileptic seizures and autonomic disturbances. It predominantly occurs in young women and is associated in 59% with an ovarian teratoma.
We describe effects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from an anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis patient on in vitro neuronal network activity (ivNNA). In vitro NNA of dissociated primary rat cortical populations was recorded by the microelectrode array (MEA) system.
The 23-year old patient was severely affected but showed an excellent recovery following multimodal immunomodulatory therapy and removal of an ovarian teratoma. Patient CSF (pCSF) taken during the initial weeks after disease onset suppressed global spike- and burst rates of ivNNA in contrast to pCSF sampled after clinical recovery and decrease of NMDAR antibody titers. The synchrony of pCSF-affected ivNNA remained unaltered during the course of the disease.
Patient CSF directly suppresses global activity of neuronal networks recorded by the MEA system. In contrast, pCSF did not regulate the synchrony of ivNNA suggesting that NMDAR antibodies selectively regulate distinct parameters of ivNNA while sparing their functional connectivity. Thus, assessing ivNNA could represent a new technique to evaluate functional consequences of autoimmune encephalitis-related CSF changes.
Autoimmune disease; Encephalitis; Neuropsychological assessment; Paraneoplastic syndrome; Anti-NMDA-antibody
Receptor-interacting protein 3 (RIP3), a member of RIP family proteins, has been shown to participate in programmed necrosis or necroptosis in cell biology studies. Evidence suggests that necroptosis may be a mode of neuronal death in the retina.
In the present study we determined the expression of RIP3 in normal rat retina and its changes following acute high intraocular pressure (aHIOP). RIP3 immunoreactivity (IR) was largely present in the inner retinal layers, localized to subsets of cells expressing neuron-specific nuclear antigen (NeuN), parvalbumin and calbindin in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) and inner nuclear layer (INL). No double labeling was detected for RIP3 with PKC-α or rhodopsin. RIP3 immunoreactivity was increased in the GCL at 6 hr and 12 hr, but reduced at 24 hr in the retina, without apparent alteration in laminar or cellular distribution pattern. Western blot analysis confirmed the above time-dependent alteration in RIP3 protein expression. RIP3 expressing cells frequently co-localized with propidium iodide (PI). A few co-localized cells were observed between RIP3 and Bax or cleaved caspase-3 in the GCL in 12 hr following aHIOP.
The results indicate that RIP3 is expressed differentially in retinal neurons in adult rats, including subsets of ganglion cells, amacrine and horizontal cells. RIP3 protein levels are elevated rapidly following aHIOP. RIP3 labeling co-localized with PI, Bax or cleaved caspase-3 among cells in the ganglion cell layer following aHIOP, which suggest its involvement of RIP3 in neuronal responses to acute ischemic insults.
Receptor-interacting protein 3; Retina; Necroptosis; aHIOP
Early life experiences including physical exercise, sensory stimulation, and social interaction can modulate development of the inhibitory neuronal network and modify various behaviors. In particular, alteration of parvalbumin-expressing neurons, a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neuronal subpopulation, has been suggested to be associated with psychiatric disorders. Here we investigated whether rearing in enriched environment could modify the expression of parvalbumin-positive neurons in the basolateral amygdala and anxiety-like behavior.
Three-week-old male rats were divided into two groups: those reared in an enriched environment (EE rats) and those reared in standard cages (SE rats). After 5 weeks of rearing, the EE rats showed decreased anxiety-like behavior in an open field than the SE rats. Under another anxiogenic situation, in a beam walking test, the EE rats more quickly traversed an elevated narrow beam. Anxiety-like behavior in the open field was significantly and negatively correlated with walking time in the beam-walking test. Immunohistochemical tests revealed that the number of parvalbumin-positive neurons significantly increased in the basolateral amygdala of the EE rats than that of the SE rats, while the number of calbindin-D28k-positive neurons did not change. These parvalbumin-positive neurons had small, rounded soma and co-expressed the glutamate decarboxylase (GAD67). Furthermore, the number of parvalbumin-positive small cells in the basolateral amygdala tended to positively correlate with emergence in the center arena of the open field and negatively correlated with walking time in the beam walking test.
