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Sample records for functional brain plasticity

  1. Structural and Functional Plasticity in the Maternal Brain Circuitry

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pereira, Mariana

    2016-01-01

    Parenting recruits a distributed network of brain structures (and neuromodulators) that coordinates caregiving responses attuned to the young's affect, needs, and developmental stage. Many of these structures and connections undergo significant structural and functional plasticity, mediated by the interplay between maternal hormones and social…

  2. An Evolutionary Computation Approach to Examine Functional Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Arnab; Campbell, Colin; Bernier, Rachel A.; Hillary, Frank G.

    2016-01-01

    One common research goal in systems neurosciences is to understand how the functional relationship between a pair of regions of interest (ROIs) evolves over time. Examining neural connectivity in this way is well-suited for the study of developmental processes, learning, and even in recovery or treatment designs in response to injury. For most fMRI based studies, the strength of the functional relationship between two ROIs is defined as the correlation between the average signal representing each region. The drawback to this approach is that much information is lost due to averaging heterogeneous voxels, and therefore, the functional relationship between a ROI-pair that evolve at a spatial scale much finer than the ROIs remain undetected. To address this shortcoming, we introduce a novel evolutionary computation (EC) based voxel-level procedure to examine functional plasticity between an investigator defined ROI-pair by simultaneously using subject-specific BOLD-fMRI data collected from two sessions seperated by finite duration of time. This data-driven procedure detects a sub-region composed of spatially connected voxels from each ROI (a so-called sub-regional-pair) such that the pair shows a significant gain/loss of functional relationship strength across the two time points. The procedure is recursive and iteratively finds all statistically significant sub-regional-pairs within the ROIs. Using this approach, we examine functional plasticity between the default mode network (DMN) and the executive control network (ECN) during recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI); the study includes 14 TBI and 12 healthy control subjects. We demonstrate that the EC based procedure is able to detect functional plasticity where a traditional averaging based approach fails. The subject-specific plasticity estimates obtained using the EC-procedure are highly consistent across multiple runs. Group-level analyses using these plasticity estimates showed an increase in the strength

  3. The Current Status of Somatostatin-Interneurons in Inhibitory Control of Brain Function and Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The mammalian neocortex contains many distinct inhibitory neuronal populations to balance excitatory neurotransmission. A correct excitation/inhibition equilibrium is crucial for normal brain development, functioning, and controlling lifelong cortical plasticity. Knowledge about how the inhibitory network contributes to brain plasticity however remains incomplete. Somatostatin- (SST-) interneurons constitute a large neocortical subpopulation of interneurons, next to parvalbumin- (PV-) and vasoactive intestinal peptide- (VIP-) interneurons. Unlike the extensively studied PV-interneurons, acknowledged as key components in guiding ocular dominance plasticity, the contribution of SST-interneurons is less understood. Nevertheless, SST-interneurons are ideally situated within cortical networks to integrate unimodal or cross-modal sensory information processing and therefore likely to be important mediators of experience-dependent plasticity. The lack of knowledge on SST-interneurons partially relates to the wide variety of distinct subpopulations present in the sensory neocortex. This review informs on those SST-subpopulations hitherto described based on anatomical, molecular, or electrophysiological characteristics and whose functional roles can be attributed based on specific cortical wiring patterns. A possible role for these subpopulations in experience-dependent plasticity will be discussed, emphasizing on learning-induced plasticity and on unimodal and cross-modal plasticity upon sensory loss. This knowledge will ultimately contribute to guide brain plasticity into well-defined directions to restore sensory function and promote lifelong learning. PMID:27403348

  4. Brain plasticity and functional losses in the aged: scientific bases for a novel intervention.

    PubMed

    Mahncke, Henry W; Bronstone, Amy; Merzenich, Michael M

    2006-01-01

    Aging is associated with progressive losses in function across multiple systems, including sensation, cognition, memory, motor control, and affect. The traditional view has been that functional decline in aging is unavoidable because it is a direct consequence of brain machinery wearing down over time. In recent years, an alternative perspective has emerged, which elaborates on this traditional view of age-related functional decline. This new viewpoint--based upon decades of research in neuroscience, experimental psychology, and other related fields--argues that as people age, brain plasticity processes with negative consequences begin to dominate brain functioning. Four core factors--reduced schedules of brain activity, noisy processing, weakened neuromodulatory control, and negative learning--interact to create a self-reinforcing downward spiral of degraded brain function in older adults. This downward spiral might begin from reduced brain activity due to behavioral change, from a loss in brain function driven by aging brain machinery, or more likely from both. In aggregate, these interrelated factors promote plastic changes in the brain that result in age-related functional decline. This new viewpoint on the root causes of functional decline immediately suggests a remedial approach. Studies of adult brain plasticity have shown that substantial improvement in function and/or recovery from losses in sensation, cognition, memory, motor control, and affect should be possible, using appropriately designed behavioral training paradigms. Driving brain plasticity with positive outcomes requires engaging older adults in demanding sensory, cognitive, and motor activities on an intensive basis, in a behavioral context designed to re-engage and strengthen the neuromodulatory systems that control learning in adults, with the goal of increasing the fidelity, reliability, and power of cortical representations. Such a training program would serve a substantial unmet need in

  5. Investigating brain functional evolution and plasticity using microelectrode array technology.

    PubMed

    Napoli, Alessandro; Obeid, Iyad

    2015-10-01

    The aim of this work was to investigate long and short-term plasticity responsible for memory formation in dissociated neuronal networks. In order to address this issue, a set of experiments was designed and implemented in which the microelectrode array electrode grid was divided into four quadrants, two of which were chronically stimulated, every two days for one hour with a stimulation paradigm that varied over time. Overall network and quadrant responses were then analyzed to quantify what level of plasticity took place in the network and how this was due to the stimulation interruption. The results demonstrate that there were no spatial differences in the stimulus-evoked activity within quadrants. Furthermore, the implemented stimulation protocol induced depression effects in the neuronal networks as demonstrated by the consistently lower network activity following stimulation sessions. Finally, the analysis demonstrated that the inhibitory effects of the stimulation decreased over time, thus suggesting a habituation phenomenon. These findings are sufficient to conclude that electrical stimulation is an important tool to interact with dissociated neuronal cultures, but localized stimuli are not enough to drive spatial synaptic potentiation or depression. On the contrary, the ability to modulate synaptic temporal plasticity was a feasible task to achieve by chronic network stimulation.

  6. Functional Plasticity in Childhood Brain Disorders: When, What, How, and Whom to Assess

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen; Spiegler, Brenda J.; Simic, Nevena; Sinopoli, Katia J.; Wilkinson, Amy; Yeates, Keith Owen; Taylor, H. Gerry; Bigler, Erin D.; Fletcher, Jack M.

    2014-01-01

    At every point in the lifespan, the brain balances malleable processes representing neural plasticity that promote change with homeostatic processes that promote stability. Whether a child develops typically or with brain injury, his or her neural and behavioral outcome is constructed through transactions between plastic and homeostatic processes and the environment. In clinical research with children in whom the developing brain has been malformed or injured, behavioral outcomes provide an index of the result of plasticity, homeostasis, and environmental transactions. When should we assess outcome in relation to age at brain insult, time since brain insult, and age of the child at testing? What should we measure? Functions involving reacting to the past and predicting the future, as well as social-affective skills, are important. How should we assess outcome? Information from performance variability, direct measures and informants, overt and covert measures, and laboratory and ecological measures should be considered. In whom are we assessing outcome? Assessment should be cognizant of individual differences in gene, socio-economic status (SES), parenting, nutrition, and interpersonal supports, which are moderators that interact with other factors influencing functional outcome. PMID:24821533

  7. Functional plasticity in childhood brain disorders: when, what, how, and whom to assess.

    PubMed

    Dennis, Maureen; Spiegler, Brenda J; Simic, Nevena; Sinopoli, Katia J; Wilkinson, Amy; Yeates, Keith Owen; Taylor, H Gerry; Bigler, Erin D; Fletcher, Jack M

    2014-12-01

    At every point in the lifespan, the brain balances malleable processes representing neural plasticity that promote change with homeostatic processes that promote stability. Whether a child develops typically or with brain injury, his or her neural and behavioral outcome is constructed through transactions between plastic and homeostatic processes and the environment. In clinical research with children in whom the developing brain has been malformed or injured, behavioral outcomes provide an index of the result of plasticity, homeostasis, and environmental transactions. When should we assess outcome in relation to age at brain insult, time since brain insult, and age of the child at testing? What should we measure? Functions involving reacting to the past and predicting the future, as well as social-affective skills, are important. How should we assess outcome? Information from performance variability, direct measures and informants, overt and covert measures, and laboratory and ecological measures should be considered. In whom are we assessing outcome? Assessment should be cognizant of individual differences in gene, socio-economic status (SES), parenting, nutrition, and interpersonal supports, which are moderators that interact with other factors influencing functional outcome.

  8. A form of motor cortical plasticity that correlates with recovery of function after brain injury

    PubMed Central

    Ramanathan, Dhakshin; Conner, James M.; H. Tuszynski, Mark

    2006-01-01

    To investigate functional mechanisms underlying cortical motor plasticity in the intact and injured brain, we used “behaviorally relevant,” long-duration intracortical microstimulation. We now report the existence of complex, multijoint movements revealed with a 500-msec duration intracortical stimulation in rat motor cortex. A consistent topographic distribution of these complex motor patterns is present across the motor cortex in naïve rats. We further document the plasticity of these complex movement patterns after focal cortical injury, with a significant expansion of specific complex movement representations in response to rehabilitative training after injury. Notably, the degree of functional recovery attained after cortical injury and rehabilitation correlates significantly with a specific feature of map reorganization, the ability to reexpress movement patterns disrupted by the initial injury. This evidence suggests the existence of complex movement representations in the rat motor cortex that exhibit plasticity after injury and rehabilitation, serving as a relevant predictor of functional recovery. PMID:16837575

  9. Brain-Controlled Neuromuscular Stimulation to Drive Neural Plasticity and Functional Recovery

    PubMed Central

    Ethier, C.; Gallego, J.A.; Miller, L.E.

    2015-01-01

    There is mounting evidence that appropriately timed neuromuscular stimulation can induce neural plasticity and generate functional recovery from motor disorders. This review addresses the idea that coordinating stimulation with a patient’s voluntary effort might further enhance neurorehabilitation. Studies in cell cultures and behaving animals have delineated the rules underlying neural plasticity when single neurons are used as triggers. However, the rules governing more complex stimuli and larger networks are less well understood. We argue that functional recovery might be optimized if stimulation were modulated by a brain machine interface, to matched the details of the patient’s voluntary intent. The potential of this novel approach highlights the need for a better understanding of the complex rules underlying this form of plasticity. PMID:25827275

  10. Plasticity in the developing brain: intellectual, language and academic functions in children with ischaemic perinatal stroke.

    PubMed

    Ballantyne, Angela O; Spilkin, Amy M; Hesselink, John; Trauner, Doris A

    2008-11-01

    The developing brain has the capacity for a great deal of plasticity. A number of investigators have demonstrated that intellectual and language skills may be in the normal range in children following unilateral perinatal stroke. Questions have been raised, however, about whether these skills can be maintained at the same level as the brain matures. This study aimed to examine the stability of intellectual, academic and language functioning during development in children with perinatal stroke, and to resolve the inconsistencies raised in previous studies. Participants were 29 pre-school to school-age children with documented unilateral ischaemic perinatal stroke and 24 controls. Longitudinal testing of intellectual and cognitive abilities was conducted at two time points. Study 1 examined IQ, academic skills and language functions using the same test version over the test-retest interval. Study 2 examined IQ over a longer test-retest interval (pre-school to school-age), and utilized different test versions. This study has resulted in important new findings. There is no evidence of decline in cognitive function over time in children with perinatal unilateral brain damage. These results indicate that there is sufficient ongoing plasticity in the developing brain following early focal damage to result in the stability of cognitive functions over time. Also, the presence of seizures limits plasticity such that there is not only significantly lower performance on intellectual and language measures in the seizure group (Study 1), but the course of cognitive development is significantly altered (as shown in Study 2). This study provides information to support the notion of functional plasticity in the developing brain; yields much-needed clarification in the literature of prognosis in children with early ischaemic perinatal stroke; provides evidence that seizures limit plasticity during development; and avoids many of the confounds in prior studies. A greater

  11. Functional and Structural Brain Plasticity Enhanced by Motor and Cognitive Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Prosperini, Luca; Piattella, Maria Cristina

    2015-01-01

    Rehabilitation is recognized to be important in ameliorating motor and cognitive functions, reducing disease burden, and improving quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In this systematic review, we summarize the existing evidences that motor and cognitive rehabilitation may enhance functional and structural brain plasticity in patients with MS, as assessed by means of the most advanced neuroimaging techniques, including diffusion tensor imaging and task-related and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In most cases, the rehabilitation program was based on computer-assisted/video game exercises performed in either an outpatient or home setting. Despite their heterogeneity, all the included studies describe changes in white matter microarchitecture, in task-related activation, and/or in functional connectivity following both task-oriented and selective training. When explored, relevant correlation between improved function and MRI-detected brain changes was often found, supporting the hypothesis that training-induced brain plasticity is specifically linked to the trained domain. Small sample sizes, lack of randomization and/or an active control group, as well as missed relationship between MRI-detected changes and clinical performance, are the major drawbacks of the selected studies. Knowledge gaps in this field of research are also discussed to provide a framework for future investigations. PMID:26064692

  12. Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training.

    PubMed

    Klimecki, Olga M; Leiberg, Susanne; Ricard, Matthieu; Singer, Tania

    2014-06-01

    Although empathy is crucial for successful social interactions, excessive sharing of others' negative emotions may be maladaptive and constitute a source of burnout. To investigate functional neural plasticity underlying the augmentation of empathy and to test the counteracting potential of compassion, one group of participants was first trained in empathic resonance and subsequently in compassion. In response to videos depicting human suffering, empathy training, but not memory training (control group), increased negative affect and brain activations in anterior insula and anterior midcingulate cortex-brain regions previously associated with empathy for pain. In contrast, subsequent compassion training could reverse the increase in negative effect and, in contrast, augment self-reports of positive affect. In addition, compassion training increased activations in a non-overlapping brain network spanning ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and medial orbitofrontal cortex. We conclude that training compassion may reflect a new coping strategy to overcome empathic distress and strengthen resilience.

  13. Microglia across the lifespan: from origin to function in brain development, plasticity and cognition.

    PubMed

    Tay, Tuan Leng; Savage, Julie C; Hui, Chin Wai; Bisht, Kanchan; Tremblay, Marie-Ève

    2017-03-15

    Microglia are the only immune cells that permanently reside in the central nervous system (CNS) alongside neurons and other types of glial cells. The past decade has witnessed a revolution in our understanding of their roles during normal physiological conditions. Cutting-edge techniques revealed that these resident immune cells are critical for proper brain development, actively maintain health in the mature brain, and rapidly adapt their function to physiological or pathophysiological needs. In this review, we highlight recent studies on microglial origin (from the embryonic yolk sac) and the factors regulating their differentiation and homeostasis upon brain invasion. Elegant experiments tracking microglia in the CNS allowed studies of their unique roles compared with other types of resident macrophages. Here we review the emerging roles of microglia in brain development, plasticity and cognition, and discuss the implications of the depletion or dysfunction of microglia for our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Immune activation, inflammation and various other conditions resulting in undesirable microglial activity at different stages of life could severely impair learning, memory and other essential cognitive functions. The diversity of microglial phenotypes across the lifespan, between compartments of the CNS, and sexes, as well as their crosstalk with the body and external environment, is also emphasised. Understanding what defines particular microglial phenotypes is of major importance for future development of innovative therapies controlling their effector functions, with consequences for cognition across chronic stress, ageing, neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases.

  14. Brain functional plasticity associated with the emergence of expertise in extreme language control.

    PubMed

    Hervais-Adelman, Alexis; Moser-Mercer, Barbara; Golestani, Narly

    2015-07-01

    We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to longitudinally examine brain plasticity arising from long-term, intensive simultaneous interpretation training. Simultaneous interpretation is a bilingual task with heavy executive control demands. We compared brain responses observed during simultaneous interpretation with those observed during simultaneous speech repetition (shadowing) in a group of trainee simultaneous interpreters, at the beginning and at the end of their professional training program. Age, sex and language-proficiency matched controls were scanned at similar intervals. Using multivariate pattern classification, we found distributed patterns of changes in functional responses from the first to second scan that distinguished the interpreters from the controls. We also found reduced recruitment of the right caudate nucleus during simultaneous interpretation as a result of training. Such practice-related change is consistent with decreased demands on multilingual language control as the task becomes more automatized with practice. These results demonstrate the impact of simultaneous interpretation training on the brain functional response in a cerebral structure that is not specifically linguistic, but that is known to be involved in learning, in motor control, and in a variety of domain-general executive functions. Along with results of recent studies showing functional and structural adaptations in the caudate nuclei of experts in a broad range of domains, our results underline the importance of this structure as a central node in expertise-related networks.

  15. Narrative skill in children with early unilateral brain injury: a possible limit to functional plasticity.

    PubMed

    Demir, Ozlem Ece; Levine, Susan C; Goldin-Meadow, Susan

    2010-07-01

    Children with pre- or perinatal brain injury (PL) exhibit marked plasticity for language learning. Previous work has focused mostly on the emergence of earlier-developing skills, such as vocabulary and syntax. Here we ask whether this plasticity for earlier-developing aspects of language extends to more complex, later-developing language functions by examining the narrative production of children with PL. Using an elicitation technique that involves asking children to create stories de novo in response to a story stem, we collected narratives from 11 children with PL and 20 typically developing (TD) children. Narratives were analysed for length, diversity of the vocabulary used, use of complex syntax, complexity of the macro-level narrative structure and use of narrative evaluation. Children's language performance on vocabulary and syntax tasks outside the narrative context was also measured. Findings show that children with PL produced shorter stories, used less diverse vocabulary, produced structurally less complex stories at the macro-level, and made fewer inferences regarding the cognitive states of the story characters. These differences in the narrative task emerged even though children with PL did not differ from TD children on vocabulary and syntax tasks outside the narrative context. Thus, findings suggest that there may be limitations to the plasticity for language functions displayed by children with PL, and that these limitations may be most apparent in complex, decontextualized language tasks such as narrative production.

  16. Gut Microbiota: A Modulator of Brain Plasticity and Cognitive Function in Ageing.

    PubMed

    Leung, Katherine; Thuret, Sandrine

    2015-09-29

    Gut microbiota have recently been a topic of great interest in the field of microbiology, particularly their role in normal physiology and its influence on human health in disease. A large body of research has supported the presence of a pathway of communication between the gut and the brain, modulated by gut microbiota, giving rise to the term "microbiota-gut-brain" axis. It is now thought that, through this pathway, microbiota can affect behaviour and modulate brain plasticity and cognitive function in ageing. This review summarizes the evidence supporting the existence of such a connection and possible mechanisms of action whereby microbiota can influence the function of the central nervous system. Since normalisation of gut flora has been shown to prevent changes in behaviour, we further postulate on possible therapeutic targets to intervene with cognitive decline in ageing. The research poses various limitations, for example uncertainty about how this data translates to broad human populations. Nonetheless, the microbiota-gut-brain axis is an exciting field worthy of further investigation, particularly with regards to its implications on the ageing population.

  17. Cochlear implants: matching the prosthesis to the brain and facilitating desired plastic changes in brain function

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Blake S.; Dorman, Michael F.; Woldorff, Marty G.; Tucci, Debara L.

    2013-01-01

    The cochlear implant (CI) is one of the great success stories of modern medicine. A high level of function is provided for most patients. However, some patients still do not achieve excellent or even good results using the present-day devices. Accumulating evidence is pointing to differences in the processing abilities of the “auditory brain” among patients as a principal contributor to this remaining and still large variability in outcomes. In this chapter, we describe a new approach to the design of CIs that takes these differences into account and thereby may improve outcomes for patients with compromised auditory brains. PMID:21867799

  18. Narrative Skill in Children with Early Unilateral Brain Injury: A Possible Limit to Functional Plasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demir, Ozlem Ece; Levine, Susan C.; Goldin-Meadow, Susan

    2010-01-01

    Children with pre- or perinatal brain injury (PL) exhibit marked plasticity for language learning. Previous work has focused mostly on the emergence of earlier-developing skills, such as vocabulary and syntax. Here we ask whether this plasticity for earlier-developing aspects of language extends to more complex, later-developing language functions…

  19. Functional and anatomical basis for brain plasticity in facial palsy rehabilitation using the masseteric nerve.

    PubMed

    Buendia, Javier; Loayza, Francis R; Luis, Elkin O; Celorrio, Marta; Pastor, Maria A; Hontanilla, Bernardo

    2016-03-01

    Several techniques have been described for smile restoration after facial nerve paralysis. When a nerve other than the contralateral facial nerve is used to restore the smile, some controversy appears because of the nonphysiological mechanism of smile recovering. Different authors have reported natural results with the masseter nerve. The physiological pathways which determine whether this is achieved continue to remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, brain activation pattern measuring blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal during smiling and jaw clenching was recorded in a group of 24 healthy subjects (11 females). Effective connectivity of premotor regions was also compared in both tasks. The brain activation pattern was similar for smile and jaw-clenching tasks. Smile activations showed topographic overlap though more extended for smile than clenching. Gender comparisons during facial movements, according to kinematics and BOLD signal, did not reveal significant differences. Effective connectivity results of psychophysiological interaction (PPI) from the same seeds located in bilateral facial premotor regions showed significant task and gender differences (p < 0.001). The hypothesis of brain plasticity between the facial nerve and masseter nerve areas is supported by the broad cortical overlap in the representation of facial and masseter muscles.

  20. Functional MRI and intraoperative brain mapping to evaluate brain plasticity in patients with brain tumours and hemiparesis

    PubMed Central

    Roux, F; Boulanouar, K; Ibarrola, D; Tremoulet, M; Chollet, F; Berry, I

    2000-01-01

    OBJECTIVE—To support the hypothesis about the potential compensatory role of ipsilateral corticofugal pathways when the contralateral pathways are impaired by brain tumours.
METHODS—Retrospective analysis was carried out on the results of functional MRI (fMRI) of a selected group of five paretic patients with Rolandic brain tumours who exhibited an abnormally high ipsilateral/contralateral ratio of activation—that is, movements of the paretic hand activated predominately the ipsilateral cortex. Brain activation was achieved with a flexion extension of the fingers. Statistical parametric activation was obtained using a t test and a threshold of p<0.001. These patients, candidates for tumour resection, also underwent cortical intraoperative stimulation that was correlated to the fMRI spatial data using three dimensional reconstructions of the brain. Three patients also had postoperative control fMRI.
RESULTS—The absence of fMRI activation of the primary sensorimotor cortex normally innervating the paretic hand for the threshold chosen, was correlated with completely negative cortical responses of the cortical hand area during the operation. The preoperative fMRI activation of these patients predominantly found in the ipsilateral frontal and primary sensorimotor cortices could be related to the residual ipsilateral hand function. Postoperatively, the fMRI activation returned to more classic patterns of activation, reflecting the consequences of therapy.
CONCLUSION—In paretic patients with brain tumours, ipsilateral control could be implicated in the residual hand function, when the normal primary pathways are impaired. The possibility that functional tissue still remains in the peritumorous sensorimotor cortex even when the preoperative fMRI and the cortical intraoperative stimulations are negative, should be taken into account when planning the tumour resection and during the operation.

 PMID:10990503

  1. Brain plasticity in the developing brain.

    PubMed

    Kolb, Bryan; Mychasiuk, Richelle; Muhammad, Arif; Gibb, Robbin

    2013-01-01

    The developing normal brain shows a remarkable capacity for plastic change in response to a wide range of experiences including sensory and motor experience, psychoactive drugs, parent-child relationships, peer relationships, stress, gonadal hormones, intestinal flora, diet, and injury. The effects of injury vary with the precise age-at-injury, with the general result being that injury during cell migration and neuronal maturation has a poor functional outcome, whereas similar injury during synaptogenesis has a far better outcome. A variety of factors influence functional outcome including the nature of the behavior in question and the age at behavioral assessment as well as pre- and postinjury experiences. Here, we review the phases of brain development, how factors influence brain, and behavioral development in both the normal and perturbed brain, and propose mechanisms that may underlie these effects.

  2. Plasticity in the Developing Brain: Intellectual, Language and Academic Functions in Children with Ischaemic Perinatal Stroke

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ballantyne, Angela O.; Spilkin, Amy M.; Hesselink, John; Trauner, Doris A.

    2008-01-01

    The developing brain has the capacity for a great deal of plasticity. A number of investigators have demonstrated that intellectual and language skills may be in the normal range in children following unilateral perinatal stroke. Questions have been raised, however, about whether these skills can be maintained at the same level as the brain…

  3. Using brain-computer interfaces to induce neural plasticity and restore function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosse-Wentrup, Moritz; Mattia, Donatella; Oweiss, Karim

    2011-04-01

    Analyzing neural signals and providing feedback in realtime is one of the core characteristics of a brain-computer interface (BCI). As this feature may be employed to induce neural plasticity, utilizing BCI technology for therapeutic purposes is increasingly gaining popularity in the BCI community. In this paper, we discuss the state-of-the-art of research on this topic, address the principles of and challenges in inducing neural plasticity by means of a BCI, and delineate the problems of study design and outcome evaluation arising in this context. We conclude with a list of open questions and recommendations for future research in this field.

  4. 7,8-dihydroxyflavone facilitates the action exercise to restore plasticity and functionality: Implications for early brain trauma recovery.

    PubMed

    Krishna, Gokul; Agrawal, Rahul; Zhuang, Yumei; Ying, Zhe; Paydar, Afshin; Harris, Neil G; Royes, Luiz Fernando F; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2017-03-14

    Metabolic dysfunction accompanying traumatic brain injury (TBI) severely impairs the ability of injured neurons to comply with functional demands. This limits the success of rehabilitative strategies by compromising brain plasticity and function, and highlights the need for early interventions to promote energy homeostasis. We sought to examine whether the TrkB agonist, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) normalizes brain energy deficits and restablishes more normal patterns of functional connectivity, while enhancing the effects of exercise during post-TBI period. Moderate fluid percussion injury (FPI) was performed and 7,8-DHF (5mg/kg, i.p.) was administered in animals subjected to FPI that either had access to voluntary wheel running for 7days after injury or were sedentary. Compared to sham-injured controls, TBI resulted in reduced hippocampal activation of the BDNF receptor TrkB and associated CREB, reduced levels of plasticity markers GAP-43 and Syn I, as well as impaired memory as indicated by the Barnes maze task. While 7,8-DHF treatment and exercise individually mitigated TBI-induced effects, administration of 7,8-DHF concurrently with exercise facilitated memory performance and augmented levels of markers of cell energy metabolism viz., PGC-1α, COII and AMPK. In parallel to these findings, resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) acquired at 2weeks after injury showed that 7,8-DHF with exercise enhanced hippocampal functional connectivity, and suggests 7,8-DHF and exercise to promote increases in functional connectivity. Together, these findings indicate that post-injury 7,8-DHF treatment promotes enhanced levels of cell metabolism, synaptic plasticity in combination with exercise increases in brain circuit function that facilitates greater physical rehabilitation after TBI.

  5. NGF, Brain and Behavioral Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Berry, Alessandra; Bindocci, Erika; Alleva, Enrico

    2012-01-01

    Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) was initially studied for its role as a key player in the regulation of peripheral innervations. However, the successive finding of its release in the bloodstream of male mice following aggressive encounters and its presence in the central nervous system led to the hypothesis that variations in brain NGF levels, caused by psychosocial stressor, and the related alterations in emotionality, could be functional to the development of proper strategies to cope with the stressor itself and thus to survive. Years later this vision is still relevant, and the body of evidence on the role of NGF has been strengthened and expanded from trophic factor playing a role in brain growth and differentiation to a much more complex messenger, involved in psychoneuroendocrine plasticity. PMID:22474604

  6. [Brain development and plasticity].

    PubMed

    Martinez-Morga, M; Martinez, S

    2016-01-01

    Neurodevelopmental disorders are associated to functional anomalies of the brain that become manifest early on in life. Traditionally, they have been related almost exclusively to the appearance of intellectual disability and delayed psychomotor development. The causes of these disorders have been partially described, and include anomalies due to genetic causes (Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, etc.), exposure to toxic factors during pregnancy (foetal alcohol syndrome), infections (cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, etc.) or other alterations, including a status of great immaturity at birth (very preterm). Epidemiological data based on a better knowledge of the diseases affecting the central nervous system suggest that some mental disorders, which appear in adolescence or early adulthood, also have their origin in anomalies in brain development. This review aims to offer an overview of brain development. Some of the cellular and molecular processes that may account for the similarities and differences in the phenotypes that generate alterations affecting normal development are also analysed. The study is conducted with a view to clearly identifying processes that are susceptible to modification by means of therapeutic intervention consisting in an early care programme.

  7. Mapping plasticity in the forepaw digit barrel subfield of rat brains using functional MRI

    PubMed Central

    Weng, Jun-Cheng; Chuang, Kai-Hsiang; Goloshevsky, Artem; Dodd, Stephen J.; Sharer, Kathryn

    2012-01-01

    The topographic organization of the forepaw barrel subfield in layer IV of rat primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is a good model for studying neural function and plasticity. The goal of this study was to test the feasibility of functional MRI (fMRI) to map the forepaw digit representations in the S1 of the rat and its plasticity after digit amputation. Three dimentional echo-planar imaging with 300 micron isotropic resolution at 11.7 T was used to achieve high signal-to-noise ratios and laminar layer resolution. By alternating electrical stimulation of the 2nd (D2) and 4th (D4) digits, functional activation in layer IV of the barrel subfields could be distinguished using a differential analysis. Furthermore, two and a half months after the amputation of the 3rd digit in baby rats, the overlapping area between D2 and D4 representations was increased. This indicates that the forepaw barrel subfield previously associated with the ablated digit is now associated with the representation of nearby digits, which is consistent with studies using electrophysiology and cytochrome oxidase staining. PMID:20804851

  8. Brain white matter plasticity and functional reorganization underlying the central pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia

    PubMed Central

    Tian, Tian; Guo, Linying; Xu, Jing; Zhang, Shun; Shi, Jingjing; Liu, Chengxia; Qin, Yuanyuan; Zhu, Wenzhen

    2016-01-01

    Peripheral nerve damage does not fully explain the pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Central nervous system changes can follow trigeminal nerve dysfunction. We hypothesized that brain white matter and functional connectivity changes in TN patients were involved in pain perception, modulation, the cognitive-affective system, and motor function; moreover, changes in functional reorganization were correlated with white matter alterations. Twenty left TN patients and twenty-two healthy controls were studied. Diffusion kurtosis imaging was analyzed to extract diffusion and kurtosis parameters, and functional connectivity density (FCD) mapping was used to explore the functional reorganization in the brain. In the patient group, we found lower axial kurtosis and higher axial diffusivity in tracts participated in sensory, cognitive-affective, and modulatory aspects of pain, such as the corticospinal tract, superior longitudinal fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, cingulated gyrus, forceps major and uncinate fasciculus. Patients exhibited complex FCD reorganization of hippocampus, striatum, thalamus, precentral gyrus, precuneus, prefrontal cortex and inferior parietal lobule in multiple modulatory networks that played crucial roles in pain perception, modulation, cognitive-affective system, and motor function. Further, the correlated structural-functional changes may be responsible for the persistence of long-term recurrent pain and sensory-related dysfunction in TN. PMID:27779254

  9. Augmentation-related brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Di Pino, Giovanni; Maravita, Angelo; Zollo, Loredana; Guglielmelli, Eugenio; Di Lazzaro, Vincenzo

    2014-01-01

    Today, the anthropomorphism of the tools and the development of neural interfaces require reconsidering the concept of human-tools interaction in the framework of human augmentation. This review analyses the plastic process that the brain undergoes when it comes into contact with augmenting artificial sensors and effectors and, on the other hand, the changes that the use of external augmenting devices produces in the brain. Hitherto, few studies investigated the neural correlates of augmentation, but clues on it can be borrowed from logically-related paradigms: sensorimotor training, cognitive enhancement, cross-modal plasticity, sensorimotor functional substitution, use and embodiment of tools. Augmentation modifies function and structure of a number of areas, i.e., primary sensory cortices shape their receptive fields to become sensitive to novel inputs. Motor areas adapt the neuroprosthesis representation firing-rate to refine kinematics. As for normal motor outputs, the learning process recruits motor and premotor cortices and the acquisition of proficiency decreases attentional recruitment, focuses the activity on sensorimotor areas and increases the basal ganglia drive on the cortex. Augmentation deeply relies on the frontoparietal network. In particular, premotor cortex is involved in learning the control of an external effector and owns the tool motor representation, while the intraparietal sulcus extracts its visual features. In these areas, multisensory integration neurons enlarge their receptive fields to embody supernumerary limbs. For operating an anthropomorphic neuroprosthesis, the mirror system is required to understand the meaning of the action, the cerebellum for the formation of its internal model and the insula for its interoception. In conclusion, anthropomorphic sensorized devices can provide the critical sensory afferences to evolve the exploitation of tools through their embodiment, reshaping the body representation and the sense of the self

  10. Neural Prostheses and Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Fallon, James B.; Irvine, Dexter R. F.; Shepherd, Robert K.

    2010-01-01

    The success of modern neural prostheses is dependent on a complex interplay between the devices’ hardware and software and the dynamic environment in which the devices operate: the patient’s body or ‘wetware’. Over 110,000 severe/profoundly deaf individuals presently receive information enabling auditory awareness and speech perception from cochlear implants. The cochlear implant therefore provides a useful case study for a review of the complex interactions between hardware, software and wetware, and of the important role of the dynamic nature of wetware. This review will examine the evidence of changes in the wetware contributing to changes in speech perception and discuss how these changes relate to electrophysiological and functional imaging studies in humans. The relationship between the human data and evidence from animals of the remarkable capacity for plastic change of the central auditory system, even into adulthood, will then be examined. Finally, we will discuss the role of brain plasticity in neural prostheses in general. PMID:19850976

  11. Neural prostheses and brain plasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fallon, James B.; Irvine, Dexter R. F.; Shepherd, Robert K.

    2009-12-01

    The success of modern neural prostheses is dependent on a complex interplay between the devices' hardware and software and the dynamic environment in which the devices operate: the patient's body or 'wetware'. Over 120 000 severe/profoundly deaf individuals presently receive information enabling auditory awareness and speech perception from cochlear implants. The cochlear implant therefore provides a useful case study for a review of the complex interactions between hardware, software and wetware, and of the important role of the dynamic nature of wetware. In the case of neural prostheses, the most critical component of that wetware is the central nervous system. This paper will examine the evidence of changes in the central auditory system that contribute to changes in performance with a cochlear implant, and discuss how these changes relate to electrophysiological and functional imaging studies in humans. The relationship between the human data and evidence from animals of the remarkable capacity for plastic change of the central auditory system, even into adulthood, will then be examined. Finally, we will discuss the role of brain plasticity in neural prostheses in general.

  12. Evidence for potentials and limitations of brain plasticity using an atlas of functional resectability of WHO grade II gliomas: towards a "minimal common brain".

    PubMed

    Ius, Tamara; Angelini, Elsa; Thiebaut de Schotten, Michel; Mandonnet, Emmanuel; Duffau, Hugues

    2011-06-01

    Despite recent advances in non-invasive brain mapping imaging, the resectability of a given area in a patient harboring a WHO grade II glioma cannot be predicted preoperatively with high reliability, due to mechanisms of functional reorganization. Therefore, intraoperative mapping by direct electrical stimulation remains the gold standard for detection and preservation of eloquent areas during glioma surgery, because it enables to perform on-line anatomo-functional correlations. To study potentials and limitations of brain plasticity, we gathered 58 postoperative MRI of patients operated on for a WHO grade II glioma under direct electrical cortico-subcortical stimulation. Postoperative images were registered on the MNI template to construct an atlas of functional resectability for which each voxel represents the probability to observe residual non-resectable tumor, that is, non-compensable area. The resulting atlas offers a rigorous framework to identify areas with high plastic potential (i.e. with probabilities of residual tumor close to 0), with low compensatory capabilities (i.e. probabilities of residual tumor close to 1) and with intermediate level of resectability (probability around 0.5). The resulting atlas highlights the utmost importance of preserving a core of connectivity through the main associative pathways, namely, it supports the existence of a "minimal common brain" among patients.

  13. Plasticity of Visual Pathways and Function in the Developing Brain: Is the Pulvinar a Crucial Player?

    PubMed Central

    Bourne, James A.; Morrone, Maria Concetta

    2017-01-01

    The pulvinar is the largest of the thalamic nuclei in the primates, including humans. In the primates, two of the three major subdivisions, the lateral and inferior pulvinar, are heavily interconnected with a significant proportion of the visual association cortex. However, while we now have a better understanding of the bidirectional connectivity of these pulvinar subdivisions, its functions remain somewhat of an enigma. Over the past few years, researchers have started to tackle this problem by addressing it from the angle of development and visual cortical lesions. In this review, we will draw together literature from the realms of studies in nonhuman primates and humans that have informed much of the current understanding. This literature has been responsible for changing many long-held opinions on the development of the visual cortex and how the pulvinar interacts dynamically with cortices during early life to ensure rapid development and functional capacity Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest involvement of the pulvinar following lesions of the primary visual cortex (V1) and geniculostriate pathway in early life which have far better functional outcomes than identical lesions obtained in adulthood. Shedding new light on the pulvinar and its role following lesions of the visual brain has implications for our understanding of visual brain disorders and the potential for recovery. PMID:28228719

  14. Oxytocin and Maternal Brain Plasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kim, Sohye; Strathearn, Lane

    2016-01-01

    Although dramatic postnatal changes in maternal behavior have long been noted, we are only now beginning to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that support this transition. The present paper synthesizes growing insights from both animal and human research to provide an overview of the plasticity of the mother's brain, with a particular…

  15. Bistable parvalbumin circuits pivotal for brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Hensch, Takao K

    2014-01-16

    Experience shapes brain function throughout life to varying degrees. In a recent issue of Nature, Donato et al. identify reversible shifts in focal parvalbumin cell state during adult learning, placing it on a mechanistic continuum with developmental critical periods. A disinhibitory microcircuit controls the plasticity switch to modulate memory formation.

  16. Ben's Plastic Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kaplan, Susan L.

    2010-01-01

    This article shares a story of Ben who as a result of his premature birth, suffered a brain hemorrhage resulting in cerebral palsy, which affected his left side (left hemiparesis) and caused learning disabilities. Despite these challenges, he graduated from college and currently works doing information management for a local biotech start-up…

  17. The plastic brain: neoliberalism and the neuronal self.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Taylor, Victoria

    2010-11-01

    Neuroscience-based representations and practices of the brain aimed at lay populations present the brain in ways that both affirm biological determinism and also celebrate plasticity, or the brain's ability to change structure and function. Popular uses of neuroscientific theories of brain plasticity are saturated with a neoliberal vision of the subject. Against more optimistic readings of plasticity, I view the popular deployment of plasticity through the framework of governmentality. I describe how popular brain discourse on plasticity opens up the brain to personal techniques of enhancement and risk avoidance, and how it promotes a neuronal self. I situate brain plasticity in a context of biomedical neoliberalism, where the engineering and modification of biological life is positioned as essential to selfhood and citizenship.

  18. Cortical plasticity and brain computer interface.

    PubMed

    Rossini, P M; Noris Ferilli, M A; Ferreri, F

    2012-06-01

    There is increasing evidence to support the concept that adult brain has the remarkable ability to plastically reorganize itself. Brain plasticity involves distinct functional and structural components and plays a crucial role in reorganizing central nervous system's networks after any lesion in order to partly or totally restore lost and/or compromised functions. The idea that a computer can decode brain electromagnetic signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a reasonable technical possibility. In neurological patients unable to move and to communicate with the external environment, technologies implementing brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) can be of valuable aid and support. The emerging possibility, through neuro-imaging advanced techniques, to clarify some crucial issues underlying brain plasticity will give the possibility to modulate these mechanisms in a BCI-oriented way. This approach may have a tremendous impact in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders and the clinical advent of this technology will usher in a new era of restorative medicine.

  19. Brain plasticity-based therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Merzenich, Michael M.; Van Vleet, Thomas M.; Nahum, Mor

    2014-01-01

    The primary objective of this review article is to summarize how the neuroscience of brain plasticity, exploiting new findings in fundamental, integrative and cognitive neuroscience, is changing the therapeutic landscape for professional communities addressing brain-based disorders and disease. After considering the neurological bases of training-driven neuroplasticity, we shall describe how this neuroscience-guided perspective distinguishes this new approach from (a) the more-behavioral, traditional clinical strategies of professional therapy practitioners, and (b) an even more widely applied pharmaceutical treatment model for neurological and psychiatric treatment domains. With that background, we shall argue that neuroplasticity-based treatments will be an important part of future best-treatment practices in neurological and psychiatric medicine. PMID:25018719

  20. Neural stem cells and neuro/gliogenesis in the central nervous system: understanding the structural and functional plasticity of the developing, mature, and diseased brain.

    PubMed

    Yamaguchi, Masahiro; Seki, Tatsunori; Imayoshi, Itaru; Tamamaki, Nobuaki; Hayashi, Yoshitaka; Tatebayashi, Yoshitaka; Hitoshi, Seiji

    2016-05-01

    Neurons and glia in the central nervous system (CNS) originate from neural stem cells (NSCs). Knowledge of the mechanisms of neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs is fundamental to our understanding of how complex brain architecture and function develop. NSCs are present not only in the developing brain but also in the mature brain in adults. Adult neurogenesis likely provides remarkable plasticity to the mature brain. In addition, recent progress in basic research in mental disorders suggests an etiological link with impaired neuro/gliogenesis in particular brain regions. Here, we review the recent progress and discuss future directions in stem cell and neuro/gliogenesis biology by introducing several topics presented at a joint meeting of the Japanese Association of Anatomists and the Physiological Society of Japan in 2015. Collectively, these topics indicated that neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs is a common event occurring in many brain regions at various ages in animals. Given that significant structural and functional changes in cells and neural networks are accompanied by neuro/gliogenesis from NSCs and the integration of newly generated cells into the network, stem cell and neuro/gliogenesis biology provides a good platform from which to develop an integrated understanding of the structural and functional plasticity that underlies the development of the CNS, its remodeling in adulthood, and the recovery from diseases that affect it.

  1. A saturated-fat diet aggravates the outcome of traumatic brain injury on hippocampal plasticity and cognitive function by reducing brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

    PubMed

    Wu, A; Molteni, R; Ying, Z; Gomez-Pinilla, F

    2003-01-01

    We have conducted studies to determine the potential of dietary factors to affect the capacity of the brain to compensate for insult. Rats were fed with a high-fat sucrose (HFS) diet, a popularly consumed diet in industrialized western societies, for 4 weeks before a mild fluid percussion injury (FPI) or sham surgery was performed. FPI impaired spatial learning capacity in the Morris water maze, and these effects were aggravated by previous exposure of the rats to the action of the HFS diet. Learning performance decreased according to levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in individual rats, such that rats with the worst learning efficacy showed the lowest levels of BDNF in the hippocampus. BDNF immunohistochemistry localized the decreases in BDNF to the CA3 and dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation. BDNF has a strong effect on synaptic plasticity via the action of synapsin I and cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB), therefore, we assessed changes in synapsin I and CREB in conjunction with BDNF. Levels of synapsin I and CREB decreased in relation to decreases in BDNF levels. The combination of FPI and the HFS diet had more dramatic effects on the active state (phosphorylated) of synapsin I and CREB. There were no signs of neurodegeneration in the hippocampus of any rat group assessed with Fluoro-Jade B staining. The results suggest that FPI and diet impose a risk factor to the molecular machinery in charge of maintaining neuronal function under homeostatic and challenging situations.

  2. Brain plasticity and cognitive functions after ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice

    PubMed Central

    Stragier, E; Martin, V; Davenas, E; Poilbout, C; Mongeau, R; Corradetti, R; Lanfumey, L

    2015-01-01

    Acute or chronic administrations of high doses of ethanol in mice are known to produce severe cognitive deficits linked to hippocampal damage. However, we recently reported that chronic and moderate ethanol intake in C57BL/6J mice induced chromatin remodeling within the Bdnf promoters, leading to both enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and hippocampal neurogenesis under free-choice protocol. We performed here a series of cellular and behavioral studies to analyze the consequences of these modifications. We showed that a 3-week chronic free-choice ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice led to a decrease in DNA methylation of the Bdnf gene within the CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus, and upregulated hippocampal BDNF signaling pathways mediated by ERK, AKT and CREB. However, this activation did not affect long-term potentiation in the CA1. Conversely, ethanol intake impaired learning and memory capacities analyzed in the contextual fear conditioning test and the novel object recognition task. In addition, ethanol increased behavioral perseveration in the Barnes maze test but did not alter the mouse overall spatial capacities. These data suggested that in conditions of chronic and moderate ethanol intake, the chromatin remodeling leading to BDNF signaling upregulation is probably an adaptive process, engaged via epigenetic regulations, to counteract the cognitive deficits induced by ethanol. PMID:26670281

  3. Brain plasticity and cognitive functions after ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice.

    PubMed

    Stragier, E; Martin, V; Davenas, E; Poilbout, C; Mongeau, R; Corradetti, R; Lanfumey, L

    2015-12-15

    Acute or chronic administrations of high doses of ethanol in mice are known to produce severe cognitive deficits linked to hippocampal damage. However, we recently reported that chronic and moderate ethanol intake in C57BL/6J mice induced chromatin remodeling within the Bdnf promoters, leading to both enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and hippocampal neurogenesis under free-choice protocol. We performed here a series of cellular and behavioral studies to analyze the consequences of these modifications. We showed that a 3-week chronic free-choice ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice led to a decrease in DNA methylation of the Bdnf gene within the CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus, and upregulated hippocampal BDNF signaling pathways mediated by ERK, AKT and CREB. However, this activation did not affect long-term potentiation in the CA1. Conversely, ethanol intake impaired learning and memory capacities analyzed in the contextual fear conditioning test and the novel object recognition task. In addition, ethanol increased behavioral perseveration in the Barnes maze test but did not alter the mouse overall spatial capacities. These data suggested that in conditions of chronic and moderate ethanol intake, the chromatin remodeling leading to BDNF signaling upregulation is probably an adaptive process, engaged via epigenetic regulations, to counteract the cognitive deficits induced by ethanol.

  4. Bridging from Cells to Cognition in Autism Pathophysiology: Biological Pathways to Defective Brain Function and Plasticity

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, Matthew; Hooker, Brian S.; Herbert, Martha

    2008-01-01

    We review evidence to support the model that autism may begin when a maternal environmental, infectious, or autoantibody insult causes inflammation which increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the fetus, leading to fetal DNA damage (nuclear and mitochondrial), and that these inflammatory and oxidative stressors persist beyond early development (with potential further exacerbations), producing ongoing functional consequences. In organs with a high metabolic demand such as the central nervous system, the continued use of mitochondria with DNA damage may generate additional ROS which will activate the innate immune system leading to more ROS production. Such a mechanism would self-sustain and possibly progressively worsen. The mitochondrial dysfunction and altered redox signal transduction pathways found in autism would conspire to activate both astroglia and microglia. These activated cells can then initiate a broad-spectrum proinflammatory gene response. Neurons may have acquired receptors for these inflammatory signals to inhibit neuronal signaling as a protection from excitotoxic damage during various pathologic insults (e.g., infection). In autism, over-zealous neuroinflammatory responses could not only influence neural developmental processes, but may more significantly impair neural signaling involved in cognition in an ongoing fashion. This model makes specific predictions in patients and experimental animal models and suggests a number of targets sites of intervention. Our model of potentially reversible pathophysiological mechanisms in autism motivates our hope that effective therapies may soon appear on the horizon.

  5. Physical activity and brain plasticity in late adulthood.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Kirk I; Gildengers, Ariel G; Butters, Meryl A

    2013-03-01

    The human brain shrinks with advancing age, but recent research suggests that it is also capable of remarkable plasticity, even in late life. In this review we summarize the research linking greater amounts of physical activity to less cortical atrophy, better brain function, and enhanced cognitive function, and argue that physical activity takes advantage of the brain's natural capacity for plasticity. Further, although the effects of physical activity on the brain are relatively widespread, there is also some specificity, such that prefrontal and hippocampal areas appear to be more influenced than other areas of the brain. The specificity of these effects, we argue, provides a biological basis for understanding the capacity for physical activity to influence neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression. We conclude that physical activity is a promising intervention that can influence the endogenous pharmacology of the brain to enhance cognitive and emotional function in late adulthood.

  6. Brain Plasticity and Disease: A Matter of Inhibition

    PubMed Central

    Baroncelli, Laura; Braschi, Chiara; Spolidoro, Maria; Begenisic, Tatjana; Maffei, Lamberto; Sale, Alessandro

    2011-01-01

    One major goal in Neuroscience is the development of strategies promoting neural plasticity in the adult central nervous system, when functional recovery from brain disease and injury is limited. New evidence has underscored a pivotal role for cortical inhibitory circuitries in regulating plasticity both during development and in adulthood. This paper summarizes recent findings showing that the inhibition-excitation balance controls adult brain plasticity and is at the core of the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, Down syndrome, and Rett syndrome. PMID:21766040

  7. SAHA enhances synaptic function and plasticity in vitro but has limited brain availability in vivo and does not impact cognition.

    PubMed

    Hanson, Jesse E; La, Hank; Plise, Emile; Chen, Yung-Hsiang; Ding, Xiao; Hanania, Taleen; Sabath, Emily V; Alexandrov, Vadim; Brunner, Dani; Leahy, Emer; Steiner, Pascal; Liu, Lichuan; Scearce-Levie, Kimberly; Zhou, Qiang

    2013-01-01

    Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) is an inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDACs) used for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) and under consideration for other indications. In vivo studies suggest reducing HDAC function can enhance synaptic function and memory, raising the possibility that SAHA treatment could have neurological benefits. We first examined the impacts of SAHA on synaptic function in vitro using rat organotypic hippocampal brain slices. Following several days of SAHA treatment, basal excitatory but not inhibitory synaptic function was enhanced. Presynaptic release probability and intrinsic neuronal excitability were unaffected suggesting SAHA treatment selectively enhanced postsynaptic excitatory function. In addition, long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses was augmented, while long-term depression (LTD) was impaired in SAHA treated slices. Despite the in vitro synaptic enhancements, in vivo SAHA treatment did not rescue memory deficits in the Tg2576 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Along with the lack of behavioral impact, pharmacokinetic analysis indicated poor brain availability of SAHA. Broader assessment of in vivo SAHA treatment using high-content phenotypic characterization of C57Bl6 mice failed to demonstrate significant behavioral effects of up to 150 mg/kg SAHA following either acute or chronic injections. Potentially explaining the low brain exposure and lack of behavioral impacts, SAHA was found to be a substrate of the blood brain barrier (BBB) efflux transporters Pgp and Bcrp1. Thus while our in vitro data show that HDAC inhibition can enhance excitatory synaptic strength and potentiation, our in vivo data suggests limited brain availability may contribute to the lack of behavioral impact of SAHA following peripheral delivery. These results do not predict CNS effects of SAHA during clinical use and also emphasize the importance of analyzing brain drug levels when interpreting preclinical

  8. Psychological treatments and brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Zaman, Rashid

    2010-11-01

    For number of years there existed two groups amongst those involved in treating mental disorders, the psychological and biological camps. Psychological camp recommending that "psychological disorders" require psychological treatments, whilst biological camp argued for biological treatment for "biological disorders". Here, I will provide emerging evidence that both forms of treatments have similar underlying neurobiological basis. Beginning at the molecular level, the fields of gene expression, functional genomics, epigenetics have become increasingly important in expanding our knowledge and providing an understanding of the mechanisms that are likely to be involved in changes that occur as result of psychological treatments. Understanding the biological basis of memory systems that include, the concepts of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) through which synaptic plasticity is thought to occur go some way towards explaining how various psychotherapies modify memories and learning in a positive way. Finally various neuroimaging studies have provided a further insight in to the neural changes occurring as a result of psychological treatments.

  9. Erythropoietin Restores Long-Term Neurocognitive Function Involving Mechanisms of Neuronal Plasticity in a Model of Hyperoxia-Induced Preterm Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Sifringer, Marco; van de Looij, Yohan; Herz, Josephine; Sizonenko, Stéphane V.; Kempe, Karina; Palasz, Joanna; Hadamitzky, Martin; Fandrey, Joachim

    2016-01-01

    Cerebral white and grey matter injury is the leading cause of an adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in prematurely born infants. High oxygen concentrations have been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of neonatal brain damage. Here, we focused on motor-cognitive outcome up to the adolescent and adult age in an experimental model of preterm brain injury. In search of the putative mechanisms of action we evaluated oligodendrocyte degeneration, myelination, and modulation of synaptic plasticity-related molecules. A single dose of erythropoietin (20,000 IU/kg) at the onset of hyperoxia (24 hours, 80% oxygen) in 6-day-old Wistar rats improved long-lasting neurocognitive development up to the adolescent and adult stage. Analysis of white matter structures revealed a reduction of acute oligodendrocyte degeneration. However, erythropoietin did not influence hypomyelination occurring a few days after injury or long-term microstructural white matter abnormalities detected in adult animals. Erythropoietin administration reverted hyperoxia-induced reduction of neuronal plasticity-related mRNA expression up to four months after injury. Thus, our findings highlight the importance of erythropoietin as a neuroregenerative treatment option in neonatal brain injury, leading to improved memory function in adolescent and adult rats which may be linked to increased neuronal network connectivity. PMID:27493706

  10. Hearing colors: an example of brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Alfaro, Arantxa; Bernabeu, Ángela; Agulló, Carlos; Parra, Jaime; Fernández, Eduardo

    2015-01-01

    Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) are providing new ways for improving or replacing sensory abilities that have been lost due to disease or injury, and at the same time offer unprecedented opportunities to address how the nervous system could lead to an augmentation of its capacities. In this work we have evaluated a color-blind subject using a new visual-to-auditory SSD device called “Eyeborg”, that allows colors to be perceived as sounds. We used a combination of neuroimaging techniques including Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to study potential brain plasticity in this subject. Our results suggest that after 8 years of continuous use of this device there could be significant adaptive and compensatory changes within the brain. In particular, we found changes in functional neural patterns, structural connectivity and cortical topography at the visual and auditive cortex of the Eyeborg user in comparison with a control population. Although at the moment we cannot claim that the continuous use of the Eyeborg is the only reason for these findings, our results may shed further light on potential brain changes associated with the use of other SSDs. This could help to better understand how the brain adapts to several pathologies and uncover adaptive resources such as cross-modal representations. We expect that the precise understanding of these changes will have clear implications for rehabilitative training, device development and for more efficient programs for people with disabilities. PMID:25926778

  11. The phosphodiesterase type 2 inhibitor BAY 60-7550 reverses functional impairments induced by brain ischemia by decreasing hippocampal neurodegeneration and enhancing hippocampal neuronal plasticity.

    PubMed

    Soares, Ligia Mendes; Meyer, Erika; Milani, Humberto; Steinbusch, Harry W M; Prickaerts, Jos; de Oliveira, Rúbia M Weffort

    2017-02-01

    Cognitive and affective impairments are the most characterized consequences following cerebral ischemia. BAY 60-7550, a selective phosphodiesterase type 2 inhibitor (PDE2-I), presents memory-enhancing and anxiolytic-like properties. The behavioral effects of BAY 60-7550 have been associated with its ability to prevent hydrolysis of both cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) thereby interfering with neuronal plasticity. Here, we hypothesize that PDE2-I treatment could promote functional recovery after brain ischemia. Mice C57Bl/6 were submitted to bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO), an experimental model of transient brain ischemia, for 20 min. During 21 days after reperfusion, the animals were tested in a battery of behavioral tests including the elevated zero maze (EZM), object location task (OLT) and forced swim test (FST). The effects of BAY 60-7550 were evaluated on neuronal nuclei (NeuN), caspase-9, cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the hippocampus. BCCAO increased anxiety levels, impaired hippocampus-dependent cognitive function and induced despair-like behavior in mice. Hippocampal neurodegeneration was evidenced by a decrease in NeuN and increase incaspase-9 protein levels in BCCAO mice. Ischemic mice also showed low BDNF protein levels in the hippocampus. Repeated treatment with BAY 60-7550 attenuated the behavioral impairments induced by BCCAO in mice. Concomitantly, BAY 60-7550 enhanced expression of pCREB and BDNF protein levels in the hippocampus of ischemic mice. The present findings suggest that chronic inhibition of PDE2 provides functional recovery in BCCAO mice possibly by augmenting hippocampal neuronal plasticity.

  12. Experience-dependent neural plasticity in the adult damaged brain

    PubMed Central

    Kerr, Abigail L.; Cheng, Shao-Ying; Jones, Theresa A.

    2011-01-01

    Behavioral experience is at work modifying the structure and function of the brain throughout the lifespan, but it has a particularly dramatic influence after brain injury. This review summarizes recent findings on the role of experience in reorganizing the adult damaged brain, with a focus on findings from rodent stroke models of chronic upper extremity (hand and arm) impairments. A prolonged and widespread process of repair and reorganization of surviving neural circuits is instigated by injury to the adult brain. When experience impacts these same neural circuits, it interacts with degenerative and regenerative cascades to shape neural reorganization and functional outcome. This is evident in the cortical plasticity resulting from compensatory reliance on the “good” forelimb in rats with unilateral sensorimotor cortical infarcts. Behavioral interventions (e.g., rehabilitative training) can drive functionally beneficial neural reorganization in the injured hemisphere. However, experience can have both behaviorally beneficial and detrimental effects. The interactions between experience-dependent and injury-induced neural plasticity are complex, time-dependent, and varied with age and other factors. A better understanding of these interactions is needed to understand how to optimize brain remodeling and functional outcome. Learning outcomes Readers will be able to describe (a) experience effects that are maladaptive for behavioral outcome after brain damage, (b) manipulations of experience that drive functionally beneficial neural plasticity, and (c) reasons why rehabilitative training effects can be expected to vary with age, training duration and timing. PMID:21620413

  13. Processing demands upon cognitive, linguistic, and articulatory functions promote grey matter plasticity in the adult multilingual brain: Insights from simultaneous interpreters.

    PubMed

    Elmer, Stefan; Hänggi, Jürgen; Jäncke, Lutz

    2014-05-01

    Until now, considerable effort has been made to determine structural brain characteristics related to exceptional multilingual skills. However, at least one important question has not yet been satisfactorily addressed in the previous literature, namely whether and to which extent the processing demands upon cognitive, linguistic, and articulatory functions may promote grey matter plasticity in the adult multilingual brain. Based on the premise that simultaneous interpretation is a highly demanding linguistic task that places strong demands on executive and articulatory functions, here we compared grey matter volumes between professional simultaneous interpreters (SI) and multilingual control subjects. Thereby, we focused on a specific set of a-priori defined bilateral brain regions that have previously been shown to support neurocognitional aspects of language control and linguistic functions in the multilingual brain. These regions are the cingulate gyrus, caudate nucleus, frontal operculum (pars triangularis and opercularis), inferior parietal lobe (IPL) (supramarginal and angular gyrus), and the insula. As a main result, we found reduced grey matter volumes in professional SI, compared to multilingual controls, in the left middle-anterior cingulate gyrus, bilateral pars triangularis, left pars opercularis, bilateral middle part of the insula, and in the left supramarginal gyrus (SMG). Interestingly, grey matter volume in left pars triangularis, right pars opercularis, middle-anterior cingulate gyrus, and in the bilateral caudate nucleus was negatively correlated with the cumulative number of interpreting hours. Hence, we provide first evidence for an expertise-related grey matter architecture that may reflect a composite of brain characteristics that were still present before interpreting training and training-related changes.

  14. Plasticity of the aging brain: new directions in cognitive neuroscience.

    PubMed

    Gutchess, Angela

    2014-10-31

    Cognitive neuroscience has revealed aging of the human brain to be rich in reorganization and change. Neuroimaging results have recast our framework around cognitive aging from one of decline to one emphasizing plasticity. Current methods use neurostimulation approaches to manipulate brain function, providing a direct test of the ways that the brain differently contributes to task performance for younger and older adults. Emerging research into emotional, social, and motivational domains provides some evidence for preservation with age, suggesting potential avenues of plasticity, alongside additional evidence for reorganization. Thus, we begin to see that aging of the brain, amidst interrelated behavioral and biological changes, is as complex and idiosyncratic as the brain itself, qualitatively changing over the life span.

  15. Enhancement of brain plasticity and recovery of locomotive function after lumbar spinal cord stimulation in combination with gait training with partial weight support in rats with cerebral ischemia.

    PubMed

    Choi, Yoon-Hee; Lee, Shi-Uk

    2017-02-22

    Lumbar spinal cord stimulation (LSCS) is reportedly effective for the recovery of locomotive intraspinal neural network, motor cortex and basal ganglia in animals with complete spinal cord injury and parkinsonism. We evaluated the effect of LSCS in combination with gait training on the recovery of locomotive function and brain plasticity using a rat model of brain ischemia. Adult male Sprague Dawley rats with ischemia were randomly assigned into one of four groups: sham treatment (group 1), LSCS only (group 2), LSCS with gait training and 50% (group 3) and 80% (group 4) of body weight support. Evaluations before randomization and 4 weeks after intervention included motor scoring index, real-time PCR and Western blot. Motor scoring index was significantly improved after the intervention in groups 2 and 3. The ratio of phospho-Protein Kinase C (PKC) to PKC measured in the infarcted area tended to be higher in groups 3 and 4. Protein expression of mGluR2 and mRNA expression of mGluR1 measured in the contralateral cortex were lower in groups 3 and 4. The ratio of phospho-Akt to Akt and mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor measured in the ischemic border zone were higher in group 2. The mRNA expression of MAP1b measured in the infarcted area was significantly higher in group 2. The findings suggest that LSCS and gait training with an adequate amount of body weight support may promote brain plasticity and facilitate the functional recovery.

  16. Environment and brain plasticity: towards an endogenous pharmacotherapy.

    PubMed

    Sale, Alessandro; Berardi, Nicoletta; Maffei, Lamberto

    2014-01-01

    Brain plasticity refers to the remarkable property of cerebral neurons to change their structure and function in response to experience, a fundamental theoretical theme in the field of basic research and a major focus for neural rehabilitation following brain disease. While much of the early work on this topic was based on deprivation approaches relying on sensory experience reduction procedures, major advances have been recently obtained using the conceptually opposite paradigm of environmental enrichment, whereby an enhanced stimulation is provided at multiple cognitive, sensory, social, and motor levels. In this survey, we aim to review past and recent work concerning the influence exerted by the environment on brain plasticity processes, with special emphasis on the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and starting from experimental work on animal models to move to highly relevant work performed in humans. We will initiate introducing the concept of brain plasticity and describing classic paradigmatic examples to illustrate how changes at the level of neuronal properties can ultimately affect and direct key perceptual and behavioral outputs. Then, we describe the remarkable effects elicited by early stressful conditions, maternal care, and preweaning enrichment on central nervous system development, with a separate section focusing on neurodevelopmental disorders. A specific section is dedicated to the striking ability of environmental enrichment and physical exercise to empower adult brain plasticity. Finally, we analyze in the last section the ever-increasing available knowledge on the effects elicited by enriched living conditions on physiological and pathological aging brain processes.

  17. [Genome, environment and plasticity of the brain underlying individual adaptation].

    PubMed

    Paunio, Tiina

    2011-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms mediate the interaction between environment and genome. On molecular level, these mechanisms are active in plastic processes of the brain and influence brain function and the person's ability to adapt to the environment. Genomic variations provide individual options for this adaptation, and a spectrum of behavioral patterns necessary for species preservation. Adaptation processes may also be harmful in respect of individual health, leading even to psychiatric illnesses, but are still meaningful as seen through the person's inner experience, genome or environment.

