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1.  Alcohol Affects the Brain's Resting-State Network in Social Drinkers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48641.
Acute alcohol intake is known to enhance inhibition through facilitation of GABAA receptors, which are present in 40% of the synapses all over the brain. Evidence suggests that enhanced GABAergic transmission leads to increased large-scale brain connectivity. Our hypothesis is that acute alcohol intake would increase the functional connectivity of the human brain resting-state network (RSN). To test our hypothesis, electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements were recorded from healthy social drinkers at rest, during eyes-open and eyes-closed sessions, after administering to them an alcoholic beverage or placebo respectively. Salivary alcohol and cortisol served to measure the inebriation and stress levels. By calculating Magnitude Square Coherence (MSC) on standardized Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (sLORETA) solutions, we formed cortical networks over several frequency bands, which were then analyzed in the context of functional connectivity and graph theory. MSC was increased (p<0.05, corrected with False Discovery Rate, FDR corrected) in alpha, beta (eyes-open) and theta bands (eyes-closed) following acute alcohol intake. Graph parameters were accordingly altered in these bands quantifying the effect of alcohol on the structure of brain networks; global efficiency and density were higher and path length was lower during alcohol (vs. placebo, p<0.05). Salivary alcohol concentration was positively correlated with the density of the network in beta band. The degree of specific nodes was elevated following alcohol (vs. placebo). Our findings support the hypothesis that short-term inebriation considerably increases large-scale connectivity in the RSN. The increased baseline functional connectivity can -at least partially- be attributed to the alcohol-induced disruption of the delicate balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission in favor of inhibitory influences. Thus, it is suggested that short-term inebriation is associated, as expected, to increased GABA transmission and functional connectivity, while long-term alcohol consumption may be linked to exactly the opposite effect.
PMCID: PMC3485329  PMID: 23119078
2.  Contractile properties and movement behaviour in neonatal rats with axotomy, treated with the NMDA antagonist DAP5 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:5.
It is well known that axotomy in the neonatal period causes massive loss of motoneurons, which is reflected in the reduction of the number of motor units and the alteration in muscle properties. This type of neuronal death is attributed to the excessive activation of the ionotropic glutamate receptors (glutamate excitotoxicity). In the present study we investigated the effect of the NMDA antagonist DAP5 [D-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid] in systemic administration, on muscle properties and on behavioural aspects following peripheral nerve injury.
Wistar rats were subjected to sciatic nerve crush on the second postnatal day. Four experimental groups were included in this study: a) controls (injection of 0.9% NaCl solution) b) crush c) DAP5 treated and d) crush and DAP5 treated. Animals were examined with isometric tension recordings of the fast extensor digitorum longus and the slow soleus muscles, as well as with locomotor tests at four time points, at P14, P21, P28 and adulthood (2 months).
1. Administration of DAP5 alone provoked no apparent adverse effects. 2. In all age groups, animals with crush developed significantly less tension than the controls in both muscles and had a worse performance in locomotor tests (p < 0.01). Crush animals injected with DAP5 were definitely improved as their tension recordings and their locomotor behaviour were significantly improved compared to axotomized ones (p < 0.01). 3. The time course of soleus contraction was not altered by axotomy and the muscle remained slow-contracting in all developmental stages in all experimental groups. EDL, on the other hand, became slower after the crush (p < 0.05). DAP5 administration restored the contraction velocity, even up to the level of control animals 4. Following crush, EDL becomes fatigue resistant after P21 (p < 0.01). Soleus, on the other hand, becomes less fatigue resistant. DAP5 restored the profile in both muscles.
Our results confirm that contractile properties and locomotor behaviour of animals are severely affected by axotomy, with a differential impact on fast contracting muscles. Administration of DAP5 reverses these devastating effects, without any observable side-effects. This agent could possibly show a therapeutic potential in other models of excitotoxic injury as well.
PMCID: PMC3395568  PMID: 22551202
3.  The Role of Psychobiological and Neuroendocrine Mechanisms in Appetite Regulation and Obesity 
Obesity is a multifactorial disease. Among its causes are physical inactivity and overeating. In addition, other factors may play an important role in the development of overweight/obesity. For example, certain hormones including leptin, insulin and ghrelin, may influence appetite and consequently body weight. Obesity frequently co-exists with metabolic disorders including dyslipidemia, hypertension and insulin resistance, thus constituting the metabolic syndrome which is characterized by increased cardiovascular risk.
Lack of comprehensive knowledge on obesity-related issues makes both prevention and treatment difficult. This review considers the psychobiological and neuroendocrine mechanisms of appetite and food intake. Whether these factors, in terms of obesity prevention and treatment, will prove to be relevant in clinical practice (including reducing the cardiovas-cular risk associated with obesity) remains to be established.
PMCID: PMC3549543  PMID: 23346258
Obesity; appetite; psychobiology; neuroendocrine mechanisms; leptin; insulin; ghrelin; cardiovascular risk.

Results 1-3 (3)