Mapping and decoding brain activity patterns underlying learning and memory represents both great interest and immense challenge. At present, very little is known regarding many of the very basic questions regarding the neural codes of memory: are fear memories retrieved during the freezing state or non-freezing state of the animals? How do individual memory traces give arise to a holistic, real-time associative memory engram? How are memory codes regulated by synaptic plasticity? Here, by applying high-density electrode arrays and dimensionality-reduction decoding algorithms, we investigate hippocampal CA1 activity patterns of trace fear conditioning memory code in inducible NMDA receptor knockout mice and their control littermates. Our analyses showed that the conditioned tone (CS) and unconditioned foot-shock (US) can evoke hippocampal ensemble responses in control and mutant mice. Yet, temporal formats and contents of CA1 fear memory engrams differ significantly between the genotypes. The mutant mice with disabled NMDA receptor plasticity failed to generate CS-to-US or US-to-CS associative memory traces. Moreover, the mutant CA1 region lacked memory traces for “what at when” information that predicts the timing relationship between the conditioned tone and the foot shock. The degraded associative fear memory engram is further manifested in its lack of intertwined and alternating temporal association between CS and US memory traces that are characteristic to the holistic memory recall in the wild-type animals. Therefore, our study has decoded real-time memory contents, timing relationship between CS and US, and temporal organizing patterns of fear memory engrams and demonstrated how hippocampal memory codes are regulated by NMDA receptor synaptic plasticity.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a potential remedial therapy for drug craving and relapse, but the mechanism is poorly understood. We investigated changes in neurotransmitter levels during high frequency stimulation (HFS) of the unilateral NAc on morphine-induced rats. Sixty adult Wistar rats were randomized into five groups: the control group (administration of saline), the morphine-only group (systematic administration of morphine without electrode implantation), the morphine-sham-stimulation group (systematic administration of morphine with electrode implantation but not given stimulation), the morphine-stimulation group (systematic administration of morphine with electrode implantation and stimulation) and the saline-stimulation group (administration of saline with electrode implantation and stimulation). The stimulation electrode was stereotaxically implanted into the core of unilateral NAc and microdialysis probes were unilaterally lowered into the ipsilateral ventral tegmental area (VTA), NAc, and ventral pallidum (VP). Samples from microdialysis probes in the ipsilateral VTA, NAc, and VP were analyzed for glutamate (Glu) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The levels of Glu were increased in the ipsilateral NAc and VP of morphine-only group versus control group, whereas Glu levels were not significantly changed in the ipsilateral VTA. Furthermore, the levels of GABA decreased significantly in the ipsilateral NAc, VP, and VTA of morphine-only group when compared with control group. The profiles of increased Glu and reduced GABA in morphine-induced rats suggest that the presence of increased excitatory neurotransmission in these brain regions. The concentrations of the Glu significantly decreased while the levels of GABA increased in ipsilateral VTA, NAc, and VP in the morphine-stimulation group compared with the morphine-only group. No significant changes were seen in the morphine-sham stimulation group compared with the morphine-only group. These findings indicated that unilateral NAc stimulation inhibits the morphine-induced rats associated hyperactivation of excitatory neurotransmission in the mesocorticolimbic reward circuit.
Depression is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric illnesses around the world, but the current antidepressants used to treat depression have many limitations. Progressively more studies have shown that neuropeptide systems are potential novel therapeutic targets for depression. However, whether the neuropeptide trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) participates in the development of depression has not been examined. In the current experiments, we assessed the antidepressant effects of TFF3 using the forced swim test (FST), tail suspension test (TST), and chronic mild stress (CMS) paradigm. Furthermore, we determined the mechanism that underlies the antidepressant-like effects of TFF3 in the rat FST. TFF3 dose-dependently reduced immobility time in both FST and TST. CMS elevated plasma TFF3 and decreased basolateral amygdala (BLA) TFF3 levels in rats, and acute TFF3 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) treatment reversed the depressive-like behaviors induced by CMS. Furthermore, TFF3 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly increased Fos expression in the BLA, medial prefrontal cortex, and hypothalamus in rats subjected to the FST. Intra-BLA infusions of TFF3 (1 ng/side) exerted rapid antidepressant-like effects in the rat FST. Additionally, acute systemic TFF3 administration increased the level of phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt) in the BLA. Finally, intra-BLA infusions of LY294002 (5 mM/side), a specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, significantly blocked the antidepressant-like effect of TFF3. Our results demonstrated that TFF3 exerts antidepressant-like effects that might be mediated by the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in the BLA. These findings suggest a novel neuropeptide system target in the development of new antidepressants.