  18. Endothelial Progenitor Cells Physiology and Metabolic Plasticity in Brain Angiogenesis and Blood-Brain Barrier Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Malinovskaya, Natalia A.; Komleva, Yulia K.; Salmin, Vladimir V.; Morgun, Andrey V.; Shuvaev, Anton N.; Panina, Yulia A.; Boitsova, Elizaveta B.; Salmina, Alla B.

    2016-01-01

    Currently, there is a considerable interest to the assessment of blood-brain barrier (BBB) development as a part of cerebral angiogenesis developmental program. Embryonic and adult angiogenesis in the brain is governed by the coordinated activity of endothelial progenitor cells, brain microvascular endothelial cells, and non-endothelial cells contributing to the establishment of the BBB (pericytes, astrocytes, neurons). Metabolic and functional plasticity of endothelial progenitor cells controls their timely recruitment, precise homing to the brain microvessels, and efficient support of brain angiogenesis. Deciphering endothelial progenitor cells physiology would provide novel engineering approaches to establish adequate microfluidically-supported BBB models and brain microphysiological systems for translational studies. PMID:27990124

  19. [Physical activity and brain function].

    PubMed

    Kempermann, G

    2012-06-01

    Physical activity has direct and indirect effects on brain function in health and disease. Findings demonstrating that physical activity improves cognitive and non-cognitive functions and is preventive for several neuropsychiatric disorders have attracted particular interest. This short review focuses on sports and physical exercise in normal brain function and summarizes which mechanisms might underlie the observed effects, which methodological problems exist, which relationships exist to concepts of plasticity and neural reserves and what evolutionary relevance the initially surprising finding that physical exercise is good for the brain has.

  20. Brain plasticity and motor practice in cognitive aging.

    PubMed

    Cai, Liuyang; Chan, John S Y; Yan, Jin H; Peng, Kaiping

    2014-01-01

    For more than two decades, there have been extensive studies of experience-based neural plasticity exploring effective applications of brain plasticity for cognitive and motor development. Research suggests that human brains continuously undergo structural reorganization and functional changes in response to stimulations or training. From a developmental point of view, the assumption of lifespan brain plasticity has been extended to older adults in terms of the benefits of cognitive training and physical therapy. To summarize recent developments, first, we introduce the concept of neural plasticity from a developmental perspective. Secondly, we note that motor learning often refers to deliberate practice and the resulting performance enhancement and adaptability. We discuss the close interplay between neural plasticity, motor learning and cognitive aging. Thirdly, we review research on motor skill acquisition in older adults with, and without, impairments relative to aging-related cognitive decline. Finally, to enhance future research and application, we highlight the implications of neural plasticity in skills learning and cognitive rehabilitation for the aging population.

  1. [Brain function and white matter].

    PubMed

    Wake, Hiroaki; Kato, Daisuke

    2015-04-01

    Accumulated evidence shows that neural information processing takes place in superficial layers of the brain called the gray matter. Synapses, which connect different neurons reside in the gray matter and are considered the major components of information processing and plasticity. On the other hand, myelinated axons lie beneath the gray matter. These bundles of cables connect neurons in the different brain regions to form functional neural circuits. Myelinated axons were of little of interest to neuroscientists and have long been ignored in the formation of functional neuronal circuits. Recent evidence shows that myelin formed by oligodendrocytes shows plastic changes depending on neuronal activity. In this issue, we discuss the plastic changes of myelin and its functional role in learning and training.

  2. Epigenetic Influences on Brain Development and Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Fagiolini, Michela; Jensen, Catherine L.; Champagne, Frances A.

    2009-01-01

    A fine interplay exists between sensory experience and innate genetic programs leading to the sculpting of neuronal circuits during early brain development. Recent evidence suggests that the dynamic regulation of gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms is at the interface between environmental stimuli and long-lasting molecular, cellular and complex behavioral phenotypes acquired during periods of developmental plasticity. Understanding these mechanisms may give insight into the formation of critical periods and provide new strategies for increasing plasticity and adaptive change in adulthood. PMID:19545993

  3. Plasticity during Early Brain Development Is Determined by Ontogenetic Potential.

    PubMed

    Krägeloh-Mann, Ingeborg; Lidzba, Karen; Pavlova, Marina A; Wilke, Marko; Staudt, Martin

    2017-04-01

    Two competing hypotheses address neuroplasticity during early brain development: the "Kennard principle" describes the compensatory capacities of the immature developing CNS as superior to those of the adult brain, whereas the "Hebb principle" argues that the young brain is especially sensitive to insults. We provide evidence that these principles are not mutually exclusive. Following early brain lesions that are unilateral, the brain can refer to homotopic areas of the healthy hemisphere. This potential for reorganization is unique to the young brain but available only when, during ontogenesis of brain development, these areas have been used for the functions addressed. With respect to motor function, ipsilateral motor tracts can be recruited, which are only available during early brain development. Language can be reorganized to the right after early left hemispheric lesions, as the representation of the language network is initially bilateral. However, even in these situations, compensatory capacities of the developing brain are found to have limitations, probably defined by early determinants. Thus, plasticity and adaptivity are seen only within ontogenetic potential; that is, axonal or cortical structures cannot be recruited beyond early developmental possibilities. The young brain is probably more sensitive and vulnerable to lesions when these are bilateral. This is shown here for bilateral periventricular white matter lesions that clearly have an impact on cortical architecture and function, thus probably interfering with early network building.

  4. In pursuit of resilience: stress, epigenetics, and brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    McEwen, Bruce S

    2016-06-01

    The brain is the central organ for adaptation to experiences, including stressors, which are capable of changing brain architecture as well as altering systemic function through neuroendocrine, autonomic, immune, and metabolic systems. Because the brain is the master regulator of these systems, as well as of behavior, alterations in brain function by chronic stress can have direct and indirect effects on cumulative allostatic overload, which refers to the cost of adaptation. There is much new knowledge on the neural control of systemic physiology and the feedback actions of physiologic mediators on brain regions regulating higher cognitive function, emotional regulation, and self-regulation. The healthy brain has a considerable capacity for resilience, based upon its ability to respond to interventions designed to open "windows of plasticity" and redirect its function toward better health. As a result, plasticity-facilitating treatments should be given within the framework of a positive behavioral intervention; negative experiences during this window may even make matters worse. Indeed, there are no magic bullets and drugs cannot substitute for targeted interventions that help an individual become resilient, of which mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation are emerging as useful tools.

  5. Sleep and synaptic plasticity in the developing and adult brain.

    PubMed

    Frank, Marcos G

    2015-01-01

    Sleep is hypothesized to play an integral role in brain plasticity. This has traditionally been investigated using behavioral assays. In the last 10-15 years, studies combining sleep measurements with in vitro and in vivo models of synaptic plasticity have provided exciting new insights into how sleep alters synaptic strength. In addition, new theories have been proposed that integrate older ideas about sleep function and recent discoveries in the field of synaptic plasticity. There remain, however, important challenges and unanswered questions. For example, sleep does not appear to have a single effect on synaptic strength. An unbiased review of the literature indicates that the effects of sleep vary widely depending on ontogenetic stage, the type of waking experience (or stimulation protocols) that precede sleep and the type of neuronal synapse under examination. In this review, I discuss these key findings in the context of current theories that posit different roles for sleep in synaptic plasticity.

  6. Successful brain aging: plasticity, environmental enrichment, and lifestyle.

    PubMed

    Mora, Francisco

    2013-03-01

    Aging is a physiological process that can develop without the appearance of concurrent diseases. However, very frequently, older people suffer from memory loss and an accelerated cognitive decline. Studies of the neurobiology of aging are beginning to decipher the mechanisms underlying not only the physiology of aging of the brain but also the mechanisms that make people more vulnerable to cognitive dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. Today we know that the aging brain retains a considerable functional plasticity, and that this plasticity is positively promoted by genes activated by different lifestyle factors. In this article some of these lifestyle factors and their mechanisms of action are reviewed, including environmental enrichment and the importance of food intake and some nutrients. Aerobic physical exercise and reduction of chronic stress are also briefly reviewed. It is proposed that lifestyle factors are powerful instruments to promote healthy and successful aging of the brain and delay the appearance of age-related cognitive deficits in elderly people.

  7. Searching for Factors Underlying Cerebral Plasticity in the Normal and Injured Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kolb, Bryan; Muhammad, Arif; Gibb, Robbin

    2011-01-01

    Brain plasticity refers to the capacity of the nervous system to change its structure and ultimately its function over a lifetime. There have been major advances in our understanding of the principles of brain plasticity and behavior in laboratory animals and humans. Over the past decade there have been advances in the application of these…

  8. Brain imaging and brain function

    SciTech Connect

    Sokoloff, L.

    1985-01-01

    This book is a survey of the applications of imaging studies of regional cerebral blood flow and metabolism to the investigation of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Contributors review imaging techniques and strategies for measuring regional cerebral blood flow and metabolism, for mapping functional neural systems, and for imaging normal brain functions. They then examine the applications of brain imaging techniques to the study of such neurological and psychiatric disorders as: cerebral ischemia; convulsive disorders; cerebral tumors; Huntington's disease; Alzheimer's disease; depression and other mood disorders. A state-of-the-art report on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and central nervous system rounds out the book's coverage.

  9. The maternal brain and its plasticity in humans

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Pilyoung; Strathearn, Lane; Swain, James E.

    2015-01-01

    Early mother-infant relationships play important roles in infants’ optimal development. New mothers undergo neurobiological changes that support developing mother-infant relationships regardless of great individual differences in those relationships. In this article, we review the neural plasticity in human mothers’ brains based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. First, we review the neural circuits that are involved in establishing and maintaining mother-infant relationships. Second, we discuss early postpartum factors (e.g., birth and feeding methods, hormones, and parental sensitivity) that are associated with individual differences in maternal brain neuroplasticity. Third, we discuss abnormal changes in the maternal brain related to psychopathology (i.e., postpartum depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse) and potential brain remodeling associated with interventions. Last, we highlight potentially important future research directions to better understand normative changes in the maternal brain and risks for abnormal changes that may disrupt early mother-infant relationships. PMID:26268151

  10. Synaptic plasticity functions in an organic electrochemical transistor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gkoupidenis, Paschalis; Schaefer, Nathan; Strakosas, Xenofon; Fairfield, Jessamyn A.; Malliaras, George G.

    2015-12-01

    Synaptic plasticity functions play a crucial role in the transmission of neural signals in the brain. Short-term plasticity is required for the transmission, encoding, and filtering of the neural signal, whereas long-term plasticity establishes more permanent changes in neural microcircuitry and thus underlies memory and learning. The realization of bioinspired circuits that can actually mimic signal processing in the brain demands the reproduction of both short- and long-term aspects of synaptic plasticity in a single device. Here, we demonstrate the implementation of neuromorphic functions similar to biological memory, such as short- to long-term memory transition, in non-volatile organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). Depending on the training of the OECT, the device displays either short- or long-term plasticity, therefore, exhibiting non von Neumann characteristics with merged processing and storing functionalities. These results are a first step towards the implementation of organic-based neuromorphic circuits.

  11. Human Maternal Brain Plasticity: Adaptation to Parenting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kim, Pilyoung

    2016-01-01

    New mothers undergo dynamic neural changes that support positive adaptation to parenting and the development of mother-infant relationships. In this article, I review important psychological adaptations that mothers experience during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. I then review evidence of structural and functional plasticity in human…

  12. Plasticity in the Neonatal Brain following Hypoxic-Ischaemic Injury

    PubMed Central

    Rocha-Ferreira, Eridan

    2016-01-01

    Hypoxic-ischaemic damage to the developing brain is a leading cause of child death, with high mortality and morbidity, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and cognitive disabilities. The developmental stage of the brain and the severity of the insult influence the selective regional vulnerability and the subsequent clinical manifestations. The increased susceptibility to hypoxia-ischaemia (HI) of periventricular white matter in preterm infants predisposes the immature brain to motor, cognitive, and sensory deficits, with cognitive impairment associated with earlier gestational age. In term infants HI causes selective damage to sensorimotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and brain stem. Even though the immature brain is more malleable to external stimuli compared to the adult one, a hypoxic-ischaemic event to the neonate interrupts the shaping of central motor pathways and can affect normal developmental plasticity through altering neurotransmission, changes in cellular signalling, neural connectivity and function, wrong targeted innervation, and interruption of developmental apoptosis. Models of neonatal HI demonstrate three morphologically different types of cell death, that is, apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy, which crosstalk and can exist as a continuum in the same cell. In the present review we discuss the mechanisms of HI injury to the immature brain and the way they affect plasticity. PMID:27047695

  13. Plasticity of resting state brain networks in recovery from stress.

    PubMed

    Soares, José M; Sampaio, Adriana; Marques, Paulo; Ferreira, Luís M; Santos, Nadine C; Marques, Fernanda; Palha, Joana A; Cerqueira, João J; Sousa, Nuno

    2013-01-01

    Chronic stress has been widely reported to have deleterious impact in multiple biological systems. Specifically, structural and functional remodeling of several brain regions following prolonged stress exposure have been described; importantly, some of these changes are eventually reversible. Recently, we showed the impact of stress on resting state networks (RSNs), but nothing is known about the plasticity of RSNs after recovery from stress. Herein, we examined the "plasticity" of RSNs, both at functional and structural levels, by comparing the same individuals before and after recovery from the exposure to chronic stress; results were also contrasted with a control group. Here we show that the stressed individuals after recovery displayed a decreased resting functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN), ventral attention network (VAN), and sensorimotor network (SMN) when compared to themselves immediately after stress; however, this functional plastic recovery was only partial as when compared with the control group, as there were still areas of increased connectivity in dorsal attention network (DAN), SMN and primary visual network (VN) in participants recovered from stress. Data also shows that participants after recovery from stress displayed increased deactivations in DMN, SMN, and auditory network (AN), to levels similar to those of controls, showing a normalization of the deactivation pattern in RSNs after recovery from stress. In contrast, structural changes (volumetry) of the brain areas involving these networks are absent after the recovery period. These results reveal plastic phenomena in specific RSNs and a functional remodeling of the activation-deactivation pattern following recovery from chronic-stress, which is not accompanied by significant structural plasticity.

  14. Resting-state fMRI: a window into human brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Guerra-Carrillo, Belén; Mackey, Allyson P; Bunge, Silvia A

    2014-10-01

    Although brain plasticity is greatest in the first few years of life, the brain continues to be shaped by experience throughout adulthood. Advances in fMRI have enabled us to examine the plasticity of large-scale networks using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) correlations measured at rest. Resting-state functional connectivity analysis makes it possible to measure task-independent changes in brain function and therefore could provide unique insights into experience-dependent brain plasticity in humans. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that resting-state functional connectivity reflects the repeated history of co-activation between brain regions. To this end, we review resting-state fMRI studies in the sensory, motor, and cognitive learning literature. This body of research provides evidence that the brain's resting-state functional architecture displays dynamic properties in young adulthood.

  15. Blockade of Astrocytic Calcineurin/NFAT Signaling Helps to Normalize Hippocampal Synaptic Function and Plasticity in a Rat Model of Traumatic Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Furman, Jennifer L.; Sompol, Pradoldej; Kraner, Susan D.; Pleiss, Melanie M.; Putman, Esther J.; Dunkerson, Jacob; Mohmmad Abdul, Hafiz; Roberts, Kelly N.; Scheff, Stephen W.

    2016-01-01

    -dependent activation of the transcription factor NFAT (Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells) selectively, we have shown that activated astrocytes contribute to neural dysfunction in animal models characterized by progressive/chronic neuropathology. Here, we show that the suppression of astrocytic calcineurin/NFATs helps to protect synaptic function and plasticity in an animal model in which pathology arises from a single traumatic brain injury. The findings suggest that at least some astrocyte functions impair recovery after trauma and may provide druggable targets for treating victims of acute nervous system injury. PMID:26843634

  16. Age, Plasticity, and Homeostasis In Childhood Brain Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen; Spiegler, Brenda J.; Juranek, Jenifer J.; Bigler, Erin D.; Snead, O. Carter; Fletcher, Jack M.

    2013-01-01

    It has been widely accepted that the younger the age and/or immaturity of the organism, the greater the brain plasticity, the young age plasticity privilege. This paper examines the relation of a young age to plasticity, reviewing human pediatric brain disorders, as well as selected animal models, human developmental and adult brain disorder studies. As well, we review developmental and childhood acquired disorders that involve a failure of regulatory homeostasis. Our core arguments are: Plasticity is neutral with respect to outcome. Although the effects of plasticity are often beneficial, the outcome of plasticity may be adaptive or maladaptive.The young age plasticity privilege has been overstated.Plastic change operates in concert with homeostatic mechanisms regulating change at every point in the lifespan.The same mechanisms that propel developmental change expose the immature brain to adverse events, making it more difficult for the immature than for the mature brain to sustain equilibrium between plasticity and homeostasis.Poor outcome in many neurodevelopmental disorders and childhood acquired brain insults is related to disequilibrium between plasticity and homeostasis. PMID:24096190

  17. Plastic brains and the dialectics of dialectics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loxley, Andrew; Murphy, Colette; Seery, Aidan

    2014-09-01

    This article advances the thinking of Lima, Ostermann and Rezende's "Marxism in Vygotskian approaches to cultural studies of science education" and Mark Zuss' response to their paper. Firstly, it introduces Catherine Malabou's concept of plasticity, from which Hegel's dialectic can be re-read as historical materialist self-determination in a way that embraces science but non-reductively, and which leads to the possibility of challenging theoretical rigidity as a form of transformative action. Secondly, this response article provides political analysis of scientific concepts as they reproduce and reinforce particular interests and are expropriated by policy makers and unaware teacher educators whose understanding lies within a technical-instrumentalism and diluted humanism framework. Both arguments feature the human brain as an object of research in science education. From Malabou, the emancipatory conceptualisation of the brain as material, historical and sociocultural; whilst `Brain Gym' exemplifies a non-science and nonsensical misappropriation of scientific concepts for commercial gain via a para-educational intervention.

  18. Plasticity of Nonneuronal Brain Tissue: Roles in Developmental Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dong, Willie K.; Greenough, William T.

    2004-01-01

    Neuronal and nonneuronal plasticity are both affected by environmental and experiential factors. Remodeling of existing neurons induced by such factors has been observed throughout the brain, and includes alterations in dendritic field dimensions, synaptogenesis, and synaptic morphology. The brain loci affected by these plastic neuronal changes…

  19. Plasticity in the Developing Brain: Implications for Rehabilitation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnston, Michael V.

    2009-01-01

    Neuronal plasticity allows the central nervous system to learn skills and remember information, to reorganize neuronal networks in response to environmental stimulation, and to recover from brain and spinal cord injuries. Neuronal plasticity is enhanced in the developing brain and it is usually adaptive and beneficial but can also be maladaptive…

  20. Factors Influencing Cerebral Plasticity in the Normal and Injured Brain

    PubMed Central

    Kolb, Bryan; Teskey, G. Campbell; Gibb, Robbin

    2010-01-01

    An important development in behavioral neuroscience in the past 20 years has been the demonstration that it is possible to stimulate functional recovery after cerebral injury in laboratory animals. Rodent models of cerebral injury provide an important tool for developing such rehabilitation programs. The models include analysis at different levels including detailed behavioral paradigms, electrophysiology, neuronal morphology, protein chemistry, and epigenetics. A significant challenge for the next 20 years will be the translation of this work to improve the outcome from brain injury and disease in humans. Our goal in the article will be to synthesize the multidisciplinary laboratory work on brain plasticity and behavior in the injured brain to inform the development of rehabilitation programs. PMID:21120136

  1. Modulating Hippocampal Plasticity with In Vivo Brain Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Carhuatanta, Kim A.; McInturf, Shawn M.; Miklasevich, Molly K.; Jankord, Ryan

    2015-01-01

    Investigations into the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in relieving symptoms of neurological disorders and enhancing cognitive or motor performance have exhibited promising results. However, the mechanisms by which tDCS effects brain function remain under scrutiny. We have demonstrated that in vivo tDCS in rats produced a lasting effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity, as measured using extracellular recordings. Ex vivo preparations of hippocampal slices from rats that have been subjected to tDCS of 0.10 or 0.25 mA for 30 min followed by 30 min of recovery time displayed a robust twofold enhancement in long-term potentiation (LTP) induction accompanied by a 30% increase in paired-pulse facilitation (PPF). The magnitude of the LTP effect was greater with 0.25 mA compared with 0.10 mA stimulations, suggesting a dose-dependent relationship between tDCS intensity and its effect on synaptic plasticity. To test the persistence of these observed effects, animals were stimulated in vivo for 30 min at 0.25 mA and then allowed to return to their home cage for 24 h. Observation of the enhanced LTP induction, but not the enhanced PPF, continued 24 h after completion of 0.25 mA of tDCS. Addition of the NMDA blocker AP-5 abolished LTP in both control and stimulated rats but maintained the PPF enhancement in stimulated rats. The observation of enhanced LTP and PPF after tDCS demonstrates that non-invasive electrical stimulation is capable of modifying synaptic plasticity. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Researchers have used brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation on human subjects to alleviate symptoms of neurological disorders and enhance their performance. Here, using rats, we have investigated the potential mechanisms of how in vivo brain stimulation can produce such effect. We recorded directly on viable brain slices from rats after brain stimulation to detect lasting changes in pattern of neuronal activity. Our results showed that

  2. Structure, function, and plasticity of GABA transporters

    PubMed Central

    Scimemi, Annalisa

    2014-01-01

    GABA transporters belong to a large family of neurotransmitter:sodium symporters. They are widely expressed throughout the brain, with different levels of expression in different brain regions. GABA transporters are present in neurons and in astrocytes and their activity is crucial to regulate the extracellular concentration of GABA under basal conditions and during ongoing synaptic events. Numerous efforts have been devoted to determine the structural and functional properties of GABA transporters. There is also evidence that the expression of GABA transporters on the cell membrane and their lateral mobility can be modulated by different intracellular signaling cascades. The strength of individual synaptic contacts and the activity of entire neuronal networks may be finely tuned by altering the density, distribution and diffusion rate of GABA transporters within the cell membrane. These findings are intriguing because they suggest the existence of complex regulatory systems that control the plasticity of GABAergic transmission in the brain. Here we review the current knowledge on the structural and functional properties of GABA transporters and highlight the molecular mechanisms that alter the expression and mobility of GABA transporters at central synapses. PMID:24987330

  3. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2009-01-01

    It has long been suspected that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. In addition, well-established regulators of synaptic plasticity, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, can function as metabolic modulators, responding to peripheral signals such as food intake. Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness. PMID:18568016

  4. Dynamic DNA methylation in the brain: a new epigenetic mark for experience-dependent plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Tognini, Paola; Napoli, Debora; Pizzorusso, Tommaso

    2015-01-01

    Experience-dependent plasticity is the ability of brain circuits to undergo molecular, structural and functional changes as a function of neural activity. Neural activity continuously shapes our brain during all the stages of our life, from infancy through adulthood and beyond. Epigenetic modifications of histone proteins and DNA seem to be a leading molecular mechanism to modulate the transcriptional changes underlying the fine-tuning of synaptic connections and circuitry rewiring during activity-dependent plasticity. The recent discovery that cytosine methylation is an epigenetic mark particularly dynamic in brain cells has strongly increased the interest of neuroscientists in understanding the role of covalent modifications of DNA in activity-induced remodeling of neuronal circuits. Here, we provide an overview of the role of DNA methylation and hydroxylmethylation in brain plasticity both during adulthood, with emphasis on learning and memory related processes, and during postnatal development, focusing specifically on experience-dependent plasticity in the visual cortex. PMID:26379502

  5. Cortical Plasticity and Olfactory Function in Early Blindness.

    PubMed

    Araneda, Rodrigo; Renier, Laurent A; Rombaux, Philippe; Cuevas, Isabel; De Volder, Anne G

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade, functional brain imaging has provided insight to the maturation processes and has helped elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in brain plasticity in the absence of vision. In case of congenital blindness, drastic changes occur within the deafferented "visual" cortex that starts receiving and processing non visual inputs, including olfactory stimuli. This functional reorganization of the occipital cortex gives rise to compensatory perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that help blind persons achieve perceptual tasks, leading to superior olfactory abilities in these subjects. This view receives support from psychophysical testing, volumetric measurements and functional brain imaging studies in humans, which are presented here.

  6. Cortical Plasticity and Olfactory Function in Early Blindness

    PubMed Central

    Araneda, Rodrigo; Renier, Laurent A.; Rombaux, Philippe; Cuevas, Isabel; De Volder, Anne G.

    2016-01-01

    Over the last decade, functional brain imaging has provided insight to the maturation processes and has helped elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in brain plasticity in the absence of vision. In case of congenital blindness, drastic changes occur within the deafferented “visual” cortex that starts receiving and processing non visual inputs, including olfactory stimuli. This functional reorganization of the occipital cortex gives rise to compensatory perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that help blind persons achieve perceptual tasks, leading to superior olfactory abilities in these subjects. This view receives support from psychophysical testing, volumetric measurements and functional brain imaging studies in humans, which are presented here. PMID:27625596

  7. Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation: Teaching the New Brain Old Tricks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kleim, Jeffrey A.

    2011-01-01

    Following brain injury or disease there are widespread biochemical, anatomical and physiological changes that result in what might be considered a new, very different brain. This adapted brain is forced to reacquire behaviors lost as a result of the injury or disease and relies on neural plasticity within the residual neural circuits. The same…

  8. Measuring and Inducing Brain Plasticity in Chronic Aphasia

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fridriksson, Julius

    2011-01-01

    Brain plasticity associated with anomia recovery in aphasia is poorly understood. Here, I review four recent studies from my lab that focused on brain modulation associated with long-term anomia outcome, its behavioral treatment, and the use of transcranial brain stimulation to enhance anomia treatment success in individuals with chronic aphasia…

  9. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states.

    PubMed

    Liu, Kang K L; Bartsch, Ronny P; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N; Ivanov, Plamen Ch

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  10. Split Brain Functioning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cassel, Russell N.

    1978-01-01

    Summarizing recent research, this article defines the functions performed by the left and right sides of the human brain. Attention is given to the right side, or the nondominant side, of the brain and its potential in terms of perception of the environment, music, art, geometry, and the aesthetics. (JC)

  11. Neural Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: The Functional and Molecular Background

    PubMed Central

    Ksiazek-Winiarek, Dominika Justyna; Szpakowski, Piotr; Glabinski, Andrzej

    2015-01-01

    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder resulting in motor dysfunction and cognitive decline. The inflammatory and neurodegenerative changes seen in the brains of MS patients lead to progressive disability and increasing brain atrophy. The most common type of MS is characterized by episodes of clinical exacerbations and remissions. This suggests the presence of compensating mechanisms for accumulating damage. Apart from the widely known repair mechanisms like remyelination, another important phenomenon is neuronal plasticity. Initially, neuroplasticity was connected with the developmental stages of life; however, there is now growing evidence confirming that structural and functional reorganization occurs throughout our lifetime. Several functional studies, utilizing such techniques as fMRI, TBS, or MRS, have provided valuable data about the presence of neuronal plasticity in MS patients. CNS ability to compensate for neuronal damage is most evident in RR-MS; however it has been shown that brain plasticity is also preserved in patients with substantial brain damage. Regardless of the numerous studies, the molecular background of neuronal plasticity in MS is still not well understood. Several factors, like IL-1β, BDNF, PDGF, or CB1Rs, have been implicated in functional recovery from the acute phase of MS and are thus considered as potential therapeutic targets. PMID:26229689

  12. Neural Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: The Functional and Molecular Background.

    PubMed

    Ksiazek-Winiarek, Dominika Justyna; Szpakowski, Piotr; Glabinski, Andrzej

    2015-01-01

    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder resulting in motor dysfunction and cognitive decline. The inflammatory and neurodegenerative changes seen in the brains of MS patients lead to progressive disability and increasing brain atrophy. The most common type of MS is characterized by episodes of clinical exacerbations and remissions. This suggests the presence of compensating mechanisms for accumulating damage. Apart from the widely known repair mechanisms like remyelination, another important phenomenon is neuronal plasticity. Initially, neuroplasticity was connected with the developmental stages of life; however, there is now growing evidence confirming that structural and functional reorganization occurs throughout our lifetime. Several functional studies, utilizing such techniques as fMRI, TBS, or MRS, have provided valuable data about the presence of neuronal plasticity in MS patients. CNS ability to compensate for neuronal damage is most evident in RR-MS; however it has been shown that brain plasticity is also preserved in patients with substantial brain damage. Regardless of the numerous studies, the molecular background of neuronal plasticity in MS is still not well understood. Several factors, like IL-1β, BDNF, PDGF, or CB1Rs, have been implicated in functional recovery from the acute phase of MS and are thus considered as potential therapeutic targets.

  13. Split My Brain: A Case Study of Seizure Disorder and Brain Function

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Omarzu, Julia

    2004-01-01

    This case involves a couple deciding whether or not their son should undergo brain surgery to treat a severe seizure disorder. In examining this dilemma, students apply knowledge of brain anatomy and function. They also learn about brain scanning techniques and discuss the plasticity of the brain.

  14. The Maternal Brain: An Organ with Peripartal Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Hillerer, Katharina Maria; Jacobs, Volker Rudolf; Fischer, Thorsten; Aigner, Ludwig

    2014-01-01

    The time of pregnancy, birth, and lactation, is characterized by numerous specific alterations in several systems of the maternal body. Peripartum-associated changes in physiology and behavior, as well as their underlying molecular mechanisms, have been the focus of research since decades, but are still far from being entirely understood. Also, there is growing evidence that pregnancy and lactation are associated with a variety of alterations in neural plasticity, including adult neurogenesis, functional and structural synaptic plasticity, and dendritic remodeling in different brain regions. All of the mentioned changes are not only believed to be a prerequisite for the proper fetal and neonatal development, but moreover to be crucial for the physiological and mental health of the mother. The underlying mechanisms apparently need to be under tight control, since in cases of dysregulation, a certain percentage of women develop disorders like preeclampsia or postpartum mood and anxiety disorders during the course of pregnancy and lactation. This review describes common peripartum adaptations in physiology and behavior. Moreover, it concentrates on different forms of peripartum-associated plasticity including changes in neurogenesis and their possible underlying molecular mechanisms. Finally, consequences of malfunction in those systems are discussed. PMID:24883213

  15. Lutein and Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Erdman, John W.; Smith, Joshua W.; Kuchan, Matthew J.; Mohn, Emily S.; Johnson, Elizabeth J.; Rubakhin, Stanislav S.; Wang, Lin; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Neuringer, Martha

    2015-01-01

    Lutein is one of the most prevalent carotenoids in nature and in the human diet. Together with zeaxanthin, it is highly concentrated as macular pigment in the foveal retina of primates, attenuating blue light exposure, providing protection from photo-oxidation and enhancing visual performance. Recently, interest in lutein has expanded beyond the retina to its possible contributions to brain development and function. Only primates accumulate lutein within the brain, but little is known about its distribution or physiological role. Our team has begun to utilize the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) model to study the uptake and bio-localization of lutein in the brain. Our overall goal has been to assess the association of lutein localization with brain function. In this review, we will first cover the evolution of the non-human primate model for lutein and brain studies, discuss prior association studies of lutein with retina and brain function, and review approaches that can be used to localize brain lutein. We also describe our approach to the biosynthesis of 13C-lutein, which will allow investigation of lutein flux, localization, metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Lastly, we describe potential future research opportunities. PMID:26566524

  16. Life-span plasticity of the brain and cognition: from questions to evidence and back.

    PubMed

    Raz, Naftali; Lindenberger, Ulman

    2013-11-01

    Experience-related changes induced by modification of environment, physical exercise, or cognitive training affect brain structure and function. Research on brain plasticity and its relationship to experiential changes gathers momentum and attracts significant public interest. This collection of papers is based on presentation at the First International Conference on Life-Span Plasticity of Brain and Behavior: A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective that took place in Detroit, MI, on October 12-14, 2011. The conference honored Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes, the pioneers of life-span developmental psychology who initiated some of the first studies on experience- and training-related changes in cognition across the life span.

  17. Consensus Paper: Probing Homeostatic Plasticity of Human Cortex With Non-invasive Transcranial Brain Stimulation.

    PubMed

    Karabanov, Anke; Ziemann, Ulf; Hamada, Masashi; George, Mark S; Quartarone, Angelo; Classen, Joseph; Massimini, Marcello; Rothwell, John; Siebner, Hartwig Roman

    2015-01-01

    Homeostatic plasticity is thought to stabilize neural activity around a set point within a physiologically reasonable dynamic range. Over the last ten years, a wide range of non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation (NTBS) techniques have been used to probe homeostatic control of cortical plasticity in the intact human brain. Here, we review different NTBS approaches to study homeostatic plasticity on a systems level and relate the findings to both, physiological evidence from in vitro studies and to a theoretical framework of homeostatic function. We highlight differences between homeostatic and other non-homeostatic forms of plasticity and we examine the contribution of sleep in restoring synaptic homeostasis. Finally, we discuss the growing number of studies showing that abnormal homeostatic plasticity may be associated to a range of neuropsychiatric diseases.

  18. Brain Plasticity in Blind Subjects Centralizes Beyond the Modal Cortices

    PubMed Central

    Ortiz-Terán, Laura; Ortiz, Tomás; Perez, David L.; Aragón, Jose Ignacio; Diez, Ibai; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Sepulcre, Jorge

    2016-01-01

    It is well established that the human brain reorganizes following sensory deprivations. In blind individuals, visual processing regions including the lateral occipital cortex (LOC) are activated by auditory and tactile stimuli as demonstrated by neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations. The mechanisms for such plasticity remain unclear, but shifts in connectivity across existing neural networks appear to play a critical role. The majority of research efforts to date have focused on neuroplastic changes within visual unimodal regions, however we hypothesized that neuroplastic alterations may also occur in brain networks beyond the visual cortices including involvement of multimodal integration regions and heteromodal cortices. In this study, two recently developed graph-theory based functional connectivity analyses, interconnector analyses and local and distant connectivity, were applied to investigate functional reorganization in regional and distributed neural-systems in late-onset blind (LB) and congenitally blind (CB) cohorts each compared to their own group of sighted controls. While functional network alterations as measured by the degree of differential links (DDL) occurred in sensory cortices, neuroplastic changes were most prominent within multimodal and association cortices. Subjects with LB showed enhanced multimodal integration connections in the parieto-opercular, temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and ventral premotor (vPM) regions, while CB individuals exhibited increased superior parietal cortex (SPC) connections. This study reveals the critical role of recipient multi-sensory integration areas in network reorganization and cross-modal plasticity in blind individuals. These findings suggest that aspects of cross-modal neuroplasticity and adaptive sensory-motor and auditory functions may potentially occur through reorganization in multimodal integration regions. PMID:27458350

  19. Assessing brain plasticity across the lifespan with transcranial magnetic stimulation: why, how, and what is the ultimate goal?

    PubMed Central

    Freitas, Catarina; Farzan, Faranak; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro

    2013-01-01

    Sustaining brain and cognitive function across the lifespan must be one of the main biomedical goals of the twenty-first century. We need to aim to prevent neuropsychiatric diseases and, thus, to identify and remediate brain and cognitive dysfunction before clinical symptoms manifest and disability develops. The brain undergoes a complex array of changes from developmental years into old age, putatively the underpinnings of changes in cognition and behavior throughout life. A functionally “normal” brain is a changing brain, a brain whose capacity and mechanisms of change are shifting appropriately from one time-point to another in a given individual's life. Therefore, assessing the mechanisms of brain plasticity across the lifespan is critical to gain insight into an individual's brain health. Indexing brain plasticity in humans is possible with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which, in combination with neuroimaging, provides a powerful tool for exploring local cortical and brain network plasticity. Here, we review investigations to date, summarize findings, and discuss some of the challenges that need to be solved to enhance the use of TMS measures of brain plasticity across all ages. Ultimately, TMS measures of plasticity can become the foundation for a brain health index (BHI) to enable objective correlates of an individual's brain health over time, assessment across diseases and disorders, and reliable evaluation of indicators of efficacy of future preventive and therapeutic interventions. PMID:23565072

  20. Plasticity-related genes in brain development and amygdala-dependent learning.

    PubMed

    Ehrlich, D E; Josselyn, S A

    2016-01-01

    Learning about motivationally important stimuli involves plasticity in the amygdala, a temporal lobe structure. Amygdala-dependent learning involves a growing number of plasticity-related signaling pathways also implicated in brain development, suggesting that learning-related signaling in juveniles may simultaneously influence development. Here, we review the pleiotropic functions in nervous system development and amygdala-dependent learning of a signaling pathway that includes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), extracellular signaling-related kinases (ERKs) and cyclic AMP-response element binding protein (CREB). Using these canonical, plasticity-related genes as an example, we discuss the intersection of learning-related and developmental plasticity in the immature amygdala, when aversive and appetitive learning may influence the developmental trajectory of amygdala function. We propose that learning-dependent activation of BDNF, ERK and CREB signaling in the immature amygdala exaggerates and accelerates neural development, promoting amygdala excitability and environmental sensitivity later in life.

  1. Spatiotemporal computations of an excitable and plastic brain: neuronal plasticity leads to noise-robust and noise-constructive computations.

    PubMed

    Toutounji, Hazem; Pipa, Gordon

    2014-03-01

    It is a long-established fact that neuronal plasticity occupies the central role in generating neural function and computation. Nevertheless, no unifying account exists of how neurons in a recurrent cortical network learn to compute on temporally and spatially extended stimuli. However, these stimuli constitute the norm, rather than the exception, of the brain's input. Here, we introduce a geometric theory of learning spatiotemporal computations through neuronal plasticity. To that end, we rigorously formulate the problem of neural representations as a relation in space between stimulus-induced neural activity and the asymptotic dynamics of excitable cortical networks. Backed up by computer simulations and numerical analysis, we show that two canonical and widely spread forms of neuronal plasticity, that is, spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity and intrinsic plasticity, are both necessary for creating neural representations, such that these computations become realizable. Interestingly, the effects of these forms of plasticity on the emerging neural code relate to properties necessary for both combating and utilizing noise. The neural dynamics also exhibits features of the most likely stimulus in the network's spontaneous activity. These properties of the spatiotemporal neural code resulting from plasticity, having their grounding in nature, further consolidate the biological relevance of our findings.

  2. Spatiotemporal Computations of an Excitable and Plastic Brain: Neuronal Plasticity Leads to Noise-Robust and Noise-Constructive Computations

    PubMed Central

    Toutounji, Hazem; Pipa, Gordon

    2014-01-01

    It is a long-established fact that neuronal plasticity occupies the central role in generating neural function and computation. Nevertheless, no unifying account exists of how neurons in a recurrent cortical network learn to compute on temporally and spatially extended stimuli. However, these stimuli constitute the norm, rather than the exception, of the brain's input. Here, we introduce a geometric theory of learning spatiotemporal computations through neuronal plasticity. To that end, we rigorously formulate the problem of neural representations as a relation in space between stimulus-induced neural activity and the asymptotic dynamics of excitable cortical networks. Backed up by computer simulations and numerical analysis, we show that two canonical and widely spread forms of neuronal plasticity, that is, spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity and intrinsic plasticity, are both necessary for creating neural representations, such that these computations become realizable. Interestingly, the effects of these forms of plasticity on the emerging neural code relate to properties necessary for both combating and utilizing noise. The neural dynamics also exhibits features of the most likely stimulus in the network's spontaneous activity. These properties of the spatiotemporal neural code resulting from plasticity, having their grounding in nature, further consolidate the biological relevance of our findings. PMID:24651447

  3. Dietary curcumin counteracts the outcome of traumatic brain injury on oxidative stress, synaptic plasticity, and cognition.

    PubMed

    Wu, Aiguo; Ying, Zhe; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2006-02-01

    The pervasive action of oxidative stress on neuronal function and plasticity after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming increasingly recognized. Here, we evaluated the capacity of the powerful antioxidant curry spice curcumin ingested in the diet to counteract the oxidative damage encountered in the injured brain. In addition, we have examined the possibility that dietary curcumin may favor the injured brain by interacting with molecular mechanisms that maintain synaptic plasticity and cognition. The analysis was focused on the BDNF system based on its action on synaptic plasticity and cognition by modulating synapsin I and CREB. Rats were exposed to a regular diet or a diet high in saturated fat, with or without 500 ppm curcumin for 4 weeks (n = 8/group), before a mild fluid percussion injury (FPI) was performed. The high-fat diet has been shown to exacerbate the effects of TBI on synaptic plasticity and cognitive function. Supplementation of curcumin in the diet dramatically reduced oxidative damage and normalized levels of BDNF, synapsin I, and CREB that had been altered after TBI. Furthermore, curcumin supplementation counteracted the cognitive impairment caused by TBI. These results are in agreement with previous evidence, showing that oxidative stress can affect the injured brain by acting through the BDNF system to affect synaptic plasticity and cognition. The fact that oxidative stress is an intrinsic component of the neurological sequel of TBI and other insults indicates that dietary antioxidant therapy is a realistic approach to promote protective mechanisms in the injured brain.

  4. Experience-dependent structural synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain.

    PubMed

    Holtmaat, Anthony; Svoboda, Karel

    2009-09-01

    Synaptic plasticity in adult neural circuits may involve the strengthening or weakening of existing synapses as well as structural plasticity, including synapse formation and elimination. Indeed, long-term in vivo imaging studies are beginning to reveal the structural dynamics of neocortical neurons in the normal and injured adult brain. Although the overall cell-specific morphology of axons and dendrites, as well as of a subpopulation of small synaptic structures, are remarkably stable, there is increasing evidence that experience-dependent plasticity of specific circuits in the somatosensory and visual cortex involves cell type-specific structural plasticity: some boutons and dendritic spines appear and disappear, accompanied by synapse formation and elimination, respectively. This Review focuses on recent evidence for such structural forms of synaptic plasticity in the mammalian cortex and outlines open questions.

  5. Plastic Brains and the Dialectics of Dialectics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Loxley, Andrew; Murphy, Colette; Seery, Aidan

    2014-01-01

    This article advances the thinking of Lima, Ostermann and Rezende's "Marxism in Vygotskian approaches to cultural studies of science education" and Mark Zuss' response to their paper. Firstly, it introduces Catherine Malabou's concept of plasticity, from which Hegel's dialectic can be re-read as historical materialist…

  6. Effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal and human studies: mind the gap.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Tytus; Dias, Gisele Pereira; Thuret, Sandrine

    2014-01-01

    Dietary interventions have emerged as effective environmental inducers of brain plasticity. Among these dietary interventions, we here highlight the impact of caloric restriction (CR: a consistent reduction of total daily food intake), intermittent fasting (IF, every-other-day feeding), and diet supplementation with polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on markers of brain plasticity in animal studies. Moreover, we also discuss epidemiological and intervention studies reporting the effects of CR, IF and dietary polyphenols and PUFAs on learning, memory, and mood. In particular, we evaluate the gap in mechanistic understanding between recent findings from animal studies and those human studies reporting that these dietary factors can benefit cognition, mood, and anxiety, aging, and Alzheimer's disease-with focus on the enhancement of structural and functional plasticity markers in the hippocampus, such as increased expression of neurotrophic factors, synaptic function and adult neurogenesis. Lastly, we discuss some of the obstacles to harnessing the promising effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal studies into effective recommendations and interventions to promote healthy brain function in humans. Together, these data reinforce the important translational concept that diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor, holds the ability to modulate brain health and function.

  7. Effects of Diet on Brain Plasticity in Animal and Human Studies: Mind the Gap

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Gisele Pereira

    2014-01-01

    Dietary interventions have emerged as effective environmental inducers of brain plasticity. Among these dietary interventions, we here highlight the impact of caloric restriction (CR: a consistent reduction of total daily food intake), intermittent fasting (IF, every-other-day feeding), and diet supplementation with polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on markers of brain plasticity in animal studies. Moreover, we also discuss epidemiological and intervention studies reporting the effects of CR, IF and dietary polyphenols and PUFAs on learning, memory, and mood. In particular, we evaluate the gap in mechanistic understanding between recent findings from animal studies and those human studies reporting that these dietary factors can benefit cognition, mood, and anxiety, aging, and Alzheimer's disease—with focus on the enhancement of structural and functional plasticity markers in the hippocampus, such as increased expression of neurotrophic factors, synaptic function and adult neurogenesis. Lastly, we discuss some of the obstacles to harnessing the promising effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal studies into effective recommendations and interventions to promote healthy brain function in humans. Together, these data reinforce the important translational concept that diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor, holds the ability to modulate brain health and function. PMID:24900924

  8. Experience-driven brain plasticity: beyond the synapse

    PubMed Central

    Markham, Julie A.; Greenough, William T.

    2006-01-01

    The brain is remarkably responsive to its interactions with the environment, and its morphology is altered by experience in measurable ways. Histological examination of the brains of animals exposed to either a complex (‘enriched’) environment or learning paradigm, compared with appropriate controls, has illuminated the nature of experience-induced morphological plasticity in the brain. For example, this research reveals that changes in synapse number and morphology are associated with learning and are stable, in that they persist well beyond the period of exposure to the learning experience. In addition, other components of the nervous system also respond to experience: oligodendrocytes and axonal myelination might also be permanently altered, whereas changes in astrocytes and cerebrovasculature are more transient and appear to be activity- rather than learning-driven. Thus, experience induces multiple forms of plasticity in the brain that are apparently regulated, at least in part, by independent mechanisms. PMID:16921405

  9. Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain.

    PubMed

    Dumoulin Bridi, Michelle C; Aton, Sara J; Seibt, Julie; Renouard, Leslie; Coleman, Tammi; Frank, Marcos G

    2015-07-01

    Rapid eye movement sleep is maximal during early life, but its function in the developing brain is unknown. We investigated the role of rapid eye movement sleep in a canonical model of developmental plasticity in vivo (ocular dominance plasticity in the cat) induced by monocular deprivation. Preventing rapid eye movement sleep after monocular deprivation reduced ocular dominance plasticity and inhibited activation of a kinase critical for this plasticity (extracellular signal-regulated kinase). Chronic single-neuron recording in freely behaving cats further revealed that cortical activity during rapid eye movement sleep resembled activity present during monocular deprivation. This corresponded to times of maximal extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. These findings indicate that rapid eye movement sleep promotes molecular and network adaptations that consolidate waking experience in the developing brain.

  10. Removing brakes on adult brain plasticity: from molecular to behavioral interventions

    PubMed Central

    Bavelier, D.; Levi, D.M.; Li, R.W.; Dan, Y.; Hensch, T.K.

    2010-01-01

    Adult brain plasticity, although possible, remains more restricted in scope than during development. Here, we address conditions under which circuit rewiring may be facilitated in the mature brain. At a cellular and molecular level, adult plasticity is actively limited. Some of these “brakes” are structural, such as peri-neuronal nets or myelin, which inhibit neurite outgrowth. Others are functional, acting directly upon excitatory-inhibitory balance within local circuits. Plasticity in adulthood can be induced either by lifting these brakes through invasive interventions or by exploiting endogenous permissive factors, such as neuromodulators. Using the amblyopic visual system as a model, we discuss genetic, pharmacological, and environmental removal of brakes to enable recovery of vision in adult rodents. Although these mechanisms remain largely uncharted in the human, we consider how they may provide a biological foundation for the remarkable increase in plasticity after action video game play by amblyopic subjects. PMID:21068299

  11. Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain

    PubMed Central

    Dumoulin Bridi, Michelle C.; Aton, Sara J.; Seibt, Julie; Renouard, Leslie; Coleman, Tammi; Frank, Marcos G.

    2015-01-01

    Rapid eye movement sleep is maximal during early life, but its function in the developing brain is unknown. We investigated the role of rapid eye movement sleep in a canonical model of developmental plasticity in vivo (ocular dominance plasticity in the cat) induced by monocular deprivation. Preventing rapid eye movement sleep after monocular deprivation reduced ocular dominance plasticity and inhibited activation of a kinase critical for this plasticity (extracellular signal–regulated kinase). Chronic single-neuron recording in freely behaving cats further revealed that cortical activity during rapid eye movement sleep resembled activity present during monocular deprivation. This corresponded to times of maximal extracellular signal–regulated kinase activation. These findings indicate that rapid eye movement sleep promotes molecular and network adaptations that consolidate waking experience in the developing brain. PMID:26601213

  12. Musical Training Induces Functional Plasticity in Human Hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Esposito, Fabrizio; di Salle, Francesco; Boller, Christian; Hilti, Caroline C.; Habermeyer, Benedikt; Scheffler, Klaus; Wetzel, Stephan; Seifritz, Erich; Cattapan-Ludewig, Katja

    2010-01-01

    Training can change the functional and structural organization of the brain, and animal models demonstrate that the hippocampus formation is particularly susceptible to training-related neuroplasticity. In humans, however, direct evidence for functional plasticity of the adult hippocampus induced by training is still missing. Here, we used musicians' brains as a model to test for plastic capabilities of the adult human hippocampus. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging optimized for the investigation of auditory processing, we examined brain responses induced by temporal novelty in otherwise isochronous sound patterns in musicians and musical laypersons, since the hippocampus has been suggested previously to be crucially involved in various forms of novelty detection. In the first cross-sectional experiment, we identified enhanced neural responses to temporal novelty in the anterior left hippocampus of professional musicians, pointing to expertise-related differences in hippocampal processing. In the second experiment, we evaluated neural responses to acoustic temporal novelty in a longitudinal approach to disentangle training-related changes from predispositional factors. For this purpose, we examined an independent sample of music academy students before and after two semesters of intensive aural skills training. After this training period, hippocampal responses to temporal novelty in sounds were enhanced in musical students, and statistical interaction analysis of brain activity changes over time suggests training rather than predisposition effects. Thus, our results provide direct evidence for functional changes of the adult hippocampus in humans related to musical training. PMID:20107063

  13. High-fat diet transition reduces brain DHA levels associated with altered brain plasticity and behaviour.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Sandeep; Zhuang, Yumei; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2012-01-01

    To assess how the shift from a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids to a diet rich in saturated fatty acid affects the substrates for brain plasticity and function, we used pregnant rats fed with omega-3 supplemented diet from their 2nd day of gestation period as well as their male pups for 12 weeks. Afterwards, the animals were randomly assigned to either a group fed on the same diet or a group fed on a high-fat diet (HFD) rich in saturated fats for 3 weeks. We found that the HFD increased vulnerability for anxiety-like behavior, and that these modifications harmonized with changes in the anxiety-related NPY1 receptor and the reduced levels of BDNF, and its signalling receptor pTrkB, as well as the CREB protein. Brain DHA contents were significantly associated with the levels of anxiety-like behavior in these rats.

  14. Central Role of Maladapted Astrocytic Plasticity in Ischemic Brain Edema Formation

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yu-Feng; Parpura, Vladimir

    2016-01-01

    Brain edema formation and the ensuing brain damages are the major cause of high mortality and long term disability following the occurrence of ischemic stroke. In this process, oxygen and glucose deprivation and the resulting reperfusion injury play primary roles. In response to the ischemic insult, the neurovascular unit experiences both intracellular and extracellular edemas, associated with maladapted astrocytic plasticity. The astrocytic plasticity includes both morphological and functional plasticity. The former involves a reactive gliosis and the subsequent glial retraction. It relates to the capacity of astrocytes to buffer changes in extracellular chemical levels, particularly K+ and glutamate, as well as the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The latter involves the expression and activity of a series of ion and water transport proteins. These molecules are grouped together around glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and water channel protein aquaporin 4 (AQP4) to form functional networks, regulate hydromineral balance across cell membranes and maintain the integrity of the BBB. Intense ischemic challenges can disrupt these capacities of astrocytes and result in their maladaptation. The maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke cannot only disrupt the hydromineral homeostasis across astrocyte membrane and the BBB, but also leads to disorders of the whole neurovascular unit. This review focuses on how the maladapted astrocytic plasticity in ischemic stroke plays the central role in the brain edema formation. PMID:27242440

  15. Plasticity of the Maternal Brain across the Lifespan

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Champagne, Frances A.; Curley, James P.

    2016-01-01

    Maternal behavior is dynamic and highly sensitive to experiential and contextual factors. In this review, this plasticity will be explored, with a focus on how experiences of females occurring from the time of fetal development through to adulthood impact maternal behavior and the maternal brain. Variation in postpartum maternal behavior is…

  16. Functional Prions in the Brain.

    PubMed

    Rayman, Joseph B; Kandel, Eric R

    2017-01-03

    Prions are proteins that can adopt self-perpetuating conformations and are traditionally regarded as etiological agents of infectious neurodegenerative diseases in humans, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, and transmissible encephalopathies. More recently, a growing consensus has emerged that prion-like, self-templating mechanisms also underlie a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease. Perhaps most surprising, not all prion-like aggregates are associated with pathological changes. There are now several examples of prion-like proteins in mammals that serve positive biological functions in their aggregated state. In this review, we discuss functional prions in the nervous system, with particular emphasis on the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding protein (CPEB) and the role of its prion-like aggregates in synaptic plasticity and memory. We also mention a more recent example of a functional prion-like protein in the brain, TIA-1, and its role during stress. These studies of functional prion-like proteins have provided a number of generalizable insights on how prion-based protein switches may operate to serve physiological functions in higher eukaryotes.

  17. Molecular kinesis in cellular function and plasticity.

    PubMed

    Tiedge, H; Bloom, F E; Richter, D

    2001-06-19

    Intracellular transport and localization of cellular components are essential for the functional organization and plasticity of eukaryotic cells. Although the elucidation of protein transport mechanisms has made impressive progress in recent years, intracellular transport of RNA remains less well understood. The National Academy of Sciences Colloquium on Molecular Kinesis in Cellular Function and Plasticity therefore was devised as an interdisciplinary platform for participants to discuss intracellular molecular transport from a variety of different perspectives. Topics covered at the meeting included RNA metabolism and transport, mechanisms of protein synthesis and localization, the formation of complex interactive protein ensembles, and the relevance of such mechanisms for activity-dependent regulation and synaptic plasticity in neurons. It was the overall objective of the colloquium to generate momentum and cohesion for the emerging research field of molecular kinesis.

  18. Effect of exosomes derived from multipluripotent mesenchymal stromal cells on functional recovery and neurovascular plasticity in rats after traumatic brain injury

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yanlu; Chopp, Michael; Meng, Yuling; Katakowski, Mark; Xin, Hongqi; Mahmood, Asim; Xiong, Ye

    2015-01-01

    Object Transplanted multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) improve functional recovery in rats after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we test a novel hypothesis that systemic administration of cell-free exosomes generated from MSCs promotes functional recovery and neurovascular remodeling in rats after TBI. Methods Wistar rats were subjected to TBI followed by tail vein injection of 100 μg protein of exosomes derived from MSCs or an equal volume of vehicle phosphate-buffered saline (n = 8/group) 24 hours later. To evaluate cognitive and sensorimotor functional recovery, the modified Morris water maze, neurological severity score and footfault tests were performed. Animals were sacrificed at 35 days after TBI. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed for measurements of lesion volume, neurovascular remodeling (angiogenesis and neurogenesis), and neuroinflammation. Results Compared with saline-treated controls, exosome-treated TBI rats showed significant improvement in spatial learning at 34-35 days measured by the Morris water maze test (p < 0.05), and sensorimotor functional recovery, i.e., reduced neurological deficits and footfault frequency, observed at 14-35 days post injury (p < 0.05). Exosome treatment significantly increased the number of newborn endothelial cells in the lesion boundary zone and dentate gyrus, and significantly increased the number of newborn immature and mature neurons in the dentate gyrus as well as reduced neuroinflammation. Conclusions We, for the first time, demonstrate that MSC-generated exosomes effectively improve functional recovery, at least in part, by promoting endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis and reducing inflammation in rats after TBI. Thus, MSC-generated exosomes may provide a novel cell-free therapy for TBI and possibly other neurological diseases. PMID:25594326

  19. Modulating brain oscillations to drive brain function.

    PubMed

    Thut, Gregor

    2014-12-01

    Do neuronal oscillations play a causal role in brain function? In a study in this issue of PLOS Biology, Helfrich and colleagues address this long-standing question by attempting to drive brain oscillations using transcranial electrical current stimulation. Remarkably, they were able to manipulate visual perception by forcing brain oscillations of the left and right visual hemispheres into synchrony using oscillatory currents over both hemispheres. Under this condition, human observers more often perceived an inherently ambiguous visual stimulus in one of its perceptual instantiations. These findings shed light on the mechanisms underlying neuronal computation. They show that it is the neuronal oscillations that drive the visual experience, not the experience driving the oscillations. And they indicate that synchronized oscillatory activity groups brain areas into functional networks. This points to new ways for controlled experimental and possibly also clinical interventions for the study and modulation of brain oscillations and associated functions.

  20. Modulating Brain Oscillations to Drive Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Thut, Gregor

    2014-01-01

    Do neuronal oscillations play a causal role in brain function? In a study in this issue of PLOS Biology, Helfrich and colleagues address this long-standing question by attempting to drive brain oscillations using transcranial electrical current stimulation. Remarkably, they were able to manipulate visual perception by forcing brain oscillations of the left and right visual hemispheres into synchrony using oscillatory currents over both hemispheres. Under this condition, human observers more often perceived an inherently ambiguous visual stimulus in one of its perceptual instantiations. These findings shed light on the mechanisms underlying neuronal computation. They show that it is the neuronal oscillations that drive the visual experience, not the experience driving the oscillations. And they indicate that synchronized oscillatory activity groups brain areas into functional networks. This points to new ways for controlled experimental and possibly also clinical interventions for the study and modulation of brain oscillations and associated functions. PMID:25549340

  1. Phytoestrogens: hormonal action and brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Lephart, Edwin D; Setchell, Kenneth D R; Lund, Trent D

    2005-04-15

    Because of their protective effects in age-related diseases and hormone-dependent cancers, the use of phytoestrogens (isoflavones) as 'natural' remedies has gained prominence. Isoflavones are estrogen mimics that bind estrogen receptors and act like natural selective estrogen receptors modulators. However, limited data exists regarding the influence of soy-derived dietary isoflavones in brain. This brief review will address these topics and examine the influence of dietary isoflavones on sexually dimorphic hypothalamic nuclei. We have observed that altering the isoflavone content within diet significantly affects both the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (a structure that is larger in males than in females) and the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (a structure that is larger in females than in males). Specifically, when animals were switched from phytoestrogen-rich to a phytoestrogen-free diet the volume of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area was decreased in males (no alterations were detected in females). Conversely, when the anteroventral periventricular nucleus was examined, volume changes were recorded in males and females opposite to the patterns observed for the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area. Given the practical limitations of examining the effects of dietary phytoestrogens in the human brain, it is important to establish comparative data sets to elucidate phytoestrogen's hormone action and potentially its beneficial brain health effects.

  2. Modulating Effect of Cytokines on Mechanisms of Synaptic Plasticity in the Brain.

    PubMed

    Levin, S G; Godukhin, O V

    2017-03-01

    After accumulation of data showing that resident brain cells (neurons, astrocytes, and microglia) produce mediators of the immune system, such as cytokines and their receptors under normal physiological conditions, a critical need emerged for investigating the role of these mediators in cognitive processes. The major problem for understanding the functional role of cytokines in the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, de novo neurogenesis, and learning and memory is the small number of investigated cytokines. Existing concepts are based on data from just three proinflammatory cytokines: interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The amount of information in the literature on the functional role of antiinflammatory cytokines in the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions of mature mammalian brain is dismally low. However, they are of principle importance for understanding the mechanisms of local information processing in the brain, since they modulate the activity of individual cells and local neural networks, being able to reconstruct the processes of synaptic plasticity and intercellular communication, in general, depending on the local ratio of the levels of different cytokines in certain areas of the brain. Understanding the functional role of cytokines in cellular mechanisms of information processing and storage in the brain would allow developing preventive and therapeutic means for the treatment of neuropathologies related to impairment of these mechanisms.

  3. Plasticity of Hippocampal Excitatory-Inhibitory Balance: Missing the Synaptic Control in the Epileptic Brain

    PubMed Central

    Bonansco, Christian; Fuenzalida, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Synaptic plasticity is the capacity generated by experience to modify the neural function and, thereby, adapt our behaviour. Long-term plasticity of glutamatergic and GABAergic transmission occurs in a concerted manner, finely adjusting the excitatory-inhibitory (E/I) balance. Imbalances of E/I function are related to several neurological diseases including epilepsy. Several evidences have demonstrated that astrocytes are able to control the synaptic plasticity, with astrocytes being active partners in synaptic physiology and E/I balance. Here, we revise molecular evidences showing the epileptic stage as an abnormal form of long-term brain plasticity and propose the possible participation of astrocytes to the abnormal increase of glutamatergic and decrease of GABAergic neurotransmission in epileptic networks. PMID:27006834

  4. Does meditation enhance cognition and brain plasticity?

    PubMed

    Xiong, Glen L; Doraiswamy, P Murali

    2009-08-01

    Meditation practices have various health benefits including the possibility of preserving cognition and preventing dementia. While the mechanisms remain investigational, studies show that meditation may affect multiple pathways that could play a role in brain aging and mental fitness. For example, meditation may reduce stress-induced cortisol secretion and this could have neuroprotective effects potentially via elevating levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Meditation may also potentially have beneficial effects on lipid profiles and lower oxidative stress, both of which could in turn reduce the risk for cerebrovascular disease and age-related neurodegeneration. Further, meditation may potentially strengthen neuronal circuits and enhance cognitive reserve capacity. These are the theoretical bases for how meditation might enhance longevity and optimal health. Evidence to support a neuroprotective effect comes from cognitive, electroencephalogram (EEG), and structural neuroimaging studies. In one cross-sectional study, meditation practitioners were found to have a lower age-related decline in thickness of specific cortical regions. However, the enthusiasm must be balanced by the inconsistency and preliminary nature of existing studies as well as the fact that meditation comprises a heterogeneous group of practices. Key future challenges include the isolation of a potential common element in the different meditation modalities, replication of existing findings in larger randomized trials, determining the correct "dose," studying whether findings from expert practitioners are generalizable to a wider population, and better control of the confounding genetic, dietary and lifestyle influences.

  5. Experience-Dependent Neural Plasticity in the Adult Damaged Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kerr, Abigail L.; Cheng, Shao-Ying; Jones, Theresa A.

