Yamaguchi, Tsuyoshi; Sheen, Whitney; Morales, Marisela
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is thought to play an important role in reward function. Two populations of neurons, containing either dopamine (DA) or γ-amino butyric acid (GABA), have been extensively characterized in this area. However, recent electrophysiological studies are consistent with the notion that neurons that utilize neurotransmitters other than DA or GABA are likely to be present in the VTA. Given the pronounced phenotypic diversity of neurons in this region, we have proposed that additional cell types, such as those that express the neurotransmitter glutamate may also be present in this area. Thus, by using in situ hybridization histochemistry we investigated whether transcripts encoded by genes for the two vesicular glutamate transporters, VGluT1 or VGluT2, were expressed in the VTA. We found that VGluT2 mRNA but not VGluT1 mRNA is expressed in the VTA. Neurons expressing VGluT2 mRNA were differentially distributed throughout the rostro-caudal and medio-lateral aspects of the VTA, with the highest concentration detected in rostro-medial areas. Phenotypic characterization with double in situ hybridization of these neurons indicated that they rarely co–expressed mRNAs for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, marker for DAergic neurons) or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD, marker for GABAergic neurons). Based on the results described here, we concluded that the VTA contains glutamatergic neurons that in their vast majority are clearly non-DAergic and non-GABAergic. PMID:17241272
Moreau, J L; Cohen, E; Lieblich, I
Pain sensitivity and analgesia induced by the stimulation of the ventral tegmentum (VT) were studied in 72 male rats of two lines, LC2-Hi and LC2-Lo, genetically selected for high and low rates of lateral hypothalamic self-stimulation, respectively. LC2-Lo rats were more sensitive to acute peripheral pain and developed a stronger analgesia than their LC2-Hi counterparts. In order to assess the pharmacological substrate of ventral tegmental stimulation-induced analgesia (VT-SIA), the effects of amphetamine (AMP, 21 animals), naloxone (NX, 24 animals) and parachlorophenylalanine (PCPA, 27 animals) injections were studied. VT-SIA was found to be clearly decreased by PCPA, slightly decreased by AMP and not significantly affected by NX. Ventral tegmental self-stimulation ( VTSS ) was increased by PCPA treatment. The comparison of VTSS and VT-SIA did not reveal any correlation between both phenomena. These data suggest that VT-SIA may be mediated by serotonin while catecholamines may have a modulatory role in this analgesia and that VTSS and VT-SIA seem to be governed by different neuronal systems.
Jiang, Z G; Pessia, M; North, R A
1. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made from dopamine-containing ventral tegmental area neurones in slices of rat midbrain. An inward current (Ih) was activated by hyperpolarization from -60 mV. 2. Dopamine (30 microM) reduced the amplitude of Ih by 10-30% at potentials from -70 to -120 mV. The effect was concentration dependent, mimicked by the D2 agonist quinpirole, and prevented by the D2 antagonist (-)-sulpiride. Baclofen (0.3-3 microM) also inhibited Ih; this action was antagonized by 2-hydroxysaclofen but not by (-)-sulpiride. The decrease in Ih resulted from a reduction in the maximal current with no change in the voltage dependence. 3. The action of dopamine was unaffected by cadmium (200 microM), forskolin (10 microM), the adenylyl cyclase inhibitor 2',3'-dideoxyadenosine (100 microM), or by intracellular solution containing cyclic AMP (2 mM). 4. Ih was progressively reduced during the first 5-10 min of recording with electrodes containing guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate); after this time, dopamine had no further effect. 5. It is concluded that agonists acting at D2 receptors and GABAB receptors reduce Ih in ventral tegmental neurones. PMID:8392580
Brown, P Leon; Shepard, Paul D
The lateral habenula, a phylogenetically conserved epithalamic structure, is activated by aversive stimuli and reward omission. Excitatory efferents from the lateral habenula predominately inhibit midbrain dopamine neuronal firing through a disynaptic, feedforward inhibitory mechanism involving the rostromedial tegmental nucleus. However, the lateral habenula also directly targets dopamine neurons within the ventral tegmental area, suggesting that opposing actions may result from increased lateral habenula activity. In the present study, we tested the effect of habenular efferent stimulation on dopamine and nondopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rats using a parasagittal brain slice preparation. Single pulse stimulation of the fasciculus retroflexus excited 48% of dopamine neurons and 51% of nondopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of rat pups. These proportions were not altered by excision of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus and were evident in both cortical- and striatal-projecting dopamine neurons. Glutamate receptor antagonists blocked this excitation, and fasciculus retroflexus stimulation elicited evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials with a nearly constant onset latency, indicative of a monosynaptic, glutamatergic connection. Comparison of responses in rat pups and young adults showed no significant difference in the proportion of neurons excited by fasciculus retroflexus stimulation. Our data indicate that the well-known, indirect inhibitory effect of lateral habenula activation on midbrain dopamine neurons is complemented by a significant, direct excitatory effect. This pathway may contribute to the role of midbrain dopamine neurons in processing aversive stimuli and salience.
Small, Keri M.; Nunes, Eric; Hughley, Shannon; Addy, Nii A.
Cholinergic and dopaminergic mechanisms within the mesolimbic dopamine system are suggested to play a role in the manifestation of depression and anxiety-related disorders. However, despite the fact that cholinergic mechanisms in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) highly regulate dopamine activity, the role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in depression-related behaviors is relatively unknown. Here we sought to determine whether enhancing cholinergic tone in the VTA would alter depression and anxiety-related behavior in the forced swim test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and sucrose preference test (SPT). Adult Sprague Dawley male rats received VTA infusion of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine (0, 1, 2 μg/side), immediately prior to the FST, EPM, or SPT. Physostigmine administration increased immobility time in the FST, decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM, and decreased sucrose preference. In a separate cohort of rats, we also examined whether activation of VTA muscarinic receptors was sufficient to alter behavior in the FST and EPM. Similar to physostigmine, VTA infusion of the muscarinic receptor agonist, pilocarpine (0, 3, 30 μg/side), increased immobility time in the FST and decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM. These data suggest that enhanced VTA cholinergic tone promotes pro-depressive and anxiogenic-like effects and demonstrate that specific activation of VTA muscarinic receptors is also sufficient to induce pro-depressive and anxiogenic responses. Together, these findings reveal a novel role of VTA cholinergic, and specifically muscarinic receptor, mechanisms in mediating responses to stress and anxiety. PMID:26828299
Wang, Hui-Dong; Takigawa, Morikuni; Hamada, Koichi; Shiratani, Toshihiro; Takenouchi, Kaoru
We examined the effects of long-term methamphetamine (MAP) administration to rats on locomotor traces and reward-seeking behavior that was evaluated through ventral tegmental intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). Furthermore, using the directed coherence (DCOH) EEG analysis method, correlation of prefrontal cortical and ventral tegmental EEGs was investigated in terms of the direction of information transmission. The results showed a transition from 'mixed type' behavior to 'fixed type' behavior during long-term MAP treatment, accompanied by a gradually diminished rate of ICSS and increased reward threshold. Correlating to these changes, a dominant information flow from ventral tegmental area (VTA) to prefrontal cortex (PFC) was observed after long-term MAP administration. Together with our previously reported finding of reciprocal information flow between PFC and VTA in MAP-induced hyperactive and stereotyped behavior, the present results indicate that information flow and its direction may be useful in explaining the neuronal substrates mediating development of behavioral sensitization. The predominant information flow from the VTA to PFC that occurs with sensitization supports recent speculations concerning impulsivity in drug addiction.
Sun, Wenlin; Akins, Chana K; Mattingly, Anne E; Rebec, George V
Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior and by a high rate of relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Although the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway is thought to play a critical role in drug craving and relapse, recent evidence also implicates glutamate, an amino acid known to activate DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) via ionotropic receptors. To assess whether increased glutamate transmission in the VTA is involved in cocaine-primed drug-seeking behavior, we tested rats in a between-session reinstatement model. They were trained to press a lever for cocaine infusions (0.25 mg/infusion) accompanied by compound stimuli (light and tone) under a modified fixed-ratio 5 reinforcement schedule. Cocaine-primed reinstatement was conducted after lever pressing was extinguished in the absence of the conditioned stimuli. Blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the VTA by local application of kynurenate (0.0, 1.0, 3.2, and 5.6 microg/side) dose-dependently decreased cocaine-primed reinstatement, whereas sucrose-primed reinstatement of sucrose-seeking behavior was unaffected. In addition, the minimum effective dose for decreasing cocaine-primed reinstatement was ineffective in the substantia nigra. Together, these data indicate that glutamatergic activation of the VTA is critical for cocaine-primed reinstatement. Because such activation can increase impulse flow in DA neurons and thus DA release in mesocorticolimbic targets, this glutamate-DA interaction in the VTA may underlie cocaine-primed relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior.
Omelchenko, Natalia; Sesack, Susan R.
