For accuracy in navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS), determination of the hotspot location of small hand muscles is crucial because it is the basis for the resting motor threshold (RMT) and, therefore, its spatial resolution. We investigated intra- and interobserver differences of hotspot mapping to provide evidence for the reproducibility of this method.
Ten subjects underwent nTMS motor mapping of the hotspot for the abductor pollicis brevis muscle (APB) three times. The first two sessions were performed by the same examiner; the third mapping was performed by a different examiner. Distances between the first and second mappings (intraobserver variability) and between the second and third mappings (interobserver variability) were measured.
Intraobserver variability had a mean of 8.1 ± 3.3 mm (limits of agreement (LOA) 1.7 to 14.6 mm), whereas mean interobserver variability was 10.3 ± 3.3 mm (LOA 3.8 to 16.7 mm). Concerning RMT, CCC was 0.725 (95% CI: 0.276; 0.914). The mean variability in the same cortical depth was measured as 5.7 ± 3.3 mm (LOA −0.7 to 12.2 mm) for intraobserver and 9.2 ± 3.3 mm (LOA 2.7 to 15.8 mm) for interobserver examinations. When evaluating the RMT, CCC was 0.709 (95% CI: 0.244; 0.909).
Overall, intraobserver variability showed higher reliability than interobserver variability. Our findings show that we can achieve good reliability in hotspot determination, ranging within the calculated precision of the system.
Cortical mapping; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Motor mapping; Navigated brain stimulation; Motor threshold; Hand knob
Sleep restriction alters pain perception in animals and humans, and many studies have indicated that paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) promotes hyperalgesia. The hyperalgesia observed after mechanical nociceptive stimulus is reversed through nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibition. Both nitric oxide (NO) and the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray matter (dlPAG) area of the brainstem are involved in hyperalgesia. Thus, in this work, we investigated the pain-related behavior response after mechanical noxious stimuli (electronic von Frey test), and the activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPH-d), an indicator of NOS activity, within the dlPAG of paradoxical sleep-deprived rats. We also evaluated the effects of pre-treatment with L-NAME on these parameters.
These data revealed that PSD reduced the hindpaw withdrawal threshold (−47%, p < 0.0001) confirming the hyperalgesic effect of this condition. In addition, there were more NADPH-d positive cells in dlPAG after PSD than in control rats (+ 59%, p < 0.0001). L-NAME treatment prevented the reduction in the hindpaw withdrawal threshold (+ 93%, p < 0.0001) and the increase in the NADPH-d positive cells number in the dlPAG of PSD-treated rats (−36%, p < 0.0001).
These data suggest that the hyperalgesic response to mechanical noxious stimuli in paradoxical sleep-deprived rats is associated with increased NOS activity in the dlPAG, which presumably influences the descending antinociceptive pathway.
Paradoxical sleep deprivation; Nociception; NADPH-d; L-NAME
Drugs targeting insomnia ideally promote sleep throughout the night, maintain normal sleep architecture, and are devoid of residual effects associated with morning sedation. These features of an ideal compound are not only dependent upon pharmacokinetics, receptor binding kinetics, potency and pharmacodynamic activity, but also upon a compound’s mechanism of action.
Dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs) block the arousal-promoting activity of orexin peptides and, as demonstrated in the current work, exhibit an efficacy signal window dependent upon oscillating levels of endogenous orexin neuropeptide. Sleep efficacy of structurally diverse DORAs in rat and dog was achieved at plasma exposures corresponding to orexin 2 receptor (OX2R) occupancies in the range of 65 to 80%. In rats, the time course of OX2R occupancy was dependent upon receptor binding kinetics and was tightly correlated with the timing of active wake reduction. In rhesus monkeys, direct comparison of DORA-22 with GABA-A modulators at similar sleep-inducing doses revealed that diazepam produced next-day residual sleep and both diazepam and eszopiclone induced next-day cognitive deficits. In stark contrast, DORA-22 did not produce residual effects. Furthermore, DORA-22 evoked only minimal changes in quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) activity during the normal resting phase in contrast to GABA-A modulators which induced substantial qEEG changes.
The higher levels of receptor occupancy necessary for DORA efficacy require a plasma concentration profile sufficient to maintain sleep for the duration of the resting period. DORAs, with a half-life exceeding 8 h in humans, are expected to fulfill this requirement as exposures drop to sub-threshold receptor occupancy levels prior to the wake period, potentially avoiding next-day residual effects at therapeutic doses.
