Matching Items (48)

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Does Chronically Administered Intermittent Restraint Stress (IRS) have Long-Lasting Effects on Fear Extinction and Depressive-Like Behavior?

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The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends and a post- stress rest period ensues for 6 weeks.

The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends and a post- stress rest period ensues for 6 weeks. Young adult, male Sprague Dawley rats underwent restraint stress using wire mesh (6hr/daily) for five days with two days off before restraint resumed for three weeks for a total of 23 restraint days. The groups consisted of control (CON) with no restraint other than food and water restriction yoked to the restrained groups, stress immediate (STR-IMM), which were restrained then fear conditioned soon after the end of the IRS paradigm, and stress given a rest for 6 weeks before fear conditioning commenced (STR-R6). Rats were fear conditioned by pairing a 20 second tone with a footshock, then given extinction training for two days (15 tone only on each day). On the first day of extinction, all groups discriminated well on the first trial, but then as trials progressed, STR-R6 discriminated between tone and context less than did CON. On the second day of extinction, STR- IMM froze more to context in the earlier trials than compared to STR-R6 and CON. As trials progressed STR-IMM and STR-R6 froze more to context than compared to CON. Together, CON discriminated between tone and context better than did STR-IMM and STR-R6. Sucrose preference, novelty suppressed feeding, and elevated plus maze was performed after fear extinction was completed. No statistical differences were observed among groups for sucrose preference or novelty suppressed feeding. For the elevated plus maze, STR-IMM entered the open arms and the sum of both open and closed arms fewer than did STR- R6 and CON. We interpret the findings to suggest that the stress groups displayed increased hypervigilance and anxiety with STR-R6 exhibiting a unique phenotype than that of STR-IMM and CON.

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2018-05

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Characterization of the Notch Ligand Deltalike 3 from A. carolinensis

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The highly conserved Notch signaling pathway regulates cell-cell communication pathways, cell fate, cell determination, cell death, embryonic development, and adult tissue pathways in metazoans. The Notch receptors and ligands that bind to Notch are single pass, transmembrane proteins that communicate

The highly conserved Notch signaling pathway regulates cell-cell communication pathways, cell fate, cell determination, cell death, embryonic development, and adult tissue pathways in metazoans. The Notch receptors and ligands that bind to Notch are single pass, transmembrane proteins that communicate cell to cell via juxtacrine signaling. There are reports of the divergent function and localization of the Deltalike 3 (Dll3) ligand. In Mus musculus (an eutherin mammal) the DLL3 protein inhibits the Notch signaling pathway and is localized in the Golgi apparatus. In contrast, the DLL3 protein from zebrafish, Danio rerio (a teleost) activates Notch and is located on the cell surface. This study will focus on examining the evolutionary pathway/evolutionary similarities, localization, and function of the A. carolinensis dll3 gene in comparison to other vertebrate species. This is important because there is not much known about the evolutionary divergence of the DLL3 A. carolinensis protein, its function in Notch signaling, and its subcellular localization.
Evolutionary analysis of vertebrate DLL3 protein sequences using phylogenetic trees showed that D. rerio and A. carolinensis are more evolutionarily similar in comparison to M. musculus suggesting that they may have similar intracellular localization. However, immunofluorescence staining experiments showed that the A. carolinensis DLL3 protein co-localized significantly with an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) specific primary antibody. Since this protein is localized in the secretory system, similar to that of M. musculus DLL3, it suggests that its function is to inhibit the Notch signaling pathway. Protein sequence alignments were created that suggested that there is a region in the protein sequences where the lizard and mouse sequence are conserved, while the zebrafish sequence simultaneously varies. This region of the amino acid sequence could be responsible for the difference in localization and function of the protein in these two species.

