Cell-free microRNAs stably and abundantly exist in body fluids and emerging evidence suggests cell-free microRNAs as novel and non-invasive disease biomarker. Deregulation of miR-29 is involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and insulin resistance thus may be implicated in diabetic vascular complication. Therefore, we investigated the possibility of urinary miR-29 as biomarker for diabetic nephropathy and atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes.
83 patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in this study, miR-29a, miR-29b and miR-29c levels in urine supernatant was determined by TaqMan qRT-PCR, and a synthetic cel-miR-39 was added to the urine as a spike-in control before miRNAs extraction. Urinary albumin excretion rate and urine albumin/creatinine ratio, funduscopy and carotid ultrasound were used for evaluation of diabetic vascular complication. The laboratory parameters indicating blood glucose level, renal function and serum lipids were also collected.
Patients with albuminuria (n = 42, age 60.62±12.00yrs) showed significantly higher comorbidity of diabetic retinopathy (p = 0.015) and higher levels of urinary miR-29a (p = 0.035) compared with those with normoalbuminuria (n = 41, age 58.54±14.40yrs). There was no significant difference in urinary miR-29b (p = 0.148) or miR-29c level (p = 0.321) between groups. Urinary albumin excretion rate significantly correlated with urinary miR-29a level (r = 0.286, p = 0.016), while urinary miR-29b significantly correlated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) (r = 0.286, p = 0.046).
Urinary miR-29a correlated with albuminuria while urinary miR-29b correlated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, they may have the potential to serve as alternative biomarker for diabetic nephropathy and atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes.
The ambulatory arterial stiffness index (AASI) can be used to predict cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients. However, data on AASI in Chinese patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not available.
This cross-sectional study enrolled 583 CKD patients. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between AASI and renal function and parameters of cardiovascular injury.
Patients with a higher AASI had a higher systolic blood pressure, a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a higher serum cystatin C, a higher left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Univariate analyses showed that AASI was positively correlated with serum cystatin C (r=0.296, P < 0.001), serum creatinine (r=0.182, P < 0.001), and LVMI (r = 0.205, P < 0.001) and negatively correlated with the eGFR (r = –0.200, P < 0.001). Multivariate analyses revealed that serum cystatin C, eGFR, serum creatinine and LVMI were independently correlated with AASI.
These data suggest that AASI was closely correlated with renal function and parameters of cardiovascular injury in Chinese CKD patients. Good quality, long-term, large longitudinal trials to validate the role of AASI in clinical practice for Chinese CKD patients.
Ambulatory arterial stiffness index; Chronic kidney disease; Renal function; Left ventricular mass index
Endothelial dysfunction is an early sign of diabetic cardiovascular disease and may contribute to progressive diabetic nephropathy (DN). There is increasing evidence that dysfunction of the endothelial tight junction is a crucial step in the development of endothelial hyperpermeability, but it is unknown whether this occurs in glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs) during the progression of DN. We examined tight junction dysfunction of GEnCs during early-stage DN and the potential underlying mechanisms. We also examined the effect of simvastatin (3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitor) on dysfunction of the tight junctions of cultured GEnCs and in db/db mice with early-stage DN.
We assessed the expression of occludin and ZO-1, two major components of the tight junction complex, in cultured rat GEnCs treated with high glucose and in 12 week-old db/db mice with early-stage DN. We also investigated activation of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling, GEnC permeability, and renal function of the mice.
High glucose suppresses occludin expression and disrupts occludin/ZO-1 translocation in GEnCs. These changes were associated with increased permeability to albumin and activation of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling. Occludin and ZO-1 dysregulation also occurred in the glomeruli of mice with early-stage DN, and these abnormalities were accompanied by albuminuria and activation of RhoA/ROCK1 in isolated glomeruli. Simvastatin prevented high glucose or hyperglycemia-induced dysregulation of occludin and ZO-1 by inhibition of RhoA/ROCK1 signaling in cultured GEnCs and in db/db mice with early-stage DN.