Dual orexin receptor antagonist; Suvorexant; Receptor occupancy; Residual effects
Anticipatory planning, the ability to anticipate future perceptual-motor demands of a goal-oriented action sequence, is essential for flexible, purposeful behavior. Once an action goal has been defined, movement details necessary to achieve that goal can be selected. Here, we investigate if anticipatory planning takes place even when multi-step actions are being carried out. How, we may ask, are the cerebral circuits involved in movement selection influenced by anticipated object-center task demands? Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to investigate how changes in corticospinal excitability (CSE) are dependent on anticipated task variables of intended future actions. Specifically, single- and paired-pulse TMS was used to evaluate corticospinal excitability during the action selection phase preparatory to grasp execution.
We found that during the premovement phase, there is an object- and muscle-specific modulation in the intrinsic hand muscle that will be used during a forthcoming grasping action. Depending on whether the participants were instructed to perform a single- or double-step movement sequence, modulation of the corticospinal output to the appropriate hand muscles was dependent on what object was to be grasped and what type of movement was being prepared. No modulation in excitability was observed during one-step movements.
Anticipation of intended task demands plays an important role in controlling multi- step actions during which ongoing behavior may need to be adjusted. This finding supports the notion that the cortico-cortical mechanism involving movement planning is specific for an object’s properties as well as for the goal of the movement sequence.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Cortical excitability; Intracortical inhibition and facilitation; Motor evoked potentials; Action planning; Multi-step action
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion in the polyglutamine (polyQ) region of the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. The clinical features of HD are characterized by cognitive, psychological, and motor deficits. Molecular instability, a core component in neurological disease progression, can be comprehensively evaluated through longitudinal transcriptomic profiling. Development of animal models amenable to longitudinal examination enables distinct disease-associated mechanisms to be identified.
Here we report the first longitudinal study of transgenic monkeys with genomic integration of various lengths of the human HTT gene and a range of polyQ repeats. With this unique group of transgenic HD nonhuman primates (HD monkeys), we profiled over 47,000 transcripts from peripheral blood collected over a 2 year timespan from HD monkeys and age-matched wild-type control monkeys.
Messenger RNAs with expression patterns which diverged with disease progression in the HD monkeys considerably facilitated our search for transcripts with diagnostic or therapeutic potential in the blood of human HD patients, opening up a new avenue for clinical investigation.
Transcriptome; Huntington’s disease; Longitudinal; Monkeys; Blood; mRNA
Drp1 is the primary protein responsible for mitochondrial fission. Perturbations of mitochondrial morphology and increased fission are seen in neurodegeneration. While Drp1 degradation induced by Parkin overexpression can be prevented by proteasome inhibition, there are numerous links between proteasomal and autophagic processes in mitochondrial protein degradation. Here we investigated the role of autophagy in Drp1 regulation.
We demonstrate that autophagy plays a major role in the control of Drp1 levels. In HEK-293T cells, inhibitors of autophagy increase total Drp1 and levels of Drp1 in the mitochondrial cellular fraction. Similarly by silencing ATG7, which is required for initiation of autophagy, there is an increased level of Drp1. Because of the role of increased Drp1 in neurodegeneration, we then examined the ability to modulate Drp1 levels in neurons by inducing autophagy. We are able to decrease Drp1 levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner with the potent neuronal autophagy inducer 10-NCP, as well as structurally related compounds. Further, 10-NCP was able increase average mitochondrial size and length verifying a functional result of Drp1 depletion in these neurons.
These pharmacological and genetic approaches indicate that autophagy targets Drp1 for lysosomal degradation. Additionally these data suggest a mechanism, through Drp1 downregulation, which may partly explain the ability of autophagy to have a neuroprotective effect.
Drp1; Autophagy; Neuron
The afferent projections from the auricular branch of the vagus nerve (ABVN) to the nucleus tractus solitaries (NTS) have been proposed as the anatomical basis for the increased parasympathetic tone seen in auriculo-vagal reflexes. As the afferent center of the vagus nerve, the NTS has been considered to play roles in the anticonvulsant effect of cervical vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Here we proposed an “auriculo-vagal afferent pathway” (AVAP), by which transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (ta-VNS) suppresses pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced epileptic seizures by activating the NTS neurons in rats.
