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Three-dimensional tissue-structural relationships are not well captured by typical thin-section histology, posing challenges for the study of tissue physiology and pathology. Moreover, while recent progress has been made with intact methods for clearing, labeling, and imaging whole organs such as the mature brain, these approaches are generally unsuitable for soft, irregular, and heterogeneous tissues that account for the vast majority of clinical samples and biopsies. Here we develop a biphasic hydrogel methodology, which along with automated analysis, provides for high-throughput quantitative volumetric interrogation of spatially-irregular and friable tissue structures. We validate and apply this approach in the examination of a variety of developing and diseased tissues, with specific focus on the dynamics of normal and pathological pancreatic innervation and development, including in clinical samples. Quantitative advantages of the intact-tissue approach were demonstrated compared to conventional thin-section histology, pointing to broad applications in both research and clinical settings.
Neuromodulators shape neural circuit dynamics. Combining electron microscopy, genetics, transcriptome profiling, calcium imaging, and optogenetics, we discovered a peptidergic neuron that modulates motor circuit dynamics. The Six/SO-family homeobox transcription factor UNC-39 governs lineage-specific neurogenesis to give rise to a neuron RID. RID bears the anatomic hallmarks of a specialized endocrine neuron: it harbors near-exclusive dense core vesicles that cluster periodically along the axon, and expresses multiple neuropeptides, including the FMRF-amide-related FLP-14. RID activity increases during forward movement. Ablating RID reduces the sustainability of forward movement, a phenotype partially recapitulated by removing FLP-14. Optogenetic depolarization of RID prolongs forward movement, an effect reduced in the absence of FLP-14. Together, these results establish the role of a neuroendocrine cell RID in sustaining a specific behavioral state in .
We have sequenced the genomes of 110 small cell lung cancers (SCLC), one of the deadliest human cancers. In nearly all the tumours analysed we found bi-allelic inactivation of TP53 and RB1, sometimes by complex genomic rearrangements. Two tumours with wild-type RB1 had evidence of chromothripsis leading to overexpression of cyclin D1 (encoded by the CCND1 gene), revealing an alternative mechanism of Rb1 deregulation. Thus, loss of the tumour suppressors TP53 and RB1 is obligatory in SCLC. We discovered somatic genomic rearrangements of TP73 that create an oncogenic version of this gene, TP73Δex2/3. In rare cases, SCLC tumours exhibited kinase gene mutations, providing a possible therapeutic opportunity for individual patients. Finally, we observed inactivating mutations in NOTCH family genes in 25% of human SCLC. Accordingly, activation of Notch signalling in a pre-clinical SCLC mouse model strikingly reduced the number of tumours and extended the survival of the mutant mice. Furthermore, neuroendocrine gene expression was abrogated by Notch activity in SCLC cells. This first comprehensive study of somatic genome alterations in SCLC uncovers several key biological processes and identifies candidate therapeutic targets in this highly lethal form of cancer.
Environmental exposures affect gamete function and fertility, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show that pheromones sensed by ciliated neurons in the Caenorhabditis elegans nose alter the lipid microenvironment within the oviduct, thereby affecting sperm motility. In favorable environments, pheromone-responsive sensory neurons secrete a transforming growth factor-β ligand called DAF-7, which acts as a neuroendocrine factor that stimulates prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase [cyclooxygenase (Cox)]-independent prostaglandin synthesis in the ovary. Oocytes secrete F-class prostaglandins that guide sperm toward them. These prostaglandins are also synthesized in Cox knockout mice, raising the possibility that similar mechanisms exist in other animals. Our data indicate that environmental cues perceived by the female nervous system affect sperm function.
Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
OBJECT - Endocrine dysfunction following endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is rare, but it has been reported. In the present study the authors sought to determine the histological nature of the floor of the third ventricle in hydrocephalic brains to better elucidate this potential association.
METHODS - Five adult cadaveric brains with hydrocephalus were examined. Specifically, the floors of the third ventricle of these specimens were studied histologically. Age-matched controls without hydrocephalus were used for comparison.
RESULTS - Although it was thinned in the hydrocephalic brains, the floor of the third ventricle had no significant difference between the numbers of neuronal cell bodies versus nonhydrocephalic brains.
CONCLUSIONS - Although uncommon following ETV, endocrine dysfunction has been reported. Based on the present study, this is most likely to be due to the injury of normal neuronal cell bodies found in this location, even in very thinned-out tissue.