Rearing in the enriched environment augmented the number of parvalbumin-containing specific inhibitory neuron in the basolateral amygdala, but not that of calbindin-containing neuronal phenotype. Furthermore, the number of parvalbumin-positive small neurons in the basolateral amygdala was negatively correlated with walking time in the beam walking test and tended to be positively correlated with activity in the center arena in the open field test. The results suggest that rearing in the enriched environment augmented parvalbumin-positive specific neurons in the basolateral amygdala, which induced behavioral plasticity that was reflected by a decrease in anxiety-like behavior in anxiogenic situations.
Environmental enrichment; Calbindin; Calcium binding proteins; GABA; Anxiety; Amygdala
Vertebrate pheromones are known to prime the endocrine system, especially the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. However, no known pheromone molecule has been shown to modulate directly the synthesis or release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), the main regulator of the HPG axis. We selected sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) as a model system to determine whether a single pheromone component alters the output of GnRH.
Sea lamprey male sex pheromones contain a main component, 7α, 12α, 24-trihydroxy-5α-cholan-3-one 24-sulfate (3 keto-petromyzonol sulfate or 3kPZS), which has been shown to modulate behaviors of mature females. Through a series of experiments, we tested the hypothesis that 3kPZS modulates both synthesis and release of GnRH, and subsequently, HPG output in immature sea lamprey.
The results showed that natural male pheromone mixtures induced differential steroid responses but facilitated sexual maturation in both sexes of immature animals (χ2 = 5.042, dF = 1, p < 0.05). Exposure to 3kPZS increased plasma 15α-hydroxyprogesterone (15α-P) concentrations (one-way ANOVA, p < 0.05) and brain gene expressions (genes examined: three lamprey (l) GnRH-I transcripts, lGnRH-III, Jun and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK); one-way ANOVA, p < 0.05), but did not alter the number of GnRH neurons in the hypothalamus in immature animals. In addition, 3kPZS treatments increased lGnRH peptide concentrations in the forebrain and modulated their levels in plasma. Overall, 3kPZS modulation of HPG axis is more pronounced in immature males than in females.
We conclude that a single male pheromone component primes the HPG axis in immature sea lamprey in a sexually dimorphic manner.
Pheromone; Priming; HPG axis; GnRH; Steroid; Sexual dimorphism
The purpose of this study was to examine task-related changes in prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity during a dual-task in both healthy young and older adults and compare patterns of activation between the age groups. We also sought to determine whether brain activation during a dual-task relates to executive/attentional function and how measured factors associated with both of these functions vary between older and younger adults.
Thirty-five healthy volunteers (20 young and 15 elderly) participated in this study. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was employed to measure PFC activation during a single-task (performing calculations or stepping) and dual-task (performing both single-tasks at once). Cognitive function was assessed in the older patients with the Trail-making test part B (TMT-B). Major outcomes were task performance, brain activation during task (oxygenated haemoglobin: Oxy-Hb) measured by NIRS, and TMT-B score. Mixed ANOVAs were used to compare task factors and age groups in task performance. Mixed ANOVAs also compared task factors, age group and time factors in task-induced changes in measured Oxy-Hb. Among the older participants, correlations between the TMT-B score and Oxy-Hb values measured in each single-task and in the dual-task were examined using a Pearson correlation coefficient.
Oxy-Hb values were significantly increased in both the calculation task and the dual-task within patients in both age groups. However, the Oxy-Hb values associated with there were higher in the older group during the post-task period for the dual-task. Also, there were significant negative correlations between both task-performance accuracy and Oxy-Hb values during the dual-task and participant TMT-B scores.
Older adults demonstrated age-specific PFC activation in response to dual-task challenge. There was also a significant negative correlation between PFC activation during dual-task and executive/attentional function. These findings suggest that the high cognitive load induced by dual-task activity generates increased PFC activity in older adults. However, this relationship appeared to be strongest in participants with better baseline attention and executive functions.