The afferent projections from the ABVN to the NTS were firstly observed in rats. ta-VNS increased the first grand mal latency of the epileptic seizure and decreased the seizure scores in awake rats. Furthermore, when the firing rates of the NTS neurons decreased, epileptiform activity manifested as electroencephalogram (EEG) synchronization increased with 0.37±0.12 s delay in anaesthetized rats. The change of instantaneous frequency, mean frequency of the NTS neurons was negative correlated with the amplitude of the epileptic activity in EEG traces. ta-VNS significantly suppressed epileptiform activity in EEG traces via increasing the firing rates of the neurons of the NTS. In comparison with tan-VNS, the anticonvulsant durations of VNS and ta-VNS were significantly longer (P<0.01). There was no significant difference between the anticonvulsant durations of VNS and ta-VNS (P>0.05). The anticonvulsant effect of ta-VNS was weakened by reversible cold block of the NTS.
There existed an anatomical relationship between the ABVN and the NTS, which strongly supports the concept that ta-VNS has the potential for suppressing epileptiform activity via the AVAP in rats. ta-VNS will provide alternative treatments for neurological disorders, which can avoid the disadvantage of VNS.
SV2A, SV2B and SV2C are synaptic vesicle proteins that are structurally related to members of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). The function and transported substrate of the SV2 proteins is not clearly defined although they are linked to neurotransmitters release in a presynaptic calcium concentration-dependent manner. SV2A and SV2B exhibit broad expression in the central nervous system while SV2C appears to be more restricted in defined areas such as striatum. SV2A knockout mice start to display generalized seizures at a late developmental stage, around post-natal day 7 (P7), and die around P15. More recently, SV2A was demonstrated to be the molecular target of levetiracetam, an approved anti-epileptic drug (AED). The purpose of this work was to precisely analyze and quantify the SV2A, SV2B and SV2C expression during brain development to understand the contribution of these proteins in brain development and their impact on epileptic seizures.
First, we systematically analyzed by immunohistofluorescence, the SV2A, SV2B and SV2C expression during mouse brain development, from embryonic day 12 (E12) to P30. This semi-quantitative approach suggests a modulation of SV2A and SV2B expression in hippocampus around P7. This is the reason why we used various quantitative approaches (laser microdissection of whole hippocampus followed by qRT-PCR and western blot analysis) indicating that SV2A and SV2B expression increased between P5 and P7 and remained stable between P7 and P10. Moreover, the increase of SV2A expression in the hippocampus at P7 was mainly observed in the CA1 region while SV2B expression in this region remains stable.
The observed alterations of SV2A expression in hippocampus are consistent with the appearance of seizures in SV2A−/− animals at early postnatal age and the hypothesis that SV2A absence favors epileptic seizures around P7.
SV2; Mouse brain; Development; Epileptic seizures
The ability to estimate durations in the seconds-to-minutes range - interval timing - is essential for survival, adaptation and its impairment leads to severe cognitive and/or motor dysfunctions. The response rate near a memorized duration has a Gaussian shape centered on the to-be-timed interval (criterion time). The width of the Gaussian-like distribution of responses increases linearly with the criterion time, i.e., interval timing obeys the scalar property.
We presented analytical and numerical results based on the striatal beat frequency (SBF) model showing that parameter variability (noise) mimics behavioral data. A key functional block of the SBF model is the set of oscillators that provide the time base for the entire timing network. The implementation of the oscillators block as simplified phase (cosine) oscillators has the additional advantage that is analytically tractable. We also checked numerically that the scalar property emerges in the presence of memory variability by using biophysically realistic Morris-Lecar oscillators. First, we predicted analytically and tested numerically that in a noise-free SBF model the output function could be approximated by a Gaussian. However, in a noise-free SBF model the width of the Gaussian envelope is independent of the criterion time, which violates the scalar property. We showed analytically and verified numerically that small fluctuations of the memorized criterion time leads to scalar property of interval timing.
Noise is ubiquitous in the form of small fluctuations of intrinsic frequencies of the neural oscillators, the errors in recording/retrieving stored information related to criterion time, fluctuation in neurotransmitters’ concentration, etc. Our model suggests that the biological noise plays an essential functional role in the SBF interval timing.
Previous studies associate lipid peroxidation with long-term memory (LTM) failure in a gastropod model (Lymnaea stagnalis) of associative learning and memory. This process involves activation of Phospholipase A2 (PLA2), an enzyme mediating the release of fatty acids such as arachidonic acid that form the precursor for a variety of pro-inflammatory lipid metabolites. This study investigated the effect of biologically realistic challenges of L. stagnalis host defense response system on LTM function and potential involvement of PLA2, COX and LOX therein.
