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Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy associated with agenesis of the corpus callosum (HMSN/ACC or ACCPN) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by the disruption of the SLC12A6 gene, which encodes the K-Cl cotransporter-3 (KCC3). A ubiquitous deletion of KCC3 in mice leads to severe locomotor deficits similar to ACCPN patients. However, the underlying pathological mechanism leading to the disease remains unclear. Even though a recent study suggests that the neuropathic features of ACCPN are mostly due to neuronal loss of KCC3, the specific cell type responsible for the disease is still unknown. Here we established four tissue specific KCC3 knockout mouse lines to explore the cell population origin of ACCPN. Our results showed that the loss of KCC3 in parvalbumin-positive neurons led to significant locomotor deficit, suggesting a crucial role of these neurons in the development of the locomotor deficit. Interestingly, mice in which KCC3 deletion was driven by the neuron-specific enolase (NSE) did not develop any phenotype. Furthermore, we demonstrated that nociceptive neurons targeted with Nav1.8-driven CRE and Schwann cells targeted with a desert hedgehog-driven CRE were not involved in the development of ACCPN. Together, these results establish that the parvalbumin-positive neuronal population is an important player in the pathogenic development of ACCPN.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Processing speed predicts functional outcome and is a potential endophenotype for schizophrenia. Establishing the neural basis of processing speed impairment may inform the treatment and etiology of schizophrenia. Neuroimaging investigations in healthy subjects have linked processing speed to brain anatomical connectivity. However, the relationship between processing speed impairment and white matter (WM) integrity in schizophrenia is unclear.
METHOD - Individuals with schizophrenia and healthy subjects underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and completed a brief neuropsychological assessment that included measures of processing speed, verbal learning, working memory and executive functioning. Group differences in WM integrity, inferred from fractional anisotropy (FA), were examined throughout the brain and the hypothesis that processing speed impairment in schizophrenia is mediated by diminished WM integrity was tested.
RESULTS - WM integrity of the corpus callosum, cingulum, superior and inferior frontal gyri, and precuneus was reduced in schizophrenia. Average FA in these regions mediated group differences in processing speed but not in other cognitive domains. Diminished WM integrity in schizophrenia was accounted for, in large part, by individual differences in processing speed.
CONCLUSIONS - Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia was mediated by reduced WM integrity. This relationship was strongest for processing speed because deficits in working memory, verbal learning and executive functioning were not mediated by WM integrity. Larger sample sizes may be required to detect more subtle mediation effects in these domains. Interventions that preserve WM integrity or ameliorate WM disruption may enhance processing speed and functional outcome in schizophrenia.
The pulse oximeter is a critical monitor in anesthesia practice designed to improve patient safety. Here, we present an approach to improve the ability of anesthesiologists to monitor arterial oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry through an audiovisual training process. Fifteen residents' abilities to detect auditory changes in pulse oximetry were measured before and after perceptual training. Training resulted in a 9% (95% confidence interval, 4%-14%, P = 0.0004, t(166) = 3.60) increase in detection accuracy, and a 72-millisecond (95% confidence interval, 40-103 milliseconds, P < 0.0001, t(166) = -4.52) speeding of response times in attentionally demanding and noisy conditions that were designed to simulate an operating room. This study illustrates the benefits of multisensory training and sets the stage for further work to better define the role of perceptual training in clinical anesthesiology.
OBJECTIVE - Social impairments are a key feature of schizophrenia, but their underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Imitation, a process through which we understand the minds of others, involves the so-called mirror neuron system, a network comprising the inferior parietal lobe, inferior frontal gyrus, and posterior superior temporal sulcus. The authors examined mirror neuron system function in schizophrenia.
METHOD - Sixteen medicated schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy comparison subjects performed an action imitation/observation task during functional MRI. Participants saw a video of a moving hand or spatial cue and were instructed to either execute finger movements associated with the stimulus or simply observe. Activation in the mirror neuron system was measured during imitative versus nonimitative actions and observation of a moving hand versus a moving spatial cue. These contrasts were compared across groups.
RESULTS - Activation in the mirror neuron system was less specific for imitation in schizophrenia. Relative to healthy subjects, patients had reduced activity in the posterior superior temporal sulcus during imitation and greater activity in the posterior superior temporal sulcus and inferior parietal lobe during nonimitative action. Patients also showed reduced activity in these regions during action observation. Mirror neuron system activation was related to symptom severity and social functioning in patients and to schizotypal syndrome in comparison subjects.
CONCLUSIONS - Given the role of the inferior parietal lobe and posterior superior temporal sulcus in imitation and social cognition, impaired imitative ability in schizophrenia may stem from faulty perception of biological motion and transformations from perception to action. These findings extend our understanding of social dysfunction in schizophrenia.
The new DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) include sensory disturbances in addition to the well-established language, communication, and social deficits. One sensory disturbance seen in ASD is an impaired ability to integrate multisensory information into a unified percept. This may arise from an underlying impairment in which individuals with ASD have difficulty perceiving the temporal relationship between cross-modal inputs, an important cue for multisensory integration. Such impairments in multisensory processing may cascade into higher-level deficits, impairing day-to-day functioning on tasks, such as speech perception. To investigate multisensory temporal processing deficits in ASD and their links to speech processing, the current study mapped performance on a number of multisensory temporal tasks (with both simple and complex stimuli) onto the ability of individuals with ASD to perceptually bind audiovisual speech signals. High-functioning children with ASD were compared with a group of typically developing children. Performance on the multisensory temporal tasks varied with stimulus complexity for both groups; less precise temporal processing was observed with increasing stimulus complexity. Notably, individuals with ASD showed a speech-specific deficit in multisensory temporal processing. Most importantly, the strength of perceptual binding of audiovisual speech observed in individuals with ASD was strongly related to their low-level multisensory temporal processing abilities. Collectively, the results represent the first to illustrate links between multisensory temporal function and speech processing in ASD, strongly suggesting that deficits in low-level sensory processing may cascade into higher-order domains, such as language and communication.