Dopamine and GABA neurons in the ventral tegmental area project to the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex and modulate locomotor and reward behaviors as well as cognitive and affective processes. Both midbrain cell types receive synapses from glutamate afferents that provide an essential control of behaviorally-linked activity patterns, although the sources of glutamate inputs have not yet been completely characterized. We used antibodies against the vesicular glutamate transporters VGlut1 and VGlut2 to investigate the morphology and synaptic organization of axons containing these proteins as putative markers of glutamate afferents from cortical versus subcortical sites, respectively. We also characterized the ventral tegmental area cell populations receiving VGlut1+ or VGlut2+ synapses according to their transmitter phenotype (dopamine or GABA) and major projection target (nucleus accumbens or prefrontal cortex). By light and electron microscopic examination, VGlut2+ as opposed to VGlut1+ axon terminals were more numerous, had a larger average size, synapsed more proximally, and were more likely to form convergent synapses onto the same target. Both axon types formed predominantly asymmetric synapses, although VGlut2+ terminals more often formed synapses with symmetric morphology. No absolute selectivity was observed for VGlut1+ or VGlut2+ axons to target any particular cell population. However, the synapses onto mesoaccumbens neurons more often involved VGlut2+ terminals, whereas mesoprefrontal neurons received relatively equal synaptic inputs from VGlut1+ and VGlut2+ profiles. The distinct morphological features of VGlut1 and VGlut2 positive axons suggest that glutamate inputs from presumed cortical and subcortical sources, respectively, differ in the nature and intensity of their physiological actions on midbrain neurons. More specifically, our findings imply that subcortical glutamate inputs to the ventral tegmental area expressing VGlut2 predominate over
Brown, Robyn Mary; Kim, Andrezza K; Khoo, Shaun Yon-Seng; Kim, Jee Hyun; Jupp, Bianca; Lawrence, Andrew John
Orexins (hypocretins) are hypothalamic neuropeptides that innervate the entire neuraxis, including the prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area and have been implicated in ethanol-seeking behaviour. The present study aimed to use the orexin-1 (OX1 ) receptor antagonist SB-334867 to examine the role of prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area OX1 receptors in cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. Ethanol-preferring rats (iP) rats were trained to self-administer ethanol (10 percent v/v, FR3) or sucrose (0.2-1 percent w/v, FR3) in the presence of reward-associated cues before being implanted with indwelling guide cannulae. Rats then underwent extinction training for 11 days. On test days, rats were given a microinjection of vehicle or SB-334867 (3 μg/side) and presented with reward-associated cues to precipitate reinstatement. Results show SB-334867 infused into the prelimbic cortex attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking, but not sucrose-seeking. OX1 antagonism in the ventral tegmental area also attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. These findings suggest that OX1 receptors located in the prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area are part of a circuit driving cue-mediated ethanol-seeking behaviour.
Valdés, José L.; McNaughton, Bruce L.
In a rest period immediately after a task, neurons in the hippocampus, neocortex, and striatum exhibit spatiotemporal correlation patterns resembling those observed during the task. This reactivation has been proposed as a neurophysiological substrate for memory consolidation. We provide new evidence that rodent ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons are selective for different types of food stimuli and that stimulus-sensitive neurons strongly reactivate during the rest period following a task that involved those stimuli. Reactivation occurred primarily during slow wave sleep and during quiet awakeness. In these experiments, VTA reactivation patterns were uncompressed and occurred at the firing rate level, rather than on a spike-to-spike basis. Mildly aversive stimuli were reactivated more often than positive ones. The VTA is a pivotal structure involved in the perception and prediction of reward and stimulus salience and is a key neuromodulatory system involved in synaptic plasticity. These results suggest new ways in which dopaminergic signals could contribute to the biophysical mechanisms of selective, system-wide, memory consolidation, and reconsolidation during sleep. PMID:26108957
Bruijnzeel, Adrie W; Markou, Athina
Chronic administration of nicotine induces adaptations in the brain reward circuit to counteract the acute drug effects; when nicotine administration ceases, these adaptations remain unopposed and lead to drug withdrawal. The present studies were conducted to assess the effects of chronic nicotine administration on nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (Nacc) shell. A discrete-trial intracranial self-stimulation procedure that provides current-intensity thresholds as measures of brain reward function was used in rats. Previous studies have shown that withdrawal from nicotine-induced elevations in brain reward thresholds that are indicative of a decrease in brain reward function. We show here that injections of the nAChR antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE; 0.6-20 microg total bilateral dose) into the VTA, but not outside the VTA, resulted in significant elevations in brain reward thresholds in nicotine dependent rats (9 mg/kg/day nicotine hydrogen tartrate) while having no effect in saline-treated controls. By contrast, DHbetaE (0.6-20 microg total bilateral dose) injected into the Nacc shell had no effect on brain reward thresholds of nicotine- or saline-treated rats. The adaptations in cholinergic transmission in the VTA are likely to mediate, at least partly, the affective signs of nicotine withdrawal in humans.
Matheny, M; Shapiro, A; Tümer, N; Scarpace, P J
Diet-induced obesity (DIO) results in region-specific cellular leptin resistance in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus in one strain of mice and in several medial basal hypothalamic regions in another. We hypothesized that the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is also likely susceptible to diet-induced and leptin-induced leptin resistance in parallel to that in hypothalamic areas. We examined two forms of leptin resistance in F344xBN rats, that induced by 6-months of high fat (HF) feeding and that induced by 15-months of central leptin overexpression by use of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV)-mediated gene delivery of rat leptin. Cellular leptin resistance was assessed by leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) in medial basal hypothalamic areas and the VTA. The regional pattern and degree of leptin resistance with HF was distinctly different than that with leptin overexpression. Chronic HF feeding induced a cellular leptin resistance that was identified in the ARC and VTA, but absent in the lateral hypothalamus (LH), ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). In contrast, chronic central leptin overexpression induced cellular leptin resistance in all areas examined. The identification of leptin resistance in the VTA, in addition to the leptin resistance in the hypothalamus, provides one potential mechanism, underlying the increased susceptibility of leptin resistant rats to HF-induced obesity.
Harris Bozer, Amber L; Li, Ai-Ling; Sibi, Jiny E; Bobzean, Samara A M; Peng, Yuan B; Perrotti, Linda I
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been established as a critical nucleus for processing behavioral changes that occur during psychostimulant use. Although it is known that cocaine induced locomotor activity is initiated in the VTA, not much is known about the electrical activity in real time. The use of our custom-designed wireless module for recording local field potential (LFP) activity provides an opportunity to confirm and identify changes in neuronal activity within the VTA of freely moving rats. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in VTA LFP activity in real time that underlie cocaine induced changes in locomotor behavior. Recording electrodes were implanted in the VTA of rats. Locomotor behavior and LFP activity were simultaneously recorded at baseline, and after saline and cocaine injections. Results indicate that cocaine treatment caused increases in both locomotor behavior and LFP activity in the VTA. Specifically, LFP activity was highest during the first 30 min following the cocaine injection and was most robust in Delta and Theta frequency bands; indicating the role of low frequency VTA activity in the initiation of acute stimulant-induced locomotor behavior. Our results suggest that LFP recording in freely moving animals can be used in the future to provide valuable information pertaining to drug induced changes in neural activity.
Rodd, Zachary A; Bell, Richard L; Oster, Scott M; Toalston, Jamie E; Pommer, Tylene J; McBride, William J; Murphy, James M
Several studies indicated the involvement of serotonin-3 ([5-hydroxy tryptamine] 5-HT(3)) receptors in regulating alcohol-drinking behavior. The objective of this study was to determine the involvement of 5-HT(3) receptors within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in regulating ethanol self-administration by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Standard two-lever operant chambers (Coulbourn Instruments, Allentown, PA) were used to examine the effects of seven consecutive bilateral microinfusions of ICS 205-930 (ICS), a 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist, directly into the posterior VTA on the acquisition and maintenance of 15% (vol/vol) ethanol self-administration. P rats readily acquired ethanol self-administration by the fourth session. The three highest doses (0.125, 0.25, and 1.25 microg) of ICS prevented acquisition of ethanol self-administration. During the acquisition postinjection period, all rats treated with ICS demonstrated higher responding on the ethanol lever, with the highest dose producing the greatest effect. In contrast, during the maintenance phase, the three highest doses (0.75, 1.0, and 1.25 microg) of ICS significantly increased responding on the ethanol lever; after the 7-day dosing regimen, responding on the ethanol lever returned to control levels. Microinfusion of ICS into the posterior VTA did not alter the low responding on the water lever and did not alter saccharin (0.0125% wt/v) self-administration. Microinfusion of ICS into the anterior VTA did not alter ethanol self-administration. Overall, the results of this study suggest that 5-HT(3) receptors in the posterior VTA of the P rat may be involved in regulating ethanol self-administration. In addition, chronic operant ethanol self-administration and/or repeated treatments with a 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist may alter neuronal circuitry within the posterior VTA.
Fiorino, D F; Coury, A; Fibiger, H C; Phillips, A G
In vivo microdialysis with HPLC-ED was used to measure dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the nucleus accumbens of the rat, prior, during, and after 15-min periods of electrical brain stimulation at sites in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) that supported intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). In the first experiment, both ICSS and yoked stimulation of the VTA evoked significant increases in extracellular concentrations of DA, its metabolites, and 5-HIAA. Comparable results from ICSS and yoked groups were interpreted as evidence that the rewarding properties of VTA stimulation were a causal factor in the elevated DA transmission in the nucleus accumbens, rather than intense operant behavior. Further evidence for this hypothesis came from a second set of data in which changes in extracellular DA levels during the measurement of rate/intensity functions for ICSS were positively correlated. 5-HIAA concentrations also increased during ICSS but these changes were not correlated with either ICSS rate or current intensity, suggesting that changes in serotonin metabolism were unlikely to subserve brain stimulation reward in the VTA. These results add to the growing body of evidence linking changes in extracellular DA in the mesolimbic DA system with both brain stimulation reward and the conditioned and unconditioned rewarding effects of biologically relevant stimuli.
