Systemic bacterial infections often result in enduring cognitive impairment and are a risk factor for dementia. There are currently no effective treatments for infection-induced cognitive impairment. Previous studies have shown that intermittent fasting (IF) can increase the resistance of neurons to injury and disease by stimulating adaptive cellular stress responses. However, the impact of IF on the cognitive sequelae of systemic and brain inflammation is unknown.
We investigated the role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a major mediator of innate immune responses, on cognitive performance in a type 1 diabetes model (T1D). After administration of streptozotocin, both TLR4 knockout (TLR4 KO) and wild type (WT) diabetic mice displayed metabolic alterations similar to those observed in T1D patients, including increased levels of glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and ketones. T1D mice exhibited cognitive impairment which was less severe in TLR4 KO mice compared to WT mice. WT mice with higher glucose and those with higher triglyceride levels exhibited significantly more anxiety and impaired memory compared to those with lower levels of glucose and triglycerides; these correlations were absent in TLR4 KO mice. Additional findings suggest roles for TLR4 signaling in modifying the expression of enzymes involved in energy metabolism in brain cells in the setting of T1D. Our data show that TLR4 contributes to the negative impact of T1D on anxiety and cognition.
Chlorophenylpiperazines (CPP) are psychotropic drugs used in nightclub parties and are frequently used in a state of sleep deprivation, a condition which can potentiate the effects of psychoactive drugs. This study aimed to investigate the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep rebound (RB) on anxiety-like measures in mCPP-treated mice using the open field test. We first optimized our procedure by performing dose-effect curves and examining different pretreatment times in naïve male Swiss mice. Subsequently, a separate cohort of mice underwent paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) for 24 or 48h. In the last experiment, immediately after the 24h-PSD period, mice received an injection of saline or mCPP, but their general activity was quantified in the open field only after the RB period (24 or 48h). The dose of 5mgmL(-1) of mCPP was the most effective at decreasing rearing behavior, with peak effects 15min after injection. PSD decreased locomotion and rearing behaviors, thereby inhibiting a further impairment induced by mCPP. Plasma concentrations of mCPP were significantly higher in PSD 48h animals compared to the non-PSD control group. Twenty-four hours of RB combined with mCPP administration produced a slight reduction in locomotion. Our results show that mCPP was able to significantly change the behavior of naïve, PSD, and RB mice. When combined with sleep deprivation, there was a higher availability of drug in plasma levels. Taken together, our results suggest that sleep loss can enhance the behavioral effects of the potent psychoactive drug, mCPP, even after a period of rebound sleep.
The Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway is well known in patterning of the neural tube during embryonic development, but its emerging role in differentiated neurons is less understood. Here we report that Shh enhances autophagy in cultured hippocampal neurons. Microarray analysis reveals the upregulation of multiple autophagy-related genes in neurons in response to Shh application. Through analysis of the autophagy-marker LC3 by immunoblot analysis and immunocytochemistry, we confirm activation of the autophagy pathway in Shh-exposed neurons. Using electron microscopy, we find autophagosomes and associated structures with a wide range of morphologies in synaptic terminals of Shh-exposed neurons. Moreover, we show that Shh-triggered autophagy depends on class III Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complexes (PtdIns3K). These results identify a link between Shh and autophagy pathways and, importantly, provide a lead for further understanding the physiology of Shh signaling activity in neurons.
It has been demonstrated that a prolonged period (48h) of paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) potentiates amphetamine (AMP)-induced behavioral sensitization, an animal model of addiction-related neuroadaptations. In the present study, we examined the effects of an acute short-term deprivation of total sleep (TSD) (6h) on AMP-induced behavioral sensitization in mice and compared them to the effects of short-term PSD (6h). Three-month-old male C57BL/6J mice underwent TSD (experiment 1-gentle handling method) or PSD (experiment 2-multiple platforms method) for 6h. Immediately after the sleep deprivation period, mice were tested in the open field for 10min under the effects of saline or 2.0mg/kg AMP. Seven days later, to assess behavioral sensitization, all of the mice received a challenge injection of 2.0mg/kg AMP and were tested in the open field for 10min. Total, peripheral, and central locomotion, and grooming duration were measured. TSD, but not PSD, potentiated the hyperlocomotion induced by an acute injection of AMP and this effect was due to an increased locomotion in the central squares of the apparatus. Similarly, TSD facilitated the development of AMP-induced sensitization, but only in the central locomotion parameter. The data indicate that an acute period of TSD may exacerbate the behavioral effects of AMP in mice. Because sleep architecture is composed of paradoxical and slow wave sleep, and 6-h PSD had no effects on AMP-induced hyperlocomotion or sensitization, our data suggest that the deprivation of slow wave sleep plays a critical role in the mechanisms that underlie the potentiating effects of TSD on both the acute and sensitized addiction-related responses to AMP.
Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant response element (ARE) pathway is an important cellular stress response pathway involved in neuroprotection. We previously screened several natural phytochemicals and identified plumbagin as a novel activator of the Nrf2/ARE pathway that can protect neurons against ischemic injury. Here we extended our studies to natural and synthetic derivatives of plumbagin. We found that 5,8-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (naphthazarin) is a potent activator of the Nrf2/ARE pathway, up-regulates the expression of Nrf2-driven genes in primary neuronal and glial cultures, and protects neurons against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity.
We investigated whether the effect of neonatal hypoxia on amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion can reproduce the ontogenic (age of onset) properties of schizophrenia. Neonatal hypoxia enhanced amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion in adult mice and decreased it in adolescent mice. These findings provide ontogenic validity for this very simple animal model of schizophrenia.
Inflammation is a common component of acute injuries of the central nervous system (CNS) such as ischemia, and degenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease. Glial cells play important roles in local CNS inflammation, and an understanding of the roles for microRNAs in glial reactivity in injury and disease settings may therefore lead to the development of novel therapeutic interventions. Here, we show that the miR-181 family is developmentally regulated and present in high amounts in astrocytes compared to neurons. Overexpression of miR-181c in cultured astrocytes results in increased cell death when exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We show that miR-181 expression is altered by exposure to LPS, a model of inflammation, in both wild-type and transgenic mice lacking both receptors for the inflammatory cytokine TNF-?. Knockdown of miR-181 enhanced LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-?, IL-6, IL-1?, IL-8) and HMGB1, while overexpression of miR-181 resulted in a significant increase in the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. To assess the effects of miR-181 on the astrocyte transcriptome, we performed gene array and pathway analysis on astrocytes with reduced levels of miR-181b/c. To examine the pool of potential miR-181 targets, we employed a biotin pull-down of miR-181c and gene array analysis. We validated the mRNAs encoding MeCP2 and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis as targets of miR-181. These findings suggest that miR-181 plays important roles in the molecular responses of astrocytes in inflammatory settings. Further understanding of the role of miR-181 in inflammatory events and CNS injury could lead to novel approaches for the treatment of CNS disorders with an inflammatory component.
Ethanol withdrawal syndrome is characterized by somatic and behavioral symptoms, including increased anxiety and anhedonia. In animal models, however, there are many studies on the anxiogenic effects occurring during the first 24h after ethanol withdrawal, while anhedonia has been overlooked. Recently, we have found that amphetamine withdrawal reduced novelty seeking and enhanced environmental habituation in mice, two motivation-related behaviors. We now investigate the effects of withdrawal from ethanol, a drug of abuse with a different pharmacological profile, on these two motivation-related behaviors. Swiss male mice (3months old) were treated with 1.8g/kg ethanol for 21 consecutive days in their home cages. Seven days after ethanol withdrawal, mice were tested in a free-choice novelty apparatus containing one familiar and one novel compartment. Novelty-seeking behavior was assessed by comparing time spent in the novel compartment versus the familiar compartment, whereas environmental habituation was concomitantly evaluated by the time-response curve of total locomotion (novel+familiar). Novelty seeking was decreased and environmental habituation was enhanced during ethanol withdrawal. These anhedonic responses were not associated with concurrent changes in the anxiety-like behavior of mice (as confirmed in the elevated plus-maze test). We propose that the concomitant evaluation of novelty-seeking behavior and environmental habituation can be useful to study the behavioral consequences not only of amphetamine withdrawal but also of ethanol withdrawal. Furthermore, the present data support recent clinical findings that suggest the occurrence of protracted anhedonia well beyond the limited period immediately following the abrupt cessation of ethanol intake.
Anhedonia associated with a dysphoric state is an important feature of amphetamine withdrawal in humans. We aimed to investigate the effects of amphetamine withdrawal on two motivation-related behaviors in mice: novelty seeking and environmental habituation. Because anxiety can interfere with the behavioral outcome of other tasks, amphetamine-withdrawn mice were also evaluated in the elevated plus maze. Swiss male mice (three months old) were treated with 2.0mg/kg amphetamine for 13 days, every other day, in their home cages (a total of seven injections). Twenty-four hours after withdrawal from drug treatment, mice were tested in a free-choice novelty apparatus containing one familiar and one novel compartment or in the elevated plus maze. Novelty-seeking behavior was assessed by comparing the time spent in the novel compartment vs. the familiar compartment, whereas environmental habituation was concomitantly evaluated by the time-response curve of total locomotion (novel+familiar). Novelty seeking was decreased during amphetamine withdrawal, and this result was not associated with changes in the anxiety-like behavior of mice. Additionally, amphetamine withdrawal enhanced environmental habituation. The concomitant decrease in novelty seeking and the increase in environmental habituation seem to be related to amphetamine withdrawal-induced anhedonia. Thus, the model proposed here could be used as a tool for the study of mechanisms and potential treatment of the anhedonic behavioral consequences of psychostimulant withdrawal.
