Reflection-absorption infrared (RAIR) spectroscopy has been used to explore the low temperature condensed-phase photochemistry of atmospherically relevant organic nitrates for the first time. Three alkyl nitrates, methyl, isopropyl, and isobutyl nitrate together with a peroxyacyl nitrate, peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), were examined. For the alkyl nitrates, similar photolysis products were observed whether they were deposited neat to the gold substrate or codeposited with water. In addition to peaks associated with the formation of an aldehyde/ketone and NO, a peak near 2230 cm(-1) was found to emerge in the RAIR spectra upon UV photolysis of the thin films. Together with evidence obtained by thermal programmed desorption (TPD), the peak is attributed to the formation of nitrous oxide, N2O, generated as a product during the photolysis. On the basis of the known gas-phase photochemistry for the alkyl nitrates, an intermediate pathway involving the formation of nitroxyl (HNO) is proposed to lead to the observed N2O photoproduct. For peroxyacetyl nitrate, CO2 was observed as a predominant product upon photolytic decomposition. In addition, RAIR absorptions attributable to the formation of methyl nitrate were also found to appear upon photolysis. By analogy to the known gas-phase and matrix-isolated-phase photochemistry of PAN, the formation of methyl nitrate is shown to likely result from the combination of alkoxy radicals and nitrogen dioxide generated inside the thin films during photolysis.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) provides executive control of the brain in humans and rodents, coordinating cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to threatening stimuli and subsequent feedback inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a fundamental regulator of HPA axis feedback inhibition and an important modulator of emotional behavior. However, the precise role of endocannabinoid signaling within the PFC with respect to stress coping and emotionality has only recently been investigated. This review discusses the current state of knowledge regarding the localization and function of the endocannabinoid system in the PFC, its sensitivity to stress and its role in modulating the neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to aversive stimuli. We propose a model whereby steady-state endocannabinoid signaling in the medial PFC indirectly regulates the outflow of pyramidal neurons by fine-tuning GABAergic inhibition. Local activation of this population of CB1 receptors increases the downstream targets of medial PFC activation, which include inhibitory interneurons in the basolateral amygdala, inhibitory relay neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and monoamine cell bodies such as the dorsal raphe nucleus. This ultimately produces beneficial effects on emotionality (active coping responses to stress and reduced anxiety) and assists in constraining activation of the HPA axis. Under conditions of chronic stress, or in individuals suffering from mood disorders, this system may be uniquely recruited to help maintain appropriate function in the face of adversity, while breakdown of the endocannabinoid system in the medial PFC may be, in and of itself, sufficient to produce neuropsychiatric illness. Thus, we suggest that endocannabinoid signaling in the medial PFC may represent an attractive target for the treatment of stress-related disorders.
We report a combined theoretical and experimental study of the water octamer-h16. The calculations used the ring-polymer instanton method to compute tunnelling paths and splittings in full dimensionality. The experiments measured extensive high resolution spectra near 1.4 THz, for which isotope dilution experiments and group theoretical analysis support assignment to the octamer. Transitions appear as singlets, consistent with the instanton paths, which involve the breakage of two hydrogen-bonds and thus give tunneling splittings below experimental resolution.
Despite the growing non-medical consumption of amphetamine (Amph) during adolescence, its long-term neurobiological and behavioural effects have remained largely unexplored. The present research sought to characterize the behavioural profile and electrophysiological properties of midbrain monoaminergic neurons in adult rodents after Amph exposure during adolescence. Adolescent rats were administered vehicle, 0.5, 1.5, or 5.0 mg/kg.d Amph from postnatal day (PND) 30-50. At adulthood (PND 70), rats were tested in an open-field test (OFT) and elevated plus maze (EPM), paralleled by in-vivo extracellular recordings of serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) neurons from the dorsal raphe nucleus, ventral tegmental area, and locus coeruleus, respectively. 5-HT firing in adulthood was increased in rats that had received Amph (1.5 mg/kg.d) during adolescence. At this regimen, DA firing activity was increased, but not NE firing. Conversely, the highest Amph dose regimen (5.0 mg/kg.d) enhanced NE firing, but not DA or 5-HT firing rates. In the OFT, Amph (1.5 mg/kg.d) significantly increased the total distance travelled, while the other doses were ineffective. In the EPM, all three Amph doses increased time spent in the open arms and central platform, as well as the number of stretch-attend postures made. Repeated adolescent exposure to Amph differentially augments monoaminergic neuronal firing in a dose-specific fashion in adulthood, with corresponding alterations in locomotion, risk assessment (stretch-attend postures and central platform occupancy) and risk-taking behaviours (open-arm exploration). Thus, adolescent Amph exposure induces long-lasting neurophysiological alterations that may have implications for drug-seeking behaviour in the future.
