- Structural and functional defects of the respiratory neural system in the medulla and spinal cord of Pax6 mutant rats. [Journal Article]
- BRBrain Res Bull 2019 Jul 10
- Pax6 is an important transcription factor expressed in several discrete domains of the developing central nervous system. It has been reported that Pax6 is involved in the specification of subtypes o…
Pax6 is an important transcription factor expressed in several discrete domains of the developing central nervous system. It has been reported that Pax6 is involved in the specification of subtypes of hindbrain motor neurons. Pax6 homozygous mutant (rSey2/rSey2) rats die soon after birth, probably due to impaired respiratory movement. To determine whether the respiratory center in the medulla functions normally, we analyzed the histological and neurophysiological properties of the medulla and spinal cord in fetal rats with this mutation. First, the medulla of rSey2/rSey2 at embryonic (E) 21.5-E22.5 tended to be smaller than those from heterozygous mutant (rSey2/+) and wild-type (+/+) littermates. Through immunohistochemical analysis, we confirmed normal distribution of Phox2b-expressing cells in the parafacial respiratory group (pFRG) of rSey2/rSey2 rats. Expression of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) was weak and dispersed in rSey2/rSey2 rats. In addition, rSey2/rSey2 rats have a defect of the hypoglossal nerve root. Electrophysiological analysis using brainstem-spinal cord preparations (E21.5-E22.5) revealed that rSey2/rSey2 rats showed larger fluctuation of the amplitude of inspiratory activity monitored from the fourth cervical root although there was no significant difference in the respiratory rate among rSey2/rSey2, rSey2/+, and +/+ littermates. The response of respiratory rhythm to high CO2 was similar among all genotypes. Optical recordings of neuronal activity revealed that the activity of the pFRG tended to be weaker and inspiratory activity appeared in more scattered areas in the caudal ventral medulla in the rSey2/rSey2 rats. These results suggest that the basal activity of the respiratory system was preserved with mild impairment of the inspiratory activity in the rSey2/rSey2 rats and that the Pax6 gene is involved in the functional development of the neuronal system producing effective inspiratory motor outputs for survival.
- A behavior-based drug screening system using a Caenorhabditis elegans model of motor neuron disease. [Journal Article]
- SRSci Rep 2019 Jul 12; 9(1):10104
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons, for which there is no effective treatment. Previously, we generated a …
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons, for which there is no effective treatment. Previously, we generated a Caenorhabditis elegans model of ALS, in which the expression of dnc-1, the homologous gene of human dynactin-1, is knocked down (KD) specifically in motor neurons. This dnc-1 KD model showed progressive motor defects together with axonal and neuronal degeneration, as observed in ALS patients. In the present study, we established a behavior-based, automated, and quantitative drug screening system using this dnc-1 KD model together with Multi-Worm Tracker (MWT), and tested whether 38 candidate neuroprotective compounds could improve the mobility of the dnc-1 KD animals. We found that 12 compounds, including riluzole, which is an approved medication for ALS patients, ameliorated the phenotype of the dnc-1 KD animals. Nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker, most robustly ameliorated the motor deficits as well as axonal degeneration of dnc-1 KD animals. Nifedipine also ameliorated the motor defects of other motor neuronal degeneration models of C. elegans, including dnc-1 mutants and human TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa overexpressing worms. Our results indicate that dnc-1 KD in C. elegans is a useful model for the screening of drugs against motor neuron degeneration, and that MWT is a powerful tool for the behavior-based screening of drugs.
- Long-term imaging of dorsal root ganglia in awake behaving mice. [Journal Article]
- NCNat Commun 2019 Jul 12; 10(1):3087
- The dorsal root ganglia (DRG) contain the somas of first-order sensory neurons critical for somatosensation. Due to technical difficulties, DRG neuronal activity in awake behaving animals remains unk…
The dorsal root ganglia (DRG) contain the somas of first-order sensory neurons critical for somatosensation. Due to technical difficulties, DRG neuronal activity in awake behaving animals remains unknown. Here, we develop a method for imaging DRG at cellular and subcellular resolution over weeks in awake mice. The method involves the installation of an intervertebral fusion mount to reduce spinal movement, and the implantation of a vertebral glass window without interfering animals' motor and sensory functions. In vivo two-photon calcium imaging shows that DRG neuronal activity is higher in awake than anesthetized animals. Immediately after plantar formalin injection, DRG neuronal activity increases substantially and this activity upsurge correlates with animals' phasic pain behavior. Repeated imaging of DRG over 5 weeks after formalin injection reveals persistent neuronal hyperactivity associated with ongoing pain. The method described here provides an important means for in vivo studies of DRG functions in sensory perception and disorders.
