Physiology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 141
TrkB Agonist LM22A-4 Increases Oligodendroglial Populations During Myelin Repair in the Corpus Callosum
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-08-27)
The neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes central nervous system (CNS) myelination during development and after injury. This is achieved via activation of oligodendrocyte-expressed tropomyosin-related kinase (Trk) B receptors. However, while administration of BDNF has shown beneficial effects, BDNF itself has a poor pharmacokinetic profile. Here, we compare two TrkB-targeted BDNF-mimetics, the structural-mimetic, tricyclic dimeric peptide-6 (TDP6) and the non-peptide small molecule TrkB agonist LM22A-4 in a cuprizone model of central demyelination in female mice. Both mimetics promoted remyelination, increasing myelin sheath thickness and oligodendrocyte densities after 1-week recovery. Importantly, LM22A-4 exerts these effects in an oligodendroglial TrkB-dependent manner. However, analysis of TrkB signaling by LM22A-4 suggests rather than direct activation of TrkB, LM22A-4 exerts its effects via indirect transactivation of Trk receptors. Overall, these studies support the therapeutic strategy to selectively targeting TrkB activation to promote remyelination in the brain.
Neurons Specifically Activated by Fear Learning in Lateral Amygdala Display Increased Synaptic Strength
(SOC NEUROSCIENCE, 2018-05-01)
The lateral amygdala (LA) plays a critical role in the formation of fear-conditioned associative memories. Previous studies have used c-fos regulated expression to identify a spatially restricted population of neurons within the LA that is specifically activated by fear learning. These neurons are likely to be a part of a memory engram, but, to date, functional evidence for this has been lacking. We show that neurons within a spatially restricted region of the LA had an increase in both the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous postsynaptic currents (sPSC) when compared to neurons recorded from home cage control mice. We then more specifically addressed if this increased synaptic activity was limited to learning-activated neurons. Using a fos-tau-LacZ (FTL) transgenic mouse line, we developed a fluorescence-based method of identifying and recording from neurons activated by fear learning (FTL+ ) in acute brain slices. An increase in frequency and amplitude of sPSCs was observed in FTL+ neurons when compared to nonactivated FTL- neurons in fear-conditioned mice. No learning-induced changes were observed in the action potential (AP) input-output relationships. These findings support the idea that a discrete LA neuron population forms part of a memory engram through changes in synaptic connectivity.
Acute effects of active breaks during prolonged sitting on subcutaneous adipose tissue gene expression: an ancillary analysis of a randomised controlled trial
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-03-07)
Active breaks in prolonged sitting has beneficial impacts on cardiometabolic risk biomarkers. The molecular mechanisms include regulation of skeletal muscle gene and protein expression controlling metabolic, inflammatory and cell development pathways. An active communication network exists between adipose and muscle tissue, but the effect of active breaks in prolonged sitting on adipose tissue have not been investigated. This study characterized the acute transcriptional events induced in adipose tissue by regular active breaks during prolonged sitting. We studied 8 overweight/obese adults participating in an acute randomized three-intervention crossover trial. Interventions were performed in the postprandial state and included: (i) prolonged uninterrupted sitting; or prolonged sitting interrupted with 2-minute bouts of (ii) light- or (iii) moderate-intensity treadmill walking every 20 minutes. Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were obtained after each condition. Microarrays identified 36 differentially expressed genes between the three conditions (fold change ≥0.5 in either direction; p < 0.05). Pathway analysis indicated that breaking up of prolonged sitting led to differential regulation of adipose tissue metabolic networks and inflammatory pathways, increased insulin signaling, modulation of adipocyte cell cycle, and facilitated cross-talk between adipose tissue and other organs. This study provides preliminary insight into the adipose tissue regulatory systems that may contribute to the physiological effects of interrupting prolonged sitting.