depression; neuropeptide; trefoil factor 3; basolateral amygdala; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; chronic mild stress; animal models; behavioral science; biological psychiatry; chronic stress; depression; unipolar/bipolar; neuropeptide
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is very common in people with diabetes. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) therapy has been developed for DPN empirically over the years. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy and safety of CHMs for patients suffering from DPN.
We performed a meta-analysis of randomized-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy and safety of CHM on DPN. Six databases were searched up to November 2012. The primary outcome measures were the absolute values or changing of motor or sensory nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and the secondary outcome measurements were clinical symptoms improvements and adverse events. The methodological quality was assessed by Jadad scale and the twelve criteria recommended by the Cochrane Back Review Group.
One hundred and sixty-three studies claimed RCTs. Ten studies with 653 individuals were further identified based on the Jadad score ≥3. These 10 studies were all of high methodological quality with a low risk of bias. Meta-analysis showed the effects of NCV favoring CHMs when compared with western conventional medicines (WCM) (P<0.05 or P<0.01). There is a significant difference in the total efficacy rate between the two groups (P<0.001). Adverse effects were reported in all of the ten included studies, and well tolerated in all patients with DPN.
Despite of the apparently positive findings and low risk of bias, it is premature to conclude the efficacy of CHMs for the treatment of DPN because of the high clinical heterogeneity and small sample sizes of the included studies. However, CHM therapy was safe for DPN. Further standardized preparation, large sample-size and rigorously designed RCTs are required.
The degree of intellectual impairment in schizophrenia patients and their relatives has been suggested to be associated with the degree of familial loading for schizophrenia. Since other psychiatric disorders are also more present in relatives of schizophrenia patients, the definition of family history should be broadened. The association between family history for psychiatric disorder and intelligence scores was investigated in patients with non-affective psychosis, their unaffected siblings and controls.
A sample of 712 schizophrenia proband families (696 patients and 766 siblings) and 427 healthy control families (517 subjects) participated in this study. Family history of psychiatric disorder was determined while excluding the data of the participating schizophrenia patient. A dichotomous division was made between families with no first- or second degree relative with psychiatric disorder and families with one or more affected relatives. Total intelligence scores were estimated by admission of the short form of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III.
A significant interaction was found between family history of psychiatric disorder and clinical status (F(2,1086.87)= 4.17; p=.016). Patients with a positive family history of psychiatric disorder obtained higher intelligence scores compared to patients with no family history (mean IQ scores are 95.52 and 92.72) with an opposite effect in controls (mean IQ scores are 108.71 and 111.19). No significant difference was found between siblings of schizophrenia patients with or without a positive family history (mean IQ scores are 102.98 and 103.24).
In patients with schizophrenia, a negative family history of psychiatric disorder was associated with relatively low IQ suggesting that the etiology in these patients may involve environmental or genetic factors which are unique to the patient and are not observed in other relatives. Possible factors include severe environmental stressors containing premature birth or brain injury and genetic factors (e.g de novo Copy Number Variants).
