Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1818
The use of effect sizes to characterize the nature of cognitive change in psychopharmacological studies: an example with scopolamine
Drug induced cognitive change is generally investigated using small sample sizes. In terms of null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) this can render a meaningful change non-significant, as a result of insufficient power in the statistical model. NHST leads to 'all or none' thinking, where a non-significant result is interpreted as an absence of change. An effect size calculation indicates the magnitude of change which has occurred post-intervention, and therefore whether a significant result is meaningful. We used a scopolamine challenge to demonstrate the usefulness of effect sizes. The aim of the study was to determine how effect sizes could describe the cognitive changes that occur following administration of subcutaneous scopolamine (s.c. scopolamine). Twenty four healthy young males (M = 32.6, sd = 4.5 years) were administered placebo and 0.2 mg, 0.4 mg & 0.6 mg of s.c. scopolamine using a 4-way crossover design. Memory, learning, psychomotor function, attention and executive function were assessed. Scopolamine significantly impaired performance on all tasks in a dose and time related manner. These results demonstrate the functionality of change scores to draw comparisons between different times and doses. This methodology overcomes the limitations of comparisons between studies using different tasks, doses and time at which cognitive functions are measured.
Silencing Relaxin-3 in Nucleus Incertus of Adult Rodents: A Viral Vector-based Approach to Investigate Neuropeptide Function
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-08-02)
Relaxin-3, the most recently identified member of the relaxin peptide family, is produced by GABAergic projection neurons in the nucleus incertus (NI), in the pontine periventricular gray. Previous studies suggest relaxin-3 is a modulator of stress responses, metabolism, arousal and behavioural activation. Knockout mice and peptide infusions in vivo have significantly contributed to understanding the function of this conserved neuropeptide. Yet, a definitive role remains elusive due to discrepancies between models and a propensity to investigate pharmacological effects over endogenous function. To investigate the endogenous function of relaxin-3, we generated a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector expressing microRNA against relaxin-3 and validated its use to knock down relaxin-3 in adult rats. Bilateral stereotaxic infusion of rAAV1/2 EmGFP miR499 into the NI resulted in significant reductions in relaxin-3 expression as demonstrated by ablation of relaxin-3-like immunoreactivity at 3, 6 and 9 weeks and by qRT-PCR at 12 weeks. Neuronal health was unaffected as transduced neurons in all groups retained expression of NeuN and stained for Nissl bodies. Importantly, qRT-PCR confirmed that relaxin-3 receptor expression levels were not altered to compensate for reduced relaxin-3. Behavioural experiments confirmed no detrimental effects on general health or well-being and therefore several behavioural modalities previously associated with relaxin-3 function were investigated. The validation of this viral vector-based model provides a valuable alternative to existing in vivo approaches and promotes a shift towards more physiologically relevant investigations of endogenous neuropeptide function.
The Metabotropic Glutamate 5 Receptor Modulates Extinction and Reinstatement of Methamphetamine-Seeking in Mice
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-07-04)
Methamphetamine (METH) is a highly addictive psychostimulant with no therapeutics registered to assist addicts in discontinuing use. Glutamatergic dysfunction has been implicated in the development and maintenance of addiction. We sought to assess the involvement of the metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGlu5) in behaviours relevant to METH addiction because this receptor has been implicated in the actions of other drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine and opiates. mGlu5 knockout (KO) mice were tested in intravenous self-administration, conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization. Self-administration of sucrose was used to assess the response of KO mice to a natural reward. Acquisition and maintenance of self-administration, as well as the motivation to self-administer METH was intact in mGlu5 KO mice. Importantly, mGlu5 KO mice required more extinction sessions to extinguish the operant response for METH, and exhibited an enhanced propensity to reinstate operant responding following exposure to drug-associated cues. This phenotype was not present when KO mice were tested in an equivalent paradigm assessing operant responding for sucrose. Development of conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization were intact in KO mice; however, conditioned hyperactivity to the context previously paired with drug was elevated in KO mice. These data demonstrate a role for mGlu5 in the extinction and reinstatement of METH-seeking, and suggests a role for mGlu5 in regulating contextual salience.
