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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Laminar and Cellular Analyses of Reduced Somatostatin Gene Expression in the Subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex in Major Depression.
Neurobiol. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 08-05-2014
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Somatostatin (SST), a neuropeptide expressed in dendritic-targeting gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons, is decreased across corticolimbic areas in major depressive disorder (MDD). SST-positive GABA neurons form heterogeneous subgroups with different laminar distributions and electrophysiological properties, so knowing the anatomical and cellular localization of reduced SST may provide insight into the nature of the pathology in MDD. In cohorts of MDD subjects with known reduction of SST in postmortem sgACC gray matter, we used in situ hybridization to quantify the laminar and cellular patterns of altered SST mRNA expression. SST mRNA levels were lower across all cortical layers in the MDD subjects. Expression levels per cell were also lower, but the density of labeled neurons did not differ between subject groups. Consistent with the previous tissue level analysis, differences were more robust in females. In summary, we report MDD-related reduction in SST expression per cell across cortical layers in sgACC, suggesting a general vulnerability of SST neurons independent of specific cell type.
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Beyond genotype: serotonin transporter epigenetic modification predicts human brain function.
Nat. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 02-01-2014
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We examined epigenetic regulation in regards to behaviorally and clinically relevant human brain function. Specifically, we found that increased promoter methylation of the serotonin transporter gene predicted increased threat-related amygdala reactivity and decreased mRNA expression in postmortem amygdala tissue. These patterns were independent of functional genetic variation in the same region. Furthermore, the association with amygdala reactivity was replicated in a second cohort and was robust to both sampling methods and age.
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Sex chromosome complement regulates expression of mood-related genes.
Biol Sex Differ
PUBLISHED: 07-31-2013
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Studies on major depressive and anxiety disorders suggest dysfunctions in brain corticolimbic circuits, including altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and modulatory (serotonin and dopamine) neurotransmission. Interestingly, sexual dimorphisms in GABA, serotonin, and dopamine systems are also reported. Understanding the mechanisms behind these sexual dimorphisms may help unravel the biological bases of the heightened female vulnerability to mood disorders. Here, we investigate the contribution of sex-related factors (sex chromosome complement, developmental gonadal sex, or adult circulating hormones) to frontal cortex expression of selected GABA-, serotonin-, and dopamine-related genes.
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The Role of Genetic Sex in Affect Regulation and Expression of GABA-Related Genes Across Species.
Front Psychiatry
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Although circulating hormones and inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-related factors are known to affect mood, considerable knowledge gaps persist for biological mechanisms underlying the female bias in mood disorders. Here, we combine human and mouse studies to investigate sexual dimorphism in the GABA system in the context of major depressive disorder (MDD) and then use a genetic model to dissect the role of sex-related factors in GABA-related gene expression and anxiety-/depressive-like behaviors in mice. First, using meta-analysis of gene array data in human postmortem brain (N?=?51 MDD subjects, 50 controls), we show that the previously reported down-regulation in MDD of somatostatin (SST), a marker of a GABA neuron subtype, is significantly greater in women with MDD. Second, using gene co-expression network analysis in control human subjects (N?=?214; two frontal cortex regions) and expression quantitative trait loci mapping (N?=?170 subjects), we show that expression of SST and the GABA-synthesizing enzymes glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) and GAD65 are tightly co-regulated and influenced by X-chromosome genetic polymorphisms. Third, using a rodent genetic model [Four Core Genotypes (FCG) mice], in which genetic and gonadal sex are artificially dissociated (N???12/group), we show that genetic sex (i.e., X/Y-chromosome) influences both gene expression (lower Sst, Gad67, Gad65 in XY mice) and anxiety-like behaviors (higher in XY mice). This suggests that in an intact male animal, the observed behavior represents the outcomes of male genetic sex increasing and male-like testosterone decreasing anxiety-like behaviors. Gonadal sex was the only factor influencing depressive-like behavior (gonadal males?
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Social status and sex effects on neural morphology in Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis.