- Reduction of ephrin-A5 aggravates disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. [Journal Article]
- ANActa Neuropathol Commun 2019 Jul 12; 7(1):114
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brainstem, spinal cord and motor cortex. ALS is characterized by genetic and clinical hetero…
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brainstem, spinal cord and motor cortex. ALS is characterized by genetic and clinical heterogeneity, suggesting the existence of genetic factors that modify the phenotypic expression of the disease. We previously identified the axonal guidance EphA4 receptor, member of the Eph-ephrin system, as an ALS disease-modifying factor. EphA4 genetic inhibition rescued the motor neuron phenotype in zebrafish and a rodent model of ALS. Preventing ligands from binding to the EphA4 receptor also successfully improved disease, suggesting a role for EphA4 ligands in ALS. One particular ligand, ephrin-A5, is upregulated in reactive astrocytes after acute neuronal injury and inhibits axonal regeneration. Moreover, it plays a role during development in the correct pathfinding of motor axons towards their target limb muscles. We hypothesized that a constitutive reduction of ephrin-A5 signalling would benefit disease progression in a rodent model for ALS. We discovered that in the spinal cord of control and symptomatic ALS mice ephrin-A5 was predominantly expressed in neurons. Surprisingly, reduction of ephrin-A5 levels in SOD1G93A mice accelerated disease progression and reduced survival without affecting disease onset, motor neuron numbers or innervated neuromuscular junctions in symptomatic mice. These findings suggest ephrin-A5 as a modifier of disease progression that might play a role in the later stages of the disease. Similarly, we identified a more aggressive disease progression in patients with lower ephrin-A5 protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid without modifying disease onset. In summary, we identified reduced expression of ephrin-A5 to accelerate disease progression in a mouse model of ALS as well as in humans. Combined with our previous findings on the role of EphA4 in ALS our current data suggests different contribution for various members of the Eph-ephrin system in the pathophysiology of a motor neuron disease.
- Scopolamine and Medial Frontal Stimulus-Processing during Interval Timing. [Journal Article]
- NNeuroscience 2019 Jul 09
- Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) involve loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain. Here, we investi…
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) involve loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain. Here, we investigate how cholinergic dysfunction impacts the frontal cortex during interval timing, a process that can be impaired in PD and AD patients. Interval timing requires participants to estimate an interval of several seconds by making a motor response, and depends on the medial frontal cortex (MFC), which is richly innervated by basal forebrain cholinergic projections. Past work has shown that scopolamine, a muscarinic cholinergic receptor antagonist, reliably impairs interval timing. We tested the hypothesis that scopolamine would attenuate time-related ramping, a key form of temporal processing in the MFC. We recorded neuronal ensembles from eight mice during performance of a 12-s fixed-interval timing task, which was impaired by the administration of scopolamine. Consistent with past work, scopolamine impaired timing. To our surprise, we found that time-related ramping was unchanged, but stimulus-related activity was enhanced in the MFC. Principal component analyses revealed no consistent changes in time-related ramping components, but did reveal changes in higher components. Taken together, these data indicate that scopolamine changes stimulus-processing rather than temporal processing in the MFC. These data could help understand how cholinergic dysfunction affects cortical circuits in diseases such as PD, DLB, and AD.
