Minor physical anomalies are mild, clinically and cosmetically insignificant errors of morphogenesis which have a prenatal origin and may bear major informational value for diagnostic, prognostic and epidemiological purposes. Since both the central nervous system and the skin are derived from the same ectodermal tissue in utero, minor physical anomalies can be external markers of abnormal brain development and they appear more commonly in neurodevelopmental disorders. Recently studies were published on the prevalence of minor physical anomalies in the relatives of patients with schizophrenia. In a systematic review of literature 11 studies were identified with mixed results. We suppose that the differentiation of minor malformations and phenogenetic variants can help to clarify the minor anomaly profile as a potential endophenotype in schizophrenia.
The incidence of obesity is increasing worldwide at a dramatic rate, accompanied by an associated increase in comorbid conditions. Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass being the most commonly performed procedure, yet the underlying mechanisms by which it induces a wide-array of beneficial effects remains obscure. From basic science as well as clinical standpoints, there are several areas of current interest that warrant continued investigation. Several major focus areas have also emerged in current research that may guide future efforts in this field, particularly with regards to using novel, non-surgical approaches to mimic the success of bariatric surgery while minimizing its adverse side effects.
Circulating branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are elevated in obesity and this has been linked to obesity comorbidities. However it is unclear how obesity affects alloisoleucine, a BCAA and pathognomonic marker of branched-chain keto acid dehydrogenase complex (BCKDC) disorders. It has been previously established that obese Zucker rats exhibit BCKDC impairments in fat and other tissues, whereas BCKDC impairments in adipose tissue of DIO rats are compensated by increased hepatic BCKDC activity. Therefore, alloisoleucine was investigated in these two obesity models.
Diet-induced obesity (DIO) has been shown to alter the biophysical properties and pharmacological responsiveness of vagal afferent neurones and fibres, although the effects of DIO on central vagal neurones or vagal efferent functions have never been investigated. The aims of this study were to investigate whether high-fat diet-induced DIO also affects the properties of vagal efferent motoneurones, and to investigate whether these effects were reversed following weight loss induced by Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made from rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) neurones in thin brainstem slices. The DMV neurones from rats exposed to high-fat diet for 12-14 weeks were less excitable, with a decreased membrane input resistance and decreased ability to fire action potentials in response to direct current pulse injection. The DMV neurones were also less responsive to superfusion with the satiety neuropeptides cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide 1. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass reversed all of these DIO-induced effects. Diet-induced obesity also affected the morphological properties of DMV neurones, increasing their size and dendritic arborization; RYGB did not reverse these morphological alterations. Remarkably, independent of diet, RYGB also reversed age-related changes of membrane properties and occurrence of charybdotoxin-sensitive (BK) calcium-dependent potassium current. These results demonstrate that DIO also affects the properties of central autonomic neurones by decreasing the membrane excitability and pharmacological responsiveness of central vagal motoneurones and that these changes were reversed following RYGB. In contrast, DIO-induced changes in morphological properties of DMV neurones were not reversed following gastric bypass surgery, suggesting that they may be due to diet, rather than obesity. These findings represent the first direct evidence for the plausible effect of RYGB to improve vagal neuronal health in the brain by reversing some effects of chronic high-fat diet as well as ageing. Vagovagal neurocircuits appear to remain open to modulation and adaptation throughout life, and understanding of these mechanisms may help in development of novel interventions to alleviate environmental (e.g. dietary) ailments and also alter neuronal ageing.
Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide is expressed in brain areas involved in the control of appetite, drug reward and homeostatic regulation and it has an overall anorexigenic effect. Recently, we have shown that CART peptide immunoreactivity was significantly reduced in the rostral part of the nucleus accumbens and in the rostro-medial part of the nucleus of the solitary tract in adult CCK-1 receptor deficient obese diabetic Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats compared to Long Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) lean controls. It is not clear, however, whether altered CART expression is caused primarily by the deficiency in CCK-1 signaling or whether is related to the obese and diabetic phenotype of the OLETF strain which develops at a later age. Therefore, in the present study, CART-immunoreaction in feeding-related areas of the brain was compared in young, age-matched (6-7 weeks old) non-obese, non-diabetic OLETF rats and in LETO controls. We found that, young, non-diabetic OLETF rats revealed unaltered distribution of CART-peptide expressing neurons and axons throughout the brain when compared to age-matched LETO rats. In contrast to previous results observed in the obese diabetic adult rats, intensity of CART immunoreaction did not differ in the areas related to control of food-intake and reward in the young OLETFs compared to young LETO rats. Our findings suggest that factors secondary to obesity and/or diabetes rather than impaired CCK-1 receptor signaling may contribute to altered CART expression in the OLETF strain.
Successful socialization requires the ability of understanding of others mental states. This ability called as mentalization (Theory of Mind) may become deficient and contribute to everyday life difficulties in multiple sclerosis. We aimed to explore the impact of brain pathology on mentalization performance in multiple sclerosis. Mentalization performance of 49 patients with multiple sclerosis was compared to 24 age- and gender matched healthy controls. T1- and T2-weighted three-dimensional brain MRI images were acquired at 3Tesla from patients with multiple sclerosis and 18 gender- and age matched healthy controls. We assessed overall brain cortical thickness in patients with multiple sclerosis and the scanned healthy controls, and measured the total and regional T1 and T2 white matter lesion volumes in patients with multiple sclerosis. Performances in tests of recognition of mental states and emotions from facial expressions and eye gazes correlated with both total T1-lesion load and regional T1-lesion load of association fiber tracts interconnecting cortical regions related to visual and emotion processing (genu and splenium of corpus callosum, right inferior longitudinal fasciculus, right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus). Both of these tests showed correlations with specific cortical areas involved in emotion recognition from facial expressions (right and left fusiform face area, frontal eye filed), processing of emotions (right entorhinal cortex) and socially relevant information (left temporal pole). Thus, both disconnection mechanism due to white matter lesions and cortical thinning of specific brain areas may result in cognitive deficit in multiple sclerosis affecting emotion and mental state processing from facial expressions and contributing to everyday and social life difficulties of these patients.
The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has been implicated in the regulation of appetite by acting as an anorexigenic gut-brain signal. The postprandial release of GLP-1 can be blunted in obese humans and animals. However, it remains unknown whether obesogenic diets with varying fat and carbohydrate content may differentially influence the effectiveness of GLP-1 feedback. To investigate this, male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a standard (low fat) chow diet, or one of two high-energy diets varying in fat content (45 or 60 kcal%) for 28 weeks. Intake of sucrose and fructose solutions, two commonly added sugars in the Western diet, was then tested in nondeprived rats following administration of the GLP-1 receptor agonist, Exendin-4 (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 3 µg/kg; s.c.). Exendin-4 dose-dependently reduced short (2 h) sucrose and fructose intake. This effect was significantly attenuated in rats fed more dietary fat, despite both diets resulting in obesity. These findings demonstrate that intake of carbohydrates when offered as treats can be regulated by GLP-1 and suggests that dietary fat consumption, rather than extra calories or obesity, may lead to impaired GLP-1 feedback to curb carbohydrate intake. Future studies are warranted to investigate the relevance of these observations to humans and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
In this paper, we review the literature about the theory of mind (ToM) deficits in patients with bipolar disorder. According to several studies, bipolar patients have remarkable ToM deficits not only in manic and depressive periods, but even in remission. However, results on the association with the symptom severity and basic neurocognitive (especially executive) functions are controversial. Taken together, ToM deficits seem to be state dependent trait markers of the bipolar disorder. Some authors suggest that ToM deficits can influence the functional outcome. Therefore, the better understanding of ToM deficits in bipolar disorder is of particular importance. In the second part of the paper we review the methodological issues, and provide a possible guideline for the study of ToM in bipolar disorders. Illness specific considerations of the neuroimaging research, the ToM task used in the experiment, the experimental design, and the data analysis are particularly emphasized.
