Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 805
Heterozygous deletion of Sox9 in mouse mimics the gonadal sex reversal phenotype associated with campomelic dysplasia in humans.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-02-04)
Heterozygous mutations in the human SOX9 gene cause the skeletal malformation syndrome campomelic dysplasia which in 75% of 46, XY individuals is associated with male-to-female sex reversal. Although studies in homozygous Sox9 knockout mouse models confirmed that SOX9 is critical for testis development, mice heterozygous for the Sox9-null allele were reported to develop normal testes. This led to the belief that the SOX9 dosage requirement for testis differentiation is different between humans, which often require both alleles, and mice, in which one allele is sufficient. However, in prior studies, gonadal phenotypes in heterozygous Sox9 XY mice were assessed only by either gross morphology, histological staining or analyzed on a mixed genetic background. In this study, we conditionally inactivated Sox9 in somatic cells of developing gonads using the Nr5a1-Cre mouse line on a pure C57BL/6 genetic background. Section and whole-mount immunofluorescence for testicular and ovarian markers showed that XY Sox9 heterozygous gonads developed as ovotestes. Quantitative droplet digital PCR confirmed a 50% reduction of Sox9 mRNA as well as partial sex reversal shown by an upregulation of ovarian genes. Our data show that haploinsufficiency of Sox9 can perturb testis development in mice, suggesting that mice may provide a more accurate model of human disorders/differences of sex development than previously thought.
The assertive cardiac care trial: A randomised controlled trial of a coproduced assertive cardiac care intervention to reduce absolute cardiovascular disease risk in people with severe mental illness in the primary care setting
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2020-10-01)
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 40% of the excess mortality identified in people with severe mental illness (SMI). Modifiable CVD risk factors are higher and can be exacerbated by the cardiometabolic impact of psychotropic medications. People with SMI frequently attend primary care presenting a valuable opportunity for early identification, prevention and management of cardiovascular health. The ACCT Healthy Hearts Study will test a coproduced, nurse-led intervention delivered with general practitioners to reduce absolute CVD risk (ACVDR) at 12 months compared with an active control group. METHODS/DESIGN: ACCT is a two group (intervention/active control) individually randomised (1:1) controlled trial (RCT). Assessments will be completed baseline (pre-randomisation), 6 months, and 12 months. The primary outcome is 5-year ACVDR measured at 12 months. Secondary outcomes include 6-month ACVDR; and blood pressure, lipids, HbA1c, BMI, quality of life, physical activity, motivation to change health behaviour, medication adherence, alcohol use and hospitalisation at 6 and 12 months. Linear mixed-effects regression will estimate mean difference between groups for primary and secondary continuous outcomes. Economic cost-consequences analysis will be conducted using quality of life and health resource use information and routinely collected government health service use and medication data. A parallel process evaluation will investigate implementation of the intervention, uptake and outcomes. DISCUSSION: ACCT will deliver a coproduced and person-centred, guideline level cardiovascular primary care intervention to a high need population with SMI. If successful, the intervention could lead to the reduction of the mortality gap and increase opportunities for meaningful social and economic participation. Trial registration ANZCTR Trial number: ACTRN12619001112156.
Visual search efficiency and functional visual cortical size in children with and without dyslexia
Dyslexia is characterised by poor reading ability. Its aetiology is probably multifactorial, with abnormal visual processing playing an important role. Among adults with normal reading ability, there is a larger representation of central visual field in the primary visual cortex (V1) in those with more efficient visuospatial attention. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that poor reading ability in school-aged children (17 children with dyslexia, 14 control children with normal reading ability) is associated with deficits in visuospatial attention using a visual search task. We corroborated the psychophysical findings with neuroimaging, by measuring the functional size of V1 in response to a central 12° visual stimulus. Consistent with other literature, visual search was impaired and less efficient in the dyslexic children, particularly with more distractor elements in the search array (p=0.04). We also found atypical interhemispheric asymmetry in functional V1 size in the dyslexia group (p=0.02). Reading impaired children showed poorer visual search efficiency (p=0.01), needing more time per unit distractor (higher ms/item). Reading ability was also correlated with V1 size asymmetry (p=0.03), such that poorer readers showed less left hemisphere bias relative to the right hemisphere. Our findings support the view that dyslexic children have abnormal visuospatial attention and interhemispheric V1 asymmetry, relative to chronological age-matched peers, and that these factors may contribute to inter-individual variation in reading performance in children.
CARMN Loss Regulates Smooth Muscle Cells and Accelerates Atherosclerosis in Mice.
(Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2021-02-24)
Rationale: In the microenvironment of atherosclerotic lesions, vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) switch to a dedifferentiated state but the underlying molecular mechanisms driving this switch are not fully understood. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are dysregulated during vascular pathology, but relatively little is known about their involvement in controlling vSMCs function. CARMN is a lncRNA located immediately upstream of the microRNAs (miRNAs) miR-143 and miR-145, both involved in vSMCs function. Objective: We investigated the role of the lncRNA CARMN, independent from miR-143 and miR-145, as potential a regulator of vSMC phenotypes in vitro and the consequences of its loss during the development of atherosclerosis in vivo. We hypothesized that loss of CARMN is a primary event controlling the functional switch towards pro-atherogenic vSMC phenotype and accelerates the development of the plaques in vivo. Methods and Results: Expression of CARMN lncRNA was silenced using GapmeRs in human coronary arterial smooth muscle cells (hCASMCs), revealing that GapmeR-mediated loss of CARMN negatively affects miR-143 and miR-145 miRNA expression. RNA sequencing of CARMN-depleted hCASMCs revealed large transcriptomic changes, associated with vSMC proliferation, migration, inflammation, lipid metabolism and dedifferentiation. The use of miR-143 and miR-145 mimics revealed that CARMN regulates hCASMC proliferation in a miRNA-independent manner. In human and mouse, CARMN and associated miRNAs were downregulated in advanced versus early atherosclerotic lesions. Using a CRISPR-Cas9 knock-out approach, we explored the implications of CARMN depletion during atherosclerosis in vivo. Consistent with in vitro results, the knock-out of CARMN impaired the expression of miR-143 and miR-145 under homeostatic conditions. Importantly, when atherosclerosis was induced in these mice, CARMN knock-out increased the volume, size, pro-inflammatory LGALS3-expressing cells content and altered plaque composition, yielding an advanced phenotype. Conclusions: We identified the early loss of CARMN lncRNA as critical event which primes vSMCs towards a pro-atherogenic phenotype in vitro and accelerates the development of atherosclerosis in vivo.
The C-terminal propeptide of a plant defensin confers cytoprotective and subcellular targeting functions
BACKGROUND: Plant defensins are small (45-54 amino acids), basic, cysteine-rich proteins that have a major role in innate immunity in plants. Many defensins are potent antifungal molecules and are being evaluated for their potential to create crop plants with sustainable disease resistance. Defensins are produced as precursor molecules which are directed into the secretory pathway and are divided into two classes based on the absence (class I) or presence (class II) of an acidic C-terminal propeptide (CTPP) of about 33 amino acids. The function of this CTPP had not been defined. RESULTS: By transgenically expressing the class II plant defensin NaD1 with and without its cognate CTPP we have demonstrated that NaD1 is phytotoxic to cotton plants when expressed without its CTPP. Transgenic cotton plants expressing constructs encoding the NaD1 precursor with the CTPP had the same morphology as non-transgenic plants but expression of NaD1 without the CTPP led to plants that were stunted, had crinkled leaves and were less viable. Immunofluorescence microscopy and transient expression of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-CTPP chimera were used to confirm that the CTPP is sufficient for vacuolar targeting. Finally circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy were used to show that the CTPP adopts a helical confirmation. CONCLUSIONS: In this report we have described the role of the CTPP on NaD1, a class II defensin from Nicotiana alata flowers. The CTPP of NaD1 is sufficient for vacuolar targeting and plays an important role in detoxification of the defensin as it moves through the plant secretory pathway. This work may have important implications for the use of defensins for disease protection in transgenic crops.
Non-Essential Role for TLR2 and Its Signaling Adaptor Mal/TIRAP in Preserving Normal Lung Architecture in Mice
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-29)
Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and MyD88-adaptor like (Mal)/Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) play a critical role in transducing signals downstream of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family. While genetic ablation of the TLR4/MyD88 signaling axis in mice leads to pulmonary cell death and oxidative stress culminating in emphysema, the involvement of Mal, as well as TLR2 which like TLR4 also signals via MyD88 and Mal, in the pathogenesis of emphysema has not been studied. By employing an in vivo genetic approach, we reveal here that unlike the spontaneous pulmonary emphysema which developed in Tlr4(-/-) mice by 6 months of age, the lungs of Tlr2(-/-) mice showed no physiological or morphological signs of emphysema. A more detailed comparative analysis of the lungs from these mice confirmed that elevated oxidative protein carbonylation levels and increased numbers of alveolar cell apoptosis were only detected in Tlr4(-/-) mice, along with up-regulation of NADPH oxidase 3 (Nox3) mRNA expression. With respect to Mal, the architecture of the lungs of Mal(-/-) mice was normal. However, despite normal oxidative protein carbonylation levels in the lungs of emphysema-free Mal(-/-) mice, these mice displayed increased levels of apoptosis comparable to those observed in emphysematous Tlr4(-/-) mice. In conclusion, our data provide in vivo evidence for the non-essential role for TLR2, unlike the related TLR4, in maintaining the normal architecture of the lung. In addition, we reveal that Mal differentially facilitates the anti-apoptotic, but not oxidant suppressive, activities of TLR4 in the lung, both of which appear to be essential for TLR4 to prevent the onset of emphysema.
