Matching Items (3)

151707-Thumbnail Image.png

Neural plasticity in lower- and higher-level visual cortex processing

Description

Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally. However, efficiency of training methods that produce consolidation in the

Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally. However, efficiency of training methods that produce consolidation in the visual system via coherent motion has yet to be experimentally determined. Furthermore, the effects of coherent motion training on reading comprehension, in clinical and normal populations, are still nascent. In the present study, 20 participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Two conditions had a participation requirement of four days while two conditions required eight days of participation. These conditions were further divided into 500 or 1000 trials per day (4 x 500, 4 x 1000, 8 x 500, 8 x 1000). Additional pre-test and post-test days were used to attain timed pre- and post-tests on the Wide Range Achievement Test IV (WRAT IV) reading comprehension battery. Furthermore, a critical flicker fusion threshold (CFFT) score was taken on a macular pigment densitometer on the pre-test and post-test day. Participants showed significant improvement in CFFT levels, WRAT IV reading comprehension, and speed of completion between pre-test and post-test; however, degree of improvement did not vary as a function of training condition. An interaction between training condition and degree of improvement was evident in coherent dot motion contrast scores, with significant training plasticity occurring in the 4 x 1000 and 8 x 500 conditions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

152068-Thumbnail Image.png

Investigating the efficacy of novel TrkB agonists to augment stroke recovery

Description

Stroke remains the leading cause of adult disability in developed countries. Most survivors live with residual motor impairments that severely diminish independence and quality of life. After stroke, the only accepted treatment for these patients is motor rehabilitation. However, the

Stroke remains the leading cause of adult disability in developed countries. Most survivors live with residual motor impairments that severely diminish independence and quality of life. After stroke, the only accepted treatment for these patients is motor rehabilitation. However, the amount and kind of rehabilitation required to induce clinically significant improvements in motor function is rarely given due to the constraints of our current health care system. Research reported in this dissertation contributes towards developing adjuvant therapies that may augment the impact of motor rehabilitation and improve functional outcome. These studies have demonstrated reorganization of maps within motor cortex as a function of experience in both healthy and brain-injured animals by using intracortical microstimulation technique. Furthermore, synaptic plasticity has been identified as a key neural mechanism in directing motor map plasticity, evidenced by restoration of movement representations within the spared cortical tissue accompanied by increase in synapse number translating into motor improvement after stroke. There is increasing evidence that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates synaptic and morphological plasticity in the developing and mature nervous system. Unfortunately, BDNF itself is a poor candidate because of its short half-life, low penetration through the blood brain barrier, and activating multiple receptor units, p75 and TrkB on the neuronal membrane. In order to circumvent this problem efficacy of two recently developed novel TrkB agonists, LM22A-4 and 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, that actively penetrate the blood brain barrier and enhance functional recovery. Findings from these dissertation studies indicate that administration of these pharmacological compounds, accompanied by motor rehabilitation provide a powerful therapeutic tool for stroke recovery.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

152900-Thumbnail Image.png

Calcium-mediated excitation and plasticity in primary olfactory pathways of the honey bee antennal lobe

Description

Spatiotemporal processing in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), and its analog, the invertebrate antennal lobe (AL), is subject to plasticity driven by biogenic amines. I study plasticity using honey bees, which have been extensively studied with respect to nonassociative and

Spatiotemporal processing in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), and its analog, the invertebrate antennal lobe (AL), is subject to plasticity driven by biogenic amines. I study plasticity using honey bees, which have been extensively studied with respect to nonassociative and associative based olfactory learning and memory. Octopamine (OA) release in the AL is the functional analog to epinephrine in the OB. Blockade of OA receptors in the AL blocks plasticity induced changes in behavior. I have now begun to test specific hypotheses related to how this biogenic amine might be involved in plasticity in neural circuits within the AL. OA acts via different receptor subtypes, AmOA1, which gates calcium release from intracellular stores, and AmOA-beta, which results in an increase of cAMP. Calcium also enters AL interneurons via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are driven by acetylcholine release from sensory neuron terminals, as well as through voltage-gated calcium channels. I employ 2-photon excitation (2PE) microscopy using fluorescent calcium indicators to investigate potential sources of plasticity as revealed by calcium fluctuations in AL projection neuron (PN) dendrites in vivo. PNs are analogous to mitral cells in the OB and have dendritic processes that show calcium increases in response to odor stimulation. These calcium signals frequently change after association of odor with appetitive reinforcement. However, it is unclear whether the reported plasticity in calcium signals are due to changes intrinsic to the PNs or to changes in other neural components of the network. My studies were aimed toward understanding the role of OA for establishing associative plasticity in the AL network. Accordingly, I developed a treatment that isolates intact, functioning PNs in vivo. A second study revealed that cAMP is a likely component of plasticity in the AL, thus implicating the AmOA-beta; receptors. Finally, I developed a method for loading calcium indicators into neural components of the AL that have yet to be studied in detail. These manipulations are now revealing the molecular mechanisms contributing to associative plasticity in the AL. These studies will allow for a greater understanding of plasticity in several neural components of the honey bee AL and mammalian OB.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014