Our results indicate that activation of RhoA/ROCK1 by high glucose disrupts the expression and translocation of occludin/ZO-1 and that simvastatin alleviates occludin/ZO-1 dysregulation and albuminuria by suppressing RhoA/ROCK1 signaling during early-stage DN. These results suggest a potential therapeutic strategy for preventing the onset of albuminuria in early-stage DN.
We sought to develop a new equation to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in Chinese elderly population.
A total of 668 Chinese elderly participants, including the development cohort (n = 433), the validation cohort (n = 235) were enrolled. The new equation using the generalized additive model, and age, gender, serum creatinine as predictor variables was developed and the performances was compared with the CKD-EPI equation.
In the validation data set, both bias and precision were improved with the new equation, as compared with the CKD-EPI equation (median difference, −1.5 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. 7.4 ml/min/1.73 m2 for the new equation and the CKD-EPI equation, [P<0.001]; interquartile range [IQR] for the difference, 16.2 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. 19.0 ml/min/1.73 m2 [P<0.001]), as were accuracies (15% accuracy, 40.4% vs. 30.6% [P = 0.02]; 30% accuracy, 71.1% vs. 47.2%, [P<0.001]; 50% accuracy, 90.2% vs. 75.7%, [P<0.001]), allowing improvement in GFR categorization (GFR category misclassification rate, 37.4% vs. 53.2% [P = <0.001]).
A new equation was developed in Chinese elderly population. In the validation data set, the new equation performed better than the original CKD-EPI equation. The new equation needs further external validations. Calibration of the GFR referent standard to a more accurate one should be an useful way to improve the performance of GFR estimating equations.
High sensation seeking is associated with strong approach behaviors and weak avoidance responses. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to further characterize the neurobiological underpinnings of this behavioral profile using a Go/No-go task. Analysis of brain activation associated with response inhibition (No-go) versus response initiation and execution (Go) revealed the commonly reported right lateral prefrontal, insula, cingulate, and supplementary motor area network. However, right lateral activation was associated with greater No-go than Go responses only in low sensation seekers. High sensation seekers showed no differential activation in these regions but a more pronounced Go compared to No-go response in several other regions that are involved in salience detection (insula), motor initiation (anterior cingulate) and attention (inferior parietal cortex). Temporal analysis of the hemodynamic response for Go and No-go conditions revealed that the stronger response to Go than No-go trials in high sensation seekers occurred in in the earliest time window in the right middle frontal gyrus, right mid-cingulate and right precuneus. In contrast, the greater No-go than Go response in low sensation seekers occurred in the later time window in these same regions. These findings indicate that high sensation seekers more strongly attend to or process Go trials and show delayed or minimal inhibitory responses on No-go trials in regions that low sensation seekers use for response inhibition. Failure to engage such regions for response inhibition may underlie some of the risky and impulsive behaviors observed in high sensation seekers.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging; cognitive control; personality
We aimed to evaluate the performance of the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) creatinine–cystatin C equation in a cohort of elderly Chinese participants.
Materials and methods
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was measured in 431 elderly Chinese participants by the technetium-99m diethylene-triamine-penta-acetic acid (99mTc-DTPA) renal dynamic imaging method, and was calibrated equally to the dual plasma sample 99mTc-DTPA-GFR. Performance of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation was compared with the Cockcroft–Gault equation, the re-expressed 4-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation, and the CKD-EPI creatinine equation.
