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AMPA receptors (AMPAR) are ligand gated ion channels critical for synaptic transmission and plasticity. Their dysfunction is implicated in a variety of psychiatric and neurological diseases ranging from major depressive disorder to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Attempting to potentiate or depress AMPAR activity is an inherently difficult balancing act between effective treatments and debilitating side effects. A newly explored strategy to target subsets of AMPARs in the central nervous system is to identify compounds that affect specific AMPAR-auxiliary subunit complexes. This exploits diverse spatio-temporal expression patterns of known AMPAR auxiliary subunits, providing means for designing brain region-selective compounds. Here we report a high-throughput screening-based pipeline that can identify compounds that are selective for GluA2-CNIH3 and GluA2-stargazin complexes. These compounds will help us build upon the growing library of AMPAR-auxiliary subunit specific inhibitors, which have thus far all been targeted to TARP γ-8. We used a cell-based assay combined with a voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) to identify changes in glutamate-gated cation flow across the membranes of HEK cells co-expressing GluA2 and an auxiliary subunit. We then used a calcium flux assay to further validate hits picked from the VSD assay. VU0612951 and VU0627849 are candidate compounds from the initial screen that were identified as negative and positive allosteric modulators (NAM and PAM), respectively. They both have lower IC50/EC50s on complexes containing stargazin and CNIH3 than GSG1L or the AMPAR alone. We have also identified a candidate compound, VU0539491, that has NAM activity in GluA2(R)-CNIH3 and GluA2(Q) complexes and PAM activity in GluA2(Q)-GSG1L complexes.
The physiology of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors is fundamental to brain development and function. NMDA receptors are ionotropic glutamate receptors that function as heterotetramers composed mainly of GluN1 and GluN2 subunits. Activation of NMDA receptors requires binding of neurotransmitter agonists to a ligand-binding domain (LBD) and structural rearrangement of an amino-terminal domain (ATD). Recent crystal structures of GluN1-GluN2B NMDA receptors bound to agonists and an allosteric inhibitor, ifenprodil, represent the allosterically inhibited state. However, how the ATD and LBD move to activate the NMDA receptor ion channel remains unclear. Here we applied X-ray crystallography, single-particle electron cryomicroscopy and electrophysiology to rat NMDA receptors to show that, in the absence of ifenprodil, the bi-lobed structure of GluN2 ATD adopts an open conformation accompanied by rearrangement of the GluN1-GluN2 ATD heterodimeric interface, altering subunit orientation in the ATD and LBD and forming an active receptor conformation that gates the ion channel.
Reduced expression of the Gad1 gene-encoded 67-kDa protein isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67) is a hallmark of schizophrenia. GAD67 downregulation occurs in multiple interneuronal sub-populations, including the parvalbumin-positive (PVALB+) cells. To investigate the role of the PV-positive GABAergic interneurons in behavioral and molecular processes, we knocked down the Gad1 transcript using a microRNA engineered to target specifically Gad1 mRNA under the control of Pvalb bacterial artificial chromosome. Verification of construct expression was performed by immunohistochemistry. Follow-up electrophysiological studies revealed a significant reduction in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release probability without alterations in postsynaptic membrane properties or changes in glutamatergic release probability in the prefrontal cortex pyramidal neurons. Behavioral characterization of our transgenic (Tg) mice uncovered that the Pvalb/Gad1 Tg mice have pronounced sensorimotor gating deficits, increased novelty-seeking and reduced fear extinction. Furthermore, NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptor antagonism by ketamine had an opposing dose-dependent effect, suggesting that the differential dosage of ketamine might have divergent effects on behavioral processes. All behavioral studies were validated using a second cohort of animals. Our results suggest that reduction of GABAergic transmission from PVALB+ interneurons primarily impacts behavioral domains related to fear and novelty seeking and that these alterations might be related to the behavioral phenotype observed in schizophrenia.