    2011-01-01

    Behavioral experience is at work modifying the structure and function of the brain throughout the lifespan, but it has a particularly dramatic influence after brain injury. This review summarizes recent findings on the role of experience in reorganizing the adult damaged brain, with a focus on findings from rodent stroke models of chronic upper…

  6. Exploring Cortical Plasticity and Oscillatory Brain Dynamics via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Resting-State Electroencephalogram

    PubMed Central

    Noh, Nor Azila

    2016-01-01

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological technique that is able to modulate cortical activity beyond the stimulation period. The residual aftereffects are akin to the plasticity mechanism of the brain and suggest the potential use of TMS for therapy. For years, TMS has been shown to transiently improve symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders, but the underlying neural correlates remain elusive. Recently, there is evidence that altered connectivity of brain network dynamics is the mechanism underlying symptoms of various neuropsychiatric illnesses. By combining TMS and electroencephalography (EEG), the functional connectivity patterns among brain regions, and the causal link between function or behaviour and a specific brain region can be determined. Nonetheless, the brain network connectivity are highly complex and involve the dynamics interplay among multitude of brain regions. In this review article, we present previous TMS-EEG co-registration studies, which explore the functional connectivity patterns of human cerebral cortex. We argue the possibilities of neural correlates of long-term potentiation/depression (LTP−/LTD)-like mechanisms of synaptic plasticity that drive the TMS aftereffects as shown by the dissociation between EEG and motor evoked potentials (MEP) cortical output. Here, we also explore alternative explanations that drive the EEG oscillatory modulations post TMS. The precise knowledge of the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying TMS will help characterise disturbances in oscillatory patterns, and the altered functional connectivity in neuropsychiatric illnesses. PMID:27660540

  7. Brain Deletion of Insulin Receptor Substrate 2 Disrupts Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity and Metaplasticity

    PubMed Central

    Costello, Derek A.; Claret, Marc; Al-Qassab, Hind; Plattner, Florian; Irvine, Elaine E.; Choudhury, Agharul I.; Giese, K. Peter; Withers, Dominic J.; Pedarzani, Paola

    2012-01-01

    Objective Diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive deficits and an increased risk of dementia, particularly in the elderly. These deficits and the corresponding neurophysiological structural and functional alterations are linked to both metabolic and vascular changes, related to chronic hyperglycaemia, but probably also defects in insulin action in the brain. To elucidate the specific role of brain insulin signalling in neuronal functions that are relevant for cognitive processes we have investigated the behaviour of neurons and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of mice lacking the insulin receptor substrate protein 2 (IRS-2). Research Design and Methods To study neuronal function and synaptic plasticity in the absence of confounding factors such as hyperglycaemia, we used a mouse model with a central nervous system- (CNS)-restricted deletion of IRS-2 (NesCreIrs2KO). Results We report a deficit in NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of NesCreIrs2KO mice, with a concomitant loss of metaplasticity, the modulation of synaptic plasticity by the previous activity of a synapse. These plasticity changes are associated with reduced basal phosphorylation of the NMDA receptor subunit NR1 and of downstream targets of the PI3K pathway, the protein kinases Akt and GSK-3β. Conclusions These findings reveal molecular and cellular mechanisms that might underlie cognitive deficits linked to specific defects of neuronal insulin signalling. PMID:22383997

  8. Understanding entangled cerebral networks: a prerequisite for restoring brain function with brain-computer interfaces.

    PubMed

    Mandonnet, Emmanuel; Duffau, Hugues

    2014-01-01

    Historically, cerebral processing has been conceptualized as a framework based on statically localized functions. However, a growing amount of evidence supports a hodotopical (delocalized) and flexible organization. A number of studies have reported absence of a permanent neurological deficit after massive surgical resections of eloquent brain tissue. These results highlight the tremendous plastic potential of the brain. Understanding anatomo-functional correlates underlying this cerebral reorganization is a prerequisite to restore brain functions through brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in patients with cerebral diseases, or even to potentiate brain functions in healthy individuals. Here, we review current knowledge of neural networks that could be utilized in the BCIs that enable movements and language. To this end, intraoperative electrical stimulation in awake patients provides valuable information on the cerebral functional maps, their connectomics and plasticity. Overall, these studies indicate that the complex cerebral circuitry that underpins interactions between action, cognition and behavior should be throughly investigated before progress in BCI approaches can be achieved.

  9. Using non-invasive brain stimulation to augment motor training-induced plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Bolognini, Nadia; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Fregni, Felipe

    2009-01-01

    Therapies for motor recovery after stroke or traumatic brain injury are still not satisfactory. To date the best approach seems to be the intensive physical therapy. However the results are limited and functional gains are often minimal. The goal of motor training is to minimize functional disability and optimize functional motor recovery. This is thought to be achieved by modulation of plastic changes in the brain. Therefore, adjunct interventions that can augment the response of the motor system to the behavioural training might be useful to enhance the therapy-induced recovery in neurological populations. In this context, noninvasive brain stimulation appears to be an interesting option as an add-on intervention to standard physical therapies. Two non-invasive methods of inducing electrical currents into the brain have proved to be promising for inducing long-lasting plastic changes in motor systems: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). These techniques represent powerful methods for priming cortical excitability for a subsequent motor task, demand, or stimulation. Thus, their mutual use can optimize the plastic changes induced by motor practice, leading to more remarkable and outlasting clinical gains in rehabilitation. In this review we discuss how these techniques can enhance the effects of a behavioural intervention and the clinical evidence to date. PMID:19292910

  10. Increased morphological asymmetry, evolvability and plasticity in human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Sherwood, Chet C

    2013-06-22

    The study of hominin brain evolution relies mostly on evaluation of the endocranial morphology of fossil skulls. However, only some general features of external brain morphology are evident from endocasts, and many anatomical details can be difficult or impossible to examine. In this study, we use geometric morphometric techniques to evaluate inter- and intraspecific differences in cerebral morphology in a sample of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging scans of chimpanzees and humans, with special emphasis on the study of asymmetric variation. Our study reveals that chimpanzee-human differences in cerebral morphology are mainly symmetric; by contrast, there is continuity in asymmetric variation between species, with humans showing an increased range of variation. Moreover, asymmetric variation does not appear to be the result of allometric scaling at intraspecific levels, whereas symmetric changes exhibit very slight allometric effects within each species. Our results emphasize two key properties of brain evolution in the hominine clade: first, evolution of chimpanzee and human brains (and probably their last common ancestor and related species) is not strongly morphologically constrained, thus making their brains highly evolvable and responsive to selective pressures; second, chimpanzee and, especially, human brains show high levels of fluctuating asymmetry indicative of pronounced developmental plasticity. We infer that these two characteristics can have a role in human cognitive evolution.

  11. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency during brain maturation reduces neuronal and behavioral plasticity in adulthood.

    PubMed

    Bhatia, Harsharan Singh; Agrawal, Rahul; Sharma, Sandeep; Huo, Yi-Xin; Ying, Zhe; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2011-01-01

    Omega-3-fatty acid DHA is a structural component of brain plasma membranes, thereby crucial for neuronal signaling; however, the brain is inefficient at synthesizing DHA. We have asked how levels of dietary n-3 fatty acids during brain growth would affect brain function and plasticity during adult life. Pregnant rats and their male offspring were fed an n-3 adequate diet or n-3 deficient diets for 15 weeks. Results showed that the n-3 deficiency increased parameters of anxiety-like behavior using open field and elevated plus maze tests in the male offspring. Behavioral changes were accompanied by a level reduction in the anxiolytic-related neuropeptide Y-1 receptor, and an increase in the anxiogenic-related glucocorticoid receptor in the cognitive related frontal cortex, hypothalamus and hippocampus. The n-3 deficiency reduced brain levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and increased the ratio n-6/n-3 assessed by gas chromatography. The n-3 deficiency reduced the levels of BDNF and signaling through the BDNF receptor TrkB, in proportion to brain DHA levels, and reduced the activation of the BDNF-related signaling molecule CREB in selected brain regions. The n-3 deficiency also disrupted the insulin signaling pathways as evidenced by changes in insulin receptor (IR) and insulin receptor substrate (IRS). DHA deficiency during brain maturation reduces plasticity and compromises brain function in adulthood. Adequate levels of dietary DHA seem crucial for building long-term neuronal resilience for optimal brain performance and aiding in the battle against neurological disorders.

  12. Structure of brain functional networks.

    PubMed

    Kuchaiev, Oleksii; Wang, Po T; Nenadic, Zoran; Przulj, Natasa

    2009-01-01

    Brain is a complex network optimized both for segregated and distributed information processing. To perform cognitive tasks, different areas of the brain must "cooperate," thereby forming complex networks of interactions also known as brain functional networks. Previous studies have shown that these networks exhibit "small-world" characteristics. Small-world topology, however, is a general property of all brain functional networks and does not capture structural changes in these networks in response to different stimuli or cognitive tasks. Here we show how novel graph theoretic techniques can be utilized for precise analysis of brain functional networks. These techniques allow us to detect structural changes in brain functional networks in response to different stimuli or cognitive tasks. For certain types of cognitive tasks we have found that these networks exhibit geometric structure in addition to the small-world topology. The method has been applied to the electrocorticographic signals of six epileptic patients.

  13. [Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: from nerve growth factor to modulator of brain plasticity in cognitive processes and psychiatric diseases].

    PubMed

    Laske, C; Eschweiler, G W

    2006-05-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin family and plays an important role in neuronal survival and plasticity in the CNS. The proform of BDNF (pro-BDNF) is secreted and cleaved extracellularly by the serine protease plasmin to mature BDNF, which potentiates synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation. Recent findings in animal models suggest an involvement of BDNF and its genetic functional single nucleotide polymorphism in the pathogenesis of different psychiatric diseases including depression, mania, schizophrenia, eating disorders, dementia, and Huntington's disease. In the brain and serum, BDNF is modulated by different factors. It is downregulated by stress and upregulated by learning processes, several antidepressive treatments, physical activity, and dietary restriction. Measurement of BDNF serum concentrations may be of diagnostic value. Additionally, the influence of different strategies for BDNF allocation seems to be relevant for the treatment and prevention of the above psychiatric disorders.

  14. Brain Functioning Models for Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tipps, Steve; And Others

    This paper describes three models of brain function, each of which contributes to an integrated understanding of human learning. The first model, the up-and-down model, emphasizes the interconnection between brain structures and functions, and argues that since physiological, emotional, and cognitive responses are inseparable, the learning context…

  15. Structural brain plasticity in Parkinson's disease induced by balance training.

    PubMed

    Sehm, Bernhard; Taubert, Marco; Conde, Virginia; Weise, David; Classen, Joseph; Dukart, Juergen; Draganski, Bogdan; Villringer, Arno; Ragert, Patrick

    2014-01-01

    We investigated morphometric brain changes in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) that are associated with balance training. A total of 20 patients and 16 healthy matched controls learned a balance task over a period of 6 weeks. Balance testing and structural magnetic resonance imaging were performed before and after 2, 4, and 6 training weeks. Balance performance was re-evaluated after ∼20 months. Balance training resulted in performance improvements in both groups. Voxel-based morphometry revealed learning-dependent gray matter changes in the left hippocampus in healthy controls. In PD patients, performance improvements were correlated with gray matter changes in the right anterior precuneus, left inferior parietal cortex, left ventral premotor cortex, bilateral anterior cingulate cortex, and left middle temporal gyrus. Furthermore, a TIME × GROUP interaction analysis revealed time-dependent gray matter changes in the right cerebellum. Our results highlight training-induced balance improvements in PD patients that may be associated with specific patterns of structural brain plasticity. In summary, we provide novel evidence for the capacity of the human brain to undergo learning-related structural plasticity even in a pathophysiological disease state such as in PD.

  16. Indestructible plastic: the neuroscience of the new aging brain.

    PubMed

    Holman, Constance; de Villers-Sidani, Etienne

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, research on experience-dependent plasticity has provided valuable insight on adaptation to environmental input across the lifespan, and advances in understanding the minute cellular changes underlying the brain's capacity for self-reorganization have opened exciting new possibilities for treating illness and injury. Ongoing work in this line of inquiry has also come to deeply influence another field: cognitive neuroscience of the normal aging. This complex process, once considered inevitable or beyond the reach of treatment, has been transformed into an arena of intense investigation and strategic intervention. However, important questions remain about this characterization of the aging brain, and the assumptions it makes about the social, cultural, and biological space occupied by cognition in the older individual and body. The following paper will provide a critical examination of the move from basic experiments on the neurophysiology of experience-dependent plasticity to the growing market for (and public conception of) cognitive aging as a medicalized space for intervention by neuroscience-backed technologies. Entangled with changing concepts of normality, pathology, and self-preservation, we will argue that this new understanding, led by personalized cognitive training strategies, is approaching a point where interdisciplinary research is crucial to provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of the aging process. This new outlook will allow us to move forward in a space where our knowledge, like our new conception of the brain, is never static.

  17. Pain and the brain: Specificity and plasticity of the brain in clinical chronic pain

    PubMed Central

    Apkarian, A.V.; Hashmi, J.A.; Baliki, M.N.

    2010-01-01

    We review recent advances in brain imaging in humans, concentrating on advances in our understanding of the human brain in clinical chronic pain. Understanding regarding anatomical and functional reorganization of the brain in chronic pain is emphasized. We conclude by proposing a brain model for the transition of the human from acute to chronic pain. PMID:21146929

  18. Review of Research: Neuroscience and the Impact of Brain Plasticity on Braille Reading

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hannan, Cheryl Kamei

    2006-01-01

    In this systematic review of research, the author analyzes studies of neural cortical activation, brain plasticity, and braille reading. The conclusions regarding the brain's plasticity and ability to reorganize are encouraging for individuals with degenerative eye conditions or late-onset blindness because they indicate that the brain can make…

  19. Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Involvement of Glial Cells in Brain Plastic Remodeling in Epilepsy.

    PubMed

    Khaspekov, L G; Frumkina, L E

    2017-03-01

    In this review we summarize published data on the involvement of glial cells in molecular mechanisms underlying brain plastic reorganization in epilepsy. The role of astrocytes as glial elements in pathological plasticity in epilepsy is discussed. Data on the involvement of aquaporin-4 in epileptogenic plastic changes and on participation of microglia and extracellular matrix in dysregulation of synaptic transmission and plastic remodeling in epileptic brain tissue are reviewed.

  20. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones.

    PubMed

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-10-30

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research.

  1. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones

    PubMed Central

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R.; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research. PMID:24194709

  2. Linking neocortical, cognitive, and genetic variability in autism with alterations of brain plasticity: the Trigger-Threshold-Target model.

    PubMed

    Mottron, Laurent; Belleville, Sylvie; Rouleau, Guy A; Collignon, Olivier

    2014-11-01

    The phenotype of autism involves heterogeneous adaptive traits (strengths vs. disabilities), different domains of alterations (social vs. non-social), and various associated genetic conditions (syndromic vs. nonsyndromic autism). Three observations suggest that alterations in experience-dependent plasticity are an etiological factor in autism: (1) the main cognitive domains enhanced in autism are controlled by the most plastic cortical brain regions, the multimodal association cortices; (2) autism and sensory deprivation share several features of cortical and functional reorganization; and (3) genetic mutations and/or environmental insults involved in autism all appear to affect developmental synaptic plasticity, and mostly lead to its upregulation. We present the Trigger-Threshold-Target (TTT) model of autism to organize these findings. In this model, genetic mutations trigger brain reorganization in individuals with a low plasticity threshold, mostly within regions sensitive to cortical reallocations. These changes account for the cognitive enhancements and reduced social expertise associated with autism. Enhanced but normal plasticity may underlie non-syndromic autism, whereas syndromic autism may occur when a triggering mutation or event produces an altered plastic reaction, also resulting in intellectual disability and dysmorphism in addition to autism. Differences in the target of brain reorganization (perceptual vs. language regions) account for the main autistic subgroups. In light of this model, future research should investigate how individual and sex-related differences in synaptic/regional brain plasticity influence the occurrence of autism.

  3. Two views of brain function.

    PubMed

    Raichle, Marcus E

    2010-04-01

    Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature, such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. Although such an approach has been remarkably productive, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. Here I argue that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources. Recognizing the importance of intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux.

  4. Lessons from brain mapping in surgery for low-grade glioma: insights into associations between tumour and brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Duffau, Hugues

    2005-08-01

    Surgical treatment of low-grade gliomas (LGGs) aims to maximise the amount of tumour tissue resected, while minimising the risk of functional sequelae. In this review I address the issue of how to reconcile these two conflicting goals. First, I review the natural history of LGG-growth, invasion, and anaplastic transformation. Second, I discuss the contribution of new techniques, such as functional mapping, to our understanding of brain reorganisation in response to progressive growth of LGG. Third, I consider the clinical implications of interactions between tumour progression and brain plasticity. In particular, I show how longitudinal studies (preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative) could allow us to optimise the surgical risk-to-benefit ratios. I will also discuss controversial issues such as defining surgical indications for LGGs, predicting the risk of postoperative deficit, aspects of operative surgical neuro-oncology (eg, preoperative planning and preservation of functional areas and tracts), and postoperative functional recovery.

  5. Self-organized criticality model for brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    de Arcangelis, Lucilla; Perrone-Capano, Carla; Herrmann, Hans J

    2006-01-20

    Networks of living neurons exhibit an avalanche mode of activity, experimentally found in organotypic cultures. Here we present a model that is based on self-organized criticality and takes into account brain plasticity, which is able to reproduce the spectrum of electroencephalograms (EEG). The model consists of an electrical network with threshold firing and activity-dependent synapse strengths. The system exhibits an avalanche activity in a power-law distribution. The analysis of the power spectra of the electrical signal reproduces very robustly the power-law behavior with the exponent 0.8, experimentally measured in EEG spectra. The same value of the exponent is found on small-world lattices and for leaky neurons, indicating that universality holds for a wide class of brain models.

  6. Neural Mechanisms of Brain Plasticity with Complex Cognitive Training in Healthy Seniors

    PubMed Central

    Chapman, Sandra B.; Aslan, Sina; Spence, Jeffrey S.; Hart, John J.; Bartz, Elizabeth K.; Didehbani, Nyaz; Keebler, Molly W.; Gardner, Claire M.; Strain, Jeremy F.; DeFina, Laura F.; Lu, Hanzhang

    2015-01-01

    Complex mental activity induces improvements in cognition, brain function, and structure in animals and young adults. It is not clear to what extent the aging brain is capable of such plasticity. This study expands previous evidence of generalized cognitive gains after mental training in healthy seniors. Using 3 MRI-based measurements, that is, arterial spin labeling MRI, functional connectivity, and diffusion tensor imaging, we examined brain changes across 3 time points pre, mid, and post training (12 weeks) in a randomized sample (n = 37) who received cognitive training versus a control group. We found significant training-related brain state changes at rest; specifically, 1) increases in global and regional cerebral blood flow (CBF), particularly in the default mode network and the central executive network, 2) greater connectivity in these same networks, and 3) increased white matter integrity in the left uncinate demonstrated by an increase in fractional anisotropy. Improvements in cognition were identified along with significant CBF correlates of the cognitive gains. We propose that cognitive training enhances resting-state neural activity and connectivity, increasing the blood supply to these regions via neurovascular coupling. These convergent results provide preliminary evidence that neural plasticity can be harnessed to mitigate brain losses with cognitive training in seniors. PMID:23985135

  7. Adult neurogenesis and its role in neuropsychiatric disease, brain repair and normal brain function.

    PubMed

    Braun, S M G; Jessberger, S

    2014-02-01

    Neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in the mammalian brain retain the ability to generate new neurones throughout life in discrete brain regions, through a process called adult neurogenesis. Adult neurogenesis, a dramatic form of adult brain circuitry plasticity, has been implicated in physiological brain function and appears to be of pivotal importance for certain forms of learning and memory. In addition, failing or altered neurogenesis has been associated with a variety of brain diseases such as major depression, epilepsy and age-related cognitive decline. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of the basic biology underlying the neurogenic process in the adult brain, focusing on mechanisms that regulate quiescence, proliferation and differentiation of NSPCs. In addition, we discuss how neurogenesis influences normal brain function, and in particular its role in memory formation, as well as its contribution to neuropsychiatric diseases. Finally, we evaluate the potential of targeting endogenous NSPCs for brain repair.

  8. Changes of the directional brain networks related with brain plasticity in patients with long-term unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

    PubMed

    Zhang, G-Y; Yang, M; Liu, B; Huang, Z-C; Li, J; Chen, J-Y; Chen, H; Zhang, P-P; Liu, L-J; Wang, J; Teng, G-J

    2016-01-28

    Previous studies often report that early auditory deprivation or congenital deafness contributes to cross-modal reorganization in the auditory-deprived cortex, and this cross-modal reorganization limits clinical benefit from cochlear prosthetics. However, there are inconsistencies among study results on cortical reorganization in those subjects with long-term unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL). It is also unclear whether there exists a similar cross-modal plasticity of the auditory cortex for acquired monaural deafness and early or congenital deafness. To address this issue, we constructed the directional brain functional networks based on entropy connectivity of resting-state functional MRI and researched changes of the networks. Thirty-four long-term USNHL individuals and seventeen normally hearing individuals participated in the test, and all USNHL patients had acquired deafness. We found that certain brain regions of the sensorimotor and visual networks presented enhanced synchronous output entropy connectivity with the left primary auditory cortex in the left long-term USNHL individuals as compared with normally hearing individuals. Especially, the left USNHL showed more significant changes of entropy connectivity than the right USNHL. No significant plastic changes were observed in the right USNHL. Our results indicate that the left primary auditory cortex (non-auditory-deprived cortex) in patients with left USNHL has been reorganized by visual and sensorimotor modalities through cross-modal plasticity. Furthermore, the cross-modal reorganization also alters the directional brain functional networks. The auditory deprivation from the left or right side generates different influences on the human brain.

  9. Emerging concepts of brain function.

    PubMed

    Bach-Y-Rita, Paul

    2005-06-01

    For over 40 years, since I first obtained evidence for nonsynaptic diffusion neurotransmission (most scientists call it Volume Transmission), I have been convinced that we scientists were ignoring organizational dynamics other than the mechanistic synaptic organization of the brain. For many years it was an uneasy feeling, since I was aware there are so many avenues to explore in brain function. I have wondered how much we scientists have ignored, in our quest to understand how the brain really works, due to our efforts to "be scientific". In addition to the difficulty of understanding how the brain functions, how could we even begin to explore the human experience? In this paper I will first discuss some emerging concepts of brain function. I will then comment on the development of concepts that have been a part of my own research experience.

  10. Interactions between environmental changes and brain plasticity in birds.

    PubMed

    Barnea, Anat

    2009-09-01

    Neurogenesis and neuronal recruitment occur in many vertebrates, including humans. Most of the new neurons die before reaching their destination. Those which survive migrate to various brain regions, replace older ones and connect to existing circuits. Evidence suggests that this replacement is related to acquisition of new information. Therefore, neuronal replacement can be seen as a form of brain plasticity that enables organisms to adjust to environmental changes. However, direct evidence of a causal link between replacement and learning remains elusive. Our hypothesis is that increased neuronal recruitment is associated with increase in memory load. Moreover, since neuronal recruitment is part of a turnover process, we assume that the same conditions that favor survival of some neurons induce the death of others. I present studies that investigated the effect of various behaviors and environmental conditions (food-hoarding, social change, reproductive cycle) on neuronal recruitment and survival in adult avian brains, and discuss how these phenomena relate to the life of animals. I offer a frame and rationale for comparing neuronal replacement in the adult brain, in order to uncover the pressures, rules, and mechanisms that govern its constant rejuvenation. The review emphasizes the importance of using various approaches (behavioral, anatomical, cellular and hormonal) in neuroethological research, and the need to study natural populations, in order to fully understand how neurogenesis and neuronal replacement contribute to life of animals. Finally, the review indicates to future directions and ends with the hope that a better understanding of adult neuronal replacement will lead to medical applications.

  11. Indestructible plastic: the neuroscience of the new aging brain

    PubMed Central

    Holman, Constance; de Villers-Sidani, Etienne

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, research on experience-dependent plasticity has provided valuable insight on adaptation to environmental input across the lifespan, and advances in understanding the minute cellular changes underlying the brain’s capacity for self-reorganization have opened exciting new possibilities for treating illness and injury. Ongoing work in this line of inquiry has also come to deeply influence another field: cognitive neuroscience of the normal aging. This complex process, once considered inevitable or beyond the reach of treatment, has been transformed into an arena of intense investigation and strategic intervention. However, important questions remain about this characterization of the aging brain, and the assumptions it makes about the social, cultural, and biological space occupied by cognition in the older individual and body. The following paper will provide a critical examination of the move from basic experiments on the neurophysiology of experience-dependent plasticity to the growing market for (and public conception of) cognitive aging as a medicalized space for intervention by neuroscience-backed technologies. Entangled with changing concepts of normality, pathology, and self-preservation, we will argue that this new understanding, led by personalized cognitive training strategies, is approaching a point where interdisciplinary research is crucial to provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of the aging process. This new outlook will allow us to move forward in a space where our knowledge, like our new conception of the brain, is never static. PMID:24782746

  12. Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain.

    PubMed

    Leung, Natalie T Y; Tam, Helena M K; Chu, Leung W; Kwok, Timothy C Y; Chan, Felix; Lam, Linda C W; Woo, Jean; Lee, Tatia M C

    2015-01-01

    Increasing research has evidenced that our brain retains a capacity to change in response to experience until late adulthood. This implies that cognitive training can possibly ameliorate age-associated cognitive decline by inducing training-specific neural plastic changes at both neural and behavioral levels. This longitudinal study examined the behavioral effects of a systematic thirteen-week cognitive training program on attention and working memory of older adults who were at risk of cognitive decline. These older adults were randomly assigned to the Cognitive Training Group (n = 109) and the Active Control Group (n = 100). Findings clearly indicated that training induced improvement in auditory and visual-spatial attention and working memory. The training effect was specific to the experience provided because no significant difference in verbal and visual-spatial memory between the two groups was observed. This pattern of findings is consistent with the prediction and the principle of experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Findings of our study provided further support to the notion that the neural plastic potential continues until older age. The baseline cognitive status did not correlate with pre- versus posttraining changes to any cognitive variables studied, suggesting that the initial cognitive status may not limit the neuroplastic potential of the brain at an old age.

  13. Induced sensorimotor brain plasticity controls pain in phantom limb patients

    PubMed Central

    Yanagisawa, Takufumi; Fukuma, Ryohei; Seymour, Ben; Hosomi, Koichi; Kishima, Haruhiko; Shimizu, Takeshi; Yokoi, Hiroshi; Hirata, Masayuki; Yoshimine, Toshiki; Kamitani, Yukiyasu; Saitoh, Youichi

    2016-01-01

    The cause of pain in a phantom limb after partial or complete deafferentation is an important problem. A popular but increasingly controversial theory is that it results from maladaptive reorganization of the sensorimotor cortex, suggesting that experimental induction of further reorganization should affect the pain, especially if it results in functional restoration. Here we use a brain–machine interface (BMI) based on real-time magnetoencephalography signals to reconstruct affected hand movements with a robotic hand. BMI training induces significant plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex, manifested as improved discriminability of movement information and enhanced prosthetic control. Contrary to our expectation that functional restoration would reduce pain, the BMI training with the phantom hand intensifies the pain. In contrast, BMI training designed to dissociate the prosthetic and phantom hands actually reduces pain. These results reveal a functional relevance between sensorimotor cortical plasticity and pain, and may provide a novel treatment with BMI neurofeedback. PMID:27807349

  14. Extracellular proteolysis in structural and functional plasticity of mossy fiber synapses in hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Wiera, Grzegorz; Mozrzymas, Jerzy W.

    2015-01-01

    Brain is continuously altered in response to experience and environmental changes. One of the underlying mechanisms is synaptic plasticity, which is manifested by modification of synapse structure and function. It is becoming clear that regulated extracellular proteolysis plays a pivotal role in the structural and functional remodeling of synapses during brain development, learning and memory formation. Clearly, plasticity mechanisms may substantially differ between projections. Mossy fiber synapses onto CA3 pyramidal cells display several unique functional features, including pronounced short-term facilitation, a presynaptically expressed long-term potentiation (LTP) that is independent of NMDAR activation, and NMDA-dependent metaplasticity. Moreover, structural plasticity at mossy fiber synapses ranges from the reorganization of projection topology after hippocampus-dependent learning, through intrinsically different dynamic properties of synaptic boutons to pre- and postsynaptic structural changes accompanying LTP induction. Although concomitant functional and structural plasticity in this pathway strongly suggests a role of extracellular proteolysis, its impact only starts to be investigated in this projection. In the present report, we review the role of extracellular proteolysis in various aspects of synaptic plasticity in hippocampal mossy fiber synapses. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that among perisynaptic proteases, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)/plasmin system, β-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and metalloproteinases play a crucial role in shaping plastic changes in this projection. We discuss recent advances and emerging hypotheses on the roles of proteases in mechanisms underlying mossy fiber target specific synaptic plasticity and memory formation. PMID:26582976

  15. Reorganization of Functional Connectivity as a Correlate of Cognitive Recovery in Acquired Brain Injury

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Castellanos, Nazareth P.; Paul, Nuria; Ordonez, Victoria E.; Demuynck, Olivier; Bajo, Ricardo; Campo, Pablo; Bilbao, Alvaro; Ortiz, Tomas; del-Pozo, Francisco; Maestu, Fernando

    2010-01-01

    Cognitive processes require a functional interaction between specialized multiple, local and remote brain regions. Although these interactions can be strongly altered by an acquired brain injury, brain plasticity allows network reorganization to be principally responsible for recovery. The present work evaluates the impact of brain injury on…

  16. Cortical plasticity catalyzed by prehabilitation enables extensive resection of brain tumors in eloquent areas.

    PubMed

    Rivera-Rivera, Paola A; Rios-Lago, Marcos; Sanchez-Casarrubios, Sandra; Salazar, Osman; Yus, Miguel; González-Hidalgo, Mercedes; Sanz, Ana; Avecillas-Chasin, Josué; Alvarez-Linera, Juan; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Oliviero, Antonio; Barcia, Juan A

    2017-04-01

    OBJECTIVE The extent of resection is the most important prognostic factor following brain glioma surgery. However, eloquent areas within tumors limit the extent of resection and, thus, critically affect outcomes. The authors hypothesized that presurgical suppression of the eloquent areas within a tumor by continuous cortical electrical stimulation, coupled with appropriate behavioral training ("prehabilitation"), would induce plastic reorganization and enable a more extensive resection. METHODS The authors report on 5 patients harboring gliomas involving eloquent brain areas within tumors as identified on intraoperative stimulation mapping. A grid of electrodes was placed over the residual tumor, and continuous cortical electrical stimulation was targeted to the functional areas. The stimulation intensity was adjusted daily to provoke a mild functional impairment while the function was intensively trained. RESULTS The stimulation intensity required to impair function increased progressively in all patients, and all underwent another operation a mean of 33.6 days later (range 27-37 days), when the maximal stimulation voltage in all active contacts induced no functional deficit. In all cases, a substantially more extensive resection of the tumor was possible. Intraoperative mapping and functional MRI demonstrated a plastic reorganization, and most previously demonstrated eloquent areas within the tumor were silent, while there was new functional activation of brain areas in the same region or toward the contralateral hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS Prehabilitation with continuous cortical electrical stimulation and appropriate behavioral training prior to surgery in patients with WHO Grade II and III gliomas affecting eloquent areas accelerate plastic changes. This can help maximize tumor resection and, thus, improve survival while maintaining function.

  17. Higher Brain Function.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chiaia, N.L.; Teyler, T.J.

    1983-01-01

    Focuses on how learning works. Discusses three major components related to processing information--sensory and perceptual systems, integration of information, and output of information--and developmental and environmental factors affecting brain information in each of these areas. Concludes with discussion of biological bases for cognitive and…

  18. Bridging animal and human models of exercise-induced brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Voss, Michelle W.; Vivar, Carmen; Kramer, Arthur F.; van Praag, Henriette

    2015-01-01

    Significant progress has been made in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms through which exercise protects and restores the brain. In this feature review, we integrate animal and human research, examining physical activity effects across multiple levels of description (neurons up to inter-regional pathways). We evaluate the influence of exercise on hippocampal structure and function, addressing common themes such as spatial memory and pattern separation, brain structure and plasticity, neurotrophic factors, and vasculature. Areas of research focused more within species, such as hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents, also provide crucial insight into the protective role of physical activity. Overall, converging evidence suggests exercise benefits brain function and cognition across the mammalian lifespan, which may translate into reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans. PMID:24029446

  19. Bridging animal and human models of exercise-induced brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Voss, Michelle W; Vivar, Carmen; Kramer, Arthur F; van Praag, Henriette

    2013-10-01

    Significant progress has been made in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms through which exercise protects and restores the brain. In this feature review, we integrate animal and human research, examining physical activity effects across multiple levels of description (neurons up to inter-regional pathways). We evaluate the influence of exercise on hippocampal structure and function, addressing common themes such as spatial memory and pattern separation, brain structure and plasticity, neurotrophic factors, and vasculature. Areas of research focused more within species, such as hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents, also provide crucial insight into the protective role of physical activity. Overall, converging evidence suggests exercise benefits brain function and cognition across the mammalian lifespan, which may translate into reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in humans.

  20. Training-related brain plasticity in subjects at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

    PubMed

    Belleville, Sylvie; Clément, Francis; Mellah, Samira; Gilbert, Brigitte; Fontaine, Francine; Gauthier, Serge

    2011-06-01

    Subjects with mild cognitive impairment are at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Cognitive stimulation is an emerging intervention in the field of neurology and allied sciences, having already been shown to improve cognition in subjects with mild cognitive impairment. Yet no studies have attempted to unravel the brain mechanisms that support such improvement. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the effect of memory training on brain activation in older adults with mild cognitive impairment and to assess whether it can reverse the brain changes associated with mild cognitive impairment. Brain activation associated with verbal encoding and retrieval was recorded twice prior to training and once after training. In subjects with mild cognitive impairment, increased activation was found after training within a large network that included the frontal, temporal and parietal areas. Healthy controls showed mostly areas of decreased activation following training. Comparison with pre-training indicated that subjects with mild cognitive impairment used a combination of specialized areas; that is, areas activated prior to training and new alternative areas activated following training. However, only activation of the right inferior parietal lobule, a new area of activation, correlated with performance. Furthermore, the differences between the brain activation patterns of subjects with mild cognitive impairment and those of healthy controls were attenuated by training in a number of brain regions. These results indicate that memory training can result in significant neural changes that are measurable with brain imaging. They also show that the brains of people with mild cognitive impairment remain highly plastic.

  1. Brain composition in Heliconius butterflies, posteclosion growth and experience-dependent neuropil plasticity.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Merrill, Richard M; Ott, Swidbert R

    2016-06-15

    Behavioral and sensory adaptations are often reflected in the differential expansion of brain components. These volumetric differences represent changes in cell number, size, and/or connectivity, which may denote changes in the functional and evolutionary relationships between different brain regions, and between brain composition and behavioral ecology. Here we describe the brain composition of two species of Heliconius butterflies, a long-standing study system for investigating ecological adaptation and speciation. We confirm a previous report of a striking volumetric expansion of the mushroom body, and explore patterns of differential posteclosion and experience-dependent plasticity between different brain regions. This analysis uncovers age- and experience-dependent posteclosion mushroom body growth comparable to that in foraging Hymenoptera, but also identifies plasticity in several other neuropils. An interspecific analysis indicates that Heliconius display a remarkably large investment in mushroom bodies for a lepidopteran, and indeed rank highly compared to other insects. Our analyses lay the foundation for future comparative and experimental analyses that will establish Heliconius as a valuable case study in evolutionary neurobiology.

  2. Brain function, disease and dementia.

    PubMed

    Sandilyan, Malarvizhi Babu; Dening, Tom

    2015-05-27

    Dementia is a consequence of brain disease. This article, the second in this series on dementia, discusses normal brain function and how certain functions are localised to different areas of the brain. This is important in determining the symptoms of dementia, depending on which parts of the brain are most directly involved. The most common types of dementia - Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia - affect the brain in different ways and cause different changes at the microscopic level. Dementia is affected by genetics, and recent advances in molecular techniques have improved our understanding of some of the mechanisms involved, which in turns suggests possibilities for new treatments in the future.

  3. Localized morphological brain differences between English-speaking Caucasians and Chinese-speaking Asians: new evidence of anatomical plasticity.

    PubMed

    Kochunov, P; Fox, P; Lancaster, J; Tan, L H; Amunts, K; Zilles, K; Mazziotta, J; Gao, J H

    2003-05-23

    Deformation field morphometry was applied to magnetic resonance images to detect differences in brain shape between English-speaking Caucasians and Chinese-speaking Asians. Anatomical differences between these two groups were limited to gyri in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes, which are known (through functional imaging studies) to differentiate Chinese speakers from English speakers. We interpret these anatomical differences as evidence of neural plasticity shaped by the process of language acquisition during childhood. While anatomical plasticity due to manual skill acquisition (e.g. in musicians) has been established, to our knowledge this is the first report of a brain anatomical difference attributable to a learned cognitive strategy.

  4. Vitamin K and brain function.

    PubMed

    Ferland, Guylaine

    2013-11-01

    One of the fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K was initially discovered for its role in blood coagulation. Although several vitamin K-dependent hemostatic proteins are particularly important for the brain, other vitamin K-dependent proteins (VKDPs), not associated with blood coagulation, also contribute to the brain function. In addition to the VKDPs, vitamin K participates in the nervous system through its involvement in sphingolipid metabolism, a class of lipids widely present in brain cell membranes. Classically known for their structural role, sphingolipids are biologically potent molecules involved in a wide range of cellular actions. Also, there is growing evidence that the K vitamer, menaquinone-4, has anti-inflammatory activity and offers protection against oxidative stress. Finally, although limited in numbers, reports point to a modulatory role of vitamin K in cognition. This short review presents an overview of the known role of vitamin K in brain function to date.

  5. Magnetic Resonance, Functional (fMRI) -- Brain

    MedlinePlus

    ... thought, speech, movement and sensation, which is called brain mapping. help assess the effects of stroke, trauma or degenerative disease (such as Alzheimer's) on brain function. monitor the growth and function of brain ...

  6. Biologic and plastic effects of experimental traumatic brain injury treatment paradigms and their relevance to clinical rehabilitation

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Alexandra N.; Shah, Mansi A.; Dixon, C. Edward; Wagner, Amy K.; Kline, Anthony E.

    2011-01-01

    Neuroplastic changes, whether induced by traumatic brain injury (TBI) or therapeutic interventions, alter neurobehavioral outcome. Here we present several treatment strategies that have been evaluated using experimental TBI models and discuss potential mechanisms of action (i.e., plasticity) and how such changes affect function. PMID:21703575

  7. Musical training influences linguistic abilities in 8-year-old children: more evidence for brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Moreno, Sylvain; Marques, Carlos; Santos, Andreia; Santos, Manuela; Castro, São Luís; Besson, Mireille

    2009-03-01

    We conducted a longitudinal study with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months to determine 1) whether functional differences between musician and nonmusician children reflect specific predispositions for music or result from musical training and 2) whether musical training improves nonmusical brain functions such as reading and linguistic pitch processing. Event-related brain potentials were recorded while 8-year-old children performed tasks designed to test the hypothesis that musical training improves pitch processing not only in music but also in speech. Following the first testing sessions nonmusician children were pseudorandomly assigned to music or to painting training for 6 months and were tested again after training using the same tests. After musical (but not painting) training, children showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech. Remarkably, 6 months of musical training thus suffices to significantly improve behavior and to influence the development of neural processes as reflected in specific pattern of brain waves. These results reveal positive transfer from music to speech and highlight the influence of musical training. Finally, they demonstrate brain plasticity in showing that relatively short periods of training have strong consequences on the functional organization of the children's brain.

  8. Training the brain: practical applications of neural plasticity from the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and prevention science.

    PubMed

    Bryck, Richard L; Fisher, Philip A

    2012-01-01

    Prior researchers have shown that the brain has a remarkable ability for adapting to environmental changes. The positive effects of such neural plasticity include enhanced functioning in specific cognitive domains and shifts in cortical representation following naturally occurring cases of sensory deprivation; however, maladaptive changes in brain function and development owing to early developmental adversity and stress have also been well documented. Researchers examining enriched rearing environments in animals have revealed the potential for inducing positive brain plasticity effects and have helped to popularize methods for training the brain to reverse early brain deficits or to boost normal cognitive functioning. In this article, two classes of empirically based methods of brain training in children are reviewed and critiqued: laboratory-based, mental process training paradigms and ecological interventions based upon neurocognitive conceptual models. Given the susceptibility of executive function disruption, special attention is paid to training programs that emphasize executive function enhancement. In addition, a third approach to brain training, aimed at tapping into compensatory processes, is postulated. Study results showing the effectiveness of this strategy in the field of neurorehabilitation and in terms of naturally occurring compensatory processing in human aging lend credence to the potential of this approach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

  9. Sleep, plasticity and memory from molecules to whole-brain networks.

    PubMed

    Abel, Ted; Havekes, Robbert; Saletin, Jared M; Walker, Matthew P

    2013-09-09

    Despite the ubiquity of sleep across phylogeny, its function remains elusive. In this review, we consider one compelling candidate: brain plasticity associated with memory processing. Focusing largely on hippocampus-dependent memory in rodents and humans, we describe molecular, cellular, network, whole-brain and behavioral evidence establishing a role for sleep both in preparation for initial memory encoding, and in the subsequent offline consolidation of memory. Sleep and sleep deprivation bidirectionally alter molecular signaling pathways that regulate synaptic strength and control plasticity-related gene transcription and protein translation. At the cellular level, sleep deprivation impairs cellular excitability necessary for inducing synaptic potentiation and accelerates the decay of long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity. In contrast, rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep enhance previously induced synaptic potentiation, although synaptic de-potentiation during sleep has also been observed. Beyond single cell dynamics, large-scale cell ensembles express coordinated replay of prior learning-related firing patterns during subsequent NREM sleep. At the whole-brain level, somewhat analogous learning-associated hippocampal (re)activation during NREM sleep has been reported in humans. Moreover, the same cortical NREM oscillations associated with replay in rodents also promote human hippocampal memory consolidation, and this process can be manipulated using exogenous reactivation cues during sleep. Mirroring molecular findings in rodents, specific NREM sleep oscillations before encoding refresh human hippocampal learning capacity, while deprivation of sleep conversely impairs subsequent hippocampal activity and associated encoding. Together, these cross-descriptive level findings demonstrate that the unique neurobiology of sleep exerts powerful effects on molecular, cellular and network mechanisms of plasticity that govern both initial

  10. Brain structural plasticity in survivors of a major earthquake

    PubMed Central

    Lui, Su; Chen, Long; Yao, Li; Xiao, Yuan; Wu, Qi-Zhu; Zhang, Jun-Ran; Huang, Xiao-Qi; Zhang, Wei; Wang, Yu-Qin; Chen, Hua-Fu; Chan, Raymond C.K.; Sweeney, John A.; Gong, Qi-Yong

    2013-01-01

    Background Stress responses have been studied extensively in animal models, but effects of major life stress on the human brain remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine whether survivors of a major earthquake, who were presumed to have experienced extreme emotional stress during the disaster, demonstrate differences in brain anatomy relative to individuals who have not experienced such stressors. Methods Healthy survivors living in an area devastated by a major earthquake and matched healthy controls underwent 3-dimentional high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Survivors were scanned 13–25 days after the earthquake; controls had undergone MRI for other studies not long before the earthquake. We used optimized voxel-based morphometry analysis to identify regional differences of grey matter volume between the survivors and controls. Results We included 44 survivors (17 female, mean age 37 [standard deviation (SD) 10.6] yr) and 38 controls (14 female, mean age 35.3 [SD 11.2] yr) in our analysis. Compared with controls, the survivors showed significantly lower grey matter volume in the bilateral insula, hippocampus, left caudate and putamen, and greater grey matter volume in the bilateral orbitofrontal cortex and the parietal lobe (all p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparison). Limitations Differences in the variance of survivor and control data could impact study findings. Conclusion Acute anatomic alterations could be observed in earthquake survivors in brain regions where functional alterations after stress have been described. Anatomic changes in the present study were observed earlier than previously reported and were seen in prefrontal–limbic, parietal and striatal brain systems. Together with the results of previous functional imaging studies, our observations suggest a complex pattern of human brain response to major life stress affecting brain systems that modulate and respond to heightened affective arousal. PMID

  11. Cerebral asymmetry: a quantitative, multifactorial, and plastic brain phenotype.

    PubMed

    Rentería, Miguel E

    2012-06-01

    The longitudinal fissure separates the human brain into two hemispheres that remain connected through the corpus callosum. The left and the right halves of the brain resemble each other, and almost every structure present in one side has an equivalent structure in the other. Despite this exceptional correspondence, the two hemispheres also display important anatomical differences and there is marked lateralization of certain cognitive and motor functions such as language and handedness. However, the mechanisms that underlie the establishment of these hemispheric specializations, as well as their physiological and behavioral implications, remain largely unknown. Thanks to recent advances in neuroimaging, a series of studies documenting variation in symmetry and asymmetry as a function of age, gender, brain region, and pathological state, have been published in the past decade. Here, we review evidence of normal and atypical cerebral asymmetry, and the factors that influence it at the macrostructural level. Given the prominent role that cerebral asymmetry plays in the organization of the brain, and its possible implication in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, further research in this area is anticipated.

  12. Complement peptide C3a stimulates neural plasticity after experimental brain ischaemia.

    PubMed

    Stokowska, Anna; Atkins, Alison L; Morán, Javier; Pekny, Tulen; Bulmer, Linda; Pascoe, Michaela C; Barnum, Scott R; Wetsel, Rick A; Nilsson, Jonas A; Dragunow, Mike; Pekna, Marcela

    2017-02-01

    Ischaemic stroke induces endogenous repair processes that include proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells and extensive rewiring of the remaining neural connections, yet about 50% of stroke survivors live with severe long-term disability. There is an unmet need for drug therapies to improve recovery by promoting brain plasticity in the subacute to chronic phase after ischaemic stroke. We previously showed that complement-derived peptide C3a regulates neural progenitor cell migration and differentiation in vitro and that C3a receptor signalling stimulates neurogenesis in unchallenged adult mice. To determine the role of C3a-C3a receptor signalling in ischaemia-induced neural plasticity, we subjected C3a receptor-deficient mice, GFAP-C3a transgenic mice expressing biologically active C3a in the central nervous system, and their respective wild-type controls to photothrombotic stroke. We found that C3a overexpression increased, whereas C3a receptor deficiency decreased post-stroke expression of GAP43 (P < 0.01), a marker of axonal sprouting and plasticity, in the peri-infarct cortex. To verify the translational potential of these findings, we used a pharmacological approach. Daily intranasal treatment of wild-type mice with C3a beginning 7 days after stroke induction robustly increased synaptic density (P < 0.01) and expression of GAP43 in peri-infarct cortex (P < 0.05). Importantly, the C3a treatment led to faster and more complete recovery of forepaw motor function (P < 0.05). We conclude that C3a-C3a receptor signalling stimulates post-ischaemic neural plasticity and intranasal treatment with C3a receptor agonists is an attractive approach to improve functional recovery after ischaemic brain injury.

  13. Physical exercise in overweight to obese individuals induces metabolic- and neurotrophic-related structural brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Mueller, Karsten; Möller, Harald E.; Horstmann, Annette; Busse, Franziska; Lepsien, Jöran; Blüher, Matthias; Stumvoll, Michael; Villringer, Arno; Pleger, Burkhard

    2015-01-01

    Previous cross-sectional studies on body-weight-related alterations in brain structure revealed profound changes in the gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) that resemble findings obtained from individuals with advancing age. This suggests that obesity may lead to structural brain changes that are comparable with brain aging. Here, we asked whether weight-loss-dependent improved metabolic and neurotrophic functioning parallels the reversal of obesity-related alterations in brain structure. To this end we applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with voxel-based morphometry and diffusion-tensor imaging in overweight to obese individuals who participated in a fitness course with intensive physical training twice a week over a period of 3 months. After the fitness course, participants presented, with inter-individual heterogeneity, a reduced body mass index (BMI), reduced serum leptin concentrations, elevated high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and alterations of serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentrations suggesting changes of metabolic and neurotrophic function. Exercise-dependent changes in BMI and serum concentration of BDNF, leptin, and HDL-C were related to an increase in GM density in the left hippocampus, the insular cortex, and the left cerebellar lobule. We also observed exercise-dependent changes of diffusivity parameters in surrounding WM structures as well as in the corpus callosum. These findings suggest that weight-loss due to physical exercise in overweight to obese participants induces profound structural brain plasticity, not primarily of sensorimotor brain regions involved in physical exercise, but of regions previously reported to be structurally affected by an increased body weight and functionally implemented in gustation and cognitive processing. PMID:26190989

  14. Effects of non-pharmacological or pharmacological interventions on cognition and brain plasticity of aging individuals

    PubMed Central

    Pieramico, Valentina; Esposito, Roberto; Cesinaro, Stefano; Frazzini, Valerio; Sensi, Stefano L.

    2014-01-01

    Brain aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders are major health challenges faced by modern societies. Brain aging is associated with cognitive and functional decline and represents the favourable background for the onset and development of dementia. Brain aging is associated with early and subtle anatomo-functional physiological changes that often precede the appearance of clinical signs of cognitive decline. Neuroimaging approaches unveiled the functional correlates of these alterations and helped in the identification of therapeutic targets that can be potentially useful in counteracting age-dependent cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that cognitive stimulation and aerobic training can preserve and enhance operational skills in elderly individuals as well as reduce the incidence of dementia. This review aims at providing an extensive and critical overview of the most recent data that support the efficacy of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions aimed at enhancing cognition and brain plasticity in healthy elderly individuals as well as delaying the cognitive decline associated with dementia. PMID:25228860

  15. Interhemispheric plasticity protects the deafferented somatosensory cortex from functional takeover after nerve injury.

    PubMed

    Yu, Xin; Koretsky, Alan P

    2014-11-01

    Functional changes across brain hemispheres have been reported after unilateral cortical or peripheral nerve injury. Interhemispheric callosal connections usually underlie this cortico-cortical plasticity. However, the effect of the altered callosal inputs on local cortical plasticity in the adult brain is not well studied. Ipsilateral functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation has been reliably detected in the deafferented barrel cortex (BC) at 2 weeks after unilateral infraorbital denervation (IO) in adult rats. The ipsilateral fMRI signal relies on callosal-mediated interhemispheric plasticity. This form of interhemispheric plasticity provides a good chronic model to study the interaction between callosal inputs and local cortical plasticity. The receptive field of forepaw in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), which is adjacent to the BC, was mapped with fMRI. The S1 receptive field expanded to take over a portion of the BC in 2 weeks after both ascending inputs and callosal inputs were removed in IO rats with ablated contralateral BC (IO+ablation). This expansion, estimated specifically by fMRI mapping, is significantly larger than what has been observed in the IO rats with intact callosal connectivity, as well as in the rats with sham surgery. This work indicates that altered callosal inputs prevent the functional takeover of the deafferented BC from adjacent cortices and may help preserve the functional identity of the BC.

  16. Interhemispheric Plasticity Protects the Deafferented Somatosensory Cortex from Functional Takeover After Nerve Injury

    PubMed Central

    Koretsky, Alan P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Functional changes across brain hemispheres have been reported after unilateral cortical or peripheral nerve injury. Interhemispheric callosal connections usually underlie this cortico-cortical plasticity. However, the effect of the altered callosal inputs on local cortical plasticity in the adult brain is not well studied. Ipsilateral functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation has been reliably detected in the deafferented barrel cortex (BC) at 2 weeks after unilateral infraorbital denervation (IO) in adult rats. The ipsilateral fMRI signal relies on callosal-mediated interhemispheric plasticity. This form of interhemispheric plasticity provides a good chronic model to study the interaction between callosal inputs and local cortical plasticity. The receptive field of forepaw in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), which is adjacent to the BC, was mapped with fMRI. The S1 receptive field expanded to take over a portion of the BC in 2 weeks after both ascending inputs and callosal inputs were removed in IO rats with ablated contralateral BC (IO+ablation). This expansion, estimated specifically by fMRI mapping, is significantly larger than what has been observed in the IO rats with intact callosal connectivity, as well as in the rats with sham surgery. This work indicates that altered callosal inputs prevent the functional takeover of the deafferented BC from adjacent cortices and may help preserve the functional identity of the BC. PMID:25117691

  17. Sex Hormones Regulate Cytoskeletal Proteins Involved in Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Hansberg-Pastor, Valeria; González-Arenas, Aliesha; Piña-Medina, Ana Gabriela; Camacho-Arroyo, Ignacio

    2015-01-01

    In the brain of female mammals, including humans, a number of physiological and behavioral changes occur as a result of sex hormone exposure. Estradiol and progesterone regulate several brain functions, including learning and memory. Sex hormones contribute to shape the central nervous system by modulating the formation and turnover of the interconnections between neurons as well as controlling the function of glial cells. The dynamics of neuron and glial cells morphology depends on the cytoskeleton and its associated proteins. Cytoskeletal proteins are necessary to form neuronal dendrites and dendritic spines, as well as to regulate the diverse functions in astrocytes. The expression pattern of proteins, such as actin, microtubule-associated protein 2, Tau, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, changes in a tissue-specific manner in the brain, particularly when variations in sex hormone levels occur during the estrous or menstrual cycles or pregnancy. Here, we review the changes in structure and organization of neurons and glial cells that require the participation of cytoskeletal proteins whose expression and activity are regulated by estradiol and progesterone. PMID:26635640

  18. Maladaptive Plasticity in Aphasia: Brain Activation Maps Underlying Verb Retrieval Errors

    PubMed Central

    Durand, Edith; Marcotte, Karine; Ansaldo, Ana Inés

    2016-01-01

    Anomia, or impaired word retrieval, is the most widespread symptom of aphasia, an acquired language impairment secondary to brain damage. In the last decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have enabled studying the neural basis underlying anomia and its recovery. The present study aimed to explore maladaptive plasticity in persistent verb anomia, in three male participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia. Brain activation maps associated with semantic verb paraphasia occurring within an oral picture-naming task were identified with an event-related fMRI paradigm. These maps were compared with those obtained in our previous study examining adaptive plasticity (i.e., successful verb naming) in the same participants. The results show that activation patterns related to semantic verb paraphasia and successful verb naming comprise a number of common areas, contributing to both maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms. This finding suggests that the segregation of brain areas provides only a partial view of the neural basis of verb anomia and successful verb naming. Therefore, it indicates the importance of network approaches which may better capture the complexity of maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms in anomia recovery. PMID:27429808

  19. Maladaptive Plasticity in Aphasia: Brain Activation Maps Underlying Verb Retrieval Errors.

    PubMed

    Spielmann, Kerstin; Durand, Edith; Marcotte, Karine; Ansaldo, Ana Inés

    2016-01-01

    Anomia, or impaired word retrieval, is the most widespread symptom of aphasia, an acquired language impairment secondary to brain damage. In the last decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have enabled studying the neural basis underlying anomia and its recovery. The present study aimed to explore maladaptive plasticity in persistent verb anomia, in three male participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia. Brain activation maps associated with semantic verb paraphasia occurring within an oral picture-naming task were identified with an event-related fMRI paradigm. These maps were compared with those obtained in our previous study examining adaptive plasticity (i.e., successful verb naming) in the same participants. The results show that activation patterns related to semantic verb paraphasia and successful verb naming comprise a number of common areas, contributing to both maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms. This finding suggests that the segregation of brain areas provides only a partial view of the neural basis of verb anomia and successful verb naming. Therefore, it indicates the importance of network approaches which may better capture the complexity of maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms in anomia recovery.

  20. Alteration and Reorganization of Functional Networks: A New Perspective in Brain Injury Study

    PubMed Central

    Castellanos, Nazareth P.; Bajo, Ricardo; Cuesta, Pablo; Villacorta-Atienza, José Antonio; Paúl, Nuria; Garcia-Prieto, Juan; del-Pozo, Francisco; Maestú, Fernando

    2011-01-01

    Plasticity is the mechanism underlying the brain’s potential capability to compensate injury. Recently several studies have shown how functional connections among the brain areas are severely altered by brain injury and plasticity leading to a reorganization of the networks. This new approach studies the impact of brain injury by means of alteration of functional interactions. The concept of functional connectivity refers to the statistical interdependencies between physiological time series simultaneously recorded in various areas of the brain and it could be an essential tool for brain functional studies, being its deviation from healthy reference an indicator for damage. In this article, we review studies investigating functional connectivity changes after brain injury and subsequent recovery, providing an accessible introduction to common mathematical methods to infer functional connectivity, exploring their capabilities, future perspectives, and clinical uses in brain injury studies. PMID:21960965

  1. Brain activation patterns of motor imagery reflect plastic changes associated with intensive shooting training.

    PubMed

    Baeck, Jong-Su; Kim, Yang-Tae; Seo, Jee-Hye; Ryeom, Hun-Kyu; Lee, Jongmin; Choi, Sung-Mook; Woo, Minjung; Kim, Woojong; Kim, Jin Gu; Chang, Yongmin

    2012-09-01

    Evidence from previous studies has suggested that motor imagery and motor action engage overlapping brain systems. As a result of this observation that motor imagery can activate brain regions associated with actual motor movement, motor imagery is expected to enhance motor skill performance and become an underlying principle for physical training in sports and physical rehabilitation. However, few studies have examined the effects of physical training on motor imagery in beginners. Also, differences in neural networks related to motor imagery before and after training have seldom been studied. In the current study, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated the question of whether motor imagery can reflect plastic changes of neural correlates associated with intensive training. In fact, motor imagery was used in this study as a tool to assess the brain areas involved in shooting and involved in learning of shooting. We discovered that use of motor imagery resulted in recruitment of widely distributed common cortical areas, which were suggested to play a role in generation and maintenance of mental images before and after 90 h of shooting training. In addition to these common areas, brain activation before and after 90 h of shooting practice showed regionally distinct patterns of activity change in subcortical motor areas. That is, basal ganglia showed increased activity after 90 h of shooting practice, suggesting the occurrence of plastic change in association with gains in performance and reinforcement learning. Therefore, our results suggest that, in order to reach a level of expertise, the brain would change through initial reinforcement of preexistent connections during the training period and then use more focused neural correlates through formation of new connections.

  2. Methods for the analysis of neuronal plasticity and brain connectivity during neurological recovery

    PubMed Central

    Sanchez-Mendoza, Eduardo H.; de Carvalho, Tayana Silva; Hermann, Dirk M.

    2016-01-01

    The study of neuronal plasticity under pathological conditions is now a major point of focus on the field of neurological recovery. After the repeated failure of acute neuroprotection strategies for stroke treatment, the design of studies aimed at promoting the reconstruction of neuronal networks has become essential. Methods for the delivery of therapeutic agents on a steady dosage, thus preventing pharmacological peaks or excessive manipulation of experimental animals, are thus required. Additionally, methods that allow the visualization of neurological remodeling processes are fundamental to the understanding of how a therapeutic agent exerts its function. Here we describe how the use of miniosmotic pumps for the steady delivery of such agents, together with tract tracer injections, can be combined to unveil important information on how the brain changes after stroke and how therapeutic agents promote brain remodeling recovery. PMID:28123397

  3. Methods for the analysis of neuronal plasticity and brain connectivity during neurological recovery.

    PubMed

    Sanchez-Mendoza, Eduardo H; de Carvalho, Tayana Silva; Hermann, Dirk M

    2016-11-01

    The study of neuronal plasticity under pathological conditions is now a major point of focus on the field of neurological recovery. After the repeated failure of acute neuroprotection strategies for stroke treatment, the design of studies aimed at promoting the reconstruction of neuronal networks has become essential. Methods for the delivery of therapeutic agents on a steady dosage, thus preventing pharmacological peaks or excessive manipulation of experimental animals, are thus required. Additionally, methods that allow the visualization of neurological remodeling processes are fundamental to the understanding of how a therapeutic agent exerts its function. Here we describe how the use of miniosmotic pumps for the steady delivery of such agents, together with tract tracer injections, can be combined to unveil important information on how the brain changes after stroke and how therapeutic agents promote brain remodeling recovery.

  4. Functional and structural plasticity in the primary somatosensory cortex associated with chronic pain.

    PubMed

    Kim, Woojin; Kim, Sun Kwang; Nabekura, Junichi

    2017-03-09

    Tissue or nerve injury induces widespread plastic changes from the periphery and spinal cord up to the cortex, resulting in chronic pain. Although many clinicians and researchers have extensively studied altered nociceptive signaling and neural circuit plasticity at the spinal cord level, effective treatments to ameliorate chronic pain are still insufficient. For about the last two decades, the rapid development in macroscopic brain imaging studies on humans and animal models have revealed maladaptive plastic changes in the 'pain matrix' brain regions, which may subsequently contribute to chronic pain. Among these brain regions, our group has concentrated for many years on the primary somatosensory (S1) cortex with a help of advanced imaging techniques and has found the functional and structural changes in neurons/glia as well as individual synapses in the S1 cortex during chronic pain. Taken together, it is now believed that such S1 plasticity is one of the causes for chronic pain, not a simple and passive epiphenomenon following tissue/nerve injury as previously thought. In this small review, we discuss the relation of plasticity in the S1 cortex with chronic pain, based on clinical trials and experimental studies conducted on this field. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  5. Nonpharmacological Interventions in Targeting Pain-Related Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Clark, J. David

    2017-01-01

    Chronic pain is a highly prevalent and debilitating condition that is frequently associated with multiple comorbid psychiatric conditions and functional, biochemical, and anatomical alterations in various brain centers. Due to its widespread and diverse manifestations, chronic pain is often resistant to classical pharmacological treatment paradigms, prompting the search for alternative treatment approaches that are safe and efficacious. The current review will focus on the following themes: attentional and cognitive interventions, the role of global environmental factors, and the effects of exercise and physical rehabilitation in both chronic pain patients and preclinical pain models. The manuscript will discuss not only the analgesic efficacy of these therapies, but also their ability to reverse pain-related brain neuroplasticity. Finally, we will discuss the potential mechanisms of action for each of the interventions. PMID:28299206

  6. SIRT1 is essential for normal cognitive function and synaptic plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Michán, Shaday; Li, Ying; Chou, Maggie Meng-Hsiu; Parrella, Edoardo; Ge, Huanying; Long, Jeffrey M.; Allard, Joanne S.; Lewis, Kaitlyn; Miller, Marshall; Xu, Wei; Mervis, Ronald F.; Chen, Jing; Guerin, Karen I.; Smith, Lois E. H.; McBurney, Michael W.; Sinclair, David A.; Baudry, Michel; de Cabo, Rafael; Longo, Valter D.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation of normal cognitive functions relies on the proper performance of the nervous system at the cellular and molecular level. The mammalian NAD+-dependent deacetylase, SIRT1, impacts different processes potentially involved in the maintenance of brain integrity such as chromatin remodeling, DNA repair, cell survival and neurogenesis. Here we show that SIRT1 is expressed in neurons of the hippocampus, a key structure in learning and memory. Using a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological paradigms we analyzed the effects of SIRT1 deficiency and overexpression on mouse learning and memory as well as on synaptic plasticity. We demonstrated that the absence of SIRT1 impaired cognitive abilities, including immediate memory, classical conditioning and spatial learning. In addition, we found that the cognitive deficits in SIRT1 knockout mice were associated with defects in synaptic plasticity without alterations in basal synaptic transmission or NMDA receptor function. Brains of SIRT1-KO mice exhibited normal morphology and dendritic spine structure but display a decrease in dendritic branching, branch length and complexity of neuronal dendritic arbors. Also, a decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation and altered expression of hippocampal genes involved in synaptic function, lipid metabolism and myelination were detected in SIRT1-KO mice. In contrast, mice with high levels of SIRT1 expression in brain exhibited regular synaptic plasticity and memory. We conclude that SIRT1 is indispensable for normal learning, memory and synaptic plasticity in mice. PMID:20660252

  7. Music mnemonics aid Verbal Memory and Induce Learning - Related Brain Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Thaut, Michael H; Peterson, David A; McIntosh, Gerald C; Hoemberg, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Recent research on music and brain function has suggested that the temporal pattern structure in music and rhythm can enhance cognitive functions. To further elucidate this question specifically for memory, we investigated if a musical template can enhance verbal learning in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and if music-assisted learning will also influence short-term, system-level brain plasticity. We measured systems-level brain activity with oscillatory network synchronization during music-assisted learning. Specifically, we measured the spectral power of 128-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) in alpha and beta frequency bands in 54 patients with MS. The study sample was randomly divided into two groups, either hearing a spoken or a musical (sung) presentation of Rey's auditory verbal learning test. We defined the "learning-related synchronization" (LRS) as the percent change in EEG spectral power from the first time the word was presented to the average of the subsequent word encoding trials. LRS differed significantly between the music and the spoken conditions in low alpha and upper beta bands. Patients in the music condition showed overall better word memory and better word order memory and stronger bilateral frontal alpha LRS than patients in the spoken condition. The evidence suggests that a musical mnemonic recruits stronger oscillatory network synchronization in prefrontal areas in MS patients during word learning. It is suggested that the temporal structure implicit in musical stimuli enhances "deep encoding" during verbal learning and sharpens the timing of neural dynamics in brain networks degraded by demyelination in MS.