Although the bias of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation was greater than with the other equations (median difference, 5.7 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus a range from 0.4–2.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2; P<0.001 for all), the precision was improved with the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation (interquartile range for the difference, 19.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus a range from 23.0–23.6 mL/minute/1.73 m2; P<0.001 for all comparisons), leading to slight improvement in accuracy (median absolute difference, 10.5 mL/minute/1.73 m2 versus 12.2 and 11.4 mL/minute/1.73 m2 for the Cockcroft–Gault equation and the re-expressed 4-variable MDRD equation, P=0.04 for both; 11.6 mL/minute/1.73 m2 for the CKD-EPI creatinine equation, P=0.11), as the optimal scores of performance (6.0 versus a range from 1.0–2.0 for the other equations). Higher GFR category and diabetes were independent factors that negatively correlated with the accuracy of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation (β=−0.184 and −0.113, P<0.001 and P=0.02, respectively).
Compared with the creatinine-based equations, the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation is more suitable for the elderly Chinese population. However, the cost-effectiveness of the CKD-EPI creatinine–cystatin C equation for clinical use should be considered.
elderly; equation; glomerular filtration rate; serum creatinine; cystatin C
Empathy refers to the ability to perceive and share another person’s affective state. Much neuroimaging evidence suggests that observing others’ suffering and pain elicits activations of the anterior insular and the anterior cingulate cortices associated with subjective empathetic responses in the observer. However, these observations do not provide causal evidence for the respective roles of anterior insular and anterior cingulate cortices in empathetic pain. Therefore, whether these regions are ‘necessary’ for empathetic pain remains unknown. Herein, we examined the perception of others’ pain in patients with anterior insular cortex or anterior cingulate cortex lesions whose locations matched with the anterior insular cortex or anterior cingulate cortex clusters identified by a meta-analysis on neuroimaging studies of empathetic pain perception. Patients with focal anterior insular cortex lesions displayed decreased discrimination accuracy and prolonged reaction time when processing others’ pain explicitly and lacked a typical interference effect of empathetic pain on the performance of a pain-irrelevant task. In contrast, these deficits were not observed in patients with anterior cingulate cortex lesions. These findings reveal that only discrete anterior insular cortex lesions, but not anterior cingulate cortex lesions, result in deficits in explicit and implicit pain perception, supporting a critical role of anterior insular cortex in empathetic pain processing. Our findings have implications for a wide range of neuropsychiatric illnesses characterized by prominent deficits in higher-level social functioning.
anterior cingulate cortex; anterior insular cortex; empathy; meta-analysis; necessity
Accurate and precise estimates of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are essential for clinical assessments, and many methods of estimation are available. We developed a radial basis function (RBF) network and assessed the performance of this method in the estimation of the GFRs of 207 patients with type-2 diabetes and CKD.
Standard GFR (sGFR) was determined by 99mTc-DTPA renal dynamic imaging and GFR was also estimated by the 6-variable MDRD equation and the 4-variable MDRD equation.
Bland-Altman analysis indicated that estimates from the RBF network were more precise than those from the other two methods for some groups of patients. However, the median difference of RBF network estimates from sGFR was greater than those from the other two estimates, indicating greater bias. For patients with stage I/II CKD, the median absolute difference of the RBF network estimate from sGFR was significantly lower, and the P50 of the RBF network estimate (n = 56, 87.5%) was significantly higher than that of the MDRD-4 estimate (n = 49, 76.6%) (p < 0.0167), indicating that the RBF network estimate provided greater accuracy for these patients.
In patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus, estimation of GFR by our RBF network provided better precision and accuracy for some groups of patients than the estimation by the traditional MDRD equations. However, the RBF network estimates of GFR tended to have greater bias and higher than those indicated by sGFR determined by 99mTc-DTPA renal dynamic imaging.
Type 2 diabetes; Chronic kidney disease; Glomerular filtration rate; Artificial neural network
The aim of the present study was to evaluate modified glomerular filtration rate (GFR) prediction formulae in an elderly Chinese population with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
A total of 378 elderly Chinese patients with CKD were enrolled. The GFR was estimated with six modified GFR prediction formulae. The performances of the estimated GFRs were compared with those of the standard GFRs measured by technetium-99m diethyl-enetraminepentaacetic acid.