It is becoming increasingly evident that genetic variants contribute to the development of opioid addiction. An elucidation of these genetic factors is crucial for a better understanding of this chronic disease and may help to develop novel therapeutic strategies. In recent years, several candidate genes were implicated in opioid dependence. However, most study findings have not been replicated and additional studies are required before reported associations can be considered robust. Thus, the major objective of this study was to replicate earlier findings and to identify new genetic polymorphisms contributing to the individual susceptibility to opioid addiction, respectively. Therefore, a candidate gene association study was conducted including 142 well-phenotyped long-term opioid addicts undergoing opioid maintenance therapy and 142 well-matched healthy controls. In both study groups, 24 single nucleotide polymorphisms predominantly located in pharmacogenetic candidate genes have been genotyped using an accurate mass spectrometry based method. The most significant associations with opioid addiction (remaining significant after adjustment for multiple testing) were observed for the rs948854 SNP in the galanin gene (GAL, p = 0.001) and the rs2236861 SNP in the delta opioid receptor gene (OPRD1, p = 0.001). Moreover, an association of the ATP binding cassette transporter 1 (ABCB1) variant rs1045642 and the Mu Opioid receptor (OPRM1) variant rs9479757 with opioid addiction was observed. The present study provides further support for a contribution of GAL and OPRD1 variants to the development of opioid addiction. Furthermore, our results indicate a potential contribution of OPRM1 and ABCB1 SNPs to the development of this chronic relapsing disease. Therefore it seems important that these genes are addressed in further addiction related studies.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a monocarboxypeptidase which metabolizes angiotensin II (Ang II) to generate Ang-(1–7), has been shown to prevent cardiac hypertrophy and injury but the mechanism remains elusive. Irbesartan has the dual actions of angiotensin receptor blockade and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) activation. We hypothesized that irbesartan would exert its protective effects on ACE2 deficiency-mediated myocardial fibrosis and cardiac injury via the PPARγ signaling.
10-week-old ACE2 knockout (ACE2KO; Ace2-/y) mice received daily with irbesartan (50 mg/kg) or saline for 2 weeks. The wild-type mice (Ace2+/y) were used to the normal controls. We examined changes in myocardial ultrastructure, fibrosis-related genes and pathological signaling by real-time PCR gene array, Western blotting, Masson trichrome staining and transmission electron microscope analyses, respectively.
Compared with the Ace2+/y mice, cardiac expression of PPARα and PPARγ were reduced in Ace2-/y mice and the myocardial collagen volume fraction (CVF) and expression of fibrosis-related genes were increased, including transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), collagen I and collagen III. Moreover, ACE2 deficiency triggered cardiac hypertrophy, increased myocardial fibrosis and adverse ultrastructure injury in ACE2KO hearts with higher levels of atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), without affecting cardiac systolic function. Intriguingly, treatment with irbesartan significantly reversed ACE2 deficiency-mediated pathological hypertrophy and myocardial fibrosis in Ace2-/y mice linked with enhancement of plasma Ang-(1–7) level and downregulation of AT1 receptor in heart. Consistent with attenuation of myocardial fibrosis and ultrastructure injury, the myocardial CVF and levels of ANF, TGFβ1, CTGF, collagen I, collagen III and phosphorylated ERK1/2 were lower, and expression of PPARγ was higher in ACE2KO mice in response to irbesartan treatment, without affecting cardiac expression of PPARα, PPARδ, β-myosin heavy chain, TGFβ2 and fibronectin.
We conclude that irbesartan prevents ACE2 deficiency-mediated pathological hypertrophy and myocardial fibrosis in ACE2 mutant mice via activation of the PPARγ signaling and suppression of the TGFβ−CTGF−ERK signaling, resulting in attenuation of myocardial injury. Drugs targeting ACE2 and PPARγ represent potential candidates to prevent and treat myocardial injury and related cardiac disorders.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; Irbesartan; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ; Connective tissue growth factor; Myocardial injury
Empathy is an important psychological capacity that involves the ability to recognize and share emotions with others. In humans, empathy for others is facilitated by having had a similar prior experience. It increases with the intensity of distress that observers believe is occurring to others, and is associated with acute emotional responses to witnessing others’ distress. We sought to develop a relatively simple and fast mouse model of human empathy that resembled these characteristics. We modeled empathy by measuring the freezing of observer mice to observing the footshock of a subject mouse. Observer mice froze to subject footshocks only when they had a similar shock experience 24 hours earlier. Moreover, this freezing increased with the number of footshocks given to the subject and it was accentuated within seconds after footshock delivery. Freezing was not seen in naïve observers or in experienced observers that observed a subject who was spared footshock. Observers did not freeze to a subject’s footshock when they had experienced a swim stress 24 hours prior, demonstrating a specific effect for shared experience, as opposed to a generalized stressor in eliciting observer mouse freezing. We propose that this two-day experimental protocol resembles many aspects of human empathy in a mouse model that is amenable to transgenic analysis of neural substrates for empathy and its impairment in certain clinical disorders.
Observational and experimental studies have thus far been unable to resolve whether the CYBA C242T polymorphism is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). Therefore, we undertook a comprehensive meta-analysis to more precisely evaluate the influence of this polymorphism on CAD and potential biases.