Genome-Wide ENU Mutagenesis in Combination with High Density SNP Analysis and Exome Sequencing Provides Rapid Identification of Novel Mouse Models of Developmental Disease
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-03-01)
BACKGROUND: Mice harbouring gene mutations that cause phenotypic abnormalities during organogenesis are invaluable tools for linking gene function to normal development and human disorders. To generate mouse models harbouring novel alleles that are involved in organogenesis we conducted a phenotype-driven, genome-wide mutagenesis screen in mice using the mutagen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: ENU was injected into male C57BL/6 mice and the mutations transmitted through the germ-line. ENU-induced mutations were bred to homozygosity and G3 embryos screened at embryonic day (E) 13.5 and E18.5 for abnormalities in limb and craniofacial structures, skin, blood, vasculature, lungs, gut, kidneys, ureters and gonads. From 52 pedigrees screened 15 were detected with anomalies in one or more of the structures/organs screened. Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based linkage analysis in conjunction with candidate gene or next-generation sequencing (NGS) we identified novel recessive alleles for Fras1, Ift140 and Lig1. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In this study we have generated mouse models in which the anomalies closely mimic those seen in human disorders. The association between novel mutant alleles and phenotypes will lead to a better understanding of gene function in normal development and establish how their dysfunction causes human anomalies and disease.
Effects of oxaliplatin on mouse myenteric neurons and colonic motility
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-01-01)
Oxaliplatin, an anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, commonly causes gastrointestinal side-effects such as constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Damage to enteric neurons may underlie some of these gastrointestinal side-effects, as the enteric nervous system (ENS) controls functions of the bowel. In this study, neuronal loss and changes to the structure and immunoreactivity of myenteric neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) neurons were examined in colonic segments from mice following exposure to oxaliplatin ex vivo and following repeated intraperitoneal injections of oxaliplatin over 3 weeks in vivo, using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Significant morphological alterations and increases in the proportion of NOS-immunoreactive (IR) neurons were associated with both short-term oxaliplatin exposure and long-term oxaliplatin administration, confirming that oxaliplatin causes changes to the myenteric neurons. Long-term oxaliplatin administration induced substantial neuronal loss that was correlated with a reduction in both the frequency and propagation speed of colonic migrating motor complexes (CMMCs) in vitro. Similar changes probably produce some symptoms experienced by patients undergoing oxaliplatin treatment.
Ceramides Contained in LDL Are Elevated in Type 2 Diabetes and Promote Inflammation and Skeletal Muscle Insulin Resistance
(AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2013-02-01)
Dysregulated lipid metabolism and inflammation are linked to the development of insulin resistance in obesity, and the intracellular accumulation of the sphingolipid ceramide has been implicated in these processes. Here, we explored the role of circulating ceramide on the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Ceramide transported in LDL is elevated in the plasma of obese patients with type 2 diabetes and correlated with insulin resistance but not with the degree of obesity. Treating cultured myotubes with LDL containing ceramide promoted ceramide accrual in cells and was accompanied by reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, Akt phosphorylation, and GLUT4 translocation compared with LDL deficient in ceramide. LDL-ceramide induced a proinflammatory response in cultured macrophages via toll-like receptor-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Finally, infusing LDL-ceramide into lean mice reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, and this was due to impaired insulin action specifically in skeletal muscle. These newly identified roles of LDL-ceramide suggest that strategies aimed at reducing hepatic ceramide production or reducing ceramide packaging into lipoproteins may improve skeletal muscle insulin action.
Expression, Regulation and Putative Nutrient-Sensing Function of Taste GPCRs in the Heart
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-05-15)
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are critical for cardiovascular physiology. Cardiac cells express >100 nonchemosensory GPCRs, indicating that important physiological and potential therapeutic targets remain to be discovered. Moreover, there is a growing appreciation that members of the large, distinct taste and odorant GPCR families have specific functions in tissues beyond the oronasal cavity, including in the brain, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system. To date, these chemosensory GPCRs have not been systematically studied in the heart. We performed RT-qPCR taste receptor screens in rodent and human heart tissues that revealed discrete subsets of type 2 taste receptors (TAS2/Tas2) as well as Tas1r1 and Tas1r3 (comprising the umami receptor) are expressed. These taste GPCRs are present in cultured cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts, and by in situ hybridization can be visualized across the myocardium in isolated cardiac cells. Tas1r1 gene-targeted mice (Tas1r1(Cre)/Rosa26(tdRFP)) strikingly recapitulated these data. In vivo taste receptor expression levels were developmentally regulated in the postnatal period. Intriguingly, several Tas2rs were upregulated in cultured rat myocytes and in mouse heart in vivo following starvation. The discovery of taste GPCRs in the heart opens an exciting new field of cardiac research. We predict that these taste receptors may function as nutrient sensors in the heart.