Systemic immune challenges by means of β-glucan laminarin injections induced elevated H2O2 release from L. stagnalis circulatory immune cells within 3 hrs of treatment. This effect dissipated within 24 hrs after treatment. Laminarin exposure has no direct effect on neuronal activity. Laminarin injections disrupted LTM formation if training followed within 1 hr after injection but had no behavioural impact if training started 24 hrs after treatment. Intermediate term memory was not affected by laminarin injection. Chemosensory and motor functions underpinning the feeding response involved in this learning model were not affected by laminarin injection. Laminarin’s suppression of LTM induction was reversed by treatment with aristolochic acid, a PLA2 inhibitor, or indomethacin, a putative COX inhibitor, but not by treatment with nordihydro-guaiaretic acid, a putative LOX inhibitor.
A systemic immune challenge administered shortly before behavioural training impairs associative LTM function in our model that can be countered with putative inhibitors of PLA2 and COX, but not LOX. As such, this study establishes a mechanistic link between the state of activity of this gastropod’s innate immune system and higher order nervous system function. Our findings underwrite the rapidly expanding view of neuroinflammatory processes as a fundamental, evolutionary conserved cause of cognitive and other nervous system disorders.
Oxidative stress; Mollusc; Classical conditioning; Laminarin; Phospholipase A2; Lipid peroxidation; Eicosanoid; Lymnaea stagnalis; Inflammation; Cyclooxygenase
Electrical stimulation of brain structures has been widely used in rodent models for kindling or modeling deep brain stimulation used clinically. This requires surgical implantation of intracranial electrodes and subsequent chronic stimulation in individual animals for several weeks. Anchoring screws and dental acrylic have long been used to secure implanted intracranial electrodes in rats. However, such an approach is limited when carried out in mouse models as the thin mouse skull may not be strong enough to accommodate the anchoring screws. We describe here a screw-free, glue-based method for implanting bipolar stimulating electrodes in the mouse brain and validate this method in a mouse model of hippocampal electrical kindling.
Male C57 black mice (initial ages of 6–8 months) were used in the present experiments. Bipolar electrodes were implanted bilaterally in the hippocampal CA3 area for electrical stimulation and electroencephalographic recordings. The electrodes were secured onto the skull via glue and dental acrylic but without anchoring screws. A daily stimulation protocol was used to induce electrographic discharges and motor seizures. The locations of implanted electrodes were verified by hippocampal electrographic activities and later histological assessments.
Using the glue-based implantation method, we implanted bilateral bipolar electrodes in 25 mice. Electrographic discharges and motor seizures were successfully induced via hippocampal electrical kindling. Importantly, no animal encountered infection in the implanted area or a loss of implanted electrodes after 4–6 months of repetitive stimulation/recording.
We suggest that the glue-based, screw-free method is reliable for chronic brain stimulation and high-quality electroencephalographic recordings in mice. The technical aspects described this study may help future studies in mouse models.
Glue; Kindling; Mice
The olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) derived from olfactory bulb (OB) may improve motor function after transplantation in injured spinal cord. However, the effects of OEC transplantation on sensory function have not been reported yet. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether OEC transplantation could affect the sensory function and to analyze the underlying mechanism.
OEC transplantation into the hemisected spinal cords can result in hyperalgesia, indicated by radiant and mechanical stimuli towards the plantar surface in rats. This could be associated with upregulation of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), indicated by RT-PCR. Immunofluorecent staining showed that BDNF was mainly located in the neurons of the laminas I and II of the dorsal horn. Moreover, a notable upregulation on the level of p-ERK (phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase), the downstream molecule of BDNF, was detected by using Western Blot. These findings indicate that the increased BDNF level associated with the p-ERK was possibly involved in neuropathic pain in hemisected spinal cord subjected to OEC transplantation.
The transplantation of OECs may induce the noticeable pain hypersensitivity in rats after hemisected spinal cord injury, and the possible mechanism may be associated with the phosphorylation of ERK and the activated BDNF overexpression.
Olfactory ensheathing cells; Spinal cord injury; Hemisection; Cell transplantation; Rat; p-ERK; BDNF; Hyperalgesia
Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in muscle atrophy and a shift of slow oxidative to fast glycolytic fibers. Electrical stimulation (ES) at least partially restores muscle mass and fiber type distribution. The objective of this study was to was to characterize the early molecular adaptations that occur in rat soleus muscle after initiating isometric resistance exercise by ES for one hour per day for 1, 3 or 7 days when ES was begun 16 weeks after SCI. Additionally, changes in mRNA levels after ES were compared with those induced in soleus at the same time points after gastrocnemius tenotomy (GA).