  8. Methylphenidate and the juvenile brain: enhancement of attention at the expense of cortical plasticity?

    PubMed

    Urban, Kimberly R; Gao, Wen-Jun

    2013-12-01

    Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is the most commonly prescribed psychoactive drug for juveniles and adolescents. Used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals, it has been regarded as a relatively safe medication for the past several decades. However, a thorough review of the literature reveals that the age-dependent activities of the drug, as well as potential developmental effects, are largely ignored. In addition, the diagnosis of ADHD is subjective, leaving open the possibility of misdiagnosis and excessive prescription of the drug. Recent studies have suggested that early life exposure of healthy rodent models to methylphenidate resulted in altered sleep/wake cycle, heightened stress reactivity, and, in fact, a dosage previously thought of as therapeutic depressed neuronal function in juvenile rats. Furthermore, juvenile rats exposed to low-dose methylphenidate displayed alterations in neural markers of plasticity, indicating that the drug might alter the basic properties of prefrontal cortical circuits. In this review of the current literature, we propose that juvenile exposure to methylphenidate may cause abnormal prefrontal function and impaired plasticity in the healthy brain, strengthening the case for developing a more thorough understanding of methylphenidate's actions on the developing, juvenile brain, as well as better diagnostic measures for ADHD.

  9. Non-invasive Brain Stimulation, a Tool to Revert Maladaptive Plasticity in Neuropathic Pain

    PubMed Central

    Naro, Antonino; Milardi, Demetrio; Russo, Margherita; Terranova, Carmen; Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cacciola, Alberto; Marino, Silvia; Calabro, Rocco S.; Quartarone, Angelo

    2016-01-01

    Neuromodulatory effects of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) have been extensively studied in chronic pain. A hypothetic mechanism of action would be to prevent or revert the ongoing maladaptive plasticity within the pain matrix. In this review, the authors discuss the mechanisms underlying the development of maladaptive plasticity in patients with chronic pain and the putative mechanisms of NIBS in modulating synaptic plasticity in neuropathic pain conditions. PMID:27512368

  10. License to run: exercise impacts functional plasticity in the intact and injured central nervous system by using neurotrophins.

    PubMed

    Vaynman, Shoshanna; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2005-12-01

    Exercise has been found to impact molecular systems important for maintaining neural function and plasticity. A characteristic finding for the effects of exercise in the brain and spinal cord has been the up-regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This review focuses on the ability of exercise to impact brain circuitry by promoting neuronal repair and enhance learning and memory by increasing neurotrophic support. A paragon for the role of activity-dependent neurotrophins in the CNS is the capacity of BDNF to facilitate synaptic function and neuronal excitability. The authors discuss the effects of exercise in the intact and injured brain and spinal cord injury and the implementation of exercise preinjury and postinjury. As the CNS displays a capacity for plasticity throughout one's lifespan, exercise may be a powerful lifestyle implementation that could be used to augment synaptic plasticity, promote behavioral rehabilitation, and counteract the deleterious effects of aging.

  11. Social plasticity in fish: integrating mechanisms and function.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, R F

    2012-12-01

    Social plasticity is a ubiquitous feature of animal behaviour. Animals must adjust the expression of their social behaviour to the nuances of daily social life and to the transitions between life-history stages, and the ability to do so affects their Darwinian fitness. Here, an integrative framework is proposed for understanding the proximate mechanisms and ultimate consequences of social plasticity. According to this framework, social plasticity is achieved by rewiring or by biochemically switching nodes of the neural network underlying social behaviour in response to perceived social information. Therefore, at the molecular level, it depends on the social regulation of gene expression, so that different brain genomic and epigenetic states correspond to different behavioural responses and the switches between states are orchestrated by signalling pathways that interface the social environment and the genotype. At the evolutionary scale, social plasticity can be seen as an adaptive trait that can be under positive selection when changes in the environment outpace the rate of genetic evolutionary change. In cases when social plasticity is too costly or incomplete, behavioural consistency can emerge by directional selection that recruits gene modules corresponding to favoured behavioural states in that environment. As a result of this integrative approach, how knowledge of the proximate mechanisms underlying social plasticity is crucial to understanding its costs, limits and evolutionary consequences is shown, thereby highlighting the fact that proximate mechanisms contribute to the dynamics of selection. The role of teleosts as a premier model to study social plasticity is also highlighted, given the diversity and plasticity that this group exhibits in terms of social behaviour. Finally, the proposed integrative framework to social plasticity also illustrates how reciprocal causation analysis of biological phenomena (i.e. considering the interaction between

  12. A role for synaptic plasticity in the adolescent development of executive function

    PubMed Central

    Selemon, L D

    2013-01-01

    Adolescent brain maturation is characterized by the emergence of executive function mediated by the prefrontal cortex, e.g., goal planning, inhibition of impulsive behavior and set shifting. Synaptic pruning of excitatory contacts is the signature morphologic event of late brain maturation during adolescence. Mounting evidence suggests that glutamate receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity, in particular long term depression (LTD), is important for elimination of synaptic contacts in brain development. This review examines the possibility (1) that LTD mechanisms are enhanced in the prefrontal cortex during adolescence due to ongoing synaptic pruning in this late developing cortex and (2) that enhanced synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex represents a key molecular substrate underlying the critical period for maturation of executive function. Molecular sites of interaction between environmental factors, such as alcohol and stress, and glutamate receptor mediated plasticity are considered. The accentuated negative impact of these factors during adolescence may be due in part to interference with LTD mechanisms that refine prefrontal cortical circuitry and when disrupted derail normal maturation of executive function. Diminished prefrontal cortical control over risk-taking behavior could further exacerbate negative outcomes associated with these behaviors, as for example addiction and depression. Greater insight into the neurobiology of the adolescent brain is needed to fully understand the molecular basis for heightened vulnerability during adolescence to the injurious effects of substance abuse and stress. PMID:23462989

  13. Understanding entangled cerebral networks: a prerequisite for restoring brain function with brain-computer interfaces

    PubMed Central

    Mandonnet, Emmanuel; Duffau, Hugues

    2014-01-01

    Historically, cerebral processing has been conceptualized as a framework based on statically localized functions. However, a growing amount of evidence supports a hodotopical (delocalized) and flexible organization. A number of studies have reported absence of a permanent neurological deficit after massive surgical resections of eloquent brain tissue. These results highlight the tremendous plastic potential of the brain. Understanding anatomo-functional correlates underlying this cerebral reorganization is a prerequisite to restore brain functions through brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in patients with cerebral diseases, or even to potentiate brain functions in healthy individuals. Here, we review current knowledge of neural networks that could be utilized in the BCIs that enable movements and language. To this end, intraoperative electrical stimulation in awake patients provides valuable information on the cerebral functional maps, their connectomics and plasticity. Overall, these studies indicate that the complex cerebral circuitry that underpins interactions between action, cognition and behavior should be throughly investigated before progress in BCI approaches can be achieved. PMID:24834030

  14. Functional Plasticity in Somatosensory Cortex Supports Motor Learning by Observing.

    PubMed

    McGregor, Heather R; Cashaback, Joshua G A; Gribble, Paul L

    2016-04-04

    An influential idea in neuroscience is that the sensory-motor system is activated when observing the actions of others [1, 2]. This idea has recently been extended to motor learning, in which observation results in sensory-motor plasticity and behavioral changes in both motor and somatosensory domains [3-9]. However, it is unclear how the brain maps visual information onto motor circuits for learning. Here we test the idea that the somatosensory system, and specifically primary somatosensory cortex (S1), plays a role in motor learning by observing. In experiment 1, we applied stimulation to the median nerve to occupy the somatosensory system with unrelated inputs while participants observed a tutor learning to reach in a force field. Stimulation disrupted motor learning by observing in a limb-specific manner. Stimulation delivered to the right arm (the same arm used by the tutor) disrupted learning, whereas left arm stimulation did not. This is consistent with the idea that a somatosensory representation of the observed effector must be available during observation for learning to occur. In experiment 2, we assessed S1 cortical processing before and after observation by measuring somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) associated with median nerve stimulation. SEP amplitudes increased only for participants who observed learning. Moreover, SEPs increased more for participants who exhibited greater motor learning following observation. Taken together, these findings support the idea that motor learning by observing relies on functional plasticity in S1. We propose that visual signals about the movements of others are mapped onto motor circuits for learning via the somatosensory system.

  15. Wnts in adult brain: from synaptic plasticity to cognitive deficiencies

    PubMed Central

    Oliva, Carolina A.; Vargas, Jessica Y.; Inestrosa, Nibaldo C.

    2013-01-01

    During development of the central nervous system the Wnt signaling pathway has been implicated in a wide spectrum of physiological processes, including neuronal connectivity and synapse formation. Wnt proteins and components of the Wnt pathway are expressed in the brain since early development to the adult life, however, little is known about its role in mature synapses. Here, we review evidences indicating that Wnt proteins participate in the remodeling of pre- and post-synaptic regions, thus modulating synaptic function. We include the most recent data in the literature showing that Wnts are constantly released in the brain to maintain the basal neural activity. Also, we review the evidences that involve components of the Wnt pathway in the development of neurological and mental disorders, including a special emphasis on in vivo studies that relate behavioral abnormalities to deficiencies in Wnt signaling. Finally, we include the evidences that support a neuroprotective role of Wnt proteins in Alzheimer’s disease. We postulate that deregulation in Wnt signaling might have a fundamental role in the origin of neurological diseases, by altering the synaptic function at stages where the phenotype is not yet established but when the cognitive decline starts. PMID:24348327

  16. Wnts in adult brain: from synaptic plasticity to cognitive deficiencies.

    PubMed

    Oliva, Carolina A; Vargas, Jessica Y; Inestrosa, Nibaldo C

    2013-12-03

    During development of the central nervous system the Wnt signaling pathway has been implicated in a wide spectrum of physiological processes, including neuronal connectivity and synapse formation. Wnt proteins and components of the Wnt pathway are expressed in the brain since early development to the adult life, however, little is known about its role in mature synapses. Here, we review evidences indicating that Wnt proteins participate in the remodeling of pre- and post-synaptic regions, thus modulating synaptic function. We include the most recent data in the literature showing that Wnts are constantly released in the brain to maintain the basal neural activity. Also, we review the evidences that involve components of the Wnt pathway in the development of neurological and mental disorders, including a special emphasis on in vivo studies that relate behavioral abnormalities to deficiencies in Wnt signaling. Finally, we include the evidences that support a neuroprotective role of Wnt proteins in Alzheimer's disease. We postulate that deregulation in Wnt signaling might have a fundamental role in the origin of neurological diseases, by altering the synaptic function at stages where the phenotype is not yet established but when the cognitive decline starts.

  17. Plasticity of inhibitory synapses in the brain: a possible memory mechanism that has been overlooked.

    PubMed

    Kano, M

    1995-01-01

    Long-term modification of transmission efficacy at inhibitory synapses has recently been discovered in several regions of the vertebrate brain, i.e. Mauthner cells of the goldfish, cerebellar Purkinje cells, deep cerebellar nuclei and the visual cortex. Synaptic plasticity at inhibitory synapses has properties similar to that of excitatory synapses, such as dependency on intracellular Ca2+ levels, input specificity, saturation and associativity. Considering the ubiquitous distribution of inhibitory synapses and the receptors for inhibitory transmitters, GABA and glycine, plasticity of inhibitory synapses may exist widely throughout the brain. It may contribute to learning and development in concert with plasticity of excitatory synapses.

  18. Learning, memory and brain plasticity in posttraumatic stress disorder: context matters.

    PubMed

    Flor, Herta; Nees, Frauke

    2014-01-01

    We review evidence from our laboratory that suggests that in addition to enhanced cue conditioning and delayed cue extinction disturbed contextual learning may play an important role in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder. Based on data from a longitudinal sample of rescue workers at high risk for posttraumatic stress disorder and data on single trauma exposed persons with and without posttraumatic stress disorder we show the crucial role of the hippocampus for contextual memory and impaired contextual learning along with enhanced cue conditioning and delayed extinction in PTSD. Using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging we confirmed animal data on the role of the hippocampus in contextual and the importance of the amygdala in cue conditioning and the role of the frontal cortex in extinction. Genetic variants related to the modulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis are associated with cue and genetic variants related to calcium signaling and memory processes and the regulation of the stress response are associated with context conditioning. These genes also play a role in PTSD. Further research needs to identify the predictive nature of these learning processes and plastic brain changes and their interaction with genetic characteristics changes for the transition into PTSD and its maintenance. A further focus needs to be on the identification of learning and memory mechanisms and the associated brain plasticity across disorders.

  19. Are Supramodality and Cross-Modal Plasticity the Yin and Yang of Brain Development? From Blindness to Rehabilitation.

    PubMed

    Cecchetti, Luca; Kupers, Ron; Ptito, Maurice; Pietrini, Pietro; Ricciardi, Emiliano

    2016-01-01

    Research in blind individuals has primarily focused for a long time on the brain plastic reorganization that occurs in early visual areas. Only more recently, scientists have developed innovative strategies to understand to what extent vision is truly a mandatory prerequisite for the brain's fine morphological architecture to develop and function. As a whole, the studies conducted to date in sighted and congenitally blind individuals have provided ample evidence that several "visual" cortical areas develop independently from visual experience and do process information content regardless of the sensory modality through which a particular stimulus is conveyed: a property named supramodality. At the same time, lack of vision leads to a structural and functional reorganization within "visual" brain areas, a phenomenon known as cross-modal plasticity. Cross-modal recruitment of the occipital cortex in visually deprived individuals represents an adaptative compensatory mechanism that mediates processing of non-visual inputs. Supramodality and cross-modal plasticity appears to be the "yin and yang" of brain development: supramodal is what takes place despite the lack of vision, whereas cross-modal is what happens because of lack of vision. Here we provide a critical overview of the research in this field and discuss the implications that these novel findings have for the development of educative/rehabilitation approaches and sensory substitution devices (SSDs) in sensory-impaired individuals.

  20. Thermodynamic laws apply to brain function.

    PubMed

    Salerian, Alen J

    2010-02-01

    Thermodynamic laws and complex system dynamics govern brain function. Thus, any change in brain homeostasis by an alteration in brain temperature, neurotransmission or content may cause region-specific brain dysfunction. This is the premise for the Salerian Theory of Brain built upon a new paradigm for neuropsychiatric disorders: the governing influence of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, thermodynamic laws. The principles of region-specific brain function thermodynamics are reviewed. The clinical and supporting evidence including the paradoxical effects of various agents that alter brain homeostasis is demonstrated.

  1. Presynaptic NMDA Receptors: Newly Appreciated Roles in Cortical Synaptic Function and Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Corlew, Rebekah; Brasier, Daniel J.; Feldman, Daniel E.; Philpot, Benjamin D.

    2009-01-01

    Many aspects of synaptic development, plasticity, and neurotransmission are critically influenced by NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs). Moreover, dysfunction of NMDARs has been implicated in a broad array of neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, stroke, epilepsy, and neuropathic pain. Classically, NMDARs were thought to be exclusively postsynaptic. However, substantial evidence in the last 10 years demonstrates that NMDARs also exist presynaptically, and that presynaptic NMDA receptors (preNMDARs) modulate synapse function and have critical roles in plasticity at many synapses. Here we review current knowledge of the role of preNMDARs in synaptic transmission and plasticity, focusing on the neocortex. We discuss the prevalence, function, and development of these receptors, and their potential modification by experience and in brain pathology. PMID:19029059

  2. Tenascin-C and its functions in neuronal plasticity.

    PubMed

    Šekeljić, Vera; Andjus, Pavle R

    2012-06-01

    The extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin-C (TN-C), a molecule highly conserved in vertebrates, is widely expressed in neural and non-neural tissue during development, repair processes in the adult organism, and tumorigenesis. In the developing central nervous system (CNS), in different brain regions TN-C is expressed in specific spatial and temporal patterns. In the adult CNS, its expression remains in areas of active neurogenesis and areas that exhibit neuronal plasticity. Understanding of the contribution of this extracellular matrix constituent to the major developmental processes such as cell proliferation and migration, axonal guidance, as well as synaptic plasticity, is derived from studies on TN-C deficient mice. Studies on these mice demonstrated that TN-C plays an important role in neuronal plasticity in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum, possibly by modulating the activity of L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels.

  3. Functional brain imaging across development.

    PubMed

    Rubia, Katya

    2013-12-01

    The developmental cognitive neuroscience literature has grown exponentially over the last decade. This paper reviews the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature on brain function development of typically late developing functions of cognitive and motivation control, timing and attention as well as of resting state neural networks. Evidence shows that between childhood and adulthood, concomitant with cognitive maturation, there is progressively increased functional activation in task-relevant lateral and medial frontal, striatal and parieto-temporal brain regions that mediate these higher level control functions. This is accompanied by progressively stronger functional inter-regional connectivity within task-relevant fronto-striatal and fronto-parieto-temporal networks. Negative age associations are observed in earlier developing posterior and limbic regions, suggesting a shift with age from the recruitment of "bottom-up" processing regions towards "top-down" fronto-cortical and fronto-subcortical connections, leading to a more mature, supervised cognition. The resting state fMRI literature further complements this evidence by showing progressively stronger deactivation with age in anti-correlated task-negative resting state networks, which is associated with better task performance. Furthermore, connectivity analyses during the resting state show that with development increasingly stronger long-range connections are being formed, for example, between fronto-parietal and fronto-cerebellar connections, in both task-positive networks and in task-negative default mode networks, together with progressively lesser short-range connections, suggesting progressive functional integration and segregation with age. Overall, evidence suggests that throughout development between childhood and adulthood, there is progressive refinement and integration of both task-positive fronto-cortical and fronto-subcortical activation and task-negative deactivation, leading to

  4. Synthesis of Research on Brain Plasticity: The Classroom Environment and Curriculum Enrichment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sylwester, Robert

    1986-01-01

    Outlines research findings on enriched environment investigations on the development of the brain's neocortex. Although the research has been conducted on animal brains, researchers expect to find related patterns in plasticity in humans. The research is important to educators as it challenges them to define, create, and maintain an emotionally…

  5. Performance enhancement at the cost of potential brain plasticity: neural ramifications of nootropic drugs in the healthy developing brain

    PubMed Central

    Urban, Kimberly R.; Gao, Wen-Jun

    2014-01-01

    Cognitive enhancement is perhaps one of the most intriguing and controversial topics in neuroscience today. Currently, the main classes of drugs used as potential cognitive enhancers include psychostimulants (methylphenidate (MPH), amphetamine), but wakefulness-promoting agents (modafinil) and glutamate activators (ampakine) are also frequently used. Pharmacologically, substances that enhance the components of the memory/learning circuits—dopamine, glutamate (neuronal excitation), and/or norepinephrine—stand to improve brain function in healthy individuals beyond their baseline functioning. In particular, non-medical use of prescription stimulants such as MPH and illicit use of psychostimulants for cognitive enhancement have seen a recent rise among teens and young adults in schools and college campuses. However, this enhancement likely comes with a neuronal, as well as ethical, cost. Altering glutamate function via the use of psychostimulants may impair behavioral flexibility, leading to the development and/or potentiation of addictive behaviors. Furthermore, dopamine and norepinephrine do not display linear effects; instead, their modulation of cognitive and neuronal function maps on an inverted-U curve. Healthy individuals run the risk of pushing themselves beyond optimal levels into hyperdopaminergic and hypernoradrenergic states, thus vitiating the very behaviors they are striving to improve. Finally, recent studies have begun to highlight potential damaging effects of stimulant exposure in healthy juveniles. This review explains how the main classes of cognitive enhancing drugs affect the learning and memory circuits, and highlights the potential risks and concerns in healthy individuals, particularly juveniles and adolescents. We emphasize the performance enhancement at the potential cost of brain plasticity that is associated with the neural ramifications of nootropic drugs in the healthy developing brain. PMID:24860437

  6. Superbinding in Integrative Brain Function and Memory

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    A:\\basar.doc 1 SUPERBINDING IN INTEGRATIVE BRAIN FUNCTION AND MEMORY E. Basar1,2, M. Özgören1,2, S. Karakas1,3 1TUBITAK Brain Dynamics...percepts and integrative brain function. Keywords- superbinding, oscillations, binding, coherence 1 Aim of the report The present report aims to...introduce the superbinding theory to describe the machineries of integrative brain function instead of single neuron doctrine. This concept is based on

  7. Motor Skill Acquisition Promotes Human Brain Myelin Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Lakhani, Bimal; Borich, Michael R.; Jackson, Jacob N.; Wadden, Katie P.; Peters, Sue; Villamayor, Anica; MacKay, Alex L.; Vavasour, Irene M.; Rauscher, Alexander; Boyd, Lara A.

    2016-01-01

    Experience-dependent structural changes are widely evident in gray matter. Using diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), the neuroplastic effect of motor training on white matter in the brain has been demonstrated. However, in humans it is not known whether specific features of white matter relate to motor skill acquisition or if these structural changes are associated to functional network connectivity. Myelin can be objectively quantified in vivo and used to index specific experience-dependent change. In the current study, seventeen healthy young adults completed ten sessions of visuomotor skill training (10,000 total movements) using the right arm. Multicomponent relaxation imaging was performed before and after training. Significant increases in myelin water fraction, a quantitative measure of myelin, were observed in task dependent brain regions (left intraparietal sulcus [IPS] and left parieto-occipital sulcus). In addition, the rate of motor skill acquisition and overall change in myelin water fraction in the left IPS were negatively related, suggesting that a slower rate of learning resulted in greater neuroplastic change. This study provides the first evidence for experience-dependent changes in myelin that are associated with changes in skilled movements in healthy young adults. PMID:27293906

  8. Insulin action in brain regulates systemic metabolism and brain function.

    PubMed

    Kleinridders, André; Ferris, Heather A; Cai, Weikang; Kahn, C Ronald

    2014-07-01

    Insulin receptors, as well as IGF-1 receptors and their postreceptor signaling partners, are distributed throughout the brain. Insulin acts on these receptors to modulate peripheral metabolism, including regulation of appetite, reproductive function, body temperature, white fat mass, hepatic glucose output, and response to hypoglycemia. Insulin signaling also modulates neurotransmitter channel activity, brain cholesterol synthesis, and mitochondrial function. Disruption of insulin action in the brain leads to impairment of neuronal function and synaptogenesis. In addition, insulin signaling modulates phosphorylation of tau protein, an early component in the development of Alzheimer disease. Thus, alterations in insulin action in the brain can contribute to metabolic syndrome, and the development of mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

  9. Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Following Traumatic Brain Injury

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-10-01

    for sectioning and staining. To date, the brains have been sectioned and one set stained for Nissl . Using the Nissl stained sections, Dorothy...all behavioral data. • Brains have been harvested and sent to Dr. Jones’ lab • Dr. Jones’ lab has sliced the brains and stained one set with Nissl

  10. The brain-tumor related protein podoplanin regulates synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent learning and memory

    PubMed Central

    Cicvaric, Ana; Yang, Jiaye; Krieger, Sigurd; Khan, Deeba; Kim, Eun-Jung; Dominguez-Rodriguez, Manuel; Cabatic, Maureen; Molz, Barbara; Acevedo Aguilar, Juan Pablo; Milicevic, Radoslav; Smani, Tarik; Breuss, Johannes M.; Kerjaschki, Dontscho; Pollak, Daniela D.; Uhrin, Pavel; Monje, Francisco J.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Introduction: Podoplanin is a cell-surface glycoprotein constitutively expressed in the brain and implicated in human brain tumorigenesis. The intrinsic function of podoplanin in brain neurons remains however uncharacterized. Materials and methods: Using an established podoplanin-knockout mouse model and electrophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral approaches, we investigated the brain neuronal role of podoplanin. Results: Ex-vivo electrophysiology showed that podoplanin deletion impairs dentate gyrus synaptic strengthening. In vivo, podoplanin deletion selectively impaired hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory without affecting amygdala-dependent cued fear conditioning. In vitro, neuronal overexpression of podoplanin promoted synaptic activity and neuritic outgrowth whereas podoplanin-deficient neurons exhibited stunted outgrowth and lower levels of p-Ezrin, TrkA, and CREB in response to nerve growth factor (NGF). Surface Plasmon Resonance data further indicated a physical interaction between podoplanin and NGF. Discussion: This work proposes podoplanin as a novel component of the neuronal machinery underlying neuritogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and hippocampus-dependent memory functions. The existence of a relevant cross-talk between podoplanin and the NGF/TrkA signaling pathway is also for the first time proposed here, thus providing a novel molecular complex as a target for future multidisciplinary studies of the brain function in the physiology and the pathology.Key messagesPodoplanin, a protein linked to the promotion of human brain tumors, is required in vivo for proper hippocampus-dependent learning and memory functions.Deletion of podoplanin selectively impairs activity-dependent synaptic strengthening at the neurogenic dentate-gyrus and hampers neuritogenesis and phospho Ezrin, TrkA and CREB protein levels upon NGF stimulation.Surface plasmon resonance data indicates a physical interaction between podoplanin and NGF. On these

  11. Altered resting brain function and structure in professional badminton players.

    PubMed

    Di, Xin; Zhu, Senhua; Jin, Hua; Wang, Pin; Ye, Zhuoer; Zhou, Ke; Zhuo, Yan; Rao, Hengyi

    2012-01-01

    Neuroimaging studies of professional athletic or musical training have demonstrated considerable practice-dependent plasticity in various brain structures, which may reflect distinct training demands. In the present study, structural and functional brain alterations were examined in professional badminton players and compared with healthy controls using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and resting-state functional MRI. Gray matter concentration (GMC) was assessed using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), and resting-brain functions were measured by amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and seed-based functional connectivity. Results showed that the athlete group had greater GMC and ALFF in the right and medial cerebellar regions, respectively. The athlete group also demonstrated smaller ALFF in the left superior parietal lobule and altered functional connectivity between the left superior parietal and frontal regions. These findings indicate that badminton expertise is associated with not only plastic structural changes in terms of enlarged gray matter density in the cerebellum, but also functional alterations in fronto-parietal connectivity. Such structural and functional alterations may reflect specific experiences of badminton training and practice, including high-capacity visuo-spatial processing and hand-eye coordination in addition to refined motor skills.

  12. Human brain plasticity: evidence from sensory deprivation and altered language experience.

    PubMed

    Neville, Helen; Bavelier, Daphne

    2002-01-01

    The results from the language studies taken as a whole point to different developmental time courses and developmental vulnerabilities of aspects of grammatical and semantic/lexical processing. They thus provide support for conceptions of language that distinguish these subprocesses within language. Similarly, following auditory deprivation, processes associated with the dorsal visual pathway were more altered than were functions associated with the ventral pathway, providing support for conceptions of visual system organization that distinguish functions along these lines. Could the effects observed in blind and deaf adults be accounted for, at least in part, by the redundant connectivity of the immature human brain? One way we tested this hypothesis was to study the differentiation of visual and auditory sensory responses in normal development (Neville, 1995). In normal adults, auditory stimuli elicit ERP responses that are large over temporal brain regions but small or absent over occipital regions. By contrast, in 6-month-old children we observed that auditory ERPs are equally large over temporal and visual brain regions, consistent with the idea that there is less specificity and more redundancy of connections between the auditory and visual cortex at this time. Between 6 and 36 months, however, we observed a gradual decrease in the amplitude of the auditory ERP over visual areas, while the amplitude over the temporal areas was unchanged. These results suggest that early in human development, there exists a redundancy of connections between auditory and visual areas and that this overlap gradually decreases after birth. This loss of redundancy may be a boundary condition that determines when sensory deprivation can result in alterations in the organization of remaining sensory systems. The considerable variability in timing of sensitive periods may also be in part due to temporal differences in the occurrence of redundancy within different systems. Ongoing

  13. Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Schlaug, Gottfried

    2015-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of sensory and motor skills over the course of a musician’s lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying behavioral-cognitive as well as brain effects of acquiring, practicing, and maintaining these specialized skills. Research has shown that repeatedly practicing the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation), while receiving continuous multisensory feedback will strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) as well as multimodal integration regions. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. Furthermore, the plasticity of this system as a result of long term and intense interventions suggest the potential for music making activities (e.g., forms of singing) as an intervention for neurological and developmental disorders to learn and relearn associations between auditory and motor functions such as vocal motor functions. PMID:25725909

  14. Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity.

    PubMed

    Schlaug, Gottfried

    2015-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of sensory and motor skills over the course of a musician's lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying behavioral-cognitive as well as brain effects of acquiring, practicing, and maintaining these specialized skills. Research has shown that repeatedly practicing the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation), while receiving continuous multisensory feedback will strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) as well as multimodal integration regions. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. Furthermore, the plasticity of this system as a result of long term and intense interventions suggest the potential for music making activities (e.g., forms of singing) as an intervention for neurological and developmental disorders to learn and relearn associations between auditory and motor functions such as vocal motor functions.

  15. Aging and functional brain networks

    SciTech Connect

    Tomasi D.; Tomasi, D.; Volkow, N.D.

    2011-07-11

    Aging is associated with changes in human brain anatomy and function and cognitive decline. Recent studies suggest the aging decline of major functional connectivity hubs in the 'default-mode' network (DMN). Aging effects on other networks, however, are largely unknown. We hypothesized that aging would be associated with a decline of short- and long-range functional connectivity density (FCD) hubs in the DMN. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated resting-state data sets corresponding to 913 healthy subjects from a public magnetic resonance imaging database using functional connectivity density mapping (FCDM), a voxelwise and data-driven approach, together with parallel computing. Aging was associated with pronounced long-range FCD decreases in DMN and dorsal attention network (DAN) and with increases in somatosensory and subcortical networks. Aging effects in these networks were stronger for long-range than for short-range FCD and were also detected at the level of the main functional hubs. Females had higher short- and long-range FCD in DMN and lower FCD in the somatosensory network than males, but the gender by age interaction effects were not significant for any of the networks or hubs. These findings suggest that long-range connections may be more vulnerable to aging effects than short-range connections and that, in addition to the DMN, the DAN is also sensitive to aging effects, which could underlie the deterioration of attention processes that occurs with aging.

  16. Long-term plasticity at GABAergic and glycinergic synapses: mechanisms and functional significance.

    PubMed

    Gaiarsa, Jean-Luc; Caillard, Olivier; Ben-Ari, Yehezkel

    2002-11-01

    Activity-dependent long-term changes in synaptic efficacy are thought to be important in learning, memory formation, neuronal development and pathological states of neuronal excitability in the CNS. For the past two decades, numerous studies have investigated long-term changes in synaptic efficacy at excitatory glutamatergic synapses. Although inhibitory synapses are essential for proper functioning of the neuronal network, attention has focused only recently on describing and characterizing plasticity at these types of synapse. Not surprisingly, different forms of plasticity at GABAergic, and the closely related glycinergic, synapses have been reported in several regions of the brain. Here we review these different forms of plasticity and focus on their possible roles in developing and adult neuronal networks.

  17. Modeling learning in brain stem and cerebellar sites responsible for VOR plasticity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, K. J.; Didier, A. J.; Baker, J. F.; Peterson, B. W.

    1998-01-01

    A simple model of vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) function was used to analyze several hypotheses currently held concerning the characteristics of VOR plasticity. The network included a direct vestibular pathway and an indirect path via the cerebellum. An optimization analysis of this model suggests that regulation of brain stem sites is critical for the proper modification of VOR gain. A more physiologically plausible learning rule was also applied to this network. Analysis of these simulation results suggests that the preferred error correction signal controlling gain modification of the VOR is the direct output of the accessory optic system (AOS) to the vestibular nuclei vs. a signal relayed through the cerebellum via floccular Purkinje cells. The potential anatomical and physiological basis for this conclusion is discussed, in relation to our current understanding of the latency of the adapted VOR response.

  18. Are Supramodality and Cross-Modal Plasticity the Yin and Yang of Brain Development? From Blindness to Rehabilitation

    PubMed Central

    Cecchetti, Luca; Kupers, Ron; Ptito, Maurice; Pietrini, Pietro; Ricciardi, Emiliano

    2016-01-01

    Research in blind individuals has primarily focused for a long time on the brain plastic reorganization that occurs in early visual areas. Only more recently, scientists have developed innovative strategies to understand to what extent vision is truly a mandatory prerequisite for the brain’s fine morphological architecture to develop and function. As a whole, the studies conducted to date in sighted and congenitally blind individuals have provided ample evidence that several “visual” cortical areas develop independently from visual experience and do process information content regardless of the sensory modality through which a particular stimulus is conveyed: a property named supramodality. At the same time, lack of vision leads to a structural and functional reorganization within “visual” brain areas, a phenomenon known as cross-modal plasticity. Cross-modal recruitment of the occipital cortex in visually deprived individuals represents an adaptative compensatory mechanism that mediates processing of non-visual inputs. Supramodality and cross-modal plasticity appears to be the “yin and yang” of brain development: supramodal is what takes place despite the lack of vision, whereas cross-modal is what happens because of lack of vision. Here we provide a critical overview of the research in this field and discuss the implications that these novel findings have for the development of educative/rehabilitation approaches and sensory substitution devices (SSDs) in sensory-impaired individuals. PMID:27877116

  19. Music mnemonics aid Verbal Memory and Induce Learning – Related Brain Plasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Thaut, Michael H.; Peterson, David A.; McIntosh, Gerald C.; Hoemberg, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Recent research on music and brain function has suggested that the temporal pattern structure in music and rhythm can enhance cognitive functions. To further elucidate this question specifically for memory, we investigated if a musical template can enhance verbal learning in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and if music-assisted learning will also influence short-term, system-level brain plasticity. We measured systems-level brain activity with oscillatory network synchronization during music-assisted learning. Specifically, we measured the spectral power of 128-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) in alpha and beta frequency bands in 54 patients with MS. The study sample was randomly divided into two groups, either hearing a spoken or a musical (sung) presentation of Rey’s auditory verbal learning test. We defined the “learning-related synchronization” (LRS) as the percent change in EEG spectral power from the first time the word was presented to the average of the subsequent word encoding trials. LRS differed significantly between the music and the spoken conditions in low alpha and upper beta bands. Patients in the music condition showed overall better word memory and better word order memory and stronger bilateral frontal alpha LRS than patients in the spoken condition. The evidence suggests that a musical mnemonic recruits stronger oscillatory network synchronization in prefrontal areas in MS patients during word learning. It is suggested that the temporal structure implicit in musical stimuli enhances “deep encoding” during verbal learning and sharpens the timing of neural dynamics in brain networks degraded by demyelination in MS. PMID:24982626

  20. Drug-Induced Alterations of Endocannabinoid-Mediated Plasticity in Brain Reward Regions

    PubMed Central

    Zlebnik, Natalie E.

    2016-01-01

    The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has emerged as one of the most important mediators of physiological and pathological reward-related synaptic plasticity. eCBs are retrograde messengers that provide feedback inhibition, resulting in the suppression of neurotransmitter release at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses, and they serve a critical role in the spatiotemporal regulation of both short- and long-term synaptic plasticity that supports adaptive learning of reward-motivated behaviors. However, mechanisms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity in reward areas of the brain are impaired following exposure to drugs of abuse. Because of this, it is theorized that maladaptive eCB signaling may contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction-related behavior. Here we review various forms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity present in regions of the brain involved in reward and reinforcement and explore the potential physiological relevance of maladaptive eCB signaling to addiction vulnerability. PMID:27707960

  1. Drug-Induced Alterations of Endocannabinoid-Mediated Plasticity in Brain Reward Regions.

    PubMed

    Zlebnik, Natalie E; Cheer, Joseph F

    2016-10-05

    The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has emerged as one of the most important mediators of physiological and pathological reward-related synaptic plasticity. eCBs are retrograde messengers that provide feedback inhibition, resulting in the suppression of neurotransmitter release at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses, and they serve a critical role in the spatiotemporal regulation of both short- and long-term synaptic plasticity that supports adaptive learning of reward-motivated behaviors. However, mechanisms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity in reward areas of the brain are impaired following exposure to drugs of abuse. Because of this, it is theorized that maladaptive eCB signaling may contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction-related behavior. Here we review various forms of eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity present in regions of the brain involved in reward and reinforcement and explore the potential physiological relevance of maladaptive eCB signaling to addiction vulnerability.

  2. Task decomposition: a framework for comparing diverse training models in human brain plasticity studies

    PubMed Central

    Coffey, Emily B. J.; Herholz, Sibylle C.

    2013-01-01

    Training studies, in which the structural or functional neurophysiology is compared before and after expertise is acquired, are increasingly being used as models for understanding the human brain’s potential for reorganization. It is proving difficult to use these results to answer basic and important questions like how task training leads to both specific and general changes in behavior and how these changes correspond with modifications in the brain. The main culprit is the diversity of paradigms used as complex task models. An assortment of activities ranging from juggling to deciphering Morse code has been reported. Even when working in the same general domain, few researchers use similar training models. New ways to meaningfully compare complex tasks are needed. We propose a method for characterizing and deconstructing the task requirements of complex training paradigms, which is suitable for application to both structural and functional neuroimaging studies. We believe this approach will aid brain plasticity research by making it easier to compare training paradigms, identify “missing puzzle pieces,” and encourage researchers to design training protocols to bridge these gaps. PMID:24115927

  3. Functional consequences of pre- and postsynaptic expression of synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Costa, Rui Ponte; Mizusaki, Beatriz E P; Sjöström, P Jesper; van Rossum, Mark C W

    2017-03-05

    Growing experimental evidence shows that both homeostatic and Hebbian synaptic plasticity can be expressed presynaptically as well as postsynaptically. In this review, we start by discussing this evidence and methods used to determine expression loci. Next, we discuss the functional consequences of this diversity in pre- and postsynaptic expression of both homeostatic and Hebbian synaptic plasticity. In particular, we explore the functional consequences of a biologically tuned model of pre- and postsynaptically expressed spike-timing-dependent plasticity complemented with postsynaptic homeostatic control. The pre- and postsynaptic expression in this model predicts (i) more reliable receptive fields and sensory perception, (ii) rapid recovery of forgotten information (memory savings), and (iii) reduced response latencies, compared with a model with postsynaptic expression only. Finally, we discuss open questions that will require a considerable research effort to better elucidate how the specific locus of expression of homeostatic and Hebbian plasticity alters synaptic and network computations.This article is part of the themed issue 'Integrating Hebbian and homeostatic plasticity'.

  4. Myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cells in white matter pathology and plasticity after traumatic brain injury.

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Regina C; Mierzwa, Amanda J; Sullivan, Genevieve M; Sanchez, Maria A

    2016-11-01

    Impact to the head or rapid head acceleration-deceleration can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a characteristic pathology of traumatic axonal injury (TAI) and secondary damage in white matter tracts. Myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cells have significant roles in the progression of white matter pathology after TBI and in the potential for plasticity and subsequent recovery. The myelination pattern of specific brain regions, such as frontal cortex, may also increase susceptibility to neurodegeneration and psychiatric symptoms after TBI. White matter pathology after TBI depends on the extent and distribution of axon damage, microhemorrhages and/or neuroinflammation. TAI occurs in a pattern of damaged axons dispersed among intact axons in white matter tracts. TAI accompanied by bleeding and/or inflammation produces focal regions of overt tissue destruction, resulting in loss of both axons and myelin. White matter regions with TAI may also exhibit demyelination of intact axons. Demyelinated axons that remain viable have the potential for remyelination and recovery of function. Indeed, animal models of TBI have demonstrated demyelination that is associated with evidence of remyelination, including oligodendrocyte progenitor cell proliferation, generation of new oligodendrocytes, and formation of thinner myelin. Changes in neuronal activity that accompany TBI may also involve myelin remodeling, which modifies conduction efficiency along intact myelinated fibers. Thus, effective remyelination and myelin remodeling may be neurobiological substrates of plasticity in neuronal circuits that require long-distance communication. This perspective integrates findings from multiple contexts to propose a model of myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cell relevance in white matter injury after TBI. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Oligodendrocytes in Health and Disease'.

  5. Menstrual cycle-dependent neural plasticity in the adult human brain is hormone, task, and region specific.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Guillén; Weis, Susanne; Stoffel-Wagner, Birgit; Tendolkar, Indira; Reuber, Markus; Beyenburg, Stefan; Klaver, Peter; Fell, Jürgen; de Greiff, Armin; Ruhlmann, Jürgen; Reul, Jürgen; Elger, Christian E

    2003-05-01

    In rodents, cyclically fluctuating levels of gonadal steroid hormones modulate neural plasticity by altering synaptic transmission and synaptogenesis. Alterations of mood and cognition observed during the menstrual cycle suggest that steroid-related plasticity also occurs in humans. Cycle phase-dependent differences in cognitive performance have almost exclusively been found in tasks probing lateralized neuronal domains, i.e., cognitive domains such as language, which are predominantly executed by one hemisphere. To search for neural correlates of hormonally mediated neural plasticity in humans, we thus conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging study measuring brain activity related to a semantic decision task in the language domain. This was contrasted with a letter-matching task in the perceptual domain, in which we expected no steroid hormone-mediated effect. We investigated 12 young healthy women in a counterbalanced repeated-measure design during low-steroid menstruation and high-steroid midluteal phase. Steroid serum levels correlated with the volume and lateralization of particular brain activations related to the semantic task but not with brain activity related to the perceptual task. More specifically, bilateral superior temporal recruitment correlated positively with progesterone and medial superior frontal recruitment with both progesterone and estradiol serum levels, whereas activations in inferior and middle frontal cortex were unaffected by steroid levels. In contrast to these specific interactions, testosterone levels correlated nonselectively with overall activation levels by neural and/or vascular factor(s). In conclusion, our data demonstrate steroid hormone responsivity in the adult human brain by revealing neural plasticity in the language domain, which appears hormone, task, and region specific.

  6. Sleep deprivation and hippocampal vulnerability: changes in neuronal plasticity, neurogenesis and cognitive function.

    PubMed

    Kreutzmann, J C; Havekes, R; Abel, T; Meerlo, P

    2015-11-19

    Despite the ongoing fundamental controversy about the physiological function of sleep, there is general consensus that sleep benefits neuronal plasticity, which ultimately supports brain function and cognition. In agreement with this are numerous studies showing that sleep deprivation (SD) results in learning and memory impairments. Interestingly, such impairments appear to occur particularly when these learning and memory processes require the hippocampus, suggesting that this brain region may be particularly sensitive to the consequences of sleep loss. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying sleep and memory formation remain to be investigated, available evidence suggests that SD may impair hippocampal neuronal plasticity and memory processes by attenuating intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-protein kinase A (PKA) signaling which may lead to alterations in cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)-mediated gene transcription, neurotrophic signaling, and glutamate receptor expression. When restricted sleep becomes a chronic condition, it causes a reduction of hippocampal cell proliferation and neurogenesis, which may eventually lead to a reduction in hippocampal volume. Ultimately, by impairing hippocampal plasticity and function, chronically restricted and disrupted sleep contributes to cognitive disorders and psychiatric diseases.

  7. The brain timewise: how timing shapes and supports brain function.

    PubMed

    Hari, Riitta; Parkkonen, Lauri

    2015-05-19

    We discuss the importance of timing in brain function: how temporal dynamics of the world has left its traces in the brain during evolution and how we can monitor the dynamics of the human brain with non-invasive measurements. Accurate timing is important for the interplay of neurons, neuronal circuitries, brain areas and human individuals. In the human brain, multiple temporal integration windows are hierarchically organized, with temporal scales ranging from microseconds to tens and hundreds of milliseconds for perceptual, motor and cognitive functions, and up to minutes, hours and even months for hormonal and mood changes. Accurate timing is impaired in several brain diseases. From the current repertoire of non-invasive brain imaging methods, only magnetoencephalography (MEG) and scalp electroencephalography (EEG) provide millisecond time-resolution; our focus in this paper is on MEG. Since the introduction of high-density whole-scalp MEG/EEG coverage in the 1990s, the instrumentation has not changed drastically; yet, novel data analyses are advancing the field rapidly by shifting the focus from the mere pinpointing of activity hotspots to seeking stimulus- or task-specific information and to characterizing functional networks. During the next decades, we can expect increased spatial resolution and accuracy of the time-resolved brain imaging and better understanding of brain function, especially its temporal constraints, with the development of novel instrumentation and finer-grained, physiologically inspired generative models of local and network activity. Merging both spatial and temporal information with increasing accuracy and carrying out recordings in naturalistic conditions, including social interaction, will bring much new information about human brain function.

  8. The brain timewise: how timing shapes and supports brain function

    PubMed Central

    Hari, Riitta; Parkkonen, Lauri

    2015-01-01

    We discuss the importance of timing in brain function: how temporal dynamics of the world has left its traces in the brain during evolution and how we can monitor the dynamics of the human brain with non-invasive measurements. Accurate timing is important for the interplay of neurons, neuronal circuitries, brain areas and human individuals. In the human brain, multiple temporal integration windows are hierarchically organized, with temporal scales ranging from microseconds to tens and hundreds of milliseconds for perceptual, motor and cognitive functions, and up to minutes, hours and even months for hormonal and mood changes. Accurate timing is impaired in several brain diseases. From the current repertoire of non-invasive brain imaging methods, only magnetoencephalography (MEG) and scalp electroencephalography (EEG) provide millisecond time-resolution; our focus in this paper is on MEG. Since the introduction of high-density whole-scalp MEG/EEG coverage in the 1990s, the instrumentation has not changed drastically; yet, novel data analyses are advancing the field rapidly by shifting the focus from the mere pinpointing of activity hotspots to seeking stimulus- or task-specific information and to characterizing functional networks. During the next decades, we can expect increased spatial resolution and accuracy of the time-resolved brain imaging and better understanding of brain function, especially its temporal constraints, with the development of novel instrumentation and finer-grained, physiologically inspired generative models of local and network activity. Merging both spatial and temporal information with increasing accuracy and carrying out recordings in naturalistic conditions, including social interaction, will bring much new information about human brain function. PMID:25823867

  9. Modulating Hippocampal Plasticity with In Vivo Brain Stimulation

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-16

    and memory . Understanding such molecular effects will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms by which brain stimulation produces its effects...al., 2015). In addition to these clinical benefits, tDCS use in healthy subjects has been observed to improve declarative and working memory (Marshall...critical for learning and memory . Understanding such molecular effects will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms by which brain stimulation

  10. Plastic neuroscience: studying what the brain cares about

    PubMed Central

    Dumit, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Drawing on Allan Newell's “You can't play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In this manner, brains are not confused with persons, rather, persons are understood to do things with their brains. PMID:24795589

  11. Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Following Traumatic Brain Injury

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-04-01

    understood and has relied primarily on findings from studies conducted in stroke . We have demonstrated that following CCI (a rodent model of...expected based on stroke models. Despite this, the motor cortex near the contusion maintains the capacity for motor map plasticity. 15. SUBJECT TERMS...been extensively studied in animal models of stroke and have significantly influenced rehabilitation of stroke patients (for review see (T. A. Jones et

  12. Modulation of Rho GTPases rescues brain mitochondrial dysfunction, cognitive deficits and aberrant synaptic plasticity in female mice modeling Rett syndrome.

    PubMed

    De Filippis, Bianca; Valenti, Daniela; Chiodi, Valentina; Ferrante, Antonella; de Bari, Lidia; Fiorentini, Carla; Domenici, Maria Rosaria; Ricceri, Laura; Vacca, Rosa Anna; Fabbri, Alessia; Laviola, Giovanni

    2015-06-01

    Rho GTPases are molecules critically involved in neuronal plasticity and cognition. We have previously reported that modulation of brain Rho GTPases by the bacterial toxin CNF1 rescues the neurobehavioral phenotype in MeCP2-308 male mice, a model of Rett syndrome (RTT). RTT is a rare X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder and a genetic cause of intellectual disability, for which no effective therapy is available. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed to be involved in the mechanism of the disease pathogenesis. Here we demonstrate that modulation of Rho GTPases by CNF1 rescues the reduced mitochondrial ATP production via oxidative phosphorylation in the brain of MeCP2-308 heterozygous female mice, the condition which more closely recapitulates that of RTT patients. In RTT mouse brain, CNF1 also restores the alterations in the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complexes and of ATP synthase, the molecular machinery responsible for the majority of cell energy production. Such effects were achieved through the upregulation of the protein content of those MRC complexes subunits, which were defective in RTT mouse brain. Restored mitochondrial functionality was accompanied by the rescue of deficits in cognitive function (spatial reference memory in the Barnes maze), synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation) and Tyr1472 phosphorylation of GluN2B, which was abnormally enhanced in the hippocampus of RTT mice. Present findings bring into light previously unknown functional mitochondrial alterations in the brain of female mice modeling RTT and provide the first evidence that RTT brain mitochondrial dysfunction can be rescued by modulation of Rho GTPases.

  13. Scaling of brain metabolism with a fixed energy budget per neuron: implications for neuronal activity, plasticity and evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2011-03-01

    It is usually considered that larger brains have larger neurons, which consume more energy individually, and are therefore accompanied by a larger number of glial cells per neuron. These notions, however, have never been tested. Based on glucose and oxygen metabolic rates in awake animals and their recently determined numbers of neurons, here I show that, contrary to the expected, the estimated glucose use per neuron is remarkably constant, varying only by 40% across the six species of rodents and primates (including humans). The estimated average glucose use per neuron does not correlate with neuronal density in any structure. This suggests that the energy budget of the whole brain per neuron is fixed across species and brain sizes, such that total glucose use by the brain as a whole, by the cerebral cortex and also by the cerebellum alone are linear functions of the number of neurons in the structures across the species (although the average glucose consumption per neuron is at least 10× higher in the cerebral cortex than in the cerebellum). These results indicate that the apparently remarkable use in humans of 20% of the whole body energy budget by a brain that represents only 2% of body mass is explained simply by its large number of neurons. Because synaptic activity is considered the major determinant of metabolic cost, a conserved energy budget per neuron has several profound implications for synaptic homeostasis and the regulation of firing rates, synaptic plasticity, brain imaging, pathologies, and for brain scaling in evolution.

  14. Brain lateralization and neural plasticity for musical and cognitive abilities in an epileptic musician

    PubMed Central

    Trujillo-Pozo, Isabel; Martín-Monzón, Isabel; Rodríguez-Romero, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    The use of intracarotid propofol procedure (IPP) when assessing musical lateralization has not been reported in literature up to now. This procedure (similar to Wada Test) has provided the opportunity to investigate not only lateralization of language and memory functions on epileptic patients but also offers a functional mapping approach with superior spatial and temporal resolution to analyze the lateralization of musical abilities. Findings in literature suggest that musical training modifies functional and structural brain organization. We studied hemispheric lateralization in a professional musician, a 33 years old woman with refractory left medial temporal lobe (MTL) epilepsy (TLE). A longitudinal neuropsychological study was performed over a period of 21 months. Before epilepsy surgery, musical abilities, language and memory were tested during IPP by means of a novel and exhaustive neuropsychological battery focusing on the processing of music. We used a selection of stimuli to analyze listening, score reading, and tempo discrimination. Our results suggested that IPP is an excellent method to determine not only language, semantic, and episodic memory, but also musical dominance in a professional musician who may be candidate for epilepsy surgery. Neuropsychological testing revealed that right hemisphere's patient is involved in semantic and episodic musical memory processes, whereas her score reading and tempo processing require contribution from both hemispheres. At one-year follow-up, outcome was excellent with respect to seizures and professional skills, meanwhile cognitive abilities improved. These findings indicate that IPP helps to predict who might be at risk for postoperative musical, language, and memory deficits after epilepsy surgery. Our research suggests that musical expertise and epilepsy critically modifies long-term memory processes and induces brain structural and functional plasticity. PMID:24367312

  15. Brain plasticity and recovery from early cortical injury.

    PubMed

    Kolb, Bryan; Mychasiuk, Richelle; Williams, Preston; Gibb, Robbin

    2011-09-01

    Neocortical development represents more than a simple unfolding of a genetic blueprint: rather, it represents a complex dance of genetic and environmental events that interact to adapt the brain to fit a particular environmental context. Most cortical regions are sensitive to a wide range of experiential factors during development and later in life, but the injured cortex appears to be unusually sensitive to perinatal experiences. This paper reviews the factors that influence how normal and injured brains (both focal and ischemic injuries) develop and adapt into adulthood. Such factors include prenatal experiences in utero as well as postnatal experiences throughout life. Examples include the effects of sensory and motor stimulation, psychoactive drugs (including illicit and prescription drugs), maternal and postnatal stress, neurotrophic factors, and pre- and postnatal diet. All these factors influence cerebral development and influence recovery from brain injury during development.

  16. Functional data analysis in brain imaging studies.

    PubMed

    Tian, Tian Siva

    2010-01-01

    Functional data analysis (FDA) considers the continuity of the curves or functions, and is a topic of increasing interest in the statistics community. FDA is commonly applied to time-series and spatial-series studies. The development of functional brain imaging techniques in recent years made it possible to study the relationship between brain and mind over time. Consequently, an enormous amount of functional data is collected and needs to be analyzed. Functional techniques designed for these data are in strong demand. This paper discusses three statistically challenging problems utilizing FDA techniques in functional brain imaging analysis. These problems are dimension reduction (or feature extraction), spatial classification in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, and the inverse problem in magneto-encephalography studies. The application of FDA to these issues is relatively new but has been shown to be considerably effective. Future efforts can further explore the potential of FDA in functional brain imaging studies.

  17. Perspectives of TRPV1 Function on the Neurogenesis and Neural Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Ramírez-Barrantes, R.; Cordova, C.; Poblete, H.; Muñoz, P.; Marchant, I.; Wianny, F.; Olivero, P.

    2016-01-01

    The development of new strategies to renew and repair neuronal networks using neural plasticity induced by stem cell graft could enable new therapies to cure diseases that were considered lethal until now. In adequate microenvironment a neuronal progenitor must receive molecular signal of a specific cellular context to determine fate, differentiation, and location. TRPV1, a nonselective calcium channel, is expressed in neurogenic regions of the brain like the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and the telencephalic subventricular zone, being valuable for neural differentiation and neural plasticity. Current data show that TRPV1 is involved in several neuronal functions as cytoskeleton dynamics, cell migration, survival, and regeneration of injured neurons, incorporating several stimuli in neurogenesis and network integration. The function of TRPV1 in the brain is under intensive investigation, due to multiple places where it has been detected and its sensitivity for different chemical and physical agonists, and a new role of TRPV1 in brain function is now emerging as a molecular tool for survival and control of neural stem cells. PMID:26881090

  18. Insulin Action in Brain Regulates Systemic Metabolism and Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Kleinridders, André; Ferris, Heather A.; Cai, Weikang

    2014-01-01

    Insulin receptors, as well as IGF-1 receptors and their postreceptor signaling partners, are distributed throughout the brain. Insulin acts on these receptors to modulate peripheral metabolism, including regulation of appetite, reproductive function, body temperature, white fat mass, hepatic glucose output, and response to hypoglycemia. Insulin signaling also modulates neurotransmitter channel activity, brain cholesterol synthesis, and mitochondrial function. Disruption of insulin action in the brain leads to impairment of neuronal function and synaptogenesis. In addition, insulin signaling modulates phosphorylation of tau protein, an early component in the development of Alzheimer disease. Thus, alterations in insulin action in the brain can contribute to metabolic syndrome, and the development of mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:24931034

  19. A Behavioral Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury-Associated Visual Dysfunction Based on Adult Cortical Plasticity

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-12-01

    phase of eye movements , whereas the superimposed red and green sections are the fast saccadic movements in the left and right direction, respectively...in near vision, as well as in general processing speed, overall attention, cognitive processing, and involuntary eye movement suppression during... movement behaviors, thus supporting that improvements are contributed by brain plasticity following perceptual training. The observed improvement in

  20. Principles of Experience-Dependent Neural Plasticity: Implications for Rehabilitation after Brain Damage

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kleim, Jeffrey A.; Jones, Theresa A.

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: This paper reviews 10 principles of experience-dependent neural plasticity and considerations in applying them to the damaged brain. Method: Neuroscience research using a variety of models of learning, neurological disease, and trauma are reviewed from the perspective of basic neuroscientists but in a manner intended to be useful for the…

  1. Bioengineered functional brain-like cortical tissue

    PubMed Central

    Tang-Schomer, Min D.; White, James D.; Tien, Lee W.; Schmitt, L. Ian; Valentin, Thomas M.; Graziano, Daniel J.; Hopkins, Amy M.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Haydon, Philip G.; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    The brain remains one of the most important but least understood tissues in our body, in part because of its complexity as well as the limitations associated with in vivo studies. Although simpler tissues have yielded to the emerging tools for in vitro 3D tissue cultures, functional brain-like tissues have not. We report the construction of complex functional 3D brain-like cortical tissue, maintained for months in vitro, formed from primary cortical neurons in modular 3D compartmentalized architectures with electrophysiological function. We show that, on injury, this brain-like tissue responds in vitro with biochemical and electrophysiological outcomes that mimic observations in vivo. This modular 3D brain-like tissue is capable of real-time nondestructive assessments, offering previously unidentified directions for studies of brain homeostasis and injury. PMID:25114234

  2. The restless brain: how intrinsic activity organizes brain function.

    PubMed

    Raichle, Marcus E

    2015-05-19

    Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive at all levels of neuroscience, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic and ongoing, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I suggest that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources, its limited access to sensory information and a dynamic, intrinsic functional organization. The nature of this intrinsic activity, which exhibits a surprising level of organization with dimensions of both space and time, is revealed in the ongoing activity of the brain and its metabolism. As we look to the future, understanding the nature of this intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux. The reward for doing so will be a much better understanding of human behaviour in health and disease.

  3. The restless brain: how intrinsic activity organizes brain function

    PubMed Central

    Raichle, Marcus E.

    2015-01-01

    Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive at all levels of neuroscience, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic and ongoing, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I suggest that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources, its limited access to sensory information and a dynamic, intrinsic functional organization. The nature of this intrinsic activity, which exhibits a surprising level of organization with dimensions of both space and time, is revealed in the ongoing activity of the brain and its metabolism. As we look to the future, understanding the nature of this intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux. The reward for doing so will be a much better understanding of human behaviour in health and disease. PMID:25823869

  4. Exercise-mimetic AICAR transiently benefits brain function.

    PubMed

    Guerrieri, Davide; van Praag, Henriette

    2015-07-30

    Exercise enhances learning and memory in animals and humans. The role of peripheral factors that may trigger the beneficial effects of running on brain function has been sparsely examined. In particular, it is unknown whether AMP-kinase (AMPK) activation in muscle can predict enhancement of brain plasticity. Here we compare the effects of running and administration of AMPK agonist 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide 1-β-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR, 500 mg/kg), for 3, 7 or 14 days in one-month-old male C57BL/6J mice, on muscle AMPK signaling. At the time-points where we observed equivalent running- and AICAR-induced muscle pAMPK levels (7 and 14 days), cell proliferation, synaptic plasticity and gene expression, as well as markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus and lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) were evaluated. At the 7-day time-point, both regimens increased new DG cell number and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels. Furthermore, microarray analysis of DG and LEC tissue showed a remarkable overlap between running and AICAR in the regulation of neuronal, mitochondrial and metabolism related gene classes. Interestingly, while similar outcomes for both treatments were stable over time in muscle, in the brain an inversion occurred at fourteen days. The compound no longer increased DG cell proliferation or neurotrophin levels, and upregulated expression of apoptotic genes and inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β. Thus, an exercise mimetic that produces changes in muscle consistent with those of exercise does not have the same sustainable positive effects on the brain, indicating that only running consistently benefits brain function.

  5. Functional consequences of pre- and postsynaptic expression of synaptic plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Mizusaki, Beatriz E. P.

    2017-01-01

    Growing experimental evidence shows that both homeostatic and Hebbian synaptic plasticity can be expressed presynaptically as well as postsynaptically. In this review, we start by discussing this evidence and methods used to determine expression loci. Next, we discuss the functional consequences of this diversity in pre- and postsynaptic expression of both homeostatic and Hebbian synaptic plasticity. In particular, we explore the functional consequences of a biologically tuned model of pre- and postsynaptically expressed spike-timing-dependent plasticity complemented with postsynaptic homeostatic control. The pre- and postsynaptic expression in this model predicts (i) more reliable receptive fields and sensory perception, (ii) rapid recovery of forgotten information (memory savings), and (iii) reduced response latencies, compared with a model with postsynaptic expression only. Finally, we discuss open questions that will require a considerable research effort to better elucidate how the specific locus of expression of homeostatic and Hebbian plasticity alters synaptic and network computations. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Integrating Hebbian and homeostatic plasticity’. PMID:28093547

  6. Brain Plasticity and the Art of Teaching to Learn

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martinez, Margaret

    2005-01-01

    "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself, "wrote Leo Tolstoy. Have you ever thought about how learning changes your brain? If yes, this paper may help you explore the research that will change our learning landscape in the next few years! Recent developers in the neurosciences and education research…

  7. [The compensatory plasticity of the brain when it is damaged].

    PubMed

    Siniaia, M S; Pinchuk, D Iu; Sheliakin, A M; Tobias, T V; Bogdanov, O V

    1991-08-01

    A new test for determination of the degree of the compensatory processes after brain damage was proposed in experiments in the cats with one-sided transection of the hemisphere and children with one-sided cerebral palsy. The process of habituation of the skin galvanic reaction was used for this aim.

  8. CD44: a novel synaptic cell adhesion molecule regulating structural and functional plasticity of dendritic spines

    PubMed Central

    Roszkowska, Matylda; Skupien, Anna; Wójtowicz, Tomasz; Konopka, Anna; Gorlewicz, Adam; Kisiel, Magdalena; Bekisz, Marek; Ruszczycki, Blazej; Dolezyczek, Hubert; Rejmak, Emilia; Knapska, Ewelina; Mozrzymas, Jerzy W.; Wlodarczyk, Jakub; Wilczynski, Grzegorz M.; Dzwonek, Joanna

    2016-01-01

    Synaptic cell adhesion molecules regulate signal transduction, synaptic function, and plasticity. However, their role in neuronal interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) is not well understood. Here we report that the CD44, a transmembrane receptor for hyaluronan, modulates synaptic plasticity. High-resolution ultrastructural analysis showed that CD44 was localized at mature synapses in the adult brain. The reduced expression of CD44 affected the synaptic excitatory transmission of primary hippocampal neurons, simultaneously modifying dendritic spine shape. The frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents decreased, accompanied by dendritic spine elongation and thinning. These structural and functional alterations went along with a decrease in the number of presynaptic Bassoon puncta, together with a reduction of PSD-95 levels at dendritic spines, suggesting a reduced number of functional synapses. Lack of CD44 also abrogated spine head enlargement upon neuronal stimulation. Moreover, our results indicate that CD44 contributes to proper dendritic spine shape and function by modulating the activity of actin cytoskeleton regulators, that is, Rho GTPases (RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42). Thus CD44 appears to be a novel molecular player regulating functional and structural plasticity of dendritic spines. PMID:27798233

  9. Taurine content in different brain structures during ageing: effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Luz M; Muñoz, María-Dolores; Martín Del Río, Rafael; Solís, José M

    2016-05-01

    A reduction in taurine content accompanies the ageing process in many tissues. In fact, the decline of brain taurine levels has been associated with cognitive deficits whereas chronic administration of taurine seems to ameliorate age-related deficits such as memory acquisition and retention. In the present study, using rats of three age groups (young, adult and aged) we determined whether the content of taurine and other amino acids (glutamate, serine, glutamine, glycine, alanine and GABA) was altered during ageing in different brain areas (cerebellum, cortex and hippocampus) as well non-brain tissues (heart, kidney, liver and plasma). Moreover, using hippocampal slices we tested whether ageing affects synaptic function and plasticity. These parameters were also determined in aged rats fed with either taurine-devoid or taurine-supplemented diets. With age, we found heterogeneous changes in amino acid content depending on the amino acid type and the tissue. In the case of taurine, its content was reduced in the cerebellum of adult and aged rats, but it remained unchanged in the hippocampus, cortex, heart and liver. The synaptic response amplitude decreased in aged rats, although the late phase of long-term synaptic potentiation (late-LTP), a taurine-dependent process, was not altered. Our study highlights the stability of taurine content in the hippocampus during ageing regardless of whether taurine was present in the diet, which is consistent with the lack of changes detected in late-LTP. These results indicate that the beneficial effects of taurine supplementation might be independent of the replenishment of taurine stores.