Ouachikh, Omar; Dieb, Wisam; Durif, Franck; Hafidi, Aziz
Dopamine dysregulation syndrome in Parkinson's disease has been attributed to dopamine replacement therapies and/or a lesion of the dopaminergic system. The dopaminergic neuronal loss targets the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We hypothesize that dopamine replacement therapy is responsible for the potential reinforcement effect in Parkinson's disease by acting on the neuronal reward circuitry. Therefore this study was designed to explore the potential motivational effect of dopamine replacement therapy in bilateral VTA-lesioned animals. The posterior (p)VTA, which project to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) constitutes the major dopamine neuronal circuitry implicated in addictive disorders. Using the conditioned place preference (CPP) behavioral paradigm, we investigated the motivational effects of dopamine receptor agonists, and cocaine in rat with a 6-OHDA bilateral lesion of the pVTA. Amongst the dopamine receptor agonists used in this study only the D2R and D3R agonists (bromocriptine, PD128907 and pramipexole), induced a significant CPP in pVTA-lesioned animals. Dopamine receptor agonists did not induce behavioral sensitization in sham animals. Moreover, confocal D2R immunostaining analysis showed a significant increase in the number of D2R per cell body in the NAc shell of pVTA lesioned rats compared to sham. This result correlated, for the first time, the dopamine receptor agonists effect with DR2 overexpression in the NAc shell of pVTA-lesioned rats. In addition, cocaine, which is known to increase dopamine release, induced behavioral sensitization in sham group but not in dopamine deprived group. Thus, the later result highlighted the importance of pVTA-NAc dopaminergic pathway in positive reinforcements. Altogether these data suggested that the implication of the dopamine replacement therapy in the appearance of dopamine dysregulation syndrome in Parkinson's disease is probably due to both neuronal degeneration in the posterior VTA and
Museo, E; Wise, R A
The present experiment was designed to determine whether ventral tegmental injections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine can establish place preferences. Two groups of rats were tested: one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum and a second group received injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum; this latter group was used to assess whether the diffusion of drug into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum might in itself be sufficient to account for the effects associated with injections into the ventral tegmentum. A total of eight sets of injections were made. On days 1, 3, 5, and 7, animals were injected with cytisine (10 nmol per 0.5 microliter per side) and placed in one of the two main compartments of a place-preference apparatus. On days 2, 4, 6, and 8, injections of physiological saline, the drug vehicle, were paired with the other main compartment. Animals that received ventral tegmental injections of cytisine spent significantly more time in the cytisine-paired compartment than in the saline-paired compartment. Animals given cytisine injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum did not show a preference for the cytisine-paired compartment. These findings provide additional evidence in support of the hypothesis that nicotinic actions at the level of the ventral tegmentum contribute to the reinforcing actions of systemic injections of nicotine.
Engleman, Eric A; Keen, Elizabeth J; Tilford, Sydney S; Thielen, Richard J; Morzorati, Sandra L
Moderate ethanol exposure produces neuroadaptive changes in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system in nondependent rats and increases measures of DA neuronal activity in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, moderate ethanol drinking and moderate systemic exposure elevates extracellular DA levels in mesocorticolimbic projection regions. However, the neuroadaptive changes subsequent to moderate ethanol drinking on basal DA levels have not been investigated in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). In the present study, adult female alcohol-preferring (P) rats were divided into alcohol-naive, alcohol-drinking, and alcohol-deprived groups. The alcohol-drinking group had continuous access to water and ethanol (15%, vol/vol) for 8 weeks. The alcohol-deprived group had 6 weeks of access followed by 2 weeks of ethanol deprivation, 2 weeks of ethanol re-exposure, followed again by 2 weeks of deprivation. The deprived rats demonstrated a robust alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) on ethanol reinstatement. The alcohol-naïve group had continuous access to water only. In the last week of the drinking protocol, all rats were implanted with unilateral microdialysis probes aimed at the posterior VTA and no-net-flux microdialysis was conducted to quantify extracellular DA levels and DA clearance. Results yielded significantly lower basal extracellular DA concentrations in the posterior VTA of the alcohol-drinking group compared with the alcohol-naive and alcohol-deprived groups (3.8±0.3nM vs. 5.0±0.5nM [P<.02] and 4.8±0.4nM, [P<.05], respectively). Extraction fractions were significantly (P<.0002) different between the alcohol-drinking and alcohol-naive groups (72±2% vs. 46±4%, respectively) and not significantly different (P=.051) between alcohol-deprived and alcohol-naive groups (61±6% for the alcohol-deprived group). The data indicate that reductions in basal DA levels within the posterior VTA occur after moderate chronic ethanol intake in nondependent P rats. This reduction may
Wang, Fushun; Xiao, Cheng; Ye, Jiang Hong
The physiological and pharmacological properties of taurine-induced responses were investigated in dopaminergic (DA) neurones from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of young rats aged 1-13 postnatal days, either in acute brain slices or acutely dissociated neurones. When whole-cell responses were recorded from current-clamped neurones using the gramicidin-perforated technique, the application of taurine (0.01-30 mm) accelerated firings and induced membrane depolarization. In voltage-clamped neurones, taurine induced a current which was antagonized by strychnine and by picrotoxin, but not by bicuculline. In addition, taurine-induced current showed complete cross-desensitization with glycine-activated currents but not with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-activated currents. Thus, taurine is a full agonist of the glycine receptors (GlyRs) in the VTA. Further studies found that taurine acted mainly on non-synaptic GlyRs. The application of 20 microm bicuculline abolished the spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic currents (IPSCs) in 40/45 neurones, and 93% of the evoked IPSCs. The addition of 1 microm strychnine completely eliminated the remaining IPSCs. These results suggest that GABAergic IPSCs predominate, and that functional glycinergic synapses are present in a subset of the VTA neurones. The application of 1 mum strychnine alone induced an outward current, suggesting that these neurones were exposed to tonically released taurine/glycine. In conclusion, by activating non-synaptic GlyRs, taurine may act as an excitatory extra-synaptic neurotransmitter in the VTA during early development.
Ettenberg, Aaron; Cotten, Samuel W; Brito, Michael A; Klein, Adam K; Ohana, Tatum A; Margolin, Benjamin; Wei, Alex; Wenzel, Jennifer M
In addition to its initial rewarding effects, cocaine has been shown to produce profound negative/anxiogenic actions. Recent work on the anxiogenic effects of cocaine has examined the role of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), with particular attention paid to the CRF cell bodies resident to the extended amygdala (i.e., the central nucleus of the amygdala [CeA] and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis [BNST]) and the interconnections within and projections outside the region (e.g., to the ventral tegmental area [VTA]). In the current study, localized CRF receptor antagonism was produced by intra-BNST, intra-CeA or intra-VTA application of the CRF antagonists, D-Phe CRF(12-41) or astressin-B. The effect of these treatments were examined in a runway model of i.v. cocaine self-administration that has been shown to be sensitive to both the initial rewarding and delayed anxiogenic effects of the drug in the same animal on the same trial. These dual actions of cocaine are reflected in the development of an approach-avoidance conflict ("retreat behaviors") about goal box entry that stems from the mixed associations that subjects form about the goal. CRF antagonism within the VTA, but not the CeA or BNST, significantly reduced the frequency of approach-avoidance retreat behaviors while leaving start latencies (an index of the positive incentive properties of cocaine) unaffected. These results suggest that the critical CRF receptors contributing to the anxiogenic state associated with acute cocaine administration may lie outside the extended amygdala, and likely involve CRF projections to the VTA.
Garduño-Gutiérrez, René; León-Olea, Martha; Rodríguez-Manzo, Gabriela
Opioid receptors internalize upon specific agonist stimulation. The in vivo significance of receptor internalization is not well established, partly due to the limited in vivo models used to study this phenomenon. Ejaculation promotes endogenous opioid release which activates opioid receptors at the brain, including the mesolimbic system and medial preoptic area. The objective of the present work was to analyze if there was a correlation between the degree of in vivo mu (MOR) and delta opioid receptor (DOR) internalization in the ventral tegmental area and the execution of different amounts of ejaculatory behavior of male rats. To this aim, we analyzed the brains of rats that ejaculated once or six successive times and of sexually exhausted rats with an established sexual inhibition, using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Results showed that MOR and DOR internalization increased as a consequence of ejaculation. There was a relationship between the amount of sexual activity executed and the degree of internalization for MOR, but not for DOR. MOR internalization was larger in rats that ejaculated repeatedly than in animals ejaculating only once. Significant DOR internalization was found only in animals ejaculating once. Changes in MOR, DOR and beta arrestin2 detection, associated to sexual activity, were also found. It is suggested that copulation to satiety might be useful as a model system to study the biological significance of receptor internalization.
Amantea, Diana; Bowery, Norman G
Background The activation of GABAB receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been suggested to attenuate the rewarding properties of psychostimulants, including nicotine. However, the neurochemical mechanism that underlie this effect remains unknown. Since GABAB receptors modulate the release of several neurotransmitters in the mammalian brain, we have characterised the effect of the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen on the release of [3H]-dopamine ([3H]-DA) from VTA slices of naïve rats and of rats pre-treated with nicotine. Results In naïve rats, baclofen concentration-dependently inhibited the electrically evoked release of [3H]-DA from the isolated VTA (EC50 = 0.103 μM, 95% CI = 0.043–0.249), without affecting the basal [3H]-monoamine overflow. This effect was mediated by activation of GABAB receptors as it was blocked by the selective receptor antagonist CGP55845A. Chronic administration of nicotine (0.4 mg kg-1, s.c., for 14 days) affected neither the basal nor the electrically evoked release of [3H]-DA from VTA slices. However, the inhibitory effect of baclofen (10 μM) on the stimulated [3H]-monoamine overflow was abolished in rats pre-treated with nicotine as compared to saline-injected controls. Conclusions Our results demonstrate that GABAB receptor activation reduces the release of DA from the rat VTA. In addition, a reduced sensitivity of VTA GABAB receptors appears to develop after chronic exposure to nicotine. The resulting disinhibition of VTA DA neurones might therefore contribute to the sensitised dopaminergic responses observed in the rat mesocorticolimbic system following repeated administration of nicotine. PMID:15494079
Li, Su-Xia; Wei, Yi-Ming; Shi, Hai-Shui; Luo, Yi-Xiao; Ding, Zeng-Bo; Xue, Yan-Xue; Lu, Lin; Yu, Chang-Xi
Cocaine sensitization and reward are reported to be under the influence of diurnal rhythm. However, no previous studies have reported brain areas that play a role as modulators and underlie the mechanism of diurnal variations in cocaine reward. We examined (1) the diurnal rhythm of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) activity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and reward-related brain areas in naive rats; (2) the effect of day and night on the acquisition of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP); (3) the influence of cocaine-induced CPP on GSK-3β activity in the SCN and reward-related brain areas; and (4) the effect of the GSK-3β inhibitor SB216763 microinjected bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) on cocaine-induced CPP. A significant diurnal rhythm of GSK-3β activity was found in the SCN and reward-related brain areas, with diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP. GSK-3β activity in the SCN and reward-related brain areas exhibited marked diurnal variations in rats treated with saline. GSK-3β activity in rats treated with cocaine exhibited distinct diurnal variations only in the prefrontal cortex and VTA. Cocaine decreased the expression of phosphorylated GSK-3β (i.e. increased GSK-3β activity) only in the VTA in rats trained and tested at ZT4 and ZT16. SB216763 microinjected into the VTA bilaterally eliminated the diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP, but did not affect the acquisition of cocaine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that the VTA may be a critical area involved in the diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP, and GSK-3β may be a regulator of diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP.