High-resolution (HR) mapping employs multielectrode arrays to achieve spatially detailed analyses of propagating bioelectrical events. A major current limitation is that spatial analyses must currently be performed "off-line" (after experiments), compromising timely recording feedback and restricting experimental interventions. These problems motivated development of a system and method for "online" HR mapping. HR gastric recordings were acquired and streamed to a novel software client. Algorithms were devised to filter data, identify slow-wave events, eliminate corrupt channels, and cluster activation events. A graphical user interface animated data and plotted electrograms and maps. Results were compared against off-line methods. The online system analyzed 256-channel serosal recordings with no unexpected system terminations with a mean delay 18 s. Activation time marking sensitivity was 0.92; positive predictive value was 0.93. Abnormal slow-wave patterns including conduction blocks, ectopic pacemaking, and colliding wave fronts were reliably identified. Compared to traditional analysis methods, online mapping had comparable results with equivalent coverage of 90% of electrodes, average RMS errors of less than 1 s, and CC of activation maps of 0.99. Accurate slow-wave mapping was achieved in near real-time, enabling monitoring of recording quality and experimental interventions targeted to dysrhythmic onset. This work also advances the translation of HR mapping toward real-time clinical application.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate how cerebral blood flow and bolus arrival time (BAT) measures derived from arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI data change for different hypercarbic gas stimuli. Pseudocontinuous ASL (pCASL) was applied (3.0T; spatial resolution=4 × 4 × 7 mm(3); repetition time/echo time (TR/TE)=3,600/11 ms) sequentially in healthy volunteers (n=12; age=30±4 years) for separate experiments in which (i) normocarbic normoxia (i.e., room air), hypercarbic normoxia (i.e., 5% CO₂/21% O₂/74% N2), and hypercarbic hyperoxia (i.e., carbogen: 5% CO₂/95% O₂) gas was administered (12 L/minute). Cerebral blood flow and BAT changes were quantified using models that account for macrovascular signal and partial volume effects in all gray matter and regionally in cerebellar, temporal, occipital, frontal, and parietal lobes. Regional reductions in BAT of 4.6% to 7.7% and 3.3% to 6.6% were found in response to hypercarbic normoxia and hypercarbic hyperoxia, respectively. Cerebral blood flow increased by 8.2% to 27.8% and 3.5% to 19.8% for hypercarbic normoxia and hypercarbic hyperoxia, respectively. These findings indicate that changes in BAT values may bias functional ASL data and thus should be considered when choosing appropriate experimental parameters in calibrated functional magnetic resonance imaging or ASL cerebrovascular reactivity experiments that use hypercarbic gas stimuli.
Decision-making is explained by psychologists through stochastic accumulator models and by neurophysiologists through the activity of neurons believed to instantiate these models. We investigated an overlooked scaling problem: How does a response time (RT) that can be explained by a single model accumulator arise from numerous, redundant accumulator neurons, each of which individually appears to explain the variability of RT? We explored this scaling problem by developing a unique ensemble model of RT, called e pluribus unum, which embodies the well-known dictum "out of many, one." We used the e pluribus unum model to analyze the RTs produced by ensembles of redundant, idiosyncratic stochastic accumulators under various termination mechanisms and accumulation rate correlations in computer simulations of ensembles of varying size. We found that predicted RT distributions are largely invariant to ensemble size if the accumulators share at least modestly correlated accumulation rates and RT is not governed by the most extreme accumulators. Under these regimes the termination times of individual accumulators was predictive of ensemble RT. We also found that the threshold measured on individual accumulators, corresponding to the firing rate of neurons measured at RT, can be invariant with RT but is equivalent to the specified model threshold only when the rate correlation is very high.
HCN channels are important regulators of neuronal excitability. The proper function of these channels is governed by various mechanisms, including post-translational modifications of channel subunits. Here, we provide evidence that ubiquitination via a ubiquitin ligase, neuronal precursor cell expressed developmentally downregulated (Nedd)-4-2, is involved in the regulation of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels. We identified a PY motif (L/PPxY), the characteristic binding motif for Nedd4-2 in the C terminus of the HCN1 subunit, and showed that HCN1 and Nedd4-2 interacted both in vivo (rat hippocampus, neocortex, and cerebellum) and in vitro [human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells], resulting in increased HCN1 ubiquitination. Elimination of the PY motif reduced, but did not abolish, Nedd4-2 binding, which further involved a stretch of ∼100 aa downstream in the HCN1 C terminus. Coexpression of Nedd4-2 and HCN1 drastically reduced the HCN1-mediated h-current amplitude (85-92%) in Xenopus laevis oocytes and reduced surface expression (34%) of HCN1 channels in HEK293 cells, thereby opposing effects of tetratricopeptide repeat-containing Rab8b interacting protein (TRIP8b)-(1a-4), an auxiliary subunit that promotes HCN1 surface expression. Regulation may further include N-glycosylation of HCN1 channels, which is significantly enhanced by TRIP8b(1a-4), but may be reduced by Nedd4-2. Taken together, our data indicate that Nedd4-2 plays an important role in the regulation of HCN1 trafficking and may compete with TRIP8b(1a-4) in this process.