We screened MEDLINE, Embase, CNKI, Wanfang and CBM up to January 2013 and extracted data from 22 studies with 9,279 CAD patients and 9,349 controls. A random-effects model was exploited to synthesize the inconsistent outcomes of the individual studies, while addressing between-study heterogeneity and publication bias.
The CYBA C242T polymorphism conformed to Hard-Weinberg Equilibrium for all studies (P>0.05). Overall comparison of the T allele with the C allele produced a non-significant risk estimate for CAD but with striking heterogeneity (T versus C: P = 0.87, OR = 0.99, 95%CI 0.89–1.11, Pheterogeneity<0.0001, I2 = 67.8%). However, subgroup analysis by ethnicity documented that the T allele carriers had a marginal risk increase (21%) of CAD among Caucasians (recessive genetic model: P = 0.05, 95%CI 1.00–1.46, Pheterogeneity = 0.15, I2 = 29.1%). Then data were divided into study design, the significance of CAD risk increase was substantially strengthened in matched case-control studies (allele comparison: P = 0.02, OR = 1.13, 95%CI 1.02–1.26, Pheterogeneity = 0.24, I2 = 21.6%).Further meta-regression analysis identified that a large proportion of heterogeneity was explained by body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.03, OR = 1.07, 95%CI 1.01–1.15) and study design (P = 0.03, OR = 1.30, 95%CI 1.02–1.64).There was no obvious publication bias as verified by funnel plot and Egger's linear regression test (t = −0.25, P = 0.81 for allele comparison).
Taken together, our results suggested the CYBA C242T polymorphism might be a risk-conferring factor on developing CAD and BMI and study design were probable sources of between-study heterogeneity.
Glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists exert fast-acting antidepressant effects, providing a promising way to develop a new classification of antidepressant that targets the glutamatergic system. In the present study, we examined the potential antidepressant action of 7-chlorokynurenic acid (7-CTKA), a glycine recognition site NMDA receptor antagonist, in a series of behavioural models of depression and determined the molecular mechanisms that underlie the behavioural actions of 7-CTKA.
We administered the forced swim test, novelty-suppressed feeding test, learned helplessness paradigm and chronic mild stress (CMS) paradigm in male rats to evaluate the possible rapid antidepressant-like actions of 7-CTKA. In addition, we assessed phospho-glycogen synthase kinase-3β (p-GSK3β) level, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) function, and postsynaptic protein expression in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus.
Acute 7-CTKA administration produced rapid antidepressant-like actions in several behavioural tests. It increased p-GSK3β, enhanced mTOR function and increased postsynaptic protein levels in the mPFC. Activation of GSK3β by LY294002 completely blocked the antidepressant-like effects of 7-CTKA. Moreover, 7-CTKA did not produce rewarding properties or abuse potential.
It is possible that 7-CTKA modulates glutamatergic transmission, thereby causing enduring alterations of GSK3β and mTOR signalling, although we did not provide direct evidence to support this possibility. Thus, the therapeutic involvement of synaptic adaptions engaged by 7-CTKA requires further study.
Our findings demonstrate that acute 7-CTKA administration produced rapid antidepressant-like effects, indicating that the behavioural response to 7-CTKA is mediated by GSK3β and mTOR signalling function in the mPFC.
The classical serotonergic psychedelics LSD, psilocybin, mescaline are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive. Clinical studies do not suggest that psychedelics cause long-term mental health problems. Psychedelics have been used in the Americas for thousands of years. Over 30 million people currently living in the US have used LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline.
To evaluate the association between the lifetime use of psychedelics and current mental health in the adult population.
Data drawn from years 2001 to 2004 of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health consisted of 130,152 respondents, randomly selected to be representative of the adult population in the United States. Standardized screening measures for past year mental health included serious psychological distress (K6 scale), mental health treatment (inpatient, outpatient, medication, needed but did not receive), symptoms of eight psychiatric disorders (panic disorder, major depressive episode, mania, social phobia, general anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and non-affective psychosis), and seven specific symptoms of non-affective psychosis. We calculated weighted odds ratios by multivariate logistic regression controlling for a range of sociodemographic variables, use of illicit drugs, risk taking behavior, and exposure to traumatic events.
