Matching Items (62)

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Elucidating the effects of estrous cycle on social stress-induced amphetamine sensitization in female rats

Description

Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought

Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought to cause increased sensitivity to psychostimulants. Additionally, intermittent social defeat stress induces social avoidance, weight loss, and long-lasting cross-sensitization to psychostimulants, which is associated with increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell. In this study, we examined the estrous cycle in female rats on social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization through FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Every third day for ten days, we induced social defeat stress in rats through short confrontations with a lactating female resident rat and her pups. In parallel, a group of rats were handled for control. Vaginal swabs were taken daily to assess estrous stage. Ten days after the last stress exposure, rats were administered a low dose of amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.), which induced cross-sensitization in stressed rats, evidenced by enhanced locomotor activity. Approximately 3-10 days after amphetamine challenge, brain tissue was collected for immunohistochemistry analyses. Stressed female rats had lower body weight gain, higher social avoidance, and increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Differences in FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell was also observed in handled animals in different estrous stages. Furthermore, rats in proestrous/estrous stages displayed enhanced social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization in comparison to rats in metestrous/diestrous stages. Elucidating the effects of the female reproductive cycle on drug use may provide a novel approach to treatments or therapies in preventing women’s stress-induced vulnerability to substance abuse.

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2019-05

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White Matter Integrity After Traumatic Brain Injury: Corpus Callosum

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Abstract White matter thickness correlates with various mental illness. Commissure white matter tracts are responsible for interconnecting the same cortical area in both hemispheres. Injury to the brain can result in thinning and shrinkage even collapsing and detachment of the

Abstract White matter thickness correlates with various mental illness. Commissure white matter tracts are responsible for interconnecting the same cortical area in both hemispheres. Injury to the brain can result in thinning and shrinkage even collapsing and detachment of the white matter tracts' myelin sheaths. Injury can affect cognitive function and time points are essential for therapeutic intervention. Research is beginning to identify gradual long-term neurodegenerative effects. With the advancement of brain imaging technology, we know that Wallerian degeneration has a significant negative impact on the white matter tracts throughout the brain (Johnson, Stewart, & Smith, 2013). If major tracts become injured like, the corpus callosum, then it can affect interhemispheric communication. Once myelin is damaged the axon becomes vulnerable, and the mechanisms of nerve recovery are not well known. Myelin sheath recovery has been studied in hopes to proliferate the oligodendrocytes that make up for the atrophied myelin. Neurotoxic chemicals released at activation of macrophages which hinders the brains ability to proliferate myelin protein needed for myelin differentiation adequately. In the central nervous system myelin has mechanisms to recover. Neurogenesis is a naturally occurring recovery mechanism seen after brain injury. Understanding the time points in which brain recovery occurs is important for treatment of diffuse injuries that cannot be identified through some imaging techniques. To better understand critical timepoints of natural recovery after brain injury can allow further investigation for early intervention to promote adequate recovery.

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2018-12

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Characterizing p53REs in the Human Hairless Gene Promoter and 5' Untranslated Region

Description

The human hairless gene (HR) encodes a 130 kDa transcription factor that is primarily expressed in the brain and skin. In the promoter and 5'-untranslated regions (5'-UTR) of HR, there are three putative consensus p53 responsive elements (p53RE). p53 is

The human hairless gene (HR) encodes a 130 kDa transcription factor that is primarily expressed in the brain and skin. In the promoter and 5'-untranslated regions (5'-UTR) of HR, there are three putative consensus p53 responsive elements (p53RE). p53 is a tumor suppressor protein that regulates cell proliferation, apoptosis, and other cell functions. The p53 protein, a known tumor suppressor, acts as a transcription factor and binds to DNA p53REs to activate or repress transcription of the target gene. In general, the p53 binding sequence is 5'-RRRCWWGYYY-3' where W is A or T, and R and Y are purines or pyrimidines, respectively. However, even if the p53 binding sequence does not match the consensus sequence, p53 protein might still be able to bind to the response element. The intent of this investigation was to identify and characterize the p53REs in the promoter and 5'-UTR of HR. If the three p53REs (p53RE1, p53RE2, and p53RE3) are functional, then p53 can bind there and might regulate HR gene expression. The first aim for this thesis was to clone the putative p53REs into a luciferase reporter and to characterize the transcription of these p53REs in glioblastoma (U87 MG) and human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cell lines. Through the transactivation assay, it was discovered that p53REs 2 and 3 were functional in HEK293, but none of the response elements were functional in U87 MG. Since p53 displayed a different regulatory capacity of HR expression in HEK293 and U87 MG cells, the second aim was to verify whether the p53REs are mutated in GBM U87 MG cells by genomic DNA sequencing.

