Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications

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    Functional neuroimaging abnormalities in idiopathic generalized epilepsy
    McGill, ML ; Devinsky, O ; Wang, X ; Quinn, BT ; Pardoe, H ; Carlson, C ; Butler, T ; Kuzniecky, R ; Thesen, T (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2014-01-01)
    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have been used to quantitatively assess focal and network abnormalities. Idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) is characterized by bilateral synchronous spike-wave discharges on electroencephalography (EEG) but normal clinical MRI. Dysfunctions involving the neocortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and thalamus likely contribute to seizure activity. To identify possible morphometric and functional differences in the brains of IGE patients and normal controls, we employed measures of thalamic volumes, cortical thickness, gray-white blurring, fractional anisotropy (FA) measures from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (fALFF) in thalamic subregions from resting state functional MRI. Data from 27 patients with IGE and 27 age- and sex-matched controls showed similar thalamic volumes, cortical thickness and gray-white contrast. There were no differences in FA values on DTI in tracts connecting the thalamus and prefrontal cortex. Functional analysis revealed decreased fALFF in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) subregion of the thalamus in patients with IGE. We provide minimum detectable effect sizes for each measure used in the study. Our analysis indicates that fMRI-based methods are more sensitive than quantitative structural techniques for characterizing brain abnormalities in IGE.
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    Mutant TDP-43 Deregulates AMPK Activation by PP2A in ALS Models (vol 9, e90449, 2014)
    Perera, ND ; Sheean, RK ; Scott, JW ; Kemp, BE ; Horne, MK (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-04-16)
    Bioenergetic abnormalities and metabolic dysfunction occur in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and genetic mouse models. However, whether metabolic dysfunction occurs early in ALS pathophysiology linked to different ALS genes remains unclear. Here, we investigated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation, which is a key enzyme induced by energy depletion and metabolic stress, in neuronal cells and mouse models expressing mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) or TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) linked to ALS. AMPK phosphorylation was sharply increased in spinal cords of transgenic SOD1G93A mice at disease onset and accumulated in cytoplasmic granules in motor neurons, but not in presymptomatic mice. AMPK phosphorylation also occurred in peripheral tissues, liver and kidney, in SOD1G93A mice at disease onset, demonstrating that AMPK activation occurs late and is not restricted to motor neurons. Conversely, AMPK activity was drastically diminished in spinal cords and brains of presymptomatic and symptomatic transgenic TDP-43A315T mice and motor neuronal cells expressing different TDP-43 mutants. We show that mutant TDP-43 induction of the AMPK phosphatase, protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), is associated with AMPK inactivation in these ALS models. Furthermore, PP2A inhibition by okadaic acid reversed AMPK inactivation by mutant TDP-43 in neuronal cells. Our results suggest that mutant SOD1 and TDP-43 exert contrasting effects on AMPK activation which may reflect key differences in energy metabolism and neurodegeneration in spinal cords of SOD1G93A and TDP-43A315T mice. While AMPK activation in motor neurons correlates with progression in mutant SOD1-mediated disease, AMPK inactivation mediated by PP2A is associated with mutant TDP-43-linked ALS.
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    Bimanual Motor Coordination in Older Adults Is Associated with Increased Functional Brain Connectivity - A Graph-Theoretical Analysis
    Heitger, MH ; Goble, DJ ; Dhollander, T ; Dupont, P ; Caeyenberghs, K ; Leemans, A ; Sunaert, S ; Swinnen, SP ; He, Y (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-04-29)
    In bimanual coordination, older and younger adults activate a common cerebral network but the elderly also have additional activation in a secondary network of brain areas to master task performance. It remains unclear whether the functional connectivity within these primary and secondary motor networks differs between the old and the young and whether task difficulty modulates connectivity. We applied graph-theoretical network analysis (GTNA) to task-driven fMRI data in 16 elderly and 16 young participants using a bimanual coordination task including in-phase and anti-phase flexion/extension wrist movements. Network nodes for the GTNA comprised task-relevant brain areas as defined by fMRI activation foci. The elderly matched the motor performance of the young but showed an increased functional connectivity in both networks across a wide range of connectivity metrics, i.e., higher mean connectivity degree, connection strength, network density and efficiency, together with shorter mean communication path length between the network nodes and also a lower betweenness centrality. More difficult movements showed an increased connectivity in both groups. The network connectivity of both groups had "small world" character. The present findings indicate (a) that bimanual coordination in the aging brain is associated with a higher functional connectivity even between areas also activated in young adults, independently from task difficulty, and (b) that adequate motor coordination in the context of task-driven bimanual control in older adults may not be solely due to additional neural recruitment but also to aging-related changes of functional relationships between brain regions.
