Serotonin (5-HT) regulates the development of cerebral cortex, but 5-HT receptors mediating the effects are poorly understood. We investigated roles of 5-HT2A receptor in dendritic growth cones using dissociation culture of rat cerebral cortex. Neurons at embryonic day 16 were cultured for 4 days and treated with 5-HT2A/2C receptor agonist (DOI) for 4h. DOI increased the size of growth cone periphery which was actin-rich and microtubule-associated protein 2-negative at the dendritic tip. The length increase of the growth cone periphery may be mediated by 5-HT2A receptor, because the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist reversed the effects of DOI. Moreover, the time-lapse analysis demonstrated the increase of morphological dynamics in dendritic growth cones by DOI. Next, to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the actions of 5-HT2A receptor in dendritic growth cones, we examined the cytoskeletal proteins, tyrosinated ?-tubulin (Tyr-T; dynamic tubulin) and acetylated ?-tubulin (Ace-T; stable tubulin). DOI increased the fluorescence intensity of Tyr-T, while decreased that of Ace-T in the dendritic growth cone periphery. These effects were reversed by the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist, suggesting that 5-HT2A receptor promotes microtubule dynamics. In summary, it was suggested that 5-HT2A receptor induces morphological changes and dynamics of dendritic growth cones through regulation of microtubule assembly.
In the sexually dimorphic anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) of the hypothalamus, females have a greater number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) and kisspeptin-immunoreactive (kisspeptin-ir) neurons than males. In this study, we used proteomics analysis and gene-deficient mice to identify proteins that regulate the number of TH-ir and kisspeptin-ir neurons in the AVPV. Analysis of protein expressions in the rat AVPV on postnatal day 1 (PD1; the early phase of sex differentiation) using two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis followed by MALDI-TOF-MS identified collapsin response mediator protein 4 (CRMP4) as a protein exhibiting sexually dimorphic expression. Interestingly, this sexually differential expressions of CRMP4 protein and mRNA in the AVPV was not detected on PD6. Prenatal testosterone exposure canceled the sexual difference in the expression of Crmp4 mRNA in the rat AVPV. Next, we used CRMP4-knockout (CRMP4-KO) mice to determine the in vivo function of CRMP4 in the AVPV. Crmp4 knockout did not change the number of kisspeptin-ir neurons in the adult AVPV in either sex. However, the number of TH-ir neurons was increased in the AVPV of adult female CRMP4-KO mice as compared with the adult female wild-type mice. During development, no significant difference in the number of TH-ir neurons was detected between sexes or genotypes on embryonic day 15, but a female-specific increase in TH-ir neurons was observed in CRMP4-KO mice on PD1, when the sex difference was not yet apparent in wild-type mice. These results indicate that CRMP4 regulates the number of TH-ir cell number in the female AVPV.
Runt-related transcription factors (Runx) regulate the development of various cells. It has been reported that Runx1 and Runx3 are expressed in distinct subpopulations of primary sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), and play important roles in the differentiation of nociceptive and proprioceptive neurons, respectively. In the present study, we examined the developmental changes of the expression of Runx1 and Runx3 in the mouse DRG during embryonic and postnatal stages. We found that the expression of Runx3 preceded that of Runx1, but dramatically decreased before birth, whereas the Runx1 expression was maintained during postnatal periods. These results suggest that roles of Runx1 and Runx3 may change dynamically in the differentiation and maturation of DRG neurons. In addition, several DRG neurons expressed both Runx1 and Runx3 throughout embryonic and postnatal stages and many Runx3-expressing DRG neurons coexpressed Runx1 at postnatal day 28. Double and triple labeling studies suggest that some of the Runx1/Runx3-double expressing neurons coexpressed TrkB, c-ret, and TrkC, which have been shown in the mechanoreceptive DRG neurons. These results suggest that Runx1/Runx3-double expressing neurons may represent mechanoreceptive properties in the DRG