Harrison, Ian F.; Anis, Hiba K.; Dexter, David T.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) manifests clinically as bradykinesia, rigidity, and development of a resting tremor, primarily due to degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathways in the brain. Intranigral administration of the irreversible ubiquitin proteasome system inhibitor, lactacystin, has been used extensively to model nigrostriatal degeneration in rats, and study the effects of candidate neuroprotective agents on the integrity of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system. Recently however, adjacent extra-nigral brain regions such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been noted to also become affected in this model, yet their integrity in studies of candidate neuroprotective agents in the model have largely been overlooked. Here we quantify the extent and distribution of dopaminergic degeneration in the VTA of rats intranigrally lesioned with lactacystin, and quantify the extent of VTA dopaminergic neuroprotection after systemic treatment with an epigenetic therapeutic agent, valproate, shown previously to protect dopaminergic SNpc neurons in this model. We found that unilateral intranigral administration of lactacystin resulted in a 53.81% and 31.72% interhemispheric loss of dopaminergic SNpc and VTA neurons, respectively. Daily systemic treatment of lactacystin lesioned rats with valproate however resulted in dose-dependant neuroprotection of VTA neurons. Our findings demonstrate that not only is the VTA also affected in the intranigral lactacystin rat model of PD, but that this extra-nigral brain region is substrate for neuroprotection by valproate, an agent shown previously to induce neuroprotection and neurorestoration of SNpc dopaminergic neurons in this model. Our results therefore suggest that valproate is a candidate for extra-nigral as well as intra-nigral neuroprotection. PMID:26742637
Harrison, Ian F; Anis, Hiba K; Dexter, David T
Parkinson's disease (PD) manifests clinically as bradykinesia, rigidity, and development of a resting tremor, primarily due to degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathways in the brain. Intranigral administration of the irreversible ubiquitin proteasome system inhibitor, lactacystin, has been used extensively to model nigrostriatal degeneration in rats, and study the effects of candidate neuroprotective agents on the integrity of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system. Recently however, adjacent extra-nigral brain regions such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been noted to also become affected in this model, yet their integrity in studies of candidate neuroprotective agents in the model have largely been overlooked. Here we quantify the extent and distribution of dopaminergic degeneration in the VTA of rats intranigrally lesioned with lactacystin, and quantify the extent of VTA dopaminergic neuroprotection after systemic treatment with an epigenetic therapeutic agent, valproate, shown previously to protect dopaminergic SNpc neurons in this model. We found that unilateral intranigral administration of lactacystin resulted in a 53.81% and 31.72% interhemispheric loss of dopaminergic SNpc and VTA neurons, respectively. Daily systemic treatment of lactacystin lesioned rats with valproate however resulted in dose-dependant neuroprotection of VTA neurons. Our findings demonstrate that not only is the VTA also affected in the intranigral lactacystin rat model of PD, but that this extra-nigral brain region is substrate for neuroprotection by valproate, an agent shown previously to induce neuroprotection and neurorestoration of SNpc dopaminergic neurons in this model. Our results therefore suggest that valproate is a candidate for extra-nigral as well as intra-nigral neuroprotection.
Ding, Zheng-Ming; Liu, Wen; Engleman, Eric A.; Rodd, Zachary A.; McBride, William J.
Previous findings indicated differences in neuronal circuitries mediating drug reinforcement between the anterior and posterior ventral tegmental area (VTA). The objective of the present study was to examine the effects of the dopamine D2 antagonist sulpiride and the GABAA antagonist picrotoxin administered in the anterior and posterior VTA on the activity of mesoaccumbal dopamine neurons in female Wistar rats. Sulpiride and picrotoxin were administered in the anterior and posterior VTA. Extracellular dopamine levels were measured in sub-regions of the VTA and nucleus accumbens (ACB). Reverse-microdialysis of sulpiride (100 µM) into the posterior VTA increased extracellular dopamine levels locally (80% above baseline) and in the ACB shell and core (70% above baseline), whereas reverse-microdialysis into the anterior VTA produced a much smaller effect locally (30% above baseline) and in the ACB shell and core. In contrast, microinjection of picrotoxin (80 and 160 µM) into the anterior, but not posterior VTA, increased dopamine release in the ACB shell. The results suggest that dopamine neurons in the posterior VTA, compared to the anterior VTA, may be under greater D2 receptor-mediated tonic inhibition, whereas dopamine neurons in the anterior VTA, compared to the posterior VTA, may be under greater GABAA receptor-mediated tonic inhibition. PMID:19480073
Ding, Zheng-Ming; Toalston, Jamie E.; Oster, Scott M.; McBride, William J.; Rodd, Zachary A.
Rationale Previous studies indicated that ethanol could be self-infused into the posterior ventral tegmental area (p-VTA) and that activation of local serotonin-3 (5-HT3) receptors was involved. 5-HT1B and 5-HT2A receptors are involved in the effects of 5-HT and ethanol on VTA dopamine neurons. Objective The current study used the intracranial self-administration (ICSA) procedure to determine the involvement of local 5-HT1B and 5-HT2A receptors in the self-infusion of ethanol into the p-VTA. Materials and methods Female Wistar rats were implanted unilaterally with a guide cannula aimed at the p-VTA. Seven days after surgery, rats were placed into the two-lever operant conditioning chambers for ICSA tests. The tests consisted of four acquisition sessions with self-infusion of 200 mg% ethanol alone, two or three sessions with co-infusion of the 5-HT1B antagonist GR 55562 (10, 100, or 200 μM) or the 5-HT2A antagonist R-96544 (10, 100, or 200 μM) with 200 mg% ethanol, and one final session with 200 mg% ethanol alone. Results During the acquisition sessions, all rats readily self-infused ethanol and discriminated the active from inactive lever. Co-infusion of GR 55562, at all three doses, had no effect on the self-infusion of ethanol. In contrast, co-infusion of R-96544, at the two higher doses, attenuated responding on the active lever for ethanol infusion (p<0.05). Conclusion The results suggest that the reinforcing effects of ethanol within the p-VTA are modulated, at least in part, by activation of local 5-HT2A, but not 5-HT1B, receptors. PMID:19165471
Botros, Milad; Johansson, Tobias; Zhou, Qin; Lindeberg, Gunnar; Tömböly, Csaba; Tóth, Géza; Le Grevès, Pierre; Nyberg, Fred; Hallberg, Mathias
We have recently identified a specific binding site for the tachykinin peptide substance P (SP) fragment SP(1-7) in the rat spinal cord. This site appeared very specific for SP(1-7) as the binding affinity of this compound highly exceeded those of other SP fragments. We also observed that endomorphin-2 (EM-2) exhibited high potency in displacing SP(1-7) from this site. In the present work using a [(3)H]-labeled derivative of the heptapeptide we have identified and characterized [(3)H]-SP(1-7) binding in the rat ventral tegmental area (VTA). Similarly to the [(3)H]-SP(1-7) binding in the spinal cord the affinity of unlabeled SP(1-7) to the specific site in VTA was significantly higher than those of other SP fragments. Further, the tachykinin receptor NK-1, NK-2 and NK-3 ligands showed no or negligible binding to the identified site. However, the mu-opioid peptide (MOP) receptor agonists DAMGO, EM-1 and EM-2 did, and significant difference was observed in the binding affinity between the two endomorphins. As recorded from displacement curves the affinity of EM-2 for the SP(1-7) site was 4-5 times weaker than that for SP(1-7) but about 5 times higher than that of EM-1. The opioid receptor antagonists naloxone and naloxonazine showed weak or negligible binding. It was concluded that the specific site identified for SP(1-7) binding in the rat VTA is distinct from the MOP receptor although it exhibits high affinity for EM-2.