  10. Brain Function: Implications for Schooling.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Edwards, Clifford H.

    1982-01-01

    The implications of cerebral dominance for curriculum and instruction are enormous. Cognitive style, sex differences, instructional materials preparation and selection, and testing are affected by right or left brain hemisphere dominance. (CJ)

  11. Prentice Award Lecture 2011: Removing the Brakes on Plasticity in the Amblyopic Brain

    PubMed Central

    Levi, Dennis M.

    2012-01-01

    Experience-dependent plasticity is closely linked with the development of sensory function. Beyond this sensitive period, developmental plasticity is actively limited; however, new studies provide growing evidence for plasticity in the adult visual system. The amblyopic visual system is an excellent model for examining the “brakes” that limit recovery of function beyond the critical period. While amblyopia can often be reversed when treated early, conventional treatment is generally not undertaken in older children and adults. However new clinical and experimental studies in both animals and humans provide evidence for neural plasticity beyond the critical period. The results suggest that perceptual learning and video game play may be effective in improving a range of visual performance measures and importantly the improvements may transfer to better visual acuity and stereopsis. These findings, along with the results of new clinical trials, suggest that it might be time to re-consider our notions about neural plasticity in amblyopia. PMID:22581119

  12. The gravitational field and brain function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mei, Lei; Zhou, Chuan-Dai; Lan, Jing-Quan; Wang, Zhi-Ging; Wu, Wen-Can; Xue, Xin-Min

    The frontal cortex is recognized as the highest adaptive control center of the human brain. The principle of the ``frontalization'' of human brain function offers new possibilities for brain research in space. There is evolutionary and experimental evidence indicating the validity of the principle, including it's role in nervous response to gravitational stimulation. The gravitational field is considered here as one of the more constant and comprehensive factors acting on brain evolution, which has undergone some successive crucial steps: ``encephalization'', ``corticalization'', ``lateralization'' and ``frontalization''. The dominating effects of electrical responses from the frontal cortex have been discovered 1) in experiments under gravitational stimulus; and 2) in processes potentially relating to gravitational adaptation, such as memory and learning, sensory information processing, motor programing, and brain state control. A brain research experiment during space flight is suggested to test the role of the frontal cortex in space adaptation and it's potentiality in brain control.

  13. Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Following Traumatic Brain Injury

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-10-01

    serially and coronaly into sets and immunohistochemically analyzed for the following: contusion size estimated as volume of remaining tissue in Nissl ... Nissl . Using the Nissl stained sections, Dorothy Kozlowski’s lab has analyzed the size of the contusions. Previous studies have shown that if...brains, staining one set with Nissl , saving the remaining sets for Immunohistochemical staining. • Dr. Kozlowski’s lab is analyzing contusion size

  14. Variability in functional brain networks predicts expertise during action observation.

    PubMed

    Amoruso, Lucía; Ibáñez, Agustín; Fonseca, Bruno; Gadea, Sebastián; Sedeño, Lucas; Sigman, Mariano; García, Adolfo M; Fraiman, Ricardo; Fraiman, Daniel

    2017-02-01

    Observing an action performed by another individual activates, in the observer, similar circuits as those involved in the actual execution of that action. This activation is modulated by prior experience; indeed, sustained training in a particular motor domain leads to structural and functional changes in critical brain areas. Here, we capitalized on a novel graph-theory approach to electroencephalographic data (Fraiman et al., 2016) to test whether variability in functional brain networks implicated in Tango observation can discriminate between groups differing in their level of expertise. We found that experts and beginners significantly differed in the functional organization of task-relevant networks. Specifically, networks in expert Tango dancers exhibited less variability and a more robust functional architecture. Notably, these expertise-dependent effects were captured within networks derived from electrophysiological brain activity recorded in a very short time window (2s). In brief, variability in the organization of task-related networks seems to be a highly sensitive indicator of long-lasting training effects. This finding opens new methodological and theoretical windows to explore the impact of domain-specific expertise on brain plasticity, while highlighting variability as a fruitful measure in neuroimaging research.

  15. Adaptation of the communicative brain to post-lingual deafness. Evidence from functional imaging.

    PubMed

    Lazard, Diane S; Innes-Brown, Hamish; Barone, Pascal

    2014-01-01

    Not having access to one sense profoundly modifies our interactions with the environment, in turn producing changes in brain organization. Deafness and its rehabilitation by cochlear implantation offer a unique model of brain adaptation during sensory deprivation and recovery. Functional imaging allows the study of brain plasticity as a function of the times of deafness and implantation. Even long after the end of the sensitive period for auditory brain physiological maturation, some plasticity may be observed. In this way the mature brain that becomes deaf after language acquisition can adapt to its modified sensory inputs. Oral communication difficulties induced by post-lingual deafness shape cortical reorganization of brain networks already specialized for processing oral language. Left hemisphere language specialization tends to be more preserved than functions of the right hemisphere. We hypothesize that the right hemisphere offers cognitive resources re-purposed to palliate difficulties in left hemisphere speech processing due to sensory and auditory memory degradation. If cochlear implantation is considered, this reorganization during deafness may influence speech understanding outcomes positively or negatively. Understanding brain plasticity during post-lingual deafness should thus inform the development of cognitive rehabilitation, which promotes positive reorganization of the brain networks that process oral language before surgery. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Human Auditory Neuroimaging.

  16. [Modern methods of functional tomographic brain imaging for brain function reseaching in norm and pathology].

    PubMed

    Kireev, M V; Zakhs, D V; Korotkov, A D; Medvedev, S V

    2013-01-01

    For many years the modern methods of functional tomographic brain imaging (fMRI and PET) were actively used not only for the research of basic brain functions, but also in clinical practice. In present paper we described the basic characteristics of the signal registered with fMRI and PET, the principles of image reconstruction, as well as the methodological requirements, which are necessary to obtain reliable results. The advantages and limitations of modem tomographic methods of the brain functions investigation are discussed. The need of the complex approach use in brain study is emphasized and methods for the study of functional integration of the brain are suggested.

  17. Multimodality multidimensional image analysis of cortical and subcortical plasticity in the rat brain.

    PubMed

    Goldszal, A F; Tretiak, O J; Liu, D D; Hand, P J

    1996-01-01

    In this work, we developed and implemented a multimodality multidimensional imaging system which is capable of generating and displaying anatomical and functional images of selected structures and processes within a vertebrate's central nervous system (CNS). The functional images are generated from [14C]-2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) autoradiography whereas the anatomic images are derived from cytochrome oxidase (CO) histochemistry. This multi-modality imaging system has been used to study mechanisms underlying information processing in the rat brain. We have applied this technique to visualize and measure the plasticity (deformation) observed in the rat's whisker system due to neonatal lesioning of selected peripheral sensory organs. Application of this imaging system revealed detailed information about the shape, size, and directionality of selected cortical and subcortical structures. Previous 2-D imaging techniques were unable to deliver such holistic information. Another important issue addressed in this work is related to image registration problems. We developed an image registration technique which employs extrinsic fiduciary marks for alignment and is capable of registering images with subpixel accuracy. It uses the information from all available fiduciary marks to promote alignment of the sections and to avoid propagation of errors across a serial data set.

  18. Plasticity of GABAA Receptors during Pregnancy and Postpartum Period: From Gene to Function

    PubMed Central

    Licheri, Valentina; Talani, Giuseppe; Gorule, Ashish A.; Mostallino, Maria Cristina; Biggio, Giovanni; Sanna, Enrico

    2015-01-01

    Pregnancy needs complex pathways that together play a role in proper growth and protection of the fetus preventing its premature loss. Changes during pregnancy and postpartum period include the manifold machinery of neuroactive steroids that plays a crucial role in neuronal excitability by local modulation of specific inhibitory receptors: the GABAA receptors. Marked fluctuations in both blood and brain concentration of neuroactive steroids strongly contribute to GABAA receptor function and plasticity. In this review, we listed several interesting results regarding the regulation and plasticity of GABAA receptor function during pregnancy and postpartum period in rats. The increase in brain levels of neuroactive steroids during pregnancy and their sudden decrease immediately before delivery are causally related to changes in the expression/function of specific GABAA receptor subunits in the hippocampus. These data suggest that alterations in GABAA receptor expression and function may be related to neurological and psychiatric disorders associated with crucial periods in women. These findings could help to provide potential new treatments for these women's disabling syndromes. PMID:26413323

  19. Plasticity of GABAA Receptors during Pregnancy and Postpartum Period: From Gene to Function.

    PubMed

    Licheri, Valentina; Talani, Giuseppe; Gorule, Ashish A; Mostallino, Maria Cristina; Biggio, Giovanni; Sanna, Enrico

    2015-01-01

    Pregnancy needs complex pathways that together play a role in proper growth and protection of the fetus preventing its premature loss. Changes during pregnancy and postpartum period include the manifold machinery of neuroactive steroids that plays a crucial role in neuronal excitability by local modulation of specific inhibitory receptors: the GABAA receptors. Marked fluctuations in both blood and brain concentration of neuroactive steroids strongly contribute to GABAA receptor function and plasticity. In this review, we listed several interesting results regarding the regulation and plasticity of GABAA receptor function during pregnancy and postpartum period in rats. The increase in brain levels of neuroactive steroids during pregnancy and their sudden decrease immediately before delivery are causally related to changes in the expression/function of specific GABAA receptor subunits in the hippocampus. These data suggest that alterations in GABAA receptor expression and function may be related to neurological and psychiatric disorders associated with crucial periods in women. These findings could help to provide potential new treatments for these women's disabling syndromes.

  20. Functional recovery after surgical resection of low grade gliomas in eloquent brain: hypothesis of brain compensation

    PubMed Central

    Duffau, H; Capelle, L; Denvil, D; Sichez, N; Gatignol, P; Lopes, M; Mitchell, M; Sichez, J; Van Effenterre, R

    2003-01-01

    Objectives: To describe functional recovery after surgical resection of low grade gliomas (LGG) in eloquent brain areas, and discuss the mechanisms of compensation. Methods: Seventy-seven right-handed patients without deficit were operated on for a LGG invading primary and/or secondary sensorimotor and/or language areas, as shown anatomically by pre-operative MRI and intraoperatively by electrical brain stimulation and cortico-subcortical mapping. Results: Tumours involved 31 supplementary motor areas, 28 insulas, 8 primary somatosensory areas, 4 primary motor areas, 4 Broca's areas, and 2 left temporal language areas. All patients had immediate post-operative deficits. Recovery occurred within 3 months in all except four cases (definitive morbidity: 5%). Ninety-two percent of the lesions were either totally or extensively resected on post-operative MRI. Conclusions: These findings suggest that spatio-temporal functional re-organisation is possible in peritumoural brain, and that the process is dynamic. The recruitment of compensatory areas with long term perilesional functional reshaping would explain why: before surgery, there is no clinical deficit despite the tumour growth in eloquent regions; immediately after surgery, the occurrence of a deficit, which could be due to the resection of invaded areas participating (but not essential) to the function; and why three months after surgery, almost complete recovery had occurred. This brain plasticity, which decreases the long term risk of surgical morbidity, may be used to extend the limits of surgery in eloquent areas. PMID:12810776

  1. Effects of TRPV1 on the hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the epileptic rat brain.

    PubMed

    Saffarzadeh, Fatemeh; Eslamizade, Mohammad J; Ghadiri, Tahereh; Modarres Mousavi, Sayed Mostafa; Hadjighassem, Mahmoudreza; Gorji, Ali

    2015-07-01

    Temporal lobe epilepsy is often presented by medically intractable recurrent seizures due to dysfunction of temporal lobe structures, mostly the temporomesial structures. The role of transient receptor potential vaniloid 1 (TRPV1) activity on synaptic plasticity of the epileptic brain tissues was investigated. We studied hippocampal TRPV1 protein content and distribution in the hippocampus of epileptic rats. Furthermore, the effects of pharmacologic modulation of TRPV1 receptors on field excitatory postsynaptic potentials have been analyzed after induction of long term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 areas after 1 day (acute phase) and 3 months (chronic phase) of pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE). A higher expression of TRPV1 protein in the hippocampus as well as a higher distribution of this channel in CA1 and CA3 areas in both acute and chronic phases of pilocarpine-induced SE was observed. Activation of TRPV1 using capsaicin (1 µM) enhanced LTP induction in CA1 region in non-epileptic rats. Inhibition of TRPV1 by capsazepine (10 µM) did not affect LTP induction in non-epileptic rats. In acute phase of SE, activation of TRPV1 enhanced LTP in both CA1 and CA3 areas but TRPV1 inhibition did not affect LTP. In chronic phase of SE, application of TRPV1 antagonist enhanced LTP induction in CA1 and CA3 regions but TRPV1 activation had no effect on LTP. These findings indicate that a higher expression of TRPV1 in epileptic conditions is accompanied by a functional impact on the synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. This suggests TRPV1 as a potential target in treatment of seizure attacks.

  2. Imaging brain plasticity: conceptual and methodological issues--a theoretical review.

    PubMed

    Poldrack, R A

    2000-07-01

    The neural plasticity associated with learning and development is increasingly being studied using functional neuroimaging methods such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In this paper I outline a set of conceptual and methodological issues that are particularly relevant for the study of neural plasticity. A number of confounds, related to changes in performance and the inherently temporal nature of learning and development, must be addressed when imaging plasticity. The interpretation of changes in imaging signals is greatly underdetermined, suggesting that hypothesis-driven research approaches may be most fruitful. Finally, I argue that the imaging of learning-related and developmental plasticity can enhance the ability of functional neuroimaging to identify and characterize the underlying neural basis of cognition.

  3. Impact of fatty acids on brain circulation, structure and function.

    PubMed

    Haast, Roy A M; Kiliaan, Amanda J

    2015-01-01

    The use of dietary intervention has evolved into a promising approach to prevent the onset and progression of brain diseases. The positive relationship between intake of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-LCPUFAs) and decreased onset of disease- and aging-related deterioration of brain health is increasingly endorsed across epidemiological and diet-interventional studies. Promising results are found regarding to the protection of proper brain circulation, structure and functionality in healthy and diseased humans and animal models. These include enhanced cerebral blood flow (CBF), white and gray matter integrity, and improved cognitive functioning, and are possibly mediated through increased neurovascular coupling, neuroprotection and neuronal plasticity, respectively. Contrary, studies investigating diets high in saturated fats provide opposite results, which may eventually lead to irreversible damage. Studies like these are of great importance given the high incidence of obesity caused by the increased and decreased consumption of respectively saturated fats and ω3-LCPUFAs in the Western civilization. This paper will review in vivo research conducted on the effects of ω3-LCPUFAs and saturated fatty acids on integrity (circulation, structure and function) of the young, aging and diseased brain.

  4. Margaret Kennard (1899–1975): Not a ‘Principle’ of Brain Plasticity But a Founding Mother of Developmental Neuropsychology

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Maureen

    2009-01-01

    According to the ‘Kennard Principle’, there is a negative linear relation between age at brain injury and functional outcome. Other things being equal, the younger the lesioned organism, the better the outcome. But the ‘Kennard Principle’ is neither Kennard’s nor a principle. In her work, Kennard sought to explain the factors that predicted functional outcome (age, to be sure, but also staging, laterality, location, and number of brain lesions, and outcome domain) and the neural mechanisms that altered the lesioned brain’s functionality. This paper discusses Kennard’s life and years at Yale (1931–1943); considers the genesis and scope of her work on early-onset brain lesions, which represents an empirical and theoretical foundation for current developmental neuropsychology; offers an historical explanation of why the ‘Kennard Principle’ emerged in the context of early 1970s work on brain plasticity; shows why uncritical belief in the ‘Kennard Principle’ continues to shape current research and practice; and reviews the continuing importance of her work. PMID:20079891

  5. White matter in the older brain is more plastic than in the younger brain

    PubMed Central

    Yotsumoto, Yuko; Chang, Li-Hung; Ni, Rui; Pierce, Russell; Andersen, George J; Watanabe, Takeo; Sasaki, Yuka

    2014-01-01

    Visual perceptual learning (VPL) with younger subjects is associated with changes in functional activation of the early visual cortex. Although overall brain properties decline with age, it is unclear whether these declines are associated with visual perceptual learning. Here we use diffusion tensor imaging to test whether changes in white matter are involved in VPL for older adults. After training on a texture discrimination task for 3 daily sessions, both older and younger subjects show performance improvements. While the older subjects show significant changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) in the white matter beneath the early visual cortex after training, no significant change in FA is observed for younger subjects. These results suggest that the mechanism for VPL in older individuals is considerably different from that in younger individuals and that VPL of older individuals involves re-organization of white matter. PMID:25407566

  6. Brain, Mind and Language Functional Architectures

    PubMed Central

    Fingelkurts, Andrew A; Fingelkurts, Alexander A; Marchetti, Giorgio

    2010-01-01

    The interaction between brain and language has been investigated by a vast amount of research and different approaches, which however do not offer a comprehensive and unified theoretical framework to analyze how brain functioning performs the mental processes we use in producing language and in understanding speech. This Special Issue addresses the need to develop such a general theoretical framework, by fostering an interaction among the various scientific disciplines and methodologies, which centres on investigating the functional architecture of brain, mind and language, and is articulated along the following main dimensions of research: (a) Language as a regulatory contour of brain and mental processes; (b) Language as a unique human phenomenon; (c) Language as a governor of human behaviour and brain operations; (d) Language as an organizational factor of ontogenesis of mentation and behaviour. PMID:20922047

  7. In Vivo Expression of Reprogramming Factors Increases Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Synaptic Plasticity in Chronic Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Wi, Soohyun; Yu, Ji Hea; Kim, MinGi

    2016-01-01

    Neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity can be stimulated in vivo in the brain. In this study, we hypothesized that in vivo expression of reprogramming factors such as Klf4, Sox2, Oct4, and c-Myc would facilitate endogenous neurogenesis and functional recovery. CD-1® mice were induced at 1 week of age by unilaterally carotid artery ligation and exposure to hypoxia. At 6 weeks of age, mice were injected GFP only or both four reprogramming factors and GFP into lateral ventricle. Passive avoidance task and open field test were performed to evaluate neurobehavioral function. Neurogenesis and synaptic activity in the hippocampus were evaluated using immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, and/or western blot analyses. Whereas BrdU+GFAP+ cells in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus were not significantly different, the numbers of BrdU+βIII-tubulin+ and BrdU+NeuN+ cells were significantly higher in treatment group than control group. Expressions of synaptophysin and PSD-95 were also higher in treatment group than control group. Importantly, passive avoidance task and open field test showed improvement in long-term memory and decreased anxiety in treatment group. In conclusion, in vivo expression of reprogramming factors improved behavioral functions in chronic hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. The mechanisms underlying these repair processes included endogenous neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. PMID:27900211

  8. Sex Differences in Functional Brain Asymmetry.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1976-07-01

    to Wechsler’s norms [7], and their scores did not differ from either women with right-sided damage (t = 0.05, ns) or men with right-sided damage (t...brain injury. These findings suggest a greater degree of functional brain asym- metry in men than in women . A .c ....C . _t% :istr ivtiton ,tatrment...hemisphere specialization for spatial functions than did women . However, little is knovn about sex differences in the cerebral rep- resentation of verbal

  9. Functional connectivity hubs of the mouse brain.

    PubMed

    Liska, Adam; Galbusera, Alberto; Schwarz, Adam J; Gozzi, Alessandro

    2015-07-15

    Recent advances in functional connectivity methods have made it possible to identify brain hubs - a set of highly connected regions serving as integrators of distributed neuronal activity. The integrative role of hub nodes makes these areas points of high vulnerability to dysfunction in brain disorders, and abnormal hub connectivity profiles have been described for several neuropsychiatric disorders. The identification of analogous functional connectivity hubs in preclinical species like the mouse may provide critical insight into the elusive biological underpinnings of these connectional alterations. To spatially locate functional connectivity hubs in the mouse brain, here we applied a fully-weighted network analysis to map whole-brain intrinsic functional connectivity (i.e., the functional connectome) at a high-resolution voxel-scale. Analysis of a large resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) dataset revealed the presence of six distinct functional modules related to known large-scale functional partitions of the brain, including a default-mode network (DMN). Consistent with human studies, highly-connected functional hubs were identified in several sub-regions of the DMN, including the anterior and posterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices, in the thalamus, and in small foci within well-known integrative cortical structures such as the insular and temporal association cortices. According to their integrative role, the identified hubs exhibited mutual preferential interconnections. These findings highlight the presence of evolutionarily-conserved, mutually-interconnected functional hubs in the mouse brain, and may guide future investigations of the biological foundations of aberrant rsfMRI hub connectivity associated with brain pathological states.

  10. Intraoperative mapping during repeat awake craniotomy reveals the functional plasticity of adult cortex.

    PubMed

    Southwell, Derek G; Hervey-Jumper, Shawn L; Perry, David W; Berger, Mitchel S

    2016-05-01

    OBJECT To avoid iatrogenic injury during the removal of intrinsic cerebral neoplasms such as gliomas, direct electrical stimulation (DES) is used to identify cortical and subcortical white matter pathways critical for language, motor, and sensory function. When a patient undergoes more than 1 brain tumor resection as in the case of tumor recurrence, the use of DES provides an unusual opportunity to examine brain plasticity in the setting of neurological disease. METHODS The authors examined 561 consecutive cases in which patients underwent DES mapping during surgery forglioma resection. "Positive" and "negative" sites-discrete cortical regions where electrical stimulation did (positive) or did not (negative) produce transient sensory, motor, or language disturbance-were identified prior to tumor resection and documented by intraoperative photography for categorization into functional maps. In this group of 561 patients, 18 were identified who underwent repeat surgery in which 1 or more stimulation sites overlapped with those tested during the initial surgery. The authors compared intraoperative sensory, motor, or language mapping results between initial and repeat surgeries, and evaluated the clinical outcomes for these patients. RESULTS A total of 117 sites were tested for sensory (7 sites, 6.0%), motor (9 sites, 7.7%), or language (101 sites, 86.3%) function during both initial and repeat surgeries. The mean interval between surgical procedures was 4.1 years. During initial surgeries, 95 (81.2%) of 117 sites were found to be negative and 22 (18.8%) of 117 sites were found to be positive. During repeat surgeries, 103 (88.0%) of 117 sites were negative and 14 (12.0%) of 117 were positive. Of the 95 sites that were negative at the initial surgery, 94 (98.9%) were also negative at the repeat surgery, while 1 (1.1%) site was found to be positive. Of the 22 sites that were initially positive, 13 (59.1%) remained positive at repeat surgery, while 9 (40.9%) had become

  11. Mother’s voice and heartbeat sounds elicit auditory plasticity in the human brain before full gestation

    PubMed Central

    Webb, Alexandra R.; Heller, Howard T.; Benson, Carol B.; Lahav, Amir

    2015-01-01

    Brain development is largely shaped by early sensory experience. However, it is currently unknown whether, how early, and to what extent the newborn’s brain is shaped by exposure to maternal sounds when the brain is most sensitive to early life programming. The present study examined this question in 40 infants born extremely prematurely (between 25- and 32-wk gestation) in the first month of life. Newborns were randomized to receive auditory enrichment in the form of audio recordings of maternal sounds (including their mother’s voice and heartbeat) or routine exposure to hospital environmental noise. The groups were otherwise medically and demographically comparable. Cranial ultrasonography measurements were obtained at 30 ± 3 d of life. Results show that newborns exposed to maternal sounds had a significantly larger auditory cortex (AC) bilaterally compared with control newborns receiving standard care. The magnitude of the right and left AC thickness was significantly correlated with gestational age but not with the duration of sound exposure. Measurements of head circumference and the widths of the frontal horn (FH) and the corpus callosum (CC) were not significantly different between the two groups. This study provides evidence for experience-dependent plasticity in the primary AC before the brain has reached full-term maturation. Our results demonstrate that despite the immaturity of the auditory pathways, the AC is more adaptive to maternal sounds than environmental noise. Further studies are needed to better understand the neural processes underlying this early brain plasticity and its functional implications for future hearing and language development. PMID:25713382

  12. Brain plasticity through the life span: learning to learn and action video games.

    PubMed

    Bavelier, Daphne; Green, C Shawn; Pouget, Alexandre; Schrater, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The ability of the human brain to learn is exceptional. Yet, learning is typically quite specific to the exact task used during training, a limiting factor for practical applications such as rehabilitation, workforce training, or education. The possibility of identifying training regimens that have a broad enough impact to transfer to a variety of tasks is thus highly appealing. This work reviews how complex training environments such as action video game play may actually foster brain plasticity and learning. This enhanced learning capacity, termed learning to learn, is considered in light of its computational requirements and putative neural mechanisms.

  13. Structure and function of complex brain networks.

    PubMed

    Sporns, Olaf

    2013-09-01

    An increasing number of theoretical and empirical studies approach the function of the human brain from a network perspective. The analysis of brain networks is made feasible by the development of new imaging acquisition methods as well as new tools from graph theory and dynamical systems. This review surveys some of these methodological advances and summarizes recent findings on the architecture of structural and functional brain networks. Studies of the structural connectome reveal several modules or network communities that are interlinked by hub regions mediating communication processes between modules. Recent network analyses have shown that network hubs form a densely linked collective called a "rich club," centrally positioned for attracting and dispersing signal traffic. In parallel, recordings of resting and task-evoked neural activity have revealed distinct resting-state networks that contribute to functions in distinct cognitive domains. Network methods are increasingly applied in a clinical context, and their promise for elucidating neural substrates of brain and mental disorders is discussed.

  14. The Radical Plasticity Thesis: How the Brain Learns to be Conscious.

    PubMed

    Cleeremans, Axel

    2011-01-01

    In this paper, I explore the idea that consciousness is something that the brain learns to do rather than an intrinsic property of certain neural states and not others. Starting from the idea that neural activity is inherently unconscious, the question thus becomes: How does the brain learn to be conscious? I suggest that consciousness arises as a result of the brain's continuous attempts at predicting not only the consequences of its actions on the world and on other agents, but also the consequences of activity in one cerebral region on activity in other regions. By this account, the brain continuously and unconsciously learns to redescribe its own activity to itself, so developing systems of meta-representations that characterize and qualify the target first-order representations. Such learned redescriptions, enriched by the emotional value associated with them, form the basis of conscious experience. Learning and plasticity are thus central to consciousness, to the extent that experiences only occur in experiencers that have learned to know they possess certain first-order states and that have learned to care more about certain states than about others. This is what I call the "Radical Plasticity Thesis." In a sense thus, this is the enactive perspective, but turned both inwards and (further) outwards. Consciousness involves "signal detection on the mind"; the conscious mind is the brain's (non-conceptual, implicit) theory about itself. I illustrate these ideas through neural network models that simulate the relationships between performance and awareness in different tasks.

  15. Th17 Cell Plasticity and Functions in Cancer Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Guéry, Leslie; Hugues, Stéphanie

    2015-01-01

    Th17 cells represent a particular subset of T helper lymphocytes characterized by high production of IL-17 and other inflammatory cytokines. Th17 cells participate in antimicrobial immunity at mucosal and epithelial barriers and particularly fight against extracellular bacteria and fungi. While a role for Th17 cells in promoting inflammation and autoimmune disorders has been extensively and elegantly demonstrated, it is still controversial whether and how Th17 cells influence tumor immunity. Although Th17 cells specifically accumulate in many different types of tumors compared to healthy tissues, the outcome might however differ from a tumor type to another. Th17 cells were consequently associated with both good and bad prognoses. The high plasticity of those cells toward cells exhibiting either anti-inflammatory or in contrast pathogenic functions might contribute to Th17 versatile functions in the tumor context. On one hand, Th17 cells promote tumor growth by inducing angiogenesis (via IL-17) and by exerting themselves immunosuppressive functions. On the other hand, Th17 cells drive antitumor immune responses by recruiting immune cells into tumors, activating effector CD8+ T cells, or even directly by converting toward Th1 phenotype and producing IFN-γ. In this review, we are discussing the impact of the tumor microenvironment on Th17 cell plasticity and function and its implications in cancer immunity. PMID:26583099

  16. Neural Plasticity in Functional and Anatomical MRI Studies of Children with Tourette Syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Eichele, Heike; Plessen, Kerstin J.

    2013-01-01

    Background: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder with childhood onset characterized by chronic motor and vocal tics. The typical clinical course of an attenuation of symptoms during adolescence in parallel with the emerging self-regulatory control during development suggests that plastic processes may play an important role in the development of tic symptoms. Methods: We conducted a systematic search to identify existing imaging studies (both anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) in young persons under the age of 19 years with TS. Results: The final search resulted in 13 original studies, which were reviewed with a focus on findings suggesting adaptive processes (using fMRI) and plasticity (using anatomical MRI). Differences in brain activation compared to healthy controls during tasks that require overriding of prepotent responses help to understand compensatory pathways in children with TS. Along with alterations in regions putatively representing the origin of tics, deviations in several other regions most likely represent an activity-dependent neural plasticity that help to modulate tic severity, such as the prefrontal cortex, but also in the corpus callosum and the limbic system. Discussion: Factors that potentially influence the development of adaptive changes in the brain of children with TS are age, comorbidity with other developmental disorders, medication use, IQ along with study-design or MRI techniques for acquisition, and analysis of data. The most prominent limitation of all studies is their cross-sectional design. Longitudinal studies extending to younger age groups and to children at risk for developing TS hopefully will confirm findings of neural plasticity in future investigations. PMID:23187150

  17. In vivo BDNF modulation of adult functional and morphological synaptic plasticity at hippocampal mossy fibers.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Palacio-Schjetnan, Andrea; Escobar, Martha L

    2008-11-07

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been proposed as a key regulator and mediator of long-term synaptic modifications related to learning and memory maintenance. Our previous studies show that application of high-frequency stimulation (HFS) sufficient to elicit LTP at the dentate gyrus (DG)-CA3 pathway produces mossy fiber structural modifications 7 days after tetanic stimulation. In the present study, we show that acute intrahippocampal microinfusion of BDNF induces a lasting potentiation of synaptic efficacy in the DG-CA3 projection of anesthetized adult rats. Furthermore, we show that BDNF functional modifications in synaptic efficacy are accompanied by a presynaptic structural long-lasting reorganization at the hippocampal mossy fiber pathway. These findings support the idea that BDNF plays an important role as synaptic messenger of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the adult mammalian brain, in vivo.

  18. Why and How Physical Activity Promotes Experience-Induced Brain Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Kempermann, Gerd; Fabel, Klaus; Ehninger, Dan; Babu, Harish; Leal-Galicia, Perla; Garthe, Alexander; Wolf, Susanne A.

    2010-01-01

    Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is an unusual case of brain plasticity, since new neurons (and not just neurites and synapses) are added to the network in an activity-dependent way. At the behavioral level the plasticity-inducing stimuli include both physical and cognitive activity. In reductionistic animal studies these types of activity can be studied separately in paradigms like voluntary wheel running and environmental enrichment. In both of these, adult neurogenesis is increased but the net effect is primarily due to different mechanisms at the cellular level. Locomotion appears to stimulate the precursor cells, from which adult neurogenesis originates, to increased proliferation and maintenance over time, whereas environmental enrichment, as well as learning, predominantly promotes survival of immature neurons, that is the progeny of the proliferating precursor cells. Surprisingly, these effects are additive: boosting the potential for adult neurogenesis by physical activity increases the recruitment of cells following cognitive stimulation in an enriched environment. Why is that? We argue that locomotion actually serves as an intrinsic feedback mechanism, signaling to the brain, including its neural precursor cells, increasing the likelihood of cognitive challenges. In the wild (other than in front of a TV), no separation of physical and cognitive activity occurs. Physical activity might thus be much more than a generally healthy garnish to leading “an active life” but an evolutionarily fundamental aspect of “activity,” which is needed to provide the brain and its systems of plastic adaptation with the appropriate regulatory input and feedback. PMID:21151782

  19. Functional relevance of cross-modal plasticity in blind humans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, Leonardo G.; Celnik, Pablo; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Corwell, Brian; Faiz, Lala; Dambrosia, James; Honda, Manabu; Sadato, Norihiro; Gerloff, Christian; Catalá, M. Dolores; Hallett, Mark

    1997-09-01

    Functional imaging studies of people who were blind from an early age have revealed that their primary visual cortex can be activated by Braille reading and other tactile discrimination tasks. Other studies have also shown that visual cortical areas can be activated by somatosensory input in blind subjects but not those with sight. The significance of this cross-modal plasticity is unclear, however, as it is not known whether the visual cortex can process somatosensory information in a functionally relevant way. To address this issue, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt the function of different cortical areas in people who were blind from an early age as they identified Braille or embossed Roman letters. Transient stimulation of the occipital (visual) cortex induced errors in both tasks and distorted the tactile perceptions of blind subjects. In contrast, occipital stimulation had no effect on tactile performance in normal-sighted subjects, whereas similar stimulation is known to disrupt their visual performance. We conclude that blindness from an early age can cause the visual cortex to be recruited to a role in somatosensory processing. We propose that this cross-modal plasticity may account in part for the superior tactile perceptual abilities of blind subjects.

  20. [Brain mechanisms of male sexual function].

    PubMed

    Wang, Ying; Dou, Xin; Li, Jun-Fa; Luo, Yan-Lin

    2011-08-01

    In this paper, we reviewed the brain imaging studies of male sexual function in recent years from three aspects: the brain mechanism of normal sexual function, the brain mechanism of sexual dysfunction, and the mechanism of drug therapy for sexual dysfunction. Studies show that the development stages of male sexual activities, such as the excitement phase, plateau phase and orgasm phase, are controlled by different neural networks. The mesodiencephalic transition zone may play an important role in the start up of male ejaculation. There are significant differences between sexual dysfunction males and normal males in activation patterns of the brain in sexual arousal. The medial orbitofrontal cortex and inferior frontal gyrus in the abnormal activation pattern are correlated with sexual dysfunction males in sexual arousal. Serum testosterone and morphine are commonly used drugs for male sexual dysfunction, whose mechanisms are to alter the activating levels of the medial orbitofrontal cortex, insula, claustrum and inferior temporal gyrus.

  1. Metabolism and functions of copper in brain.

    PubMed

    Scheiber, Ivo F; Mercer, Julian F B; Dringen, Ralf

    2014-05-01

    Copper is an important trace element that is required for essential enzymes. However, due to its redox activity, copper can also lead to the generation of toxic reactive oxygen species. Therefore, cellular uptake, storage as well as export of copper have to be tightly regulated in order to guarantee sufficient copper supply for the synthesis of copper-containing enzymes but also to prevent copper-induced oxidative stress. In brain, copper is of importance for normal development. In addition, both copper deficiency as well as excess of copper can seriously affect brain functions. Therefore, this organ possesses ample mechanisms to regulate its copper metabolism. In brain, astrocytes are considered as important regulators of copper homeostasis. Impairments of homeostatic mechanisms in brain copper metabolism have been associated with neurodegeneration in human disorders such as Menkes disease, Wilson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. This review article will summarize the biological functions of copper in the brain and will describe the current knowledge on the mechanisms involved in copper transport, storage and export of brain cells. The role of copper in diseases that have been connected with disturbances in brain copper homeostasis will also be discussed.

  2. Toward discovery science of human brain function.

    PubMed

    Biswal, Bharat B; Mennes, Maarten; Zuo, Xi-Nian; Gohel, Suril; Kelly, Clare; Smith, Steve M; Beckmann, Christian F; Adelstein, Jonathan S; Buckner, Randy L; Colcombe, Stan; Dogonowski, Anne-Marie; Ernst, Monique; Fair, Damien; Hampson, Michelle; Hoptman, Matthew J; Hyde, James S; Kiviniemi, Vesa J; Kötter, Rolf; Li, Shi-Jiang; Lin, Ching-Po; Lowe, Mark J; Mackay, Clare; Madden, David J; Madsen, Kristoffer H; Margulies, Daniel S; Mayberg, Helen S; McMahon, Katie; Monk, Christopher S; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Nagel, Bonnie J; Pekar, James J; Peltier, Scott J; Petersen, Steven E; Riedl, Valentin; Rombouts, Serge A R B; Rypma, Bart; Schlaggar, Bradley L; Schmidt, Sein; Seidler, Rachael D; Siegle, Greg J; Sorg, Christian; Teng, Gao-Jun; Veijola, Juha; Villringer, Arno; Walter, Martin; Wang, Lihong; Weng, Xu-Chu; Whitfield-Gabrieli, Susan; Williamson, Peter; Windischberger, Christian; Zang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Hong-Ying; Castellanos, F Xavier; Milham, Michael P

    2010-03-09

    Although it is being successfully implemented for exploration of the genome, discovery science has eluded the functional neuroimaging community. The core challenge remains the development of common paradigms for interrogating the myriad functional systems in the brain without the constraints of a priori hypotheses. Resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) constitutes a candidate approach capable of addressing this challenge. Imaging the brain during rest reveals large-amplitude spontaneous low-frequency (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations in the fMRI signal that are temporally correlated across functionally related areas. Referred to as functional connectivity, these correlations yield detailed maps of complex neural systems, collectively constituting an individual's "functional connectome." Reproducibility across datasets and individuals suggests the functional connectome has a common architecture, yet each individual's functional connectome exhibits unique features, with stable, meaningful interindividual differences in connectivity patterns and strengths. Comprehensive mapping of the functional connectome, and its subsequent exploitation to discern genetic influences and brain-behavior relationships, will require multicenter collaborative datasets. Here we initiate this endeavor by gathering R-fMRI data from 1,414 volunteers collected independently at 35 international centers. We demonstrate a universal architecture of positive and negative functional connections, as well as consistent loci of inter-individual variability. Age and sex emerged as significant determinants. These results demonstrate that independent R-fMRI datasets can be aggregated and shared. High-throughput R-fMRI can provide quantitative phenotypes for molecular genetic studies and biomarkers of developmental and pathological processes in the brain. To initiate discovery science of brain function, the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project dataset is freely accessible at www.nitrc.org/projects/fcon_1000/.

  3. Phosphoprotein F1: purification and characterization of a brain kinase C substrate related to plasticity.

    PubMed

    Chan, S Y; Murakami, K; Routtenberg, A

    1986-12-01

    To study the role of protein kinase C (PKC) and its substrates in neuronal function, we have investigated the in vitro endogenous phosphorylation of the neuronal phosphoprotein F1 after induction of synaptic plasticity by long-term potentiation (LTP). The protein F1 phosphorylation was found to increase 5 min (Routtenberg et al., 1985), 1 hr (Lovinger et al., 1986) and 3 d (Lovinger et al., 1985) after LTP. The characteristics of this protein bear close similarities to a number of proteins characterized in various neuronal systems, such as B50 (brain specific, synaptosome-enriched protein), pp46 (a growth cone protein), and GAP 43 (nerve growth and regeneration-associated protein). A positive identification of the purified protein F1 with these proteins would link protein F1 to the developmental growth of axons, nerve regeneration, and polyphosphoinositide metabolism, as well as adult plasticity. We have therefore purified and partially characterized native protein F1 so that a meaningful comparison among the properties of these proteins can be made. Using synaptosomal plasma membrane (P2') as starting material, subsequent purification involved pH extraction, 40-80% ammonium sulfate precipitation, hydroxylapatite, and phenyl-Sepharose column chromatography. This procedure achieved greater than 800-fold purification and about 45% yield relative to P2'. Purified protein F1 (Mr = 47,000, pI = 4.5) was found to be a hydrophilic molecule and was phosphorylated by 1000-fold purified PKC in the presence of phosphatidylserine (PS) and Ca2+. The Ka of PS activation is about 15 micrograms/ml (approximately 20 microM), and that of Ca2+ is about 25 microM. Diolein and DiC:8 (a synthetic diacylglycerol) lowered the requirement of Ca2+ for maximal stimulation from 100 to 5 microM. Ca2+-calmodulin kinases type I and II did not phosphorylate protein F1. The phosphoamino acid analysis showed that 97% of the total incorporated 32P-phosphate was on the serine residue. Phosphopeptide

  4. The Brain Prize 2014: complex human functions.

    PubMed

    Grigaityte, Kristina; Iacoboni, Marco

    2014-11-01

    Giacomo Rizzolatti, Stanislas Dehaene, and Trevor Robbins were recently awarded the 2014 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize for their 'pioneering research on higher brain mechanisms underpinning such complex human functions as literacy, numeracy, motivated behavior and social cognition, and for their effort to understand cognitive and behavioral disorders'. Why was their work highlighted? Is there anything that links together these seemingly disparate lines of research?

  5. Prospects for Optogenetic Augmentation of Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Jarvis, Sarah; Schultz, Simon R.

    2015-01-01

    The ability to optically control neural activity opens up possibilities for the restoration of normal function following neurological disorders. The temporal precision, spatial resolution, and neuronal specificity that optogenetics offers is unequalled by other available methods, so will it be suitable for not only restoring but also extending brain function? As the first demonstrations of optically “implanted” novel memories emerge, we examine the suitability of optogenetics as a technique for extending neural function. While optogenetics is an effective tool for altering neural activity, the largest impediment for optogenetics in neural augmentation is our systems level understanding of brain function. Furthermore, a number of clinical limitations currently remain as substantial hurdles for the applications proposed. While neurotechnologies for treating brain disorders and interfacing with prosthetics have advanced rapidly in the past few years, partially addressing some of these critical problems, optogenetics is not yet suitable for use in humans. Instead we conclude that for the immediate future, optogenetics is the neurological equivalent of the 3D printer: its flexibility providing an ideal tool for testing and prototyping solutions for treating brain disorders and augmenting brain function. PMID:26635547

  6. Imaging visual function of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Marg, E.

    1988-10-01

    Imaging of human brain structure and activity with particular reference to visual function is reviewed along with methods of obtaining the data including computed tomographic (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and positron emission tomography (PET). The literature is reviewed and the potential for a new understanding of brain visual function is discussed. PET is reviewed from basic physical principles to the most recent visual brain findings with oxygen-15. It is shown that there is a potential for submillimeter localization of visual functions with sequentially different visual stimuli designed for the temporal separation of the responses. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), a less expensive substitute for PET, is also discussed. MRS is covered from basic physical principles to the current state of the art of in vivo biochemical analysis. Future possible clinical applications are discussed. Improved understanding of the functional neural organization of vision and brain will open a window to maps and circuits of human brain function.119 references.

  7. Dynamic plasticity: the role of glucocorticoids, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and other trophic factors.

    PubMed

    Gray, J D; Milner, T A; McEwen, B S

    2013-06-03

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a secreted protein that has been linked to numerous aspects of plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS). Stress-induced remodeling of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdala is coincident with changes in the levels of BDNF, which has been shown to act as a trophic factor facilitating the survival of existing and newly born neurons. Initially, hippocampal atrophy after chronic stress was associated with reduced BDNF, leading to the hypothesis that stress-related learning deficits resulted from suppressed hippocampal neurogenesis. However, recent evidence suggests that BDNF also plays a rapid and essential role in regulating synaptic plasticity, providing another mechanism through which BDNF can modulate learning and memory after a stressful event. Numerous reports have shown BDNF levels are highly dynamic in response to stress, and not only vary across brain regions but also fluctuate rapidly, both immediately after a stressor and over the course of a chronic stress paradigm. Yet, BDNF alone is not sufficient to effect many of the changes observed after stress. Glucocorticoids and other molecules have been shown to act in conjunction with BDNF to facilitate both the morphological and molecular changes that occur, particularly changes in spine density and gene expression. This review briefly summarizes the evidence supporting BDNF's role as a trophic factor modulating neuronal survival, and will primarily focus on the interactions between BDNF and other systems within the brain to facilitate synaptic plasticity. This growing body of evidence suggests a more nuanced role for BDNF in stress-related learning and memory, where it acts primarily as a facilitator of plasticity and is dependent upon the coactivation of glucocorticoids and other factors as the determinants of the final cellular response.

  8. Structural and Functional Plasticity at the Axon Initial Segment

    PubMed Central

    Yamada, Rei; Kuba, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    The axon initial segment (AIS) is positioned between the axonal and somato-dendritic compartments and plays a pivotal role in triggering action potentials (APs) and determining neuronal output. It is now widely accepted that structural properties of the AIS, such as length and/or location relative to the soma, change in an activity-dependent manner. This structural plasticity of the AIS is known to be crucial for homeostatic control of neuronal excitability. However, it is obvious that the impact of the AIS on neuronal excitability is critically dependent on the biophysical properties of the AIS, which are primarily determined by the composition and characteristics of ion channels in this domain. Moreover, these properties can be altered via phosphorylation and/or redistribution of the channels. Recently, studies in auditory neurons showed that alterations in the composition of voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels at the AIS coincide with elongation of the AIS, thereby enhancing the neuronal excitability, suggesting that the interaction between structural and functional plasticities of the AIS is important in the control of neuronal excitability. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge regarding structural and functional alterations of the AIS and discuss how they interact and contribute to regulating the neuronal output. PMID:27826229

  9. Peripheral Chemoreceptors: Function and Plasticity of the Carotid Body

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Prem; Prabhakar, Nanduri R.

    2014-01-01

    The discovery of the sensory nature of the carotid body dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Following these seminal discoveries, research into carotid body mechanisms moved forward progressively through the 20th century, with many descriptions of the ultrastructure of the organ and stimulus-response measurements at the level of the whole organ. The later part of 20th century witnessed the first descriptions of the cellular responses and electrophysiology of isolated and cultured type I and type II cells, and there now exist a number of testable hypotheses of chemotransduction. The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of current concepts on sensory transduction and transmission of the hypoxic stimulus at the carotid body with an emphasis on integrating cellular mechanisms with the whole organ responses and highlighting the gaps or discrepancies in our knowledge. It is increasingly evident that in addition to hypoxia, the carotid body responds to a wide variety of blood-borne stimuli, including reduced glucose and immune-related cytokines and we therefore also consider the evidence for a polymodal function of the carotid body and its implications. It is clear that the sensory function of the carotid body exhibits considerable plasticity in response to the chronic perturbations in environmental O2 that is associated with many physiological and pathological conditions. The mechanisms and consequences of carotid body plasticity in health and disease are discussed in the final sections of this article. PMID:23728973

  10. Selective plasticity of hippocampal GABAergic interneuron populations following kindling of different brain regions.

    PubMed

    Botterill, J J; Nogovitsyn, N; Caruncho, H J; Kalynchuk, L E

    2017-02-01

    The vulnerability and plasticity of hippocampal GABAergic interneurons is a topic of broad interest and debate in the field of epilepsy. In this experiment, we used the electrical kindling model of epilepsy to determine whether seizures that originate in different brain regions have differential effects on hippocampal interneuron subpopulations. Long-Evans rats received 99 electrical stimulations of the hippocampus, amygdala, or caudate nucleus, followed by sacrifice and immunohistochemical or western blot analyses. We analyzed markers of dendritic (somatostatin), perisomatic (parvalbumin), and interneuron-selective (calretinin) inhibition, as well as an overall indicator (GAD67) of interneuron distribution across all major hippocampal subfields. Our results indicate that kindling produces selective effects on the number and morphology of different functional classes of GABAergic interneurons. In particular, limbic kindling appears to enhance dendritic inhibition, indicated by a greater number of somatostatin-immunoreactive (-ir) cells in the CA1 pyramidal layer and robust morphological sprouting in the dentate gyrus. We also found a reduction in the number of interneuron-selective calretinin-ir cells in the dentate gyrus of hippocampal-kindled rats, which suggests a possible reduction of synchronized dendritic inhibition. In contrast, perisomatic inhibition indicated by parvalbumin immunoreactivity appears to be largely resilient to the effects of kindling. Finally, we found a significant induction in the number of GAD67-cells in caudate-kindled rats in the dentate gyrus and CA3 hippocampal subfields. Taken together, our results demonstrate that kindling has subfield-selective effects on the different functional classes of hippocampal GABAergic interneurons. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:389-406, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Prefrontal and Hippocampal Brain Volume Deficits: The Role of Low Physical Activity on Brain Plasticity in First-Episode Schizophrenia Patients

    PubMed Central

    McEwen, Sarah C.; Hardy, Anthony; Ellingson, Benjamin M.; Jarrahi, Behnaz; Sandu, Navjot; Subotnik, Kenneth L.; Ventura, Joseph; Nuechterlein, Keith H.

    2015-01-01

    Objective Our objective in the present study was to conduct the first empirical study to examine regular physical activity habits and their relationship with brain volume and cortical thickness in patients in the early phase of schizophrenia. Relationships between larger brain volumes and higher physical activity levels have been reported in samples of healthy and aging populations, but have never been explored in first-episode schizophrenia patients. Method We collected MRI structural scans in fourteen first-episode schizophrenia patients with either self-reported low or high physical activity levels. Results We found a reduction in total grey matter volume, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampal grey matter volumes in the low physical activity group compared to the high activity group. Cortical thickness in the dorsolateral and orbitofrontal PFC were also significantly reduced in the low physical activity group compared to the high activity group. In the combined sample, greater overall physical activity levels showed a non-significant tendency with better performance on tests of verbal memory and social cognition. Conclusions Together these pilot study findings suggest that greater amounts of physical activity may have a positive influence on brain health and cognition in first-episode schizophrenia patients and support the development of physical exercise interventions in this patient population to improve brain plasticity and cognitive functioning. PMID:26581798

  12. Functional brain network efficiency predicts intelligence.

    PubMed

    Langer, Nicolas; Pedroni, Andreas; Gianotti, Lorena R R; Hänggi, Jürgen; Knoch, Daria; Jäncke, Lutz

    2012-06-01

    The neuronal causes of individual differences in mental abilities such as intelligence are complex and profoundly important. Understanding these abilities has the potential to facilitate their enhancement. The purpose of this study was to identify the functional brain network characteristics and their relation to psychometric intelligence. In particular, we examined whether the functional network exhibits efficient small-world network attributes (high clustering and short path length) and whether these small-world network parameters are associated with intellectual performance. High-density resting state electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded in 74 healthy subjects to analyze graph-theoretical functional network characteristics at an intracortical level. Ravens advanced progressive matrices were used to assess intelligence. We found that the clustering coefficient and path length of the functional network are strongly related to intelligence. Thus, the more intelligent the subjects are the more the functional brain network resembles a small-world network. We further identified the parietal cortex as a main hub of this resting state network as indicated by increased degree centrality that is associated with higher intelligence. Taken together, this is the first study that substantiates the neural efficiency hypothesis as well as the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT) of intelligence in the context of functional brain network characteristics. These theories are currently the most established intelligence theories in neuroscience. Our findings revealed robust evidence of an efficiently organized resting state functional brain network for highly productive cognitions.

  13. Advantages in functional imaging of the brain

    PubMed Central

    Mier, Walter; Mier, Daniela

    2015-01-01

    As neuronal pathologies cause only minor morphological alterations, molecular imaging techniques are a prerequisite for the study of diseases of the brain. The development of molecular probes that specifically bind biochemical markers and the advances of instrumentation have revolutionized the possibilities to gain insight into the human brain organization and beyond this—visualize structure-function and brain-behavior relationships. The review describes the development and current applications of functional brain imaging techniques with a focus on applications in psychiatry. A historical overview of the development of functional imaging is followed by the portrayal of the principles and applications of positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), two key molecular imaging techniques that have revolutionized the ability to image molecular processes in the brain. We conclude that the juxtaposition of PET and fMRI in hybrid PET/MRI scanners enhances the significance of both modalities for research in neurology and psychiatry and might pave the way for a new area of personalized medicine. PMID:26042013

  14. The impact of diet and exercise on brain plasticity and disease.

    PubMed

    Pinilla, Fernando Gomez

    2006-01-01

    Lifestyle involves our preference to engage in behaviors that can remarkably influence the fitness level of our body and brain. Dietary factors are a powerful means to influence brain function on a daily basis. We have shown that the consumption of a diet rich in saturated fat decreases learning and memory and increases metabolic distress. Conversely, diets supplemented either with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E or the curry spice curcumin benefit cognitive function. Equally impressive is the action of exercise on cognitive function as documented by studies showing that exercise enhances learning and memory. The beneficial action of exercise on the brain can be used therapeutically to overcome the effects of consuming a poor diet. We suggest that the managed use of diet and exercise can help the brain to cope with several types of insults and ultimately benefit brain function.

  15. Plasticity of motor network and function in the absence of corticospinal projection.

    PubMed

    Han, Qi; Cao, Changshu; Ding, Yuetong; So, Kwok-Fai; Wu, Wutian; Qu, Yibo; Zhou, Libing

    2015-05-01

    Despite the obvious clinical interest, our understanding of how developmental mechanisms are redeployed during degeneration and regeneration after brain and spinal cord injuries remains quite rudimentary. In animal models of spinal cord injury, although spontaneous regeneration of descending axons is limited, compensation by intact corticospinal axons, descending tracts from the brainstem, and local intrinsic spinal networks all contribute to the recovery of motor function. Here, we investigated spontaneous motor compensation and plasticity that occur in the absence of corticospinal tract, using Celsr3|Emx1 mice in which the corticospinal tract is completely and specifically absent as a consequence of Celsr3 inactivation in the cortex. Mutant mice had no paresis, but displayed hyperactivity in open-field, and a reduction in skilled movements in food pellet manipulation tests. The number of spinal motoneurons was reduced and their terminal arbors at neuromuscular junctions were atrophic, which was reflected in electromyography deficits. Rubrospinal projections, calretinin-positive propriospinal projections, afferent innervation of motoneurons by calretinin-positive segmental interneurons, and terminal ramifications of monoaminergic projections were significantly increased. Contrary to control animals, mutants also developed a severe and persistent disability of forelimb use following the section of the rubrospinal tract at the C4 spinal level. These observations demonstrate for the first time that the congenital absence of the corticospinal tract induces spontaneous plasticity, both at the level of the motor spinal cord and in descending monoaminergic and rubrospinal projections. Such compensatory mechanisms could be recruited in case of brain or spinal cord lesion or degeneration.

  16. Promoting social plasticity in developmental disorders with non-invasive brain stimulation techniques

    PubMed Central

    Boggio, Paulo S.; Asthana, Manish K.; Costa, Thiago L.; Valasek, Cláudia A.; Osório, Ana A. C.

    2015-01-01

    Being socially connected directly impacts our basic needs and survival. People with deficits in social cognition might exhibit abnormal behaviors and face many challenges in our highly social-dependent world. These challenges and limitations are associated with a substantial economical and subjective impact. As many conditions where social cognition is affected are highly prevalent, more treatments have to be developed. Based on recent research, we review studies where non-invasive neuromodulatory techniques have been used to promote Social Plasticity in developmental disorders. We focused on three populations where non-invasive brain stimulation seems to be a promising approach in inducing social plasticity: Schizophrenia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Williams Syndrome (WS). There are still very few studies directly evaluating the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the social cognition of these populations. However, when considering the promising preliminary evidences presented in this review and the limited amount of clinical interventions available for treating social cognition deficits in these populations today, it is clear that the social neuroscientist arsenal may profit from non-invasive brain stimulation techniques for rehabilitation and promotion of social plasticity. PMID:26388712

  17. Dietary cholesterol alters memory and synaptic structural plasticity in young rat brain.

    PubMed

    Ya, Bai-liu; Liu, Wen-yan; Ge, Feng; Zhang, Yan-xia; Zhu, Bao-liang; Bai, Bo

    2013-08-01

    Cholesterol plays an important role in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. To better explore how dietary cholesterol contributes to learning and memory and the related changes in synaptic structural plasticity, rats were categorized into a regular diet (RD) group and a cholesterol-enriched diet (CD) group, and were fed with respective diet for 2 months. Dietary cholesterol impacts on learning and memory, hippocampal synaptic ultrastructure, expression levels of postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95), synaptophysin (SYP) and cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) were investigated. We found CD rats had better performances in learning and memory using Morris water maze and object recognition test than RD rats. The memory improvement was accompanied with alterations of synaptic ultrastructure in the CA1 area of the hippocampus evaluated by electron microscopy, enhanced immunoreactivity of SYP, a presynaptic marker in hippocampus detected by immunocytochemistry, as well as increased levels of PSD-95, SYP and decreased level of CB1R in brains of CD rats determined by Western blot. Taken together, the results suggest that the improvement of learning and memory abilities of the young adult rats induced by dietary cholesterol may be linked with changes in synaptic structural plasticity in the brain.

  18. Complex network analysis of brain functional connectivity under a multi-step cognitive task

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cai, Shi-Min; Chen, Wei; Liu, Dong-Bai; Tang, Ming; Chen, Xun

    2017-01-01

    Functional brain network has been widely studied to understand the relationship between brain organization and behavior. In this paper, we aim to explore the functional connectivity of brain network under a multi-step cognitive task involving consecutive behaviors, and further understand the effect of behaviors on the brain organization. The functional brain networks are constructed based on a high spatial and temporal resolution fMRI dataset and analyzed via complex network based approach. We find that at voxel level the functional brain network shows robust small-worldness and scale-free characteristics, while its assortativity and rich-club organization are slightly restricted to the order of behaviors performed. More interestingly, the functional connectivity of brain network in activated ROIs strongly correlates with behaviors and is obviously restricted to the order of behaviors performed. These empirical results suggest that the brain organization has the generic properties of small-worldness and scale-free characteristics, and its diverse functional connectivity emerging from activated ROIs is strongly driven by these behavioral activities via the plasticity of brain.

  19. The eel heart: multilevel insights into functional organ plasticity.

    PubMed

    Imbrogno, Sandra

    2013-10-01

    The remarkable functional homogeneity of the heart as an organ requires a well-coordinated myocardial heterogeneity. An example is represented by the selective sensitivity of the different cardiac cells to physical (i.e. shear stress and/or stretch) or chemical stimuli (e.g. catecholamines, angiotensin II, natriuretic peptides, etc.), and the cell-specific synthesis and release of these substances. The biological significance of the cardiac heterogeneity has recently received great attention in attempts to dissect the complexity of the mechanisms that control the cardiac form and function. A useful approach in this regard is to identify natural models of cardiac plasticity. Among fishes, eels (genus Anguilla), for their adaptive and acclimatory abilities, represent a group of animals so far largely used to explore the structural and ultrastructural myoarchitecture organization, as well as the complex molecular networks involved in the modulation of the heart function, such as those converting environmental signals into physiological responses. However, an overview on the existing current knowledge of eel cardiac form and function is not yet available. In this context, this review will illustrate major features of eel cardiac organization and pumping performance. Aspects of autocrine-paracrine modulation and the influence of factors such as body growth, exercise, hypoxia and temperature will highlight the power of the eel heart as an experimental model useful to decipher how the cardiac morpho-functional heterogeneities may support the uniformity of the whole-organ mechanics.

  20. Publishing in the field of brain plasticity, repair and rehabilitation: an emerging neuroscience niche journal.

    PubMed

    Sabel, B A; Matzke, S; Prilloff, S

    2007-01-01

    The journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience (RNN) is now published in its 25th volume since its inception in 1989. RNN focuses on the emerging field of brain plasticity, repair and rehabilitation, including original and review papers both in basic research (animal experiments, in vitro studies) and in the clinical domain, including brain imaging studies. During the last decade RNN has experienced a steady progress in its reference value and scientific impact. The ISI-impact factor has risen from 1.117 (1997) to 2.862 (2006). This places the journal at the 81st rank among all 200 neuroscience journals, i.e. 60% of all neuroscience journals have a lower impact factor. When compared to other journals in the field of rehabilitation, RNN ranks number 1. Causes for this positive development are, among others: (1) the field of neuroplasticity, regeneration, recovery and rehabilitation is an emerging field in medicine and therefore the number of publications and their citation rate overall increases, (2) the special issues strategy, (3) a top level editorial board, and (4) the quality of papers submitted to RNN continuously improves as RNN is gaining increasing acceptance in the scientific community. Thus, in the space of neuroscience in general, and rehabilitation in particular, RNN has become a visible, high impact journal and a leading source of original scientific information pertaining to brain plasticity , rehabilitation and repair. RNN is likely to gain more momentum as the field matures further.

  1. The interplay between oxidative stress and brain-derived neurotrophic factor modulates the outcome of a saturated fat diet on synaptic plasticity and cognition.

    PubMed

    Wu, Aiguo; Ying, Zhe; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2004-04-01

    A diet high in saturated fat (HF) decreases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), to the extent that compromises neuroplasticity and cognitive function, and aggravates the outcome of brain insult. By using the antioxidant power of vitamin E, we performed studies to determine the role of oxidative stress as a mediator for the effects of BDNF on synaptic plasticity and cognition caused by consumption of the HF diet. Male adult rats were maintained on a HF diet for 2 months with or without 500 IU/kg of vitamin E. Supplementation of the HF diet with vitamin E dramatically reduced oxidative damage, normalized levels of BDNF, synapsin I and cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein (CREB), caused by the consumption of the HF diet. In addition, vitamin E supplementation preserved the process of activation of synapsin I and CREB, and reversed the HF-impaired cognitive function. It is known that BDNF facilitates the synapse by modulating synapsin I and CREB, which have been implicated in synaptic plasticity associated to learning and memory. These results show that oxidative stress can interact with the BDNF system to modulate synaptic plasticity and cognitive function. Therefore, studies appear to reveal a mechanism by which events classically related to the maintenance of energy balance of the cell, such as oxidative stress, can interact with molecular events that modulate neuronal and behavioural plasticity.

  2. The Radical Plasticity Thesis: How the Brain Learns to be Conscious

    PubMed Central

    Cleeremans, Axel

    2011-01-01

    In this paper, I explore the idea that consciousness is something that the brain learns to do rather than an intrinsic property of certain neural states and not others. Starting from the idea that neural activity is inherently unconscious, the question thus becomes: How does the brain learn to be conscious? I suggest that consciousness arises as a result of the brain's continuous attempts at predicting not only the consequences of its actions on the world and on other agents, but also the consequences of activity in one cerebral region on activity in other regions. By this account, the brain continuously and unconsciously learns to redescribe its own activity to itself, so developing systems of meta-representations that characterize and qualify the target first-order representations. Such learned redescriptions, enriched by the emotional value associated with them, form the basis of conscious experience. Learning and plasticity are thus central to consciousness, to the extent that experiences only occur in experiencers that have learned to know they possess certain first-order states and that have learned to care more about certain states than about others. This is what I call the “Radical Plasticity Thesis.” In a sense thus, this is the enactive perspective, but turned both inwards and (further) outwards. Consciousness involves “signal detection on the mind”; the conscious mind is the brain's (non-conceptual, implicit) theory about itself. I illustrate these ideas through neural network models that simulate the relationships between performance and awareness in different tasks. PMID:21687455

  3. Synaptic Plasticity, Neurogenesis, and Functional Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury

    PubMed Central

    Darian-Smith, Corinna

    2010-01-01

    Spinal cord injury research has greatly expanded in recent years, but our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the functional recovery that can occur over the weeks and months following the initial injury, is far from complete. To grasp the scope of the problem, it is important to begin by defining the sensorimotor pathways that might be involved by a spinal injury. This is done in the rodent and nonhuman primate, which are two of the most commonly used animal models in basic and translational spinal injury research. Many of the better known experimentally induced models are then reviewed in terms of the pathways they involve and the reorganization and recovery that have been shown to follow. The better understood neuronal mechanisms mediating such post-injury plasticity, including dendritic spine growth and axonal sprouting, are then examined. PMID:19307422

  4. Classroom Seating and Functional Brain Asymmetry

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gur, Raquel E.; And Others

    1975-01-01

    This study examined the relationship between functional brain assymetry, as measured by the characteristic direction of eye movements in response to face-to-face questioning, and sitting on the left or right side of a classroom. Results are congruent with other findings comparing right and left movers. (Author/BJG)

  5. Integrating Retinoic Acid Signaling with Brain Function

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Luo, Tuanlian; Wagner, Elisabeth; Drager, Ursula C.