21,967 respondents (13.4% weighted) reported lifetime psychedelic use. There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.
We did not find use of psychedelics to be an independent risk factor for mental health problems.
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a human hyperkinetic movement disorder as a result of potentially irreversible long-term chronic first-generation antipsychotic medications. Unfortunately, mechanisms involved in the development of TD have been poorly understood. Previous studies have indicated that some genetic polymorphisms of immune system and dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) genes may be involved in the pathogenesis of TD. Rs1800872 and rs72393728 are located on the promoter of interleukin-10 (IL10) and DBH gene, respectively. The genetic association between the rs1800872 and TD is unclear. Previous studies have indicated that genetic variations of IL 10 and DBH are implicated in the positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia. However, the interaction of two variations with severity of TD and symptoms of schizophrenic patients with TD has not been reported. The present study investigated whether these variations and their interaction were associated with clinical phenotypes of TD with schizophrenia in a genetically homogeneous northern Chinese Han population.
Rs1800872 and rs72393728 were genotyped in schizophrenic patients with TD (n = 372) and without TD (NTD; n = 412). The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) were applied to assess the severity of TD and psychopathology of schizophrenia, respectively.
The allele and genotype frequencies of rs1800872 and rs72393728 did not significantly differ between TD and NTD patients (p>0.05). No significant difference was found in the AIMS total score among the genotypes of two loci (p>0.05). Interestingly, the interaction of rs1800872 and rs72393728 showed a significant association with the PANSS general score (p = 0.011), and a trend toward to the PANSS total score (p = 0.055).
These findings suggest that the interaction of rs1800872 and rs72393728 variants may play a role in psychopathology of the general symptoms on PANSS in schizophrenic patients with TD in a northern Chinese Han population.
Cue-induced drug-seeking in rodents progressively increases after withdrawal from operant self-administration of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and alcohol, a phenomenon termed “incubation of drug craving.” Here, we used the opiate drug morphine and explored whether incubation of drug craving also occurs in a Pavlovian conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure in which rats learn to associate drug effects with a distinct environmental context. We also explored the role of amygdala ERK and CREB in this incubation. We found that the expression of morphine CPP progressively increases over the first 14 days after the last drug exposure in rats receiving 4 pairings of low-dose (1 or 3 mg/kg) but not high-dose (10 mg/kg) morphine with a distinct environment. The progressive increase in low-dose (3 mg/kg) morphine CPP was associated with increased ERK phosphorylation (a measure of ERK activity) and CREB (a downstream target of ERK) phosphorylation in central but not basolateral amygdala. Furthermore, inhibition of central but not basolateral amygdala ERK and CREB phosphorylation by U0126 decreased the enhanced (incubated) drug CPP after 14 days of withdrawal from morphine. Finally, stimulation of central amygdala ERK and CREB phosphorylation by NMDA enhanced drug CPP after 1 day of withdrawal from morphine, an effect reversed by U0126. These findings indicate that the rat’s response to environmental cues previously paired with morphine progressively increases or incubates over the first 14 days of withdrawal from low but not high morphine doses. Additionally, this “incubation of morphine craving” is mediated by acute activation of central amygdala ERK pathway.
Amygdala; morphine; conditioned place preference; incubation; ERK; CREB; relapse
Objective: Coronary collateral circulation is an alternative source of blood supply to myocardium in the presence of advanced coronary artery disease. We sought to determine which clinical and angiographic variables are associated with collateral development in patients with stable angina and chronic total coronary occlusion. Methods: Demographic variables, biochemical measurements, and angiographic findings were collected from 478 patients with stable angina and chronic total coronary occlusion. The presence and extent of collaterals supplying the distal aspect of a total coronary occlusion from the contra-lateral vessel were graded from 0 to 3 according to the Rentrop scoring system. Results: Low (Rentrop score of 0 or 1) and high (Rentrop score of 2 or 3) coronary collateralizations were detected in 186 and 292 patients, respectively. Despite similar age, cigarette smoking, and medical treatment, patients with low collateralization were female in a higher proportion and less hypertensive, and had higher rates of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia than those with high collateralization (for all comparisons, P<0.05). In addition, patients with low collateralization exhibited more single-vessel disease, less right coronary artery occlusion, more impaired renal function, and higher serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) compared with those with high collateralization. Multivariate analysis revealed that age of ≥65 years, female gender, diabetes, no history of hypertension, dyslipidemia, moderate to severe renal dysfunction, single-vessel disease, and elevated hsCRP levels were independently associated with low coronary collateralization. Conclusions: Coronary collateralization was reduced in almost 40% of stable angina patients with chronic total occlusion, which was related to clinical and angiographic factors. The impact of coronary collateralization on outcomes after revascularization needs further investigation.