Brain Behav. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 01-31-2011
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We previously reported that in a eusocial rodent, the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), traditional neural sex differences were absent; instead, neural dimorphisms were associated with breeding status. Here we examined the same neural regions previously studied in naked mole-rats in a second eusocial species, the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis). Damaraland mole-rats live in social groups with breeding restricted to a small number of animals. However, colony sizes are much smaller in Damaraland mole-rats than in naked mole-rats and there is consequently less reproductive skew. In this sense, Damaraland mole-rats may be considered intermediate in social organization between naked mole-rats and more traditional laboratory rodents. We report that, as in naked mole-rats, breeding Damaraland mole-rats have larger volumes of the principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus than do subordinates, with no effect of sex on these measures. Thus, these structures may play special roles in breeders of eusocial species. However, in contrast to what was seen in naked mole-rats, we also found sex differences in Damaraland mole-rats: volume of the medial amygdala and motoneuron number in Onufs nucleus were both greater in males than in females, with no significant effect of breeding status. Thus, both sex and breeding status influence neural morphology in Damaraland mole-rats. These findings are in accord with the observed sex differences in body weight and genitalia in Damaraland but not naked mole-rats. We hypothesize that the increased sexual dimorphism in Damaraland mole-rats relative to naked mole-rats is related to reduced reproductive skew.
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Integrated behavioral z-scoring increases the sensitivity and reliability of behavioral phenotyping in mice: relevance to emotionality and sex.
J. Neurosci. Methods
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2011
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Defining anxiety- and depressive-like states in mice (emotionality) is best characterized by the use of complementary tests, leading sometimes to puzzling discrepancies and lack of correlation between similar paradigms. To address this issue, we hypothesized that integrating measures along the same behavioral dimensions in different tests would reduce the intrinsic variability of single tests and provide a robust characterization of the underlying "emotionality" of individual mouse, similarly as mood and related syndromes are defined in humans through various related symptoms over time. We describe the use of simple mathematical and integrative tools to help phenotype animals across related behavioral tests (syndrome diagnosis) and experiments (meta-analysis). We applied z-normalization across complementary measures of emotionality in different behavioral tests after unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) or prolonged corticosterone exposure - two approaches to induce anxious-/depressive-like states in mice. Combining z-normalized test values, lowered the variance of emotionality measurement, enhanced the reliability of behavioral phenotyping, and increased analytical opportunities. Comparing integrated emotionality scores across studies revealed a robust sexual dimorphism in the vulnerability to develop high emotionality, manifested as higher UCMS-induced emotionality z-scores, but lower corticosterone-induced scores in females compared to males. Interestingly, the distribution of individual z-scores revealed a pattern of increased baseline emotionality in female mice, reminiscent of what is observed in humans. Together, we show that the z-scoring method yields robust measures of emotionality across complementary tests for individual mice and experimental groups, hence facilitating the comparison across studies and refining the translational applicability of these models.
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Social and hormonal triggers of neural plasticity in naked mole-rats.
Behav. Brain Res.
PUBLISHED: 10-11-2010
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Naked mole-rats are eusocial rodents that live in large social groups with a strict reproductive hierarchy. In each colony only a few individuals breed; all others are non-reproductive subordinates. We previously showed that breeders have increased volume of several brain regions linked to reproduction: the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), the principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTp), and the medial amygdala (MeA). Breeders also have more large motoneurons in Onufs nucleus (ON) in the spinal cord, a cell group innervating perineal muscles that attach to the genitalia. Here, we sought to determine triggers for the neural changes seen in breeders. Specifically, we compared four groups of animals: subordinates, paired animals that did not reproduce, gonadally intact breeders, and gonadectomized breeders. We find that pairing alone is sufficient to cause breeder-like changes in volume of the PVN and cell size distribution in ON. In contrast, increases in BSTp volume were seen only in animals that actually reproduced. Those changes that were seen in successful breeders appear to be independent of gonadal steroids because long-term gonadectomy did not reverse the breeder-like neural changes in the PVN, BSTp or ON, although a trend for gonadectomized animals having larger MeA volumes was detected. Thus, neural changes associated with breeding status in naked mole-rats may be triggered by different aspects of the social and reproductive environment; once changes occur they are largely independent of gonadal hormones and may be permanent.
