The impact of transient ischemic-hypoxemic insults on the developing fetal brain is poorly understood despite evidence suggesting an association with neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. To address this, we designed an aberrant uterine hypercontractility paradigm with oxytocin to better assess the consequences of acute, but transient, placental ischemia-hypoxemia in term pregnant rats. Using MRI, we confirmed that oxytocin-induced aberrant uterine hypercontractility substantially compromised uteroplacental perfusion. This was supported by the observation of oxidative stress and increased lactate concentration in the fetal brain. Genes related to oxidative stress pathways were significantly upregulated in male, but not female, offspring 1 hour after oxytocin-induced placental ischemia-hypoxemia. Persistent upregulation of select mitochondrial electron transport chain complex proteins in the anterior cingulate cortex of adolescent male offspring suggested that this sex-specific effect was enduring. Functionally, offspring exposed to oxytocin-induced uterine hypercontractility showed male-specific abnormalities in social behavior with associated region-specific changes in gene expression and functional cortical connectivity. Our findings, therefore, indicate that even transient but severe placental ischemia-hypoxemia could be detrimental to the developing brain and point to a possible mitochondrial link between intrauterine asphyxia and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Arvind Palanisamy, Tusar Giri, Jia Jiang, Annie Bice, James D. Quirk, Sara B. Conyers, Susan E. Maloney, Nandini Raghuraman, Adam Q. Bauer, Joel R. Garbow, David F. Wozniak
Refractory neonatal seizures do not respond to first-line anti-seizure medications (ASMs) like phenobarbital (PB), a positive allosteric modulator for GABAA receptors. GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition is dependent upon electroneutral cation-chloride transporter KCC2 which mediates neuronal chloride extrusion and its age-dependent increase, postnatally shifts GABAergic signaling from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing. BDNF-TrkB activation following excitotoxic injury recruits downstream targets like PLCγ1, leading to KCC2 hypofunction. Here, the anti-seizure efficacy of TrkB agonists LM22A-4, HIOC, and Deoxygedunin (DG), on PB-refractory seizures, and post-ischemic TrkB-pathway activation was investigated in a mouse model (CD-1, P7) of refractory neonatal seizures. LM, a BDNF loop II mimetic, rescued PB-refractory seizures in a sexually dimorphic manner. Efficacy was associated with a significant reduction in the post-ischemic phosphorylation of TrkB at Y816, a site known to mediate post-ischemic KCC2 hypofunction via PLCγ1 activation. LM rescued ischemia-induced pKCC2-S940 dephosphorylation, preserving its membrane stability. Full TrkB agonists HIOC and DG similarly rescued PB-refractoriness. Chemogenetic inactivation of TrkB significantly reduced post-ischemic neonatal seizure burdens at P7. Sex differences identified in developmental expression profiles of TrkB and KCC2 may underlie the sexually dimorphic efficacy of LM. These results support a novel role for the TrkB receptor in the emergence of age-dependent refractory neonatal seizures.
Pavel A. Kipnis, Brennan J. Sullivan, Brandon M. Carter, Shilpa Kadam
Imprinted genes are highly expressed in the hypothalamus; however, whether specific imprinted genes affect hypothalamic neuromodulators and their functions is unknown. It has been suggested that Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by lack of paternal expression at chromosome 15q11-q13, is characterized by hypothalamic insufficiency. Here, we investigate the role of the paternally expressed Snord116 gene within the context of sleep and metabolic abnormalities of PWS, and we report a significant role of this imprinted gene in the function and organization of the two main neuromodulatory systems of the lateral hypothalamus (LH), namely, the orexin (OX) and melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) systems. We observe that the dynamics between neuronal discharge in the LH and the sleep-wake states of mice with paternal deletion of Snord116 (PWScrm+/p–) are compromised. This abnormal state-dependent neuronal activity is paralleled by a significant reduction in OX neurons in the LH of mutants. Therefore, we propose that an imbalance between OX- and MCH-expressing neurons in the LH of mutants reflects a series of deficits manifested in the PWS, such as dysregulation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, food intake and temperature control.
Marta Pace, Matteo Falappa, Andrea Freschi, Edoardo Balzani, Chiara Berteotti, Viviana Lo Martire, Fatemeh Kaveh, Eivind Hovig, Giovanna Zoccoli, Roberto Amici, Matteo Cerri, Alfonso Urbanucci, Valter Tucci
Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) has long been implicated in inflammatory and visceral pain, but the cellular basis of PAR2-evoked pain has not been delineated. While PAR2-evoked pain has been attributed to sensory neuron expression, RNA-sequencing experiments show ambiguous F2rl1 mRNA detection. Moreover, many pharmacological tools for PAR2 are nonspecific, acting also on the Mas-related GPCR family (Mrg) that are highly enriched in sensory neurons. We sought to bring clarity to the cellular basis of PAR2 pain. We developed a PAR2 conditional mutant mouse and specifically deleted PAR2 in all sensory neurons using the PirtCre mouse line. Our behavioral findings show that PAR2 agonist-evoked mechanical hyperalgesia and facial grimacing, but not thermal hyperalgesia, is dependent on PAR2 expression in sensory neurons that project to the hind paw in male and female mice. F2rl1 mRNA is expressed in a discrete population (~4%) of mostly small-diameter sensory neurons that co-express the Nppb and IL31ra genes. This cell population has been implicated in itch, but our work shows that PAR2 activation in these cells causes clear pain-related behaviors from the skin. Our findings show that a discreet population of DRG sensory neurons mediate PAR2-evoked pain.
