The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Release of neurotransmitters and hormones by calcium-regulated exocytosis is a fundamental cellular process that is disrupted in a variety of psychiatric, neurological, and endocrine disorders. As such, there is significant interest in targeting neurosecretion for drug and therapeutic development, efforts that will be aided by novel analytical tools and devices that provide mechanistic insight coupled with increased experimental throughput. Here, we report a simple, inexpensive, reusable, microfluidic device designed to analyze catecholamine secretion from small populations of adrenal chromaffin cells in real time, an important neuroendocrine component of the sympathetic nervous system and versatile neurosecretory model. The device is fabricated by replica molding of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using patterned photoresist on silicon wafer as the master. Microfluidic inlet channels lead to an array of U-shaped "cell traps", each capable of immobilizing single or small groups of chromaffin cells. The bottom of the device is a glass slide with patterned thin film platinum electrodes used for electrochemical detection of catecholamines in real time. We demonstrate reliable loading of the device with small populations of chromaffin cells, and perfusion/repetitive stimulation with physiologically relevant secretagogues (carbachol, PACAP, KCl) using the microfluidic network. Evoked catecholamine secretion was reproducible over multiple rounds of stimulation, and graded as expected to different concentrations of secretagogue or removal of extracellular calcium. Overall, we show this microfluidic device can be used to implement complex stimulation paradigms and analyze the amount and kinetics of catecholamine secretion from small populations of neuroendocrine cells in real time.
Loop diuretics remain a mainstay in the pharmacologic treatment of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). Recent randomized trial results have challenged existing clinical dogma about the optimal manner of intravenous diuretic administration in hospitalized patients. The Diuretic Optimization Strategies Evaluation (DOSE) trial, while technically a neutral study, suggested some advantages of a high-dose diuretic strategy as compared with low dose administration without evidence of long term safety concerns. The DOSE study additionally showed no difference in efficacy or safety between continuous infusion or bolus diuretic therapy. Venovenous ultrafiltration (UF) holds promise as an alternative approach to volume removal in ADHF, but significant work remains in characterizing the relative risks and benefits of this technique, as well as the degree to which it can be broadly utilized. This review highlights current approaches and future directions in mitigating congestion and volume overload in the ADHF population, with a particular focus on novel diuretic dosing strategies and on the emerging role of UF.
OBJECTIVE - To assess the association of 0.9% saline use versus a calcium-free physiologically balanced crystalloid solution with major morbidity and clinical resource use after abdominal surgery.
BACKGROUND - 0.9% saline, which results in a hyperchloremic acidosis after infusion, is frequently used to replace volume losses after major surgery.
METHODS - An observational study using the Premier Perspective Comparative Database was performed to evaluate adult patients undergoing major open abdominal surgery who received either 0.9% saline (30,994 patients) or a balanced crystalloid solution (926 patients) on the day of surgery. The primary outcome was major morbidity and secondary outcomes included minor complications and acidosis-related interventions. Outcomes were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression and propensity scoring models.
RESULTS - For the entire cohort, the in-hospital mortality was 5.6% in the saline group and 2.9% in the balanced group (P < 0.001). One or more major complications occurred in 33.7% of the saline group and 23% of the balanced group (P < 0.001). In the 3:1 propensity-matched sample, treatment with balanced fluid was associated with fewer complications (odds ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.66-0.97). Postoperative infection (P = 0.006), renal failure requiring dialysis (P < 0.001), blood transfusion (P < 0.001), electrolyte disturbance (P = 0.046), acidosis investigation (P < 0.001), and intervention (P = 0.02) were all more frequent in patients receiving 0.9% saline.
CONCLUSIONS - Among hospitals in the Premier Perspective Database, the use of a calcium-free balanced crystalloid for replacement of fluid losses on the day of major surgery was associated with less postoperative morbidity than 0.9% saline.
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.