The mechanisms subserving the ability of glucocorticoid signaling within the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to terminate stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis are not well understood. We report that antagonism of the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor locally within the mPFC prolonged corticosterone secretion following cessation of stress in rats. Mice lacking the CB(1) receptor exhibited a similar prolonged response to stress. Exposure of rats to stress produced an elevation in the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol within the mPFC that was reversed by pretreatment with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU-486 (20 mg/kg). Electron microscopic and electrophysiological data demonstrated the presence of CB(1) receptors in inhibitory-type terminals impinging upon principal neurons within layer V of the prelimbic region of the mPFC. Bath application of corticosterone (100 nm) to prefrontal cortical slices suppressed GABA release onto principal neurons in layer V of the prelimbic region, when examined 1 h later, which was prevented by application of a CB(1) receptor antagonist. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the ability of stress-induced glucocorticoid signaling within mPFC to terminate HPA axis activity is mediated by a local recruitment of endocannabinoid signaling. Endocannabinoid activation of CB(1) receptors decreases GABA release within the mPFC, likely increasing the outflow of the principal neurons of the prelimbic region to contribute to termination of the stress response. These data support a model in which endocannabinoid signaling links glucocorticoid receptor engagement to activation of corticolimbic relays that inhibit corticosterone secretion.
The three dimensional atomic structures of proteins provide information regarding their function; and codified relationships between structure and function enable the assessment of function from structure. In the current study, a new data mining tool was implemented that checks current gene ontology (GO) annotations and predicts new ones across all the protein structures available in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). The tool overcomes some of the challenges of utilizing large amounts of protein annotation and measurement information to form correspondences between protein structure and function. Protein attributes were extracted from the Structural Biology Knowledgebase and open source biological databases. Based on the presence or absence of a given set of attributes, a given proteins functional annotations were inferred. The results show that attributes derived from the three dimensional structures of proteins enhanced predictions over that using attributes only derived from primary amino acid sequence. Some predictions reflected known but not completely documented GO annotations. For example, predictions for the GO term for copper ion binding reflected used information a copper ion was known to interact with the protein based on information in a ligand interaction database. Other predictions were novel and require further experimental validation. These include predictions for proteins labeled as unknown function in the PDB. Two examples are a role in the regulation of transcription for the protein AF1396 from Archaeoglobus fulgidus and a role in RNA metabolism for the protein psuG from Thermotoga maritima.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder with a highly characteristic disease distribution. Prevalence and incidence in general increase with increasing distance from the equator. Similarly the female to male sex ratio increases with increasing latitude. Multiple possible risk factors have been hypothesised for this epidemiological trend, including human leukocyte antigen allele frequencies, ultraviolet exposure and subsequent vitamin D levels, smoking and Epstein-Barr virus. In this study we undertook a study of medical records across Scotland on an NHS health board level of resolution to examine the epidemiology of MS in this region.
? Previous studies have described a seasonal pattern of MS relapse risk. Vitamin D and infectious triggers are two major candidate environmental risk factors proposed to account for this effect. We aimed to assess MS admissions in Scotland for a possible effect of seasonality.
Secretion of glucocorticoid hormones during stress produces an array of physiological changes that are adaptive and beneficial in the short term. In the face of repeated stress exposure, however, habituation of the glucocorticoid response is essential as prolonged glucocorticoid secretion can produce deleterious effects on metabolic, immune, cardiovascular, and neurobiological function. Endocannabinoid signaling responds to and regulates the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that governs the secretion of glucocorticoids; however, the role this system plays in adaptation of the neuroendocrine response to repeated stress is not well characterized. Herein, we demonstrate a divergent regulation of the two endocannabinoid ligands, N-arachidonylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), following repeated stress such that AEA content is persistently decreased throughout the corticolimbic stress circuit, whereas 2-AG is exclusively elevated within the amygdala in a stress-dependent manner. Pharmacological studies demonstrate that this divergent regulation of AEA and 2-AG contribute to distinct forms of HPA axis habituation. Inhibition of AEA hydrolysis prevented the development of basal hypersecretion of corticosterone following repeated stress. In contrast, systemic or intra-amygdalar administration of a CB(1) receptor antagonist before the final stress exposure prevented the repeated stress-induced decline in corticosterone responses. The present findings demonstrate an important role for endocannabinoid signaling in the process of stress HPA habituation, and suggest that AEA and 2-AG modulate different components of the adrenocortical response to repeated stressor exposure.