Biases were similar for Chinese formula 1, the Asian formula, and Chinese formula 2 (median difference, 2.22 mL/min/1.73 m2 and 2.59 mL/min/1.73 m2 for Chinese formula 1 and the Asian formula, respectively, versus (vs) 3.69 mL/min/1.73 m2 for Chinese formula 2 [P = 0.298 and P = 0.913, respectively]). Precision was improved with the Japanese formula (interquartile range of the difference, 3.14 mL/min/1.73 m2 of the Japanese formula versus 15.53–23.06 mL/min/1.73 m2 of the other formulae). The accuracy of Chinese formula 2 was the highest (30% accuracy, 59.3% vs range 37.8–54.0% [P < 0.05 for all comparisons]). However, none of the modified formulae surpassed the acceptable tolerance (>70%), and the GFR category misclassification rates for all the formulae exceeded 50%.
Our findings suggest that all six modified formulae developed in Asian populations may show great bias in elderly Chinese patients with CKD. Also, our study suggests the need for uniform measures for the assessment of CKD in the elderly to guarantee better sensitivity and specificity.
formula; CKD; Asian; GFR
Novel images and message content enhance visual attention and memory for high sensation seekers, but the neural mechanisms associated with this effect are unclear. To investigate the individual differences in brain responses to new and old (studied) visual stimuli, we utilized Event-related Potentials (ERP) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) measures to examine brain reactivity among high and low sensation seekers during a classic old-new memory recognition task. Twenty low and 20 high sensation seekers completed separate, but parallel, ERP and fMRI sessions. For each session, participants initially studied drawings of common images, and then performed an old-new recognition task during scanning. High sensation seekers showed greater ERP responses to new objects at the frontal N2 ERP component, compared to low sensation seekers. The ERP Novelty-N2 responses were correlated with fMRI responses in the orbitofrontal gyrus. Sensation seeking status also modulated the FN400 ERP component indexing familiarity and conceptual learning, along with fMRI responses in the caudate nucleus, which correlated with FN400 activity. No group differences were found in the late ERP positive components indexing classic old-new amplitude effects. Our combined ERP & fMRI results suggest that sensation-seeking personality affects the early brain responses to visual processing, but not the later stage of memory recognition.
novelty seeking personality; old-new effect; recognition memory; evoked potentials; brain imaging; ERP; fMRI
Emotion processing has been shown to acquire priority by biasing allocation of attentional resources. Aversive images or fearful expressions are processed quickly and automatically. Many existing findings suggested that processing of emotional information was pre-attentive, largely immune from attentional control. Other studies argued that attention gated the processing of emotion. To tackle this controversy, the current study examined whether and to what degrees attention modulated processing of emotion using a stimulus-response-compatibility (SRC) paradigm. We conducted two flanker experiments using color scale faces in neutral expressions or gray scale faces in emotional expressions. We found SRC effects for all three dimensions (color, gender, and emotion) and SRC effects were larger when the conflicts were task relevant than when they were task irrelevant, suggesting that conflict processing of emotion was modulated by attention, similar to those of color and face identity (gender). However, task modulation on color SRC effect was significantly greater than that on gender or emotion SRC effect, indicating that processing of salient information was modulated by attention to a lesser degree than processing of non-emotional stimuli. We proposed that emotion processing can be influenced by attentional control, but at the same time salience of emotional information may bias toward bottom-up processing, rendering less top-down modulation than that on non-emotional stimuli.
Accurate evaluation of glomerular filtration rates (GFRs) is of critical importance in clinical practice. A previous study showed that models based on artificial neural networks (ANNs) could achieve a better performance than traditional equations. However, large-sample cross-sectional surveys have not resolved questions about ANN performance.