Learning and memory depend on neuronal alterations induced by electrical activity. Most examples of activity-dependent plasticity, as well as adaptive responses to neuronal injury, have been linked explicitly or implicitly to induction by Ca(2+) signals produced by depolarization. Indeed, transient Ca(2+) signals are commonly assumed to be the only effective transducers of depolarization into adaptive neuronal responses. Nevertheless, Ca(2+)-independent depolarization-induced signals might also trigger plastic changes. Establishing the existence of such signals is a challenge because procedures that eliminate Ca(2+) transients also impair neuronal viability and tolerance to cellular stress. We have taken advantage of nociceptive sensory neurons in the marine snail Aplysia, which exhibit unusual tolerance to extreme reduction of extracellular and intracellular free Ca(2+) levels. The axons of these neurons exhibit a depolarization-induced memory-like hyperexcitability that lasts a day or longer and depends on local protein synthesis for induction. Here we show that transient localized depolarization of these axons in an excised nerve-ganglion preparation or in dissociated cell culture can induce short- and intermediate-term axonal hyperexcitability as well as long-term protein synthesis-dependent hyperexcitability under conditions in which Ca(2+) entry is prevented (by bathing in nominally Ca(2+) -free solutions containing EGTA) and detectable Ca(2+) transients are eliminated (by adding BAPTA-AM). Disruption of Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores by pretreatment with thapsigargin also failed to affect induction of axonal hyperexcitability. These findings suggest that unrecognized Ca(2+)-independent signals exist that can transduce intense depolarization into adaptive cellular responses during neuronal injury, prolonged high-frequency activity, or other sustained depolarizing events.
The neuronal K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 maintains the low intracellular chloride concentration required for the hyperpolarizing actions of inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid and glycine in the central nervous system. This study shows that the mammalian KCC2 gene (alias Slc12a5) generates two neuron-specific isoforms by using alternative promoters and first exons. The novel KCC2a isoform differs from the only previously known KCC2 isoform (now termed KCC2b) by 40 unique N-terminal amino acid residues, including a putative Ste20-related proline alanine-rich kinase-binding site. Ribonuclease protection and quantitative PCR assays indicated that KCC2a contributes 20-50% of total KCC2 mRNA expression in the neonatal mouse brain stem and spinal cord. In contrast to the marked increase in KCC2b mRNA levels in the cortex during postnatal development, the overall expression of KCC2a remains relatively constant and makes up only 5-10% of total KCC2 mRNA in the mature cortex. A rubidium uptake assay in human embryonic kidney 293 cells showed that the KCC2a isoform mediates furosemide-sensitive ion transport activity comparable with that of KCC2b. Mice that lack both KCC2 isoforms die at birth due to severe motor defects, including disrupted respiratory rhythm, whereas mice with a targeted disruption of the first exon of KCC2b survive for up to 2 weeks but eventually die due to spontaneous seizures. We show that these mice lack KCC2b but retain KCC2a mRNA. Thus, distinct populations of neurons show a differential dependence on the expression of the two isoforms: KCC2a expression in the absence of KCC2b is presumably sufficient to support vital neuronal functions in the brain stem and spinal cord but not in the cortex.
GABA excites immature neurons due to their relatively high intracellular chloride concentration. This initial high concentration is commonly attributed to the ubiquitous chloride cotransporter NKCC1, which uses a sodium gradient to accumulate chloride. Here we tested this hypothesis in immature retinal amacrine and ganglion cells. Western blotting detected NKCC1 at birth and its expression first increased, then decreased to the adult level. Immunocytochemistry confirmed this early expression of NKCC1 and localized it to all nuclear layers. In the ganglion cell layer, staining peaked at P4 and then decreased with age, becoming undetectable in adult. In comparison, KCC2, the chloride extruder, steadily increased with age localizing primarily to the synaptic layers. For functional tests, we used calcium imaging with fura-2 and chloride imaging with 6-methoxy-N-ethylquinolinium iodide. If NKCC1 accumulates chloride in ganglion and amacrine cells, deleting or blocking it should abolish the GABA-evoked calcium rise. However, at P0-5 GABA consistently evoked a calcium rise that was not abolished in the NKCC1-null retinas, nor by applying high concentrations of bumetanide (NKCC blocker) for long periods. Furthermore, intracellular chloride concentration in amacrine and ganglion cells of the NKCC1-null retinas was approximately 30 mM, same as in wild type at this age. This concentration was not lowered by applying bumetanide or by decreasing extracellular sodium concentration. Costaining for NKCC1 and cellular markers suggested that at P3, NKCC1 is restricted to Müller cells. We conclude that NKCC1 does not serve to accumulate chloride in immature retinal neurons, but it may enable Müller cells to buffer extracellular chloride.