Transcription factor Runx1 controls the cell type specification of peptidergic and nonpeptidergic nociceptive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons by repressing TrkA and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) expression and activating Ret expression during late embryonic and early postnatal periods (Chen et al., 2006b; Kramer et al., 2006; Yoshikawa et al., 2007). Because Runx1 is expressed in DRG from early developmental stages, we examined the roles of Runx1 in the proliferation and the neuronal differentiation of DRG cells. We used transgenic Runx1-deficient (Runx1(-/-)::Tg) mice which are rescued from early embryonic lethality by selective expression of Runx1 in hematopoietic cells under the control of GATA-1 promoter. We found that TrkA-expressing (TrkA(+)) DRG neurons were decreased at embryonic day (E) 12.5 in contrast to the previous study showing that TrkA(+) DRG neurons were increased at E17.5 in Runx1(-/-)::Tg mice (Yoshikawa et al., 2007). The number of DRG neurons which express neuronal markers Hu, NeuN and Islet1 was also reduced in Runx1(-/-)::Tg mice at E12.5, suggesting that the neuronal differentiation was suppressed in these mice. The cell cycle analysis using BrdU/IDU revealed that the number of DRG cells in S-phase and G2/M-phase was increased in Runx1(-/-)::Tg mice at E12.5, while the length of S-phase was not changed between Runx1(+/+)::Tg and Runx1(-/-)::Tg mice, suggesting that Runx1 negatively controls the proliferation of DRG progenitor cell subpopulation in early embryonic period. Hes1 is a negative regulator of neuronal differentiation (Ishibashi et al., 1995; Tomita et al., 1996), and we found that the number of Hes1(+) DRG cells was increased in Runx1(-/-)::Tg mice at E12.5. In summary, the present study suggests a novel function that Runx1 activates the neuronal differentiation of DRG cell subpopulation through the repression of Hes1 expression in early embryonic period.
Dendritic spines are postsynaptic structures which are formed from filopodia. We examined roles of serotonin (5-HT) receptors in the spine formation. Embryonic rat cortical neurons were cultured for 10 or 14 days and treated by 5-HT receptor agonists for 24 h. At 11 days in vitro, 5-HT(1A) agonist increased filopodia density, whereas 5-HT(2A/2C) agonist increased the density of puncta and spines. At 15 days in vitro, 5-HT(1A) agonist decreased the density of puncta and spines, whereas 5-HT(2A/2C) agonist decreased filopodia density with increase of spines. In conclusion, the present study shows 5-HT receptors have subtype-specific effects on the spine formation.
We examined roles of calcitonin family peptides in the initial stages of dendrite formation and the maturation of dendritic spines in the rat cerebral cortex in vitro. Embryonic day 18 cortical neurons were dissociated and cultured for 2-3days in the presence of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), calcitonin, amylin or adrenomedullin. The treatment of cortical neurons with CGRP promoted the formation of primary dendrites of non-GABAergic neurons. In contrast, the treatment with amylin and adrenomedullin for 3days inhibited the dendritic elongation of non-GABAergic neurons. Calcitonin had no effect on the initial dendrite formation. Next, we examined roles of the peptides in the spine formation. Embryonic day 16 cortical neurons were cultured for 14days and then treated acutely with CGRP, amylin or adrenomedullin for 24h. The density of filopodia, puncta/stubby spines and spines were increased by the CGRP treatment, whereas decreased by amylin. Therefore, CGRP and amylin showed opposite effects on the formation of dendritic filopodia, puncta and spines. Adrenomedullin had no effects on the spine formation. In conclusion, the present study showed that calcitonin family peptides have differential effects both in the dendrite formation during the initial stages and the spine formation of cortical neurons in vitro.