A total of 1,180 patients that had chronic kidney disease (CKD) were enrolled in the development data set, the internal validation data set and the external validation data set. Additional 222 patients that were admitted to two independent institutions were externally validated. Several ANNs were constructed and finally a Back Propagation network optimized by a genetic algorithm (GABP network) was chosen as a superior model, which included six input variables; i.e., serum creatinine, serum urea nitrogen, age, height, weight and gender, and estimated GFR as the one output variable. Performance was then compared with the Cockcroft-Gault equation, the MDRD equations and the CKD-EPI equation.
In the external validation data set, Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated that the precision of the six-variable GABP network was the highest among all of the estimation models; i.e., 46.7 ml/min/1.73 m2 vs. a range from 71.3 to 101.7 ml/min/1.73 m2, allowing improvement in accuracy (15% accuracy, 49.0%; 30% accuracy, 75.1%; 50% accuracy, 90.5% [P<0.001 for all]) and CKD stage classification (misclassification rate of CKD stage, 32.4% vs. a range from 47.3% to 53.3% [P<0.001 for all]). Furthermore, in the additional external validation data set, precision and accuracy were improved by the six-variable GABP network.
A new ANN model (the six-variable GABP network) for CKD patients was developed that could provide a simple, more accurate and reliable means for the estimation of GFR and stage of CKD than traditional equations. Further validations are needed to assess the ability of the ANN model in diverse populations.
fMRI; motivation-reward; behavioral inhibition; risk for substance abuse; ADHD
A non-dipper blood pressure (BP) pattern is very common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and affects the progression and development of cardiovascular disease. However, data on the reversed dipper BP pattern on target-organ damage in Chinese CKD patients are lacking.
A total of 540 CKD patients were enrolled. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), clinical BP, ultrasonographic assessment and other clinical data were collected. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to ascertain the relationship between ABPM results and clinical parameters.
A total of 21.9% CKD patients had a reversed dipper BP pattern, 42% of patients had a non-dipper BP pattern and 36.1% of patients had a dipper BP pattern. Patients with reversed dipper BP pattern had the worst renal function and most severe cardiovascular damages among these CKD patients (p<0.05). The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) correlated significantly with the rate of decline of nocturnal BP. A reversed dipper BP pattern was an independent factor affecting kidney damage and left ventricular hypertrophy. Age, lower hemoglobin level, higher 24-h systolic BP from ABPM, and higher serum phosphate levels were independent associated with a reversed dipper BP pattern after multivariate logistic regression analyses.
The reversed dipper BP pattern is closely related to severe renal damage and cardiovascular injuries in CKD patients, and special attention should be given to these CKD patients.
Existing evidence suggests that reward and attentional networks function in concert and that activation in one system influences the other in a reciprocal fashion; however, the nature of these influences remains poorly understood. We therefore developed a three-component task to assess the interaction effects of reward anticipation and conflict resolution on the behavioral performance and the activation of brain reward and attentional systems. Sixteen healthy adult volunteers aged 21–45 years were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing the task. A two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with cue (reward vs. non-reward) and target (congruent vs. incongruent) as within-subjects factors was used to test for main and interaction effects. Neural responses to anticipation, conflict, and reward outcomes were tested. Behaviorally there were main effects of both reward cue and target congruency on reaction time. Neuroimaging results showed that reward anticipation and expected reward outcomes activated components of the attentional networks, including the inferior parietal and occipital cortices, whereas surprising non-rewards activated the frontoinsular cortex bilaterally and deactivated the ventral striatum. In turn, conflict activated a broad network associated with cognitive control and motor functions. Interaction effects showed decreased activity in the thalamus, anterior cingulated gyrus, and middle frontal gyrus bilaterally when difficult conflict trials (e.g., incongruent targets) were preceded by reward cues; in contrast, the ventral striatum and orbitofrontal cortex showed greater activation during congruent targets preceded by reward cues. These results suggest that reward anticipation is associated with lower activation in attentional networks, possibly due to increased processing efficiency, whereas more difficult, conflict trials are associated with lower activity in regions of the reward system, possibly because such trials are experienced as less rewarding.
