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The nigrostriatal and mesocorticolimbic dopamine networks regulate reward-driven behavior. Regional alterations to mesolimbic dopamine Dreceptor expression are described in drug-seeking and addiction disorders. Parkinson's disease (PD) patients are frequently prescribed D-like dopamine agonist (DAgonist) therapy for motor symptoms, yet a proportion develop clinically significant behavioral addictions characterized by impulsive and compulsive behaviors (ICBs). Until now, changes in Dreceptor binding in both striatal and extrastriatal regions have not been concurrently quantified in this population. We identified 35 human PD patients (both male and female) receiving DAgonist therapy, with (n=17) and without (n=18) ICBs, matched for age, disease duration, disease severity, and dose of dopamine therapy. In the off-dopamine state, all completed PET imaging with [F]fallypride, a high affinity D-like receptor ligand that can measure striatal and extrastriatal Dnondisplaceable binding potential (BP). Striatal differences between ICB+/ICB- patients localized to the ventral striatum and putamen, where ICB+ subjects had reduced BPIn this group, self-reported severity of ICB symptoms positively correlated with midbrain Dreceptor BPGroup differences in regional DBPrelationships were also notable: ICB+ (but not ICB-) patients expressed positive correlations between midbrain and caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, and amygdala BP's. These findings support the hypothesis that compulsive behaviors in PD are associated with reduced ventral and dorsal striatal Dexpression, similar to changes in comparable behavioral disorders. The data also suggest that relatively preserved ventral midbrain dopaminergic projections throughout nigrostriatal and mesolimbic networks are characteristic of ICB+ patients, and may account for differential DAgonist therapeutic response.The biologic determinants of compulsive reward-based behaviors have broad clinical relevance, from addiction to neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we address biomolecular distinctions in Parkinson's disease patients with impulsive compulsive behaviors (ICBs). This is the first study to image a large cohort of ICB+ patients using positron emission tomography with [18F]fallypride, allowing quantification of D2/3 receptors throughout the mesocorticolimbic network. We demonstrate widespread differences in dopaminergic networks, including (1) D2-like receptor distinctions in the ventral striatum and putamen, and (2) a preservation of widespread dopaminergic projections emerging from the midbrain, which is associated with the severity of compulsive behaviors. This clearly illustrates the roles of D2/3 receptors and medication effects in maladaptive behaviors, and localizes them specifically to nigrostriatal and extrastriatal regions.
Copyright © 2018 the authors.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is a potent neuromodulator capable of modifying patterns of acoustic information flow. In auditory cortex, cholinergic systems have been shown to increase salience/gain while suppressing extraneous information. However, the mechanism by which cholinergic circuits shape signal processing in the auditory thalamus (medial geniculate body, MGB) is poorly understood. The present study, in male Fischer Brown Norway rats, seeks to determine the location and function of presynaptic neuronal nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChRs) at the major inputs to MGB and characterize how nAChRs change during aging.electrophysiological/optogenetic methods were used to examine responses of MGB neurons after activation of nAChRs during a paired-pulse paradigm. Presynaptic nAChR activation increased responses evoked by stimulation of excitatory corticothalamic and inhibitory tectothalamic terminals. Conversely, nAChR activation appeared to have little effect on evoked responses from inhibitory thalamic reticular nucleus and excitatory tectothalamic terminals.hybridization data showed nAChR subunit transcripts in GABAergic inferior colliculus neurons and glutamatergic auditory cortical neurons supporting the present slice findings. Responses to nAChR activation at excitatory corticothalamic and inhibitory tectothalamic inputs were diminished by aging. These findings suggest that cholinergic input to the MGB increases the strength of tectothalamic inhibitory projections, potentially improving the signal-to-noise ratio and signal detection while increasing corticothalamic gain, which may facilitate top-down identification of stimulus identity. These mechanisms appear to be affected negatively by aging, potentially diminishing speech perception in noisy environments. Cholinergic inputs to the MGB appear to maximize sensory processing by adjusting both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in conditions of attention and arousal.The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus is the source of cholinergic innervation for sensory thalamus and is a critical part of an ascending arousal system that controls the firing mode of thalamic cells based on attentional demand. The present study describes the location and impact of aging on presynaptic neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) within the circuitry of the auditory thalamus (medial geniculate body, MGB). We show that nAChRs are located on ascending inhibitory and descending excitatory presynaptic inputs onto MGB neurons, likely increasing gain selectively and improving temporal clarity. In addition, we show that aging has a deleterious effect on nAChR efficacy. Cholinergic dysfunction at the level of MGB may affect speech understanding negatively in the elderly population.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3711378-13$15.00/0.
