Matching Items (23)

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Does chronic unpredictable restraint produce dendritic retraction in long-shaft CA3 hippocampal neurons?

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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a widespread mood disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide and yet, high relapse rates persist. This current study aimed to use an

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a widespread mood disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide and yet, high relapse rates persist. This current study aimed to use an animal model for depression, unpredictable intermittent restraint (UIR), to investigate changes in a subset of neurons within the hippocampus, a region of high susceptibility in MDD. Adult male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to four treatment groups based on sex (n = 48, n = 12/group). Half of the rats underwent UIR that involved restraint with orbital shaking (30 min or 1 h) for 2-6 consecutive days, followed by one or two days of no stressors; the other half of the rats were undisturbed (CON). UIR rats were stressed for 28 days (21 days of actual stressors) before behavioral testing began with UIR continuing between testing days for nearly 70 days. Rats were then euthanized between 9 and 11 days after the last UIR session. Brains were processed for Golgi stain and long-shaft (LS) neurons within the hippocampal CA3a and CA3b regions were quantified for dendritic complexity using a Camera Lucida attachment. Our findings failed to support our hypothesis that UIR would produce apical dendritic retraction in CA3 hippocampal LS neurons in both males and females. Given that UIR failed to produce CA3 apical dendritic retraction in males, which is commonly observed in the literature, we discuss several reasons for these findings including, time from the end of UIR to when brains were sampled, and the effects of repeated cognitive testing. Given our published findings that UIR impaired spatial ability in males, but not females, we believe that UIR holds validity as a chronic stress paradigm, as UIR attenuated body weight gain in both males and females and produced reductions in thymus gland weight in UIR males. These findings corroborate UIR as an effective stressor in males and warrant further research into the timing of UIR-induced changes in hippocampal CA3 apical dendritic morphology.

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Date Created
  • 2020-12

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Modeling acquisition of nicotine self-administration in rats

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Nicotine is thought to underlie the reinforcing and dependence-producing effects of tobacco-containing products. Nicotine supports self-administration in rodents, although measures of its reinforcing effects are often confounded by procedures that

Nicotine is thought to underlie the reinforcing and dependence-producing effects of tobacco-containing products. Nicotine supports self-administration in rodents, although measures of its reinforcing effects are often confounded by procedures that are used to facilitate acquisition, such as food restriction, prior reinforcement training, or response-contingent co-delivery of a naturally reinforcing light. This study examined whether rats acquire nicotine self-administration in the absence of these facilitators. A new mathematical modeling procedure was used to define the criterion for acquisition and to determine dose-dependent differences in rate and asymptote levels of intake. Rats were trained across 20 daily 2-h sessions occurring 6 days/week in chambers equipped with active and inactive levers. Each active lever press resulted in nicotine reinforcement (0, 0.015, 0.03, 0.06 mg/kg, IV) and retraction of both levers for a 20-s time out, whereas inactive lever presses had no consequences. Acquisition was defined by the best fit of a logistic function (i.e., S-shaped) versus a constant function (i.e., flat line) for reinforcers obtained across sessions using a corrected Akaike information criterion (AICc) as a model selection tool. The results showed an inverted-U shaped function for dose in relation to the percentage of animals that acquired nicotine self-administration, with 46% acquiring at 0.015 mg/kg, 73% at 0.03 mg/kg, and 58% at 0.06 mg/kg. All saline rats failed to acquire as expected. For rats that acquired nicotine self-administration, multiple model comparisons demonstrated that the asymptote (highest number of reinforcers/session) and half learning point (h; session during which half the assymptote had been achieved) were justified as free parameters of the reinforcers/session function, indicating that these parameters vary with nicotine dose. Asymptote exhibited an inverted U-shaped function across doses and half learning point exhibited a negative relationship to dose (i.e., the higher the dose the fewer sessions to reach h). These findings suggest that some rats acquire nicotine self-administration without using procedures that confound measures of acquisition rate. Furthermore, the modeling approach provides a new way of defining acquisition of drug self-administration that takes advantage of using all data generated from individual subjects and is less arbitrary than some criteria that are currently used.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of repeated D₂-like agonist treatment on prepulse Inhibition