- Antipsychotics: mechanisms underlying clinical response and side-effects and novel treatment approaches based on pathophysiology. [Review]
- NNeuropharmacology 2019 Jul 09; :107704
- Antipsychotic drugs are central to the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders but are ineffective for some patients and associated with side-effects and nonadherence in others. We r…
Antipsychotic drugs are central to the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders but are ineffective for some patients and associated with side-effects and nonadherence in others. We review the in vitro, pre-clinical, clinical and molecular imaging evidence on the mode of action of antipsychotics and their side-effects. This identifies the key role of striatal dopamine D2 receptor blockade for clinical response, but also for endocrine and motor side-effects, indicating a therapeutic window for D2 blockade. We consider how partial D2/3 receptor agonists fit within this framework, and the role of off-target effects of antipsychotics, particularly at serotonergic, histaminergic, cholinergic, and adrenergic receptors for efficacy and side-effects such as weight gain, sedation and dysphoria. We review the neurobiology of schizophrenia relevant to the mode of action of antipsychotics, and for the identification of new treatment targets. This shows elevated striatal dopamine synthesis and release capacity in dorsal regions of the striatum underlies the positive symptoms of psychosis and suggests reduced dopamine release in cortical regions contributes to cognitive and negative symptoms. Current drugs act downstream of the major dopamine abnormalities in schizophrenia, and potentially worsen cortical dopamine function. We consider new approaches including targeting dopamine synthesis and storage, autoreceptors, and trace amine receptors, and the cannabinoid, muscarinic, GABAergic and glutamatergic regulation of dopamine neurons, as well as post-synaptic modulation through phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Finally, we consider treatments for cognitive and negative symptoms such dopamine agonists, nicotinic agents and AMPA modulators before discussing immunological approaches which may be disease modifying.
- Progressive neuroanatomical changes caused by Grin1 loss-of-function mutation. [Journal Article]
- NDNeurobiol Dis 2019 Jul 09; :104527
- NMDA receptor dysfunction is central to the encephalopathies caused by missense mutations in the NMDA receptor subunit genes. Missense variants of GRIN1, GRIN2A, and GRIN2B cause similar syndromes wi…
NMDA receptor dysfunction is central to the encephalopathies caused by missense mutations in the NMDA receptor subunit genes. Missense variants of GRIN1, GRIN2A, and GRIN2B cause similar syndromes with varying severity of intellectual impairment, autism, epilepsy, and motor dysfunction. To gain insight into possible biomarkers of NMDAR hypofunction, we asked whether a loss-of-function variant in the Grin1 gene would cause structural changes in the brain that could be detected by MRI. We also studied the developmental trajectory of these changes to determine whether structural changes coincided with reported cognitive impairments in the mice. We performed magnetic resonance imaging in male Grin1-/- knockdown mice (GluN1KD) that were three, six, or twelve weeks old. Deformation-based morphometry was used to assess neuroanatomical differences. Volumetric reductions were detected in substantia nigra and striatum of GluN1KD mice at all ages. Changes in limbic structures were only evident at six weeks of age. Reductions in white matter volumes were first evident at three weeks, and additional deficits were detected at six and twelve weeks. FluoroJade immunofluorescence revealed degenerating neurons in twelve-week old GluN1KD mice. We conclude that Grin1 loss-of-function mutations cause volume reductions in dopaminergic structures early in development, while changes to limbic and white matter structures are delayed and are more pronounced in post-adolescent ages. The evidence of degenerating neurons in the mature brain indicates an ongoing process of cell loss as a consequence of NMDAR hypofunction.
- Dendritic Spine Density and Dynamics of Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons of the Primary Motor Cortex Are Elevated With Aging. [Journal Article]
- CCCereb Cortex 2019 Jul 12
- It is well established that motor impairment often occurs alongside healthy aging, leading to problems with fine motor skills and coordination. Although previously thought to be caused by neuronal de…
It is well established that motor impairment often occurs alongside healthy aging, leading to problems with fine motor skills and coordination. Although previously thought to be caused by neuronal death accumulating across the lifespan, it is now believed that the source of this impairment instead stems from more subtle changes in neural connectivity. The dendritic spine is a prime target for exploration of this problem because it is the postsynaptic partner of most excitatory synapses received by the pyramidal neuron, a cortical cell that carries much of the information processing load in the cerebral cortex. We repeatedly imaged the same dendrites in young adult and aged mouse motor cortex over the course of 1 month to look for differences in the baseline state of the dendritic spine population. These experiments reveal increased dendritic spine density, without obvious changes in spine clustering, occurring at the aged dendrite. Additionally, aged dendrites exhibit elevated spine turnover and stabilization alongside decreased long-term spine survival. These results suggest that at baseline the aged motor cortex may exist in a perpetual state of relative instability and attempts at compensation. This phenotype of aging may provide clues for future targets of aging-related motor impairment remediation.