Engagement of integrins by the extracellular matrix initiates signaling cascades that drive a variety of cellular functions, including neuronal migration and axonal pathfinding in the brain. Multiple lines of evidence link thegene encoding the integrin β3 subunit with the serotonin (5-HT) system, likely via its modulation of the 5-HT transporter (SERT). Thecoding polymorphism Leu33Pro (rs5918, Pl) produces hyperactive αvβ3 receptors that influence whole-blood 5-HT levels and may influence the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using a phenome-wide scan of psychiatric diagnoses, we found significant, male-specific associations between the Pro33 allele and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and ASDs. Here, we used knock-in (KI) mice expressing anvariant that phenocopies the human Pro33 variant to elucidate the consequences of constitutively enhanced αvβ3 signaling to the 5-HT system in the brain. KI mice displayed deficits in multiple behaviors, including anxiety, repetitive, and social behaviors. Anatomical studies revealed a significant decrease in 5-HT synapses in the midbrain, accompanied by decreases in SERT activity and reduced localization of SERTs to integrin adhesion complexes in synapses of KI mice. Inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) rescued SERT function in synapses of KI mice, demonstrating that constitutive active FAK signaling downstream of the Pro32Pro33 integrin αvβ3 suppresses SERT activity. Our studies identify a complex regulation of 5-HT homeostasis and behaviors by integrin αvβ3, revealing an important role for integrins in modulating risk for neuropsychiatric disorders.The integrin β3 Leu33Pro coding polymorphism has been associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) within a subgroup of patients with elevated blood 5-HT levels, linking integrin β3, 5-HT, and ASD risk. We capitalized on these interactions to demonstrate that the Pro33 coding variation in the murine integrin β3 recapitulates the sex-dependent neurochemical and behavioral attributes of ASD. Using state-of-the-art techniques, we show that presynaptic 5-HT function is altered in these mice, and that the localization of 5-HT transporters to specific compartments within the synapse, disrupted by the integrin β3 Pro33 mutation, is critical for appropriate reuptake of 5-HT. Our studies provide fundamental insight into the genetic network regulating 5-HT neurotransmission in the CNS that is also associated with ASD risk.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3711272-14$15.00/0.
The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) regulates multiple behaviors across phylogeny, with disrupted DA signaling in humans associated with addiction, attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, and Parkinson's disease. The DA transporter (DAT) imposes spatial and temporal limits on DA action, and provides for presynaptic DA recycling to replenish neurotransmitter pools. Molecular mechanisms that regulate DAT expression, trafficking, and function, particularly, remain poorly understood, though recent studies have implicated rho-linked pathways in psychostimulant action. To identify genes that dictate the ability of DAT to sustain normal levels of DA clearance, we pursued a forward genetic screen inbased on the phenotype swimming-induced paralysis (Swip), a paralytic behavior observed in hermaphrodite worms with loss-of-functionmutations. Here, we report the identity of, which encodes a highly conserved ortholog of the human atypical MAP kinase ERK8. We present evidence that SWIP-13 acts presynaptically to insure adequate levels of surface DAT expression and DA clearance. Moreover, we provideandevidence supporting a conserved pathway involving SWIP-13/ERK8 activation of Rho GTPases that dictates DAT surface expression and function.Signaling by the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) is tightly regulated by the DA transporter (DAT), insuring efficient DA clearance after release. Molecular networks that regulate DAT are poorly understood, particularlyUsing a forward genetic screen in the nematode, we implicate the atypical mitogen activated protein kinase, SWIP-13, in DAT regulation. Moreover, we provideandevidence that SWIP-13, as well as its human counterpart ERK8, regulate DAT surface availability via the activation of Rho proteins. Our findings implicate a novel pathway that regulates DA synaptic availability and that may contribute to risk for disorders linked to perturbed DA signaling. Targeting this pathway may be of value in the development of therapeutics in such disorders.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/379288-17$15.00/0.
