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Adrenal chromaffin cells comprise the neuroendocrine arm of the sympathetic nervous system and secrete catecholamines to coordinate the appropriate stress response. Deletion of the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT) gene in mice (SERT mice) or pharmacological block of SERT function in rodents and humans augments this sympathoadrenal stress response (epinephrine secretion). The prevailing assumption is that loss of CNS SERT alters central drive to the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. Adrenal chromaffin cells also prominently express SERT where it might coordinate accumulation of 5-HT for reuse in the autocrine control of stress-evoked catecholamine secretion. To help test this hypothesis, we have generated a novel mouse model with selective excision of SERT in the peripheral sympathetic nervous system (SERT), generated by crossing floxed SERT mice with tyrosine hydroxylase Cre driver mice. SERT expression, assessed by western blot, was abolished in the adrenal gland but not perturbed in the CNS of SERT mice. SERT-mediated [H] 5-HT uptake was unaltered in midbrain, hindbrain, and spinal cord synaptosomes, confirming transporter function was intact in the CNS. Endogenous midbrain and whole blood 5-HT homeostasis was unperturbed in SERT mice, contrasting with the depleted 5-HT content in SERT mice. Selective SERT excision reduced adrenal gland 5-HT content by ≈ 50% in SERT mice but had no effect on adrenal catecholamine content. This novel model confirms that SERT expressed in adrenal chromaffin cells is essential for maintaining wild-type levels of 5-HT and provides a powerful tool to help dissect the role of SERT in the sympathetic stress response.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Carotid body glomus cells mediate essential reflex responses to arterial blood hypoxia. They are dopaminergic and secrete growth factors that support dopaminergic neurons, making the carotid body a potential source of patient-specific cells for Parkinson's disease therapy. Like adrenal chromaffin cells, which are also hypoxia-sensitive, glomus cells are neural crest-derived and require the transcription factors Ascl1 and Phox2b; otherwise, their development is little understood at the molecular level. Here, analysis in chicken and mouse reveals further striking molecular parallels, though also some differences, between glomus and adrenal chromaffin cell development. Moreover, histology has long suggested that glomus cell precursors are 'émigrés' from neighbouring ganglia/nerves, while multipotent nerve-associated glial cells are now known to make a significant contribution to the adrenal chromaffin cell population in the mouse. We present conditional genetic lineage-tracing data from mice supporting the hypothesis that progenitors expressing the glial marker proteolipid protein 1, presumably located in adjacent ganglia/nerves, also contribute to glomus cells. Finally, we resolve a paradox for the 'émigré' hypothesis in the chicken - where the nearest ganglion to the carotid body is the nodose, in which the satellite glia are neural crest-derived, but the neurons are almost entirely placode-derived - by fate-mapping putative nodose neuronal 'émigrés' to the neural crest.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Adrenal chromaffin cells (ACCs), the neuroendocrine arm of the sympathetic nervous system, secrete catecholamines to mediate the physiological response to stress. Although ACCs do not synthesize 5-HT, they express the serotonin transporter (SERT). Genetic variations in SERT are linked to several CNS disorders but the role(s) of SERT/5-HT in ACCs has remained unclear. Adrenal glands from wild-type mice contained 5-HT at ≈ 750 fold lower abundance than adrenaline, and in SERT(-/-) mice this was reduced by ≈80% with no change in catecholamines. Carbon fibre amperometry showed that SERT modulated the ability of 5-HT1A receptors to inhibit exocytosis. 5-HT reduced the number of amperometric spikes (vesicular fusion events) evoked by KCl in SERT(-/-) cells and wild-type cells treated with escitalopram, a SERT antagonist. The 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635 blocked the inhibition by 5-HT which was mimicked by the 5-HT1A agonist 8-OH-DPAT but not the 5-HT1B agonist CP93129. There was no effect on voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels, K(+) channels, or intracellular [Ca(2+)] handling, showing the 5-HT receptors recruit an atypical inhibitory mechanism. Spike charge and kinetics were not altered by 5-HT receptors but were reduced in SERT(-/-) cells compared to wild-type cells. Our data reveal a novel role for SERT and suggest that adrenal chromaffin cells might be a previously unrecognized hub for serotonergic control of the sympathetic stress response.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Neuroblastoma is a pediatric malignancy of the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal glands, hypothesized to originate from progenitors of the developing sympathetic nervous system. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene is a genetic marker of risk in this disease. Understanding the impact of oncogene expression on sympathoadrenal progenitor development may improve our knowledge of neuroblastoma initiation and progression. We isolated sympathoadrenal progenitor cells from the postnatal murine adrenal gland by sphere culture and found them to be multipotent, generating differentiated colonies of neurons, Schwann cells, and myofibroblasts. MYCN overexpression in spheres promoted commitment to the neural lineage, evidenced by an increased frequency of neuron-containing colonies. MYCN promoted proliferation of both sympathoadrenal progenitor spheres and differentiated neurons derived from these spheres, but there was also an increase in apoptosis. The proliferation, apoptosis, and neural lineage commitment induced by MYCN are tumor-like characteristics and thereby support the hypothesis that multipotent adrenal medullary progenitor cells are cells of origin for neuroblastoma. We find, however, that MYCN overexpression is not sufficient for these cells to form tumors in nude mice, suggesting that additional transforming mutations are necessary for tumorigenesis.
Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) studies increasingly focus on endogenous small molecular weight metabolites and consequently bring special analytical challenges. Since analytical tissue blanks do not exist for endogenous metabolites, careful consideration must be given to confirm molecular identity. Here, we present approaches for the improvement in detection of endogenous amine metabolites such as amino acids and neurotransmitters in tissues through chemical derivatization and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) IMS. Chemical derivatization with 4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamaldehyde (CA) was used to improve sensitivity and specificity. CA was applied to the tissue via MALDI sample targets precoated with a mixture of derivatization reagent and ferulic acid as a MALDI matrix. Spatial distributions of chemically derivatized endogenous metabolites in tissue were determined by high-mass resolution and MS(n) IMS. We highlight an analytical strategy for metabolite validation whereby tissue extracts are analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-MS/MS to unambiguously identify metabolites and distinguish them from isobaric compounds.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The melanocortin-3 receptor-deficient (MC3-R(-/-)) mouse exhibits mild obesity without hyperphagia or hypometabolism. MC3-R deletion is reported to increase adiposity, reduce lean mass and white adipose tissue inflammation, and increase sensitivity to salt-induced hypertension. We show here that the MC3-R(-/-) mouse exhibits defective fasting-induced white adipose tissue lipolysis, fasting-induced liver triglyceride accumulation, fasting-induced refeeding, and fasting-induced regulation of the adipostatic and hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axes. Close examination of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis showed that MC3-R(-/-) mice exhibit elevated nadir corticosterone as well as a blunted fasting-induced activation of the axis. The previously described phenotypes of this animal and the reduced bone density reported here parallel those of Cushing syndrome. Thus, MC3-R is required for communicating nutritional status to both central and peripheral tissues involved in nutrient partitioning, and this defect explains much of the metabolic phenotype in the model.
BACKGROUND - Gabapentin is most commonly prescribed for chronic pain, but acute perioperative effects, including preemptive analgesia and hemodynamic stabilization, have been reported. Adrenal chromaffin cells are a widely used model to investigate neurosecretion, and adrenal catecholamines play important physiologic roles and contribute to the acute stress response. However, the effects of gabapentin on adrenal catecholamine release have never been tested.
METHODS - Primary cultures of bovine adrenal chromaffin cells were treated with gabapentin or vehicle for 18-24 h. The authors quantified catecholamine secretion from dishes of cells using high-performance liquid chromatography and resolved exocytosis of individual secretory vesicles from single cells using carbon fiber amperometry. Voltage-gated calcium channel currents were recorded using patch clamp electrophysiology and intracellular [Ca2+] using fluorescent imaging.
RESULTS - Gabapentin produced statistically significant reductions in catecholamine secretion evoked by cholinergic agonists (24 ± 3%, n = 12) or KCl (16 ± 4%, n = 8) (mean ± SEM) but did not inhibit Ca2+ entry or calcium channel currents. Amperometry (n = 51 cells) revealed that gabapentin inhibited the number of vesicles released upon stimulation, with no change in quantal size or kinetics of these unitary events.
