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J Neurosci [journal]
- Protection from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss by Kv2.2 Potassium Currents in the Central Medial Olivocochlear System. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9113-9121.
The central auditory brainstem provides an efferent projection known as the medial olivocochlear (MOC) system, which regulates the cochlear amplifier and mediates protection on exposure to loud sound. It arises from neurons of the ventral nucleus of the trapezoid body (VNTB), so control of neuronal excitability in this pathway has profound effects on hearing. The VNTB and the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body are the only sites of expression for the Kv2.2 voltage-gated potassium channel in the auditory brainstem, consistent with a specialized function of these channels. In the absence of unambiguous antagonists, we used recombinant and transgenic methods to examine how Kv2.2 contributes to MOC efferent function. Viral gene transfer of dominant-negative Kv2.2 in wild-type mice suppressed outward K(+) currents, increasing action potential (AP) half-width and reducing repetitive firing. Similarly, VNTB neurons from Kv2.2 knock-out mice (Kv2.2KO) also showed increased AP duration. Control experiments established that Kv2.2 was not expressed in the cochlea, so any changes in auditory function in the Kv2.2KO mouse must be of central origin. Further, in vivo recordings of auditory brainstem responses revealed that these Kv2.2KO mice were more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss. We conclude that Kv2.2 regulates neuronal excitability in these brainstem nuclei by maintaining short APs and enhancing high-frequency firing. This safeguards efferent MOC firing during high-intensity sounds and is crucial in the mediation of protection after auditory overexposure.
- Neuronal Mechanisms of Respiratory Pattern Generation Are Evolutionary Conserved. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9104-9112.
A brainstem region, the paratrigeminal respiratory group (pTRG), has been suggested to play a crucial role in the respiratory rhythm generation in lampreys. However, a detailed characterization of the pTRG region is lacking. The present study performed on isolated brainstem preparations of adult lampreys provides a more precise localization of the pTRG region with regard to both connectivity and neurochemical markers. pTRG neurons projecting to the vagal motoneuronal pool were identified in a restricted area of the rostral rhombencephalon at the level of the isthmic Müller cell I1 close to sulcus limitans of His. Unilateral microinjections of lidocaine, muscimol, or glutamate antagonists into the pTRG inhibited completely the bilateral respiratory activity. In contrast, microinjections of glutamate agonists enhanced the respiratory activity, suggesting that this region is critical for the respiratory pattern generation. The retrogradely labeled pTRG neurons are glutamatergic and surrounded by terminals with intense substance P immunoreactivity. Cholinergic neurons were seen close to, and intermingled with, pTRG neurons. In addition, α-bungarotoxin binding sites (indicating nicotinic receptors) were found throughout the pTRG area and particularly on the soma of these neurons. During apnea, induced by blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors within the same region, microinjections of 1 μm substance P or 1 mm nicotine into the pTRG restored rhythmic respiratory activity. The results emphasize the close similarities between the pTRG and the mammalian pre-Bötzinger complex as a crucial site for respiratory rhythmogenesis. We conclude that some basic features of the excitatory neurons proposed to generate respiratory rhythms are conserved throughout evolution.
- Blocking Glutamate-Mediated Inferior Olivary Signals Abolishes Expression of Conditioned Eyeblinks But Does Not Prevent Their Acquisition. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9097-9103.
The inferior olive (IO) is considered a crucial component of the eyeblink conditioning network. The cerebellar learning hypothesis proposes that the IO provides the cerebellum with a teaching signal that is required for the acquisition and maintenance of conditioned eyeblinks. Supporting this concept, previous experiments showed that lesions or inactivation of the IO blocked CR acquisition. However, these studies were not conclusive. The drawback of the methods used by those studies is that they not only blocked task-related signals, but also completely shut down the spontaneous activity within the IO, which affects the rest of the eyeblink circuits in a nonspecific manner. We hypothesized that more selective blocking of task-related IO signals could be achieved by using injections of glutamate antagonists, which reduce, but do not eliminate, the spontaneous activity in the IO. We expected that if glutamate-mediated IO signals are required for learning, then blocking these signals during training sessions should prevent conditioned response (CR) acquisition. To test this prediction, rabbits were trained to acquire conditioned eyeblinks to a mild vibrissal airpuff as the conditioned stimulus while injections of the glutamate antagonist γ-d-glutamylglycine were administered to the IO. Remarkably, even though this treatment suppressed CRs during training sessions, the postacquisition retention test revealed that CR acquisition had not been abolished. The ability to acquire CRs with IO unconditioned stimulus signals that were blocked or severely suppressed suggests that mechanisms responsible for CR acquisition are extremely resilient and probably less dependent on IO-task-related signals than previously thought.
- Interval Tuning in the Primate Medial Premotor Cortex as a General Timing Mechanism. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9082-9096.
