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Serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) expression after sleep deprivation and possible implications for schizophrenia risk

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ABSTRACT
Environmental and genetic factors influence schizophrenia risk. Individuals who have direct family members with schizophrenia have a much higher incidence. Also, acute stress or life crisis may precede the onset of the disease. This study aims to understand the

ABSTRACT
Environmental and genetic factors influence schizophrenia risk. Individuals who have direct family members with schizophrenia have a much higher incidence. Also, acute stress or life crisis may precede the onset of the disease. This study aims to understand the effects of environment on genes related to schizophrenia risk. It investigates the impact of sleep deprivation as an acute environmental stressor on the expression of Htr2a in mice, a gene that codes for the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR). HTR2A is associated with schizophrenia risk through genetic association studies and expression is decreased in post-mortem studies of patients with the disease. Furthermore, sleep deprivation as a stressor in human trials has been shown to increase the binding capacity of 5-HT2AR. We hypothesize that sleep deprivation will increase the number of cells expressing Htr2a in the mouse anterior prefrontal cortex when compared to controls. Sleep deprived that mice express EGFP under control of the Htr2a promoter displayed anteroposterior gradients of expression across sagittal sections, with concentrations seen most densely within the prefrontal cortex as well as the anterior pretectal nucleus, thalamic nucleus, as well as the cingulate gyrus. Htr2a-EGFP expression was most densely visualized in cortical layer V and VI pyramidal neurons within the lateral prefrontal cortex of coronal sections. Furthermore, the medial prefrontal cortex contained significantly cells expressing Htr2a¬-EGFP than the lateral prefrontal cortex. Ultimately, the hypothesis was not supported and sleep deprivation did not result in more ¬Htr2a-EGFP expressing cells compared to basal levels. However, expressing cells appeared visibly brighter in sleep-deprived animals when compared to controls, indicating that the amount of intracellular Htr2a-GFP expression may be higher. This study provides strong visual representations of expression gradients following sleep deprivation as an acute stressor and paves the way for future studies regarding 5H-T2AR’s role in schizophrenia.

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2015-05

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Stress and Biological Pathways of Schizophrenia: EGR3 Dependent HTR2A Expression in Response to Sleep Deprivation

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Environmental and genetic factors contribute to schizophrenia etiology, yet few studies have demonstrated how environmental stimuli impact genes associated with the disorder. Immediate early genes (IEGs) are of great interest to schizophrenia research because they are activated in response to

Environmental and genetic factors contribute to schizophrenia etiology, yet few studies have demonstrated how environmental stimuli impact genes associated with the disorder. Immediate early genes (IEGs) are of great interest to schizophrenia research because they are activated in response to physiological stress from the environment, and subsequently regulate the expression of downstream genes that are essential to neuropsychiatric function. An IEG, early growth response 3 (EGR3) has been identified as a main gene involved in a network of transcription factors implicated in schizophrenia susceptibility. The serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) seems to play an important role in schizophrenia and the dysfunction of the 5-HT2AR encoding gene, HTR2A, within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) contributes to multiple psychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia. EGR3's role as a transcription factor that is activated by environmental stimuli suggests it may regulate Htr2a transcription in response to physiological stress, thus affecting 5-HT2AR function in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between Egr3 activation and Htr2a expression after an environmental stimulus. Sleep deprivation is an acute physiological stressor that activates Egr3. Therefore to examine the relationship between Egr3 and Htr2a expression after an acute stress, wild type and Egr3 knockout mice that express EGFP under the control of the Htr2a promoter were sleep deprived for 8 hours. We used immunohistochemistry to determine the location and density of Htr2a-EGFP expression after sleep deprivation and found that Htr2a-EGFP expression was not affected by sex or subregions of the PFC. Additionally, Htr2a-EGFP expression was not affected by the loss of Egr3 or sleep deprivation within the PFC. The LPFC subregions, layers V and VI showed significantly more Htr2a-EGFP expression than layers I-III in all animals for both sleep deprivation and control conditions. Possible explanations for the lack of significant effects in this study may be the limited sample size or possible biological abnormalities in the Htr2a-EGFP mice. Nonetheless, we did successfully visualize the anatomical distribution of Htr2a in the prefrontal cortex via immunohistochemical staining. This study and future studies will provide insight into how Egr3 activation affects Htr2a expression in the PFC and how physiological stress from the environment can alter candidate schizophrenia gene function.

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2014-05

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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 a reliable and valid model of sensorimotor gating across species.

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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2013