Dual-task; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Executive function; Attentional function
Previous studies have suggested that the axon guidance proteins Slit1 and Slit2 co-operate to establish the optic chiasm in its correct position at the ventral diencephalic midline. This is based on the observation that, although both Slit1 and Slit2 are expressed around the ventral midline, mice defective in either gene alone exhibit few or no axon guidance defects at the optic chiasm whereas embryos lacking both Slit1 and Slit2 develop a large additional chiasm anterior to the chiasm’s normal position. Here we used steerable-filters to quantify key properties of the population of axons at the chiasm in wild-type, Slit1−/−, Slit2−/− and Slit1−/−Slit2−/− embryos.
We applied the steerable-filter algorithm successfully to images of embryonic retinal axons labelled from a single eye shortly after they have crossed the midline. We combined data from multiple embryos of the same genotype and made statistical comparisons of axonal distributions, orientations and curvatures between genotype groups. We compared data from the analysis of axons with data on the expression of Slit1 and Slit2. The results showed a misorientation and a corresponding anterior shift in the position of many axons at the chiasm of both Slit2−/− and Slit1−/−Slit2−/− mutants. There were very few axon defects at the chiasm of Slit1−/− mutants.
We found defects of the chiasms of Slit1−/−Slit2−/− and Slit1−/− mutants similar to those reported previously. In addition, we discovered previously unreported defects resulting from loss of Slit2 alone. This indicates the value of a quantitative approach to complex pathway analysis and shows that Slit2 can act alone to control aspects of retinal axon routing across the ventral diencephalic midline.
Axon guidance; Optic chiasm; Retinal axon; Slit; Steerable filter
There is an accumulating body of evidence indicating that neuronal functional specificity to basic sensory stimulation is mutable and subject to experience. Although fMRI experiments have investigated changes in brain activity after relative to before perceptual learning, brain activity during perceptual learning has not been explored. This work investigated brain activity related to auditory frequency discrimination learning using a variational Bayesian approach for source localization, during simultaneous EEG and fMRI recording. We investigated whether the practice effects are determined solely by activity in stimulus-driven mechanisms or whether high-level attentional mechanisms, which are linked to the perceptual task, control the learning process.
The results of fMRI analyses revealed significant attention and learning related activity in left and right superior temporal gyrus STG as well as the left inferior frontal gyrus IFG. Current source localization of simultaneously recorded EEG data was estimated using a variational Bayesian method. Analysis of current localized to the left inferior frontal gyrus and the right superior temporal gyrus revealed gamma band activity correlated with behavioral performance.
Rapid improvement in task performance is accompanied by plastic changes in the sensory cortex as well as superior areas gated by selective attention. Together the fMRI and EEG results suggest that gamma band activity in the right STG and left IFG plays an important role during perceptual learning.
Neural plasticity; Attention and performance; Perceptual learning; Auditory perception; Simultaneous fMRI and EEG; Time-frequency analysis
The role of the endothelial cell (EC) in blood flow regulation within the central nervous system has been little studied. Here, we explored EC participation in morphological changes of the anterior hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) microvasculature of female rats at two reproductive stages with different metabolic demand (virginity and lactation). We measured the inner capillary diameter (ICD) of 800 capillaries from either the magnocellular or parvocellular regions. The space occupied by neural (somas, dendrites and axons) and glial, but excluding vascular elements of the neurovascular compartment was also measured in 100-μm2 sample fields of both PVN subdivisions.
The PVN of both groups of animals showed ICDs that ranged from 3 to 10 microns. The virgin group presented mostly capillaries with small ICD, whereas the lactating females exhibited a significant increment in the percentage of capillaries with larger ICD. The space occupied by the neural and glial elements of the neurovascular compartment did not show changes with lactation.
Our findings suggest that during lactation the microvasculature of the PVN of female rats undergoes dynamic, transitory changes in blood flow as represented by an increment in the ICD through a self-cytoplasmic volume modification reflected by EC changes. A model of this process is proposed.
Inner capillary diameter; Endothelial cell; Neurovascular compartment; Hypothalamus; Lactation
Progressive accumulation of α-synuclein (α-Syn) protein in different brain regions is a hallmark of synucleinopathic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. α-Syn transgenic mouse models have been developed to investigate the effects of α-Syn accumulation on behavioral deficits and neuropathology. However, the onset and progression of pathology in α-Syn transgenic mice have not been fully characterized. For this purpose we investigated the time course of behavioral deficits and neuropathology in PDGF-β human wild type α-Syn transgenic mice (D-Line) between 3 and 12 months of age.