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Patients with schizophrenia have deficits in sensorimotor gating, the ability to gate out irrelevant stimuli in order to attend to relevant stimuli. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response is

Patients with schizophrenia have deficits in sensorimotor gating, the ability to gate out irrelevant stimuli in order to attend to relevant stimuli. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response is a reliable and valid model of sensorimotor gating across species. Repeated D2-like agonist treatment alleviates prior PPI deficits in rats, termed a PPI recovery, and is observable 28 days after treatment. The aim of the current project is to illuminate the underlying mechanism for this persistent change of behavior and determine the clinical relevance of repeated D2-like agonist treatment. Our results revealed a significant increase in Delta FosB, a transcription factor, in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) 10 days after repeated D2-like agonist treatment. Additionally, we investigated if Delta FosB was necessary for long-lasting PPI recovery and discovered a bilateral infusion of dominant-negative Delta JunD prevented PPI recovery after repeated D2-like agonist treatment. To further develop the underlying mechanism of PPI recovery, we observed that dominant negative mutant cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) response biding element protein (CREB) prevented repeated D2-like agonist-induced Delta FosB expression in the NAc. We then compared our previous behavioral and intracellular findings to the results of repeated aripiprazole, a novel D2-like partial agonist antipsychotic, to determine if repeated D2-like receptor agonist action is a clinically relevant pharmacological approach. As compared to previous PPI recovery and Delta FosB expression after repeated D2-like agonist treatment, we found similar PPI recovery and Delta FosB expression after repeated aripiprazole treatment in rats. We can conclude that repeated D2-like agonist treatment produces persistent PPI recovery through CREB phosphorylation and Delta FosB, which is necessary for PPI recovery. Furthermore, this pharmacological approach produces behavioral and intracellular changes similar to an effective novel antipsychotic. These findings suggest the underlying intracellular mechanism for sustained PPI recovery is clinically relevant and may be a potential target of therapeutic intervention to alleviate sensorimotor gating deficits, which are associated with cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Chronic stress and plasticity in the limbic system: implications for post traumatic stress disorder

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The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and

The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and motivation, key functions of the limbic system. Three structures of the limbic system in particular, the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala, are of special interest due to documented structural changes and their implication in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of many notable chronic stress-induced changes include dendritic arbor restructuring, which reflect plasticity patterns in parallel with the direction of alterations observed in functional imaging studies in PTSD patients. For instance, chronic stress produces dendritic retraction in the hippocampus and mPFC, but dendritic hypertrophy in the amygdala, consistent with functional imaging in patients with PTSD. Some have hypothesized that these limbic region's modifications contribute to one's susceptibility to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Consequently, we used a familiar chronic stress procedure in a rat model to create a vulnerable brain that might develop traits consistent with PTSD when presented with a challenge. In adult male rats, chronic stress by wire mesh restraint (6h/d/21d) was followed by a variety of behavioral tasks including radial arm water maze (RAWM), fear conditioning and extinction, and fear memory reconsolidation to determine chronic stress effects on behaviors mediated by these limbic structures. In chapter 2, we corroborated past findings that chronic stress caused hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction. Importantly, we present new findings that CA3 dendritic retraction corresponded with poor spatial memory in the RAWM and that these outcomes reversed after a recovery period. In chapter 3, we also showed that chronic stress impaired mPFC-mediated extinction memory, findings that others have reported. Using carefully assessed behavior, we present new findings that chronic stress impacted nonassociative fear by enhancing contextual fear during extinction that generalized to a new context. Moreover, the generalization behavior corresponded with enhanced functional activation in the hippocampus and amygdala during fear extinction memory retrieval. In chapter 5, we showed for the first time that chronic stress enhanced amygdala functional activation during fear memory retrieval, i.e., reactivation. Moreover, these enhanced fear memories were resistant to protein synthesis interference to disrupt a previously formed memory, called reconsolidation in a novel attempt to weaken chronic stress enhanced traumatic memory. Collectively, these studies demonstrated the plastic and dynamic effects of chronic stress on limbic neurocircuitry implicated in PTSD. We showed that chronic stress created a structural and functional imbalance across the hippocampus, mPFC, and amygdala, which lead to a PTSD-like phenotype with persistent and exaggerated fear following fear conditioning. These behavioral disruptions in conjunction with morphological and functional imaging data reflect a chronic stress-induced imbalance between hippocampal and mPFC regulation in favor of amygdala function overdrive, and supports a novel approach for traumatic memory processing in PTSD.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Hippocampal BDNF mediates recovery from chronic stress-induced spatial reference memory deficits