Remyelination of CNS axons by Schwann cells (SCs) is not efficient, in part due to the poor migration of SCs into the adult CNS. Although it is known that migrating SCs avoid white matter tracts, the molecular mechanisms underlying this exclusion have never been elucidated. We now demonstrate that myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG), a well known inhibitor of neurite outgrowth, inhibits rat SC migration and induces their death via γ-secretase-dependent regulated intramembrane proteolysis of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (also known as p75 cleavage). Blocking p75 cleavage using inhibitor X (Inh X), a compound that inhibits γ-secretase activity before exposing to MAG or CNS myelin improves SC migration and survivalFurthermore, mouse SCs pretreated with Inh X migrate extensively in the demyelinated mouse spinal cord and remyelinate axons. These results suggest a novel role for MAG/myelin in poor SC-myelin interaction and identify p75 cleavage as a mechanism that can be therapeutically targeted to enhance SC-mediated axon remyelination in the adult CNS.Numerous studies have used Schwann cells, the myelin-making cells of the peripheral nervous system to remyelinate adult CNS axons. Indeed, these transplanted cells successfully remyelinate axons, but unfortunately they do not migrate far and so remyelinate only a few axons in the vicinity of the transplant site. It is believed that if Schwann cells could be induced to migrate further and survive better, they may represent a valid therapy for remyelination. We show that myelin-associated glycoprotein or CNS myelin, in general, inhibit rodent Schwann cell migration and induce their death via cleavage of the neurotrophin receptor p75. Blockade of p75 cleavage using a specific inhibitor significantly improves migration and survival of the transplanted Schwann cells.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/375885-15$15.00/0.
Voltage-gated Ca1.2 and Ca1.3 (L-type) Cachannels regulate neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory. Densin-180 (densin) is an excitatory synaptic protein that promotes Ca-dependent facilitation of voltage-gated Ca1.3 Cachannels in transfected cells. Mice lacking densin (densin KO) exhibit defects in synaptic plasticity, spatial memory, and increased anxiety-related behaviors-phenotypes that more closely match those in mice lacking Ca1.2 than Ca1.3. Therefore, we investigated the functional impact of densin on Ca1.2. We report that densin is an essential regulator of Ca1.2 in neurons, but has distinct modulatory effects compared with its regulation of Ca1.3. Densin binds to the N-terminal domain of Ca1.2, but not that of Ca1.3, and increases Ca1.2 currents in transfected cells and in neurons. In transfected cells, densin accelerates the forward trafficking of Ca1.2 channels without affecting their endocytosis. Consistent with a role for densin in increasing the number of postsynaptic Ca1.2 channels, overexpression of densin increases the clustering of Ca1.2 in dendrites of hippocampal neurons in culture. Compared with wild-type mice, the cell surface levels of Ca1.2 in the brain, as well as Ca1.2 current density and signaling to the nucleus, are reduced in neurons from densin KO mice. We conclude that densin is an essential regulator of neuronal Ca1 channels and ensures efficient Ca1.2 Casignaling at excitatory synapses.The number and localization of voltage-gated CaCachannels are crucial determinants of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. We report that the protein densin-180 is highly enriched at excitatory synapses in the brain and enhances the cell surface trafficking and postsynaptic localization of Ca1.2 L-type Cachannels in neurons. This interaction promotes coupling of Ca1.2 channels to activity-dependent gene transcription. Our results reveal a mechanism that may contribute to the roles of Ca1.2 in regulating cognition and mood.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/374679-13$15.00/0.
Characterizing the functional impact of novel mutations linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) provides a deeper mechanistic understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Here we show that aGlu183 to Val (E183V) mutation in the CaMKIIα catalytic domain, identified in a proband diagnosed with ASD, decreases both CaMKIIα substrate phosphorylation and regulatory autophosphorylation, and that the mutated kinase acts in a dominant-negative manner to reduce CaMKIIα-WT autophosphorylation. The E183V mutation also reduces CaMKIIα binding to established ASD-linked proteins, such as Shank3 and subunits of l-type calcium channels and NMDA receptors, and increases CaMKIIα turnover in intact cells. In cultured neurons, the E183V mutation reduces CaMKIIα targeting to dendritic spines. Moreover, neuronal expression of CaMKIIα-E183V increases dendritic arborization and decreases both dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic transmission. Mice with a knock-in CaMKIIα-E183V mutation have lower total forebrain CaMKIIα levels, with reduced targeting to synaptic subcellular fractions. The CaMKIIα-E183V mice also display aberrant behavioral phenotypes, including hyperactivity, social interaction deficits, and increased repetitive behaviors. Together, these data suggest that CaMKIIα plays a previously unappreciated role in ASD-related synaptic and behavioral phenotypes.Many autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-linked mutations disrupt the function of synaptic proteins, but no single gene accounts for >1% of total ASD cases. The molecular networks and mechanisms that couple the primary deficits caused by these individual mutations to core behavioral symptoms of ASD remain poorly understood. Here, we provide the first characterization of a mutation in the gene encoding CaMKIIα linked to a specific neuropsychiatric disorder. Our findings demonstrate that this ASD-linkedmutation disrupts multiple CaMKII functions, induces synaptic deficits, and causes ASD-related behavioral alterations, providing novel insights into the synaptic mechanisms contributing to ASD.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/372217-18$15.00/0.
