Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 2056
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    Biallelic hypomorphic variants in ALDH1A2 cause a novel lethal human multiple congenital anomaly syndrome encompassing diaphragmatic, pulmonary, and cardiovascular defects
    Beecroft, SJ ; Ayala, M ; McGillivray, G ; Nanda, V ; Agolini, E ; Novelli, A ; Digilio, MC ; Dotta, A ; Carrozzo, R ; Clayton, J ; Gaffney, L ; McLean, CA ; Ng, J ; Laing, NG ; Matteson, P ; Millonig, J ; Ravenscroft, G (WILEY, 2021-04-01)
    This study shows a causal association between ALDH1A2 variants and a novel, severe multiple congenital anomaly syndrome in humans that is neonatally lethal due to associated pulmonary hypoplasia and respiratory failure. In two families, exome sequencing identified compound heterozygous missense variants in ALDH1A2. ALDH1A2 is involved in the conversion of retinol (vitamin A) into retinoic acid (RA), which is an essential regulator of diaphragm and cardiovascular formation during embryogenesis. Reduced RA causes cardiovascular, diaphragmatic, and associated pulmonary defects in several animal models, matching the phenotype observed in our patients. In silico protein modeling showed probable impairment of ALDH1A2 for three of the four substitutions. In vitro studies show a reduction of RA. Few pathogenic variants in genes encoding components of the retinoic signaling pathway have been described to date, likely due to embryonic lethality. Thus, this study contributes significantly to knowledge of the role of this pathway in human diaphragm and cardiovascular development and disease. Some clinical features in our patients are also observed in Fryns syndrome (MIM# 229850), syndromic microphthalmia 9 (MIM# 601186), and DiGeorge syndrome (MIM# 188400). Patients with similar clinical features who are genetically undiagnosed should be tested for recessive ALDH1A2-deficient malformation syndrome.
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    Distal oesophageal giant fibrovascular polyp in a patient with laparoscopic adjustable gastric band
    Yang, TWW ; Packiyanathan, A ; Tagkalidis, P ; McLean, C ; Brown, W (WILEY, 2021-03-18)
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    Role of anterior insula cortex in context-induced relapse of nicotine-seeking
    Ghareh, H ; Alonso-Lozares, I ; Schetters, D ; Herman, RJ ; Heistek, TS ; Van Mourik, Y ; Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel, P ; Zernig, G ; Mansvelder, HD ; De Vries, TJ ; Marchant, NJ (eLIFE SCIENCES PUBL LTD, 2022-05-10)
    Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and relapse during abstinence remains the critical barrier to successful treatment of tobacco addiction. During abstinence, environmental contexts associated with nicotine use can induce craving and contribute to relapse. The insular cortex (IC) is thought to be a critical substrate of nicotine addiction and relapse. However, its specific role in context-induced relapse of nicotine-seeking is not fully known. In this study, we report a novel rodent model of context-induced relapse to nicotine-seeking after punishment-imposed abstinence, which models self-imposed abstinence through increasing negative consequences of excessive drug use. Using the neuronal activity marker Fos we find that the anterior (aIC), but not the middle or posterior IC, shows increased activity during context-induced relapse. Combining Fos with retrograde labeling of aIC inputs, we show projections to aIC from contralateral aIC and basolateral amygdala exhibit increased activity during context-induced relapse. Next, we used fiber photometry in aIC and observed phasic increases in aIC activity around nicotine-seeking responses during self-administration, punishment, and the context-induced relapse tests. Next, we used chemogenetic inhibition in both male and female rats to determine whether activity in aIC is necessary for context-induced relapse. We found that chemogenetic inhibition of aIC decreased context-induced nicotine-seeking after either punishment- or extinction-imposed abstinence. These findings highlight the critical role nicotine-associated contexts play in promoting relapse, and they show that aIC activity is critical for this context-induced relapse following both punishment and extinction-imposed abstinence.
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    Early life infection and proinflammatory, atherogenic metabolomic and lipidomic profiles in infancy: a population-based cohort study.