During development, the rescue of spinal motoneurons as well as sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from programmed cell death (PCD) depends on the integrity of peripheral target innervation. Following deletion of the pro-apoptotic gene Bax, both motoneurons and DRG neurons are rescued from PCD. In the present paper, we asked whether different cell types in the DRG exhibit distinct responses to Bax deletion. In 1-month-old Bax-deficient (Bax-/-) mice, distinct subsets of DRG neurons that were immunopositive for TrkA, CGRP, TRPV1 or TrkC, were all increased in number and exhibited cell atrophy compared to wild type DRG neurons. In addition there was hyperinnervation of the epidermis by CGRP immunopositive processes and a correlated functional hypersensitivity of mechanical nociception in Bax-/- mice. By contrast, the functional properties of populations of rescued thermoreceptor and mechanoreceptor DRG neurons were unchanged. These data indicate that although Bax deletion rescues all of the DRG cell types examined here from PCD, the functional consequences of having excess cells differ between sensory phenotypes.
Hippocampal neurogenesis is influenced by many factors. In this study, we examined the effect of tactile stimulation (tickling), which induced positive emotion, on neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. Four week-old rats were tickled for 5 min/day on 5 consecutive days and received 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) administration for 4 days from the second tickling day. Then they were allowed to survive for 18 h or 3 weeks after the end of BrdU treatment. Neurogenesis in the DG was compared between the tickled and untickled rats by using immunohistochemistry with anti-BrdU antibody. The result showed that the number of BrdU- and NeuN (neural cell marker)-double positive neurons on 18h as well as 3 weeks of the survival periods was significantly increased in the tickled group as compared with the untickled group. The expression of mRNA of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus of the tickled rats was not altered when compared with the control rats. In conclusion, tickling stimulation which induces positive emotion may affect the generation and survival of new neurons of the DG through the BDNF-independent pathway.
Estradiol plays an essential role in sexual differentiation of the rodent hypothalamus. Endocrine disruptors with estrogenic activity such as bisphenol A (BPA) are reported to disturb sexual differentiation of the hypothalamus. The purpose of the present study was to examine in vitro effects of BPA on developing hypothalamic neurons by focusing on a presynaptic protein synapsin I and microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2). In cultured hypothalamic cells from fetal rats, treatment with BPA enhanced both dendritic and synaptic development, as evidenced by increases in the area of dot-like staining of synapsin I and MAP2-positive area. An estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist, ICI 182,780, only partially blocked BPA-induced increase in the synapsin I-area, while it suppressed the MAP2-area increased by BPA. A specific ERK inhibitor, U0126, reduced the synapsin I-area without affecting the MAP2-area. BPA significantly decreased protein levels of synapsin I phosphorylated at Ser-9 and Ser-603. These findings indicate that BPA-inducing effects on dendritic and synaptic development are mediated by different molecular pathways.
Estradiol (17beta-estradiol, E(2)) plays an essential role in sexual differentiation of the rodent brain. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of E(2) on developing hypothalamic neurons by focusing on a presynaptic protein, synapsin I. We applied E(2) to cultured hypothalamic cells removed from fetal rats and investigated resultant effects upon synapsin I. Our immunocytochemical study revealed that administration of E(2) increased the dendritic area (MAP2-area) and synaptic area detected as dot-like staining of synapsin I (synapsin I-area). However, immunoblotting and real-time PCR showed that E(2) did not increase both protein and mRNA expression levels of synapsin I. Studies with cyclohexamide (CHX), membrane impermeable E(2) (E(2)-BSA), and an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI 182,780 indicated that E(2) affected the synapsin I-area mainly via a non-genomic pathway mediated by membrane ER. Immunoblotting showed that E(2) suppressed phosphorylation of synapsin I at residues Ser-9, Ser-553, and Ser-603. On the other hand, E(2) did not affect phosphorylation of synapsin I at Ser-62, Ser-67 and Ser-549. The present study suggests that E(2) affects localization of synapsin I in hypothalamic neurons by altering site-specific phosphorylation of synapsin I, which is likely mediated by membrane ER.