The precise quantification of time during motor performance is critical for many complex behaviors, including musical execution, speech articulation, and sports; however, its neural mechanisms are primarily unknown. We found that neurons in the medial premotor cortex (MPC) of behaving monkeys are tuned to the duration of produced intervals during rhythmic tapping tasks. Interval-tuned neurons showed similar preferred intervals across tapping behaviors that varied in the number of produced intervals and the modality used to drive temporal processing. In addition, we found that the same population of neurons is able to multiplex the ordinal structure of a sequence of rhythmic movements and a wide range of durations in the range of hundreds of milliseconds. Our results also revealed a possible gain mechanism for encoding the total number of intervals in a sequence of temporalized movements, where interval-tuned cells show a multiplicative effect of their activity for longer sequences of intervals. These data suggest that MPC is part of a core timing network that uses interval tuning as a signal to represent temporal processing in a variety of behavioral contexts where time is explicitly quantified.
- A Novel Transgenic Rat Model for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 17 Recapitulates Neuropathological Changes and Supplies In Vivo Imaging Biomarkers. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9068-9081.
Spinocerebellar ataxia 17 (SCA17) is an autosomal-dominant, late-onset neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat in the TATA-box-binding protein (TBP). To further investigate this devastating disease, we sought to create a first transgenic rat model for SCA17 that carries a full human cDNA fragment of the TBP gene with 64 CAA/CAG repeats (TBPQ64). In line with previous observations in mouse models for SCA17, TBPQ64 rats show a severe neurological phenotype including ataxia, impairment of postural reflexes, and hyperactivity in early stages followed by reduced activity, loss of body weight, and early death. Neuropathologically, the severe phenotype of SCA17 rats was associated with neuronal loss, particularly in the cerebellum. Degeneration of Purkinje, basket, and stellate cells, changes in the morphology of the dendrites, nuclear TBP-positive immunoreactivity, and axonal torpedos were readily found by light and electron microscopy. While some of these changes are well recapitulated in existing mouse models for SCA17, we provide evidence that some crucial characteristics of SCA17 are better mirrored in TBPQ64 rats. Thus, this SCA17 model represents a valuable tool to pursue experimentation and therapeutic approaches that may be difficult or impossible to perform with SCA17 transgenic mice. We show for the first time positron emission tomography (PET) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data of a SCA animal model that replicate recent PET studies in human SCA17 patients. Our results also confirm that DTI are potentially useful correlates of neuropathological changes in TBPQ64 rats and raise hope that DTI imaging could provide a biomarker for SCA17 patients.
- PI3K-Akt Signaling Activates mTOR-Mediated Epileptogenesis in Organotypic Hippocampal Culture Model of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9056-9067.
mTOR is activated in epilepsy, but the mechanisms of mTOR activation in post-traumatic epileptogenesis are unknown. It is also not clear whether mTOR inhibition has an anti-epileptogenic, or merely anticonvulsive effect. The rat hippocampal organotypic culture model of post-traumatic epilepsy was used to study the effects of long-term (four weeks) inhibition of signaling pathways that interact with mTOR. Ictal activity was quantified by measurement of lactate production and electrical recordings, and cell death was quantified with lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release measurements and Nissl-stained neuron counts. Lactate and LDH measurements were well correlated with electrographic activity and neuron counts, respectively. Inhibition of PI3K and Akt prevented activation of mTOR, and was as effective as inhibition of mTOR in reducing ictal activity and cell death. A dual inhibitor of PI3K and mTOR, NVP-BEZ235, was also effective. Inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin reduced axon sprouting. Late start of rapamycin treatment was effective in reducing epileptic activity and cell death, while early termination of rapamycin treatment did not result in increased epileptic activity or cell death. The conclusions of the study are as follows: (1) the organotypic hippocampal culture model of post-traumatic epilepsy comprises a rapid assay of anti-epileptogenic and neuroprotective activities and, in this model (2) mTOR activation depends on PI3K-Akt signaling, and (3) transient inhibition of mTOR has sustained effects on epilepsy.
- Bidirectional Modulation of Cocaine Expectancy by Phasic Glutamate Fluctuations in the Nucleus Accumbens. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9050-9055.
While glutamate in the nucleus accumbens (NAS) contributes to the promotion of drug-seeking by drug-predictive cues, it also appears to play a role in the inhibition of drug-seeking following extinction procedures. Thus we measured extracellular fluctuations of NAS glutamate in response to discriminative stimuli that signaled either cocaine availability or cocaine omission. We trained rats to self-administer intravenous cocaine and then to recognize discriminative odor cues that predicted either sessions where cocaine was available or alternating sessions where it was not (saline substituted for cocaine). Whereas responding in cocaine availability sessions remained stable, responding in cocaine omission sessions progressively declined to chance levels. We then determined the effects of each odor cue on extracellular glutamate in the core and shell subregions of NAS preceding and accompanying lever pressing under an extinction condition. Glutamate levels were elevated in both core and shell by the availability odor and depressed in the core but not the shell by the omission odor. Infusion of kynurenic acid (an antagonist for ionotropic glutamate receptors) into core but not shell suppressed responding associated with the availability odor, but had no effect on the suppression associated with the omission odor. Thus cocaine-predictive cues appear to promote cocaine seeking in part by elevating glutamatergic neurotransmission in the core of NAS, whereas cocaine-omission cues appear to suppress cocaine seeking in part by depressing glutamatergic receptor activation in the same region.