Hall, Hélène; Jewett, Michael; Landeck, Natalie; Nilsson, Nathalie; Schagerlöf, Ulrika; Leanza, Giampiero; Kirik, Deniz
Intraneuronal inclusions containing alpha-synuclein (a-syn) constitute one of the pathological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) and are accompanied by severe neurodegeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra. Although to a lesser extent, A10 dopaminergic neurons are also affected. Neurodegeneration of other neuronal populations, such as the cholinergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic cell groups, has also been documented in PD patients. Studies in human post-mortem PD brains and in rodent models suggest that deficits in cholinergic and dopaminergic systems may be associated with the cognitive impairment seen in this disease. Here, we investigated the consequences of targeted overexpression of a-syn in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic and septohippocampal cholinergic pathways. Rats were injected with recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors encoding for either human wild-type a-syn or green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the ventral tegmental area and the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca, two regions rich in dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons, respectively. Histopathological analysis showed widespread insoluble a-syn positive inclusions in all major projections areas of the targeted nuclei, including the hippocampus, neocortex, nucleus accumbens and anteromedial striatum. In addition, the rats overexpressing human a-syn displayed an abnormal locomotor response to apomorphine injection and exhibited spatial learning and memory deficits in the Morris water maze task, in the absence of obvious spontaneous locomotor impairment. As losses in dopaminergic and cholinergic immunoreactivity in both the GFP and a-syn expressing animals were mild-to-moderate and did not differ from each other, the behavioral impairments seen in the a-syn overexpressing animals appear to be determined by the long term persisting neuropathology in the surviving neurons rather than by neurodegeneration.
Kalló, Imre; Molnár, Csilla S.; Szöke, Sarolta; Fekete, Csaba; Hrabovszky, Erik; Liposits, Zsolt
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a main regulator of reward and integrates a wide scale of hormonal and neuronal information. Feeding-, energy expenditure-, stress, adaptation- and reproduction-related hypothalamic signals are processed in the VTA and influence the reward processes. However, the neuroanatomical origin and chemical phenotype of neurons mediating these signals to the VTA have not been fully characterized. In this study we have systematically mapped hypothalamic neurons that project to the VTA using the retrograde tracer Choleratoxin B subunit (CTB) and analyzed their putative gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and/or glutamate character with in situ hybridization in male rats. 23.93 ± 3.91% of hypothalamic neurons projecting to the VTA was found in preoptic and 76.27 ± 4.88% in anterior, tuberal and mammillary hypothalamic regions. Nearly half of the retrogradely-labeled neurons in the preoptic, and more than one third in the anterior, tuberal and mammillary hypothalamus appeared in medially located regions. The analyses of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) and glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) mRNA expression revealed both amino acid markers in different subsets of retrogradely-labeled hypothalamic neurons, typically with the predominance of the glutamatergic marker VGLUT2. About one tenth of CTB-IR neurons were GAD65-positive even in hypothalamic nuclei expressing primarily VGLUT2. Some regions were populated mostly by GAD65 mRNA-containing retrogradely-labeled neurons. These included the perifornical part of the lateral hypothalamus where 58.63 ± 19.04% of CTB-IR neurons were GABAergic. These results indicate that both the medial and lateral nuclear compartments of the hypothalamus provide substantial input to the VTA. Furthermore, colocalization studies revealed that these projections not only use glutamate but also GABA for neurotransmission. These GABAergic afferents may underlie important inhibitory mechanism to fine-tune the
Roguski, Emily E; Sharp, Burt M; Chen, Hao; Matta, Shannon G
In adult rats, we have shown full-gestational exposure to nicotine and ethanol (Nic + EtOH) augmented nicotine self-administration (SA) (increased nicotine intake) compared to pair-fed (PF) offspring. Therefore, we hypothesized that full-gestational exposure to Nic + EtOH disrupts control of dopaminergic (DA) circuitry by ventral tegmental area (VTA) NMDA receptors, augmenting nicotine SA and DA release in nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of adolescents. Both NAcc DA and VTA glutamate release were hyper-responsive to intra-VTA NMDA in Nic + EtOH offspring versus PF (p = 0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Similarly, DA release was more responsive to i.v. nicotine in Nic + EtOH offspring (p = 0.02). Local DL-2-Amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid sodium salt (AP5) (NMDA receptor antagonist) infusion into the VTA inhibited nicotine-stimulated DA release in Nic + EtOH and PF offspring. Nicotine SA was augmented in adolescent Nic + EtOH versus PF offspring (p = 0.000001). Daily VTA microinjections of AP5 reduced nicotine SA by Nic + EtOH offspring, without affecting PF (p = 0.000032). Indeed, nicotine SA in Nic + EtOH offspring receiving AP5 was not different from PF offspring. Both VTA mRNA transcripts and NMDA receptor subunit proteins were not altered in Nic + EtOH offspring. In summary, adolescent offspring exposed to gestational Nic + EtOH show markedly increased vulnerability to become dependent on nicotine. This reflects the enhanced function of a subpopulation of VTA NMDA receptors that confer greater nicotine-induced DA release in NAcc. We hypothesized that concurrent gestational exposure to nicotine and ethanol would disrupt the control of VTA dopaminergic circuitry by NMDA receptors. Resulting in the augmented nicotine self-administration (SA) in adolescent offspring.
Andino, Lourdes M; Ryder, Daniel J; Shapiro, Alexandra; Matheny, Michael K; Zhang, Yi; Judge, Melanie K; Cheng, K Y; Tümer, Nihal; Scarpace, Philip J
The activation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in different regions of the brain, including the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) and the nucleus of the solitary tract curtails feeding and attenuates body weight. In this study, we compared the effects of delivery of a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) construct encoding POMC to the ARC with delivery to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). F344×Brown Norway rats were high-fat (HF) fed for 14 days after which self-complementary rAAV constructs expressing either green fluorescent protein or the POMC gene were injected using coordinates targeting either the VTA or the ARC. Corresponding increased POMC levels were found at the predicted injection sites and subsequent α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone levels were observed. Food intake and body weight were measured for 4 months. Although caloric intake was unaltered by POMC overexpression, weight gain was tempered with POMC overexpression in either the VTA or the ARC compared with controls. There were parallel decreases in adipose tissue reserves. In addition, levels of oxygen consumption and brown adipose tissue uncoupling protein 1 were significantly elevated with POMC treatment in the VTA. Interestingly, tyrosine hydroxylase levels were increased in both the ARC and VTA with POMC overexpression in either the ARC or the VTA. In conclusion, these data indicate a role for POMC overexpression within the VTA reward center to combat HF-induced obesity.
Sotomayor-Zárate, Ramón; Abarca, Jorge; Araya, Katherine A; Renard, Georgina M; Andrés, María E; Gysling, Katia
A higher vulnerability to drug abuse has been observed in human studies of individuals exposed to chronic or persistent stress, as well as in animal models of drug abuse. Here, we explored the effect of repeated immobilization stress on cocaine-induced increase in dopamine extracellular levels in VTA and its regulation by corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and GABA systems. Cocaine (10mg/Kg i.p.) induced an increase of VTA DA extracellular levels in control rats. However, this effect was not observed in repeated stress rats. Considering the evidence relating stress with CRF, we decided to perfuse CRF and CP-154526 (selective antagonist of CRF1 receptor) in the VTA of control and repeated stress rats, respectively. We observed that perfusion of 20μM CRF inhibited the increase of VTA DA extracellular levels induced by cocaine in control rats. Interestingly, we observed that in the presence of 10μM CP-154526, cocaine induced a significant increase of VTA DA extracellular levels in repeated stress rats. Regarding the role of VTA GABA neurotransmission, cocaine administration induced a significant increase in VTA GABA extracellular levels only in repeated stress rats. Consistently, cocaine was able to increase VTA DA extracellular levels in repeated stress rats when 100μM bicuculline, an antagonist of GABAA receptor, was perfused intra VTA. Thus, both CRF and GABA systems are involved in the lack of response to cocaine in the VTA of repeated stress rats. It is tempting to suggest that the loss of response in VTA dopaminergic neurons to cocaine, after repeated stress, is due to an interaction between CRF and GABA systems.
Museo, E; Wise, R A
Systemic injections of nicotine increase locomotion, and repeating these injections brings about a sensitization of the locomotor response. Ventral tegmental injections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine also increase locomotion. In the present study cytisine was administered repeatedly into the ventral tegmentum to determine whether sensitization of its locomotor-activating effects would develop. Four groups of animals were tested; each group received a total of six injections at a rate of one injection every 48 h. Two of these groups received injections of cytisine (10 nmol/side): one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum, and, to insure the anatomical specificity of the locomotor effect, a second group received injections dorsal to the ventral tegmentum. The remaining two groups received vehicle injections: one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum, and the other received injections into more dorsal sites. The group of animals that received injections of cytisine into the ventral tegmentum locomoted more than any other group. In addition, only with this group was a progressive increase in the locomotor response evident across test days. These findings raise the possibility that a neural substrate in the ventral tegmentum mediates the locomotor-activating and sensitizing effects associated with the systemic administration of nicotine.