ES increased expression of Hey1 and Pitx2 suggesting increased Notch and Wnt signaling, respectively, but did not normalize RCAN1.4, a measure of calcineurin/NFAT signaling, or PGC-1ß mRNA levels. ES increased PGC-1α expression but not that of slow myofibrillar genes. Microarray analysis showed that after ES, genes coding for calcium binding proteins and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors were increased, and the expression of genes involved in blood vessel formation and morphogenesis was altered. Of the 165 genes altered by ES only 16 were also differentially expressed after GA, of which 12 were altered in the same direction by ES and GA. In contrast to ES, GA induced expression of genes related to oxidative phosphorylation.
Notch and Wnt signaling may be involved in ES-induced increases in the mass of paralyzed muscle. Molecular adaptations of paralyzed soleus to resistance exercise are delayed or defective compared to normally innervated muscle.
Spinal cord injury; Paralysis; Electrical stimulation; Exercise; Gene expression
Propagating waves of excitation have been observed extensively in the neocortex, during both spontaneous and sensory-evoked activity, and they play a critical role in spatially organizing information processing. However, the state-dependence of these spatiotemporal propagation patterns is largely unexplored. In this report, we use voltage-sensitive dye imaging in the rat visual cortex to study the propagation of spontaneous population activity in two discrete cortical states induced by urethane anesthesia.
While laminar current source density patterns of spontaneous population events in these two states indicate a considerable degree of similarity in laminar networks, lateral propagation in the more active desynchronized state is approximately 20% faster than in the slower synchronized state. Furthermore, trajectories of wave propagation exhibit a strong anisotropy, but the preferred direction is different depending on cortical state.
Our results show that horizontal wave propagation of spontaneous neural activity is largely dependent on the global activity states of local cortical circuits.
Traveling wave; Wave propagation; Cortex; State-dependence; Voltage-sensitive dye imaging; Urethane; Current source density; Rat visual cortex
1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) induces Parkinson’s disease (PD)-like neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) via its oxidized product, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), which is transported by the dopamine (DA) transporter into DA nerve terminals. DA receptor subtype 3 (D3 receptor) participates in neurotransmitter transport, gene regulation in the DA system, physiological accommodation via G protein-coupled superfamily receptors and other physiological processes in the nervous system. This study investigated the possible correlation between D3 receptors and MPTP-induced neurotoxicity. A series of behavioral experiments and histological analyses were conducted in D3 receptor-deficient mice, using an MPTP-induced model of PD.
After the fourth MPTP injection, wild-type animals that received 15 mg/kg per day displayed significant neurotoxin-related bradykinesia. D3 receptor-deficient mice displayed attenuated MPTP-induced locomotor activity changes. Consistent with the behavioral observations, further neurohistological assessment showed that MPTP-induced neuronal damage in the SNpc was reduced in D3 receptor-deficient mice.
Our study indicates that the D3 receptor might be an essential molecule in MPTP-induced PD and provides a new molecular mechanism for MPTP neurotoxicity.
Dopamine receptor 3; 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced neurotoxicity; Parkinson’s disease
Manipulating task difficulty is a useful way of elucidating the functional recruitment of the brain’s executive control network. In a Stroop task, pre-exposing the irrelevant word using varying stimulus onset asynchronies (‘negative’ SOAs) modulates the amount of behavioural interference and facilitation, suggesting disparate mechanisms of cognitive processing in each SOA. The current study employed a Stroop task with three SOAs (−400, -200, 0 ms), using functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate for the first time the neural effects of SOA manipulation. Of specific interest were 1) how SOA affects the neural representation of interference and facilitation; 2) response priming effects in negative SOAs; and 3) attentional effects of blocked SOA presentation.
The results revealed three regions of the executive control network that were sensitive to SOA during Stroop interference; the 0 ms SOA elicited the greatest activation of these areas but experienced relatively smaller behavioural interference, suggesting that the enhanced recruitment led to more efficient conflict processing. Response priming effects were localized to the right inferior frontal gyrus, which is consistent with the idea that this region performed response inhibition in incongruent conditions to overcome the incorrectly-primed response, as well as more general action updating and response preparation. Finally, the right superior parietal lobe was sensitive to blocked SOA presentation and was most active for the 0 ms SOA, suggesting that this region is involved in attentional control.