Stable angina; Coronary collateral circulation; Risk factors; Angiography; Chronic total coronary occlusion
This study investigated whether S100A4 plays a potential role in the formation of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA).
Methods and Results
The thoracic aortas of male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 0.5 M CaCl2 or normal saline (NaCl). Animals were euthanized at specified time-points (2, 4, and 10 weeks post-TAA induction). The treated aortic segments were harvested, and mRNA levels, protein expressions and immunohistochemistry of MMP-2, MMP-9 and S100A4 were analyzed. The A7r5 cell lines were used for an in vitro study. Experiments were also performed using human TAA samples for comparison. Localized aneurysmal dilation was observed in the CaCl2-treated segments. The transcription levels of S100A4 and MMPs were elevated in CaCl2-treated segments versus controls, and a significant correlation between S100A4 and expression of MMPs was observed across all time-points. Immunohistochemical studies revealed similar expression pattern of S100A4 and MMP proteins, as well as co-localization of S100A4 with the cell lineage markers (αSMA and CD68) and inflammatory markers (MMPs and NF-κB P65 subunit). The proliferative ability of A7r5 cells after transfection with S100A4 siRNA was suppressed, and down-regulation of S100A4 inhibited MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression in vitro. Increased expression of S100A4 was observed in all layers of the aorta wall in human TAA specimens. Serum concentrations of S100A4 determined by ELISA were found to be significantly increased in TAA patients.
This study established the important roles of S100A4 and MMPs in the development of TAA.
Many patients have serious depression that is nonresponsive to medications, but refuse electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Early research suggested that isoflurane anesthesia may be an effective alternative to ECT. Subsequent studies altered drug, dose or number of treatments, and failed to replicate this success, halting research on isoflurane's antidepressant effects for a decade. Our aim was to re-examine whether isoflurane has antidepressant effects comparable to ECT, with less adverse effects on cognition.
Patients with medication-refractory depression received an average of 10 treatments of bifrontal ECT (n = 20) or isoflurane (n = 8) over 3 weeks. Depression severity (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression-24) and neurocognitive responses (anterograde and retrograde memory, processing speed and verbal fluency) were assessed at Pretreatment, Post all treatments and 4-week Follow-up.
Both treatments produced significant reductions in depression scores at Post-treatment and 4-week Follow-up; however, ECT had modestly better antidepressant effect at follow-up in severity-matched patients. Immediately Post-treatment, ECT (but not isoflurane) patients showed declines in memory, fluency, and processing speed. At Follow-up, only autobiographical memory remained below Pretreatment level for ECT patients, but isoflurane patients had greater test-retest neurocognitive score improvement.
Our data reconfirm that isoflurane has an antidepressant effect approaching ECT with less adverse neurocognitive effects, and reinforce the need for a larger clinical trial.
The majority of drug abusers are incapable of sustaining abstinence over any length of time. Accumulating evidence has linked intense and involuntary craving, Impulsive decision-making and mood disturbances to risk for relapse. However, little is known about temporal changes of these neuropsychological functions in methamphetamine (METH)-dependent individuals.
To investigate the effect of length of abstinence on decision-making, craving (baseline and cue-induced), and emotional state in METH-addicted individuals.
In this cross-sectional study, 183 adult METH-dependent patients at an addiction rehabilitation center who were abstinent for 6 days (n = 37), 14 days (n = 33), 1 month (n = 31), 3 months (n = 30), 6 months (n = 26), or 1 year (n = 30) and 39 healthy subjects were administered the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to assess decision-making performance. Depression, anxiety, and impulsivity were also examined. One hundred thirty-nine METH abusers who were abstinent for the aforementioned times then underwent a cue session, and subjective and physiological measures were assessed.