CONCLUSIONS - The authors show Ca2+ entry was not inhibited by gabapentin but was less effective at triggering vesicle fusion. The work also demonstrates that chromaffin cells are a useful model for additional investigation of the cellular mechanism(s) by which gabapentin controls neurosecretion. In addition, it identifies altered adrenal catecholamine release as a potential contributor to some of the beneficial perioperative effects of gabapentin.
Catecholamines and other transmitters released from adrenal chromaffin cells play central roles in the "fight-or-flight" response and exert profound effects on cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous system function. As such, precise regulation of chromaffin cell exocytosis is key to maintaining normal physiological function and appropriate responsiveness to acute stress. Chromaffin cells express a number of different G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that sense the local environment and orchestrate this precise control of transmitter release. The primary trigger for catecholamine release is Ca2+ entry through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, so it makes sense that these channels are subject to complex regulation by GPCRs. In particular G protein βγ heterodimers (Gbc) bind to and inhibit Ca2+ channels. Here I review the mechanisms by which GPCRs inhibit Ca2+ channels in chromaffin cells and how this might be altered by cellular context. This is related to the potent autocrine inhibition of Ca2+ entry and transmitter release seen in chromaffin cells. Recent data that implicate an additional inhibitory target of Gβγ on the exocytotic machinery and how this might fine tune neuroendocrine secretion are also discussed.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) play important roles in controlling neurotransmitter and hormone release. Inhibition of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (Ca(2+) channels) by G protein betagamma subunits (Gbetagamma) is one prominent mechanism, but there is evidence for additional effects distinct from those on calcium entry. However, relatively few studies have investigated the Ca(2+)-channel-independent effects of Gbetagamma on transmitter release, so the impact of this mechanism remains unclear. We used carbon fiber amperometry to analyze catecholamine release from individual vesicles in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells, a widely used neurosecretory model. To bypass the effects of Gbetagamma on Ca(2+) entry, we stimulated secretion using ionomycin (a Ca(2+) ionophore) or direct intracellular application of Ca(2+) through a patch pipette. Activation of endogenous GPCR or transient transfection with exogenous Gbetagamma significantly reduced the number of amperometric spikes (the number of vesicular fusion events). The charge ("quantal size") and amplitude of the amperometric spikes were also significantly reduced by GPCR/Gbetagamma. We conclude that independent from effects on calcium entry, Gbetagamma can regulate both the number of vesicles that undergo exocytosis and the amount of catecholamine released per fusion event. We discuss possible mechanisms by which Gbetagamma might exert these novel effects including interaction with the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex.
Insm1 (IA-1) encodes a Zn-finger factor that is expressed in the developing nervous system. We demonstrate here that the development of the sympatho-adrenal lineage is severely impaired in Insm1 mutant mice. Differentiation of sympatho-adrenal precursors, as assessed by the expression of neuronal subtype-specific genes such as Th and Dbh, is delayed in a pronounced manner, which is accompanied by a reduced proliferation. Sympathetic neurons eventually overcome the differentiation blockade and mature correctly, but sympathetic ganglia remain small. By contrast, terminal differentiation of adrenal chromaffin cells does not occur. The transcription factors Mash1 (Ascl1), Phox2a, Gata3 and Hand2 (previously dHand) control the differentiation of sympatho-adrenal precursor cells, and their deregulated expression in Insm1 mutant mice demonstrates that Insm1 acts in the transcriptional network that controls differentiation of this lineage. Pronounced similarities between Mash1 and Insm1 phenotypes are apparent, which suggests that Insm1 might mediate aspects of Mash1 function in the subtype-specific differentiation of sympatho-adrenal precursors. Noradrenaline is the major catecholamine produced by developing sympatho-adrenal cells and is required for fetal survival. We demonstrate that the fetal lethality of Insm1 mutant mice is caused by catecholamine deficiency, which highlights the importance of Insm1 in the development of the sympatho-adrenal lineage.