Despite a global obesity epidemic suggesting that human physiology is unable to prevent unhealthy gains in body weight, ample evidence indicates that weight can be tightly regulated. Food intake regulation is complex and in this article we will present a basic endocrine feedback loop model of energy homeostasis. Next, integration of long-term regulation with short-term, meal specific regulation and satiety will be discussed. Finally, the role of adiposity signals in modulation of food reward will be highlighted. A basic understanding of the structure-function of these systems will inform the challenges of clinical care for those with disorders of energy balance.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Chronic stress is increasingly considered to be a main risk factor for the development of a variety of psychiatric diseases such as depression. This is further supported by an impaired negative feedback of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which has been observed in the majority of depressed patients. The effects of glucocorticoids, the main hormonal endpoint of the HPA axis, are mediated via the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and the mineralocorticoid receptor. The FK506-binding protein 51 (FKBP5), a co-chaperone of the Hsp90 and component of the chaperone-receptor heterocomplex, has been shown to reduce ligand sensitivity of the GR. This study aimed to investigate the function of FKBP5 as a possible mediator of the stress response system and its potential role in the development of stress-related diseases. Therefore, we assessed whether mice lacking the gene encoding FKBP5 (51KO mice) were less vulnerable to the adverse effects of three weeks of chronic social defeat stress. Mice were subsequently analyzed with regards to physiological, neuroendocrine, behavioral and mRNA expression alterations. Our results show a less vulnerable phenotype of 51KO mice with respect to physiological and neuroendocrine parameters compared to wild-type animals. 51KO mice demonstrated lower adrenal weights and basal corticosterone levels, a diminished response to a novel acute stimulus and an enhanced recovery, as well as more active stress-coping behavior. These results suggest an enhanced negative glucocorticoid feedback within the HPA axis of 51KO mice, possibly modulated by an increased sensitivity of the GR. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Fluid retention in the face of an expanding extracellular fluid volume is a key contributing factor in the development and progression of heart failure.
METHODS - We performed a review of clinical texts as well as a Medline investigation for the pathophysiology of fluid and sodium retention in heart failure.
RESULTS - A breakdown in the integrity of the arterial circulation, seen in both high and low output heart failure, triggers a complex cascade of maladaptive events in an effort to maintain cardiorenal homeostasis. The activation of several neurohumoral mechanisms including the sympathetic nervous system, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis, nonosmotic arginine vasopressin release, and natriuretic peptide release initially compensates for depressed myocardial function. However, prolonged activation of these systems contributes to sodium and fluid retention, increased preload and afterload, and further damage to the myocardium. Improved understanding of this multifaceted pathophysiology has driven the development of improved treatment modalities, such as beta-blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors which are now mainstays of heart failure therapy.
CONCLUSIONS - Further investigation into the neurohumoral mechanisms activated in the heart failure patient is a promising avenue for advances in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of this prevalent and devastating disease.
Copyright (c) 64\C S. Karger AG, Basel.
BACKGROUND - Previous studies of patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) have been hampered by relatively small cohorts, failure to control medications and diet, and inconsistent testing procedures.
METHODS - The Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center Database provided results of posture studies performed in 165 patients and 66 normal controls after dietary and medication restrictions. All posture studies were performed after an overnight fast and > or =30 minutes of supine rest.
RESULTS - In both the supine and standing positions, heart rate (HR) and plasma concentrations of norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine, and dopamine were higher in patients with POTS compared with the healthy controls. Supine diastolic blood pressure (BP) was also elevated in POTS, whereas supine plasma l-3,4-dihydroxyphenyalanine was reduced. In an analysis of patient subgroups with either an upright plasma NE > or = 3.54 nM (high NE) or an upright plasma NE < 3.54 nM (normal NE), HR and BP were greater in the patient subgroup with high NE. In addition to these significant differences in hemodynamic and catechol measurements, we demonstrated that supine and standing plasma aldosterone and the aldosterone/renin ratio were decreased in patients with POTS. Plasma renin activity (PRA) tended to be higher in patients, and standing HR for those in the highest PRA quartile was significantly greater than for those in the lowest PRA quartile.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results from larger cohorts of patients and controls than previously studied confirm published findings and contribute additional evidence of sympathetic activation in postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Abnormalities in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system may also contribute to the POTS phenotype.
Postprandial hypotension is an important clinical condition that predisposes to syncope, falls, angina, and cerebrovascular events. The magnitude of the fall in blood pressure after meals depends on enteric glucose availability. We hypothesized that acarbose, an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor that decreases glucose absorption in the small intestine, would attenuate postprandial hypotension. Acarbose or placebo was given 20 minutes before a standardized meal in 13 patients with postprandial hypotension in the setting of autonomic failure (age: 65+/-2.64 years; body mass index: 25+/-1.08 kg/m(2); supine plasma norepinephrine: 110+/-26.6 pg/mL). Four patients were studied in a single-blind protocol and 9 patients in a double-blind, randomized, crossover fashion. Patients were studied supine, and blood pressure, heart rate, and neuroendocrine parameters were obtained at baseline and for 90 minutes after meal intake. After adjusting for potential confounders, acarbose significantly attenuated the postprandial fall in systolic and diastolic blood pressures by 17 mm Hg (95% CI: 7 to 28; P=0.003) and 9 mm Hg (95% CI: 5 to 14; P=0.001), respectively. Furthermore, acarbose effectively reduced plasma levels of insulin, a known vasodilator, by 11 microU/mL (95% CI: 5 to 18; P=0.001) compared with placebo. After adjusting for insulin levels, the attenuation of postprandial hypotension by acarbose remained significant, indicating that additional mechanisms contribute to this effect. In conclusion, 100 mg of acarbose successfully improved postprandial hypotension in patients with severe autonomic failure. This effect is not explained solely by a reduction in insulin levels.