- The Aging Motor System as a Model for Plastic Changes of GABA-Mediated Intracortical Inhibition and Their Behavioral Relevance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9039-9049.
Since GABAA-mediated intracortical inhibition has been shown to underlie plastic changes throughout the lifespan from development to aging, here, the aging motor system was used as a model to analyze the interdependence of plastic alterations within the inhibitory motorcortical network and level of behavioral performance. Double-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (dpTMS) was used to examine inhibition by means of short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) of the contralateral primary motor cortex in a sample of 64 healthy right-handed human subjects covering a wide range of the adult lifespan (age range 20-88 years, mean 47.6 ± 20.7, 34 female). SICI was evaluated during resting state and in an event-related condition during movement preparation in a visually triggered simple reaction time task. In a subgroup (N = 23), manual motor performance was tested with tasks of graded dexterous demand. Weak resting-state inhibition was associated with an overall lower manual motor performance. Better event-related modulation of inhibition correlated with better performance in more demanding tasks, in which fast alternating activation of cortical representations are necessary. Declining resting-state inhibition was associated with weakened event-related modulation of inhibition. Therefore, reduced resting-state inhibition might lead to a subsequent loss of modulatory capacity, possibly reflecting malfunctioning precision in GABAAergic neurotransmission; the consequence is an inevitable decline in motor function.
- Promoted Interaction of Nuclear Factor-κB with Demethylated Cystathionine-β-Synthetase Gene Contributes to Gastric Hypersensitivity in Diabetic Rats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9028-9038.
Patients with long-standing diabetes frequently demonstrate gastric hypersensitivity with an unknown mechanism. The present study was designed to investigate roles for nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and the endogenous H2S-producing enzyme cystathionine-β-synthetase (CBS) signaling pathways by examining cbs gene methylation status in adult rats with diabetes. Intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ) produced gastric hypersensitivity in female rats in response to gastric balloon distention. Treatment with the CBS inhibitor aminooxyacetic acid significantly attenuated STZ-induced gastric hypersensitivity in a dose-dependent fashion. Aminooxyacetic acid treatment also reversed hyperexcitability of gastric-specific dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons labeled by the dye DiI in diabetic rats. Conversely, the H2S donor NaHS enhanced neuronal excitability of gastric DRG neurons. Expression of CBS and p65 were markedly enhanced in gastric DRGs in diabetic rats. Blockade of NF-κB signaling using pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate reversed the upregulation of CBS expression. Interestingly, STZ treatment led to a significant demethylation of CpG islands in the cbs gene promoter region, as determined by methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite sequencing. STZ treatment also remarkably downregulated the expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a and 3b. More importantly, STZ treatment significantly enhanced the ability of cbs to bind DNA at the p65 consensus site, as shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Our findings suggest that upregulation of cbs expression is attributed to cbs promoter DNA demethylation and p65 activation and that the enhanced interaction of the cbs gene and p65 contributes to gastric hypersensitivity in diabetes. This finding may guide the development and evaluation of new treatment modalities for patients with diabetic gastric hypersensitivity.
- Clock and Light Regulation of the CREB Coactivator CRTC1 in the Suprachiasmatic Circadian Clock. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurosci 2013 May 22; 33(21):9021-9027.
The CREB/CRE transcriptional pathway has been implicated in circadian clock timing and light-evoked clock resetting. To date, much of the work on CREB in circadian physiology has focused on how changes in the phosphorylation state of CREB regulate the timing processes. However, beyond changes in phosphorylation, CREB-dependent transcription can also be regulated by the CREB coactivator CRTC (CREB-regulated transcription coactivator), also known as TORC (transducer of regulated CREB). Here we profiled both the rhythmic and light-evoked regulation of CRTC1 and CRTC2 in the murine suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the locus of the master mammalian clock. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed rhythmic expression of CRTC1 in the SCN. CRTC1 expression was detected throughout the dorsoventral extent of the SCN in the middle of the subjective day, with limited expression during early night, and late night expression levels intermediate between mid-day and early night levels. In contrast to CRTC1, robust expression of CRTC2 was detected during both the subjective day and night. During early and late subjective night, a brief light pulse induced strong nuclear accumulation of CRTC1 in the SCN. In contrast with CRTC1, photic stimulation did not affect the subcellular localization of CRTC2 in the SCN. Additionally, reporter gene profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that CRTC1 was associated with CREB in the 5' regulatory region of the period1 gene, and that overexpression of CRTC1 leads to a marked upregulation in period1 transcription. Together, these data raise the prospect that CRTC1 plays a role in fundamental aspects of SCN clock timing and entrainment.