    2009-01-01

    The vitamin A derivative retinoic acid (RA) regulates the transcription of about a 6th of the human genome. Compelling evidence indicates a role of RA in cognitive activities, but its integration with the molecular mechanisms of higher brain functions is not known. Here we describe the properties of RA signaling in the mouse, which point to…

  6. Functional and morphological plasticity of crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) salt glands.

    PubMed

    Cramp, Rebecca L; Meyer, Edward A; Sparks, Nicole; Franklin, Craig E

    2008-05-01

    The estuarine crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, inhabits both freshwater and hypersaline waterways and maintains ionic homeostasis by excreting excess sodium and chloride ions via lingual salt glands. In the present study, we sought to investigate the phenotypic plasticity, both morphological and functional, in the lingual salt glands of the estuarine crocodile associated with chronic exposure to freshwater (FW) and saltwater (SW) environments. Examination of haematological parameters indicated that there were no long-term disruptions to ionic homeostasis with prolonged exposure to SW. Maximal secretory rates from the salt glands of SW-acclimated animals (100.8+/-14.7 micromol 100 g(-0.7) body mass h(-1)) were almost three times greater than those of FW-acclimated animals (31.6+/-6.2 micromol 100 g(-0.7) body mass h(-1)). There were no differences in the mass-specific metabolic rate of salt gland tissue slices from FW- and SW-acclimated animals (558.9+/-49.6 and 527.3+/-142.8 microl O(2) g(-1) h(-1), respectively). Stimulation of the tissue slices from SW-acclimated animals by methacholine resulted in a 33% increase in oxygen consumption rate. There was no significant increase in the metabolic rate of tissues from FW-acclimated animals in response to methacholine. Morphologically, the secretory cells from the salt glands of SW-acclimated animals were larger than those of FW-acclimated animals. In addition, there were significantly more mitochondria per unit volume in secretory tissue from SW-acclimated animals. The results from this study demonstrate that the salt glands of C. porosus are phenotypically plastic, both morphologically and functionally and acclimate to changes in environmental salinity.

  7. DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function.

    PubMed

    Lauritzen, Lotte; Brambilla, Paolo; Mazzocchi, Alessandra; Harsløf, Laurine B S; Ciappolino, Valentina; Agostoni, Carlo

    2016-01-04

    Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a structural constituent of membranes specifically in the central nervous system. Its accumulation in the fetal brain takes place mainly during the last trimester of pregnancy and continues at very high rates up to the end of the second year of life. Since the endogenous formation of DHA seems to be relatively low, DHA intake may contribute to optimal conditions for brain development. We performed a narrative review on research on the associations between DHA levels and brain development and function throughout the lifespan. Data from cell and animal studies justify the indication of DHA in relation to brain function for neuronal cell growth and differentiation as well as in relation to neuronal signaling. Most data from human studies concern the contribution of DHA to optimal visual acuity development. Accumulating data indicate that DHA may have effects on the brain in infancy, and recent studies indicate that the effect of DHA may depend on gender and genotype of genes involved in the endogenous synthesis of DHA. While DHA levels may affect early development, potential effects are also increasingly recognized during childhood and adult life, suggesting a role of DHA in cognitive decline and in relation to major psychiatric disorders.

  8. DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function

    PubMed Central

    Lauritzen, Lotte; Brambilla, Paolo; Mazzocchi, Alessandra; Harsløf, Laurine B. S.; Ciappolino, Valentina; Agostoni, Carlo

    2016-01-01

    Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a structural constituent of membranes specifically in the central nervous system. Its accumulation in the fetal brain takes place mainly during the last trimester of pregnancy and continues at very high rates up to the end of the second year of life. Since the endogenous formation of DHA seems to be relatively low, DHA intake may contribute to optimal conditions for brain development. We performed a narrative review on research on the associations between DHA levels and brain development and function throughout the lifespan. Data from cell and animal studies justify the indication of DHA in relation to brain function for neuronal cell growth and differentiation as well as in relation to neuronal signaling. Most data from human studies concern the contribution of DHA to optimal visual acuity development. Accumulating data indicate that DHA may have effects on the brain in infancy, and recent studies indicate that the effect of DHA may depend on gender and genotype of genes involved in the endogenous synthesis of DHA. While DHA levels may affect early development, potential effects are also increasingly recognized during childhood and adult life, suggesting a role of DHA in cognitive decline and in relation to major psychiatric disorders. PMID:26742060

  9. Behavioral and magnetoencephalographic correlates of plasticity in the adult human brain

    PubMed Central

    Ramachandran, V. S.

    1993-01-01

    Recent behavioral and physiological evidence suggests that even brief sensory deprivation can lead to the rapid emergence of new and functionally effective neural connections in the adult human brain. Images Fig. 2 PMID:8248123

  10. A high-fat, refined sugar diet reduces hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neuronal plasticity, and learning.

    PubMed

    Molteni, R; Barnard, R J; Ying, Z; Roberts, C K; Gómez-Pinilla, F

    2002-01-01

    We have investigated a potential mechanism by which a diet, similar in composition to the typical diet of most industrialized western societies rich in saturated fat and refined sugar (HFS), can influence brain structure and function via regulation of neurotrophins. We show that animals that learn a spatial memory task faster have more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein in the hippocampus. Two months on the HFS diet were sufficient to reduce hippocampal level of BDNF and spatial learning performance. Consequent to the action of BDNF on synaptic function, downstream effectors for the action of BDNF on synaptic plasticity were reduced proportionally to BDNF levels, in the hippocampus of rats maintained on the HFS diet between 2 and 24 months. In particular, animals maintained on the HFS diet showed a decrease in levels of: (i) synapsin I mRNA and protein (total and phosphorylated), important for neurotransmitter release; (ii) cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) mRNA and protein (total and phosphorylated); CREB is required for various forms of memory and is under regulatory control of BDNF; (iii) growth-associated protein 43 mRNA, important for neurite outgrowth, neurotransmitter release, and learning and memory. Diet-related changes were specific for the hippocampus consequent to its role in memory formation, and did not involve neurotrophin-3, another member of the neurotrophin family. Our results indicate that a popularly consumed diet can influence crucial aspects of neuronal and behavioral plasticity associated with the function of BDNF.

  11. Cortical plasticity after brachial plexus injury and repair: a resting-state functional MRI study.

    PubMed

    Bhat, Dhananjaya I; Indira Devi, B; Bharti, Komal; Panda, Rajanikant

    2017-03-01

    OBJECTIVE The authors aimed to understand the alterations of brain resting-state networks (RSNs) in patients with pan-brachial plexus injury (BPI) before and after surgery, which might provide insight into cortical plasticity after peripheral nerve injury and regeneration. METHODS Thirty-five patients with left pan-BPI before surgery, 30 patients after surgery, and 25 healthy controls underwent resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI). The 30 postoperative patients were subdivided into 2 groups: 14 patients with improvement in muscle power and 16 patients with no improvement in muscle power after surgery. RSNs were extracted using independent component analysis to evaluate connectivity at a significance level of p < 0.05 (familywise error corrected). RESULTS The patients with BPI had lower connectivity in their sensorimotor network (SMN) and salience network (SN) and greater connectivity in their default mode network (DMN) before surgery than the controls. Connectivity of the left supplementary motor cortex in the SMN and medial frontal gyrus and in the anterior cingulate cortex in the SN increased in patients whose muscle power had improved after surgery, whereas no significant changes were noted in the unimproved patients. There was a trend toward reduction in DMN connectivity in all the patients after surgery compared with that in the preoperative patients; however, this result was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS The results of this study highlight the fact that peripheral nerve injury, its management, and successful treatment cause dynamic changes within the brain's RSNs, which includes not only the obvious SMN but also the higher cognitive networks such as the SN and DMN, which indicates brain plasticity and compensatory mechanisms at work.

  12. Structure and function of complex brain networks

    PubMed Central

    Sporns, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    An increasing number of theoretical and empirical studies approach the function of the human brain from a network perspective. The analysis of brain networks is made feasible by the development of new imaging acquisition methods as well as new tools from graph theory and dynamical systems. This review surveys some of these methodological advances and summarizes recent findings on the architecture of structural and functional brain networks. Studies of the structural connectome reveal several modules or network communities that are interlinked by hub regions mediating communication processes between modules. Recent network analyses have shown that network hubs form a densely linked collective called a “rich club,” centrally positioned for attracting and dispersing signal traffic. In parallel, recordings of resting and task-evoked neural activity have revealed distinct resting-state networks that contribute to functions in distinct cognitive domains. Network methods are increasingly applied in a clinical context, and their promise for elucidating neural substrates of brain and mental disorders is discussed. PMID:24174898

  13. Sialylation regulates brain structure and function

    PubMed Central

    Yoo, Seung-Wan; Motari, Mary G.; Susuki, Keiichiro; Prendergast, Jillian; Mountney, Andrea; Hurtado, Andres; Schnaar, Ronald L.

    2015-01-01

    Every cell expresses a molecularly diverse surface glycan coat (glycocalyx) comprising its interface with its cellular environment. In vertebrates, the terminal sugars of the glycocalyx are often sialic acids, 9-carbon backbone anionic sugars implicated in intermolecular and intercellular interactions. The vertebrate brain is particularly enriched in sialic acid-containing glycolipids termed gangliosides. Human congenital disorders of ganglioside biosynthesis result in paraplegia, epilepsy, and intellectual disability. To better understand sialoglycan functions in the nervous system, we studied brain anatomy, histology, biochemistry, and behavior in mice with engineered mutations in St3gal2 and St3gal3, sialyltransferase genes responsible for terminal sialylation of gangliosides and some glycoproteins. St3gal2/3 double-null mice displayed dysmyelination marked by a 40% reduction in major myelin proteins, 30% fewer myelinated axons, a 33% decrease in myelin thickness, and molecular disruptions at nodes of Ranvier. In part, these changes may be due to dysregulation of ganglioside-mediated oligodendroglial precursor cell proliferation. Neuronal markers were also reduced up to 40%, and hippocampal neurons had smaller dendritic arbors. Young adult St3gal2/3 double-null mice displayed impaired motor coordination, disturbed gait, and profound cognitive disability. Comparisons among sialyltransferase mutant mice provide insights into the functional roles of brain gangliosides and sialoglycoproteins consistent with related human congenital disorders.—Yoo, S.-W., Motari, M. G., Susuki, K., Prendergast, J., Mountney, A., Hurtado, A., Schnaar, R. L. Sialylation regulates brain structure and function. PMID:25846372

  14. Perinatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure: impact on brain development and neural plasticity.

    PubMed

    Pawluski, Jodi L

    2012-01-01

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications are the most common antidepressant treatment used during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Up to 10% of pregnant women are prescribed SSRIs. Serotonin plays an integral part in neurodevelopment, and questions have been raised about the placental transfer of SSRIs and the effects of preventing reuptake of presynaptic serotonin on fetal neurodevelopment. Preclinical data is beginning to document a role of early exposure to SSRIs in long-term developmental outcomes related to a number of brain regions, such as the hippocampus, cortex and cerebellum. To date, the majority of preclinical work has investigated the developmental effects of SSRIs in the offspring of healthy mothers; however, more research is needed on the effects of these medications in the face of maternal adversity. This minireview will highlight emerging evidence from clinical and preclinical studies investigating the impact of perinatal SSRI exposure on brain development and neural plasticity.

  15. Early behavioral intervention, brain plasticity, and the prevention of autism spectrum disorder.

    PubMed

    Dawson, Geraldine

    2008-01-01

    Advances in the fields of cognitive and affective developmental neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, neurobiology, genetics, and applied behavior analysis have contributed to a more optimistic outcome for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These advances have led to new methods for early detection and more effective treatments. For the first time, prevention of ASD is plausible. Prevention will entail detecting infants at risk before the full syndrome is present and implementing treatments designed to alter the course of early behavioral and brain development. This article describes a developmental model of risk, risk processes, symptom emergence, and adaptation in ASD that offers a framework for understanding early brain plasticity in ASD and its role in prevention of the disorder.

  16. Developmental plasticity of mitochondrial function in American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis

    PubMed Central

    Crossley, Janna; Elsey, Ruth M.; Dzialowski, Edward M.; Shiels, Holly A.; Crossley, Dane A.

    2016-01-01

    The effect of hypoxia on cellular metabolism is well documented in adult vertebrates, but information is entirely lacking for embryonic organisms. The effect of hypoxia on embryonic physiology is particularly interesting, as metabolic responses during development may have life-long consequences, due to developmental plasticity. To this end, we investigated the effects of chronic developmental hypoxia on cardiac mitochondrial function in embryonic and juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Alligator eggs were incubated in 21% or 10% oxygen from 20 to 90% of embryonic development. Embryos were either harvested at 90% development or allowed to hatch and then reared in 21% oxygen for 3 yr. Ventricular mitochondria were isolated from embryonic/juvenile alligator hearts. Mitochondrial respiration and enzymatic activities of electron transport chain complexes were measured with a microrespirometer and spectrophotometer, respectively. Developmental hypoxia induced growth restriction and increased relative heart mass, and this phenotype persisted into juvenile life. Embryonic mitochondrial function was not affected by developmental hypoxia, but at the juvenile life stage, animals from hypoxic incubations had lower levels of Leak respiration and higher respiratory control ratios, which is indicative of enhanced mitochondrial efficiency. Our results suggest developmental hypoxia can have life-long consequences for alligator morphology and metabolic function. Further investigations are necessary to reveal the adaptive significance of the enhanced mitochondrial efficiency in the hypoxic phenotype. PMID:27707718

  17. Electromagnetic inverse applications for functional brain imaging

    SciTech Connect

    Wood, C.C.

    1997-10-01

    This is the final report of a one-year, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This project addresses an important mathematical and computational problem in functional brain imaging, namely the electromagnetic {open_quotes}inverse problem.{close_quotes} Electromagnetic brain imaging techniques, magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG), are based on measurements of electrical potentials and magnetic fields at hundreds of locations outside the human head. The inverse problem is the estimation of the locations, magnitudes, and time-sources of electrical currents in the brain from surface measurements. This project extends recent progress on the inverse problem by combining the use of anatomical constraints derived from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with Bayesian and other novel algorithmic approaches. The results suggest that we can achieve significant improvements in the accuracy and robustness of inverse solutions by these two approaches.

  18. Homological scaffolds of brain functional networks

    PubMed Central

    Petri, G.; Expert, P.; Turkheimer, F.; Carhart-Harris, R.; Nutt, D.; Hellyer, P. J.; Vaccarino, F.

    2014-01-01

    Networks, as efficient representations of complex systems, have appealed to scientists for a long time and now permeate many areas of science, including neuroimaging (Bullmore and Sporns 2009 Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 10, 186–198. (doi:10.1038/nrn2618)). Traditionally, the structure of complex networks has been studied through their statistical properties and metrics concerned with node and link properties, e.g. degree-distribution, node centrality and modularity. Here, we study the characteristics of functional brain networks at the mesoscopic level from a novel perspective that highlights the role of inhomogeneities in the fabric of functional connections. This can be done by focusing on the features of a set of topological objects—homological cycles—associated with the weighted functional network. We leverage the detected topological information to define the homological scaffolds, a new set of objects designed to represent compactly the homological features of the correlation network and simultaneously make their homological properties amenable to networks theoretical methods. As a proof of principle, we apply these tools to compare resting-state functional brain activity in 15 healthy volunteers after intravenous infusion of placebo and psilocybin—the main psychoactive component of magic mushrooms. The results show that the homological structure of the brain's functional patterns undergoes a dramatic change post-psilocybin, characterized by the appearance of many transient structures of low stability and of a small number of persistent ones that are not observed in the case of placebo. PMID:25401177

  19. Electroencephalographic imaging of higher brain function

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gevins, A.; Smith, M. E.; McEvoy, L. K.; Leong, H.; Le, J.

    1999-01-01

    High temporal resolution is necessary to resolve the rapidly changing patterns of brain activity that underlie mental function. Electroencephalography (EEG) provides temporal resolution in the millisecond range. However, traditional EEG technology and practice provide insufficient spatial detail to identify relationships between brain electrical events and structures and functions visualized by magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography. Recent advances help to overcome this problem by recording EEGs from more electrodes, by registering EEG data with anatomical images, and by correcting the distortion caused by volume conduction of EEG signals through the skull and scalp. In addition, statistical measurements of sub-second interdependences between EEG time-series recorded from different locations can help to generate hypotheses about the instantaneous functional networks that form between different cortical regions during perception, thought and action. Example applications are presented from studies of language, attention and working memory. Along with its unique ability to monitor brain function as people perform everyday activities in the real world, these advances make modern EEG an invaluable complement to other functional neuroimaging modalities.

  20. Nutritional n-3 PUFAs deficiency during perinatal periods alters brain innate immune system and neuronal plasticity-associated genes.

    PubMed

    Madore, Charlotte; Nadjar, Agnès; Delpech, Jean-Christophe; Sere, A; Aubert, A; Portal, Céline; Joffre, Corinne; Layé, Sophie

    2014-10-01

    Low dietary intake of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is a causative factor of neurodevelopmental disorders. However the mechanisms linking n-3 PUFAs low dietary intake and neurodevelopmental disorders are poorly understood. Microglia, known mainly for their immune function in the injured or infected brain, have recently been demonstrated to play a pivotal role in regulating maturation of neuronal circuits during normal brain development. Disruption of this role during the perinatal period therefore could significantly contribute to psychopathologies with a neurodevelopmental neurodevelopmental component. N-3 PUFAs, essential lipids and key structural components of neuronal membrane phospholipids, are highly incorporated in cell membranes during the gestation and lactation phase. We previously showed that in a context of perinatal n-3 PUFAs deficiency, accretion of these latter is decreased and this is correlated to an alteration of endotoxin-induced inflammatory response. We thus postulated that dietary n-3 PUFAs imbalance alters the activity of microglia in the developing brain, leading to abnormal formation of neuronal networks. We first confirmed that mice fed with a n-3 PUFAs deficient diet displayed decreased n-3 PUFAs levels in the brain at post-natal days (PND)0 and PND21. We then demonstrated that n-3 PUFAs deficiency altered microglia phenotype and motility in the post-natal developing brain. This was paralleled by an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines expression at PND21 and to modification of neuronal plasticity-related genes expression. Overall, our findings show for the first time that a dietary n-3 PUFAs deficiency from the first day of gestation leads to the development of a pro-inflammatory condition in the central nervous system that may contribute to neurodevelopmental alterations.

  1. Forced arm use is superior to voluntary training for motor recovery and brain plasticity after cortical ischemia in rats

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background and purpose Both the immobilization of the unaffected arm combined with physical therapy (forced arm use, FAU) and voluntary exercise (VE) as model for enriched environment are promising approaches to enhance recovery after stroke. The genomic mechanisms involved in long-term plasticity changes after different means of rehabilitative training post-stroke are largely unexplored. The present investigation explored the effects of these physical therapies on behavioral recovery and molecular markers of regeneration after experimental ischemia. Methods 42 Wistar rats were randomly treated with either forced arm use (FAU, 1-sleeve plaster cast onto unaffected limb at 8/10 days), voluntary exercise (VE, connection of a freely accessible running wheel to cage), or controls with no access to a running wheel for 10 days starting at 48 hours after photothrombotic stroke of the sensorimotor cortex. Functional outcome was measured using sensorimotor test before ischemia, after ischemia, after the training period of 10 days, at 3 and 4 weeks after ischemia. Global gene expression changes were assessed from the ipsi- and contralateral cortex and the hippocampus. Results FAU-treated animals demonstrated significantly improved functional recovery compared to the VE-treated group. Both were superior to cage control. A large number of genes are altered by both training paradigms in the ipsi- and contralateral cortex and the hippocampus. Overall, the extent of changes observed correlated well with the functional recovery obtained. One category of genes overrepresented in the gene set is linked to neuronal plasticity processes, containing marker genes such as the NMDA 2a receptor, PKC ζ, NTRK2, or MAP 1b. Conclusions We show that physical training after photothrombotic stroke significantly and permanently improves functional recovery after stroke, and that forced arm training is clearly superior to voluntary running training. The behavioral outcomes seen correlate with

  2. BDNF but not NT-4 is required for normal flexion reflex plasticity and function.

    PubMed

    Heppenstall, P A; Lewin, G R

    2001-07-03

    Neurotrophins can directly modulate the function of diverse types of central nervous system synapses. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) might be released by nociceptors onto spinal neurons and mediate central sensitization associated with chronic pain. We have studied the role of BDNF and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4), both ligands of the trkB tyrosine kinase receptor, in synaptic transmission and reflex plasticity in the mouse spinal cord. We used an in vitro spinal cord preparation to measure monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes evoked by primary afferents in BDNF- and NT-4-deficient mice. In situ hybridization studies show that both these neurotrophins are synthesized by sensory neurons, and NT-4, but not BDNF, also is expressed by spinal neurons. BDNF null mutants display selective deficits in the ventral root potential (VRP) evoked by stimulating nociceptive primary afferents whereas the non-nociceptive portion of the VRP remained unaltered. In addition, activity-dependent plasticity of the VRP evoked by repetitive (1 Hz) stimulation of nociceptive primary afferents (termed wind-up) was substantially reduced in BDNF-deficient mice. This plasticity also was reduced in a reversible manner by the protein kinase inhibitor K252a. Although the trkB ligand NT-4 is normally present, reflex properties in NT-4 null mutant mice were normal. Pharmacological studies also indicated that spinal N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor function was unaltered in BDNF-deficient mice. Using immunocytochemistry for markers of nociceptive neurons we found no evidence that their number or connectivity was substantially altered in BDNF-deficient mice. Our data therefore are consistent with a direct role for presynaptic BDNF release from sensory neurons in the modulation of pain-related neurotransmission.

  3. Neuronal plasticity: beyond the critical period.

    PubMed

    Hübener, Mark; Bonhoeffer, Tobias

    2014-11-06

    Neuronal plasticity in the brain is greatly enhanced during critical periods early in life and was long thought to be rather limited thereafter. Studies in primary sensory areas of the neocortex have revealed a substantial degree of plasticity in the mature brain, too. Often, plasticity in the adult neocortex lies dormant but can be reactivated by modifications of sensory input or sensory-motor interactions, which alter the level and pattern of activity in cortical circuits. Such interventions, potentially in combination with drugs targeting molecular brakes on plasticity present in the adult brain, might help recovery of function in the injured or diseased brain.

  4. Structural and functional brain imaging in schizophrenia.

    PubMed Central

    Cleghorn, J M; Zipursky, R B; List, S J

    1991-01-01

    We present an evaluation of the contribution of structural and functional brain imaging to our understanding of schizophrenia. Methodological influences on the validity of the data generated by these new technologies include problems with measurement and clinical and anatomic heterogeneity. These considerations greatly affect the interpretation of the data generated by these technologies. Work in these fields to date, however, has produced strong evidence which suggests that schizophrenia is a disease which involves abnormalities in the structure and function of many brain areas. Structural brain imaging studies of schizophrenia using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are reviewed and their contribution to current theories of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia are discussed. Positron emission tomography (PET) studies of brain metabolic activity and dopamine receptor binding in schizophrenia are summarized and the critical questions raised by these studies are outlined. Future studies in these fields have the potential to yield critical insights into the pathophysiology of schizophrenia; new directions for studies of schizophrenia using these technologies are identified. PMID:1911736

  5. Robust Transient Dynamics and Brain Functions

    PubMed Central

    Rabinovich, Mikhail I.; Varona, Pablo

    2011-01-01

    In the last few decades several concepts of dynamical systems theory (DST) have guided psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists to rethink about sensory motor behavior and embodied cognition. A critical step in the progress of DST application to the brain (supported by modern methods of brain imaging and multi-electrode recording techniques) has been the transfer of its initial success in motor behavior to mental function, i.e., perception, emotion, and cognition. Open questions from research in genetics, ecology, brain sciences, etc., have changed DST itself and lead to the discovery of a new dynamical phenomenon, i.e., reproducible and robust transients that are at the same time sensitive to informational signals. The goal of this review is to describe a new mathematical framework – heteroclinic sequential dynamics – to understand self-organized activity in the brain that can explain certain aspects of robust itinerant behavior. Specifically, we discuss a hierarchy of coarse-grain models of mental dynamics in the form of kinetic equations of modes. These modes compete for resources at three levels: (i) within the same modality, (ii) among different modalities from the same family (like perception), and (iii) among modalities from different families (like emotion and cognition). The analysis of the conditions for robustness, i.e., the structural stability of transient (sequential) dynamics, give us the possibility to explain phenomena like the finite capacity of our sequential working memory – a vital cognitive function –, and to find specific dynamical signatures – different kinds of instabilities – of several brain functions and mental diseases. PMID:21716642

  6. Special issues in brain plasticity, repair and rehabilitation: 20 years of a publishing strategy.

    PubMed

    Sabel, B A; Matzke, S; Prilloff, S

    2010-01-01

    The journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience (RNN) is focused on the emerging field of brain plasticity, repair and rehabilitation, including original and review papers both in basic research (in vitro studies, animal experiments) and in the clinical domain, including brain imaging studies. The publication of special issues on vital topics, summarizing the work of leading experts in the field of restoration and plasticity has become a major strategy of RNN and has attracted worldwide attention. Special issues are typically organized by specialized guest-editors familiar with the respective science field. Special issues cover a particular sub-discipline and often contain laboratory review papers. The first special issue appeared in 1990, and until today RNN has published a total of 25 special issues on a variety of basic science and clinical matters. In this way, RNN promotes the dissemination of information in the field of neuroplasticity, repair and rehabilitation, providing the reader with up-to-date information prepared by leading experts in the field.

  7. When Music and Long-Term Memory Interact: Effects of Musical Expertise on Functional and Structural Plasticity in the Hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Groussard, Mathilde; La Joie, Renaud; Rauchs, Géraldine; Landeau, Brigitte; Chételat, Gaël; Viader, Fausto; Desgranges, Béatrice; Eustache, Francis; Platel, Hervé

    2010-01-01

    The development of musical skills by musicians results in specific structural and functional modifications in the brain. Surprisingly, no functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study has investigated the impact of musical training on brain function during long-term memory retrieval, a faculty particularly important in music. Thus, using fMRI, we examined for the first time this process during a musical familiarity task (i.e., semantic memory for music). Musical expertise induced supplementary activations in the hippocampus, medial frontal gyrus, and superior temporal areas on both sides, suggesting a constant interaction between episodic and semantic memory during this task in musicians. In addition, a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) investigation was performed within these areas and revealed that gray matter density of the hippocampus was higher in musicians than in nonmusicians. Our data indicate that musical expertise critically modifies long-term memory processes and induces structural and functional plasticity in the hippocampus. PMID:20957158

  8. Dynamic geometry, brain function modeling, and consciousness.

    PubMed

    Roy, Sisir; Llinás, Rodolfo

    2008-01-01

    Pellionisz and Llinás proposed, years ago, a geometric interpretation towards understanding brain function. This interpretation assumes that the relation between the brain and the external world is determined by the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to construct an internal model of the external world using an interactive geometrical relationship between sensory and motor expression. This approach opened new vistas not only in brain research but also in understanding the foundations of geometry itself. The approach named tensor network theory is sufficiently rich to allow specific computational modeling and addressed the issue of prediction, based on Taylor series expansion properties of the system, at the neuronal level, as a basic property of brain function. It was actually proposed that the evolutionary realm is the backbone for the development of an internal functional space that, while being purely representational, can interact successfully with the totally different world of the so-called "external reality". Now if the internal space or functional space is endowed with stochastic metric tensor properties, then there will be a dynamic correspondence between events in the external world and their specification in the internal space. We shall call this dynamic geometry since the minimal time resolution of the brain (10-15 ms), associated with 40 Hz oscillations of neurons and their network dynamics, is considered to be responsible for recognizing external events and generating the concept of simultaneity. The stochastic metric tensor in dynamic geometry can be written as five-dimensional space-time where the fifth dimension is a probability space as well as a metric space. This extra dimension is considered an imbedded degree of freedom. It is worth noticing that the above-mentioned 40 Hz oscillation is present both in awake and dream states where the central difference is the inability of phase resetting in the latter. This framework of dynamic

  9. Large-scale functional brain networks in human non-rapid eye movement sleep: insights from combined electroencephalographic/functional magnetic resonance imaging studies.

    PubMed

    Spoormaker, Victor I; Czisch, Michael; Maquet, Pierre; Jäncke, Lutz

    2011-10-13

    This paper reviews the existing body of knowledge on the neural correlates of spontaneous oscillations, functional connectivity and brain plasticity in human non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The first section reviews the evidence that specific sleep events as slow waves and spindles are associated with transient increases in regional brain activity. The second section describes the changes in functional connectivity during NREM sleep, with a particular focus on changes within a low-frequency, large-scale functional brain network. The third section will discuss the possibility that spontaneous oscillations and differential functional connectivity are related to brain plasticity and systems consolidation, with a particular focus on motor skill acquisition. Implications for the mode of information processing per sleep stage and future experimental studies are discussed.

  10. Functional brain imaging in respiratory medicine.

    PubMed

    Pattinson, Kyle

    2015-06-01

    Discordance of clinical symptoms with markers of disease severity remains a conundrum in a variety of respiratory conditions. The breathlessness of chronic lung disease correlates poorly with spirometry, yet is a better predictor of mortality. In chronic cough, symptoms are often evident without clear physical cause. In asthma, the terms 'over perceivers' and 'under perceivers' are common parlance. In all these examples, aberrant brain mechanisms may explain the mismatch between symptoms and pathology. Functional MRI is a non-invasive method of measuring brain function. It has recently become significantly advanced enough to be useful in clinical research and to address these potential mechanisms. This article explains how FMRI works, current understanding from FMRI in breathlessness, cough and asthma and suggests possibilities for future research.

  11. Combined Cognitive-Psychological-Physical Intervention Induces Reorganization of Intrinsic Functional Brain Architecture in Older Adults

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Zhiwei; Zhu, Xinyi; Yin, Shufei; Wang, Baoxi; Niu, Yanan; Huang, Xin; Li, Rui; Li, Juan

    2015-01-01

    Mounting evidence suggests that enriched mental, physical, and socially stimulating activities are beneficial for counteracting age-related decreases in brain function and cognition in older adults. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate the functional plasticity of brain activity in response to a combined cognitive-psychological-physical intervention and investigated the contribution of the intervention-related brain changes to individual performance in healthy older adults. The intervention was composed of a 6-week program of combined activities including cognitive training, Tai Chi exercise, and group counseling. The results showed improved cognitive performance and reorganized regional homogeneity of spontaneous fluctuations in the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals in the superior and middle temporal gyri, and the posterior lobe of the cerebellum, in the participants who attended the intervention. Intriguingly, the intervention-induced changes in the coherence of local spontaneous activity correlated with the improvements in individual cognitive performance. Taken together with our previous findings of enhanced resting-state functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe regions following a combined intervention program in older adults, we conclude that the functional plasticity of the aging brain is a rather complex process, and an effective cognitive-psychological-physical intervention is helpful for maintaining a healthy brain and comprehensive cognition during old age. PMID:25810927

  12. Brain and cognitive evolution: forms of modularity and functions of mind.

    PubMed

    Geary, David C; Huffman, Kelly J

    2002-09-01

    Genetic and neurobiological research is reviewed as related to controversy over the extent to which neocortical organization and associated cognitive functions are genetically constrained or emerge through patterns of developmental experience. An evolutionary framework that accommodates genetic constraint and experiential modification of brain organization and cognitive function is then proposed. The authors argue that 4 forms of modularity and 3 forms of neural and cognitive plasticity define the relation between genetic constraint and the influence of developmental experience. For humans, the result is the ontogenetic emergence of functional modules in the domains of folk psychology, folk biology, and folk physics. The authors present a taxonomy of these modules and review associated research relating to brain and cognitive plasticity in these domains.

  13. Exercise but not (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate or β-Alanine enhances physical fitness, brain plasticity, and behavioral performance in mice

    PubMed Central

    Bhattacharya, Tushar K.; Pence, Brandt D.; Ossyra, Jessica M.; Gibbons, Trisha E.; Perez, Samuel; McCusker, Robert H.; Kelley, Keith W.; Johnson, Rodney W.; Woods, Jeffrey A.; Rhodes, Justin S.

    2015-01-01

    Nutrition and physical exercise can enhance cognitive function but the specific combinations of dietary bioactives that maximize pro-cognitive effects are not known nor are the contributing neurobiological mechanisms. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a flavonoid constituent of many plants with high levels found in green tea. EGCG has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and is known to cross the blood brain barrier where it can affect brain chemistry and physiology. β-alanine (B-ALA) is a naturally occurring β–amino acid that could increase cognitive functioning by increasing levels of exercise via increased capacity of skeletal muscle, by crossing the blood brain barrier and acting as a neurotransmitter, or by free radical scavenging in muscle and brain after conversion into carnosine. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of EGCG (∼ 250 mg/kg/day), B-ALA (∼550 mg/kg/day), and their combination with voluntary wheel running exercise on the following outcome measures: body composition, time to fatigue, production of new cells in the granule layer of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus as a marker for neuronal plasticity, and behavioral performance on the contextual and cued fear conditioning tasks, as measures of associative learning and memory. Young adult male BALB/cJ mice approximately 2 months old were randomized into 8 groups varying the nutritional supplement in their diet and access to running wheels over a 39 day study period. Running increased food intake, decreased fat mass, increased time to exhaustive fatigue, increased numbers of new cells in the granule layer of the hippocampus, and enhanced retrieval of both contextual and cued fear memories. The diets had no effect on their own or in combination with exercise on any of the fitness, plasticity, and behavioral outcome measures other than B-ALA decreased percent body fat whereas EGCG increased lean body mass slightly. Results suggest that, in young adult BALB

  14. Exercise but not (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate or β-alanine enhances physical fitness, brain plasticity, and behavioral performance in mice.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharya, Tushar K; Pence, Brandt D; Ossyra, Jessica M; Gibbons, Trisha E; Perez, Samuel; McCusker, Robert H; Kelley, Keith W; Johnson, Rodney W; Woods, Jeffrey A; Rhodes, Justin S

    2015-06-01

    Nutrition and physical exercise can enhance cognitive function but the specific combinations of dietary bioactives that maximize pro-cognitive effects are not known nor are the contributing neurobiological mechanisms. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a flavonoid constituent of many plants with high levels found in green tea. EGCG has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and is known to cross the blood brain barrier where it can affect brain chemistry and physiology. β-Alanine (B-ALA) is a naturally occurring β-amino acid that could increase cognitive functioning by increasing levels of exercise via increased capacity of skeletal muscle, by crossing the blood brain barrier and acting as a neurotransmitter, or by free radical scavenging in muscle and brain after conversion into carnosine. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of EGCG (~250mg/kg/day), B-ALA (~550mg/kg/day), and their combination with voluntary wheel running exercise on the following outcome measures: body composition, time to fatigue, production of new cells in the granule layer of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus as a marker for neuronal plasticity, and behavioral performance on the contextual and cued fear conditioning tasks, as measures of associative learning and memory. Young adult male BALB/cJ mice approximately 2months old were randomized into 8 groups varying the nutritional supplement in their diet and access to running wheels over a 39day study period. Running increased food intake, decreased fat mass, increased time to exhaustive fatigue, increased numbers of new cells in the granule layer of the hippocampus, and enhanced retrieval of both contextual and cued fear memories. The diets had no effect on their own or in combination with exercise on any of the fitness, plasticity, and behavioral outcome measures other than B-ALA decreased percent body fat whereas EGCG increased lean body mass slightly. Results suggest that, in young adult BALB/cJ mice, a 39

  15. Optimal level activity of matrix metalloproteinases is critical for adult visual plasticity in the healthy and stroke-affected brain.

    PubMed

    Pielecka-Fortuna, Justyna; Kalogeraki, Evgenia; Fortuna, Michal G; Löwel, Siegrid

    2015-11-26

    The ability of the adult brain to undergo plastic changes is of particular interest in medicine, especially regarding recovery from injuries or improving learning and cognition. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been associated with juvenile experience-dependent primary visual cortex (V1) plasticity, yet little is known about their role in this process in the adult V1. Activation of MMPs is a crucial step facilitating structural changes in a healthy brain; however, upon brain injury, upregulated MMPs promote the spread of a lesion and impair recovery. To clarify these seemingly opposing outcomes of MMP-activation, we examined the effects of MMP-inhibition on experience-induced plasticity in healthy and stoke-affected adult mice. In healthy animals, 7-day application of MMP-inhibitor prevented visual plasticity. Additionally, treatment with MMP-inhibitor once but not twice following stroke rescued plasticity, normally lost under these conditions. Our data imply that an optimal level of MMP-activity is crucial for adult visual plasticity to occur.

  16. Optimal level activity of matrix metalloproteinases is critical for adult visual plasticity in the healthy and stroke-affected brain

    PubMed Central

    Pielecka-Fortuna, Justyna; Kalogeraki, Evgenia; Fortuna, Michal G; Löwel, Siegrid

    2015-01-01

    The ability of the adult brain to undergo plastic changes is of particular interest in medicine, especially regarding recovery from injuries or improving learning and cognition. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been associated with juvenile experience-dependent primary visual cortex (V1) plasticity, yet little is known about their role in this process in the adult V1. Activation of MMPs is a crucial step facilitating structural changes in a healthy brain; however, upon brain injury, upregulated MMPs promote the spread of a lesion and impair recovery. To clarify these seemingly opposing outcomes of MMP-activation, we examined the effects of MMP-inhibition on experience-induced plasticity in healthy and stoke-affected adult mice. In healthy animals, 7-day application of MMP-inhibitor prevented visual plasticity. Additionally, treatment with MMP-inhibitor once but not twice following stroke rescued plasticity, normally lost under these conditions. Our data imply that an optimal level of MMP-activity is crucial for adult visual plasticity to occur. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11290.001 PMID:26609811

  17. Default brain functionality in blind people.

    PubMed

    Burton, H; Snyder, A Z; Raichle, M E

    2004-10-26

    We studied whether default functionality of the human brain, as revealed by task-independent decreases in activity occurring during goal-directed behaviors, is functionally reorganized by blindness. Three groups of otherwise normal adults were studied: early blind, adventitiously blind, and normally sighted. They were imaged by using functional MRI during performance of a word association task (verb generation to nouns) administered by using auditory stimuli in all groups and Braille reading in blind participants. In sighted people, this task normally produces robust task-independent decreases relative to a baseline of quiet wakefulness with eyes closed. Our functional MRI results indicate that task-independent decreases are qualitatively similar across all participant groups in medial and dorsal prefrontal, lateral parietal, anterior precuneus, and posterior cingulate cortices. Similarities in task-independent decreases are consistent with the hypothesis that functional reorganization resulting from the absence of a particular sensory modality does not qualitatively affect default functionality as revealed by task-independent decreases. More generally, these results support the notion that the brain largely operates intrinsically, with sensory information modulating rather than determining system operations.

  18. Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men

    MedlinePlus

    ... News from the RSNA Annual Meeting Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men At A ... MRI, researchers have found that playing violent video games for one week causes changes in brain function. ...

  19. The blind brain: how (lack of) vision shapes the morphological and functional architecture of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Ricciardi, Emiliano; Handjaras, Giacomo; Pietrini, Pietro

    2014-11-01

    Since the early days, how we represent the world around us has been a matter of philosophical speculation. Over the last few decades, modern neuroscience, and specifically the development of methodologies for the structural and the functional exploration of the brain have made it possible to investigate old questions with an innovative approach. In this brief review, we discuss the main findings from a series of brain anatomical and functional studies conducted in sighted and congenitally blind individuals by our's and others' laboratories. Historically, research on the 'blind brain' has focused mainly on the cross-modal plastic changes that follow sensory deprivation. More recently, a novel line of research has been developed to determine to what extent visual experience is truly required to achieve a representation of the surrounding environment. Overall, the results of these studies indicate that most of the brain fine morphological and functional architecture is programmed to develop and function independently from any visual experience. Distinct cortical areas are able to process information in a supramodal fashion, that is, independently from the sensory modality that carries that information to the brain. These observations strongly support the hypothesis of a modality-independent, i.e. more abstract, cortical organization, and may contribute to explain how congenitally blind individuals may interact efficiently with an external world that they have never seen.

  20. Differential effects of excitatory and inhibitory plasticity on synaptically-driven neuronal Input-Output functions

    PubMed Central

    Carvalho, Tiago P.; Buonomano, Dean V.

    2009-01-01

    Ultimately, whether or not a neuron produces a spike determines its contribution to local computations. In response to brief stimuli the probability a neuron will fire can be described by its input-output function, which depends on the net balance and timing of excitatory and inhibitory currents. While excitatory and inhibitory synapses are plastic, most studies examine plasticity of subthreshold events. Thus, the effects of concerted regulation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic strength on neuronal input-output functions are not well understood. Here, theoretical analyses reveal that excitatory synaptic strength controls the threshold of the neuronal input-output function, while inhibitory plasticity alters the threshold and gain. Experimentally, changes in the balance of excitation and inhibition in CA1 pyramidal neurons also altered their input-output function as predicted by the model. These results support the existence of two functional modes of plasticity that can be used to optimize information processing: threshold and gain plasticity. PMID:19285473

  1. Smart plastic functionalization by nanoimprint and injection molding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zalkovskij, Maksim; Thamdrup, Lasse H.; Smistrup, Kristian; Andén, Thomas; Johansson, Alicia C.; Mikkelsen, Niels Jørgen; Madsen, Morten Hannibal; Garnæs, Jørgen; Kristiansen, Tommy Tungelund; Diemer, Mads; Døssing, Michael; Minzari, Daniel; Tang, Peter Torben; Kristensen, Anders; Taboryski, Rafael; Essendrop, Søren; Nielsen, Theodor; Bilenberg, Brian

    2015-03-01

    In this paper, we present a route for making smart functionalized plastic parts by injection molding with sub-micrometer surface structures. The method is based on combining planar processes well known and established within silicon micro and sub-micro fabrication with proven high resolution and high fidelity with truly freeform injection molding inserts. The link between the planar processes and the freeform shaped injection molding inserts is enabled by the use of nanoimprint with flexible molds for the pattern definition combined with unidirectional sputter etching for transferring the pattern. With this approach, we demonstrate the transfer of down to 140 nm wide holes on large areas with good structure fidelity on an injection molding steel insert. The durability of the sub-micrometer structures on the inserts have been investigated by running two production series of 102,000 and 73,000 injection molded parts, respectively, on two different inserts and inspecting the inserts before and after the production series and the molded parts during the production series.

  2. Stability and Plasticity of Auditory Brainstem Function Across the Lifespan

    PubMed Central

    Skoe, Erika; Krizman, Jennifer; Anderson, Samira; Kraus, Nina

    2015-01-01

    The human auditory brainstem is thought to undergo rapid developmental changes early in life until age ∼2 followed by prolonged stability until aging-related changes emerge. However, earlier work on brainstem development was limited by sparse sampling across the lifespan and/or averaging across children and adults. Using a larger dataset than past investigations, we aimed to trace more subtle variations in auditory brainstem function that occur normally from infancy into the eighth decade of life. To do so, we recorded auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) to a click stimulus and a speech syllable (da) in 586 normal-hearing healthy individuals. Although each set of ABR measures (latency, frequency encoding, response consistency, nonstimulus activity) has a distinct developmental profile, across all measures developmental changes were found to continue well past age 2. In addition to an elongated developmental trajectory and evidence for multiple auditory developmental processes, we revealed a period of overshoot during childhood (5–11 years old) for latency and amplitude measures, when the latencies are earlier and the amplitudes are greater than the adult value. Our data also provide insight into the capacity for experience-dependent auditory plasticity at different stages in life and underscore the importance of using age-specific norms in clinical and experimental applications. PMID:24366906

  3. Brain microRNAs and insights into biological functions and therapeutic potential of brain enriched miRNA-128.

    PubMed

    Adlakha, Yogita K; Saini, Neeru

    2014-02-21

    MicroRNAs, the non-coding single-stranded RNA of 19-25 nucleotides are emerging as robust players of gene regulation. Plethora of evidences support that the ability of microRNAs to regulate several genes of a pathway or even multiple cross talking pathways have significant impact on a complex regulatory network and ultimately the physiological processes and diseases. Brain being a complex organ with several cell types, expresses more distinct miRNAs than any other tissues. This review aims to discuss about the microRNAs in brain development, function and their dysfunction in brain tumors. We also provide a comprehensive summary of targets of brain specific and brain enriched miRNAs that contribute to the diversity and plasticity of the brain. In particular, we uncover recent findings on miRNA-128, a brain-enriched microRNA that is induced during neuronal differentiation and whose aberrant expression has been reported in several cancers. This review describes the wide spectrum of targets of miRNA-128 that have been identified till date with potential roles in apoptosis, angiogenesis, proliferation, cholesterol metabolism, self renewal, invasion and cancer progression and how this knowledge might be exploited for the development of future miRNA-128 based therapies for the treatment of cancer as well as metabolic diseases.

  4. Brain microRNAs and insights into biological functions and therapeutic potential of brain enriched miRNA-128

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    MicroRNAs, the non-coding single-stranded RNA of 19–25 nucleotides are emerging as robust players of gene regulation. Plethora of evidences support that the ability of microRNAs to regulate several genes of a pathway or even multiple cross talking pathways have significant impact on a complex regulatory network and ultimately the physiological processes and diseases. Brain being a complex organ with several cell types, expresses more distinct miRNAs than any other tissues. This review aims to discuss about the microRNAs in brain development, function and their dysfunction in brain tumors. We also provide a comprehensive summary of targets of brain specific and brain enriched miRNAs that contribute to the diversity and plasticity of the brain. In particular, we uncover recent findings on miRNA-128, a brain-enriched microRNA that is induced during neuronal differentiation and whose aberrant expression has been reported in several cancers. This review describes the wide spectrum of targets of miRNA-128 that have been identified till date with potential roles in apoptosis, angiogenesis, proliferation, cholesterol metabolism, self renewal, invasion and cancer progression and how this knowledge might be exploited for the development of future miRNA-128 based therapies for the treatment of cancer as well as metabolic diseases. PMID:24555688

  5. Plastic responses in the metabolome and functional traits of maize plants to temperature variations.

    PubMed

    Sun, C X; Gao, X X; Li, M Q; Fu, J Q; Zhang, Y L

    2016-03-01

    Environmentally inducible phenotypic plasticity is a major player in plant responses to climate change. However, metabolic responses and their role in determining the phenotypic plasticity of plants that are subjected to temperature variations remain poorly understood. The metabolomic profiles and metabolite levels in the leaves of three maize inbred lines grown in different temperature conditions were examined with a nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomic technique. The relationship of functional traits to metabolome profiles and the metabolic mechanism underlying temperature variations were then explored. A comparative analysis showed that during heat and cold stress, maize plants shared common plastic responses in biomass accumulation, carbon, nitrogen, sugars, some amino acids and compatible solutes. We also found that the plastic response of maize plants to heat stress was different from that under cold stress, mainly involving biomass allocation, shikimate and its aromatic amino acid derivatives, and other non-polar metabolites. The plastic responsiveness of functional traits of maize lines to temperature variations was low, while the metabolic responsiveness in plasticity was high, indicating that functional and metabolic plasticity may play different roles in maize plant adaptation to temperature variations. A linear regression analysis revealed that the maize lines could adapt to growth temperature variations through the interrelation of plastic responses in the metabolomes and functional traits, such as biomass allocation and the status of carbon and nitrogen. We provide valuable insight into the plastic response strategy of maize plants to temperature variations that will permit the optimisation of crop cultivation in an increasingly variable environment.

  6. The Neuroplastin adhesion molecules: key regulators of neuronal plasticity and synaptic function.

    PubMed

    Beesley, Philip W; Herrera-Molina, Rodrigo; Smalla, Karl-Heinz; Seidenbecher, Constanze

    2014-11-01

    The Neuroplastins Np65 and Np55 are neuronal and synapse-enriched immunoglobulin superfamily molecules that play important roles in a number of key neuronal and synaptic functions including, for Np65, cell adhesion. In this review we focus on the physiological roles of the Neuroplastins in promoting neurite outgrowth, regulating the structure and function of both inhibitory and excitatory synapses in brain, and in neuronal and synaptic plasticity. We discuss the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms by which the Neuroplastins exert their physiological effects and how these are dependent upon the structural features of Np65 and Np55, which enable them to bind to a diverse range of protein partners. In turn this enables the Neuroplastins to interact with a number of key neuronal signalling cascades. These include: binding to and activation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor; Np65 trans-homophilic binding leading to activation of p38 MAPK and internalization of glutamate (GluR1) receptor subunits; acting as accessory proteins for monocarboxylate transporters, thus affecting neuronal energy supply, and binding to GABAA α1, 2 and 5 subunits, thus regulating the composition and localization of GABAA receptors. An emerging theme is the role of the Neuroplastins in regulating the trafficking and subcellular localization of specific binding partners. We also discuss the involvement of Neuroplastins in a number of pathophysiological conditions, including ischaemia, schizophrenia and breast cancer and the role of a single nucleotide polymorphism in the human Neuroplastin (NPTN) gene locus in impairment of cortical development and cognitive functions. Neuroplastins are neuronal cell adhesion molecules, which induce neurite outgrowth and play important roles in synaptic maturation and plasticity. This review summarizes the functional implications of Neuroplastins for correct synaptic membrane protein localization, neuronal energy supply, expression of LTP and LTD

  7. Interplay Between Nitric Oxide and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Neuronal Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Biojone, Caroline; Casarotto, Plinio Cabrera; Joca, Samia Regiane; Castrén, Eero

    2015-01-01

    Nitric oxide is a gaseous neuromodulator that displays a core role in several neuronal processes. Beyond regulating the release of neurotransmitters, nitric oxide also plays a role in cell differentiation and maturation in the central nervous system. Although the mode of action of nitric oxide is not fully understood, it involves the activation of soluble guanylate cyclase as well as the nitration and S-nitrosylation of specific amino acid residues in other proteins. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a member of neurotrophic factor family and, acting through its receptor tropomyosinrelated kinase B, increases the production of nitric oxide, modulates neuronal differentiation and survival, and plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity, such as long-term potentiation. Furthermore, nitric oxide is an important regulator of the production of these factors. The aim of the present review is to present a condensed view of the evidence related to the interaction between nitric oxide and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Additionally, we conducted bioinformatics analysis based on the amino acid sequences of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and tropomyosin-related kinase receptors, and proposed that nitric oxide might nitrate/S-nitrosylate these proteins. Thus, we suggest a putative direct mode of action between these molecules to be further explored.

  8. Circadian clocks, brain function, and development.

    PubMed

    Frank, Ellen; Sidor, Michelle M; Gamble, Karen L; Cirelli, Chiara; Sharkey, Katherine M; Hoyle, Nathaniel; Tikotzky, Liat; Talbot, Lisa S; McCarthy, Michael J; Hasler, Brant P

    2013-12-01

    Circadian clocks are temporal interfaces that organize biological systems and behavior to dynamic external environments. Components of the molecular clock are expressed throughout the brain and are centrally poised to play an important role in brain function. This paper focuses on key issues concerning the relationship among circadian clocks, brain function, and development, and discusses three topic areas: (1) sleep and its relationship to the circadian system; (2) systems development and psychopathology (spanning the prenatal period through late life); and (3) circadian factors and their application to neuropsychiatric disorders. We also explore circadian genetics and psychopathology and the selective pressures on the evolution of clocks. Last, a lively debate is presented on whether circadian factors are central to mood disorders. Emerging from research on circadian rhythms is a model of the interaction among genes, sleep, and the environment that converges on the circadian clock to influence susceptibility to developing psychopathology. This model may lend insight into effective treatments for mood disorders and inform development of new interventions.

  9. Chemogenetic tools to interrogate brain functions.

    PubMed

    Sternson, Scott M; Roth, Bryan L

    2014-01-01

    Elucidating the roles of neuronal cell types for physiology and behavior is essential for understanding brain functions. Perturbation of neuron electrical activity can be used to probe the causal relationship between neuronal cell types and behavior. New genetically encoded neuron perturbation tools have been developed for remotely controlling neuron function using small molecules that activate engineered receptors that can be targeted to cell types using genetic methods. Here we describe recent progress for approaches using genetically engineered receptors that selectively interact with small molecules. Called "chemogenetics," receptors with diverse cellular functions have been developed that facilitate the selective pharmacological control over a diverse range of cell-signaling processes, including electrical activity, for molecularly defined cell types. These tools have revealed remarkably specific behavioral physiological influences for molecularly defined cell types that are often intermingled with populations having different or even opposite functions.

  10. Yield Functions and Plastic Potentials for BCC Metals and Possibly Other Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Christensen, R M

    2005-09-29

    Yield functions and plastic potentials are expressed in terms of the invariants of the stress tensor for polycrystalline metals and other isotropic materials. The plastic volume change data of Richmond is used to evaluate the embedded materials properties for some bcc metals and one polymer. A general form for the plastic potential is found that is intended to represent and cover a wide range of materials types.

  11. Transgenerational epigenetic effects on brain functions.

    PubMed

    Bohacek, Johannes; Gapp, Katharina; Saab, Bechara J; Mansuy, Isabelle M

    2013-02-15

    Psychiatric diseases are multifaceted disorders with complex etiology, recognized to have strong heritable components. Despite intense research efforts, genetic loci that substantially account for disease heritability have not yet been identified. Over the last several years, epigenetic processes have emerged as important factors for many brain diseases, and the discovery of epigenetic processes in germ cells has raised the possibility that they may contribute to disease heritability and disease risk. This review examines epigenetic mechanisms in complex diseases and summarizes the most illustrative examples of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in mammals and their relevance for brain function. Environmental factors that can affect molecular processes and behavior in exposed individuals and their offspring, and their potential epigenetic underpinnings, are described. Possible routes and mechanisms of transgenerational transmission are proposed, and the major questions and challenges raised by this emerging field of research are considered.

  12. Rising stars: modulation of brain functions by astroglial type-1 cannabinoid receptors.

    PubMed

    Metna-Laurent, Mathilde; Marsicano, Giovanni

    2015-03-01

    The type-1-cannabinoid (CB1 ) receptor is amongst the most widely expressed G protein-coupled receptors in the brain. In few decades, CB1 receptors have been shown to regulate a large array of functions from brain cell development and survival to complex cognitive processes. Understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying these functions of CB1 is complex due to the heterogeneity of the brain cell types on which the receptor is expressed. Although the large majority of CB1 receptors act on neurons, early studies pointed to a direct control of CB1 receptors over astroglial functions including brain energy supply and neuroprotection. In line with the growing concept of the tripartite synapse highlighting astrocytes as direct players in synaptic plasticity, astroglial CB1 receptor signaling recently emerged as the mediator of several forms of synaptic plasticity associated to important cognitive functions. Here, we shortly review the current knowledge on CB1 receptor-mediated astroglial functions. This functional spectrum is large and most of the mechanisms by which CB1 receptors control astrocytes, as well as their consequences in vivo, are still unknown, requiring innovative approaches to improve this new cannabinoid research field.

  13. Hypothalamic plasticity of neuropeptide Y is lacking in brain-type creatine kinase double knockout mice with defective thermoregulation.

    PubMed

    Van der Zee, Catharina E E M

    2013-11-05

    The neural substrate of adaptive thermoregulation in mice lacking both brain-type creatine kinase isoforms is further investigated. The cytosolic brain-type creatine kinase (CK-B) and mitochondrial ubiquitous creatine kinase (UbCKmit) are expressed in neural cells throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, where they have an important role in cellular energy homeostasis. Several integral functions appear altered when creatine kinases are absent in the brain (Jost et al., 2002; Streijger et al., 2004, 2005), which has been explained by inefficient neuronal transmission. The CK--/-- double knockout mice demonstrate every morning a body temperature drop of ~1.0 °C, and they have impaired thermogenesis, as revealed by severe hypothermia upon cold exposure. This defective thermoregulation is not associated with abnormal food intake, decreased locomotive activity, or increased torpor sensitivity. Although white and brown adipose tissue fat pads are diminished in CK--/-- mice, intravenous norepinephrine infusion results in a normal brown adipose tissue response with increasing core body temperatures, indicating that the sympathetic innervation functions correctly (Streijger et al., 2009). This study revealed c-fos changes following a cold challenge, and that neuropeptide Y levels were decreased in the paraventricular nucleus of wildtype, but not CK--/--, mice. A reduction in hypothalamic neuropeptide Y is coupled to increased uncoupling protein 1 expression in brown adipose tissue, resulting in thermogenesis. In CK--/-- mice the neuropeptide Y levels did not change. This lack of hypothalamic plasticity of neuropeptide Y might be the result of inefficient neuronal transmission or can be explained by the previous observation of reduced circulating levels of leptin in CK--/-- mice.

  14. Intrinsic Functional Plasticity of the Sensory-Motor Network in Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, F. Q.; Tan, Y. M.; Wu, L.; Zhuang, Y.; He, L. C.; Gong, H. H.

    2015-01-01

    Several neuroimaging studies have suggested brain reorganisation in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM); however, the changes in spontaneous neuronal activity that are associated with connectedness remain largely unknown. In this study, functional connectivity strength (FCS), a data-driven degree centrality method based on a theoretical approach, was applied for the first time to investigate changes in the sensory-motor network (SMN) at the voxel level. Comparatively, CSM not only showed significantly decreased FCS in the operculum-integrated regions, which exhibited reduced resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) around the Rolandic sulcus, but it also showed increased FCS in the premotor, primary somatosensory, and parietal-integrated areas, which primarily showed an enhanced rsFC pattern. Correlation analysis showed that altered FCS (in the left premotor-ventral/precentral-operculum, right operculum-parietale 4, and right S1) was associated with worsening Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores and that the rsFC pattern was influenced by cervical cord micro-structural damage at the C2 level. Together, these findings suggest that during myelopathy, the intrinsic functional plasticity of the SMN responds to the insufficient sensory and motor experience in CSM patients. This knowledge may improve our understanding of the comprehensive functional defects found in CSM patients and may inspire the development of new therapeutic strategies in the future. PMID:25897648

  15. Mind the blind brain to understand the sighted one! Is there a supramodal cortical functional architecture?

    PubMed

    Ricciardi, Emiliano; Bonino, Daniela; Pellegrini, Silvia; Pietrini, Pietro

    2014-04-01

    While most of the research in blind individuals classically has focused on the compensatory plastic rearrangements that follow loss of sight, novel behavioral, anatomical and functional brain studies in individuals born deprived of sight represent a powerful tool to understand to what extent the brain functional architecture is programmed to develop independently from any visual experience. Here we review work from our lab and others, conducted in sighted and congenitally blind individuals, whose results indicate that vision is not a mandatory prerequisite for the brain cortical organization to develop and function. Similar cortical networks subtend visual and/or non-visual perception of form, space and movement, as well as action recognition, both in sighted and in congenitally blind individuals. These findings support the hypothesis of a modality independent, supramodal cortical organization. Visual experience, however, does play a role in shaping specific cortical sub-regions, as loss of sight is accompanied also by cross-modal plastic phenomena. Altogether, studying the blind brain is opening our eyes on how the brain develops and works.

  16. The brain as a complex system: plasticity at multiple scales and criticality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ng, Tony; Miller, Paul

    2015-03-01

    As a complex system, a successful organism is one that can react effectively to environmental fluctuations. Not only should its response repertoire be commensurate with the number of independent conditions that it encounters, behavioral and environmental variations need to be matched at the appropriate scales. In the cortex, neuronal clusters, not individual cells, operate at the proper scale that is necessary to generate appropriate responses to external states of the world. Single neurons, however, serve on a finer scale to mediate interactions between neuronal assemblies. The distinction of scales is significant, as plasticity mechanisms can operate on various spatial and temporal scales. The brain has apparently evolved complex-system strategies to calibrate its own dynamics at multiple scales. This makes the joint study of local balance and global homeostasis fundamentally important, where criticality emerges as a signature of a computationally powerful system. We show via simulations how plasticity mechanisms at multiple scales are inextricably tied to spike-based neuronal avalanches, which are microscopic in origin and poorly predictive of animal behavior, and cluster-based avalanches, which are manifest macroscopically and are relevant to cognition and behavior.

  17. Structure and function of large-scale brain systems.

    PubMed

    Koziol, Leonard F; Barker, Lauren A; Joyce, Arthur W; Hrin, Skip

    2014-01-01

    This article introduces the functional neuroanatomy of large-scale brain systems. Both the structure and functions of these brain networks are presented. All human behavior is the result of interactions within and between these brain systems. This system of brain function completely changes our understanding of how cognition and behavior are organized within the brain, replacing the traditional lesion model. Understanding behavior within the context of brain network interactions has profound implications for modifying abstract constructs such as attention, learning, and memory. These constructs also must be understood within the framework of a paradigm shift, which emphasizes ongoing interactions within a dynamically changing environment.

  18. Coupling energy homeostasis with a mechanism to support plasticity in brain trauma.

    PubMed

    Agrawal, Rahul; Tyagi, Ethika; Vergnes, Laurent; Reue, Karen; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2014-04-01

    Metabolic dysfunction occurring after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important risk factor for the development of psychiatric illness. In the present study, we utilized an omega-3 diet during early life as a metabolic preconditioning to alter the course of TBI during adulthood. TBI animals under omega-3 deficiency were more prone to alterations in energy homeostasis (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase; AMPK phosphorylation and cytochrome C oxidase II; COII levels) and mitochondrial biogenesis (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha; PGC-1α and mitochondrial transcription factor A; TFAM). A similar response was found for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its signaling through tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB). The results from in vitro studies showed that 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), a TrkB receptor agonist, upregulates the levels of biogenesis activator PGC-1α, and CREB phosphorylation in neuroblastoma cells suggesting that BDNF-TrkB signaling is pivotal for engaging signals related to synaptic plasticity and energy metabolism. The treatment with 7,8-DHF elevated the mitochondrial respiratory capacity, which emphasizes the role of BDNF-TrkB signaling as mitochondrial bioenergetics stimulator. Omega-3 deficiency worsened the effects of TBI on anxiety-like behavior and potentiated a reduction of anxiolytic neuropeptide Y1 receptor (NPY1R). These results highlight the action of metabolic preconditioning for building long-term neuronal resilience against TBI incurred during adulthood. Overall, the results emphasize the interactive action of metabolic and plasticity signals for supporting neurological health.