    Mansell, T ; Saffery, R ; Burugupalli, S ; Ponsonby, A-L ; Tang, MLK ; O'Hely, M ; Bekkering, S ; Smith, AAT ; Rowland, R ; Ranganathan, S ; Sly, PD ; Vuillermin, P ; Collier, F ; Meikle, P ; Burgner, D ; Barwon Infant Study Investigator Group, (eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd, 2022-05-10)
    Background: The risk of adult onset cardiovascular and metabolic (cardiometabolic) disease accrues from early life. Infection is ubiquitous in infancy and induces inflammation, a key cardiometabolic risk factor, but the relationship between infection, inflammation, and metabolic profiles in early childhood remains unexplored. We investigated relationships between infection and plasma metabolomic and lipidomic profiles at age 6 and 12 months, and mediation of these associations by inflammation. Methods: Matched infection, metabolomics, and lipidomics data were generated from 555 infants in a pre-birth longitudinal cohort. Infection data from birth to 12 months were parent-reported (total infections at age 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months), inflammation markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP]; glycoprotein acetyls [GlycA]) were quantified at 12 months. Metabolic profiles were 12-month plasma nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics (228 metabolites) and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry lipidomics (776 lipids). Associations were evaluated with multivariable linear regression models. In secondary analyses, corresponding inflammation and metabolic data from birth (serum) and 6-month (plasma) time points were used. Results: At 12 months, more frequent infant infections were associated with adverse metabolomic (elevated inflammation markers, triglycerides and phenylalanine, and lower high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1) and lipidomic profiles (elevated phosphatidylethanolamines and lower trihexosylceramides, dehydrocholesteryl esters, and plasmalogens). Similar, more marked, profiles were observed with higher GlycA, but not hsCRP. GlycA mediated a substantial proportion of the relationship between infection and metabolome/lipidome, with hsCRP generally mediating a lower proportion. Analogous relationships were observed between infection and 6-month inflammation, HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein A1. Conclusions: Infants with a greater infection burden in the first year of life had proinflammatory and proatherogenic plasma metabolomic/lipidomic profiles at 12 months of age that in adults are indicative of heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. These findings suggest potentially modifiable pathways linking early life infection and inflammation with subsequent cardiometabolic risk. Funding: The establishment work and infrastructure for the BIS was provided by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI), Deakin University, and Barwon Health. Subsequent funding was secured from National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), The Shepherd Foundation, The Jack Brockhoff Foundation, the Scobie & Claire McKinnon Trust, the Shane O'Brien Memorial Asthma Foundation, the Our Women's Our Children's Fund Raising Committee Barwon Health, the Rotary Club of Geelong, the Minderoo Foundation, the Ilhan Food Allergy Foundation, GMHBA, Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd, and the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust, Perpetual Trustees. In-kind support was provided by the Cotton On Foundation and CreativeForce. The study sponsors were not involved in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication. Research at MCRI is supported by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program. This work was also supported by NHMRC Senior Research Fellowships to ALP (1008396); DB (1064629); and RS (1045161) , NHMRC Investigator Grants to ALP (1110200) and DB (1175744), NHMRC-A*STAR project grant (1149047). TM is supported by an MCRI ECR Fellowship. SB is supported by the Dutch Research Council (452173113).
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    Changing Fate: Reprogramming Cells via Engineered Nanoscale Delivery Materials
    Dehnavi, SS ; Zadeh, ZE ; Harvey, AR ; Voelcker, NH ; Parish, CL ; Williams, RJ ; Elnathan, R ; Nisbet, DR (WILEY-V C H VERLAG GMBH, 2022-07-14)
    The incorporation of nanotechnology in regenerative medicine is at the nexus of fundamental innovations and early-stage breakthroughs, enabling exciting biomedical advances. One of the most exciting recent developments is the use of nanoscale constructs to influence the fate of cells, which are the basic building blocks of healthy function. Appropriate cell types can be effectively manipulated by direct cell reprogramming; a robust technique to manipulate cellular function and fate, underpinning burgeoning advances in drug delivery systems, regenerative medicine, and disease remodeling. Individual transcription factors, or combinations thereof, can be introduced into cells using both viral and nonviral delivery systems. Existing approaches have inherent limitations. Viral-based tools include issues of viral integration into the genome of the cells, the propensity for uncontrollable silencing, reduced copy potential and cell specificity, and neutralization via the immune response. Current nonviral cell reprogramming tools generally suffer from inferior expression efficiency. Nanomaterials are increasingly being explored to address these challenges and improve the efficacy of both viral and nonviral delivery because of their unique properties such as small size and high surface area. This review presents the state-of-the-art research in cell reprogramming, focused on recent breakthroughs in the deployment of nanomaterials as cell reprogramming delivery tools.