Chronic overeating of obesogenic diets can lead to obesity, reduced dopamine signaling, and increased consumption of added sugars to compensate for blunted reward. However, the specific role of diet composition yet remains unknown. To study this, Sprague-Dawley male rats were fed a high-energy diet with high fat and low carbohydrate content (HFHE), a fat-sugar combination high-energy diet (FCHE), or standard chow for 24 weeks. We found that both high-energy diets produced substantial body weight gain compared to chow-fed controls. To investigate dopamine control of short (2-h) intake of palatable sucrose or fructose solutions, rats were pretreated peripherally (IP) with equimolar doses (0-600 nmol/kg) of the dopamine D1 (SCH23390) and D2 (raclopride) subtype-specific receptor antagonists. The results showed an overall increase in the efficacy of D1 and D2 receptor antagonists on suppression of intake in obese rats compared to lean rats, with effects differing based on diets and test solutions. Specifically, SCH23390 potently reduced both sucrose and fructose intake in all groups; however, lower doses were more effective in HFHE rats. In contrast, raclopride was most effective at reducing fructose intake in the obese FCHE rats. Thus, it appears that obesity due to the consumption of combinations of dietary fat and sugar rather than extra calories from dietary fat alone may result in reduced D2 receptor signaling. Furthermore, such deficits seem to preferentially affect the control of fructose intake. These findings demonstrate for the first time a plausible interaction between diet composition and dopamine control of carbohydrate intake in diet-induced obese rats. It also provides additional evidence that sucrose and fructose intake is regulated differentially by the dopamine system.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (GBS) is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity. GBS is a restrictive malabsorptive procedure, but many patients also report altered taste preferences. This study investigated the effects of GBS or a sham operation (SH) on body weight, glucose tolerance, and behavioral and neuronal taste functions in the obese Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats lacking CCK-1 receptors and lean controls (LETO). OLETF-GBS rats lost body weight (-26%) and demonstrated improved glucose tolerance. They also expressed a reduction in 24-h two-bottle preference for sucrose (0.3 and 1.0 M) and decreased 10-s lick responses for sucrose (0.3 through 1.5 M) compared with OLETF-SH or LETO-GBS. A similar effect was noted for other sweet compounds but not for salty, sour, or bitter tastants. In lean rats, GBS did not alter responses to any stimulus tested. Extracellular recordings from 170 taste-responsive neurons of the pontine parabrachial nucleus revealed a rightward shift in concentration responses to oral sucrose in obese compared with lean rats (OLETF-SH vs. LETO-SH): overall increased response magnitudes (above 0.9 M), and maximum responses occurring at higher concentrations (+0.46 M). These effects were reversed by GBS, and neural responses in OLETF-GBS were statistically not different from those in any LETO groups. These findings confirm obesity-related alterations in taste functions and demonstrate the ability of GBS to alleviate these impairments. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of GBS appear to be independent of CCK-1 receptor signaling. An understanding of the underlying mechanisms for reduced preferences for sweet taste could help in developing less invasive treatments for obesity.