SOA exerted both trial-specific and block-wide effects on executive processing, providing a unique paradigm for functional investigations of the cognitive control network.
fMRI; Stroop task; Stimulus onset asynchrony; Cognitive control
Recent findings suggest that the intake of specific nutrients during the critical period in early life influence cognitive and behavioural development profoundly. Antioxidants such as vitamin E have been postulated to be pivotal in this process, as vitamin E is able to protect the growing brain from oxidative stress. Currently tocotrienols are gaining much attention due to their potent antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. It is thus compelling to look at the effects of prenatal and early postnatal tocotrienols supplementation, on cognition and behavioural development among offsprings of individual supplemented with tocotrienols. Therefore, this study is aimed to investigate potential prenatal and early postnatal influence of Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction (TRF) supplementation on cognitive function development in male offspring rats. Eight-week-old adult female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly assigned into five groups of two animals each. The animals were fed either with the base diet as control (CTRL), base diet plus vehicle (VHCL), base diet plus docosahexanoic acid (DHA), base diet plus Tocotrienol-Rich fraction (TRF), and base diet plus both docosahexaenoic acid, and tocotrienol rich fraction (DTRF) diets for 2 weeks prior to mating. The females (F0 generation) were maintained on their respective treatment diets throughout the gestation and lactation periods. Pups (F1 generation) derived from these dams were raised with their dams from birth till four weeks post natal. The male pups were weaned at 8 weeks postnatal, after which they were grouped into five groups of 10 animals each, and fed with the same diets as their dams for another eight weeks. Learning and behavioural experiments were conducted only in male off-spring rats using the Morris water maze.Eight-week-old adult female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly assigned into five groups of two animals each. The animals were fed either with the base diet as control (CTRL), base diet plus vehicle (VHCL), base diet plus docosahexanoic acid (DHA), base diet plus Tocotrienol-Rich fraction (TRF), and base diet plus both docosahexaenoic acid, and tocotrienol rich fraction (DTRF) diets for 2 weeks prior to mating. The females (F0 generation) were maintained on their respective treatment diets throughout the gestation and lactation periods. Pups (F1 generation) derived from these dams were raised with their dams from birth till four weeks post natal. The male pups were weaned at 8 weeks postnatal, after which they were grouped into five groups of 10 animals each, and fed with the same diets as their dams for another eight weeks. Learning and behavioural experiments were conducted only in male off-spring rats using the Morris water maze.
Results showed that prenatal and postnatal TRF supplementation increased the brain (4–6 fold increase) and plasma α-tocotrienol (0.8 fold increase) levels in male off-springs. There is also notably better cognitive performance based on the Morris water maze test among these male off-springs.
Based on these results, it is concluded that prenatal and postnatal TRF supplementation improved cognitive function development in male progeny rats.
Tocotrienol-rich fraction; Cognitive function; Spatial learning; Brain
Growing compelling evidence from clinical and preclinical studies has demonstrated the primary role of alterations of glutamatergic transmission in cortical and limbic areas in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. Chronic antidepressants have been shown to dampen endogenous glutamate release from rat hippocampal synaptic terminals and to prevent the marked increase of glutamate overflow induced by acute behavioral stress in frontal/prefrontal cortex. Agomelatine, a new antidepressant endowed with MT1/MT2 agonist and 5-HT2C serotonergic antagonist properties, has shown efficacy at both preclinical and clinical levels.
Chronic treatment with agomelatine, or with the reference drug venlafaxine, induced a marked decrease of depolarization-evoked endogenous glutamate release from purified hippocampal synaptic terminals in superfusion. No changes were observed in GABA release. This effect was accompanied by reduced accumulation of SNARE protein complexes, the key molecular effector of vesicle docking, priming and fusion at presynaptic membranes.
Our data suggest that the novel antidepressant agomelatine share with other classes of antidepressants the ability to modulate glutamatergic transmission in hippocampus. Its action seems to be mediated by molecular mechanisms located on the presynaptic membrane and related with the size of the vesicle pool ready for release.
Antidepressant; Agomelatine; Venlafaxine; Glutamate; Synaptosomes; Hippocampus
Both cognitive and physical exercise have been discussed as promising interventions for healthy cognitive aging. The present study assessed the effects of cognitive training (spatial vs. perceptual training) and physical training (endurance training vs. non-endurance training) on spatial learning and associated brain activation in 33 adults (40–55 years). Spatial learning was assessed with a virtual maze task, and at the same time neural correlates were measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Only the spatial training improved performance in the maze task. These behavioral gains were accompanied by a decrease in frontal and temporal lobe activity. At posttest, participants of the spatial training group showed lower activity than participants of the perceptual training group in a network of brain regions associated with spatial learning, including the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus. No significant differences were observed between the two physical intervention groups.
Functional changes in neural systems associated with spatial navigation can be induced by cognitive interventions and seem to be stronger than effects of physical exercise in middle-aged adults.
