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This article is part of a Special Issue "Estradiol and Cognition". While many studies in humans have investigated the effects of estrogen and hormone therapy on cognition, potential neurobiological correlates of these effects have been less well studied. An important site of action for estrogen in the brain is the cholinergic system. Several decades of research support the critical role of CNS cholinergic systems in cognition in humans, particularly in learning and memory formation and attention. In humans, the cholinergic system has been implicated in many aspects of cognition including the partitioning of attentional resources, working memory, inhibition of irrelevant information, and improved performance on effort-demanding tasks. Studies support the hypothesis that estradiol helps to maintain aspects of attention and verbal and visual memory. Such cognitive domains are exactly those modulated by cholinergic systems and extensive basic and preclinical work over the past several decades has clearly shown that basal forebrain cholinergic systems are dependent on estradiol support for adequate functioning. This paper will review recent human studies from our laboratories and others that have extended preclinical research examining estrogen-cholinergic interactions to humans. Studies examined include estradiol and cholinergic antagonist reversal studies in normal older women, examinations of the neural representations of estrogen-cholinergic interactions using functional brain imaging, and studies of the ability of selective estrogen receptor modulators such as tamoxifen to interact with cholinergic-mediated cognitive performance. We also discuss the implications of these studies for the underlying hypotheses of cholinergic-estrogen interactions and cognitive aging, and indications for prophylactic and therapeutic potential that may exploit these effects.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
Attention helps us focus on what is most relevant to our goals, and prior work has shown that aspects of attention can be learned. Learned inattention to parts can abolish holistic processing of faces, but it is unknown whether learned attention to parts is sufficient to cause a change from part-based to holistic processing with objects. We trained subjects to individuate nonface objects (Greebles) from 2 categories: Ploks and Glips. Diagnostic information was in complementary halves for the 2 categories. Holistic processing was then tested with Plok-Glip composites that combined the kind of part that was diagnostic or nondiagnostic during training. Exposure to Greeble parts resulted in general failures of selective attention for nondiagnostic composites, but face-like holistic processing was only observed for diagnostic composites. These results demonstrated a novel link between learned attentional control and the acquisition of holistic processing.
(c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
The presynaptic, cocaine- and amphetamine-sensitive dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT, SLC6A3) controls the intensity and duration of synaptic dopamine signals by rapid clearance of DA back into presynaptic nerve terminals. Abnormalities in DAT-mediated DA clearance have been linked to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including addiction, autism, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Membrane trafficking of DAT appears to be an important, albeit incompletely understood, post-translational regulatory mechanism; its dysregulation has been recently proposed as a potential risk determinant of these disorders. In this study, we demonstrate a link between an ADHD-associated DAT mutation (Arg615Cys, R615C) and variation on DAT transporter cell surface dynamics, a combination only previously studied with ensemble biochemical and optical approaches that featured limited spatiotemporal resolution. Here, we utilize high-affinity, DAT-specific antagonist-conjugated quantum dot (QD) probes to establish the dynamic mobility of wild-type and mutant DATs at the plasma membrane of living cells. Single DAT-QD complex trajectory analysis revealed that the DAT 615C variant exhibited increased membrane mobility relative to DAT 615R, with diffusion rates comparable to those observed after lipid raft disruption. This phenomenon was accompanied by a loss of transporter mobilization triggered by amphetamine, a common component of ADHD medications. Together, our data provides the first dynamic imaging of single DAT proteins, providing new insights into the relationship between surface dynamics and trafficking of both wild-type and disease-associated transporters. Our approach should be generalizable to future studies that explore the possibilities of perturbed surface DAT dynamics that may arise as a consequence of genetic alterations, regulatory changes, and drug use that contribute to the etiology or treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The emergence of resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) analysis, which examines temporal correlations of low-frequency (<0.1 Hz) blood oxygen level-dependent signal fluctuations between brain regions, has dramatically improved our understanding of the functional architecture of the typically developing (TD) human brain. This study examined rsFC in Down syndrome (DS) compared with another neurodevelopmental disorder, Williams syndrome (WS), and