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Control of cell number in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis of mice: role of testosterone metabolites and estrogen receptor subtypes.
J Sex Med
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2010
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The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) exhibits several sex differences that may be related to male sexual behavior and gender identity. In mice and rats, sex differences in the principal nucleus of the BNST (BNSTp) are due to sexually dimorphic cell death during perinatal life. Although testosterone treatment of newborn female rats increases BNSTp cell number, the relevant hormone metabolite(s) are not known, and the effect of testosterone on the development of BNSTp cell number in mice has not been examined.
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Social structure predicts genital morphology in African mole-rats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2009
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African mole-rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia) exhibit a wide range of social structures, from solitary to eusocial. We previously found a lack of sex differences in the external genitalia and morphology of the perineal muscles associated with the phallus in the eusocial naked mole-rat. This was quite surprising, as the external genitalia and perineal muscles are sexually dimorphic in all other mammals examined. We hypothesized that the lack of sex differences in naked mole-rats might be related to their unusual social structure.
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Neuroendocrinology and sexual differentiation in eusocial mammals.
Front Neuroendocrinol
PUBLISHED: 02-03-2009
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Sexual differentiation of the mammalian nervous system has been studied intensively for over 25 years. Most of what we know, however, comes from work on relatively non-social species in which direct reproduction (i.e., production of offspring) is virtually the only route to reproductive success. In social species, an individuals inclusive fitness may include contributions to the gene pool that are achieved by supporting the reproductive efforts of close relatives; this feature is most evident in eusocial organisms. Here, we review what is known about neuroendocrine mechanisms, sexual differentiation, and effects of social status on the brain and spinal cord in two eusocial mammals: the naked mole-rat and Damaraland mole-rat. These small rodents exhibit the most rigidly organized reproductive hierarchy among mammals, with reproduction suppressed in a majority of individuals. Our findings suggest that eusociality may be associated with a relative lack of sex differences and a reduced influence of gonadal hormones on some functions to which these hormones are usually tightly linked. We also identify neural changes accompanying a change in social and reproductive status, and discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the evolution of sex differences and the neuroendocrinology of reproductive suppression.
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Neonatal testosterone partially organizes sex differences in stress-induced emotionality in mice.
Neurobiol. Dis.
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating disorder of altered mood regulation. Despite well established sex differences in MDD prevalence, the mechanism underlying the increased female vulnerability remains unknown. Although evidence suggests an influence of adult circulating hormone levels on mood (i.e. activational effects of hormones), MDD prevalence is consistently higher in women across life stages (and therefore hormonal states), suggesting that additional underlying structural or biological differences place women at higher risk. Studies in human subjects and in rodent models suggest a developmental origin for mood disorders, and interestingly, a developmental process also establishes sex differences in the brain. Hence, based on these parallel developmental trajectories, we hypothesized that a proportion of the female higher vulnerability to MDD may originate from the differential organization of mood regulatory neural networks early in life (i.e. organizational effects of hormones). To test this hypothesis in a rodent system, we took advantage of a well-established technique used in the field of sexual differentiation (neonatal injection with testosterone) to masculinize sexually dimorphic brain regions in female mice. We then investigated adult behavioral consequences relating to emotionality by comparing neonatal testosterone-treated females to normal males and females. Under baseline/trait conditions, neonatal testosterone treatment of female mice did not influence adult emotionality, but masculinized adult locomotor activity, as revealed by the activational actions of hormones. Conversely, the increased vulnerability of female mice to develop high emotionality following unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) was partially masculinized by neonatal testosterone exposure, with no effect on post-UCMS locomotion. The elevated female UCMS-induced vulnerability did not differ between adult hormone treated groups. These results demonstrate that sex differences in adult emotionality in mice are partially caused by the organizational effects of sex hormones during development, hence supporting a developmental hypothesis of the human adult female prevalence of MDD.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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