LON is the master protease that protects against protein aggregation in human mitochondria through direct degradation of misfolded proteins
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2015)
Maintenance of mitochondrial protein homeostasis is critical for proper cellular function. Under normal conditions resident molecular chaperones and proteases maintain protein homeostasis within the organelle. Under conditions of stress however, misfolded proteins accumulate leading to the activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). While molecular chaperone assisted refolding of proteins in mammalian mitochondria has been well documented, the contribution of AAA+ proteases to the maintenance of protein homeostasis in this organelle remains unclear. To address this gap in knowledge we examined the contribution of human mitochondrial matrix proteases, LONM and CLPXP, to the turnover of OTC-∆, a folding incompetent mutant of ornithine transcarbamylase, known to activate UPRmt. Contrary to a model whereby CLPXP is believed to degrade misfolded proteins, we found that LONM, and not CLPXP is responsible for the turnover of OTC-∆ in human mitochondria. To analyse the conformational state of proteins that are recognised by LONM, we examined the turnover of unfolded and aggregated forms of malate dehydrogenase (MDH) and OTC. This analysis revealed that LONM specifically recognises and degrades unfolded, but not aggregated proteins. Since LONM is not upregulated by UPRmt, this pathway may preferentially act to promote chaperone mediated refolding of proteins.
May Measurement Month 2018: a pragmatic global screening campaign to raise awareness of blood pressure by the International Society of Hypertension
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-07-01)
AIMS: Raised blood pressure (BP) is the biggest contributor to mortality and disease burden worldwide and fewer than half of those with hypertension are aware of it. May Measurement Month (MMM) is a global campaign set up in 2017, to raise awareness of high BP and as a pragmatic solution to a lack of formal screening worldwide. The 2018 campaign was expanded, aiming to include more participants and countries. METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty-nine countries participated in MMM 2018. Volunteers (≥18 years) were recruited through opportunistic sampling at a variety of screening sites. Each participant had three BP measurements and completed a questionnaire on demographic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Hypertension was defined as a systolic BP ≥140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg, or taking antihypertensive medication. In total, 74.9% of screenees provided three BP readings. Multiple imputation using chained equations was used to impute missing readings. 1 504 963 individuals (mean age 45.3 years; 52.4% female) were screened. After multiple imputation, 502 079 (33.4%) individuals had hypertension, of whom 59.5% were aware of their diagnosis and 55.3% were taking antihypertensive medication. Of those on medication, 60.0% were controlled and of all hypertensives, 33.2% were controlled. We detected 224 285 individuals with untreated hypertension and 111 214 individuals with inadequately treated (systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHg) hypertension. CONCLUSION: May Measurement Month expanded significantly compared with 2017, including more participants in more countries. The campaign identified over 335 000 adults with untreated or inadequately treated hypertension. In the absence of systematic screening programmes, MMM was effective at raising awareness at least among these individuals at risk.
Uteroplacental insufficiency leads to hypertension, but not glucose intolerance or impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis, in 12-month-old rats
Growth restriction impacts on offspring development and increases their risk of disease in adulthood which is exacerbated with "second hits." The aim of this study was to investigate if blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis were altered in 12-month-old male and female offspring with prenatal or postnatal growth restriction. Bilateral uterine vessel ligation induced uteroplacental insufficiency and growth restriction in offspring (Restricted). A sham surgery was also performed during pregnancy (Control) and some litters from sham mothers had their litter size reduced (Reduced litter), which restricted postnatal growth. Growth-restricted females only developed hypertension at 12 months, which was not observed in males. In Restricted females only homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance was decreased, indicating enhanced hepatic insulin sensitivity, which was not observed in males. Plasma leptin was increased only in the Reduced males at 12 months compared to Control and Restricted males, which was not observed in females. Compared to Controls, leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin were unaltered in the Restricted males and females, suggesting that at 12 months of age the reduction in body weight in the Restricted offspring is not a consequence of circulating adipokines. Skeletal muscle PGC-1α levels were unaltered in 12-month-old male and female rats, which indicate improvements in lean muscle mass by 12 months of age. In summary, sex strongly impacts the cardiometabolic effects of growth restriction in 12-month-old rats and it is females who are at particular risk of developing long-term hypertension following growth restriction.
Endurance training in early life results in long-term programming of heart mass in rats
Being born small for gestational age increases the risk of developing adult cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This study aimed to examine if early-life exercise could increase heart mass in the adult hearts from growth restricted rats. Bilateral uterine vessel ligation to induce uteroplacental insufficiency and fetal growth restriction in the offspring (Restricted) or sham surgery (Control) was performed on day 18 of gestation in WKY rats. A separate group of sham litters had litter size reduced to five pups at birth (Reduced litter), which restricted postnatal growth. Male offspring remained sedentary or underwent treadmill running from 5 to 9 weeks (early exercise) or 20 to 24 weeks of age (later exercise). Remarkably, in Control, Restricted, and Reduced litter groups, early exercise increased (P < 0.05) absolute and relative (to body mass) heart mass in adulthood. This was despite the animals being sedentary for ~4 months after exercise. Later exercise also increased adult absolute and relative heart mass (P < 0.05). Blood pressure was not significantly altered between groups or by early or later exercise. Phosphorylation of Akt Ser(473) in adulthood was increased in the early exercise groups but not the later exercise groups. Microarray gene analysis and validation by real-time PCR did not reveal any long-term effects of early exercise on the expression of any individual genes. In summary, early exercise programs the heart for increased mass into adulthood, perhaps by an upregulation of protein synthesis based on greater phosphorylation of Akt Ser(473).