METH dependent individuals who were abstinent for longer periods of time exhibited better decision-making than those who were abstinent for shorter periods of time. And self-reported emotional symptoms improved with abstinence. METH abusers’ ratings of craving decreased with the duration of abstinence, while cue-induced craving increased until 3 months of abstinence and decreased at 6 months and 1 year of abstinence.
We present time-dependent alterations in decision-making, emotional state, and the incubation of cue-induced craving in METH-dependent individuals, which might have significant clinical implications for the prevention of relapse.
Craving is a primary feature of opiate addiction and is clinically significant because of its potential to trigger opiate use and relapse. Opiate use can also produce abnormal pain perception. We predicted that for opiate addicts (OAs), there may be an association between these two major features of addiction (drug craving and abnormal pain responses).
To examine pain responses in abstinent opiate addicts in comparison with healthy controls using a cold-pressor test (CPT) and investigate the correlations of cue-induced drug craving with pain responses.
Material and methods
Fifty-four abstinent OAs and 46 healthy subjects participated in the CPT, and the OAs were also exposed to heroin-related cues the day before the pain test. Outcome measures included pain-tolerance time, VAS ratings of pain intensity and distress, and (in the cue-exposure procedure) VAS ratings of heroin craving and anxiety.
In the CPT, abstinent addicts showed shorter pain-tolerance time (85.1±14.1 s vs. 133.7±16.7 s, p<0.05) and higher ratings of pain distress (61±3.2 vs. 45.6±3.2, p< 0.01) compared to healthy controls. When we divided the addicts and controls into pain-sensitive (PS) and pain-tolerant (PT) groups by dichotomizing each group in terms of pain-tolerance time, we again found differences between the two PS groups (37.3±3.5 s vs. 57.4±5.1 s, p<0.01 for pain-tolerance time; 66.7±3.2 vs. 52.4±3.3, p<0.01 for distress ratings). For all participants, pain-tolerance time was negatively correlated with VAS ratings for pain intensity and distress. More importantly, the PS addicts reported greater cue-induced craving than the PT addicts (17.8±2.2 vs. 4.5±4.2, p<0.05). For the addict group as a whole, pain distress (the affective aspect of pain) was positively correlated with intensity of cue-induced craving measured on a different day (r=0.33, p=0.01).
A hyperalgesic state persists for at least 5 months in abstinent OAs and is predictive of cue-induced craving. Longitudinal research is needed to clarify the direction of causation between hyperalgesia and opiate addiction.
Craving; Heroin; Addiction; Pain
To identify risk factors for HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) and to provide a theoretical basis for prevention interventions. Between December 2011 and August 2012, a case–control study was conducted among MSM who underwent voluntary counselling and testing for HIV. Confirmed HIV-positive MSM were included in the case group, and HIV-negative MSM were included in the control group. Information on possible risk factors was collected by a survey questionnaire and a qualitative interview. The results of a conditional logistic regression showed that the following were influencing factors for HIV infection: average monthly income between 2001 and 3000 Yuan (odds ratio (OR)=6.341, 95% CI: 1.714–12.544), only sometimes using condoms when having anal sex with men in the last 6 months (OR=7.601, 95% CI: 1.359–23.083), having HIV-positive sex partners (OR=5.273, 95% CI: 1.572–17.691), rectal trauma with bleeding in the last 6 months (OR=2.947, 95% CI: 1.308–6.638), not using condoms at last sexual encounter (OR=1.278, 95% CI: 1.012–5.595), engaging in commercial sex (OR=5.925, 95% CI: 1.923–13.890) and having more than 16 sex partners in the last 6 months (OR=1.175, 95% CI: 1.021–1.353). These seven factors were the risk factors of HIV infection (OR>1). However, having anal sex less than 10 times in the previous 1 month (OR=0.002, 95% CI: 0.000–0.287) was a protective factor against HIV infection among MSM (OR<1), and insertive (OR=0.116, 95% CI: 0.000–0.236) (OR<1) anal intercourse influenced HIV infection. Interventions should be targeted at MSM whose average monthly income is between 2001 and 3000 Yuan, and who engage in commercial sex. In addition, the importance of using condoms at every sexual encounter should be emphasised in health education, as should the treatment of rectal trauma with bleeding. Finally, MSM should decrease the number of sex partners and frequency of anal sex to decrease the rate of HIV infection.