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Chronic restraint stress impairs hippocampal-mediated spatial learning and memory, which improves following a post-stress recovery period. Here, we investigated whether brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein important for hippocampal

Chronic restraint stress impairs hippocampal-mediated spatial learning and memory, which improves following a post-stress recovery period. Here, we investigated whether brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein important for hippocampal function, would alter the recovery from chronic stress-induced spatial memory deficits. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were infused into the hippocampus with adeno- associated viral vectors containing the coding sequence for short interfering (si)RNA directed against BDNF or a scrambled sequence (Scr), with both containing the coding information for green fluorescent protein to aid in anatomical localization. Rats were then chronically restrained (wire mesh, 6h/d/21d) and assessed for spatial learning and memory using a radial arm water maze (RAWM) either immediately after stressor cessation (Str-Imm) or following a 21-day post-stress recovery period (Str-Rec). All groups learned the RAWM task similarly, but differed on the memory retention trial. Rats in the Str-Imm group, regardless of viral vector contents, committed more errors in the spatial reference memory domain than did non-stressed controls. Importantly, the typical improvement in spatial memory following recovery from chronic stress was blocked with the siRNA against BDNF, as Str-Rec-siRNA performed worse on the RAWM compared to the non-stressed controls or Str-Rec-Scr. These effects were specific for the reference memory domain as repeated entry errors that reflect spatial working memory were unaffected by stress condition or viral vector contents. These results demonstrate that hippocampal BDNF is necessary for the recovery from stress-induced hippocampal dependent spatial memory deficits in the reference memory domain.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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A Selective Serotonin1B Receptor Agonist Modulates Cocaine Self-Administration in Female Rats Regardless of Estrous Cycle Phase

Description

Greater than 11% of the total population of Americans age 12 and older were illicit drug users with close to 1 million suffering from cocaine use disorder in 2017 alone

Greater than 11% of the total population of Americans age 12 and older were illicit drug users with close to 1 million suffering from cocaine use disorder in 2017 alone (SAMHSA, 2017), yet there are no effective pharmacological treatments for this disorder. Previous research from the Neisewander Laboratory in male rats found that administration of a 5-HT1BR agonist facilitates cocaine intake when given prior to a daily self-administration session, while inhibiting cocaine intake and attenuating drug-seeking behavior following 21 days of protracted abstinence, yet it is not known whether such effects are observed in female rats. Women face unique challenges in all phases of the drug addiction cycle. With respect to active drug-taking (i.e., the maintenance phase), women tend to increase their rate of consumption more rapidly than men, and female rats acquire cocaine self-administration faster than males. In part, this is due to ovarian hormone influences on the reinforcing properties of cocaine, where peak levels of endogenous estrogen hormones correspond to an increase in cocaine intake. In this study, we investigated the effects of CP94253, a selective 5HT1BR agonist, on cocaine intake across all phases of the estrous cycle in female rats. The rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.75 mg/kg, IV) on a fixed ratio (FR) 5 schedule of reinforcement and daily vaginal smears were taken after each session to monitor the estrous cycle. Rats were pretreated with CP 94,253 (5.6 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle prior to separate tests during each estrous cycle phase and were then either given 1-h access to 0.75 mg/kg cocaine followed by 1-h access to 0.375 mg/kg cocaine or 1-h access to 0.1875 mg/kg cocaine followed by 1-h access to 0.075 mg/kg cocaine. Similar to males, CP 94,253 decreased cocaine intake in females at intermediate doses, however, the estrous cycle phase did not alter this effect.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Glutamatergic and neuroimmune mechanisms of N-acetylcysteine-mediated inhibition of cue-induced nicotine seeking