Exercise; Physical activity; Cognitive training; Cognition; Spatial memory; fMRI; Humans; Prevention
We have previously reported evidence of cell proliferation and increased neurogenesis in rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSC) after a transient excitotoxic injury to the hippocampal CA1 area induced by low concentrations of the AMPA/kainate agonist domoic acid (DOM). An increased baseline rate of neurogenesis may contribute to recovery from DOM-induced mild injury but the intracellular mechanism(s) responsible for neuronal proliferation remain unclear. The current study investigated the key intracellular pathways responsible for DOM-induced neurogenesis in OHSC including the effects of transient excitotoxicity on the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a well-known regulator of progenitor cell mitosis.
Application of a low concentration of DOM (2 μM) for 24 h followed by recovery induced a significant and long lasting increase in BDNF protein levels expressed by both neurons and microglial cells. Furthermore, the mild DOM toxicity stimulated both PKA and MEK-dependent intracellular signaling cascades and induced a significant increase in BDNF- transcription factor CREB activation and BDNF-receptor TrkB expression. Coexposure to specific inhibitors of PKA and MEK phosphorylation resulted in a significant decrease in the neurogenic marker doublecortin.
Our results suggest that transient excitotoxic insult induced by DOM produces BDNF and CREB overexpression via MEK and PKA pathways and that both pathways mediate, at least in part, the increased neural proliferation resulting from mild excitotoxicity.
Neurotoxicity; Neurogenesis; Kainate receptor agonist; Hippocampus; Organotypic cultures; Brain derived neurotrophic factor; Neurogenesis; PD98059; KN93; H89
Previous studies have suggested that the study condition of an item influences how the item is encoded. However, it is still unclear whether subsequent source memory effects are dependent upon stimulus content when the item and context are unitized. The present fMRI study investigated the effect of encoding activity sensitive to stimulus content in source memory via unitization. In the scanner, participants were instructed to integrate a study item, an object in either a word or a picture form, with perceptual context into a single image.
Subsequent source memory effects independent of stimulus content were identified in the left lateral frontal and parietal regions, bilateral fusiform areas, and the left perirhinal cortex extending to the anterior hippocampus. Content-dependent subsequent source memory effects were found only with words in the left medial frontal lobe, the ventral visual stream, and bilateral parahippocampal regions. Further, neural activity for source memory with words extensively overlapped with the region where pictures were preferentially processed than words, including the left mid-occipital cortex and the right parahippocampal cortex.
These results indicate that words that were accurately remembered with correct contextual information were processed more like pictures mediated by integrated imagery operation, compared to words that were recognized with incorrect context. In contrast, such processing did not discriminate subsequent source memory with pictures. Taken together, these findings suggest that unitization supports source memory for both words and pictures and that the requirement of the study task interacts with the nature of stimulus content in unitized source encoding.
Source memory; Content; Study processing; fMRI; Unitization
Phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate-dependent Rac Exchanger 2 (P-Rex2) is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that specifically activates Rac GTPases, important regulators of actin cytoskeleton remodeling. P-Rex2 is known to modulate cerebellar Purkinje cell architecture and function, but P-Rex2 expression and function elsewhere in the central nervous system is unclear. To better understand potential roles for P-Rex2 in neuronal cytoskeletal remodeling and function, we performed widefield and confocal microscopy of specimens double immunolabeled for P-Rex2 and cell- and synapse-specific markers in the mouse retina.
P-Rex2 was restricted to the plexiform layers of the retina and colocalized extensively with Vesicular Glutamate Transporter 1 (VGluT1), a specific marker for photoreceptor and bipolar cell terminals. Double labeling for P-Rex2 and peanut agglutinin, a cone terminal marker, confirmed that P-Rex2 was present in both rod and cone terminals. Double labeling with markers for specific bipolar cell types showed that P-Rex2 was present in the terminals of rod bipolar cells and multiple ON- and OFF-cone bipolar cell types. In contrast, P-Rex2 was not expressed in the processes or conventional synapses of amacrine or horizontal cells.
P-Rex2 is associated specifically with the glutamatergic ribbon synaptic terminals of photoreceptors and bipolar cells that transmit visual signals vertically through the retina. The Rac-GEF function of P-Rex2 implies a specific role for P-Rex2 and Rac-GTPases in regulating the actin cytoskeleton in glutamatergic ribbon synaptic terminals of retinal photoreceptors and bipolar cells and appears to be ideally positioned to modulate the adaptive plasticity of these terminals.