Response selection dysfunction contributes to processing speed impairment in schizophrenia. However, it is unclear if response selection impairment transcends sensory and motor modalities or is modality specific. To address this question, healthy subjects and individuals with schizophrenia completed reaction time (RT) experiments with different combinations of sensory cues (i.e. visual, auditory) and motor response (i.e. manual, vocal). We found that response selection impairment in schizophrenia was present regardless of the sensory and motor modality of the tasks and correlated with performance on neuropsychological tests of processing speed. These results implicate dysfunction of amodal response selection brain regions in schizophrenia. Interventions that reduce the length of response selection stage processing may improve processing speed in schizophrenia.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Neurons in cortical ventral-stream area V4 are thought to contribute to important aspects of visual processing by integrating information from primary visual cortex (V1). However, how V4 neurons respond to visual stimulation after V1 injury remains unclear: While electrophysiological investigation of V4 neurons during reversible V1 inactivation suggests that virtually all responses are eliminated (Girard et al., 1991), fMRI in humans and monkeys with permanent lesions shows reliable V1-independent activity (Baseler et al., 1999; Goebel et al., 2001; Schmid et al., 2010). To resolve this apparent discrepancy, we longitudinally assessed neuronal functions of macaque area V4 using chronically implanted electrode arrays before and after creating a permanent aspiration lesion in V1. During the month after lesioning, we observed weak yet significant spiking activity in response to stimuli presented to the lesion-affected part of the visual field. These V1-independent responses showed sensitivity for motion and likely reflect the effect of V1-bypassing geniculate input into extrastriate areas.
Humans show large and reliable performance impairments when required to make more than one simple decision simultaneously. Such multitasking costs are thought to largely reflect capacity limits in response selection (Welford, 1952; Pashler, 1984, 1994), the information processing stage at which sensory input is mapped to a motor response. Neuroimaging has implicated the left posterior lateral prefrontal cortex (pLPFC) as a key neural substrate of response selection (Dux et al., 2006, 2009; Ivanoff et al., 2009). For example, activity in left pLPFC tracks improvements in response selection efficiency typically observed following training (Dux et al., 2009). To date, however, there has been no causal evidence that pLPFC contributes directly to sensory-motor training effects, or the operations through which training occurs. Moreover, the left hemisphere lateralization of this operation remains controversial (Jiang and Kanwisher, 2003; Sigman and Dehaene, 2008; Verbruggen et al., 2010). We used anodal (excitatory), cathodal (inhibitory), and sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to left and right pLPFC and measured participants' performance on high and low response selection load tasks after different amounts of training. Both anodal and cathodal stimulation of the left pLPFC disrupted training effects for the high load condition relative to sham. No disruption was found for the low load and right pLPFC stimulation conditions. The findings implicate the left pLPFC in both response selection and training effects. They also suggest that training improves response selection efficiency by fine-tuning activity in pLPFC relating to sensory-motor translations.
Frontal-dependent task performance is typically modulated by dopamine (DA) according to an inverted-U pattern, whereby intermediate levels of DA signaling optimizes performance. Numerous studies implicate trait differences in DA signaling based on differences in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene in executive function task performance. However, little work has investigated genetic variations in DA signaling downstream from COMT. One candidate is the DA- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of molecular weight 32 kDa (DARPP-32), which mediates signaling through the D1-type DA receptor, the dominant DA receptor in the frontal cortex. Using an n-back task, we used signal detection theory to measure performance in a healthy adult population (n = 97) genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms in the COMT (rs4680) and DARPP-32 (rs907094) genes. Correct target detection (hits) and false alarms were used to calculate d' measures for each working memory load (0-, 2-, and 3-back). At the highest load (3-back) only, we observed a significant COMT × DARPP-32 interaction, such that the DARPP-32 T/T genotype enhanced target detection in COMT(ValVal) individuals, but impaired target detection in COMT(Met) carriers. These findings suggest that enhanced dopaminergic signaling via the DARPP-32 T allele aids target detection in individuals with presumed low frontal DA (COMT(ValVal)) but impairs target detection in those with putatively higher frontal DA levels (COMT(Met) carriers). Moreover, these data support an inverted-U model with intermediate levels of DA signaling optimizing performance on tasks requiring maintenance of mental representations in working memory.
Information enters the cortex via modality-specific sensory regions, whereas actions are produced by modality-specific motor regions. Intervening central stages of information processing map sensation to behavior. Humans perform this central processing in a flexible, abstract manner such that sensory information in any modality can lead to response via any motor system. Cognitive theories account for such flexible behavior by positing amodal central information processing (e.g., "central executive," Baddeley and Hitch, 1974; "supervisory attentional system," Norman and Shallice, 1986; "response selection bottleneck," Pashler, 1994). However, the extent to which brain regions embodying central mechanisms of information processing are amodal remains unclear. Here we apply multivariate pattern analysis to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to compare response selection, a cognitive process widely believed to recruit an amodal central resource across sensory and motor modalities. We show that most frontal and parietal cortical areas known to activate across a wide variety of tasks code modality, casting doubt on the notion that these regions embody a central processor devoid of modality representation. Importantly, regions of anterior insula and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex consistently failed to code modality across four experiments. However, these areas code at least one other task dimension, process (instantiated as response selection vs response execution), ensuring that failure to find coding of modality is not driven by insensitivity of multivariate pattern analysis in these regions. We conclude that abstract encoding of information modality is primarily a property of subregions of the prefrontal cortex.