  19. Fast Optical Imaging of Human Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Gratton, Gabriele; Fabiani, Monica

    2010-01-01

    Great advancements in brain imaging during the last few decades have opened a large number of new possibilities for neuroscientists. The most dominant methodologies (electrophysiological and magnetic resonance-based methods) emphasize temporal and spatial information, respectively. However, theorizing about brain function has recently emphasized the importance of rapid (within 100 ms or so) interactions between different elements of complex neuronal networks. Fast optical imaging, and in particular the event-related optical signal (EROS, a technology that has emerged over the last 15 years) may provide descriptions of localized (to sub-cm level) brain activity with a temporal resolution of less than 100 ms. The main limitations of EROS are its limited penetration, which allows us to image cortical structures not deeper than 3 cm from the surface of the head, and its low signal-to-noise ratio. Advantages include the fact that EROS is compatible with most other imaging methods, including electrophysiological, magnetic resonance, and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation techniques, with which can be recorded concurrently. In this paper we present a summary of the research that has been conducted so far on fast optical imaging, including evidence for the possibility of recording neuronal signals with this method, the properties of the signals, and various examples of applications to the study of human cognitive neuroscience. Extant issues, controversies, and possible future developments are also discussed. PMID:20631845

  20. Directing Spinal Cord Plasticity: The Impact of Stretch Therapy on Functional Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-10-01

    AWARD NUMBER: W81XWH-12-1-0587 TITLE: Directing Spinal Cord Plasticity: The Impact of Stretch ...Directing Spinal Cord Plasticity: The Impact of Stretch Therapy on Functional Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury. 5b. GRANT NUMBER W81XWH-12-1...ABSTRACT Essentially all spinal cord injured patients receive stretching therapies beginning within the first few weeks post-injury. Despite

  1. A plasticity integration algorithm motivated by analytical integration of a generalized quadratic function

    SciTech Connect

    Becker, R

    2006-03-03

    The goal is to examine the dependence of the plastic flow direction as a function of strain increment for a generalized quadratic flow potential; and from that, extract a scheme for constructing a plastic flow direction for a more general class of yield and flow surfaces.

  2. Functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging of brain reorganization after experimental stroke.

    PubMed

    Dijkhuizen, Rick M; van der Marel, Kajo; Otte, Willem M; Hoff, Erik I; van der Zijden, Jet P; van der Toorn, Annette; van Meer, Maurits P A

    2012-03-01

    The potential of the adult brain to reorganize after ischemic injury is critical for functional recovery and provides a significant target for therapeutic strategies to promote brain repair. Despite the accumulating evidence of brain plasticity, the interaction and significance of morphological and physiological modifications in post-stroke brain tissue remain mostly unclear. Neuroimaging techniques such as functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) enable in vivo assessment of the spatial and temporal pattern of functional and structural changes inside and outside ischemic lesion areas. This can contribute to the elucidation of critical aspects in post-stroke brain remodeling. Task/stimulus-related fMRI, resting-state fMRI, or pharmacological MRI enables direct or indirect measurement of neuronal activation, functional connectivity, or neurotransmitter system responses, respectively. DTI allows estimation of the structural integrity and connectivity of white matter tracts. Together, these MRI methods provide an unprecedented means to (a) measure longitudinal changes in tissue structure and function close by and remote from ischemic lesion areas, (b) evaluate the organizational profile of neural networks after stroke, and (c) identify degenerative and restorative processes that affect post-stroke functional outcome. Besides, the availability of MRI in clinical institutions as well as research laboratories provides an optimal basis for translational research on stroke recovery. This review gives an overview of the current status and perspectives of fMRI and DTI applications to study brain reorganization in experimental stroke models.

  3. Inosine improves functional recovery after experimental traumatic brain injury.

    PubMed

    Dachir, Shlomit; Shabashov, Dalia; Trembovler, Victoria; Alexandrovich, Alexander G; Benowitz, Larry I; Shohami, Esther

    2014-03-25

    Despite years of research, no effective therapy is yet available for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The most prevalent and debilitating features in survivors of TBI are cognitive deficits and motor dysfunction. A potential therapeutic method for improving the function of patients following TBI would be to restore, at least in part, plasticity to the CNS in a controlled way that would allow for the formation of compensatory circuits. Inosine, a naturally occurring purine nucleoside, has been shown to promote axon collateral growth in the corticospinal tract (CST) following stroke and focal TBI. In the present study, we investigated the effects of inosine on motor and cognitive deficits, CST sprouting, and expression of synaptic proteins in an experimental model of closed head injury (CHI). Treatment with inosine (100 mg/kg i.p. at 1, 24 and 48 h following CHI) improved outcome after TBI, significantly decreasing the neurological severity score (NSS, p<0.04 vs. saline), an aggregate measure of performance on several tasks. It improved non-spatial cognitive performance (object recognition, p<0.016 vs. saline) but had little effect on sensorimotor coordination (rotarod) and spatial cognitive functions (Y-maze). Inosine did not affect CST sprouting in the lumbar spinal cord but did restore levels of the growth-associated protein GAP-43 in the hippocampus, though not in the cerebral cortex. Our results suggest that inosine may improve functional outcome after TBI.

  4. The Role of Cortical Plasticity in Recovery of Function Following Allogeneic Hand Transplantation

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-10-01

    1 AWARD NUMBER: W81XWH-13-1-0496 TITLE: The Role of Cortical Plasticity in Recovery of Function Following Allogeneic Hand Transplantation...29 Sep 2015 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER The Role of Cortical Plasticity in Recovery of Function Following Allogeneic Hand...cortical reorganization. These persistent changes appear to diminish with recovery of hand function, suggesting that cortical reorganization is an

  5. Essential role for vav Guanine nucleotide exchange factors in brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced dendritic spine growth and synapse plasticity.

    PubMed

    Hale, Carly F; Dietz, Karen C; Varela, Juan A; Wood, Cody B; Zirlin, Benjamin C; Leverich, Leah S; Greene, Robert W; Cowan, Christopher W

    2011-08-31

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its cognate receptor, TrkB, regulate a wide range of cellular processes, including dendritic spine formation and functional synapse plasticity. However, the signaling mechanisms that link BDNF-activated TrkB to F-actin remodeling enzymes and dendritic spine morphological plasticity remain poorly understood. We report here that BDNF/TrkB signaling in neurons activates the Vav family of Rac/RhoA guanine nucleotide exchange factors through a novel TrkB-dependent mechanism. We find that Vav is required for BDNF-stimulated Rac-GTP production in cortical and hippocampal neurons. Vav is partially enriched at excitatory synapses in the postnatal hippocampus but does not appear to be required for normal dendritic spine density. Rather, we observe significant reductions in both BDNF-induced, rapid, dendritic spine head growth and in CA3-CA1 theta burst-stimulated long-term potentiation in Vav-deficient mouse hippocampal slices, suggesting that Vav-dependent regulation of dendritic spine morphological plasticity facilitates normal functional synapse plasticity.

  6. Plasticity Related Gene 3 (PRG3) overcomes myelin-associated growth inhibition and promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury

    PubMed Central

    Broggini, Thomas; Schnell, Lisa; Ghoochani, Ali; Mateos, José María; Buchfelder, Michael; Wiendieck, Kurt; Schäfer, Michael K.; Eyupoglu, Ilker Y.; Savaskan, Nicolai E.

    2016-01-01

    The Plasticity Related Gene family covers five, brain-specific, transmembrane proteins (PRG1-5, also termed LPPR1-5) that operate in neuronal plasticity during development, aging and brain trauma. Here we investigated the role of the PRG family on axonal and filopodia outgrowth. Comparative analysis revealed the strongest outgrowth induced by PRG3 (LPPR1). During development, PRG3 is ubiquitously located at the tip of neuronal processes and at the plasma membrane and declines with age. In utero electroporation of PRG3 induced dendritic protrusions and accelerated spine formations in cortical pyramidal neurons. The neurite growth promoting activity of PRG3 requires RasGRF1 (RasGEF1/Cdc25) mediated downstream signaling. Moreover, in axon collapse assays, PRG3-induced neurites resisted growth inhibitors such as myelin, Nogo-A (Reticulon/RTN-4), thrombin and LPA and impeded the RhoA-Rock-PIP5K induced neurite repulsion. Transgenic adult mice with constitutive PRG3 expression displayed strong axonal sprouting distal to a spinal cord lesion. Moreover, fostered PRG3 expression promoted complex motor-behavioral recovery compared to wild type controls as revealed in the Schnell swim test (SST). Thus, PRG3 emerges as a developmental RasGRF1-dependent conductor of filopodia formation and axonal growth enhancer. PRG3-induced neurites resist brain injury-associated outgrowth inhibitors and contribute to functional recovery after spinal cord lesions. Here, we provide evidence that PRG3 operates as an essential neuronal growth promoter in the nervous system. Maintaining PRG3 expression in aging brain may turn back the developmental clock for neuronal regeneration and plasticity. PMID:27744421

  7. The rat perirhinal cortex: A review of anatomy, physiology, plasticity, and function.

    PubMed

    Kealy, John; Commins, Sean

    2011-04-01

    The perirhinal cortex is located in a pivotal position to influence the flow of information into and out of the hippocampal formation. In this review, we examine the anatomical, physiological and functional properties of the rat perirhinal cortex. Firstly, we review the properties of the perirhinal cortex itself, we describe how it can be separated into two distinct subregions and consider how it differs from other neighbouring regions in terms of cell type, cellular organisation and its afferent and efferent projections. We review the forms of neurotransmission present in the perirhinal cortex and the morphological, electrophysiological and plastic properties of its neurons. Secondly, we review the perirhinal cortex in the context of its connections with other brain areas; focussing on the projections to cortical, subcortical and hippocampal/parahippocampal regions. Particular attention is paid the anatomical and electrophysiological properties of these projections. Thirdly, we review the main functions of the perirhinal cortex; its roles in perception, recognition memory, spatial and contextual memory and fear conditioning are explored. Finally, we discuss the idea of anatomical, electrophysiological and functional segregation within the perirhinal cortex itself and as part of a hippocampal-parahippocampal network and suggest that understanding this segregation is of critical importance in understanding the role and contributions made by the perirhinal cortex in general.

  8. Plasticity in unimodal and multimodal brain areas reflects multisensory changes in self-face identification.

    PubMed

    Apps, Matthew A J; Tajadura-Jiménez, Ana; Sereno, Marty; Blanke, Olaf; Tsakiris, Manos

    2015-01-01

    Nothing provides as strong a sense of self as seeing one's face. Nevertheless, it remains unknown how the brain processes the sense of self during the multisensory experience of looking at one's face in a mirror. Synchronized visuo-tactile stimulation on one's own and another's face, an experience that is akin to looking in the mirror but seeing another's face, causes the illusory experience of ownership over the other person's face and changes in self-recognition. Here, we investigate the neural correlates of this enfacement illusion using fMRI. We examine activity in the human brain as participants experience tactile stimulation delivered to their face, while observing either temporally synchronous or asynchronous tactile stimulation delivered to another's face on either a specularly congruent or incongruent location. Activity in the multisensory right temporo-parietal junction, intraparietal sulcus, and the unimodal inferior occipital gyrus showed an interaction between the synchronicity and the congruency of the stimulation and varied with the self-reported strength of the illusory experience, which was recorded after each stimulation block. Our results highlight the important interplay between unimodal and multimodal information processing for self-face recognition, and elucidate the neurobiological basis for the plasticity required for identifying with our continuously changing visual appearance.

  9. Behavioral plasticity in honey bees is associated with differences in brain microRNA transcriptome

    PubMed Central

    Greenberg, J. K.; Xia, J.; Zhou, X.; Thatcher, S. R.; Gu, X.; Ament, S. A.; Newman, T. C.; Green, P. J.; Zhang, W.; Robinson, G. E.; Ben-Shahar, Y.

    2012-01-01

    Small, non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in many biological processes, including the development of the nervous system. However, the roles of miRNAs in natural behavioral and neuronal plasticity are not well understood. To help address this we characterized the microRNA transcriptome in the adult worker honey bee head and investigated whether changes in microRNA expression levels in the brain are associated with division of labor among honey bees, a well-established model for socially regulated behavior. We determined that several miRNAs were downregulated in bees that specialize on brood care (nurses) relative to foragers. Additional experiments showed that this downregulation is dependent upon social context; it only occurred when nurse bees were in colonies that also contained foragers. Analyses of conservation patterns of brain-expressed miRNAs across Hymenoptera suggest a role for certain miRNAs in the evolution of the Aculeata, which includes all the eusocial hymenopteran species. Our results support the intriguing hypothesis that miRNAs are important regulators of social behavior at both developmental and evolutionary time scales. PMID:22409512

  10. Functional brain networks involved in reality monitoring.

    PubMed

    Metzak, Paul D; Lavigne, Katie M; Woodward, Todd S

    2015-08-01

    Source monitoring refers to the recollection of variables that specify the context and conditions in which a memory episode was encoded. This process involves using the qualitative and quantitative features of a memory trace to distinguish its source. One specific class of source monitoring is reality monitoring, which involves distinguishing internally generated from externally generated information, that is, memories of imagined events from real events. The purpose of the present study was to identify functional brain networks that underlie reality monitoring, using an alternative type of source monitoring as a control condition. On the basis of previous studies on self-referential thinking, it was expected that a medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) based network would be more active during reality monitoring than the control condition, due to the requirement to focus on a comparison of internal (self) and external (other) source information. Two functional brain networks emerged from this analysis, one reflecting increasing task-related activity, and one reflecting decreasing task-related activity. The second network was mPFC based, and was characterized by task-related deactivations in areas resembling the default-mode network; namely, the mPFC, middle temporal gyri, lateral parietal regions, and the precuneus, and these deactivations were diminished during reality monitoring relative to source monitoring, resulting in higher activity during reality monitoring. This result supports previous research suggesting that self-referential thinking involves the mPFC, but extends this to a network-level interpretation of reality monitoring.

  11. Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hee-Yong; Huang, Bill X; Spector, Arthur A

    2014-10-01

    Phosphatidylserine (PS) is the major anionic phospholipid class particularly enriched in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane in neural tissues. PS is synthesized from phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylethanolamine by exchanging the base head group with serine, and this reaction is catalyzed by phosphatidylserine synthase 1 and phosphatidylserine synthase 2 located in the endoplasmic reticulum. Activation of Akt, Raf-1 and protein kinase C signaling, which supports neuronal survival and differentiation, requires interaction of these proteins with PS localized in the cytoplasmic leaflet of the plasma membrane. Furthermore, neurotransmitter release by exocytosis and a number of synaptic receptors and proteins are modulated by PS present in the neuronal membranes. Brain is highly enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and brain PS has a high DHA content. By promoting PS synthesis, DHA can uniquely expand the PS pool in neuronal membranes and thereby influence PS-dependent signaling and protein function. Ethanol decreases DHA-promoted PS synthesis and accumulation in neurons, which may contribute to the deleterious effects of ethanol intake. Improvement of some memory functions has been observed in cognitively impaired subjects as a result of PS supplementation, but the mechanism is unclear.

  12. Neurobiological markers of exercise-related brain plasticity in older adults.

    PubMed

    Voss, Michelle W; Erickson, Kirk I; Prakash, Ruchika Shaurya; Chaddock, Laura; Kim, Jennifer S; Alves, Heloisa; Szabo, Amanda; Phillips, Siobhan M; Wójcicki, Thomas R; Mailey, Emily L; Olson, Erin A; Gothe, Neha; Vieira-Potter, Victoria J; Martin, Stephen A; Pence, Brandt D; Cook, Marc D; Woods, Jeffrey A; McAuley, Edward; Kramer, Arthur F

    2013-02-01

    The current study examined how a randomized one-year aerobic exercise program for healthy older adults would affect serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) - putative markers of exercise-induced benefits on brain function. The study also examined whether (a) change in the concentration of these growth factors was associated with alterations in functional connectivity following exercise, and (b) the extent to which pre-intervention growth factor levels were associated with training-related changes in functional connectivity. In 65 participants (mean age=66.4), we found that although there were no group-level changes in growth factors as a function of the intervention, increased temporal lobe connectivity between the bilateral parahippocampus and the bilateral middle temporal gyrus was associated with increased BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF for an aerobic walking group but not for a non-aerobic control group, and greater pre-intervention VEGF was associated with greater training-related increases in this functional connection. Results are consistent with animal models of exercise and the brain, but are the first to show in humans that exercise-induced increases in temporal lobe functional connectivity are associated with changes in growth factors and may be augmented by greater baseline VEGF.

  13. Early Brain Stimulation May Help Stroke Survivors Recover Language Function

    MedlinePlus

    ... Making News on Heart.org Learn More Early brain stimulation may help stroke survivors recover language function ... org and strokeassociation.org Related Images Infographic - Thiel-Brain Stimulation copyright American Heart Association Download (311.8 ...

  14. Functional genomics of physiological plasticity and local adaptation in killifish.

    PubMed

    Whitehead, Andrew; Galvez, Fernando; Zhang, Shujun; Williams, Larissa M; Oleksiak, Marjorie F

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary solutions to the physiological challenges of life in highly variable habitats can span the continuum from evolution of a cosmopolitan plastic phenotype to the evolution of locally adapted phenotypes. Killifish (Fundulus sp.) have evolved both highly plastic and locally adapted phenotypes within different selective contexts, providing a comparative system in which to explore the genomic underpinnings of physiological plasticity and adaptive variation. Importantly, extensive variation exists among populations and species for tolerance to a variety of stressors, and we exploit this variation in comparative studies to yield insights into the genomic basis of evolved phenotypic variation. Notably, species of Fundulus occupy the continuum of osmotic habitats from freshwater to marine and populations within Fundulus heteroclitus span far greater variation in pollution tolerance than across all species of fish. Here, we explore how transcriptome regulation underpins extreme physiological plasticity on osmotic shock and how genomic and transcriptomic variation is associated with locally evolved pollution tolerance. We show that F. heteroclitus quickly acclimate to extreme osmotic shock by mounting a dramatic rapid transcriptomic response including an early crisis control phase followed by a tissue remodeling phase involving many regulatory pathways. We also show that convergent evolution of locally adapted pollution tolerance involves complex patterns of gene expression and genome sequence variation, which is confounded with body-weight dependence for some genes. Similarly, exploiting the natural phenotypic variation associated with other established and emerging model organisms is likely to greatly accelerate the pace of discovery of the genomic basis of phenotypic variation.

  15. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance.

    PubMed Central

    Penland, J G

    1994-01-01

    Although the trace element boron has yet to be recognized as an essential nutrient for humans, recent data from animal and human studies suggest that boron may be important for mineral metabolism and membrane function. To investigate further the functional role of boron, brain electrophysiology and cognitive performance were assessed in response to dietary manipulation of boron (approximately 0.25 versus approximately 3.25 mg boron/2000 kcal/day) in three studies with healthy older men and women. Within-subject designs were used to assess functional responses in all studies. Spectral analysis of electroencephalographic data showed effects of dietary boron in two of the three studies. When the low boron intake was compared to the high intake, there was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the proportion of low-frequency activity, and a decrease in the proportion of higher-frequency activity, an effect often observed in response to general malnutrition and heavy metal toxicity. Performance (e.g., response time) on various cognitive and psychomotor tasks also showed an effect of dietary boron. When contrasted with the high boron intake, low dietary boron resulted in significantly poorer performance (p < 0.05) on tasks emphasizing manual dexterity (studies II and III); eye-hand coordination (study II); attention (all studies); perception (study III); encoding and short-term memory (all studies); and long-term memory (study I). Collectively, the data from these three studies indicate that boron may play a role in human brain function and cognitive performance, and provide additional evidence that boron is an essential nutrient for humans. PMID:7889884

  16. Videogame training strategy-induced change in brain function during a complex visuomotor task.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hyunkyu; Voss, Michelle W; Prakash, Ruchika Shaurya; Boot, Walter R; Vo, Loan T K; Basak, Chandramallika; Vanpatter, Matt; Gratton, Gabriele; Fabiani, Monica; Kramer, Arthur F

    2012-07-01

    Although changes in brain function induced by cognitive training have been examined, functional plasticity associated with specific training strategies is still relatively unexplored. In this study, we examined changes in brain function during a complex visuomotor task following training using the Space Fortress video game. To assess brain function, participants completed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after 30 h of training with one of two training regimens: Hybrid Variable-Priority Training (HVT), with a focus on improving specific skills and managing task priority, or Full Emphasis Training (FET), in which participants simply practiced the game to obtain the highest overall score. Control participants received only 6 h of FET. Compared to FET, HVT learners reached higher performance on the game and showed less brain activation in areas related to visuo-spatial attention and goal-directed movement after training. Compared to the control group, HVT exhibited less brain activation in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), coupled with greater performance improvement. Region-of-interest analysis revealed that the reduction in brain activation was correlated with improved performance on the task. This study sheds light on the neurobiological mechanisms of improved learning from directed training (HVT) over non-directed training (FET), which is related to visuo-spatial attention and goal-directed motor planning, while separating the practice-based benefit, which is related to executive control and rule management.

  17. Order and disorder in the brain function.

    PubMed

    Quadens, Olga

    2003-01-01

    The interest in studying the brain electrical activity as a function of the development of intelligence has been spurred by the need to understand how the brain responds to environmental information. The description of sleep in mentally retarded children reveals deviant patterns of the EEG-spindles and of the eye movement activity (REM sleep) when compared to normal children. The patterns may be considered as a valuable index of mental function. According to experimental evidence, the distribution of the eye movements of sleep appears either as random or ordered. The latter are altered in the mentally handicapped in whom the appearance out of chaos, of the order which is needed for intelligence and memory to function, is altered. The sleep signs are redundant as from birth. Their pattern is also related to the psychomotor development of the infant. If their distribution remains random, or appears in long uninterrupted sequences of waves as in epilepsy, intelligence does not develop. A similar strategy appears to function in the foetus when nature organizes the structures that will lead to the development of intelligence. The eye movement patterns of sleep change in the pregnant women as a function of term and resemble those of premature babies of a similar gestational age. They also change as a function of the menstrual cycle and more generally as a function of age. The hypothesis that attention is the diurnal equivalent of REM sleep is discussed. Attempts at modelling the eye movement patterns of REM sleep as a function of near zero gravity environments have been made. 1) By means of a Montecarlo simulation using the semi Markov model during the Spacelab 1 flight. 2) With the method of the single and multiple g-phase transition analysis of the strange attractor dimension (d) during parabolic flights. The implication of the latter for the neural processes involved in learning is that the central nervous system can preserve intact, from input to output, over a

  18. Modafinil treatment prevents REM sleep deprivation-induced brain function impairment by increasing MMP-9 expression.

    PubMed

    He, Bin; Peng, Hua; Zhao, Ying; Zhou, Hui; Zhao, Zhongxin

    2011-12-02

    Previous work showed that sleep deprivation (SD) impairs hippocampal-dependent cognitive function and synaptic plasticity, and a novel wake-promoting agent modafinil prevents SD-induced memory impairment in rat. However, the mechanisms by which modafinil prevented REM-SD-induced impairment of brain function remain poorly understood. In the present study, rats were sleep-deprived by using the modified multiple platform method and brain function was detected. The results showed that modafinil treatment prevented REM-SD-induced impairment of cognitive function. Modafinil significantly reduced the number of errors compared to placebo and upregulated synapsin I expression in the dorsal hippocampal CA3 region. A synaptic plasticity-related gene, MMP-9 expression was also upregulated in modafinil-treated rats. Importantly, downregulation of MMP-9 expression by special siRNA decreased synapsin I protein levels and synapse numbers. Therefore, we demonstrated that modafinil increased cognition function and synaptic plasticity, at least in part by increasing MMP-9 expression in REM-SD rats.

  19. A Behavioral Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury-associated Visual Dysfunction Based on Adult Cortical Plasticity

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-10-01

    in amblyopic adults (Polat, 2008, Polat, Ma‐ Naim , Belkin & Sagi, 2004). We were  the first to show plasticity in adults with a visual deficit that...visual functions. Vision Res,   13    Polat, U., Ma‐ Naim , T., Belkin, M., & Sagi, D. (2004). Improving vision in adult amblyopia by  perceptual learning

  20. Coupling energy metabolism with a mechanism to support brain-derived neurotrophic factor-mediated synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Vaynman, S; Ying, Z; Wu, A; Gomez-Pinilla, F

    2006-01-01

    Synaptic plasticity and behaviors are likely dependent on the capacity of neurons to meet the energy demands imposed by neuronal activity. We used physical activity, a paradigm intrinsically associated with energy consumption/expenditure and cognitive enhancement, to study how energy metabolism interacts with the substrates for neuroplasticity. We found that in an area critical for learning and memory, the hippocampus, exercise modified aspects of energy metabolism by decreasing oxidative stress and increasing the levels of cytochrome c oxidase-II, a specific component of mitochondrial machinery. We infused 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, a modulator of energy metabolism, directly into the hippocampus during 3 days of voluntary wheel running and measured its effects on brain-derived neurotrophic factor-mediated synaptic plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a central player for the effects of exercise on synaptic and cognitive plasticity. We found that 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 decreased exercise-induced brain-derived neurotrophic factor but had no significant effect on neurotrophin-3 levels, thereby suggesting a level of specificity for brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hippocampus. 25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 injection also abolished the effects of exercise on the consummate end-products of brain-derived neurotrophic factor action, i.e. cyclic AMP response element-binding protein and synapsin I, and modulated phosphorylated calmodulin protein kinase II, a signal transduction cascade downstream to brain-derived neurotrophic factor action that is important for learning and memory. We also found that exercise significantly increased the expression of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2, an energy-balancing factor concerned with ATP production and free radical management. Our results reveal a fundamental mechanism by which key elements of energy metabolism may modulate the substrates of hippocampal synaptic plasticity.

  1. Plasticity of Attentional Functions in Older Adults after Non-Action Video Game Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial

    PubMed Central

    Mayas, Julia; Parmentier, Fabrice B. R.; Andrés, Pilar; Ballesteros, Soledad

    2014-01-01

    A major goal of recent research in aging has been to examine cognitive plasticity in older adults and its capacity to counteract cognitive decline. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether older adults could benefit from brain training with video games in a cross-modal oddball task designed to assess distraction and alertness. Twenty-seven healthy older adults participated in the study (15 in the experimental group, 12 in the control group. The experimental group received 20 1-hr video game training sessions using a commercially available brain-training package (Lumosity) involving problem solving, mental calculation, working memory and attention tasks. The control group did not practice this package and, instead, attended meetings with the other members of the study several times along the course of the study. Both groups were evaluated before and after the intervention using a cross-modal oddball task measuring alertness and distraction. The results showed a significant reduction of distraction and an increase of alertness in the experimental group and no variation in the control group. These results suggest neurocognitive plasticity in the old human brain as training enhanced cognitive performance on attentional functions. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02007616 PMID:24647551

  2. Neural plasticity in hypocretin neurons: the basis of hypocretinergic regulation of physiological and behavioral functions in animals

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xiao-Bing; Hermes, Gretchen

    2015-01-01

    The neuronal system that resides in the perifornical and lateral hypothalamus (Pf/LH) and synthesizes the neuropeptide hypocretin/orexin participates in critical brain functions across species from fish to human. The hypocretin system regulates neural activity responsible for daily functions (such as sleep/wake homeostasis, energy balance, appetite, etc.) and long-term behavioral changes (such as reward seeking and addiction, stress response, etc.) in animals. The most recent evidence suggests that the hypocretin system undergoes substantial plastic changes in response to both daily fluctuations (such as food intake and sleep-wake regulation) and long-term changes (such as cocaine seeking) in neuronal activity in the brain. The understanding of these changes in the hypocretin system is essential in addressing the role of the hypocretin system in normal physiological functions and pathological conditions in animals and humans. In this review, the evidence demonstrating that neural plasticity occurs in hypocretin-containing neurons in the Pf/LH will be presented and possible physiological, behavioral, and mental health implications of these findings will be discussed. PMID:26539086

  3. Brain microvascular function during cardiopulmonary bypass

    SciTech Connect

    Sorensen, H.R.; Husum, B.; Waaben, J.; Andersen, K.; Andersen, L.I.; Gefke, K.; Kaarsen, A.L.; Gjedde, A.

    1987-11-01

    Emboli in the brain microvasculature may inhibit brain activity during cardiopulmonary bypass. Such hypothetical blockade, if confirmed, may be responsible for the reduction of cerebral metabolic rate for glucose observed in animals subjected to cardiopulmonary bypass. In previous studies of cerebral blood flow during bypass, brain microcirculation was not evaluated. In the present study in animals (pigs), reduction of the number of perfused capillaries was estimated by measurements of the capillary diffusion capacity for hydrophilic tracers of low permeability. Capillary diffusion capacity, cerebral blood flow, and cerebral metabolic rate for glucose were measured simultaneously by the integral method, different tracers being used with different circulation times. In eight animals subjected to normothermic cardiopulmonary bypass, and seven subjected to hypothermic bypass, cerebral blood flow, cerebral metabolic rate for glucose, and capillary diffusion capacity decreased significantly: cerebral blood flow from 63 to 43 ml/100 gm/min in normothermia and to 34 ml/100 gm/min in hypothermia and cerebral metabolic rate for glucose from 43.0 to 23.0 mumol/100 gm/min in normothermia and to 14.1 mumol/100 gm/min in hypothermia. The capillary diffusion capacity declined markedly from 0.15 to 0.03 ml/100 gm/min in normothermia but only to 0.08 ml/100 gm/min in hypothermia. We conclude that the decrease of cerebral metabolic rate for glucose during normothermic cardiopulmonary bypass is caused by interruption of blood flow through a part of the capillary bed, possibly by microemboli, and that cerebral blood flow is an inadequate indicator of capillary blood flow. Further studies must clarify why normal microvascular function appears to be preserved during hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass.

  4. Possible contributions of a novel form of synaptic plasticity in Aplysia to reward, memory, and their dysfunctions in mammalian brain.

    PubMed

    Hawkins, Robert D

    2013-09-18

    Recent studies in Aplysia have identified a new variation of synaptic plasticity in which modulatory transmitters enhance spontaneous release of glutamate, which then acts on postsynaptic receptors to recruit mechanisms of intermediate- and long-term plasticity. In this review I suggest the hypothesis that similar plasticity occurs in mammals, where it may contribute to reward, memory, and their dysfunctions in several psychiatric disorders. In Aplysia, spontaneous release is enhanced by activation of presynaptic serotonin receptors, but presynaptic D1 dopamine receptors or nicotinic acetylcholine receptors could play a similar role in mammals. Those receptors enhance spontaneous release of glutamate in hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, prefrontal cortex, ventral tegmental area, and nucleus accumbens. In all of those brain areas, glutamate can activate postsynaptic receptors to elevate Ca(2+) and engage mechanisms of early-phase long-term potentiation (LTP), including AMPA receptor insertion, and of late-phase LTP, including protein synthesis and growth. Thus, presynaptic receptors and spontaneous release may contribute to postsynaptic mechanisms of plasticity in brain regions involved in reward and memory, and could play roles in disorders that affect plasticity in those regions, including addiction, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  5. Deterioration of plasticity and metabolic homeostasis in the brain of the UCD-T2DM rat model of naturally occurring type-2 diabetes.

    PubMed

    Agrawal, Rahul; Zhuang, Yumei; Cummings, Bethany P; Stanhope, Kimber L; Graham, James L; Havel, Peter J; Gomez-Pinilla, Fernando

    2014-09-01

    The rising prevalence of type-2 diabetes is becoming a pressing issue based on emerging reports that T2DM can also adversely impact mental health. We have utilized the UCD-T2DM rat model in which the onset of T2DM develops spontaneously across time and can serve to understand the pathophysiology of diabetes in humans. An increased insulin resistance index and plasma glucose levels manifested the onset of T2DM. There was a decrease in hippocampal insulin receptor signaling in the hippocampus, which correlated with peripheral insulin resistance index along the course of diabetes onset (r=-0.56, p<0.01). T2DM increased the hippocampal levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE; a marker of lipid peroxidation) in inverse proportion to the changes in the mitochondrial regulator PGC-1α. Disrupted energy homeostasis was further manifested by a concurrent reduction in energy metabolic markers, including TFAM, SIRT1, and AMPK phosphorylation. In addition, T2DM influenced brain plasticity as evidenced by a significant reduction of BDNF-TrkB signaling. These results suggest that the pathology of T2DM in the brain involves a progressive and coordinated disruption of insulin signaling, and energy homeostasis, with profound consequences for brain function and plasticity. All the described consequences of T2DM were attenuated by treatment with the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide. Similar results to those of liraglutide were obtained by exposing T2DM rats to a food energy restricted diet, which suggest that normalization of brain energy metabolism is a crucial factor to counteract central insulin sensitivity and synaptic plasticity associated with T2DM.

  6. Brain surface conformal parameterization with algebraic functions.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yalin; Gu, Xianfeng; Chan, Tony F; Thompson, Paul M; Yau, Shing-Tung

    2006-01-01

    In medical imaging, parameterized 3D surface models are of great interest for anatomical modeling and visualization, statistical comparisons of anatomy, and surface-based registration and signal processing. Here we introduce a parameterization method based on algebraic functions. By solving the Yamabe equation with the Ricci flow method, we can conformally map a brain surface to a multi-hole disk. The resulting parameterizations do not have any singularities and are intrinsic and stable. To illustrate the technique, we computed parameterizations of several types of anatomical surfaces in MRI scans of the brain, including the hippocampi and the cerebral cortices with various landmark curves labeled. For the cerebral cortical surfaces, we show the parameterization results are consistent with selected landmark curves and can be matched to each other using constrained harmonic maps. Unlike previous planar conformal parameterization methods, our algorithm does not introduce any singularity points. It also offers a method to explicitly match landmark curves between anatomical surfaces such as the cortex, and to compute conformal invariants for statistical comparisons of anatomy.

  7. Editing the Neuronal Genome: a CRISPR View of Chromatin Regulation in Neuronal Development, Function, and Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Marty G.; West, Anne E.

    2016-01-01

    The dynamic orchestration of gene expression is crucial for the proper differentiation, function, and adaptation of cells. In the brain, transcriptional regulation underlies the incredible diversity of neuronal cell types and contributes to the ability of neurons to adapt their function to the environment. Recently, novel methods for genome and epigenome editing have begun to revolutionize our understanding of gene regulatory mechanisms. In particular, the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system has proven to be a particularly accessible and adaptable technique for genome engineering. Here, we review the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in neurobiology and discuss how these studies have advanced understanding of nervous system development and plasticity. We cover four especially salient applications of CRISPR/Cas9: testing the consequences of enhancer mutations, tagging genes and gene products for visualization in live cells, directly activating or repressing enhancers in vivo, and manipulating the epigenome. In each case, we summarize findings from recent studies and discuss evolving adaptations of the method. PMID:28018138

  8. Multi-functionality and plasticity characterize epithelial cells in Hydra

    PubMed Central

    Buzgariu, W; Al Haddad, S; Tomczyk, S; Wenger, Y; Galliot, B

    2015-01-01

    Epithelial sheets, a synapomorphy of all metazoans but porifers, are present as 2 layers in cnidarians, ectoderm and endoderm, joined at their basal side by an extra-cellular matrix named mesoglea. In the Hydra polyp, epithelial cells of the body column are unipotent stem cells that continuously self-renew and concomitantly express their epitheliomuscular features. These multifunctional contractile cells maintain homeostasis by providing a protective physical barrier, by digesting nutrients, by selecting a stable microbiota, and by rapidly closing wounds. In addition, epithelial cells are highly plastic, supporting the adaptation of Hydra to physiological and environmental changes, such as long starvation periods where survival relies on a highly dynamic autophagy flux. Epithelial cells also play key roles in developmental processes as evidenced by the organizer activity they develop to promote budding and regeneration. We propose here an integrative view of the homeostatic and developmental aspects of epithelial plasticity in Hydra. PMID:26716072

  9. Acute functional reactivation of the language network during awake intraoperative brain mapping.

    PubMed

    Spena, Giannantonio; Costi, Emanuele; Panciani, Pier Paolo; Roca, Elena; Migliorati, Karol; Fontanella, Marco Maria

    2015-01-01

    Acute brain plasticity during resection of central lesions has been recently described. In the cases reported, perilesional latent networks, useful to preserve the neurological functions, were detected in asymptomatic patients. In this paper, we presented a case of acute functional reactivation (AFR) of the language network in a symptomatic patient. Tumor resection allowed to acutely restore the neurological deficit. Intraoperative direct cortical stimulation (DCS) and functional neuroimaging showed new epicentres of activation of the language network after tumor excision. DCS in awake surgery is mandatory to reveal AFR needful to improve the extent of resection preserving the quality of life.

  10. Mouse Social Network Dynamics and Community Structure are Associated with Plasticity-Related Brain Gene Expression

    PubMed Central

    Williamson, Cait M.; Franks, Becca; Curley, James P.

    2016-01-01

    Laboratory studies of social behavior have typically focused on dyadic interactions occurring within a limited spatiotemporal context. However, this strategy prevents analyses of the dynamics of group social behavior and constrains identification of the biological pathways mediating individual differences in behavior. In the current study, we aimed to identify the spatiotemporal dynamics and hierarchical organization of a large social network of male mice. We also sought to determine if standard assays of social and exploratory behavior are predictive of social behavior in this social network and whether individual network position was associated with the mRNA expression of two plasticity-related genes, DNA methyltransferase 1 and 3a. Mice were observed to form a hierarchically organized social network and self-organized into two separate social network communities. Members of both communities exhibited distinct patterns of socio-spatial organization within the vivaria that was not limited to only agonistic interactions. We further established that exploratory and social behaviors in standard behavioral assays conducted prior to placing the mice into the large group was predictive of initial network position and behavior but were not associated with final social network position. Finally, we determined that social network position is associated with variation in mRNA levels of two neural plasticity genes, DNMT1 and DNMT3a, in the hippocampus but not the mPOA. This work demonstrates the importance of understanding the role of social context and complex social dynamics in determining the relationship between individual differences in social behavior and brain gene expression. PMID:27540359

  11. Mouse Social Network Dynamics and Community Structure are Associated with Plasticity-Related Brain Gene Expression.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Cait M; Franks, Becca; Curley, James P

    2016-01-01

    Laboratory studies of social behavior have typically focused on dyadic interactions occurring within a limited spatiotemporal context. However, this strategy prevents analyses of the dynamics of group social behavior and constrains identification of the biological pathways mediating individual differences in behavior. In the current study, we aimed to identify the spatiotemporal dynamics and hierarchical organization of a large social network of male mice. We also sought to determine if standard assays of social and exploratory behavior are predictive of social behavior in this social network and whether individual network position was associated with the mRNA expression of two plasticity-related genes, DNA methyltransferase 1 and 3a. Mice were observed to form a hierarchically organized social network and self-organized into two separate social network communities. Members of both communities exhibited distinct patterns of socio-spatial organization within the vivaria that was not limited to only agonistic interactions. We further established that exploratory and social behaviors in standard behavioral assays conducted prior to placing the mice into the large group was predictive of initial network position and behavior but were not associated with final social network position. Finally, we determined that social network position is associated with variation in mRNA levels of two neural plasticity genes, DNMT1 and DNMT3a, in the hippocampus but not the mPOA. This work demonstrates the importance of understanding the role of social context and complex social dynamics in determining the relationship between individual differences in social behavior and brain gene expression.

  12. NF-KappaB in Long-Term Memory and Structural Plasticity in the Adult Mammalian Brain

    PubMed Central

    Kaltschmidt, Barbara; Kaltschmidt, Christian

    2015-01-01

    The transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) is a well-known regulator of inflammation, stress, and immune responses as well as cell survival. In the nervous system, NF-κB is one of the crucial components in the molecular switch that converts short- to long-term memory—a process that requires de novo gene expression. Here, the researches published on NF-κB and downstream target genes in mammals will be reviewed, which are necessary for structural plasticity and long-term memory, both under normal and pathological conditions in the brain. Genetic evidence has revealed that NF-κB regulates neuroprotection, neuronal transmission, and long-term memory. In addition, after genetic ablation of all NF-κB subunits, a severe defect in hippocampal adult neurogenesis was observed during aging. Proliferation of neural precursors is increased; however, axon outgrowth, synaptogenesis, and tissue homeostasis of the dentate gyrus are hampered. In this process, the NF-κB target gene PKAcat and other downstream target genes such as Igf2 are critically involved. Therefore, NF-κB activity seems to be crucial in regulating structural plasticity and replenishment of granule cells within the hippocampus throughout the life. In addition to the function of NF-κB in neurons, we will discuss on a neuroinflammatory role of the transcription factor in glia. Finally, a model for NF-κB homeostasis on the molecular level is presented, in order to explain seemingly the contradictory, the friend or foe, role of NF-κB in the nervous system. PMID:26635522

  13. Mapping Functional Connectivity in Patients with Brain Lesions

    PubMed Central

    Guggisberg, Adrian G.; Honma, Susanne M.; Findlay, Anne M.; Dalal, Sarang S.; Kirsch, Heidi E.; Berger, Mitchel S.; Nagarajan, Srikantan S.

    2013-01-01

    OBJECTIVE Although electrophysiological measures of functional connectivity between brain areas are widely used, the spatial distribution of functional interactions as well as the disturbance introduced by focal brain lesions remains poorly understood. Based on the rationale that damaged brain tissue can be expected to be disconnected from the physiological interactions among healthy areas, this study aimed to map the functionality of brain areas according to their connectivity with other areas. METHODS Magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recordings of spontaneous cortical activity during resting state were obtained from 15 consecutive patients with focal brain lesions and from 14 healthy controls. Neural activity at each volume element (voxel) in the brain was estimated using an adaptive spatial filtering technique. For each brain voxel, the mean imaginary coherence of all its connections with other brain voxels was then caluculated as an index of functional connectivity, and the results compared across brain regions and between subjects. RESULTS The magnitude of the mean imaginary coherence of all voxels and subjects was greatest in the alpha frequency range corresponding to the human cortical idling rhythm. In healthy subjects, functionally critical brain areas such as the somatosensory and language cortices had the highest alpha coherence. When compared to healthy controls, all lesion patients had diffuse or scattered brain areas with decreased coherence. Patients with lesion-induced neurological deficits displayed decreased connectivity estimates in the corresponding brain area compared to intact contralateral regions. In tumor patients without preoperative neurological deficits, brain areas showing decreased coherence could be surgically resected without the occurrence of post-surgical deficits. CONCLUSION Resting state coherence measured with MEG is capable of mapping the functional connectivity of the brain, and can therefore offer valuable information for use in

  14. Effects of the diet on brain function

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fernstrom, J. D.

    1981-01-01

    The rates of synthesis by brain neurons of the neurotransmitters serotonin, acetylcholine, and the catecholamines depend on the brain levels of the respective precursor molecules. Brain levels of each precursor are influenced by their blood concentration, and for the amino acid precursors, by the blood levels of other amino acids as well. Since diet readily alters blood concentrations of each of these precursors, it thereby also influences the brain formation of their neutrotransmitter products.

  15. Training your brain to be more creative: brain functional and structural changes induced by divergent thinking training.

    PubMed

    Sun, Jiangzhou; Chen, Qunlin; Zhang, Qinglin; Li, Yadan; Li, Haijiang; Wei, Dongtao; Yang, Wenjing; Qiu, Jiang

    2016-10-01

    Creativity is commonly defined as the ability to produce something both novel and useful. Stimulating creativity has great significance for both individual success and social improvement. Although increasing creative capacity has been confirmed to be possible and effective at the behavioral level, few longitudinal studies have examined the extent to which the brain function and structure underlying creativity are plastic. A cognitive stimulation (20 sessions) method was used in the present study to train subjects and to explore the neuroplasticity induced by training. The behavioral results revealed that both the originality and the fluency of divergent thinking were significantly improved by training. Furthermore, functional changes induced by training were observed in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and posterior brain regions. Moreover, the gray matter volume (GMV) was significantly increased in the dACC after divergent thinking training. These results suggest that the enhancement of creativity may rely not only on the posterior brain regions that are related to the fundamental cognitive processes of creativity (e.g., semantic processing, generating novel associations), but also on areas that are involved in top-down cognitive control, such as the dACC and DLPFC. Hum Brain Mapp 37:3375-3387, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Mapping distributed brain function and networks with diffuse optical tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eggebrecht, Adam T.; Ferradal, Silvina L.; Robichaux-Viehoever, Amy; Hassanpour, Mahlega S.; Dehghani, Hamid; Snyder, Abraham Z.; Hershey, Tamara; Culver, Joseph P.

    2014-06-01

    Mapping of human brain function has revolutionized systems neuroscience. However, traditional functional neuroimaging by positron emission tomography or functional magnetic resonance imaging cannot be used when applications require portability, or are contraindicated because of ionizing radiation (positron emission tomography) or implanted metal (functional magnetic resonance imaging). Optical neuroimaging offers a non-invasive alternative that is radiation free and compatible with implanted metal and electronic devices (for example, pacemakers). However, optical imaging technology has heretofore lacked the combination of spatial resolution and wide field of view sufficient to map distributed brain functions. Here, we present a high-density diffuse optical tomography imaging array that can map higher-order, distributed brain function. The system was tested by imaging four hierarchical language tasks and multiple resting-state networks including the dorsal attention and default mode networks. Finally, we imaged brain function in patients with Parkinson's disease and implanted deep brain stimulators that preclude functional magnetic resonance imaging.

  17. Brain Plasticity in Speech Training in Native English Speakers Learning Mandarin Tones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinzen, Christina Carolyn

    The current study employed behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) measures to investigate brain plasticity associated with second-language (L2) phonetic learning based on an adaptive computer training program. The program utilized the acoustic characteristics of Infant-Directed Speech (IDS) to train monolingual American English-speaking listeners to perceive Mandarin lexical tones. Behavioral identification and discrimination tasks were conducted using naturally recorded speech, carefully controlled synthetic speech, and non-speech control stimuli. The ERP experiments were conducted with selected synthetic speech stimuli in a passive listening oddball paradigm. Identical pre- and post- tests were administered on nine adult listeners, who completed two-to-three hours of perceptual training. The perceptual training sessions used pair-wise lexical tone identification, and progressed through seven levels of difficulty for each tone pair. The levels of difficulty included progression in speaker variability from one to four speakers and progression through four levels of acoustic exaggeration of duration, pitch range, and pitch contour. Behavioral results for the natural speech stimuli revealed significant training-induced improvement in identification of Tones 1, 3, and 4. Improvements in identification of Tone 4 generalized to novel stimuli as well. Additionally, comparison between discrimination of across-category and within-category stimulus pairs taken from a synthetic continuum revealed a training-induced shift toward more native-like categorical perception of the Mandarin lexical tones. Analysis of the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) responses in the ERP data revealed increased amplitude and decreased latency for pre-attentive processing of across-category discrimination as a result of training. There were also laterality changes in the MMN responses to the non-speech control stimuli, which could reflect reallocation of brain resources in processing pitch patterns

  18. The load separation criterion in elastic-plastic fracture mechanics: Rate and temperature dependence of the material plastic deformation function in an ABS resin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agnelli, Silvia; Baldi, Francesco; Riccò, Theonis

    2012-07-01

    This work is aimed at analyzing the effects of temperature and loading rate on the plastic deformation behavior of an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin during a fracture process. According to the load separation criterion, the plastic deformation behavior during the fracture process of an elastic-plastic material is described by a plastic deformation function. For the ABS here examined, the material plastic deformation function was constructed at different temperatures and loading rates, by single edge notched in bending (SEB) tests on blunt notched specimens. Both low and moderately high (impact) loading rates were explored. For the various conditions of temperature and loading rate the material yield stress was also measured by uniaxial tensile tests. The relationships between material deformation function and yield stress were researched and discussed.

  19. Perceptual shift in bilingualism: brain potentials reveal plasticity in pre-attentive colour perception.

    PubMed

    Athanasopoulos, Panos; Dering, Benjamin; Wiggett, Alison; Kuipers, Jan-Rouke; Thierry, Guillaume

    2010-09-01

    The validity of the linguistic relativity principle continues to stimulate vigorous debate and research. The debate has recently shifted from the behavioural investigation arena to a more biologically grounded field, in which tangible physiological evidence for language effects on perception can be obtained. Using brain potentials in a colour oddball detection task with Greek and English speakers, a recent study suggests that language effects may exist at early stages of perceptual integration [Thierry, G., Athanasopoulos, P., Wiggett, A., Dering, B., & Kuipers, J. (2009). Unconscious effects of language-specific terminology on pre-attentive colour perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 4567-4570]. In this paper, we test whether in Greek speakers exposure to a new cultural environment (UK) with contrasting colour terminology from their native language affects early perceptual processing as indexed by an electrophysiological correlate of visual detection of colour luminance. We also report semantic mapping of native colour terms and colour similarity judgements. Results reveal convergence of linguistic descriptions, cognitive processing, and early perception of colour in bilinguals. This result demonstrates for the first time substantial plasticity in early, pre-attentive colour perception and has important implications for the mechanisms that are involved in perceptual changes during the processes of language learning and acculturation.

  20. Music Making as a Tool for Promoting Brain Plasticity across the Life Span

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Catherine Y.; Schlaug, Gottfried

    2010-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of skills over the course of a musician's lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying the brain effects of acquiring specialized sensorimotor skills. For example, musicians learn and repeatedly practice the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation) while receiving continuous multisensory feedback. This association learning can strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) while activating multimodal integration regions (e.g., around the intraparietal sulcus). We argue that training of this neural network may produce cross-modal effects on other behavioral or cognitive operations that draw on this network. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. These enhancements suggest the potential for music making as an interactive treatment or intervention for neurological and developmental disorders, as well as those associated with normal aging. PMID:20889966

  1. Aluminum exposure impacts brain plasticity and behavior in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

    PubMed

    Grassie, C; Braithwaite, V A; Nilsson, J; Nilsen, T O; Teien, H-C; Handeland, S O; Stefansson, S O; Tronci, V; Gorissen, M; Flik, G; Ebbesson, L O E

    2013-08-15

    Aluminum (Al) toxicity occurs frequently in natural aquatic ecosystems as a result of acid deposition and natural weathering processes. Detrimental effects of Al toxicity on aquatic organisms are well known and can have consequences for survival. Fish exposed to Al in low pH waters will experience physiological and neuroendocrine changes that disrupt homeostasis and alter behavior. To investigate the effects of Al exposure on both the brain and behavior, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) kept in water treated with Al (pH 5.7, 0.37±0.04 μmol 1(-1) Al) for 2 weeks were compared with fish kept in under control conditions (pH 6.7, <0.04 μmol 1(-1) Al). Fish exposed to Al and acidic conditions had increased Al accumulation in the gills and decreased gill Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activity, which impaired osmoregulatory capacity and caused physiological stress, indicated by elevated plasma cortisol and glucose levels. Here we show for the first time that exposure to Al in acidic conditions also impaired learning performance in a maze task. Al toxicity also reduced the expression of NeuroD1 transcript levels in the forebrain of exposed fish. As in mammals, these data show that exposure to chronic stress, such as acidified Al, can reduce neural plasticity during behavioral challenges in salmon, and may impair the ability to cope with new environments.

  2. Music making as a tool for promoting brain plasticity across the life span.

    PubMed

    Wan, Catherine Y; Schlaug, Gottfried

    2010-10-01

    Playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience that usually commences at an early age and requires the acquisition and maintenance of a range of skills over the course of a musician's lifetime. Thus, musicians offer an excellent human model for studying the brain effects of acquiring specialized sensorimotor skills. For example, musicians learn and repeatedly practice the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation) while receiving continuous multisensory feedback. This association learning can strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) while activating multimodal integration regions (e.g., around the intraparietal sulcus). We argue that training of this neural network may produce cross-modal effects on other behavioral or cognitive operations that draw on this network. Plasticity in this network may explain some of the sensorimotor and cognitive enhancements that have been associated with music training. These enhancements suggest the potential for music making as an interactive treatment or intervention for neurological and developmental disorders, as well as those associated with normal aging.

  3. The Union of Shortest Path Trees of Functional Brain Networks.

    PubMed

    Meier, Jil; Tewarie, Prejaas; Van Mieghem, Piet

    2015-11-01

    Communication between brain regions is still insufficiently understood. Applying concepts from network science has shown to be successful in gaining insight in the functioning of the brain. Recent work has implicated that especially shortest paths in the structural brain network seem to play a major role in the communication within the brain. So far, for the functional brain network, only the average length of the shortest paths has been analyzed. In this article, we propose to construct the union of shortest path trees (USPT) as a new topology for the functional brain network. The minimum spanning tree, which has been successful in a lot of recent studies to comprise important features of the functional brain network, is always included in the USPT. After interpreting the link weights of the functional brain network as communication probabilities, the USPT of this network can be uniquely defined. Using data from magnetoencephalography, we applied the USPT as a method to find differences in the network topology of multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls. The new concept of the USPT of the functional brain network also allows interesting interpretations and may represent the highways of the brain.

  4. Plasticity of Adult Sensorimotor System in Severe Brain Infarcts: Challenges and Opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Sterr, Annette; Conforto, Adriana Bastos

    2012-01-01

    Functional reorganization forms the critical mechanism for the recovery of function after brain damage. These processes are driven by inherent changes within the central nervous system (CNS) triggered by the insult and further depend on the neural input the recovering system is processing. Therefore these processes interact with not only the interventions a patient receives, but also the activities and behaviors a patient engages in. In recent years, a wide range of research programs has addressed the association between functional reorganization and the spontaneous and treatment-induced recovery. The bulk of this work has focused on upper-limb and hand function, and today there are new treatments available that capitalize on the neuroplasticity of the brain. However, this is only true for patients with mild to moderated impairments; for those with very limited hand function, the basic understanding is much poorer and directly translates into limited treatment opportunities for these patients. The present paper aims to highlight the knowledge gap on severe stroke with a brief summary of the literature followed by a discussion of the challenges involved in the study and treatment of severe stroke and poor long-term outcome. PMID:22548196

  5. The Role of Early Growth Response 1 (EGR1) in Brain Plasticity and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Duclot, Florian; Kabbaj, Mohamed

    2017-01-01

    It is now clearly established that complex interactions between genes and environment are involved in multiple aspects of neuropsychiatric disorders, from determining an individual’s vulnerability to onset, to influencing its response to therapeutic intervention. In this perspective, it appears crucial to better understand how the organism reacts to environmental stimuli and provide a coordinated and adapted response. In the central nervous system, neuronal plasticity and neurotransmission are among the major processes integrating such complex interactions between genes and environmental stimuli. In particular, immediate early genes (IEGs) are critical components of these interactions as they provide the molecular framework for a rapid and dynamic response to neuronal activity while opening the possibility for a lasting and sustained adaptation through regulation of the expression of a wide range of genes. As a result, IEGs have been tightly associated with neuronal activity as well as a variety of higher order processes within the central nervous system such as learning, memory and sensitivity to reward. The immediate early gene and transcription factor early growth response 1 (EGR1) has thus been revealed as a major mediator and regulator of synaptic plasticity and neuronal activity in both physiological and pathological conditions. In this review article, we will focus on the role of EGR1 in the central nervous system. First, we will summarize the different factors influencing its activity. Then, we will analyze the amount of data, including genome-wide, that has emerged in the recent years describing the wide variety of genes, pathways and biological functions regulated directly or indirectly by EGR1. We will thus be able to gain better insights into the mechanisms underlying EGR1’s functions in physiological neuronal activity. Finally, we will discuss and illustrate the role of EGR1 in pathological states with a particular interest in cognitive functions

  6. Topographic Brain Mapping: A Window on Brain Function?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Karniski, Walt M.

    1989-01-01

    The article reviews the method of topographic mapping of the brain's electrical activity. Multiple electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes and computerized analysis of the EEG signal are used to generate maps of frequency and voltage (evoked potential). This relatively new technique holds promise in the evaluation of children with behavioral and…

  7. Plasticity-Related Gene 1 Affects Mouse Barrel Cortex Function via Strengthening of Glutamatergic Thalamocortical Transmission.

    PubMed

    Unichenko, Petr; Kirischuk, Sergei; Yang, Jenq-Wei; Baumgart, Jan; Roskoden, Thomas; Schneider, Patrick; Sommer, Angela; Horta, Guilherme; Radyushkin, Konstantin; Nitsch, Robert; Vogt, Johannes; Luhmann, Heiko J

    2016-07-01

    Plasticity-related gene-1 (PRG-1) is a brain-specific protein that modulates glutamatergic synaptic transmission. Here we investigated the functional role of PRG-1 in adolescent and adult mouse barrel cortex both in vitro and in vivo. Compared with wild-type (WT) animals, PRG-1-deficient (KO) mice showed specific behavioral deficits in tests assessing sensorimotor integration and whisker-based sensory discrimination as shown in the beam balance/walking test and sandpaper tactile discrimination test, respectively. At P25-31, spontaneous network activity in the barrel cortex in vivo was higher in KO mice compared with WT littermates, but not at P16-19. At P16-19, sensory evoked cortical responses in vivo elicited by single whisker stimulation were comparable in KO and WT mice. In contrast, at P25-31 evoked responses were smaller in amplitude and longer in duration in WT animals, whereas KO mice revealed no such developmental changes. In thalamocortical slices from KO mice, spontaneous activity was increased already at P16-19, and glutamatergic thalamocortical inputs to Layer 4 spiny stellate neurons were potentiated. We conclude that genetic ablation of PRG-1 modulates already at P16-19 spontaneous and evoked excitability of the barrel cortex, including enhancement of thalamocortical glutamatergic inputs to Layer 4, which distorts sensory processing in adulthood.

  8. The disorganized visual cortex in reelin-deficient mice is functional and allows for enhanced plasticity.

    PubMed

    Pielecka-Fortuna, Justyna; Wagener, Robin Jan; Martens, Ann-Kristin; Goetze, Bianka; Schmidt, Karl-Friedrich; Staiger, Jochen F; Löwel, Siegrid

    2015-11-01

    A hallmark of neocortical circuits is the segregation of processing streams into six distinct layers. The importance of this layered organization for cortical processing and plasticity is little understood. We investigated the structure, function and plasticity of primary visual cortex (V1) of adult mice deficient for the glycoprotein reelin and their wild-type littermates. In V1 of rl-/- mice, cells with different laminar fates are present at all cortical depths. Surprisingly, the (vertically) disorganized cortex maintains a precise retinotopic (horizontal) organization. Rl-/- mice have normal basic visual capabilities, but are compromised in more challenging perceptual tasks, such as orientation discrimination. Additionally, rl-/- animals learn and memorize a visual task as well as their wild-type littermates. Interestingly, reelin deficiency enhances visual cortical plasticity: juvenile-like ocular dominance plasticity is preserved into late adulthood. The present data offer an important insight into the capabilities of a disorganized cortical system to maintain basic functional properties.

  9. Multi-layer plastic/glass microfluidic systems containing electrical and mechanical functionality.

    PubMed

    Han, Arum; Wang, Olivia; Graff, Mason; Mohanty, Swomitra K; Edwards, Thayne L; Han, Ki-Ho; Bruno Frazier, A

    2003-08-01

    This paper describes an approach for fabricating multi-layer microfluidic systems from a combination of glass and plastic materials. Methods and characterization results for the microfabrication technologies underlying the process flow are presented. The approach is used to fabricate and characterize multi-layer plastic/glass microfluidic systems containing electrical and mechanical functionality. Hot embossing, heat staking of plastics, injection molding, microstenciling of electrodes, and stereolithography were combined with conventional MEMS fabrication techniques to realize the multi-layer systems. The approach enabled the integration of multiple plastic/glass materials into a single monolithic system, provided a solution for the integration of electrical functionality throughout the system, provided a mechanism for the inclusion of microactuators such as micropumps/valves, and provided an interconnect technology for interfacing fluids and electrical components between the micro system and the macro world.

  10. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (Val66Met) and Serotonin Transporter (5-HTTLPR) Polymorphisms Modulate Plasticity in Inhibitory Control Performance Over Time but Independent of Inhibitory Control Training

    PubMed Central

    Enge, Sören; Fleischhauer, Monika; Gärtner, Anne; Reif, Andreas; Lesch, Klaus-Peter; Kliegel, Matthias; Strobel, Alexander

    2016-01-01

    Several studies reported training-induced improvements in executive function tasks and also observed transfer to untrained tasks. However, the results are mixed and there is a large interindividual variability within and across studies. Given that training-related performance changes would require modification, growth or differentiation at the cellular and synaptic level in the brain, research on critical moderators of brain plasticity potentially explaining such changes is needed. In the present study, a pre-post-follow-up design (N = 122) and a 3-weeks training of two response inhibition tasks (Go/NoGo and Stop-Signal) was employed and genetic variation (Val66Met) in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promoting differentiation and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity was examined. Because Serotonin (5-HT) signaling and the interplay of BDNF and 5-HT are known to critically mediate brain plasticity, genetic variation in the 5-HTT gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) was also addressed. The overall results show that the kind of training (i.e., adaptive vs. non-adaptive) did not evoke genotype-dependent differences. However, in the Go/NoGo task, better inhibition performance (lower commission errors) were observed for BDNF Val/Val genotype carriers compared to Met-allele ones supporting similar findings from other cognitive tasks. Additionally, a gene-gene interaction suggests a more impulsive response pattern (faster responses accompanied by higher commission error rates) in homozygous l-allele carriers relative to those with the s-allele of 5-HTTLPR. This, however, is true only in the presence of the Met-allele of BDNF, while the Val/Val genotype seems to compensate for such non-adaptive responding. Intriguingly, similar results were obtained for the Stop-Signal task. Here, differences emerged at post-testing, while no differences were observed at T1. In sum, although no genotype-dependent differences between the relevant training groups emerged

  11. The serotonin receptor 7 and the structural plasticity of brain circuits

    PubMed Central

    Volpicelli, Floriana; Speranza, Luisa; di Porzio, Umberto; Crispino, Marianna; Perrone-Capano, Carla

    2014-01-01

    Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) modulates numerous physiological processes in the nervous system. Together with its function as neurotransmitter, 5-HT regulates neurite outgrowth, dendritic spine shape and density, growth cone motility and synapse formation during development. In the mammalian brain 5-HT innervation is virtually ubiquitous and the diversity and specificity of its signaling and function arise from at least 20 different receptors, grouped in 7 classes. Here we will focus on the role 5-HT7 receptor (5-HT7R) in the correct establishment of neuronal cytoarchitecture during development, as also suggested by its involvement in several neurodevelopmental disorders. The emerging picture shows that this receptor is a key player contributing not only to shape brain networks during development but also to remodel neuronal wiring in the mature brain, thus controlling cognitive and emotional responses. The activation of 5-HT7R might be one of the mechanisms underlying the ability of the CNS to respond to different stimuli by modulation of its circuit configuration. PMID:25309369

  12. Graph analysis of functional brain networks for cognitive control of action in traumatic brain injury.

    PubMed

    Caeyenberghs, Karen; Leemans, Alexander; Heitger, Marcus H; Leunissen, Inge; Dhollander, Thijs; Sunaert, Stefan; Dupont, Patrick; Swinnen, Stephan P

    2012-04-01

    Patients with traumatic brain injury show clear impairments in behavioural flexibility and inhibition that often persist beyond the time of injury, affecting independent living and psychosocial functioning. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that patients with traumatic brain injury typically show increased and more broadly dispersed frontal and parietal activity during performance of cognitive control tasks. We constructed binary and weighted functional networks and calculated their topological properties using a graph theoretical approach. Twenty-three adults with traumatic brain injury and 26 age-matched controls were instructed to switch between coordination modes while making spatially and temporally coupled circular motions with joysticks during event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results demonstrated that switching performance was significantly lower in patients with traumatic brain injury compared with control subjects. Furthermore, although brain networks of both groups exhibited economical small-world topology, altered functional connectivity was demonstrated in patients with traumatic brain injury. In particular, compared with controls, patients with traumatic brain injury showed increased connectivity degree and strength, and higher values of local efficiency, suggesting adaptive mechanisms in this group. Finally, the degree of increased connectivity was significantly correlated with poorer switching task performance and more severe brain injury. We conclude that analysing the functional brain network connectivity provides new insights into understanding cognitive control changes following brain injury.

  13. Histone deacetylases govern cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral and synaptic plasticity in the developing and adult brain

    PubMed Central

    Morris, Michael J.; Karra, Aroon S.; Monteggia, Lisa M.