Gjerde, E; Long, H; Richard, D; Walker, C-D
Food intake is regulated by a close communication between the hypothalamus and the mesocorticolimbic pathways, which are still developing during the perinatal period in the rat, and are known targets for peripheral metabolic hormones such as leptin. A key region for this communication is the lateral hypothalamus (LH), although the onset of leptin responsiveness in the LH is unknown. We examined the activation of cellular signalling molecules in identified LH neurones on postnatal day (PND)10 and 16 and determined whether leptin directly targets orexin A (ORX-A) or neurotensin (NT) LH neurones through the detection of leptin receptors (ObRb) mRNA on these neurones. Next, using retrograde labelling in PND6 pups, we tested whether phenotypically identified neurones of the LH that respond to leptin project to ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurones. Leptin significantly induced phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK)1/2 and phosphorylated signal transducer activator of transcription (pSTAT)3 in the LH on PND16, whereas, on PND10, modest pERK1/2- and sparse pSTAT3-positive cells were identified. On PND16, most pERK1/2-activated neurones contain ORX-A and leptin-induced pSTAT3 was observed in other unidentified neurones. Afferents to the VTA were observed on PND6, including a large input from the LH, which contained both ORX-A-positive and non-ORX-A neurones, with some of these ORX-A neurones being activated by leptin treatment. Leptin receptor (ObRb) mRNA in the LH did not colocalise with ORX-A neurones on PND10, and only a few NT-positive neurones displayed ObRb mRNA expression. Thus, functional responsiveness to leptin in LH neurones is only partially achieved prior to the onset of independent feeding on PND16, and ORX-A neurones are indirectly activated by leptin. The presence of anatomical connections between the LH and the VTA in the first week of life, prior to the development of leptin responsiveness in both structures, suggests that tissue
Cheer, J F; Marsden, C A; Kendall, D A; Mason, R
Cannabinoid compounds have been reported to excite ventral tegmental neurons through activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. More recently, biochemical and whole-cell voltage-clamp studies carried out on CB1-transfected AtT20 cells have shown a rapid desensitization of these receptors following activation of protein kinase C by 4-alpha-phorbol. To investigate the possible physiological correlates of this phenomenon, we have studied the effects of repeated cannabinoid treatment on ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neuronal firing in vitro. Rat brain slices containing the ventral tegmental area were used for single-unit extracellular recordings. Only neurons meeting established electrophysiological and pharmacological criteria for dopaminergic neurons were used in the study (firing neurons were detected either using tungsten or glass microelectrodes). The high-affinity cannabinoid agonist HU210 produced a concentration-dependent increase in firing (1-15 microM; EC(50) approximately 7 microM). Initial HU210 exposure produced a significant increase in cell firing rate in the ventral tegmental area, with a maximum approximately 3.5-fold increase over pre-drug basal firing; a subsequent exposure to HU210 produced an approximately threefold increase over basal firing. Nevertheless, the duration and onset of excitation produced by the cannabinoid differed significantly between the first and second exposures; the first excitation lasted significantly longer than the second and required less time to reach a comparable change in firing rate. The increases in firing rate and the time to return to basal firing were not significantly different between exposures. Furthermore, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A completely prevented the HU210-induced excitation whilst having no effect on its own, thus indicating a CB1-receptor mediated mechanism for the observed increase in firing. Ventral tegmental area neurons are also excited by the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline
Museo, E; Wise, R A
Bilateral microinjections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine (0.1, 1 or 10 nanomoles per side) into the ventral tegmental area increased locomotor activity. This increase in locomotion was antagonized by mecamylamine (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and by pimozide (0.3 mg/kg, IP), a central dopaminergic antagonist. Hexamethonium (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that, unlike mecamylamine, does not cross the blood-brain barrier, had no effect; this suggests that mecamylamine's attenuation of cytisine-induced locomotor activity resulted from a blockade of central and not peripheral nicotinic receptors. The data support the notion that nicotinic and dopaminergic substrates interact at the level of the VTA to produce increases in locomotor activity.
MacInnes, Jeff J; Dickerson, Kathryn C; Chen, Nan-kuei; Adcock, R Alison
Activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and mesolimbic networks is essential to motivation, performance, and learning. Humans routinely attempt to motivate themselves, with unclear efficacy or impact on VTA networks. Using fMRI, we found untrained participants' motivational strategies failed to consistently activate VTA. After real-time VTA neurofeedback training, however, participants volitionally induced VTA activation without external aids, relative to baseline, Pre-test, and control groups. VTA self-activation was accompanied by increased mesolimbic network connectivity. Among two comparison groups (no neurofeedback, false neurofeedback) and an alternate neurofeedback group (nucleus accumbens), none sustained activation in target regions of interest nor increased VTA functional connectivity. The results comprise two novel demonstrations: learning and generalization after VTA neurofeedback training and the ability to sustain VTA activation without external reward or reward cues. These findings suggest theoretical alignment of ideas about motivation and midbrain physiology and the potential for generalizable interventions to improve performance and learning.
Liu, Jing; Guo, Ming
Background: Leptin, an adipose-derived hormone, has been implicated in emotional regulation. We have previously shown that systemic administration of leptin produces anxiolytic-like effects and deletion of the leptin receptor, LepRb, in midbrain dopamine neurons leads to an anxiogenic phenotype. This study investigated whether activation or deletion of LepRb in the ventral tegmental area of adult mice is capable of inducing anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects, respectively. Methods: Mice were cannulated in the ventral tegmental area and received bilateral intra-ventral tegmental area infusions of leptin or the JAK2/STAT3 inhibitor AG490. Anxiety-like behaviors were assessed using the elevated plus-maze, light-dark box, and novelty suppressed feeding tests. Deletion of LepRb in the ventral tegmental area was achieved by bilateral injection of AAV-Cre into the ventral tegmental area of adult Leprflox/flox mice. Anxiety-related behaviors were evaluated 3 weeks after viral injection. Results: Intra-ventral tegmental area infusions of leptin reduced anxiety-like behaviors, as indicated by increased percent open-arm time and open-arm entries in the elevated plus-maze test, increased time spent in the light side and decreased latency to enter the light side of the light-dark box, and decreased latency to feed in the novelty suppressed feeding test. Blockade of JAK2/STAT3 signaling in the ventral tegmental area by AG490 attenuated the anxiolytic effect produced by systemic administration of leptin. Leprflox/flox mice injected with AAV-Cre into the ventral tegmental area showed decreased leptin-induced STAT3 phosphorylation and enhanced anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus-maze test and the novelty suppressed feeding test. Conclusions: These findings suggest that leptin-LepRb signaling in the ventral tegmental area plays an important role in the regulation of anxiety-related behaviors. PMID:26438799
Razavi, Yasaman; Alamdary, Shabnam Zeighamy; Katebi, Seyedeh-Najmeh; Khodagholi, Fariba; Haghparast, Abbas
Some data suggest that morphine induces apoptosis in neurons, while other evidences show that morphine could have protective effects against cell death. In this study, we suggested that there is a parallel role of morphine in reward circuitry and apoptosis processing. Therefore, we investigated the effect of morphine on modifications of apoptotic factors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and hippocampus (HPC) which are involved in the reward circuitry after the acquisition and extinction periods of conditioned place preference (CPP). In behavioral experiments, different doses of morphine (0.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg) and saline were examined in the CPP paradigm. Conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded by Ethovision software after acquisition on the post-conditioning day, and days 4 and 8 of extinction periods. In order to investigate the molecular mechanisms in each group, we then dissected the brains and measured the expression of apoptotic factors in the VTA and HPC by western blotting analysis. All of the morphine-treated groups showed an increase of apoptotic factors in these regions during acquisition but not in extinction period. In the HPC, morphine significantly increased the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, caspases-3, and PARP by the lowest dose (0.5 mg/kg), but, in the VTA, a considerable increase was seen in the dose of 5 mg/kg; promotion of apoptotic factors in the HPC and VTA insinuates that morphine can affect the molecular mechanisms that interfere with apoptosis through different receptors. Our findings suggest that a specific opioid receptor involves in modification of apoptotic factors expression in these areas. It seems that the reduction of cell death in response to high dose of morphine in the VTA and HPC may be due to activation of low affinity opioid receptors which are involved in neuroprotective features of morphine.
Oliva, Idaira; Wanat, Matthew J.
Drug-related behaviors in both humans and rodents are commonly thought to arise from aberrant learning processes. Preclinical studies demonstrate that the acquisition and expression of many drug-dependent behaviors involves the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a midbrain structure comprised of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate neurons. Drug experience alters the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic input onto VTA dopamine neurons, suggesting a critical role for VTA afferents in mediating the effects of drugs. In this review, we present evidence implicating the VTA in drug-related behaviors, highlight the diversity of neuronal populations in the VTA, and discuss the behavioral effects of selectively manipulating VTA afferents. Future experiments are needed to determine which VTA afferents and what neuronal populations in the VTA mediate specific drug-dependent behaviors. Further studies are also necessary for identifying the afferent-specific synaptic alterations onto dopamine and non-dopamine neurons in the VTA following drug administration. The identification of neural circuits and adaptations involved with drug-dependent behaviors can highlight potential neural targets for pharmacological and deep brain stimulation interventions to treat substance abuse disorders. PMID:27014097
Hutson, Lee W; Szczytkowski, Jennifer L; Saurer, Timothy B; Lebonville, Christina; Fuchs, Rita A; Lysle, Donald T
Dopamine receptor stimulation is critical for heroin-conditioned immunomodulation; however, it is unclear whether the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contributes to this phenomenon. Hence, rats received repeated pairings of heroin with placement into a distinct environmental context. At test, they were re-exposed to the previously heroin-paired environment followed by systemic lipopolysaccharide treatment to induce an immune response. Bilateral GABA agonist-induced neural inactivation of the anterior, but not the posterior VTA, prior to context re-exposure inhibited the ability of the heroin-paired environment to suppress peripheral nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor-α expression, suggesting a role for the anterior VTA in heroin-conditioned immunomodulation.
Wang, Huikun; Treadway, Tyler; Covey, Daniel P; Cheer, Joseph F; Lupica, Carl R
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that acts upon the brain's reward circuitry via the inhibition of monoamine uptake. Endogenous cannabinoids (eCB) are lipid molecules released from midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons that modulate cocaine's effects through poorly understood mechanisms. We find that cocaine stimulates release of the eCB, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), in the rat ventral midbrain to suppress GABAergic inhibition of DA neurons, through activation of presynaptic cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Cocaine mobilizes 2-AG via inhibition of norepinephrine uptake and promotion of a cooperative interaction between Gq/11-coupled type-1 metabotropic glutamate and α1-adrenergic receptors to stimulate internal calcium stores and activate phospholipase C. The disinhibition of DA neurons by cocaine-mobilized 2-AG is also functionally relevant because it augments DA release in the nucleus accumbens in vivo. Our results identify a mechanism through which the eCB system can regulate the rewarding and addictive properties of cocaine.