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    Brain tissue microstructural and free-water composition 13 years after very preterm birth
    Kelly, C ; Dhollander, T ; Harding, IH ; Khan, W ; Beare, R ; Cheong, JLY ; Doyle, LW ; Seal, M ; Thompson, DK ; Inder, TE ; Anderson, PJ (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2022-07-01)
    There have been many studies demonstrating children born very preterm exhibit brain white matter microstructural alterations, which have been related to neurodevelopmental difficulties. These prior studies have often been based on diffusion MRI modelling and analysis techniques, which commonly focussed on white matter microstructural properties in children born very preterm. However, there have been relatively fewer studies investigating the free-water content of the white matter, and also the microstructure and free-water content of the cortical grey matter, in children born very preterm. These biophysical properties of the brain change rapidly during fetal and neonatal brain development, and therefore such properties are likely also adversely affected by very preterm birth. In this study, we investigated the relationship of very preterm birth (<30 weeks' gestation) to both white matter and cortical grey matter microstructure and free-water content in childhood using advanced diffusion MRI analyses. A total of 130 very preterm participants and 45 full-term control participants underwent diffusion MRI at age 13 years. Diffusion tissue signal fractions derived by Single-Shell 3-Tissue Constrained Spherical Deconvolution were used to investigate brain tissue microstructural and free-water composition. The tissue microstructural and free-water composition metrics were analysed using a voxel-based analysis and cortical region-of-interest analysis approach. Very preterm 13-year-olds exhibited reduced white matter microstructural density and increased free-water content across widespread regions of the white matter compared with controls. Additionally, very preterm 13-year-olds exhibited reduced microstructural density and increased free-water content in specific temporal, frontal, occipital and cingulate cortical regions. These brain tissue composition alterations were strongly associated with cerebral white matter abnormalities identified in the neonatal period, and concurrent adverse cognitive and motor outcomes in very preterm children. The findings demonstrate brain microstructural and free-water alterations up to thirteen years from neonatal brain abnormalities in very preterm children that relate to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
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    N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) augmentation in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A phase III, 20-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
    Sarris, J ; Byrne, G ; Castle, D ; Bousman, C ; Oliver, G ; Cribb, L ; Blair-West, S ; Brakoulias, V ; Camfield, D ; Ee, C ; Chamoli, S ; Boschen, M ; Dean, OM ; Dowling, N ; Menon, R ; Murphy, J ; Metri, N-J ; Nguyen, TP ; Wong, A ; Jordan, R ; Karamacoska, D ; Rossell, SL ; Berk, M ; Ng, CH (Elsevier BV, 2022-07-13)
    OBJECTIVE: Preliminary evidence has suggested that adjunctive N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an antioxidant precursor to glutathione, may reduce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We conducted a 20-week, multi-site, randomized controlled trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of the adjunctive use of NAC in OCD. METHODS: The study was a phase III, 20-week, double-blind, randomized controlled trial across multiple sites in Australia investigating 2 g to 4 g per day of NAC (titrated according to response) in 98 participants with DSM-5 diagnosed OCD. Data were analysed using linear mixed effects models for the 89 participants who attended at least one follow-up visit. RESULTS: A modified intention-to-treat analysis of the primary outcome found no evidence that NAC reduced symptoms of OCD measured on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, relative to placebo (mean difference at week 20 = 0.53, 95% compatibility interval = -2.18, 3.23; p = 0.70; favouring placebo). There was also no evidence that NAC, compared to placebo, improved outcomes on the secondary measures including anxiety, depression, quality of life, functioning, or clinician/participant impression. NAC was well-tolerated with only mild gastrointestinal adverse events associated with the treatment. CONCLUSION: We found no evidence supporting the efficacy of the adjunctive use of NAC in OCD.