Sensory neurons project axons to specific peripheral and central targets according to their sensory modality. Runx3 is crucially involved in proprioceptive dorsal root ganglion neuron development. Runx3 is also expressed in trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons. The role of Runx3 in the TG, however, is largely unknown because the TG does not contain proprioceptive neurons. In Runx3-deficient (Runx3(-/-)) mice, TrkB-expressing TG neurons were increased, whereas TrkC-expressing TG neurons were decreased during TG neuron development. In Runx3(-/-) neonatal mice, TrkC-expressing TG neurons did not project to the Merkel cells in the outer root sheath (ORS) of whisker vibrissae peripherally and the spinal trigeminal nucleus pars interpolaris (Sp5I) centrally. These findings suggest that Runx3 is required for the specification of TrkC-expressing TG neurons, conveying mechanoreceptive signals from the Merkel cells in the ORS of the whisker vibrissae to the Sp5I.
We examined roles of neurotensin in the dendrite formation and the maturation of dendritic spines in the rat cerebral cortex. Embryonic day (E) 18 cortical neurons were cultured for 2 or 4 days in the presence of neurotensin. The chronic treatment of cortical neurons with neurotensin for 4 days increased the dendritic length of non-GABAergic neurons. In addition, the acute treatment of cortical neurons for 24h at 3 days in vitro also increased the dendritic length of non-GABAergic neurons similarly but more strongly than the chronic treatment. In contrast, the acute treatment for 4h had no effects on the dendrite formation. Next, we examined the effects of neurotensin on the maturation of dendritic spines. E16 cortical neurons were cultured for 10 or 14 days in a basal medium and then treated with neurotensin for 24h. At 11 days in vitro, neurotensin increased the postsynaptic density (PSD) 95-positive dendritic protrusions (filopodia, puncta and spines) together with the increase of spine density and the decrease of puncta density. At 15 days in vitro, neurotensin decreased the puncta density. In addition, the immunohistochemical localization of neurotensin type 1 and type 3 receptors in cultured neurons suggested the differential contribution of the receptors in these effects. These findings suggest that neurotensin promotes the dendrite outgrowth and the maturation of dendritic spines of cultured cortical neurons, although further studies are needed to conclude that these roles of neurotensin are also the case in vivo.
The serotonin type 3 (5-HT(3)) receptor is an only ligand-gated ion channel among 14 serotonin receptors. Here, we examined the roles of the 5-HT(3) receptor in the formation of dendrites and axons, using a dissociation culture of embryonic rat cerebral cortex. Cortical neurons at embryonic day 16 were cultured for 4 days in the presence of a selective 5-HT(3) receptor agonist with or without an antagonist. Neurons were then immunostained by antibodies against microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65. All cells expressed MAP2, whereas only limited number of cells expressed GAD65. From the immunoreactivity and the cell shape, we tentatively divided neurons into 3 types; GAD-positive multipolar, GAD-positive bipolar/tripolar and GAD-negative neurons. The total length of axons and dendrites, the number of primary dendrites and the dendritic branching of GAD-negative neurons were decreased by the agonist (10 or 100nM), most of which were reversed by the concomitant treatment of the antagonist. In contrast, no or little effect was observed on the formation of dendrites and axons of GAD-positive multipolar neurons, and the neurite formation of GAD-positive bipolar/tripolar neurons. The present study revealed differential roles of the 5-HT(3) receptor in the formation of dendrites and axons of subtypes of cortical neurons.
During early development, centrally projecting dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons extend their axons toward the dorsal spinal cord. We previously reported the involvement of dorsal spinal cord-derived chemoattraction in this projection (Masuda et al. [ 2007] Neuroreport 18:1645-1649). However, the molecular nature of this attraction is not clear. Here we show that laminin-1 (alpha1beta1gamma1) is expressed strongly along the pathway of DRG axons and that its 67-kDa receptor (67LR) is present on DRG cells. This evidence suggests that laminin-1-67LR signaling may be involved in DRG axonal guidance. By employing culture assays, we show that laminin-1 or the YIGSR peptide, a soluble peptide of the laminin beta1 chain, promotes the DRG axonal response to dorsal spinal cord-derived chemoattraction. By using a function-blocking antibody against 67LR, we show that the anti-67LR antibody blocks the modulation of DRG axonal response by the YIGSR peptide in vitro. Furthermore, the in ovo injection of the anti-67LR antibody inhibits the DRG axonal growth toward the dorsal spinal cord. These results provide evidence that the YIGSR peptide promotes dorsal spinal cord-derived chemoattraction via 67LR to contribute to the formation of the initial trajectories of developing DRG axons.