Central dopaminergic mechanisms are involved in the motivational aspects of eating and food choices. This review focuses on human and animal data investigating the importance of dopamine on binge eating behaviors. Early work examining dopamine metabolites in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of bulimic individuals suggested decreased dopamine turnover during the active phase of the illness. While neuroimaging studies of dopamine mechanisms in bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are limited, genetic studies in humans have implicated an increased frequency of dopamine transporter and associated D2 receptor polymorphisms with binge pathology. Recent studies in rodent models of dietary-induced binge eating (DIBE) have investigated plausible dopamine mechanisms involved in sustaining binge eating behaviors. In DIBE models, highly palatable foods (fats, sugars and their combination), as well as restricted access conditions appear to promote ingestive responses and result in sustained dopamine stimulation within the nucleus accumbens. Taken together with studies on the comorbidity of illicit drug use and eating disorders, the data reviewed here support a role for dopamine in perpetuating the compulsive feeding patterns of BN and BED. As such, we propose that sustained stimulation of the dopamine systems by bingeing promoted by preexisting conditions (e.g., genetic traits, dietary restraint, stress, etc.) results in progressive impairments of dopamine signaling. To disrupt this vicious cycle, novel research-based treatment options aiming at the neural substrates of compulsive eating patterns are necessary.
Cumulative evidence in rats suggests that the pontine parabrachial nuclei (PBN) are necessary for assigning hedonic value to taste stimuli. In a series of studies, our laboratory has investigated the parabrachial coding of sapid sucrose in normal and obese rats. First, using chronic microdialysis, we demonstrated that sucrose intake increases dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, an effect that is dependent on oral stimulation and on concentration. The dopamine response was independent of the thalamocortical gustatory system but was blunted substantially by lesions of the PBN. Similar lesions of the PBN but not the thalamic taste relay diminished cFos activation in the nucleus accumbens caused by sucrose ingestion. Recent single-neuron recording studies have demonstrated that processing of sucrose-evoked activity in the PBN is altered in Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats, which develop obesity due to chronic overeating and express increased avidity to sweet. Compared with lean controls, taste neurons in OLETF rats had reduced overall sensitivity to sucrose and altered concentration responses, with decreased responses to lower concentrations and augmented responses to higher concentrations. The decreased sensitivity to sucrose was specific to NaCl-best neurons that also responded to sucrose, but the concentration effects were carried by the sucrose-specific neurons. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that the PBN enables taste stimuli to engage the reward system and, in doing so, influences food intake and body weight regulation. Obesity, in turn, may further alter the gustatory code via forebrain connections to the taste relays or hormonal changes consequent to weight gain.
Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide is expressed in brain areas involved in homeostatic regulation and reward. CART has been shown to reduce food intake, but the underlying mechanisms and the relevance of this effect on obesity yet remain unknown. Therefore, we used immunohistochemistry to investigate the expression of CART peptide in various brain regions of the obese Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats lacking the CCK-1 receptor. Analysis revealed that whereas the distribution of CART-peptide immunoreactive neurons and axonal networks was identical in OLETF rats and lean controls, the intensity of CART immunoreactivity was significantly reduced in the rostral part of the nucleus accumbens (p < 0.01), the basolateral complex of the amygdala (p < 0.05) and the rostro-medial nucleus of the solitary tract (p < 0.001) of the OLETF rats. These areas are involved in reward and integration of taste and viscerosensory information and have been previously associated with altered functions in this strain. The findings suggest that in addition to previously described deficits in peripheral satiety signals and augmented orexigenic regulation, the anorectic effect of CART peptide may also be diminished in OLETF rats.