Chen Han-Ting; Chen, Jin-Chung
The molecular mechanisms underlying drug extinction remain largely unknown, although a role for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamate neurons has been suggested. Considering that the mPFC sends glutamate efferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested whether the VTA is involved in methamphetamine (METH) extinction via conditioned…
Martig, Adria K.; Mizumori, Sheri J. Y.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) may provide modulatory signals that, respectively, influence hippocampal (HPC)- and striatal-dependent memory. Electrophysiological studies investigating neural correlates of learning and memory of dopamine (DA) neurons during classical conditioning tasks have found DA…
Lessard, Andrée; Savard, Martin; Gobeil, Fernand; Pierce, Joseph P.; Pickel, Virginia M.
Tonic activation of neurokinin-3 (NK3) receptors in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This psychiatric disorder is associated with a dysfunctional activity in VTA projection neurons that can affect cognitive function at the level of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) as well as motor and motivational states controlled in part by mesolimbic output to the nucleus accumbens (Acb). To determine the relevant sites for NK3 receptor activation within this neuronal network, we used confocal and electron microscopy to examine NK3 receptors (Cy5; immunogold) and retrograde labeling of fluorogold (FG, FITC; immunoperoxidase) in the VTA of rats receiving either Acb or mPFC injections of FG. Comparison was made with neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptors, which are also present, but less abundant then NK3 receptors, in dopaminergic and GABAergic VTA neurons. There were no observable differences between NK3 and NK1 receptors in their primary locations in the cytoplasm and on the plasma membrane of VTA somata and dendrites with or without FG. Dendrites labeled with FG retrogradely transported from mPFC, however, contained more NK3 or less NK1 immunogold particles (plasmalemmal + cytoplasmic) then those retrogradely labeled following FG injection in the Acb. Moreover, only the NK3 receptors were detected in neuronal nuclei in the VTA and in the nuclei of human HEK-293T NK3-transfected cells. The enrichment of NK3 receptors in mesocortical projection neurons and nuclear distribution of these receptors may provide insight for understanding the selective antipsychotic effectiveness of NK3 antagonists. PMID:19224600
de Jong, Johannes W; Roelofs, Theresia J M; Mol, Frédérique M U; Hillen, Anne E J; Meijboom, Katharina E; Luijendijk, Mieneke C M; van der Eerden, Harrie A M; Garner, Keith M; Vanderschuren, Louk J M J; Adan, Roger A H
Altered mesolimbic dopamine signaling has been widely implicated in addictive behavior. For the most part, this work has focused on dopamine within the striatum, but there is emerging evidence for a role of the auto-inhibitory, somatodendritic dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in addiction. Thus, decreased midbrain D2R expression has been implicated in addiction in humans. Moreover, knockout of the gene encoding the D2R receptor (Drd2) in dopamine neurons has been shown to enhance the locomotor response to cocaine in mice. Therefore, we here tested the hypothesis that decreasing D2R expression in the VTA of adult rats, using shRNA knockdown, promotes addiction-like behavior in rats responding for cocaine or palatable food. Rats with decreased VTA D2R expression showed markedly increased motivation for both sucrose and cocaine under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement, but the acquisition or maintenance of cocaine self-administration were not affected. They also displayed enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor activity, but no change in basal locomotion. This robust increase in incentive motivation was behaviorally specific, as we did not observe any differences in fixed ratio responding, extinction responding, reinstatement or conditioned suppression of cocaine, and sucrose seeking. We conclude that VTA D2R knockdown results in increased incentive motivation, but does not directly promote other aspects of addiction-like behavior.
Alcohol drinking increases the dopamine-stimulating effects of ethanol and reduces D2 auto-receptor and group II metabotropic glutamate receptor function within the posterior ventral tegmental area of alcohol preferring (P) rats.
Ding, Zheng-Ming; Ingraham, Cynthia M; Rodd, Zachary A; McBride, William J
Repeated local administration of ethanol (EtOH) sensitized the posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA) to the local dopamine (DA)-stimulating effects of EtOH. Chronic alcohol drinking increased nucleus accumbens (NAC) DA transmission and pVTA glutamate transmission in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. The objectives of the present study were to determine the effects of chronic alcohol drinking by P rats on the (a) sensitivity and response of the pVTA DA neurons to the DA-stimulating actions of EtOH, and (b) negative feedback control of DA (via D2 auto-receptors) and glutamate (via group II mGlu auto-receptors) release in the pVTA. EtOH (50 or 150 mg%) or the D2/3 receptor antagonist sulpiride (100 or 200 μM) was microinjected into the pVTA while DA was sampled with microdialysis in the NAC shell (NACsh). The mGluR2/3 antagonist LY341495 (1 or 10 μM) was perfused through the pVTA via reverse microdialysis and local extracellular glutamate and DA levels were measured. EtOH produced a more robust increase of NACsh DA in the 'EtOH' than 'Water' groups (e.g., 150 mg% EtOH: to ∼ 210 vs 150% of baseline). In contrast, sulpiride increased DA release in the NACsh more in the 'Water' than 'EtOH' groups (e.g., 200 μM sulpiride: to ∼ 190-240 vs 150-160% of baseline). LY341495 (at 10 μM) increased extracellular glutamate and DA levels in the 'Water' (to ∼ 150-180% and 180-230% of baseline, respectively) but not the 'EtOH' groups. These results indicate that alcohol drinking enhanced the DA-stimulating effects of EtOH, and attenuated the functional activities of D2 auto-receptors and group II mGluRs within the pVTA.
Ye, Jiang-Hong; Wang, Fushun; Krnjevic, Kresimir; Wang, Weizhen; Xiong, Zhi-Gang; Zhang, Jingli
GABA-mediated postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were recorded from dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rats, in acute brain slices, and from enzymatically or mechanically dissociated neurons. In young rats (3-10 d of age), where GABA is excitatory, glycine (1-3 microm) and taurine (10-30 microm) increased the amplitude of evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) and the frequency of spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) but had minimal postsynaptic effects. Strychnine (1 microm) blocked the action of glycine; when applied alone, it reduced the amplitude of eIPSCs and the frequency of sIPSCs, indicating a tonic facilitation of GABAergic excitation by some endogenous glycine agonist(s). In medium containing no Ca2+, or with Cd2+ or tetrodotoxin added, the amplitude and especially the frequency of sIPSCs greatly diminished. In many cells, glycine had no effect on remaining miniature IPSCs, suggesting a preterminal site of glycine receptors (GlyRs). Fura-2 fluorescent imaging showed a glycine-induced increase of [Ca2+] in nerve terminals (on DA neurons), which was suppressed by strychnine or 3 microm omega-conotoxin MVIIA. Therefore, the presynaptic GlyR-mediated facilitation of GABAergic transmission seems to be mediated by N- and/or P/Q-type Ca2+ channels. In older rats (22-30 d of age), where GABA causes inhibition, the effect of strychnine on GABAergic IPSCs was reversed to facilitation, indicating a tonic glycinergic inhibition of GABA release. Furthermore, glycine (1-3 microm) reduced the amplitude of eIPSCs and the frequency of sIPSCs. Hence, the overall effect of the presynaptic action of glycine is to enhance the firing of DA cells, both in very young and older rats.
Faget, Lauren; Osakada, Fumitaka; Duan, Jinyi; Ressler, Reed; Johnson, Alexander B; Proudfoot, James A; Yoo, Ji Hoon; Callaway, Edward M; Hnasko, Thomas S
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays a central role in the neural circuit control of behavioral reinforcement. Though considered a dopaminergic nucleus, the VTA contains substantial heterogeneity in neurotransmitter type, containing also GABA and glutamate neurons. Here, we used a combinatorial viral approach to transsynaptically label afferents to defined VTA dopamine, GABA, or glutamate neurons. Surprisingly, we find that these populations received qualitatively similar inputs, with dominant and comparable projections from the lateral hypothalamus, raphe, and ventral pallidum. However, notable differences were observed, with striatal regions and globus pallidus providing a greater share of input to VTA dopamine neurons, cortical input preferentially on to glutamate neurons, and GABA neurons receiving proportionally more input from the lateral habenula and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus. By comparing inputs to each of the transmitter-defined VTA cell types, this study sheds important light on the systems-level organization of diverse inputs to VTA.
Navarro, Gemma; Quiroz, César; Moreno-Delgado, David; Sierakowiak, Adam; McDowell, Kimberly; Moreno, Estefanía; Rea, William; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Aguinaga, David; Howell, Lesley A; Hausch, Felix; Cortés, Antonio; Mallol, Josefa; Casadó, Vicent; Lluís, Carme; Canela, Enric I; Ferré, Sergi; McCormick, Peter J
Release of the neuropeptides corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and orexin-A in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play an important role in stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. We provide evidence for pharmacologically significant interactions between CRF and orexin-A that depend on oligomerization of CRF1 receptor (CRF1R) and orexin OX1 receptors (OX1R). CRF1R-OX1R heteromers are the conduits of a negative crosstalk between orexin-A and CRF as demonstrated in transfected cells and rat VTA, in which they significantly modulate dendritic dopamine release. The cocaine target σ1 receptor (σ1R) also associates with the CRF1R-OX1R heteromer. Cocaine binding to the σ1R-CRF1R-OX1R complex promotes a long-term disruption of the orexin-A-CRF negative crosstalk. Through this mechanism, cocaine sensitizes VTA cells to the excitatory effects of both CRF and orexin-A, thus providing a mechanism by which stress induces cocaine seeking.