Kinin B(1) and B(2) receptors play an essential role in inflammatory process and cardiovascular homeostasis. The present study investigated the vascular reactivity and nitric oxide (NO) generation in the isolated mesenteric arteriolar bed from B(1) (B(1)(-/-)) and B(2) receptor (B(2)(-/-)) knockout mice. Endothelial-dependent relaxation was significantly decreased in arterioles from both B(1)(-/-) and B(2)(-/-) in comparison to wild type (WT) mice, with no differences for endothelial-independent relaxating or vasoconstrictor agents. Plasmatic and vascular NO production were markedly reduced in both B(1)(-/-) and B(2)(-/-). In contrast, in the presence of l-arginine, Ca(2+) and co-factors for the enzyme, NO synthase activity was higher in homogenates of mesenteric vessels of B(1)(-/-) and B(2)(-/-). The present study demonstrated that targeted deletion of B(1) or B(2) receptor gene in mice induces important alterations in the vascular reactivity of resistance vessels and NO metabolism. The severe impairment in the endothelial-mediated vasodilation accompanied by decreased NO bioavailability, despite the augmented NOS activity, strongly indicates an exacerbation of NO inactivation in B(1)(-/-) and B(2)(-/-) vessels. The present data provide valuable information in order to clarify the relevance of kinin receptors in regulating vascular physiology and may point to new approaches regarding its correlation with endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and NO availability.
The neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder (BD) is not completely understood, although abnormalities in neuroplasticity and control of apoptosis have been considered as central events in its pathophysiology. The molecules of the Wnt family comprise a class of proteins that control essential developmental processes such as embryonic patterning, cell growth, migration, and differentiation with their actions largely exerted by modulating gene transcription. The Wnt signaling pathway has interface with some mediators with a well documented action in neuroplasticity and regulation of cell surviving. In addition, mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproate may have their neuroprotective properties in part mediated by the Wnt pathway. This article is an overview of how the Wnt signaling cascade might be involved in the pathogenesis of BD and also in details of intracellular events related to this pathway. Further studies of Wnt signaling may lead to a better comprehension of the neuroprotective actions of mood stabilizers and contribute to improving the therapeutics of BD.
Cocaine is a worldwide used drug and its abuse is associated with physical, psychiatric and social problems. The mechanism by which cocaine causes neurological damage is very complex and involves several neurotransmitter systems. For example, cocaine increases extracellular levels of dopamine and free radicals, and modulates several transcription factors. NF-kappaB is a transcription factor that regulates gene expression involved in cellular death. Our aim was to investigate the toxicity and modulation of NF-kappaB activity by cocaine in PC 12 cells. Treatment with cocaine (1 mM) for 24 hours induced DNA fragmentation, cellular membrane rupture and reduction of mitochondrial activity. A decrease in Bcl-2 protein and mRNA levels, and an increase in caspase 3 activity and cleavage were also observed. In addition, cocaine (after 6 hours treatment) activated the p50/p65 subunit of NF-kappaB complex and the pretreatment of the cells with SCH 23390, a D1 receptor antagonist, attenuated the NF-kappaB activation. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activity by using PDTC and Sodium Salicilate increased cell death caused by cocaine. These results suggest that cocaine induces cell death (apoptosis and necrosis) and activates NF-kappaB in PC12 cells. This activation occurs, at least partially, due to activation of D1 receptors and seems to have an anti-apoptotic effect on these cells.
Relaxing action of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) was significantly reduced in the stomach fundus of mice lacking the kinin B(1) receptor (B(1)(-/-)). Increased basal cGMP accumulation was correlated with attenuated SNP induced dose-dependent relaxation in B(1)(-/-) when compared with wild type (WT) control mice. These responses to SNP were completely blocked by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ (10 microM). It was also found that Ca(2+)-dependent, constitutive nitric oxide synthase (cNOS) activity was unchanged but the Ca(2+)-independent inducible NOS (iNOS) activity was greater in B(1)(-/-) mice than in WT animals. Zaprinast (100 microM), a specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor, increased the nitrergic relaxations and the accumulation of the basal as well as the SNP-stimulated cGMP in WT but not in B(1)(-/-) stomach fundus. From these findings it is concluded that the inhibited phosphodiesterase activity and high level of cGMP reduced the resting muscle tone, impairing the relaxant responses of the stomach in B(1)(-/-) mice. In addition, it can be suggested that functional B(2) receptor might be involved in the NO compensatory mechanism associated with the deficiency of kinin B(1) receptor in the gastric tissue of the transgenic mice.