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2018-05

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The Effects of a Novel Serotonin-7 Receptor (5-HT7R) Antagonist, MC-RG19, on Cocaine-Related Behaviors

Description

The serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) system is implicated in the study of drug addiction. Of the 14 known serotonin receptor subtypes, the 5-HT7R is the most recently discovered and, therefore, one of the least rigorously studied. However, the 5-HT7R has been

The serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) system is implicated in the study of drug addiction. Of the 14 known serotonin receptor subtypes, the 5-HT7R is the most recently discovered and, therefore, one of the least rigorously studied. However, the 5-HT7R has been shown to play a role in multiple psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. This is not surprising, as the 5-HT7R is expressed in brain regions associated with emotion and reward, such as the amygdala, dorsal raphe nucleus, and striatum. MC-RG19 is a novel 5-HT7R antagonist which has >114-fold selectivity for the 5-HT7 over other serotonin receptors. This compound was developed by our collaborators at the Temple University School of Pharmacy. Due to this specificity, and the implications of the 5-HT7 in behavior, we hypothesized that MC-RG19 would have an effect on addiction-related behaviors. We investigated the effects of MC-RG19 on spontaneous locomotion, cue-induced reinstatement, and cocaine/sucrose multiple schedule self-administration. We observed a dose-dependent decrease in spontaneous locomotor activity with significance at a MC-RG19 dose of 10 mg/kg. A dose of 5.6 mg/kg, which did not significantly decrease locomotion, significantly reduces cocaine-seeking behavior (active lever pressing) in response to the reintroduction of drug-paired cues after a period of extinction. No dose (3, 5.6, or 10 mg/kg) produced a significant effect on a multiple schedule of self-administration with alternating availability of sucrose and cocaine as the reinforcer. These results indicate that MC-RG19 has an effect on the incentive \u2014 motivational properties of reward-paired cues.

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2018-05

The Effect of Ovarian Hormonal Status on 5HT1B Receptor Modulation of Cocaine Self-Administration

Description

Cocaine is a powerful psychomotor stimulant that can affect serotonin (5HT), dopamine, and norepinephrine systems in the brain. Previous studies with 5HT1B receptor agonist, CP94253, have shown dose-dependent decreases in cocaine-self administration in male rats during maintenance. However, these studies

Cocaine is a powerful psychomotor stimulant that can affect serotonin (5HT), dopamine, and norepinephrine systems in the brain. Previous studies with 5HT1B receptor agonist, CP94253, have shown dose-dependent decreases in cocaine-self administration in male rats during maintenance. However, these studies do not take into consideration sex differences between male rats and female rats. Female rats introduce a new complexity because they constantly undergo an estrous cycle that consists of four phases, metestrus, diestrus, proestrus, and estrus. It was hypothesized that cocaine infusions and active lever response rates would greatly decrease during proestrus and estrus in comparison to metestrus and diestrus due to hormonal level differences of LH, FSH, progesterone, and estradiol. In this study, female rats were trained to self-administer a training dose of 0.75 mg/kg/infusion on a fixed progressive ratio (FR5). Rats were then pretreated with CP94253 to test the effects of this 5HT1B agonist on female rat cocaine self-administration during the estrous cycle. Results showed there was no three-way interaction between cycle phase, pretreatment, and cocaine dose on infusions or active lever responses. However, pretreatment with CP94253 decreased cocaine intake and active lever responses at high cocaine doses, regardless of cycle phase. Lastly, there was a two-way interaction between pretreatment and cycle phase in which active lever responses decreased during diestrus and proestrus. These results imply that CP94253 enhances cocaine's effect regardless of cycle phase. Future work can work with ovariectomized (OVX) female rats to observe cocaine self-administration during controlled cycle phases.

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2018-05

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Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms of TRP Channel Activity

Description

Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a diverse family of polymodally gated nonselective cation channels implicated in a variety of pathophysiologies. Two channels of specific interest are transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1).

Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a diverse family of polymodally gated nonselective cation channels implicated in a variety of pathophysiologies. Two channels of specific interest are transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1).
TRPM8 is the primary cold sensor in humans and is activated by ligands that feel cool such as menthol and icilin. It is implicated to be involved in a variety of cancers, nociception, obesity, addiction, and thermosensitivity. There are thought to be conserved regions of structural and functional importance to the channel which can be identified by looking at the evolution of TRPM8 over time. Along with this, looking at different isoforms of TRPM8 which are structurally very different but functionally similar can help isolate regions of functional interest as well. Between TRP channels, the transmembrane domain is well conserved and thought to be important for sensory physiology. To learn about these aspects of TRPM8, three evolutionary constructs, the last common primate, the last common mammalian, and the last common vertebrate ancestor TRPM8 were cloned and subjected to preliminary studies. In addition to the initial ancestral TRPM8 studies, fundamental studies were initiated in method development to evaluate the use of biological signaling sequences to attempt to force non-trafficking membrane protein isoforms and biophysical constructs to the plasma membrane. To increase readout for these and other studies, a cellular based fluorescence assay was initiated. Eventual completion of these efforts will lead to better understanding of the mechanism that underlie TRPM8 function and provide enhanced general methods for ion channel studies.
Beyond TRPM8 studies, an experiment was designed to probe mechanistic features of TRPV1 ligand activation. TRPV1 is also a thermosensitive channel in the TRP family, sensing heat and vanilloid ligands like capsaicin, commonly found in chili peppers. This channel is also involved in many proinflammatory interactions and associated with cancers, nociception, and addiction. Better understanding binding interactions can lead to attempts to create therapeutics.

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2020-05

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5-HT1B receptor agonist CP 94,253 reduces cocaine intake in female rats post-abstinence and after resuming self-administration

Description

Approximately five million Americans suffer from cocaine use disorder with no FDA approved pharmaceutical to help their path to recovery (Yerby, 2019). Serotonin is heavily implicated in cocaine use and in the reward system, and is therefore a suggested target

Approximately five million Americans suffer from cocaine use disorder with no FDA approved pharmaceutical to help their path to recovery (Yerby, 2019). Serotonin is heavily implicated in cocaine use and in the reward system, and is therefore a suggested target for pharmaceuticals aiming to aid in psychostimulant addiction (Sarlin, 2019; Clark and Neumaier, 2001). CP 94,253, a 5-HT1BR agonist, has been shown to increase cocaine intake during maintenance of daily cocaine self-administration, though it has also been shown to decrease intake after a period of forced abstinence (Parsons et al., 1998; Pentowski et al., 2009). While a decrease in cocaine intake post-abstinence is promising post-abstinence, it remains to be seen whether this is a viable option if patients relapse. Most experiments are conducted with male rats, though an increasing amount of data has come to light on the differing effects of drugs on male and female rats (Mennenga and Bimonte-Nelson, 2014). Previous studies conducted through our lab have shown no difference in cocaine self-administration behavior across the estrous cycle phases with CP 94,253. It remains to be seen however, whether CP 94,253 would function dissimilarly in female rats than in male rats. This experiment studied the effects of CP 94,253 on post-abstinence and post-resumption cocaine self-administration in free-cycling female rats across two doses of cocaine. It was shown that CP 94,253 reduces cocaine intake both post-abstinence and post-resumption, suggesting that this pharmacotherapy would work in cases of relapse, and that there are no sex differences in its effects. While more studies should be conducted with locomotion and stress tests, thus far this experiment provides further evidence for the validity of CP 94,253 to be a promising pharmacotherapeutic option for future investigation.

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2020-05

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Pharmacotherapeutic Potential of 5-HT1BR Agonists for Cocaine Use Disorders

Description

Cocaine use remains a prevalent problem, yet there are no effective pharmacological treatments against cocaine use disorders. Cocaine is known to affect serotonin neurotransmission in the brain. Previous data has shown the modulatory role of CP 94,253, a serotonin 1B