Brain insulin has widespread metabolic, neurotrophic, and neuromodulatory functions and is involved in the central regulation of food intake and body weight, learning and memory, neuronal development, neuronal apoptosis, and aging. To understand the neuromodulatory role of insulin, we aimed to characterize its yet undefined in vivo electrophysiological effects. We elected to record from the cerebellar cortex because this region has average insulin concentration and insulin receptor content in relation to the whole brain, and has been previously shown to be a target for insulin signaling. We used in vivo microiontophoresis to apply insulin juxtaneuronally while simultaneously recording changes in spontaneous neuronal activity. The analysis included 553 significant neuronal responses to insulin and other related agents recorded from 47 cerebellar neurons of the rat. We found that (1) insulin stimulation produced instant and reversible electrophysiological effects on all of the recorded neurons, and that (2) these effects were mostly dependent on prior or simultaneous GABA application (94-96%). Specifically, (a) inhibitory responses to insulin were the most common (58-62%), and were dose-dependent with respect to GABA pretreatments and blocked by co-administration of the insulin receptor inhibitor HNMPA. (b) In the second largest set of neurons (32-38%) insulin decreased the magnitude of GABA inhibitions when co-applied. (c) In contrast, only a small number of neurons showed GABA-independent responses to insulin application (4-6%), which were exclusively neuronal excitations. The present findings demonstrate that insulin has direct electrophysiological effects on central neurons in vivo and these effects are highly influenced by GABA-ergic inputs.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is one of the most successful treatments for severe obesity and associated comorbidities. One potential adverse outcome, however, is increased risk for alcohol use. As such, we tested whether RYGB alters motivation to self-administer alcohol in outbred dietary obese rats, and investigated the involvement of the ghrelin system as a potential underlying mechanism. High fat (60%kcal from fat) diet-induced obese, non-diabetic male Sprague Dawley rats underwent RYGB (n?=?9) or sham operation (Sham, n?=?9) and were tested 4 months after surgery on a progressive ratio-10 (PR10) schedule of reinforcement operant task for 2, 4, and 8% ethanol. In addition, the effects of the ghrelin-1a-receptor antagonist D-[Lys3]-GHRP-6 (50, 100 nmol/kg, IP) were tested on PR10 responding for 4% ethanol. Compared to Sham, RYGB rats made significantly more active spout responses to earn reward, more consummatory licks on the ethanol spout, and achieved higher breakpoints. Pretreatment with a single peripheral injection of D-[Lys3]-GHRP-6 at either dose was ineffective in altering appetitive or consummatory responses to 4% ethanol in the Sham group. In contrast, RYGB rats demonstrated reduced operant performance to earn alcohol reward on the test day and reduced consummatory responses for two subsequent days following the drug. Sensitivity to threshold doses of D-[LYS3]-GHRP-6 suggests that an augmented ghrelin system may contribute to increased alcohol reward in RYGB. Further research is warranted to confirm applicability of these findings to humans and to explore ghrelin-receptor targets for treatment of alcohol-related disorders in RYGB patients.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) is an effective treatment for morbid obesity. Increased alcohol abuse after RYGB resulted in recommendations to exclude patients with alcohol abuse histories from RYGB. The purpose of our study was to examine the effects of a RYGB on ethanol intake in diet-induced obese rats (high-fat diet).
The glucose-dependent secretion of the insulinotropic hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a critical step in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. Two molecular mechanisms have separately been suggested as the primary mediator of intestinal glucose-stimulated GLP-1 secretion (GSGS): one is a metabotropic mechanism requiring the sweet taste receptor type 2 (T1R2) + type 3 (T1R3) while the second is a metabolic mechanism requiring ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) channels. By quantifying sugar-stimulated hormone secretion in receptor knockout mice and in rats receiving Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), we found that both of these mechanisms contribute to GSGS; however, the mechanisms exhibit different selectivity, regulation, and localization. T1R3(-/-) mice showed impaired glucose and insulin homeostasis during an oral glucose challenge as well as slowed insulin granule exocytosis from isolated pancreatic islets. Glucose, fructose, and sucralose evoked GLP-1 secretion from T1R3(+/+), but not T1R3(-/-), ileum explants; this secretion was not mimicked by the K(ATP) channel blocker glibenclamide. T1R2(-/-) mice showed normal glycemic control and partial small intestine GSGS, suggesting that T1R3 can mediate GSGS without T1R2. Robust GSGS that was K(ATP) channel-dependent and glucose-specific emerged in the large intestine of T1R3(-/-) mice and RYGB rats in association with elevated fecal carbohydrate throughout the distal gut. Our results demonstrate that the small and large intestines utilize distinct mechanisms for GSGS and suggest novel large intestine targets that could mimic the improved glycemic control seen after RYGB.
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