TD. Ten subjects with DS, 18 subjects with WS, and 40 subjects with TD each participated in a 3-Tesla MRI scan. We tested for group differences (DS vs. TD, DS vs. WS, and WS vs. TD) in between- and within-network rsFC connectivity for seven functional networks. For the DS group, we also examined associations between rsFC and other cognitive and genetic risk factors. In DS compared with TD, we observed higher levels of between-network connectivity in 6 out 21 network pairs but no differences in within-network connectivity. Participants with WS showed lower levels of within-network connectivity and no significant differences in between-network connectivity relative to DS. Finally, our comparison between WS and TD controls revealed lower within-network connectivity in multiple networks and higher between-network connectivity in one network pair relative to TD controls. While preliminary due to modest sample sizes, our findings suggest a global difference in between-network connectivity in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders compared with controls and that such a difference is exacerbated across many brain regions in DS. However, this alteration in DS does not appear to extend to within-network connections, and therefore, the altered between-network connectivity must be interpreted within the framework of an intact intra-network pattern of activity. In contrast, WS shows markedly lower levels of within-network connectivity in the default mode network and somatomotor network relative to controls. These findings warrant further investigation using a task-based procedure that may help disentangle the relationship between brain function and cognitive performance across the spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in children and adults. While ADHD patients often display circadian abnormalities, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here we found that the zebrafish mutant for the circadian gene period1b (per1b) displays hyperactive, impulsive-like, and attention deficit-like behaviors and low levels of dopamine, reminiscent of human ADHD patients. We found that the circadian clock directly regulates dopamine-related genes monoamine oxidase and dopamine β hydroxylase, and acts via genes important for the development or maintenance of dopaminergic neurons to regulate their number and organization in the ventral diencephalic posterior tuberculum. We then found that Per1 knock-out mice also display ADHD-like symptoms and reduced levels of dopamine, thereby showing highly conserved roles of the circadian clock in ADHD. Our studies demonstrate that disruption of a circadian clock gene elicits ADHD-like syndrome. The circadian model for attention deficiency and hyperactive behavior sheds light on ADHD pathogenesis and opens avenues for exploring novel targets for diagnosis and therapy for this common psychiatric disorder.
Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/352572-16$15.00/0.
Neuronal oscillations present potential physiological substrates for brain operations that require temporal prediction. We review this idea in the context of auditory perception. Using speech as an exemplar, we illustrate how hierarchically organized oscillations can be used to parse and encode complex input streams. We then consider the motor system as a major source of rhythms (temporal priors) in auditory processing, that act in concert with attention to sharpen sensory representations and link them across areas. We discuss the circuits that could mediate this audio-motor interaction, notably the potential role of the somatosensory system. Finally, we reposition temporal predictions in the context of internal models, discussing how they interact with feature-based or spatial predictions. We argue that complementary predictions interact synergistically according to the organizational principles of each sensory system, forming multidimensional filters crucial to perception.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Video-based eye tracking relies on locating pupil center to measure gaze positions. Although widely used, the technique is known to generate spurious gaze position shifts up to several degrees in visual angle because pupil centration can change without eye movement during pupil constriction or dilation. Since pupil size can fluctuate markedly from moment to moment, reflecting arousal state and cognitive processing during human behavioral and neuroimaging experiments, the pupil size artifact is prevalent and thus weakens the quality of the video-based eye tracking measurements reliant on small fixational eye movements. Moreover, the artifact may lead to erroneous conclusions if the spurious signal is taken as an actual eye movement. Here, we measured pupil size and gaze position from 23 human observers performing a fixation task and examined the relationship between these two measures. Results disclosed that the pupils contracted as fixation was prolonged, at both small (<16s) and large (∼4min) time scales, and these pupil contractions were accompanied by systematic errors in gaze position estimation, in both the ellipse and the centroid methods of pupil tracking. When pupil size was regressed out, the accuracy and reliability of gaze position measurements were substantially improved, enabling differentiation of 0.1° difference in eye position. We confirmed the presence of systematic changes in pupil size, again at both small and large scales, and its tight relationship with gaze position estimates when observers were engaged in a demanding visual discrimination task.