- Corticostriatal plasticity in the nucleus accumbens core. [Journal Article]
- JNJ Neurosci Res 2019 Jul 12
- Small fluctuations in striatal glutamate and dopamine are required to establish goal-directed behaviors and motor learning, while large changes appear to underlie many neuropsychological disorders, i…
Small fluctuations in striatal glutamate and dopamine are required to establish goal-directed behaviors and motor learning, while large changes appear to underlie many neuropsychological disorders, including drug dependence and Parkinson's disease. A better understanding of how variations in neurotransmitter availability can modify striatal circuitry will lead to new therapeutic targets for these disorders. Here, we examined dopamine-induced plasticity in prefrontal cortical projections to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) core. We combined behavioral measures of male mice, presynaptic optical studies of glutamate release kinetics from prefrontal cortical projections, and postsynaptic electrophysiological recordings of spiny projection neurons within the NAc core. Our data show that repeated amphetamine promotes long-lasting but reversible changes along the corticoaccumbal pathway. In saline-treated mice, coincident cortical stimulation and dopamine release promoted presynaptic filtering by depressing exocytosis from glutamatergic boutons with a low-probability of release. The repeated use of amphetamine caused a frequency-dependent, progressive, and long-lasting depression in corticoaccumbal activity during withdrawal. This chronic presynaptic depression was relieved by a drug challenge which potentiated glutamate release from synapses with a low-probability of release. D1 receptors generated this synaptic potentiation, which corresponded with the degree of locomotor sensitization in individual mice. By reversing the synaptic depression, drug reinstatement may promote allostasis by returning corticoaccumbal activity to a more stable and normalized state. Therefore, dopamine-induced synaptic filtering of excitatory signals entering the NAc core in novice mice and paradoxical excitation of the corticoaccumbal pathway during drug reinstatement may encode motor learning, habit formation, and dependence.
New Search Next
- Postural Muscle Unit Plasticity in Stroke Survivors: Altered Distribution of Gastrocnemius' Action Potentials. [Journal Article]
- FNFront Neurol 2019; 10:686
- Neuromuscular adaptations are well-reported in stroke survivors. The death of motor neurons and the reinnervation of residual muscle fibers by surviving motor neurons, for example, seem to explain th…
Neuromuscular adaptations are well-reported in stroke survivors. The death of motor neurons and the reinnervation of residual muscle fibers by surviving motor neurons, for example, seem to explain the increased density of muscle units after stroke. It is, however, unknown whether reinnervation takes place locally or extensively within the muscle. Here we combine intramuscular and surface electromyograms (EMGs) to address this issue for medial gastrocnemius (MG); a key postural muscle. While seven stroke survivors stood upright, two intramuscular and 15 surface EMGs were recorded from the paretic and non-paretic gastrocnemius. Surface EMGs were triggered with the firing instants of motor units identified through the decomposition of both intramuscular and surface EMGs. The standard deviation of Gaussian curves fitting the root mean square amplitude distribution of surface potentials was considered to assess differences in the spatial distribution of motor unit action potentials and, thus, in the distribution of muscle units between limbs. The median number of motor units identified per subject in the paretic and non-paretic sides was, respectively, 2 (range: 1-3) and 3 (1-4). Action potentials in the paretic gastrocnemius were represented at a 33% wider skin region when compared to the non-paretic muscle (Mann-Whitney; P = 0.014). Side differences in the representation of motor unit were not associated with differences in subcutaneous thickness (skipped-Spearman r = -0.53; confidence interval for r: -1.00 to 0.63). Current results suggest stroke may lead to the enlargement of the gastrocnemius muscle units recruited during standing. The enlargement of muscle units, as assessed from the skin surface, may constitute a new marker of neuromuscular plasticity following stroke.