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    Prenatal exposure to phthalates and peripheral blood and buccal epithelial DNA methylation in infants: An epigenome-wide association study
    England-Mason, G ; Merrill, SM ; Gladish, N ; Moore, SR ; Giesbrecht, GF ; Letourneau, N ; MacIsaac, JL ; MacDonald, AM ; Kinniburgh, DW ; Ponsonby, A-L ; Saffery, R ; Martin, JW ; Kobor, MS ; Dewey, D (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2022-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to phthalates has been associated with adverse health and neurodevelopmental outcomes. DNA methylation (DNAm) alterations may be a mechanism underlying these effects, but prior investigations of prenatal exposure to phthalates and neonatal DNAm profiles are limited to placental tissue and umbilical cord blood. OBJECTIVE: Conduct an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of the associations between prenatal exposure to phthalates and DNAm in two accessible infant tissues, venous buffy coat blood and buccal epithelial cells (BECs). METHODS: Participants included 152 maternal-infant pairs from the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) study. Maternal second trimester urine samples were analyzed for nine phthalate metabolites. Blood (n = 74) or BECs (n = 78) were collected from 3-month-old infants and profiled for DNAm using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 (450K) BeadChip. Robust linear regressions were used to investigate the associations between high (HMWPs) and low molecular weight phthalates (LMWPs) and change in methylation levels at variable Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpG) sites in infant tissues, as well as the sensitivity of associations to potential confounders. RESULTS: One candidate CpG in gene RNF39 reported by a previous study examining prenatal exposure to phthalates and cord blood DNAm was replicated. The EWAS identified 12 high-confidence CpGs in blood and another 12 in BECs associated with HMWPs and/or LMWPs. Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) associated with two of the CpGs associated with HMWPs in BECs. DISCUSSION: Prenatal exposure to phthalates was associated with DNAm variation at CpGs annotated to genes associated with endocrine hormone activity (i.e., SLCO4A1, TPO), immune pathways and DNA damage (i.e., RASGEF1B, KAZN, HLA-A, MYO18A, DIP2C, C1or109), and neurodevelopment (i.e., AMPH, NOTCH3, DNAJC5). Future studies that characterize the stability of these associations in larger samples, multiple cohorts, across tissues, and investigate the potential associations between these biomarkers and relevant health and neurodevelopmental outcomes are needed.
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    Connectome spatial smoothing (CSS): Concepts, methods, and evaluation.
    Mansour L, S ; Seguin, C ; Smith, RE ; Zalesky, A (Elsevier BV, 2022-04-15)
    Structural connectomes are increasingly mapped at high spatial resolutions comprising many hundreds-if not thousands-of network nodes. However, high-resolution connectomes are particularly susceptible to image registration misalignment, tractography artifacts, and noise, all of which can lead to reductions in connectome accuracy and test-retest reliability. We investigate a network analogue of image smoothing to address these key challenges. Connectome Spatial Smoothing (CSS) involves jointly applying a carefully chosen smoothing kernel to the two endpoints of each tractography streamline, yielding a spatially smoothed connectivity matrix. We develop computationally efficient methods to perform CSS using a matrix congruence transformation and evaluate a range of different smoothing kernel choices on CSS performance. We find that smoothing substantially improves the identifiability, sensitivity, and test-retest reliability of high-resolution connectivity maps, though at a cost of increasing storage burden. For atlas-based connectomes (i.e. low-resolution connectivity maps), we show that CSS marginally improves the statistical power to detect associations between connectivity and cognitive performance, particularly for connectomes mapped using probabilistic tractography. CSS was also found to enable more reliable statistical inference compared to connectomes without any smoothing. We provide recommendations for optimal smoothing kernel parameters for connectomes mapped using both deterministic and probabilistic tractography. We conclude that spatial smoothing is particularly important for the reliability of high-resolution connectomes, but can also provide benefits at lower parcellation resolutions. We hope that our work enables computationally efficient integration of spatial smoothing into established structural connectome mapping pipelines.