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    Antenatal Dexamethasone after Asphyxia Increases Neural Injury in Preterm Fetal Sheep
    Koome, ME ; Davidson, JO ; Drury, PP ; Mathai, S ; Booth, LC ; Gunn, AJ ; Bennet, L ; Sun, K (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-18)
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Maternal glucocorticoid treatment for threatened premature delivery dramatically improves neonatal survival and short-term morbidity; however, its effects on neurodevelopmental outcome are variable. We investigated the effect of maternal glucocorticoid exposure after acute asphyxia on injury in the preterm brain. METHODS: Chronically instrumented singleton fetal sheep at 0.7 of gestation received asphyxia induced by complete umbilical cord occlusion for 25 minutes. 15 minutes after release of occlusion, ewes received a 3 ml i.m. injection of either dexamethasone (12 mg, n = 10) or saline (n = 10). Sheep were killed after 7 days recovery; survival of neurons in the hippocampus and basal ganglia, and oligodendrocytes in periventricular white matter were assessed using an unbiased stereological approach. RESULTS: Maternal dexamethasone after asphyxia was associated with more severe loss of neurons in the hippocampus (CA3 regions, 290 ± 76 vs 484 ± 98 neurons/mm(2), mean ± SEM, P<0.05) and basal ganglia (putamen, 538 ± 112 vs 814 ± 34 neurons/mm(2), P<0.05) compared to asphyxia-saline, and with greater loss of both total (913 ± 77 vs 1201 ± 75/mm(2), P<0.05) and immature/mature myelinating oligodendrocytes in periventricular white matter (66 ± 8 vs 114 ± 12/mm(2), P<0.05, vs sham controls 165 ± 10/mm(2), P<0.001). This was associated with transient hyperglycemia (peak 3.5 ± 0.2 vs. 1.4 ± 0.2 mmol/L at 6 h, P<0.05) and reduced suppression of EEG power in the first 24 h after occlusion (maximum -1.5 ± 1.2 dB vs. -5.0 ± 1.4 dB in saline controls, P<0.01), but later onset and fewer overt seizures. CONCLUSIONS: In preterm fetal sheep, exposure to maternal dexamethasone during recovery from asphyxia exacerbated brain damage.
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    Synergistic white matter protection with acute-on-chronic endotoxin and subsequent asphyxia in preterm fetal sheep
    van den Heuij, LG ; Mathai, S ; Davidson, JO ; Lear, CA ; Booth, LC ; Fraser, M ; Gunn, AJ ; Bennet, L (BMC, 2014-05-16)
    BACKGROUND: Perinatal asphyxia and exposure to intrauterine infection are associated with impaired neurodevelopment in preterm infants. Acute exposure to non-injurious infection and/or inflammation can either protect or sensitize the brain to subsequent hypoxia-ischemia. However, the effects of subacute infection and/or inflammation are unclear. In this study we tested the hypothesis that acute-on-chronic exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) would exacerbate white matter injury after subsequent asphyxia in preterm fetal sheep. METHODS: Fetal sheep at 0.7 gestational age received a continuous LPS infusion at 100 ng/kg for 24 hours, then 250 ng/kg/24 hours for 96 hours, plus 1 μg boluses of LPS at 48, 72, and 96 hours or the same volume of saline. Four hours after the last bolus, complete umbilical cord occlusion or sham occlusion was induced for 15 minutes. Sheep were sacrificed 10 days after the start of infusions. RESULTS: LPS exposure was associated with induction of microglia and astrocytes and loss of total and immature and mature oligodendrocytes (n = 9) compared to sham controls (n = 9). Umbilical cord occlusion with saline infusions was associated with induction of microglia, astrogliosis, and loss of immature and mature oligodendrocytes (n = 9). LPS exposure before asphyxia (n = 8) was associated with significantly reduced microglial activation and astrogliosis and improved numbers of immature and mature oligodendrocytes compared to either LPS exposure or asphyxia alone. CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to our initial hypothesis, the combination of acute-on-chronic LPS with subsequent asphyxia reduced neuroinflammation and white matter injury compared with either intervention alone.