Evaluation of right heart function in a rat model using modified echocardiographic views
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-10-31)
Echocardiography plays a major role in assessing cardiac function in animal models. We investigated use of a modified parasternal mid right-ventricular (MRV) and right ventricle (RV) outflow (RVOT) view, in assessing RV size and function, and the suitability of advanced 2D-strain analysis. 15 WKY rats were examined using transthoracic echocardiography. The left heart was assessed using standard short and long axis views. For the right ventricle a MRV and RVOT view were used to measure RV chamber and free wall area. 2D-strain analysis was applied to both ventricles using off-line analysis. RV chamber volume was determined by injection of 2% agarose gel, and RV free wall dissected and weighed. Echocardiography measurement was correlated with necropsy findings. The RV mid-ventricular dimension (R1) was 0.42±0.07cm and the right ventricular outflow tract dimension (R2) was 0.34±0.06cm, chamber end-diastolic area measurements were 0.38±0.09cm2 and 0.29±0.08cm2 for MRV and RVOT views respectively. RVOT and MRV chamber area correlated with gel mass. Doppler RV stroke volume was 0.32±0.08ml, cardiac output (CO) 110±27 ml.min-1 and RV free wall contractility assessed using 2D-strain analysis was demonstrated. We have shown that modified MRV and RVOT views can provide detailed assessment of the RV in rodents, with 2D-strain analysis of the RV free wall potentially feasible.
The importance of early life in childhood obesity and related diseases: a report from the 2014 Gravida Strategic Summit
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2014-12-01)
Obesity and its related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, impose huge burdens on society, particularly the healthcare system. Until recently, public health and policy were primarily focused on secondary prevention and treatment of NCDs. However, epidemiological and experimental evidence indicates that early-life exposures influence the risk of childhood obesity and related diseases later in life, and has now focused attention on the health of both mother and child. During pregnancy and the early neonatal period, individuals respond to their environment by establishing anatomical, physiological and biochemical trajectories that shape their future health. This period of developmental plasticity provides an early window of opportunity to mitigate the environmental insults that may increase an individual's sensitivity to, or risk of, developing obesity or related diseases later in life. Although much investigation has already occurred in the area of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease research, the science itself is still in its infancy. It remains for researchers to tackle the important outstanding questions and translate their knowledge into workable solutions for the public good. The challenge, however, is to decide which areas to focus on. With these opportunities and challenges in mind, the 2014 Gravida Summit convened to examine how its early-life research program can determine which areas of research into mechanisms, biomarkers and interventions could contribute to the international research strategy to fight childhood obesity and its related diseases.
Reducing Pup Litter Size Alters Early Postnatal Calcium Homeostasis and Programs Adverse Adult Cardiovascular and Bone Health in Male Rats
The in utero and early postnatal environments play essential roles in offspring growth and development. Standardizing or reducing pup litter size can independently compromise long-term health likely due to altered milk quality, thus limiting translational potential. This study investigated the effect reducing litter size has on milk quality and offspring outcomes. On gestation day 18, dams underwent sham or bilateral uterine vessel ligation surgery to generate dams with normal (Control) and altered (Restricted) milk quality/composition. At birth, pups were cross-fostered onto separate dams with either an unadjusted or reduced litter size. Plasma parathyroid hormone-related protein was increased in Reduced litter pups, whereas ionic calcium and total body calcium were decreased. These data suggest Reduced litter pups have dysregulated calcium homeostasis in early postnatal life, which may impair bone mineralization decreasing adult bone bending strength. Dams suckling Reduced litter pups had increased milk long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid. Reduced litter pups suckled by Normal milk quality/composition dams had increased milk omega-6 linoleic and arachidonic acids. Reduced litter male adult offspring had elevated blood pressure. This study highlights care must be taken when interpreting data from research that alters litter size as it may mask subtle cardiometabolic health effects.