Photoreceptor; Bipolar cell; Cytoskeleton; GEF; Rac GTPase; Actin
Abnormal processing of esophageal sensation at the level of the central nervous system has been proven to be involved in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, most studies were focused on the possible functions of perceptual processing related network during task status, little attention has been paid to default mode network, which has been manifested to be important in the pathogenesis of many diseases. In our study, we compared the brain activity characteristic in GERD patients with the healthy subjects (HS) at baseline, looking for whether activities of default mode network were abnormal in GERD patients and attempting to identify their possible roles in GERD. In present study, fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation was adopted to detect the brain activities at baseline. Group-level analyses were conducted by one-sample t test within groups (voxel thresholds were p < 0.001 and cluster level >42, corrected P < 0.05) and independent-samples t test between groups (p < 0.01 and cluster level >90, corrected P < 0.05) using SPM5.
The predominant activity area in both groups mainly located in default mode network such as medial superior frontal gyrus, precuneus, posterior cingulate gyrus, etc. However, the activities of precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus were significantly lower in GERD patients than those in the HS.
The activities of precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus of default mode network in GERD patients were significantly lower compared to the HS, suggesting abnormal activities of brain regions in default mode network may be involved in pathophysiology of GERD symptom generation.
The neocortex is a highly specialised and complex brain structure, involved in numerous tasks, ranging from processing and interpretation of somatosensory information, to control of motor functions. The normal function linked to distinct neocortical areas might involve control of highly specific gene expression, and in order to identify such regionally enriched genes, we previously analysed the global gene expression in three different cortical regions (frontomedial, temporal and occipital cortex) from the adult rat brain. We identified distinct sets of differentially expressed genes. One of these genes, namely the hypothetical protein LOC689986 (LOC689986), was of particular interest, due to an almost exclusive expression in the temporal cortex.
Detailed analysis of LOC689986 in the adult rat brain confirmed the expression in confined areas of parieto-temporal cortex, and revealed highly specific expression in layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex, with sharp borders towards the neighbouring motor cortex. In addition, LOC689986 was found to be translated in vivo, and was detected in the somatosensory cortex and in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex. The protein was present in neuronal dendrites and also in astrocyte cells. Finally, this unique gene is apparently specific for, and highly conserved in, the vertebrate lineage.
In this study, we have partially characterised the highly conserved LOC689986 gene, which is specific to the vertebrate linage. The gene displays a distinct pattern of expression in layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex, and areas of the parieto-temporal cortex in rodents.
Cerebellum; Conservation; Cortex; Enriched expression; Somatosensory
There is increasing evidence that maternal stress may have long-term effects on brain development in the offspring. In this study, we examined whether pre-gestational stress might affect offspring rats on the medial prefrontal cortical (mPFC) dopaminergic activity in response to acute stress in puberty and if so, whether such effects exhibited hemispheric asymmetry or sexual dimorphism.
We used behavioral tests to assess the model of chronic unpredictable stress (CUS). We found that the activity in the open field test and sucrose intake test were lower for maternal rats in the CUS group than those in the control group. Offspring rats in the CUS group floated more and swam or climbed less as compared to the offsprings in the control group in the forced swimming test. The floating time was longer and swimming or climbing time was shorter in the female offspring rats than those in the males. Serum corticosterone and corticotrophin-releasing hormone levels were significantly higher for CUS maternal rats and their offsprings than the respective controls. The ratio of dihydroxy-phenyl acetic acid (DOPAC) to dopamine (DA), DA transporter (DAT), norepinephrine transporter (NET) were lower in the mPFC of offspring rats in the CUS group than the control group. Levels of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) in the left mPFC of female offspring rats and in the right mPFC of both female and male offspring rats were lower in the CUS group than those in the controls, but there was no difference in the left mPFC of male offspring between the CUS and control groups. DOPAC, the ratio of DOPAC to DA, NET and COMT were lower in the right mPFC than in the left mPFC of offspring rats in the CUS group. The ratio of DOPAC to DA in the right mPFC was lower in the female offspring rats than male offspring rats in the CUS group. The NET and COMT levels in both left and right mPFC were lower in the female offspring rats than those of the male offsprings in the CUS group.
Our data provide evidence that the effect of pre-gestational stress on the mPFC dopaminergic activity in response to acute stress exhibited hemispheric asymmetry and sexual dimorphism in the pubertal offspring rats.
Stress; Dopamine; Medial prefrontal cortex; Dopamine transporter; Norepinephrine transporter; Catechol-O-methyltransferase