These mice showed progressive impairment of motor coordination of the limbs that resulted in significant differences compared to non-transgenic littermates at 9 and 12 months of age. Biochemical and immunohistological analyses revealed constantly increasing levels of human α-Syn in different brain areas. Human α-Syn was expressed particularly in somata and neurites of a subset of neocortical and limbic system neurons. Most of these neurons showed immunoreactivity for phosphorylated human α-Syn confined to nuclei and perinuclear cytoplasm. Analyses of the phenotype of α-Syn expressing cells revealed strong expression in dopaminergic olfactory bulb neurons, subsets of GABAergic interneurons and glutamatergic principal cells throughout the telencephalon. We also found human α-Syn expression in immature neurons of both the ventricular zone and the rostral migratory stream, but not in the dentate gyrus.
The present study demonstrates that the PDGF-β α-Syn transgenic mouse model presents with early and progressive accumulation of human α-Syn that is accompanied by motor deficits. This information is essential for the design of therapeutical studies of synucleinopathies.
Behavior; Immunofluorescence; Motor deficit; Mouse model; Parkinson’s disease; Phosphorylation; Synucleinopathy; α-Synuclein; Transgene
Antisense oligonucleotide (AON)-mediated exon skipping is a powerful tool to manipulate gene expression. In the present study we investigated the potential of exon skipping by local injection in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) of the mouse brain. As proof of principle we targeted the splicing of steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1), a protein involved in nuclear receptor function. This nuclear receptor coregulator exists in two splice variants (SRC-1a and SRC-1e) which display differential distribution and opposing activities in the brain, and whose mRNAs differ in a single SRC-1e specific exon.
For proof of principle of feasibility, we used immunofluorescent stainings to study uptake by different cell types, translocation to the nucleus and potential immunostimulatory effects at different time points after a local injection in the CeA of the mouse brain of a control AON targeting human dystrophin with no targets in the murine brain. To evaluate efficacy we designed an AON targeting the SRC-1e-specific exon and with qPCR analysis we measured the expression ratio of the two splice variants.
We found that AONs were taken up by corticotropin releasing hormone expressing neurons and other cells in the CeA, and translocated into the cell nucleus. Immune responses after AON injection were comparable to those after sterile saline injection. A successful shift of the naturally occurring SRC-1a:SRC-1e expression ratio in favor of SRC-1a was observed, without changes in total SRC-1 expression.
We provide a proof of concept for local neuropharmacological use of exon skipping by manipulating the expression ratio of the two splice variants of SRC-1, which may be used to study nuclear receptor function in specific brain circuits. We established that exon skipping after local injection in the brain is a versatile and useful tool for the manipulation of splice variants for numerous genes that are relevant for brain function.
Steroid receptor coactivator-1; Antisense oligonucleotide; Exon skipping; Glucocorticoid receptor; Brain
Domoic acid (DA) is an excitatory amino acid analogue of kainic acid (KA) that acts via activation of glutamate receptors to elicit a rapid and potent excitotoxic response, resulting in neuronal cell death. Recently, DA was shown to elicit reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and induce apoptosis accompanied by activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in vitro. We have reported that WDR35, a WD-repeat protein, may mediate apoptosis in several animal models. In the present study, we administered DA to rats intraperitoneally, then used liquid chromatography/ion trap tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify and quantify DA in the brains of the rats and performed histological examinations of the hippocampus. We further investigated the potential involvement of glutamate receptors, ROS, p38 MAPK, and WDR35 in DA-induced toxicity in vivo.
Our results showed that intraperitoneally administered DA was present in the brain and induced neurodegenerative changes including apoptosis in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. DA also increased the expression of WDR35 mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent manner in the hippocampus. In experiments using glutamate receptor antagonists, the AMPA/KA receptor antagonist NBQX significantly attenuated the DA-induced increase in WDR35 protein expression, but the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 did not. In addition, the radical scavenger edaravone significantly attenuated the DA-induced increase in WDR35 protein expression. Furthermore, NBQX and edaravone significantly attenuated the DA-induced increase in p38 MAPK phosphorylation.