Description

Nicotine self-administration is associated with decreased expression of the glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and the cystine-glutamate exchange protein xCT in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcore). N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is

Nicotine self-administration is associated with decreased expression of the glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and the cystine-glutamate exchange protein xCT in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcore). N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and glutamatergic agent, restores these proteins associated with increased relapse vulnerability. However, the specific molecular mechanisms driving NAC inhibitory effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are unknown. Thus, the present study assessed NAC’s effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are dependent on NAcore GLT-1 expression. Here, rats were treated with NAC in combination with intra-NAcore vivo-morpholinos to examine the role of GLT-1 in NAC-mediated inhibition of cue-induced nicotine seeking. Subchronic NAC treatment attenuated cue-induced nicotine seeking in male rats and an antisense vivo-morpholino (AS) designed to selectively suppress GLT-1 expression in the NAcore blocked this effect. NAC treatment was also associated with an inhibition of pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) expression in the NAcore. As well, GLT-1 AS markedly increased expression of CD40, a known marker of pro-inflammatory M1 activation of microglia and macrophages. To further examine whether NAC-induced decreases in nicotine seeking involve suppression of TNFα, we manipulated a downstream mediator of this pathway, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). Considering the putative role of NF-κB in learning, memory, and synaptic plasticity, separate experiments were performed where rats were treated with herpes simplex virus (HSV) vectors designed to increase (HSV-IKKca) or decrease (HSV-IKKdn) NF-κB signaling through interactions with IκB Kinase (IKK). The goal was to examine the role of NF-κB signaling in mediating nicotine seeking behavior and if NF-κB signaling regulates GLT-1 expression. HSV-IKKdn alone and in combination with NAC inhibited cue-induced nicotine reinstatement, while HSV-IKKca blocked the attenuating effect of NAC on reinstatement. Interestingly, both HSV-IKKdn and HSV-IKKca, regardless of NAC treatment, inhibited GLT-1 expression. Taken together, these results suggest that while GLT-1 may be a conserved neurobiological substrate underlying relapse vulnerability across drugs of abuse, immunomodulatory mechanisms may regulate drug-induced alterations in glutamatergic plasticity that mediate cue-induced drug-seeking behavior through GLT-1-independent mechanisms.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Prosocial influences on nicotine reinforcement, reward, and neural signaling in rodent models

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Social influences are important determinants of drug initiation in humans, particularly during adolescence and early adulthood. My dissertation tested three hypotheses: 1) conditioned and unconditioned nicotine and social rewards

Social influences are important determinants of drug initiation in humans, particularly during adolescence and early adulthood. My dissertation tested three hypotheses: 1) conditioned and unconditioned nicotine and social rewards elicit unique patterns of neural signaling in the corticolimbic neurocircuitry when presented in combination versus individually; 2) play behavior is not necessary for expression of social reward; and 3) social context enhances nicotine self-administration. To test the first hypothesis, Fos protein was measured in response to social and nicotine reward stimuli given alone or in combination and in response to environmental cues associated with the rewards in a conditioned place preference (CPP) test. Social-conditioned environmental stimuli attenuated Fos expression in the nucleus accumbens core. A social partner elevated Fos expression in the caudate-putamen, medial and central amygdala, and both nucleus accumbens subregions. Nicotine decreased Fos expression in the cingulate cortex, caudate-putamen, and the nucleus accumbens core. Both stimuli combined elevated Fos expression in the basolateral amygdala and ventral tegmental area, suggesting possible overlap in processing both rewards in these regions. I tested the second hypothesis with an apparatus containing compartments separated by a wire mesh barrier that allowed limited physical contact with a rat or object. While 2 pairings with a partner rat (full physical contact) produced robust CPP, additional pairings were needed for CPP with a partner behind a barrier or physical contact with an object (i.e., tennis ball). The results demonstrate that physical contact with a partner rat is not necessary to establish social-reward CPP. I tested the third hypothesis with duplex operant conditioning chambers separated either by a solid or a wire mesh barrier to allow for social interaction during self-administration sessions. Nicotine (0.015 and 0.03 mg/kg, IV) and saline self-administration were assessed in male and female young-adult rats either in the social context or isolation. Initially, a social context facilitated nicotine intake at the low dose in male rats, but suppressed intake in later sessions more strongly in female rats, suggesting that social factors exert strong sex-dependent influences on self-administration. These novel findings highlight the importance of social influences on several nicotine-related behavioral paradigms and associated neurocircuitry.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Cognitive changes across the menopause transition: a longitudinal evaluation of the impact of age and ovarian status on spatial memory