UNLABELLED - The evolved capacity for third-party punishment is considered crucial to the emergence and maintenance of elaborate human social organization and is central to the modern provision of fairness and justice within society. Although it is well established that the mental state of the offender and the severity of the harm he caused are the two primary predictors of punishment decisions, the precise cognitive and brain mechanisms by which these distinct components are evaluated and integrated into a punishment decision are poorly understood. Using fMRI, here we implement a novel experimental design to functionally dissociate the mechanisms underlying evaluation, integration, and decision that were conflated in previous studies of third-party punishment. Behaviorally, the punishment decision is primarily defined by a superadditive interaction between harm and mental state, with subjects weighing the interaction factor more than the single factors of harm and mental state. On a neural level, evaluation of harms engaged brain areas associated with affective and somatosensory processing, whereas mental state evaluation primarily recruited circuitry involved in mentalization. Harm and mental state evaluations are integrated in medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate structures, with the amygdala acting as a pivotal hub of the interaction between harm and mental state. This integrated information is used by the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at the time of the decision to assign an appropriate punishment through a distributed coding system. Together, these findings provide a blueprint of the brain mechanisms by which neutral third parties render punishment decisions.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT - Punishment undergirds large-scale cooperation and helps dispense criminal justice. Yet it is currently unknown precisely how people assess the mental states of offenders, evaluate the harms they caused, and integrate those two components into a single punishment decision. Using a new design, we isolated these three processes, identifying the distinct brain systems and activities that enable each. Additional findings suggest that the amygdala plays a crucial role in mediating the interaction of mental state and harm information, whereas the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plays a crucial, final-stage role, both in integrating mental state and harm information and in selecting a suitable punishment amount. These findings deepen our understanding of how punishment decisions are made, which may someday help to improve them.
Copyright © 2016 Ginther et al.
Oxytocin is a neuropeptide important for social behaviors such as maternal care and parent-infant bonding. It is believed that oxytocin receptor signaling in the brain is critical for these behaviors, but it is unknown precisely when and where oxytocin receptors are expressed or which neural circuits are directly sensitive to oxytocin. To overcome this challenge, we generated specific antibodies to the mouse oxytocin receptor and examined receptor expression throughout the brain. We identified a distributed network of female mouse brain regions for maternal behaviors that are especially enriched for oxytocin receptors, including the piriform cortex, the left auditory cortex, and CA2 of the hippocampus. Electron microscopic analysis of the cerebral cortex revealed that oxytocin receptors were mainly expressed at synapses, as well as on axons and glial processes. Functionally, oxytocin transiently reduced synaptic inhibition in multiple brain regions and enabled long-term synaptic plasticity in the auditory cortex. Thus modulation of inhibition may be a general mechanism by which oxytocin can act throughout the brain to regulate parental behaviors and social cognition.
Copyright © 2016 the authors 0270-6474/16/362517-19$15.00/0.
BACKGROUND - Aversive olfactory classical conditioning has been the standard method to assess Drosophila learning and memory behavior for decades, yet training and testing are conducted manually under exceedingly labor-intensive conditions. To overcome this severe limitation, a fully automated, inexpensive system has been developed, which allows accurate and efficient Pavlovian associative learning/memory analyses for high-throughput pharmacological and genetic studies.
NEW METHOD - The automated system employs a linear actuator coupled to an odorant T-maze with airflow-mediated transfer of animals between training and testing stages. Odorant, airflow and electrical shock delivery are automatically administered and monitored during training trials. Control software allows operator-input variables to define parameters of Drosophila learning, short-term memory and long-term memory assays.
RESULTS - The approach allows accurate learning/memory determinations with operational fail-safes. Automated learning indices (immediately post-training) and memory indices (after 24h) are comparable to traditional manual experiments, while minimizing experimenter involvement.
COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS - The automated system provides vast improvements over labor-intensive manual approaches with no experimenter involvement required during either training or testing phases. It provides quality control tracking of airflow rates, odorant delivery and electrical shock treatments, and an expanded platform for high-throughput studies of combinational drug tests and genetic screens. The design uses inexpensive hardware and software for a total cost of ∼$500US, making it affordable to a wide range of investigators.
CONCLUSIONS - This study demonstrates the design, construction and testing of a fully automated Drosophila olfactory classical association apparatus to provide low-labor, high-fidelity, quality-monitored, high-throughput and inexpensive learning and memory behavioral assays.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.