The present study characterized the receptor-dependent regulation of dendrite formation of noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA) in cultured neurons obtained from embryonic day 16 rat cerebral cortex. Morphological diversity of cortical dendrites was analyzed on various features: dendrite initiation, dendrite outgrowth, and dendrite branching. Using a combination of immunocytochemical markers of dendrites and GABAergic neurons, we focused on the dendrite morphology of non-GABAergic neurons. Our results showed that (1) NA inhibited the dendrite branching, (2) ? adrenergic receptor (?-AR) agonist inhibited the dendrite initiation, while promoted the dendrite outgrowth, (3) ?1-AR and ?2-AR were present in all the cultured neurons, and both agonists inhibited the dendrite initiation, while only ?1-AR agonist induced the dendrite branching; (4) DA inhibited the dendrite outgrowth, (5) D1 receptor agonist inhibited the dendrite initiation, while promoted the dendrite branching. In conclusion, this study compared the effects of NA, DA and their receptors and showed that NA and DA regulate different features on the dendrite formation of non-GABAergic cortical neurons, depending on the receptors.
We recently showed that tactile stimulation (tickling) accompanied by positive emotion altered the expression of many genes in the rat hypothalamus (Hori et al., 2009 ). In this study, the effect of repeated tickling on gene expressions of the rat salivary gland was examined. After 4-week stimulation, several genes of the kallikrein (Klk) family were remarkably up-regulated and the alpha-amylase (amylase) gene was down-regulated in DNA microarray analysis. In quantitative analysis using real-time PCR of the submandibular gland of the rats tickled for 2 weeks, mRNAs of Klk1, Klk2 (Klk1c2, Tonin), Klk7 (Klk1l), Klk1b3 (Nerve growth factor, gamma), Klk1c10, Klks3 (Klk1c9) and GK11 were significantly 2-5-fold increased among 18 members of the Klk gene family examined and the submandibular amylase was decreased compared with the lightly touched and untouched control rats. In immunoblot analysis the increase in Klk7 protein was observed in the whole cell lysate fraction of the submandibular gland. In immunohistochemical analysis with anti-Klk7 polyclonal antibody, the immunostain was increased in duct cells of the submandibular gland of the tickled rat when compared with the lightly touched and untouched control rats. These results suggest that tactile sensory processing in the central nervous system affects the gene expression in the peripheral tissue probably via hormonal and/or autonomic neural activities. Submandibular Klks may be biochemical markers indicating positive emotional states.
The spinal nerve, which is composed of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) axons and spinal motor axons, divides into ventral and dorsal rami. Although the development of the ventral ramus has been examined in considerable detail, that of the dorsal ramus has not. Therefore, we first examined the spatial-temporal pattern of the dorsal ramus formation in the chick embryo, with special reference to the projection to the dermamyotome and its derivatives. Next, we focused on two guidance molecules, chick semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) and fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF8), because these are the best candidates as molecules for controlling the dorsal ramus formation. Using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry methods, we clearly showed a close relationship between the spatial-temporal expression of SEMA3A/FGF8 and the projection of dorsal ramus fibers to the dorsal muscles. We further examined the axonal response of motor and DRG neurons to SEMA3A and FGF8. We showed that motor axons responded to both SEMA3A-induced repulsion and FGF8-induced attraction. On the other hand, DRG axons responded to SEMA3A-induced repulsion but not to FGF8-induced attraction. These findings suggest that FGF8-induced attraction may guide early motor axons beneath the myotome and that SEMA3A-induced repulsion may prevent these early motor axons from entering the myotome. Our results also imply that the loss of SEMA3A expression in the dorsal muscles may lead to the gross projection of the dorsal ramus fibers into the dorsal muscles. Together, SEMA3A and FGF8 may contribute to the proper formation of the dorsal ramus.
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