Mutations in the hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4alpha gene cause a form of maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY1) that is characterized by impairment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by pancreatic beta-cells. HNF-4alpha, a transcription factor belonging to the nuclear receptor superfamily, is expressed in pancreatic islets as well as in the liver, kidney, and intestine. However, the role of HNF-4alpha in pancreatic beta-cell is unclear. To clarify the role of HNF-4alpha in beta-cells, we generated beta-cell-specific HNF-4alpha knock-out (betaHNF-4alphaKO) mice using the Cre-LoxP system. The betaHNF-4alphaKO mice exhibited impairment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, which is a characteristic of MODY1. Pancreatic islet morphology, beta-cell mass, and insulin content were normal in the HNF-4alpha mutant mice. Insulin secretion by betaHNF-4alphaKO islets and the intracellular calcium response were impaired after stimulation by glucose or sulfonylurea but were normal after stimulation with KCl or arginine. Both NAD(P)H generation and ATP content at high glucose concentrations were normal in the betaHNF-4alphaKO mice. Expression levels of Kir6.2 and SUR1 proteins in the betaHNF-4alphaKO mice were unchanged as compared with control mice. Patch clamp experiments revealed that the current density was significantly increased in betaHNF-4alphaKO mice compared with control mice. These results are suggestive of the dysfunction of K(ATP) channel activity in the pancreatic beta-cells of HNF-4alpha-deficient mice. Because the K(ATP) channel is important for proper insulin secretion in beta-cells, altered K(ATP) channel activity could be related to the impaired insulin secretion in the betaHNF-4alphaKO mice.
The aortic valve (AV) leaflet contains a heterogeneous interstitial cell population composed predominantly of myofibroblasts, which contain both fibroblast and smooth muscle cell characteristics. The focus of the present study was to examine aortic valve interstitial cell (AVIC) contractile behavior within the intact leaflet tissue. Circumferential strips of porcine AV leaflets were mechanically tested under flexure, with the AVIC maintained in the normal, contracted, and contraction-inhibited states. Leaflets were flexed both with (WC) and against (AC) the natural leaflet curvature, both before and after the addition of 90 mM KCl to elicit cellular contraction. In addition, a natural basal tonus was also demonstrated by treating the leaflets with 10 microM thapsigargin to completely inhibit AVIC contraction. Results revealed a 48% increase in leaflet stiffness with AVIC contraction (from 703 to 1040 kPa, respectively) when bent in the AC direction (p=0.004), while the WC direction resulted only in 5% increase (from 491 to 516.5 kPa, respectively--not significant) in leaflet stiffness in the active state. Also, the loss of basal tonus of the AVIC population with thapsigargin treatment resulted in 76% (AC, p=0.001) and 54% (WC, p=0.036) decreases in leaflet stiffness at 5 mM KCl levels, while preventing contraction with the addition of 90 mM KCl as expected. We speculate that the observed layer dependent effects of AVIC contraction are primarily due to varying ECM mechanical properties in the ventricularis and fibrosa layers. Moreover, while we have demonstrated that AVIC contractile ability is a significant contributor to AV leaflet bending stiffness, it most likely serves a role in maintaining AV leaflet tissue homeostasis that has yet to be elucidated.
During development, activation of Cl(-)-permeable GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)-R) excites neurons as a result of elevated intracellular Cl(-) levels and a depolarized Cl(-) equilibrium potential (E(Cl)). GABA becomes inhibitory as net outward neuronal transport of Cl(-) develops in a caudal-rostral progression. In line with this caudal-rostral developmental pattern, GABAergic anticonvulsant compounds inhibit motor manifestations of neonatal seizures but not cortical seizure activity. The Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC1) facilitates the accumulation of Cl(-) in neurons. The NKCC1 blocker bumetanide shifted E(Cl) negative in immature neurons, suppressed epileptiform activity in hippocampal slices in vitro and attenuated electrographic seizures in neonatal rats in vivo. Bumetanide had no effect in the presence of the GABA(A)-R antagonist bicuculline, nor in brain slices from NKCC1-knockout mice. NKCC1 expression level versus expression of the Cl(-)-extruding transporter (KCC2) in human and rat cortex showed that Cl(-) transport in perinatal human cortex is as immature as in the rat. Our results provide evidence that NKCC1 facilitates seizures in the developing brain and indicate that bumetanide should be useful in the treatment of neonatal seizures.