case–control study; HIV infection; influencing factors; men who have sex with men (MSM)
Drug use and relapse involve learned associations between drug-associated environmental cues and drug effects. Extinction procedures in the clinic can suppress conditioned responses to drug cues, but the extinguished responses typically reemerge after exposure to the drug itself (reinstatement), the drug-associated environment (renewal), or the passage of time (spontaneous recovery). We describe a memory retrieval-extinction procedure that decreases conditioned drug effects and drug seeking in rat models of relapse, and drug craving in abstinent heroin addicts. In rats, daily retrieval of drug-associated memories 10 minutes or 1 hour but not 6 hours before extinction sessions attenuated drug-induced reinstatement, spontaneous recovery, and renewal of conditioned drug effects and drug seeking. In heroin addicts, retrieval of drug-associated memories 10 minutes before extinction sessions attenuated cue-induced heroin craving 1, 30, and 180 days later. The memory retrieval-extinction procedure is a promising nonpharmacological method for decreasing drug craving and relapse during abstinence.
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a neurotoxin found in puffer fish and other marine animals. New clinical studies suggest that low-dose TTX can safely relieve severe, treatment-resistant cancer pain. The therapeutic potential of TTX in addiction is supported by studies in laboratory animals. The purpose of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to assess the effect of a single intramuscular dose of TTX on cue-induced craving and anxiety in abstinent heroin addicts.
Forty-five abstinent heroin addicts were randomly assigned to three treatment groups: placebo, 5 μg TTX, or 10 μg TTX. Participants were exposed to a neutral video or a heroin-related video. Craving, anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate were measured pre- and post-exposure.
Heroin-related cues increased both craving and anxiety and had no effect on blood pressure and heart rate. A single dose of TTX dose-dependently attenuated the increases in craving and anxiety while having no effect on blood pressure or heart rate.
The results suggest that low-dose TTX is acutely effective in reducing cue-induced increases in heroin craving and associated anxiety.
Drug cues; Heroin dependence; Tetrodotoxin; Craving
Aconitum, widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis for thousands of years, is a toxic herb that can frequently cause fatal cardiac poisoning. Aconitum toxicity could be decreased by properly hydrolyzing diester-diterpene alkaloids into monoester-diterpene alkaloids. Monoester-diterpene alkaloids, including benzoylaconine (BAC), benzoylmesaconine (BMA), and benzoylhypaconine (BHA), are the primary active and toxic constituents of processed Aconitum. Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes protect the human body by functioning as the defense line that limits the invasion of toxicants. Our purposes were to identify the CYP metabolites of BAC, BMA, and BHA in human liver microsomes and to distinguish which isozymes are responsible for their metabolism through the use of chemical inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and cDNA-expressed CYP enzyme. High-resolution mass spectrometry was used to characterize the metabolites. A total of 7, 8, and 9 metabolites were detected for BAC, BMA, and BHA, respectively. The main metabolic pathways were demethylation, dehydrogenation, demethylation-dehydrogenation, hydroxylation and didemethylation, which produced less toxic metabolites by decomposing the group responsible for the toxicity of the parent compound. Taken together, the results of the chemical inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and cDNA-expressed CYP enzymes experiments demonstrated that CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 have essential functions in the metabolism of BAC, BMA, and BHA.
To estimate, via meta-analysis, the influence of different methadone dose ranges and dosing strategies on retention rates in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).
A systematic literature search identified 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating methadone dose and retention. Retention was defined as the percentage of patients remaining in treatment at a specified time point. After initial univariate analyses of retention by Pearson chi-squares, we used multilevel logistic regression to calculate summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for the effects of methadone dose (above or below 60 mg/day), flexible vs. fixed dosing strategy, and duration of follow-up.
The total number of opioid-dependent participants in the 18 studies was 2831, with 1797 in MMT and 1034 receiving alternative mediations or placebo. Each variable significantly predicted retention with the other variables controlled for. Retention was greater with methadone doses ≥ 60 than with doses <60 (OR: 1.74, 95% CI: 1.43–2.11). Similarly, retention was greater with flexible-dose strategies than with fixed-dose strategies (OR: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.41–2.11).
Higher doses of methadone and individualization of doses are each independently associated with better retention in MMT.
Dosing strategy; meta-analysis; methadone; opioid dependence; retention