    2010-01-01

    Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a family of enzymes that alter gene expression patterns by modifying chromatin architecture. There are 11 mammalian HDACs that are classified by homology into four subfamilies, all with distinct expression patterns in brain. Through the use of pharmacological HDAC inhibitors, and more recently HDAC knockout mice, the role of these enzymes in the central nervous system are starting to be elucidated. We will discuss the latest findings on the specific or redundant roles of individual HDACs in brain as well as the impact of HDAC function on complex behavior, with a focus on learning, memory formation, and affective behavior. Potential HDAC-mediated cellular mechanisms underlying those behaviors are discussed. PMID:20555253

  14. In vitro functional screening as a means to identify new plasticizers devoid of reproductive toxicity.

    PubMed

    Boisvert, Annie; Jones, Steven; Issop, Leeyah; Erythropel, Hanno C; Papadopoulos, Vassilios; Culty, Martine

    2016-10-01

    Plasticizers are indispensable additives providing flexibility and malleability to plastics. Among them, several phthalates, including di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), have emerged as endocrine disruptors, leading to their restriction in consumer products and creating a need for new, safer plasticizers. The goal of this project was to use in vitro functional screening tools to select novel non-toxic plasticizers suitable for further in vivo evaluation. A panel of novel compounds with satisfactory plasticizer properties and biodegradability were tested, along with several commercial plasticizers, such as diisononyl-cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate (DINCH®). MEHP, the monoester metabolite of DEHP was also included as reference compound. Because phthalates target mainly testicular function, including androgen production and spermatogenesis, we used the mouse MA-10 Leydig and C18-4 spermatogonial cell lines as surrogates to examine cell survival, proliferation, steroidogenesis and mitochondrial integrity. The most promising compounds were further assessed on organ cultures of rat fetal and neonatal testes, corresponding to sensitive developmental windows. Dose-response studies revealed the toxicity of most maleates and fumarates, while identifying several dibenzoate and succinate plasticizers as innocuous on Leydig and germ cells. Interestingly, DINCH®, a plasticizer marketed as a safe alternative to phthalates, exerted a biphasic effect on steroid production in MA-10 and fetal Leydig cells. MEHP was the only plasticizer inducing the formation of multinucleated germ cells (MNG) in organ culture. Overall, organ cultures corroborated the cell line data, identifying one dibenzoate and one succinate as the most promising candidates. The adoption of such collaborative approaches for developing new chemicals should help prevent the development of compounds potentially harmful to human health.

  15. Infrared Imaging System for Studying Brain Function

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mintz, Frederick; Mintz, Frederick; Gunapala, Sarath

    2007-01-01

    A proposed special-purpose infrared imaging system would be a compact, portable, less-expensive alternative to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) systems heretofore used to study brain function. Whereas a typical fMRI system fills a large room, and must be magnetically isolated, this system would fit into a bicycle helmet. The system would include an assembly that would be mounted inside the padding in a modified bicycle helmet or other suitable headgear. The assembly would include newly designed infrared photodetectors and data-acquisition circuits on integrated-circuit chips on low-thermal-conductivity supports in evacuated housings (see figure) arranged in multiple rows and columns that would define image coordinates. Each housing would be spring-loaded against the wearer s head. The chips would be cooled by a small Stirling Engine mounted contiguous to, but thermally isolated from, the portions of the assembly in thermal contact with the wearer s head. Flexible wires or cables for transmitting data from the aforementioned chips would be routed to an integrated, multichannel transmitter and thence through the top of the assembly to a patch antenna on the outside of the helmet. The multiple streams of data from the infrared-detector chips would be sent to a remote site, where they would be processed, by software, into a three-dimensional display of evoked potentials that would represent firing neuronal bundles and thereby indicate locations of neuronal activity associated with mental or physical activity. The 3D images will be analogous to current fMRI images. The data would also be made available, in real-time, for comparison with data in local or internationally accessible relational databases that already exist in universities and research centers. Hence, this system could be used in research on, and for the diagnosis of response from the wearer s brain to physiological, psychological, and environmental changes in real time. The images would also be

  16. Spatial variability of functional brain networks in early-blind and sighted subjects.

    PubMed

    Boldt, Robert; Seppä, Mika; Malinen, Sanna; Tikka, Pia; Hari, Riitta; Carlson, Synnöve

    2014-07-15

    To further the understanding how the human brain adapts to early-onset blindness, we searched in early-blind and normally-sighted subjects for functional brain networks showing the most and least spatial variabilities across subjects. We hypothesized that the functional networks compensating for early-onset blindness undergo cortical reorganization. To determine whether reorganization of functional networks affects spatial variability, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain networks, derived by independent component analysis, of 7 early-blind and 7 sighted subjects while they rested or listened to an audio drama. In both conditions, the blind compared with sighted subjects showed more spatial variability in a bilateral parietal network (comprising the inferior parietal and angular gyri and precuneus) and in a bilateral auditory network (comprising the superior temporal gyri). In contrast, a vision-related left-hemisphere-lateralized occipital network (comprising the superior, middle and inferior occipital gyri, fusiform and lingual gyri, and the calcarine sulcus) was less variable in blind than sighted subjects. Another visual network and a tactile network were spatially more variable in the blind than sighted subjects in one condition. We contemplate whether our results on inter-subject spatial variability of brain networks are related to experience-dependent brain plasticity, and we suggest that auditory and parietal networks undergo a stronger experience-dependent reorganization in the early-blind than sighted subjects while the opposite is true for the vision-related occipital network.

  17. Brain serotonin and pituitary-adrenal functions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vernikos-Danellis, J.; Berger, P.; Barchas, J. D.

    1973-01-01

    It had been concluded by Scapagnini et al. (1971) that brain serotonin (5-HT) was involved in the regulation of the diurnal rhythm of the pituitary-adrenal system but not in the stress response. A study was conducted to investigate these findings further by evaluating the effects of altering brain 5-HT levels on the daily fluctuation of plasma corticosterone and on the response of the pituitary-adrenal system to a stressful or noxious stimulus in the rat. In a number of experiments brain 5-HT synthesis was inhibited with parachlorophenylalanine. In other tests it was tried to raise the level of brain 5-HT with precursors.

  18. Upper Alpha Based Neurofeedback Training in Chronic Stroke: Brain Plasticity Processes and Cognitive Effects.

    PubMed

    Kober, Silvia Erika; Schweiger, Daniela; Reichert, Johanna Louise; Neuper, Christa; Wood, Guilherme

    2017-03-01

    In the present study, we investigated the effects of upper alpha based neurofeedback (NF) training on electrical brain activity and cognitive functions in stroke survivors. Therefore, two single chronic stroke patients with memory deficits (subject A with a bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhage; subject B with an ischemic stroke in the left arteria cerebri media) and a healthy elderly control group (N = 24) received up to ten NF training sessions. To evaluate NF training effects, all participants performed multichannel electroencephalogram (EEG) resting measurements and a neuropsychological test battery assessing different cognitive functions before and after NF training. Stroke patients showed improvements in memory functions after successful NF training compared to the pre-assessment. Subject B had a pathological delta (0.5-4 Hz) and upper alpha (10-12 Hz) power maximum over the unaffected hemisphere before NF training. After NF training, he showed a more bilateral and "normalized" topographical distribution of these EEG frequencies. Healthy participants as well as subject A did not show any abnormalities in EEG topography before the start of NF training. Consequently, no changes in the topographical distribution of EEG activity were observed in these participants when comparing the pre- and post-assessment. Hence, our results show that upper alpha based NF training had on the one hand positive effects on memory functions, and on the other hand led to cortical "normalization" in a stroke patient with pathological brain activation patterns, which underlines the potential usefulness of NF as neurological rehabilitation tool.

  19. Spike timing-dependent plasticity induces non-trivial topology in the brain.

    PubMed

    Borges, R R; Borges, F S; Lameu, E L; Batista, A M; Iarosz, K C; Caldas, I L; Antonopoulos, C G; Baptista, M S

    2017-04-01

    We study the capacity of Hodgkin-Huxley neuron in a network to change temporarily or permanently their connections and behavior, the so called spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP), as a function of their synchronous behavior. We consider STDP of excitatory and inhibitory synapses driven by Hebbian rules. We show that the final state of networks evolved by a STDP depend on the initial network configuration. Specifically, an initial all-to-all topology evolves to a complex topology. Moreover, external perturbations can induce co-existence of clusters, those whose neurons are synchronous and those whose neurons are desynchronous. This work reveals that STDP based on Hebbian rules leads to a change in the direction of the synapses between high and low frequency neurons, and therefore, Hebbian learning can be explained in terms of preferential attachment between these two diverse communities of neurons, those with low-frequency spiking neurons, and those with higher-frequency spiking neurons.

  20. Gut microbial communities modulating brain development and function.

    PubMed

    Al-Asmakh, Maha; Anuar, Farhana; Zadjali, Fahad; Rafter, Joseph; Pettersson, Sven

    2012-01-01

    Mammalian brain development is initiated in utero and internal and external environmental signals can affect this process all the way until adulthood. Recent observations suggest that one such external cue is the indigenous microbiota which has been shown to affect developmental programming of the brain. This may have consequences for brain maturation and function that impact on cognitive functions later in life. This review discusses these recent findings from a developmental perspective.

  1. Insulin in the brain: sources, localization and functions.

    PubMed

    Ghasemi, Rasoul; Haeri, Ali; Dargahi, Leila; Mohamed, Zahurin; Ahmadiani, Abolhassan

    2013-02-01

    Historically, insulin is best known for its role in peripheral glucose homeostasis, and insulin signaling in the brain has received less attention. Insulin-independent brain glucose uptake has been the main reason for considering the brain as an insulin-insensitive organ. However, recent findings showing a high concentration of insulin in brain extracts, and expression of insulin receptors (IRs) in central nervous system tissues have gathered considerable attention over the sources, localization, and functions of insulin in the brain. This review summarizes the current status of knowledge of the peripheral and central sources of insulin in the brain, site-specific expression of IRs, and also neurophysiological functions of insulin including the regulation of food intake, weight control, reproduction, and cognition and memory formation. This review also considers the neuromodulatory and neurotrophic effects of insulin, resulting in proliferation, differentiation, and neurite outgrowth, introducing insulin as an attractive tool for neuroprotection against apoptosis, oxidative stress, beta amyloid toxicity, and brain ischemia.

  2. Estimating functional brain networks by incorporating a modularity prior

    PubMed Central

    Qiao, Lishan; Zhang, Han; Kim, Minjeong; Teng, Shenghua; Zhang, Limei; Shen, Dinggang

    2017-01-01

    Functional brain network analysis has become one principled way of revealing informative organization architectures in healthy brains, and providing sensitive biomarkers for diagnosis of neurological disorders. Prior to any post hoc analysis, however, a natural issue is how to construct “ideal” brain networks given, for example, a set of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time series associated with different brain regions. Although many methods have been developed, it is currently still an open field to estimate biologically meaningful and statistically robust brain networks due to our limited understanding of the human brain as well as complex noises in the observed data. Motivated by the fact that the brain is organized with modular structures, in this paper, we propose a novel functional brain network modeling scheme by encoding a modularity prior under a matrix-regularized network learning framework, and further formulate it as a sparse low-rank graph learning problem, which can be solved by an efficient optimization algorithm. Then, we apply the learned brain networks to identify patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from normal controls. We achieved 89.01% classification accuracy even with a simple feature selection and classification pipeline, which significantly outperforms the conventional brain network construction methods. Moreover, we further explore brain network features that contributed to MCI identification, and discovered potential biomarkers for personalized diagnosis. PMID:27485752

  3. Enabling functional neural circuit simulations with distributed computing of neuromodulated plasticity.

    PubMed

    Potjans, Wiebke; Morrison, Abigail; Diesmann, Markus

    2010-01-01

    A major puzzle in the field of computational neuroscience is how to relate system-level learning in higher organisms to synaptic plasticity. Recently, plasticity rules depending not only on pre- and post-synaptic activity but also on a third, non-local neuromodulatory signal have emerged as key candidates to bridge the gap between the macroscopic and the microscopic level of learning. Crucial insights into this topic are expected to be gained from simulations of neural systems, as these allow the simultaneous study of the multiple spatial and temporal scales that are involved in the problem. In particular, synaptic plasticity can be studied during the whole learning process, i.e., on a time scale of minutes to hours and across multiple brain areas. Implementing neuromodulated plasticity in large-scale network simulations where the neuromodulatory signal is dynamically generated by the network itself is challenging, because the network structure is commonly defined purely by the connectivity graph without explicit reference to the embedding of the nodes in physical space. Furthermore, the simulation of networks with realistic connectivity entails the use of distributed computing. A neuromodulated synapse must therefore be informed in an efficient way about the neuromodulatory signal, which is typically generated by a population of neurons located on different machines than either the pre- or post-synaptic neuron. Here, we develop a general framework to solve the problem of implementing neuromodulated plasticity in a time-driven distributed simulation, without reference to a particular implementation language, neuromodulator, or neuromodulated plasticity mechanism. We implement our framework in the simulator NEST and demonstrate excellent scaling up to 1024 processors for simulations of a recurrent network incorporating neuromodulated spike-timing dependent plasticity.

  4. Differential effects of social and physical environmental enrichment on brain plasticity, cognition, and ultrasonic communication in rats.

    PubMed

    Brenes, Juan C; Lackinger, Martin; Höglinger, Günter U; Schratt, Gerhard; Schwarting, Rainer K W; Wöhr, Markus

    2016-06-01

    Environmental enrichment (EE) exerts beneficial effects on brain plasticity, cognition, and anxiety/depression, leading to a brain that can counteract deficits underlying various brain disorders. Because the complexity of the EE commonly used makes it difficult to identify causal aspects, we examined possible factors using a 2 × 2 design with social EE (two vs. six rats) and physical EE (physically enriched vs. nonenriched). For the first time, we demonstrate that social and physical EE have differential effects on brain plasticity, cognition, and ultrasonic communication. Expectedly, physical EE promoted neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation, but not in the subventricular zone, and, as a novel finding, affected microRNA expression levels, with the activity-dependent miR-124 and miR-132 being upregulated. Concomitant improvements in cognition were observed, yet social deficits were seen in the emission of prosocial 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) paralleled by a lack of social approach in response to them, consistent with the intense world syndrome/theory of autism. In contrast, social EE had only minor effects on brain plasticity and cognition, but led to increased prosocial 50-kHz USV emission rates and enhanced social approach behavior. Importantly, social deficits following physical EE were prevented by additional social EE. The finding that social EE has positive whereas physical EE has negative effects on social behavior indicates that preclinical studies focusing on EE as a potential treatment in models for neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by social deficits, such as autism, should include social EE in addition to physical EE, because its lack might worsen social deficits.

  5. Wearable sensor network to study laterality of brain functions.

    PubMed

    Postolache, Gabriela B; Girao, Pedro S; Postolache, Octavian A

    2015-08-01

    In the last decade researches on laterality of brain functions have been reinvigorated. New models of lateralization of brain functions were proposed and new methods for understanding mechanisms of asymmetry between right and left brain functions were described. We design a system to study laterality of motor and autonomic nervous system based on wearable sensors network. A mobile application was developed for analysis of upper and lower limbs movements, cardiac and respiratory function. The functionalities and experience gained with deployment of the system are described.

  6. Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men

    MedlinePlus

    ... RSS feed News from the RSNA Annual Meeting Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men ... Using functional MRI, researchers have found that playing violent video games for one week causes changes in ...

  7. Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms Are Accompanied by Decreased Functional Brain Oxygenation.

    PubMed

    Helmich, Ingo; Saluja, Rajeet S; Lausberg, Hedda; Kempe, Mathias; Furley, Philip; Berger, Alisa; Chen, Jen-Kai; Ptito, Alain

    2015-01-01

    Diagnostic methods are considered a major concern in the determination of mild traumatic brain injury. The authors examined brain oxygenation patterns in subjects with severe and minor persistent postconcussive difficulties and a healthy control group during working memory tasks in prefrontal brain regions using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. The results demonstrated decreased working memory performances among concussed subjects with severe postconcussive symptoms that were accompanied by decreased brain oxygenation patterns. An association appears to exist between decreased brain oxygenation, poor performance of working memory tasks, and increased symptom severity scores in subjects suffering from persistent postconcussive symptoms.

  8. Digital media, the developing brain and the interpretive plasticity of neuroplasticity.

    PubMed

    Choudhury, Suparna; McKinney, Kelly A

    2013-04-01

    The use and misuse of digital technologies among adolescents has been the focus of fiery debates among parents, educators, policy-makers and in the media. Recently, these debates have become shaped by emerging data from cognitive neuroscience on the development of the adolescent brain and cognition. "Neuroplasticity" has functioned as a powerful metaphor in arguments both for and against the pervasiveness of digital media cultures that increasingly characterize teenage life. In this paper, we propose that the debates concerning adolescents are the meeting point of two major social anxieties both of which are characterized by the threat of "abnormal" (social) behaviour: existing moral panics about adolescent behaviour in general and the growing alarm about intense, addictive, and widespread media consumption in modern societies. Neuroscience supports these fears but the same kinds of evidence are used to challenge these fears and reframe them in positive terms. Here, we analyze discourses about digital media, the Internet, and the adolescent brain in the scientific and lay literature. We argue that while the evidential basis is thin and ambiguous, it has immense social influence. We conclude by suggesting how we might move beyond the poles of neuro-alarmism and neuro-enthusiasm. By analyzing the neurological adolescent in the digital age as a socially extended mind, firstly, in the sense that adolescent cognition is distributed across the brain, body, and digital media tools and secondly, by viewing adolescent cognition as enabled and transformed by the institution of neuroscience, we aim to displace the normative terms of current debates.

  9. Evolution of Brain Active Gene Promoters in Human Lineage Towards the Increased Plasticity of Gene Regulation.

    PubMed

    Gunbin, Konstantin V; Ponomarenko, Mikhail P; Suslov, Valentin V; Gusev, Fedor; Fedonin, Gennady G; Rogaev, Evgeny I

    2017-02-24

    Adaptability to a variety of environmental conditions is a prominent feature of Homo sapiens. We hypothesize that this feature can be explained by evolutionary changes in gene promoters active in the brain prefrontal cortex leading to a more flexible gene regulation network. The genotype-dependent range of gene expression can be broader in humans than in other higher primates. Thus, we searched for specific signatures of evolutionary changes in promoter architectures of multiple hominid genes, including the genes active in human cortical neurons that may indicate an increase of variability of gene expression rather than just changes in the level of expression, such as downregulation or upregulation of the genes. We performed a whole-genome search for genetic-based alterations that may impact gene regulation "flexibility" in a process of hominids evolution, such as (i) CpG dinucleotide content, (ii) predicted nucleosome-DNA dissociation constant, and (iii) predicted affinities for TATA-binding protein (TBP) in gene promoters. We tested all putative promoter regions across the human genome and especially gene promoters in active chromatin state in neurons of prefrontal cortex, the brain region critical for abstract thinking and social and behavioral adaptation. Our data imply that the origin of modern man has been associated with an increase of flexibility of promoter-driven gene regulation in brain. In contrast, after splitting from the ancestral lineages of H. sapiens, the evolution of ape species is characterized by reduced flexibility of gene promoter functioning, underlying reduced variability of the gene expression.

  10. Graph Analysis of Functional Brain Networks for Cognitive Control of Action in Traumatic Brain Injury

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Caeyenberghs, Karen; Leemans, Alexander; Heitger, Marcus H.; Leunissen, Inge; Dhollander, Thijs; Sunaert, Stefan; Dupont, Patrick; Swinnen, Stephan P.

    2012-01-01

    Patients with traumatic brain injury show clear impairments in behavioural flexibility and inhibition that often persist beyond the time of injury, affecting independent living and psychosocial functioning. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that patients with traumatic brain injury typically show increased and more broadly…

  11. Non-verbal emotion communication training induces specific changes in brain function and structure.

    PubMed

    Kreifelts, Benjamin; Jacob, Heike; Brück, Carolin; Erb, Michael; Ethofer, Thomas; Wildgruber, Dirk

    2013-01-01

    The perception of emotional cues from voice and face is essential for social interaction. However, this process is altered in various psychiatric conditions along with impaired social functioning. Emotion communication trainings have been demonstrated to improve social interaction in healthy individuals and to reduce emotional communication deficits in psychiatric patients. Here, we investigated the impact of a non-verbal emotion communication training (NECT) on cerebral activation and brain structure in a controlled and combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel-based morphometry study. NECT-specific reductions in brain activity occurred in a distributed set of brain regions including face and voice processing regions as well as emotion processing- and motor-related regions presumably reflecting training-induced familiarization with the evaluation of face/voice stimuli. Training-induced changes in non-verbal emotion sensitivity at the behavioral level and the respective cerebral activation patterns were correlated in the face-selective cortical areas in the posterior superior temporal sulcus and fusiform gyrus for valence ratings and in the temporal pole, lateral prefrontal cortex and midbrain/thalamus for the response times. A NECT-induced increase in gray matter (GM) volume was observed in the fusiform face area. Thus, NECT induces both functional and structural plasticity in the face processing system as well as functional plasticity in the emotion perception and evaluation system. We propose that functional alterations are presumably related to changes in sensory tuning in the decoding of emotional expressions. Taken together, these findings highlight that the present experimental design may serve as a valuable tool to investigate the altered behavioral and neuronal processing of emotional cues in psychiatric disorders as well as the impact of therapeutic interventions on brain function and structure.

  12. Non-verbal emotion communication training induces specific changes in brain function and structure

    PubMed Central

    Kreifelts, Benjamin; Jacob, Heike; Brück, Carolin; Erb, Michael; Ethofer, Thomas; Wildgruber, Dirk

    2013-01-01

    The perception of emotional cues from voice and face is essential for social interaction. However, this process is altered in various psychiatric conditions along with impaired social functioning. Emotion communication trainings have been demonstrated to improve social interaction in healthy individuals and to reduce emotional communication deficits in psychiatric patients. Here, we investigated the impact of a non-verbal emotion communication training (NECT) on cerebral activation and brain structure in a controlled and combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel-based morphometry study. NECT-specific reductions in brain activity occurred in a distributed set of brain regions including face and voice processing regions as well as emotion processing- and motor-related regions presumably reflecting training-induced familiarization with the evaluation of face/voice stimuli. Training-induced changes in non-verbal emotion sensitivity at the behavioral level and the respective cerebral activation patterns were correlated in the face-selective cortical areas in the posterior superior temporal sulcus and fusiform gyrus for valence ratings and in the temporal pole, lateral prefrontal cortex and midbrain/thalamus for the response times. A NECT-induced increase in gray matter (GM) volume was observed in the fusiform face area. Thus, NECT induces both functional and structural plasticity in the face processing system as well as functional plasticity in the emotion perception and evaluation system. We propose that functional alterations are presumably related to changes in sensory tuning in the decoding of emotional expressions. Taken together, these findings highlight that the present experimental design may serve as a valuable tool to investigate the altered behavioral and neuronal processing of emotional cues in psychiatric disorders as well as the impact of therapeutic interventions on brain function and structure. PMID:24146641

  13. Early functional brain development in autism and the promise of sleep fMRI.

    PubMed

    Pierce, Karen

    2011-03-22

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a powerful tool for examining brain function but has yet to be systematically applied to the study of brain development in autism. Recently, however, scientists have begun to apply fMRI during natural sleep as a mechanism to study function in the developing brain. When considering the study of autism, this method opens considerable doors because it eliminates biases of past studies which only sampled from high-functioning, older populations. This paper describes the application of sleep fMRI as a way to study both extrinsic and intrinsic brain functions in autism between 12 and 36 months. Preliminary studies that use sleep fMRI method show that defects in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) in response to language are early emerging in autism and can be found in as young as 14 months in age. As such indices of abnormal early development of the STG may prove useful in the search for a biomarker of autism detectable during the infancy period. From a theoretical standpoint, examining sleep fMRI studies in autism gains some clarity when placed in context of the more established literature on structural brain development of autism which suggests that autism involves early brain overgrowth. Studies of plasticity in autism have yet to be done, but it is likely that the window of opportunity for altering the course of brain development in autism begins within the first year of life. The ability to do so relies on improving and streamlining early identification and thus early treatment efforts.

  14. Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function.

    PubMed

    Mergenthaler, Philipp; Lindauer, Ute; Dienel, Gerald A; Meisel, Andreas

    2013-10-01

    The mammalian brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy, and tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. Consistent with its critical role for physiological brain function, disruption of normal glucose metabolism as well as its interdependence with cell death pathways forms the pathophysiological basis for many brain disorders. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how glucose metabolism sustains basic brain physiology. We synthesize these findings to form a comprehensive picture of the cooperation required between different systems and cell types, and the specific breakdowns in this cooperation that lead to disease.

  15. Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function

    PubMed Central

    Mergenthaler, Philipp; Lindauer, Ute; Dienel, Gerald A.; Meisel, Andreas

    2013-01-01

    The mammalian brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy, and tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. Consistent with its critical role for physiological brain function, disruption of normal glucose metabolism as well as its interdependence with cell death pathways forms the pathophysiological basis for many brain disorders. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how glucose metabolism sustains basic brain physiology. We aim at synthesizing these findings to form a comprehensive picture of the cooperation required between different systems and cell types, and the specific breakdowns in this cooperation which lead to disease. PMID:23968694

  16. The modular and integrative functional architecture of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Bertolero, Maxwell A.; Yeo, B. T. Thomas; D’Esposito, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Network-based analyses of brain imaging data consistently reveal distinct modules and connector nodes with diverse global connectivity across the modules. How discrete the functions of modules are, how dependent the computational load of each module is to the other modules’ processing, and what the precise role of connector nodes is for between-module communication remains underspecified. Here, we use a network model of the brain derived from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data and investigate the modular functional architecture of the human brain by analyzing activity at different types of nodes in the network across 9,208 experiments of 77 cognitive tasks in the BrainMap database. Using an author–topic model of cognitive functions, we find a strong spatial correspondence between the cognitive functions and the network’s modules, suggesting that each module performs a discrete cognitive function. Crucially, activity at local nodes within the modules does not increase in tasks that require more cognitive functions, demonstrating the autonomy of modules’ functions. However, connector nodes do exhibit increased activity when more cognitive functions are engaged in a task. Moreover, connector nodes are located where brain activity is associated with many different cognitive functions. Connector nodes potentially play a role in between-module communication that maintains the modular function of the brain. Together, these findings provide a network account of the brain’s modular yet integrated implementation of cognitive functions. PMID:26598686

  17. Manifold learning on brain functional networks in aging.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Anqi; Lee, Annie; Tan, Mingzhen; Chung, Moo K

    2015-02-01

    We propose a new analysis framework to utilize the full information of brain functional networks for computing the mean of a set of brain functional networks and embedding brain functional networks into a low-dimensional space in which traditional regression and classification analyses can be easily employed. For this, we first represent the brain functional network by a symmetric positive matrix computed using sparse inverse covariance estimation. We then impose a Log-Euclidean Riemannian manifold structure on brain functional networks whose norm gives a convenient and practical way to define a mean. Finally, based on the fact that the computation of linear operations can be done in the tangent space of this Riemannian manifold, we adopt Locally Linear Embedding (LLE) to the Log-Euclidean Riemannian manifold space in order to embed the brain functional networks into a low-dimensional space. We show that the integration of the Log-Euclidean manifold with LLE provides more efficient and succinct representation of the functional network and facilitates regression analysis, such as ridge regression, on the brain functional network to more accurately predict age when compared to that of the Euclidean space of functional networks with LLE. Interestingly, using the Log-Euclidean analysis framework, we demonstrate the integration and segregation of cortical-subcortical networks as well as among the salience, executive, and emotional networks across lifespan.

  18. Brain Acetaldehyde Exposure Impacts upon Neonatal Respiratory Plasticity and Ethanol-Related Learning in Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Acevedo, María B.; D'Aloisio, Génesis; Haymal, Olga B.; Molina, Juan C.

    2017-01-01

    Prior studies indicate that neonates are very sensitive to ethanol's positive reinforcing effects and to its depressant effects upon breathing. Acetaldehyde (ACD) appears to play a major role in terms of modulating early reinforcing effects of the drug. Yet, there is no pre-existing literature relative to the incidence of this metabolite upon respiratory plasticity. The present study analyzed physiological and behavioral effects of early central administrations of ethanol, acetaldehyde or vehicle. Respiration rates (breaths/min) were registered at post-natal days (PDs) 2 and 4 (post-administration time: 5, 60, or 120 min). At PD5, all pups were placed in a context (plethysmograph) where they had previously experienced the effects of central administrations and breathing patterns were recorded. Following this test, pups were evaluated using and operant conditioning procedure where ethanol or saccharin served as positive reinforcers. Body temperatures were also registered prior to drug administrations as well as at the beginning and the end of each specific evaluation. Across days, breathing responses were high at the beginning of the evaluation session and progressively declined as a function of the passage of time. At PDs 2 and 4, shortly after central administration (5 min), ACD exerted a significant depression upon respiration frequencies. At PD5, non-intoxicated pups with a prior history of ACD central administrations, exhibited a marked increase in respiratory frequencies; a result that probably indicates a conditioned compensatory response. When operant testing procedures were conducted, prior ethanol or ACD central administrations were found to reduce the reinforcing effects of ethanol. This was not the case when saccharin was employed as a reinforcer. As a whole, the results indicate a significant role of central ACD upon respiratory plasticity of the neonate and upon ethanol's reinforcing effects; phenomena that affect the physiological integrity of the

  19. Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Jiang-Bo; Xu, Gui-Qing; Jenerette, G. Darrel; Bai, Yong-fei; Wang, Zhong-Yuan; Li, Yan

    2015-01-01

    Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants’ competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change. PMID:26190745

  20. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of reorganization in rat brain after stroke

    PubMed Central

    Dijkhuizen, Rick M.; Ren, JingMei; Mandeville, Joseph B.; Wu, Ona; Ozdag, Fatih M.; Moskowitz, Michael A.; Rosen, Bruce R.; Finklestein, Seth P.

    2001-01-01

    Functional recovery after stroke has been associated with brain plasticity; however, the exact relationship is unknown. We performed behavioral tests, functional MRI, and histology in a rat stroke model to assess the correlation between temporal changes in sensorimotor function, brain activation patterns, cerebral ischemic damage, and cerebrovascular reactivity. Unilateral stroke induced a large ipsilateral infarct and acute dysfunction of the contralateral forelimb, which significantly recovered at later stages. Forelimb impairment was accompanied by loss of stimulus-induced activation in the ipsilesional sensorimotor cortex; however, local tissue and perfusion were only moderately affected and cerebrovascular reactivity was preserved in this area. At 3 days after stroke, extensive activation-induced responses were detected in the contralesional hemisphere. After 14 days, we found reduced involvement of the contralesional hemisphere, and significant responses in the infarction periphery. Our data suggest that limb dysfunction is related to loss of brain activation in the ipsilesional sensorimotor cortex and that restoration of function is associated with biphasic recruitment of peri- and contralesional functional fields in the brain. PMID:11606760

  1. Centrality of Social Interaction in Human Brain Function.

    PubMed

    Hari, Riitta; Henriksson, Linda; Malinen, Sanna; Parkkonen, Lauri

    2015-10-07

    People are embedded in social interaction that shapes their brains throughout lifetime. Instead of emerging from lower-level cognitive functions, social interaction could be the default mode via which humans communicate with their environment. Should this hypothesis be true, it would have profound implications on how we think about brain functions and how we dissect and simulate them. We suggest that the research on the brain basis of social cognition and interaction should move from passive spectator science to studies including engaged participants and simultaneous recordings from the brains of the interacting persons.

  2. Early constraint-induced movement therapy promotes functional recovery and neuronal plasticity in a subcortical hemorrhage model rat.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Akimasa; Misumi, Sachiyo; Ueda, Yoshitomo; Shimizu, Yuko; Cha-Gyun, Jung; Tamakoshi, Keigo; Ishida, Kazuto; Hida, Hideki

    2015-05-01

    Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) promotes functional recovery of impaired forelimbs after hemiplegic strokes, including intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). We used a rat model of subcortical hemorrhage to compare the effects of delivering early or late CIMT after ICH. The rat model was made by injecting collagenase into the globus pallidus near the internal capsule, and then forcing rats to use the affected forelimb for 7 days starting either 1 day (early CIMT) or 17 days (late CIMT) after the lesion. Recovery of forelimb function in the skilled reaching test and the ladder stepping test was found after early-CIMT, while no significant recovery was shown after late CIMT or in the non-CIMT controls. Early CIMT was associated with greater numbers of ΔFosB-positive cells in the ipsi-lesional sensorimotor cortex layers II-III and V. Additionally, we found expression of the growth-related genes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and growth-related protein 43 (GAP-43), and abundant dendritic arborization of pyramidal neurons in the sensorimotor area. Similar results were not detected in the contra-lesional cortex. In contrast to early CIMT, late CIMT failed to induce any changes in plasticity. We conclude that CIMT induces molecular and morphological plasticity in the ipsi-lesional sensorimotor cortex and facilitates better functional recovery when initiated immediately after hemorrhage.

  3. Development of Large-Scale Functional Brain Networks in Children

    PubMed Central

    Supekar, Kaustubh; Musen, Mark; Menon, Vinod

    2009-01-01

    The ontogeny of large-scale functional organization of the human brain is not well understood. Here we use network analysis of intrinsic functional connectivity to characterize the organization of brain networks in 23 children (ages 7–9 y) and 22 young-adults (ages 19–22 y). Comparison of network properties, including path-length, clustering-coefficient, hierarchy, and regional connectivity, revealed that although children and young-adults' brains have similar “small-world” organization at the global level, they differ significantly in hierarchical organization and interregional connectivity. We found that subcortical areas were more strongly connected with primary sensory, association, and paralimbic areas in children, whereas young-adults showed stronger cortico-cortical connectivity between paralimbic, limbic, and association areas. Further, combined analysis of functional connectivity with wiring distance measures derived from white-matter fiber tracking revealed that the development of large-scale brain networks is characterized by weakening of short-range functional connectivity and strengthening of long-range functional connectivity. Importantly, our findings show that the dynamic process of over-connectivity followed by pruning, which rewires connectivity at the neuronal level, also operates at the systems level, helping to reconfigure and rebalance subcortical and paralimbic connectivity in the developing brain. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of network analysis of brain connectivity to elucidate key principles underlying functional brain maturation, paving the way for novel studies of disrupted brain connectivity in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. PMID:19621066

  4. Gut Microbiota and Brain Function: An Evolving Field in Neuroscience.

    PubMed

    Foster, Jane A; Lyte, Mark; Meyer, Emeran; Cryan, John F

    2016-05-01

    There is a growing appreciation of the importance of gut microbiota to health and disease. This has been driven by advances in sequencing technology and recent findings demonstrating the important role of microbiota in common health disorders such as obesity. Moreover, the potential role of gut microbiota in influencing brain function, behavior, and mental health has attracted the attention of neuroscientists and psychiatrists. At the 29(th) International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) World Congress held in Vancouver, Canada, in June 2014, a group of experts presented the symposium, "Gut microbiota and brain function: Relevance to psychiatric disorders" to review the latest findings in how gut microbiota may play a role in brain function, behavior, and disease. The symposium covered a broad range of topics, including gut microbiota and neuroendocrine function, the influence of gut microbiota on behavior, probiotics as regulators of brain and behavior, and imaging the gut-brain axis in humans. This report provides an overview of these presentations.

  5. Set and setting: how behavioral state regulates sensory function and plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Aton, Sara J.

    2013-01-01

    Recently developed neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques are allowing us to answer fundamental questions about how behavioral states regulate our perception of the external environment. Studies using these techniques have yielded surprising insights into how sensory processing is affected at the earliest stages by attention and motivation, and how new sensory information received during wakefulness (e.g., during learning) continues to affect sensory brain circuits (leading to plastic changes) during subsequent sleep. This review aims to describe how brain states affect sensory response properties among neurons in primary and secondary sensory cortices, and how this relates to psychophysical detection thresholds and performance on sensory discrimination tasks. This is not intended to serve as a comprehensive overview of all brain states, or all sensory systems, but instead as an illustrative description of how three specific state variables (attention, motivation, and vigilance [i.e., sleep vs. wakefulness]) affect sensory systems in which they have been best studied. PMID:23792020

  6. Exercise reverses the harmful effects of consumption of a high-fat diet on synaptic and behavioral plasticity associated to the action of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

    PubMed

    Molteni, R; Wu, A; Vaynman, S; Ying, Z; Barnard, R J; Gómez-Pinilla, F

    2004-01-01

    A diet high in total fat (HF) reduces hippocampal levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a crucial modulator of synaptic plasticity, and a predictor of learning efficacy. We have evaluated the capacity of voluntary exercise to interact with the effects of diet at the molecular level. Animal groups were exposed to the HF diet for 2 months with and without access to voluntary wheel running. Exercise reversed the decrease in BDNF and its downstream effectors on plasticity such as synapsin I, a molecule with a key role in the modulation of neurotransmitter release by BDNF, and the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB), important for learning and memory. Furthermore, we found that exercise influenced the activational state of synapsin as well as of CREB, by increasing the phosphorylation of these molecules. In addition, exercise prevented the deficit in spatial learning induced by the diet, tested in the Morris water maze. Furthermore, levels of reactive oxygen species increased by the effects of the diet were decreased by exercise. Results indicate that exercise interacts with the same molecular systems disrupted by the HF diet, reversing their effects on neural function. Reactive oxygen species, and BDNF in conjunction with its downstream effectors on synaptic and neuronal plasticity, are common molecular targets for the action of the diet and exercise. Results unveil a possible molecular mechanism by which lifestyle factors can interact at a molecular level, and provide information for potential therapeutic applications to decrease the risk imposed by certain lifestyles.

  7. The Exercising Brain: Changes in Functional Connectivity Induced by an Integrated Multimodal Cognitive and Whole-Body Coordination Training

    PubMed Central

    Demirakca, Traute; Cardinale, Vita; Dehn, Sven; Ruf, Matthias; Ende, Gabriele

    2016-01-01

    This study investigated the impact of “life kinetik” training on brain plasticity in terms of an increased functional connectivity during resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). The training is an integrated multimodal training that combines motor and cognitive aspects and challenges the brain by introducing new and unfamiliar coordinative tasks. Twenty-one subjects completed at least 11 one-hour-per-week “life kinetik” training sessions in 13 weeks as well as before and after rs-fMRI scans. Additionally, 11 control subjects with 2 rs-fMRI scans were included. The CONN toolbox was used to conduct several seed-to-voxel analyses. We searched for functional connectivity increases between brain regions expected to be involved in the exercises. Connections to brain regions representing parts of the default mode network, such as medial frontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, did not change. Significant connectivity alterations occurred between the visual cortex and parts of the superior parietal area (BA7). Premotor area and cingulate gyrus were also affected. We can conclude that the constant challenge of unfamiliar combinations of coordination tasks, combined with visual perception and working memory demands, seems to induce brain plasticity expressed in enhanced connectivity strength of brain regions due to coactivation. PMID:26819776

  8. Beyond localized and distributed accounts of brain functions. Comment on “Understanding brain networks and brain organization” by Pessoa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cauda, Franco; Costa, Tommaso; Tamietto, Marco

    2014-09-01

    Recent evidence in cognitive neuroscience lends support to the idea that network models of brain architecture provide a privileged access to the understanding of the relation between brain organization and cognitive processes [1]. The core perspective holds that cognitive processes depend on the interactions among distributed neuronal populations and brain structures, and that the impact of a given region on behavior largely depends on its pattern of anatomical and functional connectivity [2,3].

  9. Free D-aspartate regulates neuronal dendritic morphology, synaptic plasticity, gray matter volume and brain activity in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Errico, F; Nisticò, R; Di Giorgio, A; Squillace, M; Vitucci, D; Galbusera, A; Piccinin, S; Mango, D; Fazio, L; Middei, S; Trizio, S; Mercuri, N B; Teule, M A; Centonze, D; Gozzi, A; Blasi, G; Bertolino, A; Usiello, A

    2014-01-01

    D-aspartate (D-Asp) is an atypical amino acid, which is especially abundant in the developing mammalian brain, and can bind to and activate N-methyl-D-Aspartate receptors (NMDARs). In line with its pharmacological features, we find that mice chronically treated with D-Asp show enhanced NMDAR-mediated miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and basal cerebral blood volume in fronto-hippocampal areas. In addition, we show that both chronic administration of D-Asp and deletion of the gene coding for the catabolic enzyme D-aspartate oxidase (DDO) trigger plastic modifications of neuronal cytoarchitecture in the prefrontal cortex and CA1 subfield of the hippocampus and promote a cytochalasin D-sensitive form of synaptic plasticity in adult mouse brains. To translate these findings in humans and consistent with the experiments using Ddo gene targeting in animals, we performed a hierarchical stepwise translational genetic approach. Specifically, we investigated the association of variation in the gene coding for DDO with complex human prefrontal phenotypes. We demonstrate that genetic variation predicting reduced expression of DDO in postmortem human prefrontal cortex is mapped on greater prefrontal gray matter and activity during working memory as measured with MRI. In conclusion our results identify novel NMDAR-dependent effects of D-Asp on plasticity and physiology in rodents, which also map to prefrontal phenotypes in humans. PMID:25072322

  10. The effects of vitamin D on brain development and adult brain function.

    PubMed

    Kesby, James P; Eyles, Darryl W; Burne, Thomas H J; McGrath, John J

    2011-12-05

    A role for vitamin D in brain development and function has been gaining support over the last decade. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that this vitamin is actually a neuroactive steroid that acts on brain development, leading to alterations in brain neurochemistry and adult brain function. Early deficiencies have been linked with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, and adult deficiencies have been associated with a host of adverse brain outcomes, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression and cognitive decline. This review summarises the current state of research on the actions of vitamin D in the brain and the consequences of deficiencies in this vitamin. Furthermore, we discuss specific implications of vitamin D status on the neurotransmitter, dopamine.

  11. Neuroplasticity as a function of second language learning: anatomical changes in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Li, Ping; Legault, Jennifer; Litcofsky, Kaitlyn A

    2014-09-01

    The brain has an extraordinary ability to functionally and physically change or reconfigure its structure in response to environmental stimulus, cognitive demand, or behavioral experience. This property, known as neuroplasticity, has been examined extensively in many domains. But how does neuroplasticity occur in the brain as a function of an individual's experience with a second language? It is not until recently that we have gained some understanding of this question by examining the anatomical changes as well as functional neural patterns that are induced by the learning and use of multiple languages. In this article we review emerging evidence regarding how structural neuroplasticity occurs in the brain as a result of one's bilingual experience. Our review aims at identifying the processes and mechanisms that drive experience-dependent anatomical changes, and integrating structural imaging evidence with current knowledge of functional neural plasticity of language and other cognitive skills. The evidence reviewed so far portrays a picture that is highly consistent with structural neuroplasticity observed for other domains: second language experience-induced brain changes, including increased gray matter (GM) density and white matter (WM) integrity, can be found in children, young adults, and the elderly; can occur rapidly with short-term language learning or training; and are sensitive to age, age of acquisition, proficiency or performance level, language-specific characteristics, and individual differences. We conclude with a theoretical perspective on neuroplasticity in language and bilingualism, and point to future directions for research.

  12. The presence of perforated synapses in the striatum after dopamine depletion, is this a sign of maladaptive brain plasticity?

    PubMed

    Anaya-Martínez, Verónica; Gutierrez-Valdez, Ana Luisa; Ordoñez-Librado, Jose Luis; Montiel-Flores, Enrique; Sánchez-Betancourt, Javier; Sánchez Vázquez del Mercado, César; Reynoso-Erazo, Leonardo; Tron-Alvarez, Rocío; Avila-Costa, Maria Rosa

    2014-12-01

    Synaptic plasticity is the process by which long-lasting changes take place at synaptic connections. The phenomenon itself is complex and can involve many levels of organization. Some authors separate forms into adaptations that have positive or negative consequences for the individual. It has been hypothesized that an increase in the number of synapses may represent a structural basis for the enduring expression of synaptic plasticity during some events that involve memory and learning; also, it has been suggested that perforated synapses increase in number after some diseases and experimental situations. The aim of this study was to analyze whether dopamine depletion induces changes in the synaptology of the corpus striatum of rats after the unilateral injection of 6-OHDA. The findings suggest that after the lesion, both contralateral and ipsilateral striata exhibit an increased length of the synaptic ending in ipsilateral (since third day) and contralateral striatum (since Day 20), loss of axospinous synapses in ipsilateral striatum and a significant increment in the number of perforated synapses, suggesting brain plasticity that might be deleterious for the spines, because this type of synaptic contacts are presumably excitatory, and in the absence of the modulatory effects of dopamine, the neuron could die through excitotoxic mechanisms. Thus, we can conclude that the presence of perforated synapses after striatal dopamine depletion might be a form of maladaptive synaptic plasticity.

  13. Structural plasticity of interneurons in the adult brain: role of PSA-NCAM and implications for psychiatric disorders.

    PubMed

    Nacher, Juan; Guirado, Ramon; Castillo-Gómez, Esther

    2013-06-01

    Neuronal structural plasticity is known to have a major role in cognitive processes and in the response of the CNS to aversive experiences. This type of plasticity involves processes ranging from neurite outgrowth/retraction or dendritic spine remodeling, to the incorporation of new neurons to the established circuitry. However, the study of how these structural changes take place has been focused mainly on excitatory neurons, while little attention has been paid to interneurons. The exploration of these plastic phenomena in interneurons is very important, not only for our knowledge of CNS physiology, but also for understanding better the etiology of different psychiatric and neurological disorders in which alterations in the structure and connectivity of inhibitory networks have been described. Here we review recent work on the structural remodeling of interneurons in the adult brain, both in basal conditions and after chronic stress or sensory deprivation. We also describe studies from our laboratory and others on the putative mediators of this interneuronal structural plasticity, focusing on the polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM). This molecule is expressed by some interneurons in the adult CNS and, through its anti-adhesive and insulating properties, may participate in the remodeling of their structure. Finally, we review recent findings on the possible implication of PSA-NCAM on the remodeling of inhibitory neurons in certain psychiatric disorders and their treatments.

  14. Connectivity and functional profiling of abnormal brain structures in pedophilia.

    PubMed

    Poeppl, Timm B; Eickhoff, Simon B; Fox, Peter T; Laird, Angela R; Rupprecht, Rainer; Langguth, Berthold; Bzdok, Danilo

    2015-06-01

    Despite its 0.5-1% lifetime prevalence in men and its general societal relevance, neuroimaging investigations in pedophilia are scarce. Preliminary findings indicate abnormal brain structure and function. However, no study has yet linked structural alterations in pedophiles to both connectional and functional properties of the aberrant hotspots. The relationship between morphological alterations and brain function in pedophilia as well as their contribution to its psychopathology thus remain unclear. First, we assessed bimodal connectivity of structurally altered candidate regions using meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) and resting-state correlations employing openly accessible data. We compared the ensuing connectivity maps to the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) maps of a recent quantitative meta-analysis of brain activity during processing of sexual stimuli. Second, we functionally characterized the structurally altered regions employing meta-data of a large-scale neuroimaging database. Candidate regions were functionally connected to key areas for processing of sexual stimuli. Moreover, we found that the functional role of structurally altered brain regions in pedophilia relates to nonsexual emotional as well as neurocognitive and executive functions, previously reported to be impaired in pedophiles. Our results suggest that structural brain alterations affect neural networks for sexual processing by way of disrupted functional connectivity, which may entail abnormal sexual arousal patterns. The findings moreover indicate that structural alterations account for common affective and neurocognitive impairments in pedophilia. The present multimodal integration of brain structure and function analyses links sexual and nonsexual psychopathology in pedophilia.

  15. Hierarchical organization of brain functional networks during visual tasks.

    PubMed

    Zhuo, Zhao; Cai, Shi-Min; Fu, Zhong-Qian; Zhang, Jie

    2011-09-01

    The functional network of the brain is known to demonstrate modular structure over different hierarchical scales. In this paper, we systematically investigated the hierarchical modular organizations of the brain functional networks that are derived from the extent of phase synchronization among high-resolution EEG time series during a visual task. In particular, we compare the modular structure of the functional network from EEG channels with that of the anatomical parcellation of the brain cortex. Our results show that the modular architectures of brain functional networks correspond well to those from the anatomical structures over different levels of hierarchy. Most importantly, we find that the consistency between the modular structures of the functional network and the anatomical network becomes more pronounced in terms of vision, sensory, vision-temporal, motor cortices during the visual task, which implies that the strong modularity in these areas forms the functional basis for the visual task. The structure-function relationship further reveals that the phase synchronization of EEG time series in the same anatomical group is much stronger than that of EEG time series from different anatomical groups during the task and that the hierarchical organization of functional brain network may be a consequence of functional segmentation of the brain cortex.

  16. Hierarchical organization of brain functional networks during visual tasks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhuo, Zhao; Cai, Shi-Min; Fu, Zhong-Qian; Zhang, Jie

    2011-09-01

    The functional network of the brain is known to demonstrate modular structure over different hierarchical scales. In this paper, we systematically investigated the hierarchical modular organizations of the brain functional networks that are derived from the extent of phase synchronization among high-resolution EEG time series during a visual task. In particular, we compare the modular structure of the functional network from EEG channels with that of the anatomical parcellation of the brain cortex. Our results show that the modular architectures of brain functional networks correspond well to those from the anatomical structures over different levels of hierarchy. Most importantly, we find that the consistency between the modular structures of the functional network and the anatomical network becomes more pronounced in terms of vision, sensory, vision-temporal, motor cortices during the visual task, which implies that the strong modularity in these areas forms the functional basis for the visual task. The structure-function relationship further reveals that the phase synchronization of EEG time series in the same anatomical group is much stronger than that of EEG time series from different anatomical groups during the task and that the hierarchical organization of functional brain network may be a consequence of functional segmentation of the brain cortex.

  17. Let thy left brain know what thy right brain doeth: Inter-hemispheric compensation of functional deficits after brain damage.

    PubMed

    Bartolomeo, Paolo; Thiebaut de Schotten, Michel

    2016-12-01

    Recent evidence revealed the importance of inter-hemispheric communication for the compensation of functional deficits after brain damage. This review summarises the biological consequences observed using histology as well as the longitudinal findings measured with magnetic resonance imaging methods in brain damaged animals and patients. In particular, we discuss the impact of post-stroke brain hyperactivity on functional recovery in relation to time. The reviewed evidence also suggests that the proportion of the preserved functional network both in the lesioned and in the intact hemispheres, rather than the simple lesion location, determines the extent of functional recovery. Hence, future research exploring longitudinal changes in patients with brain damage may unveil potential biomarkers underlying functional recovery.

  18. Brain plasticity in Parkinson's disease with freezing of gait induced by action observation training.

    PubMed

    Agosta, Federica; Gatti, Roberto; Sarasso, Elisabetta; Volonté, Maria Antonietta; Canu, Elisa; Meani, Alessandro; Sarro, Lidia; Copetti, Massimiliano; Cattrysse, Erik; Kerckhofs, Eric; Comi, Giancarlo; Falini, Andrea; Filippi, Massimo

    2017-01-01

    Gait disorders represent a therapeutic challenge in Parkinson's disease (PD). This study investigated the efficacy of 4-week action observation training (AOT) on disease severity, freezing of gait and motor abilities in PD, and evaluated treatment-related brain functional changes. 25 PD patients with freezing of gait were randomized into two groups: AOT (action observation combined with practicing the observed actions) and "Landscape" (same physical training combined with landscape-videos observation). At baseline and 4-week, patients underwent clinical evaluation and fMRI. Clinical assessment was repeated at 8-week. At 4-week, both groups showed reduced freezing of gait severity, improved walking speed and quality of life. Moreover, AOT was associated with reduced motor disability and improved balance. AOT group showed a sustained positive effect on motor disability, walking speed, balance and quality of life at 8-week, with a trend toward a persisting reduced freezing of gait severity. At 4-week vs. baseline, AOT group showed increased recruitment of fronto-parietal areas during fMRI tasks, while the Landscape group showed a reduced fMRI activity of the left postcentral and inferior parietal gyri and right rolandic operculum and supramarginal gyrus. In AOT group, functional brain changes were associated with clinical improvements at 4-week and predicted clinical evolution at 8-week. AOT has a more lasting effect in improving motor function, gait and quality of life in PD patients relative to physical therapy alone. AOT-related performance gains are associated with an increased recruitment of motor regions and fronto-parietal mirror neuron and attentional control areas.

  19. Can we observe epigenetic effects on human brain function?

    PubMed

    Nikolova, Yuliya S; Hariri, Ahmad R

    2015-07-01

    Imaging genetics has identified many contributions of DNA sequence variation to individual differences in brain function, behavior, and risk for psychopathology. Recent studies have extended this work beyond the genome by mapping epigenetic differences, specifically gene methylation in peripherally assessed DNA, onto variability in behaviorally and clinically relevant brain function. These data have generated understandable enthusiasm for the potential of such research to illuminate biological mechanisms of risk. We use our research on the effects of genetic and epigenetic variation in the human serotonin transporter on brain function to generate a guardedly optimistic opinion that the available data encourage continued research in this direction, and suggest strategies to promote faster progress.

  20. Plasticity-Based Adaptive Cognitive Remediation (PACR) for OIF/OEF Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Trial

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-10-01

    Randomized Controlled Trial PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Henry W. Mahncke, Ph.D. CONTRACTING ORGANIZATION: Brain Plasticity, Inc...WORK UNIT NUMBER 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Brain Plasticity Inc. AND ADDRESS(ES) 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT...TERMS traumatic brain injury, tbi, concussion, persistent post-concussive symptoms, cognition, cognitive function, cognitive rehabilitation

  1. Plasticity-Based Adaptive Cognitive Remediation (PACR) for OIF/OEF Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Trial

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-10-01

    Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Trial PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Henry W. Mahncke, Ph.D. CONTRACTING ORGANIZATION: Brain Plasticity...7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Brain Plasticity Inc., San Francisco, CA 94105 ES) 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT...SUBJECT TERMS traumatic brain injury, tbi, concussion, persistent post-concussive symptoms, cognition, cognitive function, cognitive rehabilitation

  2. Standardized environmental enrichment supports enhanced brain plasticity in healthy rats and prevents cognitive impairment in epileptic rats.

    PubMed

    Fares, Raafat P; Belmeguenai, Amor; Sanchez, Pascal E; Kouchi, Hayet Y; Bodennec, Jacques; Morales, Anne; Georges, Béatrice; Bonnet, Chantal; Bouvard, Sandrine; Sloviter, Robert S; Bezin, Laurent

    2013-01-01

    Environmental enrichment of laboratory animals influences brain plasticity, stimulates neurogenesis, increases neurotrophic factor expression, and protects against the effects of brain insult. However, these positive effects are not constantly observed, probably because standardized procedures of environmental enrichment are lacking. Therefore, we engineered an enriched cage (the Marlau™ cage), which offers: (1) minimally stressful social interactions; (2) increased voluntary exercise; (3) multiple entertaining activities; (4) cognitive stimulation (maze exploration), and (5) novelty (maze configuration changed three times a week). The maze, which separates food pellet and water bottle compartments, guarantees cognitive stimulation for all animals. Compared to rats raised in groups in conventional cages, rats housed in Marlau™ cages exhibited increased cortical thickness, hippocampal neurogenesis and hippocampal levels of transcripts encoding various genes involved in tissue plasticity and remodeling. In addition, rats housed in Marlau™ cages exhibited better performances in learning and memory, decreased anxiety-associated behaviors, and better recovery of basal plasma corticosterone level after acute restraint stress. Marlau™ cages also insure inter-experiment reproducibility in spatial learning and brain gene expression assays. Finally, housing rats in Marlau™ cages after severe status epilepticus at weaning prevents the cognitive impairment observed in rats subjected to the same insult and then housed in conventional cages. By providing a standardized enriched environment for rodents during housing, the Marlau™ cage should facilitate the uniformity of environmental enrichment across laboratories.

  3. Optogenetic probing of functional brain circuitry.

    PubMed

    Mancuso, James J; Kim, Jinsook; Lee, Soojung; Tsuda, Sachiko; Chow, Nicholas B H; Augustine, George J

    2011-01-01

    Recently developed optogenetic technologies offer the promise of high-speed mapping of brain circuitry. Genetically targeted light-gated channels and pumps, such as channelrhodopsins and halorhodopsin, allow optical control of neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. Optogenetic probes of neuronal activity, such as Clomeleon and Mermaid, allow light to be used to monitor the activity of a genetically defined population of neurons. Combining these two complementary sets of optogenetic probes will make it possible to perform all-optical circuit mapping. Owing to the improved efficiency and higher speed of data acquisition, this hybrid approach should enable high-throughput mapping of brain circuitry.

  4. Impacts of discarded plastic bags on marine assemblages and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga; Boots, Bas; Blockley, David James; Rocha, Carlos; Thompson, Richard

    2015-05-05

    The accumulation of plastic debris is a global environmental problem due to its durability, persistence, and abundance. Although effects of plastic debris on individual marine organisms, particularly mammals and birds, have been extensively documented (e.g., entanglement and choking), very little is known about effects on assemblages and consequences for ecosystem functioning. In Europe, around 40% of the plastic items produced are utilized as single-use packaging, which rapidly accumulate in waste management facilities and as litter in the environment. A range of biodegradable plastics have been developed with the aspiration of reducing the persistence of litter; however, their impacts on marine assemblages or ecosystem functioning have never been evaluated. A field experiment was conducted to assess the impact of conventional and biodegradable plastic carrier bags as litter on benthic macro- and meio-faunal assemblages and biogeochemical processes (primary productivity, redox condition, organic matter content, and pore-water nutrients) on an intertidal shore near Dublin, Ireland. After 9 weeks, the presence of either type of bag created anoxic conditions within the sediment along with reduced primary productivity and organic matter and significantly lower abundances of infaunal invertebrates. This indicates that both conventional and biodegradable bags can rapidly alter marine assemblages and the ecosystem services they provide.

  5. Stable learning of functional maps in self-organizing spiking neural networks with continuous synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Srinivasa, Narayan; Jiang, Qin

    2013-01-01

    This study describes a spiking model that self-organizes for stable formation and maintenance of orientation and ocular dominance maps in the visual cortex (V1). This self-organization process simulates three development phases: an early experience-independent phase, a late experience-independent phase and a subsequent refinement phase during which experience acts to shape the map properties. The ocular dominance maps that emerge accommodate the two sets of monocular inputs that arise from the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) to layer 4 of V1. The orientation selectivity maps that emerge feature well-developed iso-orientation domains and fractures. During the last two phases of development the orientation preferences at some locations appear to rotate continuously through ±180° along circular paths and referred to as pinwheel-like patterns but without any corresponding point discontinuities in the orientation gradient maps. The formation of these functional maps is driven by balanced excitatory and inhibitory currents that are established via synaptic plasticity based on spike timing for both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. The stability and maintenance of the formed maps with continuous synaptic plasticity is enabled by homeostasis caused by inhibitory plasticity. However, a prolonged exposure to repeated stimuli does alter the formed maps over time due to plasticity. The results from this study suggest that continuous synaptic plasticity in both excitatory neurons and interneurons could play a critical role in the formation, stability, and maintenance of functional maps in the cortex.

  6. Mapping functional brain development: Building a social brain through interactive specialization.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Mark H; Grossmann, Tobias; Cohen Kadosh, Kathrin

    2009-01-01

    The authors review a viewpoint on human functional brain development, interactive specialization (IS), and its application to the emerging network of cortical regions referred to as the social brain. They advance the IS view in 2 new ways. First, they extend IS into a domain to which it has not previously been applied--the emergence of social cognition and mentalizing computations in the brain. Second, they extend the implications of the IS view from the emergence of specialized functions within a cortical region to a focus on how different cortical regions with complementary functions become orchestrated into networks during human postnatal development.

  7. Complex Networks - A Key to Understanding Brain Function

    SciTech Connect

    Olaf Sporns

    2008-01-23

    The brain is a complex network of neurons, engaging in spontaneous and evoked activity that is thought to be the main substrate of mental life.  How this complex system works together to process information and generate coherent cognitive states, even consciousness, is not yet well understood.  In my talk I will review recent studies that have revealed characteristic structural and functional attributes of brain networks, and discuss efforts to build computational models of the brain that are informed by our growing knowledge of brain anatomy and physiology.

  8. Complex Networks - A Key to Understanding Brain Function

    SciTech Connect

    Sporns, Olaf

    2008-01-23

    The brain is a complex network of neurons, engaging in spontaneous and evoked activity that is thought to be the main substrate of mental life. How this complex system works together to process information and generate coherent cognitive states, even consciousness, is not yet well understood. In my talk I will review recent studies that have revealed characteristic structural and functional attributes of brain networks, and discuss efforts to build computational models of the brain that are informed by our growing knowledge of brain anatomy and physiology.

  9. Complex Networks - A Key to Understanding Brain Function

    ScienceCinema

    Olaf Sporns

    2016-07-12

    The brain is a complex network of neurons, engaging in spontaneous and evoked activity that is thought to be the main substrate of mental life.  How this complex system works together to process information and generate coherent cognitive states, even consciousness, is not yet well understood.  In my talk I will review recent studies that have revealed characteristic structural and functional attributes of brain networks, and discuss efforts to build computational models of the brain that are informed by our growing knowledge of brain anatomy and physiology.

  10. Behavioral manifestations of brain plasticity in blind and low-vision individuals.

    PubMed

    Jednoróg, Katarzyna; Grabowska, Anna

    2008-01-01

    Tactile sensitivity enhancement (TSE) observed in blind people is probably a result of intensified tactile training. Although many researchers consider TSE in the blind to be an example of use-dependent plasticity, it is unclear whether the effects of training (Braille reading) are specific, i.e. restricted to the trained function and hand, or if they are more general. To examine this issue further, blind Braille readers, low-vision subjects (Braille readers and non-Braille readers) and sighted controls were tested in two tasks: a texture task resembling the Braille system and a dissimilar groove orientation task. Braille readers, both blind and those with low vision, performed better in both tasks than low-vision non-Braille readers or sighted controls. However, the difference was significant only for the blind (more experienced) Braille readers. In the groove orientation task, the positive influence of training was detectable irrespective of the hand used in the test, but in the coarse texture task this influence was limited to the hand trained in Braille. Thus, it appears that tactile training is of significance in TSE but its effects are, to a large extent, task- and hand-specific.

  11. Brain imaging of language plasticity in adopted adults: can a second language replace the first?

    PubMed

    Pallier, C; Dehaene, S; Poline, J-B; LeBihan, D; Argenti, A-M; Dupoux, E; Mehler, J

    2003-02-01

    Do the neural circuits that subserve language acquisition lose plasticity as they become tuned to the maternal language? We tested adult subjects born in Korea and adopted by French families in childhood; they have become fluent in their second language and report no conscious recollection of their native language. In behavioral tests assessing their memory for Korean, we found that they do not perform better than a control group of native French subjects who have never been exposed to Korean. We also used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor cortical activations while the Korean adoptees and native French listened to sentences spoken in Korean, French and other, unknown, foreign languages. The adopted subjects did not show any specific activations to Korean stimuli relative to unknown languages. The areas activated more by French stimuli than by foreign stimuli were similar in the Korean adoptees and in the French native subjects, but with relatively larger extents of activation in the latter group. We discuss these data in light of the critical period hypothesis for language acquisition.

  12. Mapping Functional Brain Development: Building a Social Brain through Interactive Specialization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Mark H.; Grossmann, Tobias; Kadosh, Kathrin Cohen

    2009-01-01

    The authors review a viewpoint on human functional brain development, interactive specialization (IS), and its application to the emerging network of cortical regions referred to as the "social brain." They advance the IS view in 2 new ways. First, they extend IS into a domain to which it has not previously been applied--the emergence of social…

  13. Neural Substrate Expansion for the Restoration of Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Chen, H. Isaac; Jgamadze, Dennis; Serruya, Mijail D.; Cullen, D. Kacy; Wolf, John A.; Smith, Douglas H.

    2016-01-01

    Restoring neurological and cognitive function in individuals who have suffered brain damage is one of the principal objectives of modern translational neuroscience. Electrical stimulation approaches, such as deep-brain stimulation, have achieved the most clinical success, but they ultimately may be limited by the computational capacity of the residual cerebral circuitry. An alternative strategy is