Impaired brain energy metabolism and oxidative stress are implicated in cognitive decline and the pathologic accumulations of amyloid ?-peptide (A?) and hyperphosphorylated tau in Alzheimers disease (AD). To determine whether improving brain energy metabolism will forestall disease progress in AD, the impact of the ?-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide precursor nicotinamide on brain cell mitochondrial function and macroautophagy, bioenergetics-related signaling, and cognitive performance were studied in cultured neurons and in a mouse model of AD. Oxidative stress resulted in decreased mitochondrial mass, mitochondrial degeneration, and autophagosome accumulation in neurons. Nicotinamide preserved mitochondrial integrity and autophagy function, and reduced neuronal vulnerability to oxidative/metabolic insults and A? toxicity. ?-Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide biosynthesis, autophagy, and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase signaling were required for the neuroprotective action of nicotinamide. Treatment of 3xTgAD mice with nicotinamide for 8 months resulted in improved cognitive performance, and reduced A? and hyperphosphorylated tau pathologies in hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Nicotinamide treatment preserved mitochondrial integrity, and improved autophagy-lysosome procession by enhancing lysosome/autolysosome acidification to reduce autophagosome accumulation. Treatment of 3xTgAD mice with nicotinamide resulted in elevated levels of activated neuroplasticity-related kinases (protein kinase B [Akt] and extracellular signal-regulated kinases) and the transcription factor cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) response element-binding protein in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Thus, nicotinamide suppresses AD pathology and cognitive decline in a mouse model of AD by a mechanism involving improved brain bioenergetics with preserved functionality of mitochondria and the autophagy system.
Calcium (Ca(2+)) plays fundamental and diversified roles in neuronal plasticity. As second messenger of many signaling pathways, Ca(2+) as been shown to regulate neuronal gene expression, energy production, membrane excitability, synaptogenesis, synaptic transmission, and other processes underlying learning and memory and cell survival. The flexibility of Ca(2+) signaling is achieved by modifying cytosolic Ca(2+) concentrations via regulated opening of plasma membrane and subcellular Ca(2+) sensitive channels. The spatiotemporal patterns of intracellular Ca(2+) signals, and the ultimate cellular biological outcome, are also dependent upon termination mechanism, such as Ca(2+) buffering, extracellular extrusion, and intra-organelle sequestration. Because of the central role played by Ca(2+) in neuronal physiology, it is not surprising that even modest impairments of Ca(2+) homeostasis result in profound functional alterations. Despite their heterogeneous etiology neurodegenerative disorders, as well as the healthy aging process, are all characterized by disruption of Ca(2+) homeostasis and signaling. In this review we provide an overview of the main types of neuronal Ca(2+) channels and their role in neuronal plasticity. We will also discuss the participation of Ca(2+) signaling in neuronal aging and degeneration.
Previous studies have demonstrated a preventive effect of continuous environmental enrichment during early development on the vulnerability of rodents to drug addiction-related behaviors. Recently, it was demonstrated that a continuous environmental enrichment could eliminate already established addiction-related behaviors in mice. The present study compared the effects of intermittent or continuous exposure to novel stimuli during repeated amphetamine (Amp) treatment on the development of behavioral sensitization (an animal model of addiction-related neuroadaptations) in adult mice.
Aging is associated with an increased susceptibility to neurodegenerative disorders which has been linked to chronic inflammation. This process generates oxygen-reactive species, ultimately responsible for a process known as oxidative stress, leading to changes in nitric oxide (NO), and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cyclic GMP) signaling pathway. In previous studies, we showed that human aging was associated with an increase in NO Synthase (NOS) activity, a decrease in basal cyclic GMP levels in human platelets, and an increase in thiobarbituric acid-reactant substances (TBARS) in erythrocytes. The aim of the present work was to evaluate NOS activity, TBARS and cyclic GMP levels in hippocampus and frontal cortex and its correlation to platelets and erythrocytes of 4-, 12-, and 24-month-old rats. The result showed an age-related decrease in cyclic GMP levels which was linked to an increase in NOS activity and TBARS in both central areas as well as in platelets and erythrocytes of rats. The present data confirmed our previous studies performed in human platelets and erythrocytes and validate NOS activity and cyclic GMP in human platelet as well as TBARS in erythrocytes as biomarkers to study age-related disorders and new anti-aging therapies.
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