Shayne N. Hassler, Moeno Kume, Juliet Mwirigi, Ayesha Ahmad, Stephanie Shiers, Andi Wangzhou, Pradipta Ray, Sergei N. Belugin, Dhananjay K. Naik, Michael D. Burton, Josef Vagner, Scott Boitano, Armen N. Akopian, Gregory Dussor, Theodore J. Price
Discovery strategies commonly focus on the identification of chemical libraries or natural products, but the modulation of endogenous ligands offers a much better therapeutic strategy due to their low adverse potential. Recently, we have seen that hexadecanamide (Hex) is present in hippocampal nuclei of normal mice as an endogenous ligand of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). This study underlines the importance of Hex in inducing the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from hippocampal neurons via PPARα. The level of Hex was less in the hippocampus of 5xFAD mice as compared to non-Tg mice. Oral administration of Hex increased the level of this molecule in the hippocampus to stimulate BDNF and its downstream plasticity-associated molecules, promote synaptic functions in the hippocampus and improve memory and learning in 5xFAD mice. However, oral Hex remained unable to stimulate hippocampal plasticity and improve cognitive behaviors in 5xFADPparα-null (5x with global PPARα-/-) and 5xFADPparα-ΔHippo (5x with hippocampus-specific PPARα-/-) mice, indicating an essential role of hippocampal PPARα in Hex-mediated improvement in hippocampal functions. This is the first demonstration of protection of hippocampal functions by oral administration of a hippocampus-based drug, suggesting that hexadecanamide may be explored for therapeutic intervention in AD.
Dhruv R. Patel, Avik Roy, Sumita Raha, Madhuchhanda Kundu, Frank Gonzalez, Kalipada Pahan
Although human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) represent a substantial proportion of the human genome and some HERVs, such as HERV-K(HML-2), are reported to be involved in neurological disorders, little is known about their biological function. We report that RNA from an HERV-K(HML-2) envelope gene region binds to and activates human Toll-like receptor (TLR) 8, as well as murine Tlr7, expressed in neurons and microglia, thereby causing neurodegeneration. HERV-K(HML-2) RNA introduced into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of either C57BL/6 wild-type mice or APPPS1 mice, a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), resulted in neurodegeneration and microglia accumulation. Tlr7-deficient mice were protected against neurodegenerative effects but were resensitized toward HERV-K(HML-2) RNA when neurons ectopically expressed murine Tlr7 or human TLR8. Transcriptome data sets of human AD brain samples revealed a distinct correlation of upregulated HERV-K(HML-2) and TLR8 RNA expression. HERV-K(HML-2) RNA was detectable more frequently in CSF from individuals with AD compared with controls. Our data establish HERV-K(HML-2) RNA as an endogenous ligand for species-specific TLRs 7/8 and imply a functional contribution of human endogenous retroviral transcripts to neurodegenerative processes, such as AD.
Paul Dembny, Andrew G. Newman, Manvendra Singh, Michael Hinz, Michal Szczepek, Christina Krüger, Robert Adalbert, Omar Dzaye, Thorsten Trimbuch, Thomas Wallach, Gunnar Kleinau, Katja Derkow, Bernhard C. Richard, Carola Schipke, Claus Scheidereit, Harald Stachelscheid, Douglas Golenbock, Oliver Peters, Michael Coleman, Frank L. Heppner, Patrick Scheerer, Victor Tarabykin, Klemens Ruprecht, Zsuzsanna Izsvák, Jens Mayer, Seija Lehnardt
Glucokinase (GK) is highly expressed in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN); however its role is currently unknown. We found that glucokinase in the PVN acts as part of a glucose sensing mechanism within the PVN that regulates glucose homeostasis by controlling glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) release. GLP-1 is released from enteroendocrine L-cells in response to oral glucose. Here we identify a brain mechanism critical to the release of GLP-1 in response to oral glucose. We show that increasing expression of GK or injection of glucose into the PVN increases GLP-1 release in response to oral glucose. On the contrary decreasing expression of GK or injection of non-metabolisable glucose into the PVN prevents GLP-1 release. Our results demonstrate that glucosensitive GK neurones in the PVN, are critical to the response to oral glucose and subsequent release of GLP-1.