In summary, our results indicated that DA activated AMPA/KA receptors and induced ROS production and p38 MAPK phosphorylation, resulting in an increase in the expression of WDR35 in vivo.
Domoic acid; WDR35; Hippocampus; AMPA/KA receptor; ROS; p38 MAPK
Genetic networks control cellular functions. Aberrations in normal cellular function are caused by mutations in genes that disrupt the fine tuning of genetic networks and cause disease or disorder. However, the large number of signalling molecules, genes and proteins that constitute such networks, and the consequent complexity of interactions, has restrained progress in research elucidating disease mechanisms. Hence, carrying out a systematic analysis of how diseases alter the character of these networks is important. We illustrate this through our work on neurodegenerative disease networks. We created a database, NeuroDNet, which brings together relevant information about signalling molecules, genes and proteins, and their interactions, for constructing neurodegenerative disease networks.
NeuroDNet is a database with interactive tools that enables the creation of interaction networks for twelve neurodegenerative diseases under one portal for interrogation and analyses. It is the first of its kind, which enables the construction and analysis of neurodegenerative diseases through protein interaction networks, regulatory networks and Boolean networks. The database has a three-tier architecture - foundation, function and interface. The foundation tier contains the human genome data with 23857 protein-coding genes linked to more than 300 genes reported in clinical studies of neurodegenerative diseases. The database architecture was designed to retrieve neurodegenerative disease information seamlessly through the interface tier using specific functional information. Features of this database enable users to extract, analyze and display information related to a disease in many different ways.
The application of NeuroDNet was illustrated using three case studies. Through these case studies, the construction and analyses of a PPI network for angiogenin protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a signal-gene-protein interaction network for presenilin protein in Alzheimer's disease and a Boolean network for a mammalian cell cycle was demonstrated. NeuroDNet is accessible at http://bioschool.iitd.ac.in/NeuroDNet/.
Neurodegenerative diseases; Disease gene network; Protein-Protein interaction network; Boolean network; Systems analysis
If we initiate a sound by our own motor behavior, the N1 component of the auditory event-related brain potential (ERP) that the sound elicits is attenuated compared to the N1 elicited by the same sound when it is initiated externally. It has been suggested that this N1 suppression results from an internal predictive mechanism that is in the service of discriminating the sensory consequences of one’s own actions from other sensory input. As the N1-suppression effect is becoming a popular approach to investigate predictive processing in cognitive and social neuroscience, it is important to exclude an alternative interpretation not related to prediction. According to the attentional account, the N1 suppression is due to a difference in the allocation of attention between self- and externally-initiated sounds. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated the allocation of attention to the sounds in different blocks: Attention was directed either to the sounds, to the own motor acts or to visual stimuli. If attention causes the N1-suppression effect, then manipulating attention should affect the effect for self-initiated sounds.
We found N1 suppression in all conditions. The N1 per se was affected by attention, but there was no interaction between attention and self-initiation effects. This implies that self-initiation N1 effects are not caused by attention.
The present results support the assumption that the N1-suppression effect for self-initiated sounds indicates the operation of an internal predictive mechanism. Furthermore, while attention had an influence on the N1a, N1b, and N1c components, the N1-suppression effect was confined to the N1b and N1c subcomponents suggesting that the major contribution to the auditory N1-suppression effect is circumscribed to late N1 components.
Event-related brain potentials; Sensory suppression; Auditory N1 component; Attention; Predictive processing
The inactivation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is associated with anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects in cerebral ischemia, which can be induced by an imbalance between upstream phosphatases and kinases.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 7 (MKP-7) was upregulated significantly at 4 h of reperfusion postischemia in rat hippocampi. By administration of cycloheximide or siRNA against mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 7 (MKP-7) in a rat model of ischemia/reperfusion, an obvious enhancement of JNK activity was observed in 4 h of reperfusion following ischemia, suggesting MKP-7 was involved in JNK inactivation after ischemia. The subcellular localization of MKP-7 altered after ischemia, and the inhibition of MKP-7 nuclear export by Leptomycin B up-regulated JNK activity. Although PI3K/Akt inhibition could block downregulation of JNK activity through SEK1 and MKK-7 activation, PI3K/Akt activity was not associated with the regulation of JNK by MKP-7.