Endocannabinoids inhibit hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity; however, the neural substrates and pathways subserving this effect are not well characterized. The amygdala is a forebrain structure that provides excitatory drive to the HPA axis under conditions of stress. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of endocannabinoid signaling within distinct amygdalar nuclei to activation of the HPA axis in response to psychological stress. Exposure of rats to 30-min restraint stress increased the hydrolytic activity of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and concurrently decreased content of the endocannabinoid/CB(1) receptor ligand N-arachidonylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA) throughout the amygdala. In stressed rats, AEA content in the amygdala was inversely correlated with serum corticosterone concentrations. Pharmacological inhibition of FAAH activity within the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) attenuated stress-induced corticosterone secretion; this effect was blocked by co-administration of the CB(1) receptor antagonist AM251, suggesting that stress-induced decreases in CB(1) receptor activation by AEA contribute to activation of the neuroendocrine stress response. Local administration into the BLA of a CB(1) receptor agonist significantly reduced stress-induced corticosterone secretion, whereas administration of a CB(1) receptor antagonist increased corticosterone secretion. Taken together, these findings suggest that the degree to which stressful stimuli reduce amygdalar AEA/CB(1) receptor signaling contributes to the magnitude of the HPA response.
Administration of high doses of cannabinoid CB(1) receptor agonists activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; however, the mechanism by which this occurs has not been well characterized. Both monoaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission are known to activate the HPA axis and cannabinoids have been found to modify levels of these neurotransmitters. Employing pharmacological antagonists to specific serotonergic, noradrenergic and glutamatergic receptor subtypes, we examined whether activation of these receptors is involved in the ability of a high dose of a cannabinoid CB(1) receptor agonist to activate the HPA axis. We characterized a robust induction of corticosterone secretion following administration of a 100 microg/kg dose of HU-210, a potent cannabinoid CB(1) receptor agonist. Pre-treatment with antagonists to the serotonergic type 1A (5-HT(1A); WAY100635; 0.5mg/kg) and 5-HT(2A/2C) (ketanserin; 1mg/kg) receptors significantly attenuated the HU-210-induced increase in corticosterone secretion. Similarly, the increase in corticosterone secretion following HU-210 administration was significantly reduced by pre-treatment with antagonists to the alpha(1)-adrenoceptor (prazosin; 1mg/kg) and beta-adrenoceptor (propanolol; 2.5mg/kg). However, pre-treatment with antagonists to the NMDA (MK-801; 0.1mg/kg) and AMPA/Kainate (DNQX; 10mg/kg) receptors did not modify activation of adrenocortical secretion evoked by HU-210. These data suggest that acute administration of exogenous cannabinoid ligands activates the HPA axis indirectly through an increase in serotonergic and noradrenergic neurotransmission.
Reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) is used to explore the photochemistry of primary and tertiary alkyl nitrites deposited on a gold surface. The primary alkyl nitrites examined for this study were n-butyl, isobutyl, and isopentyl nitrite. These compounds showed qualitatively similar spectra to those observed in previous condensed-phase measurements. The photolysis of the primary nitrites involved the initial formation of an alkoxy radical and NO, followed by production of nitroxyl (HNO) and an aldehydic species. In addition, the formation of nitrous oxide, identified from its distinctive transition near 2230 cm(-1), was observed to form from the self-reaction of nitroxyl. The reaction rates for cis and trans conformer decay, as tracked through their intense N?O stretching modes, were found to be significantly different, potentially due to a structural bias that favors HNO formation for the initial trans conformer photoproducts over recombination. Tert-butyl nitrite demonstrates only the trans conformer in the RAIRS spectra prior to photolysis; however, recombination of the initial NO and RO(•) photoproducts was observed to produce the cis conformer in the photolyzed samples. The primary photoproducts from tert-butyl nitrite can also react to form acetone and nitrosomethane, but the absence of HNO prohibits the formation of N(2)O that was observed for the primary alkyl nitrites. Additionally, the RAIRS spectrum of isobutyl nitrite co-deposited with water was measured to examine the photolysis of this species on a water-ice surface. No change in the identity of the photoproducts was observed in this experiment, and minimal frequency shifting (1-3 cm(-1)) of the vibrational modes occurred. In addition to being a known atmospheric source of NO and various aldehydes, our results point to cold surface processing of alkyl nitrites as a potential environmental source of nitrous oxide.