Yue Ma, Risheka Ratnasabapathy, Ivan De Backer, Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya, Marie-Sophie Nguyen-Tu, Joyceline Cuenco, Ben Jones, Christopher D. John, Brian Y. H. Lam, Guy A. Rutter, Giles Yeo, Waljit Dhillo, James Gardiner
Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analog, induces weight loss, lowers glucose levels, and reduces cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes. Mechanistic preclinical studies suggest weight loss is mediated through GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1Rs) in the brain. The findings presented here show that semaglutide modulated food preference, reduced food intake, and caused weight loss without decreasing energy expenditure. Semaglutide directly accessed the brainstem, septal nucleus, and hypothalamus but did not cross the blood-brain barrier; it interacted with the brain through the circumventricular organs and several select sites adjacent to the ventricles. Semaglutide induced central c-Fos activation in 10 brain areas, including hindbrain areas directly targeted by semaglutide, and secondary areas without direct GLP-1R interaction, such as the lateral parabrachial nucleus. Automated analysis of semaglutide access, c-Fos activity, GLP-1R distribution, and brain connectivity revealed that activation may involve meal termination controlled by neurons in the lateral parabrachial nucleus. Transcriptomic analysis of microdissected brain areas from semaglutide-treated rats showed upregulation of prolactin-releasing hormone and tyrosine hydroxylase in the area postrema. We suggest semaglutide lowers body weight by direct interaction with diverse GLP-1R populations and by directly and indirectly affecting the activity of neural pathways involved in food intake, reward, and energy expenditure.
Sanaz Gabery, Casper G. Salinas, Sarah J. Paulsen, Jonas Ahnfelt-Rønne, Tomas Alanentalo, Arian F. Baquero, Stephen T. Buckley, Erzsébet Farkas, Csaba Fekete, Klaus S. Frederiksen, Hans Christian C. Helms, Jacob F. Jeppesen, Linu M. John, Charles Pyke, Jane Nøhr, Tess T. Lu, Joseph Polex-Wolf, Vincent Prevot, Kirsten Raun, Lotte Simonsen, Gao Sun, Anett Szilvásy-Szabó, Hanni Willenbrock, Anna Secher, Lotte Bjerre Knudsen
BACKGROUND. Seizure-induced inhibition of respiration plays a critical role in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). However, the mechanisms underlying seizure-induced central apnea in pediatric epilepsy are unknown. METHODS. We studied eight pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy undergoing intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG). We recorded respiration during seizures and during electrical stimulation mapping of 174 forebrain sites. A machine learning algorithm was used to delineate brain regions that inhibit respiration. RESULTS. In two patients, apnea coincided with seizure spread to the amygdala. Supporting a role for the amygdala in breathing inhibition in children, electrically stimulating the amygdala produced apnea in all eight subjects (3- to 17-years-old). These effects did not depend on epilepsy type and were relatively specific to the amygdala as no other site affected breathing. Remarkably, patients were unaware that they had stopped breathing, and none reported dyspnea or arousal, findings critical for SUDEP. Finally, a machine learning algorithm based on 45 stimulation sites and 210 stimulation trials identified a focal subregion in the human amygdala that consistently produced apnea. This site, which we refer to as the Amygdala Inhibition of Respiration (AIR) site includes the medial subregion of the basal nuclei, cortical and medial nuclei, amygdala transition areas, and intercalated neurons. CONCLUSIONS. A focal site in the amygdala inhibits respiration and induces apnea (AIR site) when electrically stimulated and during seizures in children with epilepsy. This site may prove valuable for determining those at greatest risk for SUDEP and as a therapeutic target. TRIAL REGISTRATION. This study was not affiliated with any formal clinical trial. FUNDING. NIH, CNS, Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.
Ariane E. Rhone, Christopher K. Kovach, Gail I.S. Harmata, Alyssa W. Sullivan, Daniel Tranel, Michael A. Ciliberto, Matthew A. Howard, George B. Richerson, Mitchell Steinschneider, John A. Wemmie, Brian J. Dlouhy
Detailed spatial information of low-molecular-weight compounds distribution, especially in the brain, is crucial towards understanding their mechanism of actions. Imaging techniques that can directly visualize drugs in the brain at a high resolution will complement existing tools for drug distribution analysis. Here, we performed surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) imaging using a bioorthogonal alkyne tag to visualize drugs directly in situ at a high resolution. Focusing on the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor S-citalopram (S-Cit), which possesses a nitrile group, we substituted an alkynyl group into its structure and synthesized alkynylated S-Cit (Alk-S-Cit). The brain transitivity and the serotonin reuptake inhibition of Alk-S-Cit were not significantly different as compared to S-Cit. Alk-S-Cit was visualized in the coronal mouse brain section using SERS imaging with silver nanoparticles. Further, SERS imaging combined with fluorescence microscopy allowed Alk-S-Cit to be visualized in the adjacent neuronal membranes, and in the brain vessel and parenchyma. Thus, our multimodal imaging technique is an effective method for detecting low-molecular-weight compounds in their original tissue environment and can potentially offer additional information regarding the precise spatial distribution of such drugs.
Masato Tanuma, Atsushi Kasai, Kazuki Bando, Naoyuki Kotoku, Kazuo Harada, Masafumi Minoshima, Kosuke Higashino, Atsushi Kimishima, Masayoshi Arai, Yukio Ago, Kaoru Seiriki, Kazuya Kikuchi, Satoshi Kawata, Katsumasa Fujita, Hitoshi Hashimoto
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