Attention; brain reward system; fMRI; motivation; neuroimaging; neuroscience
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is recognized worldwide as a public health problem, and its prevalence increases as the population ages. However, the applicability of formulas for estimating the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on serum creatinine (SC) levels in elderly Chinese patients with CKD is limited.
Materials and methods
Based on values obtained with the technetium-99m diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (99mTc-DTPA) renal dynamic imaging method, 319 elderly Chinese patients with CKD were enrolled in this study. Serum creatinine was determined by the enzymatic method. The GFR was estimated using the Cockroft–Gault (CG) equation, the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equations, the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation, the Jelliffe-1973 equation, and the Hull equation.
The median of difference ranged from −0.3–4.3 mL/min/1.73 m2. The interquartile range (IQR) of differences ranged from 13.9–17.6 mL/min/1.73 m2. Accuracy with a deviation less than 15% ranged from 27.6%–32.9%. Accuracy with a deviation less than 30% ranged from 53.6%–57.7%. Accuracy with a deviation less than 50% ranged from 74.9%–81.5%. None of the equations had accuracy up to the 70% level with a deviation less than 30% from the standard glomerular filtration rate (sGFR). Bland–Altman analysis demonstrated that the mean difference ranged from −3.0–2.4 mL/min/1.73 m2. However, the agreement limits of all the equations, except the CG equation, exceeded the prior acceptable tolerances defined as 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. When the overall performance and accuracy were compared in different stages of CKD, GFR estimated using the CG equation showed promising results.
Our study indicated that none of these equations were suitable for estimating GFR in the elderly Chinese population investigated. At present, based on overall performance, as well as performance in different CKD stages, the CG equation may be the most accurate for estimating GFR in elderly Chinese patients with CKD.
elderly; equation; glomerular filtration rate; serum creatinine; Chinese
Attentional dysfunction is among the most consistent observations of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, the neural nature of this deficit in ASD is still unclear. In this study, we aimed to identify the neurobehavioral correlates of attentional dysfunction in ASD. We used the Attention Network Test-Revised and functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine alerting, orienting, and executive control functions, as well as the neural substrates underlying these attentional functions in unmedicated, high-functioning adults with ASD (n = 12) and matched healthy controls (HC, n = 12). Compared with HC, individuals with ASD showed increased error rates in alerting and executive control, accompanied by lower activity in the mid-frontal gyrus and the caudate nucleus for alerting, and by the absence of significant functional activation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for executive control. In addition, greater behavioral deficiency in executive control in ASD was correlated with less functional activation of the ACC. These findings of behavioral and neural abnormalities in alerting and executive control of attention in ASD may suggest core attentional deficits, which require further investigation.
Alerting; anterior cingulate cortex; attentional networks; autism; executive control
To better understand the reward circuitry in human brain, we conducted activation likelihood estimation (ALE) and parametric voxel-based meta-analyses (PVM) on 142 neuroimaging studies that examined brain activation in reward-related tasks in healthy adults. We observed several core brain areas that participated in reward-related decision making, including the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), caudate, putamen, thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), bilateral anterior insula, anterior (ACC) and posterior (PCC) cingulate cortex, as well as cognitive control regions in the inferior parietal lobule and prefrontal cortex (PFC). The NAcc was commonly activated by both positive and negative rewards across various stages of reward processing (e.g., anticipation, outcome, and evaluation). In addition, the medial OFC and PCC preferentially responded to positive rewards, whereas the ACC, bilateral anterior insula, and lateral PFC selectively responded to negative rewards. Reward anticipation activated the ACC, bilateral anterior insula, and brain stem, whereas reward outcome more significantly activated the NAcc, medial OFC, and amygdala. Neurobiological theories of reward-related decision making should therefore distributed and interrelated representations of reward valuation and valence assessment into account.
meta-analysis; reward; nucleus accumbens; orbitofrontal cortex; anterior cingulate cortex; anterior insula
Many young people experiment with cannabis, yet only a subgroup progress to dependence suggesting individual differences that could relate to factors such as genetics and behavioral traits. Dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) and proenkephalin (PENK) genes have been implicated in animal studies with cannabis exposure. Whether polymorphisms of these genes are associated with cannabis dependence and related behavioral traits is unknown.