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2019-05

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Analysis of the Cellular Localization of PANK2 Mutations Using a Yeast Model

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Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, PKAN, is a neurological disease that is caused by biallelic mutations in the PANK2 gene, which codes for a pantothenate kinase. Some PANK2 mutations that cause PKAN retain enzymatic activity. A possible explanation for the mutations that

Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, PKAN, is a neurological disease that is caused by biallelic mutations in the PANK2 gene, which codes for a pantothenate kinase. Some PANK2 mutations that cause PKAN retain enzymatic activity. A possible explanation for the mutations that have residual activity but still cause the disease is that they do not have the correct cellular localization. The localization of PANK2 was studied through cellular fractionation. We found the precursor form of PANK2, pPANK2, appears to be anchored to the inner membrane of the mitochondria, and the mature form, mPANK2, is located in the inter-membrane space, IMS. However, the IMS of the PKAN causing mutants is completely devoid of mPANK2 which suggests some disease-causing mutations may be mislocalized. In addition, PANK2 catalyzes the first and rate limiting step in Coenzyme A biosynthesis, and in other studies, it has been shown that the CoA biosynthesis enzymes form a complex in yeast. Therefore, we also considered the possibility that PKAN-causing mutations that retain activity have altered interactions with the other CoA biosynthesis enzymes. Coimmunoprecipitation of the proteins in the pathway was done to determine if there were any interactions with PANK2. The results indicate that PANK2 does not directly interact with either PPCS or CoASY, the second and final enzymatic activities in the CoA biosynthesis pathway.

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2019-05

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Hyperactive ERK/MAPK Regulates Cortical GABAergic Neuron Development

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Aberrant signaling through the canonical RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK (ERK/MAPK) pathway leads to the pathology of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders called RASopathies. RASopathies are caused by germline mutations in the ERK/MAPK pathway and have an incidence of approximately 1:2000 births. The majority

Aberrant signaling through the canonical RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK (ERK/MAPK) pathway leads to the pathology of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders called RASopathies. RASopathies are caused by germline mutations in the ERK/MAPK pathway and have an incidence of approximately 1:2000 births. The majority of RASopathies stem from mutations that cause gain-of-function in the ERK/MAPK pathway. In this study, we have begun to unravel the roles that GABAergic interneurons play in the pathology of RASopathies. Our data demonstrate that gain-of-function ERK/MAPK signaling expressed in a GABAergic interneuron-specific fashion leads to forebrain hyperexcitability in mutant mice. Further, some GABAergic interneurons experience activated-caspase 3 mediated apoptosis in the embryonic subpallium, leading to a loss of PV-expressing interneurons in the somatosensory cortex. We found that pharmaceutical intervention during embryogenesis using a MEK1 inhibitor may be effective in preventing apoptosis of these neurons. Future work is still needed to understand the mechanism of the death of GABAergic interneurons and to further pursue therapeutic approaches. Taken together, this study suggests potential roles of cortical GABAergic interneurons in ERK/MAPK-linked pathologies and indicates possible approaches to provide therapy for these conditions.

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2019-05

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Study of the expression pattern and tissue specific roles of the Caenorhabditis elegans dystrophin glycoprotein complex

Description

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal, X-linked disease which occurs in approximately 1 in 3,500 male births. This disease is characterized by progressive muscle wasting and causes premature death. One of the earliest symptoms of this disease is mitochondrial

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal, X-linked disease which occurs in approximately 1 in 3,500 male births. This disease is characterized by progressive muscle wasting and causes premature death. One of the earliest symptoms of this disease is mitochondrial dysfunction. Dystrophin is a protein found under the sarcolemma. The N terminus binds to actin and the C terminus binds to dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC). DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. C. elegans possess an ortholog of dystrophin, DYS-1. Though there is evidence that C. elegans can be used as a model organism to model DMD, nematode DGC has not been well characterized. Additionally, while we know that mitochondrial dysfunction has been found in humans and other model organisms, this has not been well defined in C. elegans. In order to address these issues, we crossed the SJ4103 worm strain (myo-3p::GFP(mit)) with dys-1(cx18) in order to visualize and quantify changes in mitochondria in a dys-1 background. SJ4103;cx18 nematodes were found to have less mitochondrial than SJ4103 which suggests mitochondrial dysfunction does occur in dys-1 worms. Furthermore, mitochondrial dysfunction was studied by knocking down members of the DGC, dys-1, dyb-1, sgn-1, sgca-1, and sgcb-1 in SJ4103 strain. Knock down of each gene resulted in decrease in abundance of mitochondria which suggests that each member of the DGC contributes to the overall health of nematode muscle. The ORF of dyb-1 was successfully cloned and tagged with GFP in order to visualize this DGC member C. elegans. Imaging of the transgenic dyb-1::GFP worm shows green fluoresce expressed in which suggests that dyb-1 is a functional component of the muscle fibers. This project will enable us to better understand the effects of dystrophin deficiency on mitochondrial function as well as visualize the expression of certain members of the DGC in order to establish C. elegans as a good model organism to study this disease.