While the effects of cannabis use on retrospective memory have been extensively examined, only a limited number of studies have focused on the links between cannabis use and prospective memory. We conducted two studies to examine the links between cannabis use and both time-based and event-based prospective memory as well as potential mechanisms underlying these links. For the first study, 805 students completed an online survey designed to assess cannabis consumption, problems with cannabis use indicative of a disorder, and frequency of experiencing prospective memory failures. The results showed small to moderate sized correlations between cannabis consumption, problems with cannabis use, and prospective memory. However, a series of mediation analyses revealed that correlations between problems with cannabis use and prospective memory were driven by self-reported problems with retrospective memory. For the second study, 48 non-users (who had never used cannabis), 48 experimenters (who had used cannabis five or fewer times in their lives), and 48 chronic users (who had used cannabis at least three times a week for one year) were administered three objective prospective memory tests and three self-report measures of prospective memory. The results revealed no objective deficits in prospective memory associated with chronic cannabis use. In contrast, chronic cannabis users reported experiencing more internally-cued prospective memory failures. Subsequent analyses revealed that this effect was driven by self-reported problems with retrospective memory as well as by use of alcohol and other drugs. Although our samples were not fully characterized with respect to variables such as neurological disorders and family history of substance use disorders, leaving open the possibility that these variables may play a role in the detected relationships, the present findings indicate that cannabis use has a modest effect on self-reported problems with prospective memory, with a primary problem with retrospective memory appearing to underlie this relationship.
The endocannabinoid system has recently emerged as a vital component of the stress response and is an appealing target for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Additionally, corticolimbic endocannabinoid signaling is important for stress-induced regulation of emotional behavior. However, the mechanism by which this occurs remains elusive. Combining biochemical and behavioral analyses within the forced swim test, we examined whether stress-induced regulation of endocannabinoid signaling in the medial prefrontal cortex contributes to behavioral responses to stress, and whether these responses are dependent on serotonergic neurotransmission. Forced swim stress produced a rapid and pronounced reduction in medial prefrontal anandamide content, but had no effect on 2-arachidonoylglycerol content within this region. Local administration of the anandamide hydrolysis inhibitor URB597 (0.01?g) into the ventromedial region of the prefrontal cortex decreased passive coping responses and increased active behavioral strategies, a phenomenon which was blocked by local antagonism of the CB(1) receptor. Furthermore, local inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis within the medial PFC increased the firing rate of serotonergic neurons within the dorsal raphe, suggesting that prefrontal cortical endocannabinoid signaling may modulate stress coping behaviors through a regulation of serotonergic neurotransmission. Accordingly, serotonin depletion prevented the ability of inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis within the medial PFC to promote active stress coping responses. Collectively, these data argue that stress-induced changes in endocannabinoid signaling within the medial PFC modulate stress-coping behaviors through a regulation of serotonergic neurotransmission and provide a neuroanatomical framework by which we may understand the mechanisms subserving the antidepressant potential of the endocannabinoid system.
The KB-Rank tool was developed to help determine the functions of proteins. A user provides text query and protein structures are retrieved together with their functional annotation categories. Structures and annotation categories are ranked according to their estimated relevance to the queried text. The algorithm for ranking first retrieves matches between the query text and the text fields associated with the structures. The structures are next ordered by their relative content of annotations that are found to be prevalent across all the structures retrieved. An interactive web interface was implemented to navigate and interpret the relevance of the structures and annotation categories retrieved by a given search. The aim of the KB-Rank tool is to provide a means to quickly identify protein structures of interest and the annotations most relevant to the queries posed by a user. Informational and navigational searches regarding disease topics are described to illustrate the tools utilities. The tool is available at the URL http://protein.tcmedc.org/KB-Rank.
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