Healthy young adults (18–27 years) with cannabis dependence and without a dependence diagnosis were studied (N = 50/group) in relation to a priori-determined single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the DRD2 and PENK genes. Negative affect, Impulsive Risk Taking and Neuroticism-Anxiety temperamental traits, positive and negative reward-learning performance and stop-signal reaction times were examined. The findings replicated the known association between the rs6277 DRD2 SNP and decisions associated with negative reinforcement outcomes. Moreover, PENK variants (rs2576573 and rs2609997) significantly related to Neuroticism and cannabis dependence. Cigarette smoking is common in cannabis users, but it was not associated to PENK SNPs as also validated in another cohort (N = 247 smokers, N = 312 non-smokers). Neuroticism mediated (15.3%–19.5%) the genetic risk to cannabis dependence and interacted with risk SNPs, resulting in a 9-fold increase risk for cannabis dependence. Molecular characterization of the postmortem human brain in a different population revealed an association between PENK SNPs and PENK mRNA expression in the central amygdala nucleus emphasizing the functional relevance of the SNPs in a brain region strongly linked to negative affect.
Overall, the findings suggest an important role for Neuroticism as an endophenotype linking PENK polymorphisms to cannabis-dependence vulnerability synergistically amplifying the apparent genetic risk.
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a clinically defined neurological condition following lack of oxygen and often associated with cardiac dysfunction in term infants. Therapeutic hypothermia after birth is neuroprotective in infants with HIE. However, it is not known whether hypothermia (HT) is also cardioprotective. Four newborn pigs were used in the pilot study and a further 18 newborn pigs (randomly assigned to 72h-normothermia (NT) or 24h-HT followed by 48h-NT) were subjected to global HIE insults. Serum cTnI was measured prior to and post the HIE insult. Blood pressure, inotropic support, blood gases and heart rate (HR) were recorded throughout. Cardiac pathology was assessed from histological sections. Cooling reduced serum cTnI levels significantly in HT pigs by 6h (NT, 1.36±0.67; HT 0.34±0.23 ng/ml, p=0.0009). After rewarming, from 24 to 30h post insult, HR and cTnI increased in the HT group; from HR[24h]=117±22 to HR[30h]=218±32 beats/minute (p=0.0002) and from cTnI[24h]=0.23±0.12 to cTnI[30h]=0.65±0.53ng/ml, (p=0.05). There were fewer ischemic lesions on cardiac examination (37%) in the HT group compared to the NT group (70%). Hypothermia (24h) pigs did not have the post-insult cTnI increase seen in NT treated pigs. There was a trend that HT improved cardiac pathology in this 3-day survival model.
The use of methamphetamine (MA) has increased in recent years, and is a major health concern throughout the world. The use of MA has been associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV-1, along with an increased probability of the acquisition of various sexually transmitted infections. In order to determine the potential effects of MA exposure in the context of an infectious agent, U937 macrophages were exposed to various combinations of MA and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Treatment with MA alone caused significant increases in the levels of TNF-α, while treatment with both MA and LPS resulted in significant increases in TNF-α, IL-1β and the chemokine IL-8. The increases in cytokine or chemokine levels seen when cells were treated with both LPS and MA were generally greater than those increases observed when cells were treated with only LPS. Treatment with chemical inhibitors demonstrated that the signal transduction pathways including NF-kB, MAPK, and PI3-Akt were involved in mediating the increased inflammatory response. As discussed in the paper, these pathways appear to be utilized by both MA and LPS, in the induction of these inflammatory mediators. Since these pathways are involved in the induction of inflammation in response to other pathogens, this suggests that MA-exacerbated inflammation may be a common feature of infectious disease in MA abusers.