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2019-05

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Microglial activation in the amygdala following traumatic brain injury

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Neuroinflammation is an important secondary injury response occurring after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Anxiety-like disorders are commonly exacerbated after TBI and are mediated through the amygdala; however, the amygdala remains understudied despite its important contribution in processing emotional and stressful

Neuroinflammation is an important secondary injury response occurring after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Anxiety-like disorders are commonly exacerbated after TBI and are mediated through the amygdala; however, the amygdala remains understudied despite its important contribution in processing emotional and stressful stimuli. Therefore, we wanted to study neuroinflammation after experimental TBI using midline fluid percussion in rodent models. We assessed microglia morphology over time post-injury in two circuit related nuclei of the amygdala, the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and central amygdala of the nucleus (CeA), using skeletal analysis. We also looked at silver staining and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) to evaluate the role of neuropathology and astrocytosis to evaluate for neuroinflammation in the amygdala. We hypothesized that experimental diffuse TBI leads to microglial activation in the BLA-CeA circuitry over time post-injury due to changes in microglial morphology and increased astrocytosis in the absence of neuropathology. Microglial cell count was found to decrease in the BLA at 1 DPI before returning to sham levels by 28 DPI. No change was found in the CeA. Microglial ramification (process length/cell and endpoints/cell) was found to decrease at 1DPI compared to sham in the CeA, but not in the BLA. Silver staining and GFAP immunoreactivity did not find any evidence of neurodegeneration or activated astrocytes in the respectively. Together, these data indicate that diffuse TBI does not necessarily lead to the same microglial response in the amygdala nuclei, although an alternative mechanism for a neuroinflammatory response in the CeA likely contributes to the widespread neuronal and circuit dysfunction that occurs after TBI.

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2018-05

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Role of Egr3 in Regulation of DNA Repair

Description

Egr3 is an immediate early gene transcription factor that shows genetic association with schizophrenia, and is found in decreased levels in the brains of schizophrenia patients. Schizophrenia patients also exhibit cognitive and memory deficits, both of which Egr3 has been

Egr3 is an immediate early gene transcription factor that shows genetic association with schizophrenia, and is found in decreased levels in the brains of schizophrenia patients. Schizophrenia patients also exhibit cognitive and memory deficits, both of which Egr3 has been shown to play a crucial role in. Additionally, high levels of DNA damage are found in the brains of schizophrenia patients. A recent study has shown that DNA damage occurs as a result of normal physiological activity in neurons and is required for induction of gene expression of a subset of early response genes. Also, failure to repair this damage can lead to gene expression in a constitutive switched on state. Egr3 knockout (Egr3-/-) mice show deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory. We were interested in characterizing downstream targets of EGR3 in the hippocampus. To determine these targets, electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) was carried out in Egr3 -/- versus wild type (WT) mice, and a microarray study was first done in our lab. ECS maximally stimulates Egr3 expression and we hypothesized that there would be gene targets that are differentially expressed between Egr3 -/- and WT mice that had been subjected to ECS. Two separate analyses of the microarray yielded 65 common genes that were determined as being differentially expressed between WT and Egr3 -/- mice after ECS. Further Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of these 65 genes indicated the Gadd45 signaling pathway to be the top canonical pathway, with the top four pathways all being associated with DNA damage or DNA repair. A literature survey was conducted for these 65 genes and their associated pathways, and 12 of the 65 genes were found to be involved in DNA damage response and/or DNA repair. Validation of differential expression was then conducted for each of the 12 genes, in both the original male cohort used for microarray studies and an additional female cohort of mice. 7 of these genes validated through quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) in the original male cohort used for the microarray study, and 4 validated in both the original male cohort and an independent female cohort. Bioinformatics analysis yielded predicted EGR3 binding sites in promoters of these 12 genes, validating their role as potential transcription targets of EGR3. These data reveal EGR3 to be a novel regulator of DNA repair. Further studies will be needed to characterize the role of Egr3 in repairing DNA damage.