Cocaine use remains a prevalent problem, yet there are no effective pharmacological treatments against cocaine use disorders. Cocaine is known to affect serotonin neurotransmission in the brain. Previous data has shown the modulatory role of CP 94,253, a serotonin 1B receptor (5-HT1BR) agonist on cocaine self-administration at different periods of the use-abstinence-relapse cycle. CP 94,253 facilitates cocaine self-administration in rats during the use maintenance phase, where rats are receiving daily intake of cocaine, yet attenuates it after a period of abstinence, when drug delivery is discontinued and rats are placed in home cages. Here we study the therapeutic potential of 5-HT1BR agonist pre-treatment on cocaine self-administration during these different time periods. Male and free-cycling female rats were trained to lever-press for cocaine (0.75 mg/kg i.v.) or sucrose pellets, until they met stable performance for total number of infusions on a fixed ratio 5 schedule of reinforcement. Rats were then tested with either the FDA-approved but less selective 5-HT1BR agonist zolmitriptan (3, 5.6, and 10 mg/kg s.c.; in descending order) prior to a period of abstinence or the more selective 5-HT1BR agonist CP 94,253 (5.6 mg/kg s.c.) after a period of prolonged abstinence and relapse (i.e. resumption of daily cocaine self-administration after a period of abstinence). Each session ran for 2 hours during which the training dose was available for the 1st hour and a low dose of cocaine (0.075 mg/kg i.v.) for the 2nd hour. Zolmitriptan was found to attenuate cocaine self-administration measures at a dose of 3 and 5.6 mg/kg when testing at the low dose of cocaine and at all three doses (3, 5.6, and 10 mg/kg) when testing at the training dose of cocaine. Zolmitriptan at the doses effective at attenuating cocaine intake did not alter sucrose self-administration. CP 94,253 (5.6 mg/kg s.c.) was found to have significant attenuative effects on self-administration measures both after a period of prolonged abstinence and after a period of relapse. Overall, these experiments showed that zolmitriptan decreased cocaine reinforcement without altering sucrose reinforcement as well as that CP 94,253 attenuates cocaine intake even after a period of relapse. These findings support the therapeutic potential of 5-HT1BR agonists as pharmacological treatments for cocaine use disorders.

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2020-05

Using Induced Neurons as a New Model for Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Description

Modeling sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) has been a challenge since there is no known single gene mutation that triggers disease pathogenesis. Although human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have created new opportunities in studying sALS, they do not retain

Modeling sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) has been a challenge since there is no known single gene mutation that triggers disease pathogenesis. Although human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have created new opportunities in studying sALS, they do not retain important age associated phenotypic markers due to the rejuvenation stage that takes place during the reprogramming of somatic cells into hiPSCs. To overcome this obstacle, we performed an alternative method of direct neuronal conversion from patient fibroblasts that utilizes two transcription factors, Ngn2 and Ascl1. These transcription factors were sufficient to initiate direct neuronal conversion and produce induced neurons (iNeurons). Through the positive staining of neuronal markers Map2, Synapsin-1, and Human Nuclear Marker we found that induced neurons do display neuronal features that are seen in mature neurons.

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Date Created
2017-05

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D3 receptor related drugs MC-250041 and LS-3-134 and their effects on locomotor activity and motivation for cocaine

Description

Abstract Cocaine is highly addictive because it exacerbates the action responsible for creating the feeling of "reward," which is controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine receptors can be divided into five subtypes: D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. The localization

Abstract Cocaine is highly addictive because it exacerbates the action responsible for creating the feeling of "reward," which is controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine receptors can be divided into five subtypes: D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. The localization of D3 receptors is restricted to the mesolimbic pathway, which is often called the "reward pathway." This pathway is associated with emotions, motivation, and behavior. There is evidence that these receptors are upregulated in response to the repeated use of psychostimulants, such as cocaine, making these receptors a potential target for pharmaceutical therapeutics for drug addiction. In the present study, two compounds selective for D3 receptors, MC-250041 and LS-3-134, were examined for their effects on spontaneous and cocaine-primed locomotor activity. The present study also aimed to examine the effects of MC-250041 and LS-3-134 on the number of lever presses and infusions under a progressive ratio (PR) schedule when subjects are trained to self-administer cocaine within an operant conditioning chamber. Based on the present research on D3 receptor compounds and D3Rs, I hypothesized that pretreatment with MC-250041 or LS-3-134 decreases cocaine self-administration under a progressive ratio (PR) schedule of cocaine reinforcement at doses that would have no effect on locomotor activity. The results showed no significant effects on spontaneous or cocaine-primed locomotor activity following an injection of MC-250041 (1, 3, 5.6 mg/kg IP). Similarly, there was no change in the amount of lever presses or drug infusions within an operant conditioning chamber at any of the examined doses of MC-250041 (3, 5.6, 10 mg/kg IP) during self-administration. LS-3-134 decreased cocaine-primed locomotor activity, as well as lever presses and infusions during self-administration at the 5.6 mg/kg dose; however, there was no effect on spontaneous locomotor activity at any of the examined doses (1, 3.2, 5.6 mg/kg IP). In conclusion, the results of the study suggest that LS-3-134 effectively reduced motivation for cocaine at the 5.6 mg/kg dose; whereas, MC-250041 was unsuccessful at warranting any significant effect on motivation for cocaine at any of the examined doses.

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2017-05