We measured gastric slow wave activity simultaneously with magnetogastrogram (MGG), mucosal electromyogram (EMG) and electrogastrogram (EGG) in human subjects with varying body mass index (BMI) before and after a meal. In order to investigate the effect of BMI on gastric slow wave parameters, each subject's BMI was calculated and divided into two groups: subjects with BMI ≤ 27 and BMI > 27. Signals were processed with Fourier spectral analysis and second-order blind identification (SOBI) techniques. Our results showed that increased BMI does not affect signal characteristics such as frequency and amplitude of EMG and MGG. Comparison of the postprandial EGG power, on the other hand, showed a statistically significant reduction in subjects with BMI > 27 compared with BMI ≤ 27. In addition to the frequency and amplitude, the use of SOBI-computed propagation maps from MGG data allowed us to visualize the propagating slow wave and compute the propagation velocity in both BMI groups. No significant change in velocity with increasing BMI or meal was observed in our study. In conclusion, multichannel MGG provides an assessment of frequency, amplitude and propagation velocity of the slow wave in subjects with differing BMI categories and was observed to be independent of BMI.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the joint is a prevalent disease accompanied by chronic, debilitating pain. Recent clinical evidence has demonstrated that central sensitization contributes to OA pain. An improved understanding of how OA joint pathology impacts upon the central processing of pain is crucial for the identification of novel analgesic targets/new therapeutic strategies. Inhibitory cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors attenuate peripheral immune cell function and modulate central neuro-immune responses in models of neurodegeneration. Systemic administration of the CB2 receptor agonist JWH133 attenuated OA-induced pain behaviour, and the changes in circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines exhibited in this model. Electrophysiological studies revealed that spinal administration of JWH133 inhibited noxious-evoked responses of spinal neurones in the model of OA pain, but not in control rats, indicating a novel spinal role of this target. We further demonstrate dynamic changes in spinal CB2 receptor mRNA and protein expression in an OA pain model. The expression of CB2 receptor protein by both neurones and microglia in the spinal cord was significantly increased in the model of OA. Hallmarks of central sensitization, significant spinal astrogliosis and increases in activity of metalloproteases MMP-2 and MMP-9 in the spinal cord were evident in the model of OA pain. Systemic administration of JWH133 attenuated these markers of central sensitization, providing a neurobiological basis for analgesic effects of the CB2 receptor in this model of OA pain. Analysis of human spinal cord revealed a negative correlation between spinal cord CB2 receptor mRNA and macroscopic knee chondropathy. These data provide new clinically relevant evidence that joint damage and spinal CB2 receptor expression are correlated combined with converging pre-clinical evidence that activation of CB2 receptors inhibits central sensitization and its contribution to the manifestation of chronic OA pain. These findings suggest that targeting CB2 receptors may have therapeutic potential for treating OA pain.
BACKGROUND - Slow-waves modulate the pattern of small intestine contractions. However, the large-scale spatial organization of intestinal slow-wave pacesetting remains uncertain because most previous studies have had limited resolution. This study applied high-resolution (HR) mapping to evaluate intestinal pacesetting mechanisms and propagation patterns in vivo.
METHODS - HR serosal mapping was performed in anesthetized pigs using flexible arrays (256 electrodes; 32 × 8; 4 mm spacing), applied along the jejunum. Slow-wave propagation patterns, frequencies, and velocities were calculated. Slow-wave initiation sources were identified and analyzed by animation and isochronal activation mapping.
KEY RESULTS - Analysis comprised 32 recordings from nine pigs (mean duration 5.1 ± 3.9 min). Slow-wave propagation was analyzed, and a total of 26 sources of slow-wave initiation were observed and classified as focal pacemakers (31%), sites of functional re-entry (23%) and circumferential re-entry (35%), or indeterminate sources (11%). The mean frequencies of circumferential and functional re-entry were similar (17.0 ± 0.3 vs 17.2 ± 0.4 cycle min(-1) ; P = 0.5), and greater than that of focal pacemakers (12.7 ± 0.8 cycle min(-1) ; P < 0.001). Velocity was anisotropic (12.9 ± 0.7 mm s(-1) circumferential vs 9.0 ± 0.7 mm s(-1) longitudinal; P < 0.05), contributing to the onset and maintenance of re-entry.
CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES - This study has shown multiple patterns of slow-wave initiation in the jejunum of anesthetized pigs. These results constitute the first description and analysis of circumferential re-entry in the gastrointestinal tract and functional re-entry in the in vivo small intestine. Re-entry can control the direction, pattern, and frequency of slow-wave propagation, and its occurrence and functional significance merit further investigation.
© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.