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In rodent studies, elevated cholinergic neurotransmission in right prefrontal cortex (PFC) is essential for maintaining attentional performance, especially in challenging conditions. Apparently paralleling the rises in acetylcholine seen in rodent studies, fMRI studies in humans reveal right PFC activation at or near Brodmann's areas 9 (BA 9) increases in response to elevated attentional demand. In the present study, we leveraged human genetic variability in the cholinergic system to test the hypothesis that the cholinergic system contributes to the BA 9 response to attentional demand. Specifically, we scanned (BOLD fMRI) participants with a polymorphism of the choline transporter gene that is thought to limit choline transport capacity (Ile89Val variant of the choline transporter gene SLC5A7, rs1013940) and matched controls while they completed a task previously used to demonstrate demand-related increases in right PFC cholinergic transmission in rats and right PFC activation in humans. As hypothesized, we found that although controls showed the typical pattern of robust BA 9 responses to increased attentional demand, Ile89Val participants did not. Further, pattern analysis of activation within this region significantly predicted participant genotype. Additional exploratory pattern classification analyses suggested that Ile89Val participants differentially recruited orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus to maintain attentional performance to the level of controls. These results contribute to a growing body of translational research clarifying the role of cholinergic signaling in human attention and functional neural measures, and begin to outline the risk and resiliency factors associated with potentially suboptimal cholinergic function with implications for disorders characterized by cholinergic dysregulation.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been associated with various sensory atypicalities across multiple domains. Interoception, the ability to detect and attend to internal bodily sensations, has been found to moderate the experience of body ownership, a known difference in ASD that may affect social function. However, interoception has not been empirically examined in ASD. In the current study, 45 children (21 with ASD and 24 controls) ages 8 to 17 years completed a heartbeat perception paradigm as a measure of interoceptive ability. A subset of these children also completed the rubber hand illusion task, a multisensory paradigm probing the malleability of perceived body ownership. Although the heartbeat perception paradigm yielded comparable interoceptive awareness (IA) overall across both groups, children with ASD were superior at mentally tracking their heartbeats over longer intervals, suggesting increased sustained attention to internal cues in ASD. In addition, IA was negatively correlated with rubber hand illusion susceptibility in both groups, supporting a previously demonstrated inverse relationship between internal awareness and one's ability to incorporate external stimuli into one's perception of self. We propose a trade-off between attention to internal cues and attention to external cues, whereby attentional resources are disproportionately allocated to internal, rather than external, sensory cues in ASD.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
We obtained behavioral data to evaluate two alternative hypotheses about the neural mechanisms of gaze control. The "fixation" hypothesis states that neurons in rostral superior colliculus (SC) enforce fixation of gaze. The "microsaccade" hypothesis states that neurons in rostral SC encode microsaccades rather than fixation per se. Previously reported neuronal activity in monkey SC during the saccade stop-signal task leads to specific, dissociable behavioral predictions of these two hypotheses. When subjects are required to cancel partially-prepared saccades, imbalanced activity spreads across rostral and caudal SC with a reliable temporal profile. The microsaccade hypothesis predicts that this imbalance will lead to elevated microsaccade production biased toward the target location, while the fixation hypothesis predicts reduced microsaccade production. We tested these predictions by analyzing the microsaccades produced by 4 monkeys while they voluntarily canceled partially prepared eye movements in response to explicit stop signals. Consistent with the fixation hypothesis and contradicting the microsaccade hypothesis, we found that each subject produced significantly fewer microsaccades when normal saccades were successfully canceled. The few microsaccades escaping this inhibition tended to be directed toward the target location. We additionally investigated interactions between initiating microsaccades and inhibiting normal saccades. Reaction times were longer when microsaccades immediately preceded target presentation. However, pre-target microsaccade production did not affect stop-signal reaction time or alter the probability of canceling saccades following stop signals. These findings demonstrate that imbalanced activity within SC does not necessarily produce microsaccades and add to evidence that saccade preparation and cancelation are separate processes.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.