The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and frontoinsular cortex (FI) have been implicated in processing information across a variety of domains, including those related to attention and emotion. However, their role in rapid information processing, for example, as required for timely processing of salient stimuli, is not well understood. Here, we designed an emotional face priming paradigm and employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to elucidate their role in these mechanisms. Target faces with either neutral or fearful emotion were briefly primed by either neutral or fearful faces, or by blank ovals. Activation in the pregenual ACC and the FI, together with other regions, such as the amygdala, were preferentially activated in response to fearful face priming, suggesting that these regions are involved in the rapid processing of salient facial emotional information.
anterior cingulate cortex; emotion; fMRI; frontoinsular cortex; priming
High sensation seeking has been linked to increased risk for drug abuse and other negative behavioral outcomes. This study explored the neurobiological basis of this personality trait using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). High sensation seekers (HSSs) and low sensation seekers (LSSs) viewed high- and low-arousal pictures. Comparison of the groups revealed that HSSs showed stronger fMRI responses to high-arousal stimuli in brain regions associated with arousal and reinforcement (right insula, posterior medial orbitofrontal cortex), whereas LSSs showed greater activation and earlier onset of fMRI responses to high-arousal stimuli in regions involved in emotional regulation (anterior medial orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate). Furthermore, fMRI response in anterior medial orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate was negatively correlated with urgency. Finally, LSSs showed greater sensitivity to the valence of the stimuli than did HSSs. These distinct neurobiological profiles suggest that HSSs exhibit neural responses consistent with an overactive approach system, whereas LSSs exhibit responses consistent with a stronger inhibitory system.
Cognitive reappraisal is a commonly used and highly adaptive strategy for emotion regulation that has been studied in healthy volunteers. Most studies to date have focused on forms of reappraisal that involve reinterpreting the meaning of stimuli and have intermixed social and non-social emotional stimuli. Here we examined the neural correlates of the regulation of negative emotion elicited by social situations using a less studied form of reappraisal known as distancing. Whole brain fMRI data were obtained as participants viewed aversive and neutral social scenes with instructions to either simply look at and respond naturally to the images or to downregulate their emotional responses by distancing. Three key findings were obtained accompanied with the reduced aversive response behaviorally. First, across both instruction types, aversive social images activated the amygdala. Second, across both image types, distancing activated the precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), intraparietal sulci (IPS), and middle/superior temporal gyrus (M/STG). Third, when distancing one’s self from aversive images, activity increased in dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), lateral prefrontal cortex, precuneus and PCC, IPS, and M/STG, meanwhile, and decreased in the amygdala. These findings demonstrate that distancing from aversive social cues modulates amygdala activity via engagement of networks implicated in social perception, perspective-taking, and attentional allocation.
Emotion; Cognitive Reappraisal; Social Cognitive Neuroscience; Emotional Distancing; Emotion Regulation; fMRI
Despite the importance of cognitive control in many cognitive tasks involving uncertainty, the computational mechanisms of cognitive control in response to uncertainty remain unclear. In this study, we develop biologically realistic neural network models to investigate the instantiation of cognitive control in a majority function task, where one determines the category to which the majority of items in a group belong. Two models are constructed, both of which include the same set of modules representing task-relevant brain functions and share the same model structure. However, with a critical change of a model parameter setting, the two models implement two different underlying algorithms: one for grouping search (where a subgroup of items are sampled and re-sampled until a congruent sample is found) and the other for self-terminating search (where the items are scanned and counted one-by-one until the majority is decided). The two algorithms hold distinct implications for the involvement of cognitive control. The modeling results show that while both models are able to perform the task, the grouping search model fit the human data better than the self-terminating search model. An examination of the dynamics underlying model performance reveals how cognitive control might be instantiated in the brain for computing the majority function.
cognitive control; uncertainty; majority function; algorithms; computational modeling; neural networks