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2018-05

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Neuroinflammation Following Experimental Diffuse Brain Injury in Pre-pubertal and Peri-pubertal Rats

Description

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and adolescents. Adolescence is a critical time in development where the body and brain undergoes puberty, which not only includes reproductive maturation, but also adult social and

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and adolescents. Adolescence is a critical time in development where the body and brain undergoes puberty, which not only includes reproductive maturation, but also adult social and cognitive development. Brain-injury-induced disruptions can cause secondary inflammation processes and as a result, pediatric TBI can lead to significant life-long and debilitating morbidities that continue long after initial injury. In this study, neuroinflammation following diffuse brain injury was explored in prepubertal and peripubertal rats using an adapted method of midline fluid percussion injury (mFPI) for juvenile rats to further understand the relationship between pediatric TBI and puberty disruption due to endocrine dysfunction. We expect the adapted mFPI model to be effective in producing diffuse, moderate brain injury in juvenile rats and hypothesize that pre-pubertal rats (PND35) will have increased neuroinflammation compared to peri-pubertal rats (PND17) and shams because of the potential neuroprotective nature of sex steroids. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=90) were subjected to either a diffuse midline fluid percussion injury (mFPI) or sham injury at post-natal day (PND) 17 (pre-puberty) or PND35 (peri-puberty). Animals were sacrificed at different time points defined as days post injury (DPI) including 1DPI, 7DPI and 25DPI to represent both acute and chronic time points, allowing for comparisons within groups (injury vs. sham) and across groups (PND17 vs PND35). Body weight of the rats was measured postoperatively at various time points throughout the study to follow recovery. Tissue was collected and subjected to Heamatoxylin and Eosin (H&E) stain to visualize histology and evaluate the application of diffuse mFPI to juvenile rats. In addition, tissue underwent immunohistochemical analysis using 3,3'-diaminobenzidine (DAB) to stain for ionized calcium binding proteins (Iba1) in order to assess injury-related neuroinflammation in the form of microglia activation. Diffuse brain injury using the mFPI model did not affect rat body weight or cause overt cell death, suggesting adaption of the adult mFPI model for juvenile rats is representative of moderate diffuse brain injury. In addition, diffuse TBI lead to morphological changes in microglia suggesting there is an increased inflammatory response following initial insult, which may directly contribute to improper activation of pubertal timing and progression in adolescent children affected. Since there is little literature on the full effects of puberty dysfunction following TBI in the pediatric population, there is a significant need to further assess this area in order to develop improved interventions and potential therapies for this affected population.

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2018-05

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Pharmacotherapeutic Potential of 5-HT1BR Agonists for Cocaine Use Disorders

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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

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Early Life Stress: An Increased Risk of Schizophrenia through Activation of the Complement Component Pathway

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Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder with poorly understood genetic and environmental factors. An allelic variant of complement component 4 (C4), a protein first identified in innate immune response is strongly associated with schizophrenia. In the brain, activity

Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder with poorly understood genetic and environmental factors. An allelic variant of complement component 4 (C4), a protein first identified in innate immune response is strongly associated with schizophrenia. In the brain, activity of C4 leads to dendritic pruning, a process that may be causal in disease progression. Environmental factors, such as early life exposure to significant stressors also associate with increased risk of schizophrenia in later life. My hypothesis is that these factors do not act independently, but rather in tandem to influence disease etiology.
This hypothesis is supported by previous studies demonstrating that stress-induced elevation of glucocorticoids increases the transcription of C4. I propose that activated glucocorticoid receptors directly increase C4 protein expression as a transcription factor activator. Additionally, I propose that activated glucocorticoid receptors inhibit the expression of the transcription factor nuclear factor-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), thereby leading to decreased expression of the C4 inhibitor CUB and Sushi multiple domains 1 (CSMD1).
Glucocorticoid receptors and C4 are richly expressed in the hippocampus, a region critical in memory consolidation, spatial, and declarative memory. I propose that stress-induced upregulation of C4 activity in the hippocampus promotes excessive synaptic pruning, contributing to specific deficits and hippocampal shrinkage seen in schizophrenia. Stress exposure during fetal development and adolescence likely acts through the proposed mechanisms to increase hippocampal C4 activity and subsequent schizophrenia risk. These mechanisms may reveal novel interactions between environmental and genetic risk factors in the etiology of schizophrenia through complement activation.

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2017-05