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    Blunted Sodium Excretion in Response to a Saline Load in 5 Year Old Female Sheep Following Fetal Uninephrectomy
    Lankadeva, YR ; Singh, RR ; Hilliard, LM ; Moritz, KM ; Denton, KM ; Sen, U (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-10-15)
    Previously, we have shown that fetal uninephrectomy (uni-x) causes hypertension in female sheep by 2 years of age. Whilst the hypertension was not exacerbated by 5 years of age, these uni-x sheep had greater reductions in renal blood flow (RBF). To further explore these early indications of a decline in renal function, we investigated the renal response to a saline load (25 ml/kg/40 min) in 5-year old female uni-x and sham sheep. Basal mean arterial pressure was ∼15 mmHg greater (P(Group)<0.001), and sodium excretion (∼50%), glomerular filtration rate (∼30%, GFR) and RBF (∼40%) were all significantly lower (P(Group)<0.01) in uni-x compared to sham animals. In response to saline loading, sodium excretion increased significantly in both groups (P(Time)<0.001), however this response was blunted in uni-x sheep (P(GroupxTime)<0.01). This was accompanied with an attenuated increase in GFR and fractional sodium excretion (both P(GroupxTime)<0.05), and reduced activation of the renin-angiotensin system (both P<0.05), as compared to the sham group. The reduction in sodium excretion was associated with up-regulations in the renal gene expression of NHE3 and Na(+)/K(+) ATPase α and β subunits in the kidney cortex of the uni-x compared to the sham animals (P<0.05). Notably, neither group completely excreted the saline load within the recovery period, but the uni-x retained a higher percentage of the total volume (uni-x: 48±7%; sham: 22±9%, P<0.05). In conclusion, a reduced ability to efficiently regulate extracellular fluid homeostasis is evident in female sheep at 5 years of age, which was exacerbated in animals born with a congenital nephron deficit. Whilst there was no overt exacerbation of hypertension and renal insufficiency with age in the uni-x sheep, these animals may be more vulnerable to secondary renal insults.
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    Increased Cardiovascular and Renal Risk Is Associated with Low Nephron Endowment in Aged Females: An Ovine Model of Fetal Unilateral Nephrectomy
    Singh, RR ; Jefferies, AJ ; Lankadeva, YR ; Lombardo, P ; Schneider-Kolsky, M ; Hilliard, L ; Denton, KM ; Moritz, KM ; Ashton, N (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-08-03)
    Previously we have shown that ovariectomised (OVX) female sheep have reduced renal function and elevated blood pressure from 6 months of age following fetal uninephrectomy (uni-x) at 100 days of gestation (term = 150 days). In the current study we examined if in intact female sheep the onset of decline in renal function and elevation in blood pressure was prevented. Studies were performed at 1 year, 2 and 5 years of age. Following fetal uni-x at 100 days, intact female sheep had ~30% reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at 1 year, which did not exacerbate with age (P(treatment) = 0.0001, P(age) = 0.7). In contrast renal blood flow was similar between the treatment groups at 1 year of age but had declined in the uni-x animals at 5 years of age (P(treatment × age) = 0.046). Interestingly, intact uni-x sheep did not develop elevations in arterial pressure until 2 years of age. Furthermore, uni-x animals had a similar capacity to respond to a cardiac challenge at 1 year and 2 years of age, however, cardiac functional reserve was significantly reduced compared to sham group at 5 years of age. Uni-x animals exhibited an increase in left ventricular dimensions at 5 years of age compared to the sham animals and compared to 2 years of age (P(treatment)<0.001, P(treatment × age)<0.001). In conclusion, the onset of renal dysfunction preceded the onset of hypertension in intact female uni-x sheep. Furthermore, this study showed that the intact females are protected from the impact of a reduced nephron endowment on cardiovascular health early in life as opposed to our findings in young male sheep and OVX uni-x female sheep. However, with ageing this protection is lost as evidenced by presence of left ventricular hypertrophy and impaired cardiac function in 5 year old uni-x female sheep.