MKP-7, independently of PI3K/Akt pathway, played a key role in downregulation of JNK activity after ischemia in the rat hippocampus, and the export of MKP-7 from the nucleus was involved in downregulation of cytoplasmic JNK activity in response to ischemic stimuli.
Cerebral ischemia; JNK; PI3K/Akt; MKP-7
The robustness of speech perception in the face of acoustic variation is founded on the ability of the auditory system to integrate the acoustic features of speech and to segregate them from background noise. This auditory scene analysis process is facilitated by top-down mechanisms, such as recognition memory for speech content. However, the cortical processes underlying these facilitatory mechanisms remain unclear. The present magnetoencephalography (MEG) study examined how the activity of auditory cortical areas is modulated by acoustic degradation and intelligibility of connected speech. The experimental design allowed for the comparison of cortical activity patterns elicited by acoustically identical stimuli which were perceived as either intelligible or unintelligible.
In the experiment, a set of sentences was presented to the subject in distorted, undistorted, and again in distorted form. The intervening exposure to undistorted versions of sentences rendered the initially unintelligible, distorted sentences intelligible, as evidenced by an increase from 30% to 80% in the proportion of sentences reported as intelligible. These perceptual changes were reflected in the activity of the auditory cortex, with the auditory N1m response (~100 ms) being more prominent for the distorted stimuli than for the intact ones. In the time range of auditory P2m response (>200 ms), auditory cortex as well as regions anterior and posterior to this area generated a stronger response to sentences which were intelligible than unintelligible. During the sustained field (>300 ms), stronger activity was elicited by degraded stimuli in auditory cortex and by intelligible sentences in areas posterior to auditory cortex.
The current findings suggest that the auditory system comprises bottom-up and top-down processes which are reflected in transient and sustained brain activity. It appears that analysis of acoustic features occurs during the first 100 ms, and sensitivity to speech intelligibility emerges in auditory cortex and surrounding areas from 200 ms onwards. The two processes are intertwined, with the activity of auditory cortical areas being modulated by top-down processes related to memory traces of speech and supporting speech intelligibility.
Acoustic distortion; Auditory evoked magnetic fields; Auditory cortex; Human; Intelligibility; Magnetoencephalography; N1m; P2m; Speech processing; Sustained field
Although the etiology of PD remains unclear, increasing evidence has shown that oxidative stress plays an important role in its pathogenesis and that of other neurodegenerative disorders. NOX2, a cytochrome subunit of NOX, transports electrons across the plasma membrane to generate ROS, leading to physiological and pathological processes. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) can be rapidly induced by oxidative stress and other noxious stimuli in the brain or other tissues. Astaxanthin (ATX), a carotenoid with antioxidant properties, is 100–1000 times more effective than vitamin E. The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects of ATX on MPP+-induced oxidative stress in PC12 cells.
MPP+ significantly decreased MTT levels in a concentration-dependent manner. Hemin, SnPPIX and ATX didn’t exhibit any cytotoxic effects on PC12 cells. Pretreatment with ATX (5, 10, 20 μM), caused intracellular ROS production in the MPP+ group to decrease by 13.06%, 22.13%, and 27.86%, respectively. MPP+ increased NOX2, NRF2 and HO-1 protein expression compared with control (p < 0.05). Co-treatment with hemin or ATX suppressed NOX2 expression (p < 0.01), and greatly increased NRF2 and HO-1 expression (p < 0.01). MPP+ treatment up-regulated both NOX2 (p < 0.01) and HO-1 (p < 0.01) mRNA levels. Co-treatment with hemin or ATX significantly increased HO-1 mRNA levels (p < 0.01), and decreased NOX2 mRNA levels (p < 0.01). MPP+ increased NOX2 and HO-1 expression with considerable fluorescence extending out from the perinuclear region toward the periphery; this was attenuated by DPI. Co-treatment with hemin or ATX significantly up-regulated HO-1 expression and decreased NOX2 expression with considerable fluorescence intensity (stronger than the control and MPP+ groups).