Conventional Concepts and New Perspectives for Understanding the Addictive Properties of Inhalants
(JAPANESE PHARMACOLOGICAL SOC, 2013-08-01)
The abuse of inhaled chemical vapors is a growing problem especially among adolescent populations. This is partly driven by the fact that inhaled products are cheap, accessible, and provide a rapid 'high'. In the brain inhalants have multiple effects. They are neurotoxic, targeting primarily white matter pathways, which is believed to underlie the long-term neurological consequences associated with repeated use. Inhalants are also addictive, resulting in adaptive responses in pathways mediating reward and reinforcement. This includes an ability to alter dopaminergic cell firing and result in long-term mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic dysfunction. However, growing evidence suggests that the reinforcing properties of inhalants may also be driven by their ability to affect neurotransmitter systems other than the dopaminergic system. Both glutamatergic and g-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic systems are emerging as key targets of inhalants with differential responses observed following either acute or chronic exposures. These responses appear particularly important in circuits which appear vulnerable to inhalants and which can also modulate dopaminergic function such as the corticostriatal pathway. Thus in combination with the effects of inhalants on dopaminergic systems, our increased understanding of the role(s) of glutamatergic and GABAergic systems provide new and exciting targets to consider for intervention strategies to limit inhalant use.
A Fully Human Inhibitory Monoclonal Antibody to the Wnt Receptor RYK
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-09-18)
RYK is an unusual member of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family that is classified as a putative pseudokinase. RYK regulates fundamental biological processes including cell differentiation, migration and target selection, axon outgrowth and pathfinding by transducing signals across the plasma membrane in response to the high affinity binding of Wnt family ligands to its extracellular Wnt inhibitory factor (WIF) domain. Here we report the generation and initial characterization of a fully human inhibitory monoclonal antibody to the human RYK WIF domain. From a naïve human single chain fragment variable (scFv) phage display library, we identified anti-RYK WIF domain-specific scFvs then screened for those that could compete with Wnt3a for binding. Production of a fully human IgG1κ from an inhibitory scFv yielded a monoclonal antibody that inhibits Wnt5a-responsive RYK function in a neurite outgrowth assay. This antibody will have immediate applications for modulating RYK function in a range of settings including development and adult homeostasis, with significant potential for therapeutic use in human pathologies.
Characterization of Aromatase Expression in the Adult Male and Female Mouse Brain. I. Coexistence with Oestrogen Receptors alpha and beta, and Androgen Receptors
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-03-19)
Aromatase catalyses the last step of oestrogen synthesis. There is growing evidence that local oestrogens influence many brain regions to modulate brain development and behaviour. We examined, by immunohistochemistry, the expression of aromatase in the adult male and female mouse brain, using mice in which enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is transcribed following the physiological activation of the Cyp19A1 gene. EGFP-immunoreactive processes were distributed in many brain regions, including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, olfactory tubercle, medial amygdaloid nucleus and medial preoptic area, with the densest distributions of EGFP-positive cell bodies in the bed nucleus and medial amygdala. Differences between male and female mice were apparent, with the density of EGFP-positive cell bodies and fibres being lower in some brain regions of female mice, including the bed nucleus and medial amygdala. EGFP-positive cell bodies in the bed nucleus, lateral septum, medial amygdala and hypothalamus co-expressed oestrogen receptor (ER) α and β, or the androgen receptor (AR), although single-labelled EGFP-positive cells were also identified. Additionally, single-labelled ERα-, ERβ- or AR-positive cell bodies often appeared to be surrounded by EGFP-immunoreactive nerve fibres/terminals. The widespread distribution of EGFP-positive cell bodies and fibres suggests that aromatase signalling is common in the mouse brain, and that locally synthesised brain oestrogens could mediate biological effects by activating pre- and post-synaptic oestrogen α and β receptors, and androgen receptors. The higher number of EGFP-positive cells in male mice may indicate that the autocrine and paracrine effects of oestrogens are more prominent in males than females.