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    Improvement in Renal Hemodynamics following Combined Angiotensin II Infusion and AT1R Blockade in Aged Female Sheep following Fetal Unilateral Nephrectomy
    Singh, RR ; Lankadeva, YR ; Denton, KM ; Moritz, KM ; Ashton, N (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-07-01)
    Renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is a powerful modulator of renal hemodynamic and fluid homeostasis. Up-regulation in components of intra-renal RAS occurs with ageing. Recently we reported that 2 year old uninephrectomised (uni-x) female sheep have low renin hypertension and reduced renal function. By 5 years of age, these uni-x sheep had augmented decrease in renal blood flow (RBF) compared to sham. We hypothesised that this decrease in RBF in 5 year old uni-x sheep was due to an up-regulation in components of the intra-renal RAS. In this study, renal responses to angiotensin II (AngII) infusion and AngII type 1 receptor (AT1R) blockade were examined in the same 5 year old sheep. We also administered AngII in the presence of losartan to increase AngII bioavailability to the AT2R in order to understand AT2R contribution to renal function in this model. Uni-x animals had significantly lower renal cortical content of renin, AngII (∼40%) and Ang 1-7 (∼60%) and reduced cortical expression of AT1R gene than sham animals. In response to both AngII infusion and AT1R blockade via losartan, renal hemodynamic responses and tubular sodium excretion were significantly attenuated in uni-x animals compared to sham. However, AngII infusion in the presence of losartan caused ∼33% increase in RBF in uni-x sheep compared to ∼14% in sham (P<0.05). This was associated with a significant decrease in renal vascular resistance in the uni-x animals (22% vs 15%, P<0.05) without any changes in systemic blood pressure. The present study shows that majority of the intra-renal RAS components are suppressed in this model of low renin hypertension. However, increasing the availability of AngII to AT2R by AT1R blockade improved renal blood flow in uni-x sheep. This suggests that manipulation of the AT2R maybe a potential therapeutic target for treatment of renal dysfunction associated with a congenital nephron deficit.
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    Rho/ROCK pathway is essential to the expansion, differentiation, and morphological rearrangements of human neural stem/progenitor cells induced by lysophosphatidic acid
    Frisca, F ; Crombie, DE ; Dottori, M ; Goldshmit, Y ; Pebay, A (ELSEVIER, 2013-05-01)
    We previously reported that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) inhibits the neuronal differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC). We extended these studies by analyzing LPA's effects on the expansion of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PC) derived from hESCs and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), and we assessed whether data obtained on the neural differentiation of hESCs were relevant to iPSCs. We showed that hESCs and iPSCs exhibited comparable mRNA expression profiles of LPA receptors and producing enzymes upon neural differentiation. We demonstrated that LPA inhibited the expansion of NS/PCs of both origins, mainly by increased apoptosis in a Rho/Rho-associated kinase (ROCK)-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, LPA inhibited the neuronal differentiation of iPSCs. Lastly, LPA induced neurite retraction of NS/PC-derived early neurons through Rho/ROCK, which was accompanied by myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation. Our data demonstrate the consistency of LPA effects across various sources of human NS/PCs, rendering hESCs and iPSCs valuable models for studying lysophospholipid signaling in human neural cells. Our data also highlight the importance of the Rho/ROCK pathway in human NS/PCs. As LPA levels are increased in the central nervous system (CNS) following injury, LPA-mediated effects on NS/PCs and early neurons could contribute to the poor neurogenesis observed in the CNS following injury.
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    The designer leptin antagonist peptide Allo-aca compensates for short serum half-life with very tight binding to the receptor
    Otvos, L ; Vetter, SW ; Koladia, M ; Knappe, D ; Schmidt, R ; Ostorhazi, E ; Kovalszky, I ; Bionda, N ; Cudic, P ; Surmacz, E ; Wade, JD ; Hoffmann, R (SPRINGER WIEN, 2014-04-01)
    The leptin receptor antagonist peptide Allo-aca exhibits picomolar activities in various cellular systems and sub-mg/kg subcutaneous efficacies in animal models making it a prime drug candidate and target validation tool. Here we identified the biochemical basis for its remarkable in vivo activity. Allo-aca decomposed within 30 min in pooled human serum and was undetectable beyond the same time period from mouse plasma during pharmacokinetic measurements. The C max of 8.9 μg/mL at 5 min corresponds to approximately 22% injected peptide present in the circulation. The half-life was extended to over 2 h in bovine vitreous fluid and 10 h in human tears suggesting potential efficacy in ophthalmic diseases. The peptide retained picomolar anti-proliferation activity against a chronic myeloid leukemia cell line; addition of a C-terminal biotin label increased the IC50 value by approximately 200-fold. In surface plasmon resonance assays with the biotin-labeled peptide immobilized to a NeutrAvidin-coated chip, Allo-aca exhibited exceptionally tight binding to the binding domain of the human leptin receptor with ka = 5 × 10(5) M(-1) s(-1) and kdiss = 1.5 × 10(-4) s(-1) values. Peptides excel in terms of high activity and selectivity to their targets, and may activate or inactivate receptor functions considerably longer than molecular turnovers that take place in experimental animals.