ATX suppresses MPP+-induced oxidative stress in PC12 cells via the HO-1/NOX2 axis. ATX should be strongly considered as a potential neuroprotectant and adjuvant therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease; Astaxanthin; PC12 cells; MPP+; NOX2; HO-1
There are two widely used transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) methods, which differ in the use of unilateral or bilateral carotid artery reperfusion (UNICAR and BICAR). Of the two methods, UNICAR is easier to perform. This study was designed to comprehensively compare the two reperfusion methods to determine if there are any differences in outcomes.
The UNICAR and BICAR groups each included 9 rats. At baseline, the average pO2 was 20.54 ± 9.35 and 26.43 ± 7.39, for the UNICAR and BICAR groups, respectively (P = 0.519). Changes in pO2, as well as other physiological parameters measured within the ischemic lesion, were similar between the UNICAR and BICAR groups during 90 min of MCAO and the first 30 min of reperfusion (all P > 0.05). Furthermore, both the Bederson score and Garcia score, which are used for neurological assessment, were also similar (both P > 0.05). There were also no significant differences in T2WI lesion volume, DWI lesion volume, PWI lesion volume, or TTC staining infarct volume between the two groups (all P > 0.05).
UNICAR and BICAR have similar capability for inducing acute brain ischemic injury and can be considered interchangeable up to 24 hours after reperfusion.
Middle cerebral artery occlusion; Ischemia; Reperfusion method; Bilateral Carotid reperfusion; Unilateral Carotid reperfusion; Neurological deficits; Diffusion weighted imaging; Perfusion weighted imaging; Partial oxygen pressure
β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation is described as a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ perturbs a number of synaptic components including nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing α7 subunits (α7-nAChRs), which are abundantly expressed in the hippocampus and found on GABAergic interneurons. We have previously demonstrated the existence of a novel, heteromeric α7β2-nAChR in basal forebrain cholinergic neurons that exhibits high sensitivity to acute Aβ exposure. To extend our previous work, we evaluated the expression and pharmacology of α7β2-nAChRs in hippocampal interneurons and their sensitivity to Aβ.
GABAergic interneurons in the CA1 subregion of the hippocampus expressed functional α7β2-nAChRs, which were characterized by relatively slow whole-cell current kinetics, pharmacological sensitivity to dihydro-β-erythroidine (DHβE), a nAChR β2* subunit selective blocker, and α7 and β2 subunit interaction using immunoprecipitation assay. In addition, α7β2-nAChRs were sensitive to 1 nM oligomeric Aβ. Similar effects were observed in identified hippocampal interneurons prepared from GFP-GAD mice.
These findings suggest that Aβ modulation of cholinergic signaling in hippocampal GABAergic interneurons via α7β2-nAChRs could be an early and critical event in Aβ-induced functional abnormalities of hippocampal function, which may be relevant to learning and memory deficits in AD.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; Amyloid; Hippocampal interneuron; Patch-clamp; Acutely dissociated neuron
Some people can subconsciously wake up naturally (self-awakening) at a desired/planned time without external time stimuli. However, the underlying mechanism regulating this ability remains to be elucidated. This study sought to examine the relationship between hemodynamic changes in oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb) level in the prefrontal cortex and sleep structures during sleep in subjects instructed to self-awaken.
Fifteen healthy right-handed male volunteers with regular sleep habits participated in a consecutive two-night crossover study. The subjects were instructed to wake up at a specified time (“request” condition) or instructed to sleep until the morning but forced to wake up at 03:00 without prior notice (“surprise” condition). Those who awoke within ± 30 min of the planned waking time were defined as those who succeeded in self-awakening (“success” group). Seven subjects succeeded in self-awakening and eight failed.
No significant differences were observed in the amounts of sleep in each stage between conditions or between groups. On the “request” night, an increase in oxy-Hb level in the right prefrontal cortex and a decrease in δ power were observed in the “success” group around 30 min before self-awakening, whereas no such changes were observed in the “failure” group. On the “surprise” night, no significant changes were observed in oxy-Hb level or δ power in either group.
These findings demonstrate a correlation between self-awakening and a pre-awakening increase in hemodynamic activation in the right prefrontal cortex, suggesting the structure’s contribution to time estimation ability.
Time estimation ability; Self-awakening; Sleep; Cognitive science; Prefrontal cortex; Insomnia