Quetiapine and aripiprazole signal differently to ERK, p90RSK and c-Fos in mouse frontal cortex and striatum: role of the EGF receptor
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-02-20)
BACKGROUND: Signaling pathways outside dopamine D2 receptor antagonism may govern the variable clinical profile of antipsychotic drugs (APD) in schizophrenia. One postulated mechanism causal to APD action may regulate synaptic plasticity and neuronal connectivity via the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) cascade that links G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) and ErbB growth factor signaling, systems disturbed in schizophrenia. This was based upon our finding that the low D2 receptor affinity APD clozapine induced initial down-regulation and delayed epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR or ErbB1) mediated activation of the cortical and striatal ERK response in vivo distinct from olanzapine or haloperidol. Here we map whether the second generation atypical APDs aripiprazole and quetiapine affect the EGFR-ERK pathway and its substrates p90RSK and c-Fos in mouse brain, given their divergent agonist and antagonist properties on dopaminergic transmission, respectively. RESULTS: In prefrontal cortex, aripiprazole triggered triphasic ERK phosphorylation that was EGFR-independent but had no significant effect in striatum. Conversely quetiapine did not alter cortical ERK signaling but elevated striatal ERK levels in an EGFR-dependent manner. Induction of ERK by aripiprazole did not affect p90RSK signaling but quetiapine decreased RSK phosphorylation within 1-hour of administration. The transcription factor c-Fos by comparison was a direct target of ERK phosphorylation induced by aripiprazole in cortex and quetiapine in striatum with protein levels in temporal alignment with that of ERK. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that aripiprazole and quetiapine signal to specific nuclear targets of ERK, which for quetiapine occurs via an EGFR-linked mechanism, possibly indicating involvement of this system in its action.
BDNF deficiency and young-adult methamphetamine induce sex-specific effects on prepulse inhibition regulation
(FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2013-06-12)
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, yet its role in the development of specific symptoms is unclear. Methamphetamine (METH) users have an increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, and METH-treated animals have been used extensively as a model to study the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. We investigated whether METH treatment in BDNF heterozygous (HET) mutant mice has cumulative effects on sensorimotor gating, including the disruptive effects of psychotropic drugs. BDNF HETs and wildtype (WT) littermates were treated during young adulthood with METH and, following a 2-week break, prepulse inhibition (PPI) was examined. At baseline, BDNF HETs showed reduced PPI compared to WT mice irrespective of METH pre-treatment. An acute challenge with amphetamine (AMPH) disrupted PPI but male BDNF HETs were more sensitive to this effect, irrespective of METH pre-treatment. In contrast, female mice treated with METH were less sensitive to the disruptive effects of AMPH, and there were no effects of BDNF genotype. Similar changes were not observed in the response to an acute apomorphine (APO) or MK-801 challenge. These results show that genetically-induced reduction of BDNF caused changes in a behavioral endophenotype relevant to the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. However, major sex differences were observed in the effects of a psychotropic drug challenge on this behavior. These findings suggest sex differences in the effects of BDNF depletion and METH treatment on the monoamine signaling pathways that regulate PPI. Given that these same pathways are thought to contribute to the expression of positive symptoms in schizophrenia, this work suggests that there may be significant sex differences in the pathophysiology underlying these symptoms. Elucidating these sex differences may be important for our understanding of the neurobiology of schizophrenia and developing better treatments strategies for the disorder.
Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Protects Axons in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis via an Oligodendrocyte-Independent Mechanism
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-10-15)
Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and Ciliary Neurotrophic factor (CNTF) are members of the interleukin-6 family of cytokines, defined by use of the gp130 molecule as an obligate receptor. In the murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, antagonism of LIF and genetic deletion of CNTF worsen disease. The potential mechanism of action of these cytokines in EAE is complex, as gp130 is expressed by all neural cells, and could involve immuno-modulation, reduction of oligodendrocyte injury, neuronal protection, or a combination of these actions. In this study we aim to investigate whether the beneficial effects of CNTF/LIF signalling in EAE are associated with axonal protection; and whether this requires signalling through oligodendrocytes. We induced MOG₃₅₋₅₅ EAE in CNTF, LIF and double knockout mice. On a CNTF null background, LIF knockout was associated with increased EAE severity (EAE grade 2.1±0.14 vs 2.6±0.19; P<0.05). These mice also showed increased axonal damage relative to LIF heterozygous mice, as indicated by decreased optic nerve parallel diffusivity on MRI (1540±207 µm²-/s vs 1310±175 µm²-/s; P<0.05), and optic nerve (-12.5%) and spinal cord (-16%) axon densities; and increased serum neurofilament-H levels (2.5 fold increase). No differences in inflammatory cell numbers or peripheral auto-immune T-cell priming were evident. Oligodendrocyte-targeted gp130 knockout mice showed that disruption of CNTF/LIF signalling in these cells has no effect on acute EAE severity. These studies demonstrate that endogenous CNTF and LIF act centrally to protect axons from acute inflammatory destruction via an oligodendrocyte-independent mechanism.