Description

Aging and the menopause transition are both intricately linked to cognitive changes

during mid-life and beyond. Clinical literature suggests the age at menopause onset can differentially impact cognitive status later in

Aging and the menopause transition are both intricately linked to cognitive changes

during mid-life and beyond. Clinical literature suggests the age at menopause onset can differentially impact cognitive status later in life. Yet, little is known about the relationship between behavioral and brain changes that occur during the transitional stage into the post-menopausal state. Much of the pre-clinical work evaluating an animal model of menopause involves ovariectomy in rodents; however, ovariectomy results in an abrupt loss of circulating hormones and ovarian tissue, limiting the ability to evaluate gradual follicular depletion. The 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD) model simulates transitional menopause in rodents by selectively depleting the immature ovarian follicle reserve and allowing animals to retain their follicle-deplete ovarian tissue, resulting in a profile similar to the majority of menopausal women. Here, Vehicle or VCD treatment was administered to ovary-intact adult and middle-aged Fischer-344 rats to assess the cognitive effects of transitional menopause via VCD-induced follicular depletion over time, as well as to understand potential interactions with age, with VCD treatment beginning at either six or twelve months of age. Results indicated that subjects that experience menopause onset at a younger age had impaired spatial working memory early in the transition to a follicle-deplete state. Moreover, in the mid- and post- menopause time points, VCD-induced follicular depletion amplified an age effect, whereby Middle-Aged VCD-treated animals had poorer spatial working and reference memory performance than Young VCD-treated animals. Correlations suggested that in middle age, animals with higher circulating estrogen levels tended to perform better on spatial memory tasks. Overall, these findings suggest that the age at menopause onset is a critical parameter to consider when evaluating learning and memory across the transition to reproductive senescence. From a translational perspective, this study informs the field with respect to how the age at menopause onset might impact cognition in menopausal women, as well as provides insight into time points to explore for the window of opportunity for hormone therapy during the menopause transition to attenuate age- and menopause- related cognitive decline, and produce healthy brain aging profiles in women who retain their ovaries throughout the lifespan.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Plant-made biologics: human butyrylcholinesterase mutants for the treatment of cocaine addiction-related diseases

Description

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and acute cocaine toxicity (overdose) is only symptomatically treated. Studies have demonstrated a promising potential treatment option with the help of the human serum enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), an enzyme capable of breaking down cocaine into biologically inactive side products. This activity of wild-type BChE, however, is relatively low. This prompted the design of variants of BChE which exhibit significantly improved catalytic activity against cocaine. Plants were used as a sustainable, scalable, affordable platform system to produce large amounts of human biologics such as these cocaine hydrolase variants of BChE. Using a tobacco relative, Nicotiana benthamiana, recombinant enzymes can be produced at quantities relevant to clinical use with desired kinetic properties. Next, the ability of the most promising plant-produced cocaine super hydrolase, pCocSH, to counter the lethal effects of cocaine overdose in vivo was tested. These studies revealed that this plant-produced enzyme can protect mice from an otherwise lethal dose of cocaine. Most excitingly, it was found that pCocSH can rescue mice from overdose when given immediately after the onset of cocaine-induced seizures. These studies provide in vitro and in vivo proof-of-principle for a promising plant-derived biologic to be used as a pharmacokinetic-based treatment for cocaine addiction-related diseases such as overdose.

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Date Created
  • 2015