Redox Regulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
(HINDAWI LTD, 2013-01-01)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that results from the death of upper and lower motor neurons. Due to a lack of effective treatment, it is imperative to understand the underlying mechanisms and processes involved in disease progression. Regulations in cellular reduction/oxidation (redox) processes are being increasingly implicated in disease. Here we discuss the possible involvement of redox dysregulation in the pathophysiology of ALS, either as a cause of cellular abnormalities or a consequence. We focus on its possible role in oxidative stress, protein misfolding, glutamate excitotoxicity, lipid peroxidation and cholesterol esterification, mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired axonal transport and neurofilament aggregation, autophagic stress, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We also speculate that an ER chaperone protein disulphide isomerase (PDI) could play a key role in this dysregulation. PDI is essential for normal protein folding by oxidation and reduction of disulphide bonds, and hence any disruption to this process may have consequences for motor neurons. Addressing the mechanism underlying redox regulation and dysregulation may therefore help to unravel the molecular mechanism involved in ALS.
Phenotyping dividing cells in mouse models of neurodegenerative basal ganglia diseases
BACKGROUND: Mice generated by a Cre/LoxP transgenic paradigm were used to model neurodegenerative basal ganglia disease of which Huntington disease (HD) is the prototypical example. In HD, death occurs in striatal projection neurons as well as cortical neurons. Cortical and striatal neurons that express the D1 dopamine receptor (Drd1a) degenerate in HD. The contribution that death of specific neuronal cell populations makes to the HD disease phenotype and the response of the brain to loss of defined cell subtypes is largely unknown. METHODS: Drd1a-expressing cells were targeted for cell death and three independent lines generated; a striatal-restricted line, a cortical-restricted line and a global line in which Drd1a cells were deleted from both the striatum and cortex. Two independent experimental approaches were used. In the first, the proliferative marker Ki-67 was used to identify proliferating cells in eighty-week-old mice belonging to a generic global line, a global in which Drd1a cells express green fluorescent protein (GFP-global) and in eighty-week-old mice of a cortical line. In the second experiment, the proliferative response of four-week-old mice belonging to GFP-global and striatal lines was assessed using the thymidine analogue BrdU. The phenotype of proliferating cells was ascertained by double staining for BrdU and Olig2 (an oligodendrocyte marker), Iba1 (a microglial cell marker), S100β (an astroglial cell marker), or NeuN (a neuronal cell marker). RESULTS: In the first study, we found that Ki-67-expressing cells were restricted to the striatal side of the lateral ventricles. Control mice had a greater number of Ki-67+ cells than mutant mice. There was no overlap between Ki-67 and GFP staining in control or mutant mice, suggesting that cells did not undergo cell division once they acquired a Drd1a phenotype. In contrast, in the second study we found that BrdU+ cells were identified throughout the cortex, striatum and periventricular region of control and mutant mice. Mutant mice from the GFP-global line showed increased BrdU+ cells in the cortex, striatum and periventricular region relative to control. Striatal line mutant mice had an increased number of BrdU+ cells in the striatum and periventricular region, but not the cortex. The number of microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons generated from dividing progenitors was increased relative to control mice in most brain regions in mutant mice from the GFP-global line. In contrast, striatal line mutant mice displayed an increase only in the number of dividing microglia in striatal and periventricular regions. CONCLUSIONS: Genetically programmed post-natal ablation of Drd1a-expressing neurons is associated with an extensive proliferative response involving multiple cell lineages. The nature of the tissue response has the potential not only to remove cellular debris but also to forge physiologically meaningful brain repair. Age related deficits in proliferation are seen in mutant lines. A blunted endogenous reparative response may underlie the cumulative deficits characteristic of age related neurodegeneration.