Li, Jing; Nie, Hong; Bian, Weiliang; Dave, Vaidehi; Janak, Patricia H; Ye, Jiang-Hong
The mechanisms of ethanol addiction are not completely understood. The mesolimbic dopaminergic system is involved in many drug-related behaviors, including ethanol self-administration. The dopaminergic neurons in this system originate in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and are under the control of GABAergic transmission. Our previous in vitro electrophysiological data indicate that glycine receptors (GlyRs) exist on the GABAergic terminals, which make synapses on VTA dopaminergic neurons, and activation of these GlyRs reduces GABAergic transmission and increases the activity of VTA dopaminergic neurons. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that the activation of the presynaptic GlyRs in the VTA might interfere with ethanol self-administration. Glycine and strychnine, the selective antagonist of GlyRs, were injected, either alone or in combination, into the VTA of rats. Ethanol self-administration by rats was evaluated by using three different drinking models: intermittent access, continuous access, and operant self-administration. We found that the infusion of glycine into the VTA selectively reduced the intake of ethanol but not sucrose or water in rats chronically exposed to ethanol under the intermittent-access and continuous-access procedures and decreased lever-press responding for ethanol under an operant self-administration procedure. The effects of glycine probably were mediated by strychnine-sensitive GlyRs, because the coinjection of glycine and strychnine reduced neither ethanol intake in the home cages nor lever-press responding for ethanol in the operant chambers. Thus, GlyRs in the VTA may play a critical role in ethanol self-administration in animals chronically exposed to ethanol. Therefore, drugs targeting GlyRs may be beneficial for alcoholics.
Addy, N A; Nunes, E J; Wickham, R J
Recent studies revealed a causal link between ventral tegmental area (VTA) phasic dopamine (DA) activity and pro-depressive and antidepressant-like behavioral responses in rodent models of depression. Cholinergic activity in the VTA has been demonstrated to regulate phasic DA activity, but the role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in depression-related behavior is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine whether pharmacological manipulation of VTA cholinergic activity altered behavioral responding in the forced swim test (FST) in rats. Here, male Sprague-Dawley rats received systemic or VTA-specific administration of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine (systemic; 0.06 or 0.125mg/kg, intra-cranial; 1 or 2μg/side), the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antagonist scopolamine (2.4 or 24μg/side), or the nicotinic AChR antagonist mecamylamine (3 or 30μg/side), prior to the FST test session. In control experiments, locomotor activity was also examined following systemic and intra-cranial administration of cholinergic drugs. Physostigmine administration, either systemically or directly into the VTA, significantly increased immobility time in FST, whereas physostigmine infusion into a dorsal control site did not alter immobility time. In contrast, VTA infusion of either scopolamine or mecamylamine decreased immobility time, consistent with an antidepressant-like effect. Finally, the VTA physostigmine-induced increase in immobility was blocked by co-administration with scopolamine, but unaltered by co-administration with mecamylamine. These data show that enhancing VTA cholinergic tone and blocking VTA AChRs has opposing effects in FST. Together, the findings provide evidence for a role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in behavioral responses in FST.
Piri, M; Zarrindast, M R
In the present study, the possible involvement of nitric oxide systems in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in nicotine's effect on morphine-induced amnesia and morphine state-dependent memory in adult male Wistar rats was investigated. Step-through type inhibitory avoidance task was used to test memory retrieval. Post-training administration of morphine (5 and 7.5 mg/kg) induced amnesia. The response induced by post-training morphine was significantly reversed by pre-test administration of the drug. Pre-test injection of nicotine (0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg s.c.) alone and nicotine (0.1, 0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg s.c.) plus an ineffective dose of morphine also significantly reversed the amnesia induced by morphine. Morphine amnesia was also prevented by pre-test administration of l-arginine (1 and 3 μg/rat, intra-VTA), a nitric oxide (NO) precursor. Interestingly, an ineffective dose of nicotine (0.1 mg/kg s.c.) in combination with low dose of l-arginine (0.3 μg/rat, intra-VTA) synergistically improved memory performance impaired by morphine given after training. In contrast, pre-test administration of NG nitro-l-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor (2 μg/rat, intra-VTA) prevented the nicotine reversal of morphine effect on memory. The results suggest a possible role for nitric oxide of ventral tegmental area in the improving effect of nicotine on the morphine-induced amnesia.
Valencia Garcia, Sara; Libourel, Paul-Antoine; Lazarus, Michael; Grassi, Daniela; Luppi, Pierre-Hervé; Fort, Patrice
SEE SCHENCK AND MAHOWALD DOI101093/AWW329 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: Idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder is characterized by the enactment of violent dreams during paradoxical (REM) sleep in the absence of normal muscle atonia. Accumulating clinical and experimental data suggest that REM sleep behaviour disorder might be due to the neurodegeneration of glutamate neurons involved in paradoxical sleep and located within the pontine sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus. The purpose of the present work was thus to functionally determine first, the role of glutamate sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons in paradoxical sleep and second, whether their genetic inactivation is sufficient for recapitulating REM sleep behaviour disorder in rats. For this goal, we first injected two retrograde tracers in the intralaminar thalamus and ventral medulla to disentangle neuronal circuits in which sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus is involved; second we infused bilaterally in sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus adeno-associated viruses carrying short hairpin RNAs targeting Slc17a6 mRNA [which encodes vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (vGluT2)] to chronically impair glutamate synaptic transmission in sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons. At the neuroanatomical level, sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons specifically activated during paradoxical sleep hypersomnia send descending efferents to glycine/GABA neurons within the ventral medulla, but not ascending projections to the intralaminar thalamus. These data suggest a crucial role of sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons rather in muscle atonia than in paradoxical sleep generation. In line with this hypothesis, 30 days after adeno-associated virus injections into sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus rats display a decrease of 30% of paradoxical sleep daily quantities, and a significant increase of muscle tone during paradoxical sleep concomitant to a tremendous increase of abnormal motor dream
Rice, Matthew W.; Smith, Kristen L.; Roberts, Rosalinda C.
Perturbations in metabolism are a well-documented but complex facet of schizophrenia pathology. Optimal cellular performance requires the proper functioning of the electron transport chain, which is constituted by four enzymes located within the inner membrane of mitochondria. These enzymes create a proton gradient that is used to power the enzyme ATP synthase, producing ATP, which is crucial for the maintenance of cellular functioning. Anomalies in a single enzyme of the electron transport chain are sufficient to cause disruption of cellular metabolism. The last of these complexes is the cytochrome c oxidase (COX) enzyme, which is composed of thirteen different subunits. COX is a major site for oxidative phosphorylation, and anomalies in this enzyme are one of the most frequent causes of mitochondrial pathology. The objective of the present report was to assess if metabolic anomalies linked to COX dysfunction may contribute to substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) pathology in schizophrenia. We tested COX activity in postmortem SN/VTA from schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls. We also tested the protein expression of key subunits for the assembly and activity of the enzyme, and the effect of antipsychotic medication on subunit expression. COX activity was not significantly different between schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls. However, we found significant decreases in the expression of subunits II and IV-I of COX in schizophrenia. Interestingly, these decreases were observed in samples containing the entire rostro-caudal extent of the SN/VTA, while no significant differences were observed for samples containing only mid-caudal regions of the SN/VTA. Finally, rats chronically treated with antipsychotic drugs did not show significant changes in COX subunit expression. These findings suggest that COX subunit expression may be compromised in specific sub-regions of the SN/VTA (i.e. rostral regions), which may lead to a faulty assembly of the
Kita, Justin M.; Kile, Brian M.; Parker, Lauren E.; Wightman', R. Mark
The ventral tegmental area (VTA), the locus of mesolimbic dopamine cell bodies, contains dopamine. Experiments in brain slices have demonstrated that VTA dopamine can be released by local electrical stimulation. Measurements with both push-pull cannula and microdialysis in intact animals have also obtained evidence for releasable dopamine. Here we demonstrate that dopamine release in the VTA can be evoked by remote stimulations of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) in the anesthetized rat. In initial experiments, the MFB was electrically stimulated while a carbon-fiber electrode was lowered to the VTA, with recording by fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. While release was not observed with the carbon fiber 4 to 6 mm below dura, a voltammetric response was observed a t 6-8 mm below dura, but the voltammogram was poorly defined. At lower depths, in the VTA, dopamine release was evoked. Immunohistochemistry experiments with antibodies for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) confirmed that dopamine processes were primarily found below 8 mm. Similarly, tissue content determined by liquid chromatography revealed serotonin but not dopamine dorsal to 8 mm with both dopamine and serotonin at lower depths. Evaluation of the VTA signal by pharmacological means showed that it increased with inhibitors of dopamine uptake, but release was not altered by D2 agents. Dopamine release in the VTA was frequency dependent and could be exhausted by stimulations longer than 5 s. Thus, VTA dopamine release can be evoked in vivo by remote stimulations and it resembles release in terminal regions, possessing a similar uptake mechanism and a finite releasable storage pool. PMID:19593821
Velásquez-Martínez, M.C.; Vázquez-Torres, R.; Rojas, L.V.; Sanabria, P.; Jiménez-Rivera, C.A.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays an important role in reward and motivational processes involved in drug addiction. Previous studies have shown that alpha1-adrenoreceptors (α1-AR) are primarily found presynaptically at this area. We hypothesized that GABA released onto VTA-dopamine (DA) cells is modulated by presynaptic α1-AR. Recordings were obtained from putative VTA-DA cells of male Sprague-Dawley rats (28–50 days postnatal) using whole-cell voltage clamp technique. Phenylephrine (10µM; α1-AR agonist) decreased the amplitude of GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) evoked by electrical stimulation of afferent fibers (n=7; p<0.05). Prazosin (1µM, α1-AR antagonist), blocked this effect. Paired-pulse ratios were increased by phenylephrine application (n=13; p<0.05) indicating a presynaptic site of action. Spontaneous IPSCs frequency but not amplitude, were decreased in the presence of phenylephrine (n=7; p<0.05). However, frequency or amplitude of miniature IPSCs were not changed (n=9; p>0.05). Phenylephrine in low Ca2+ (1mM) medium decreased IPSC amplitude (n=7; p<0.05). Chelerythrine (a protein kinase C inhibitor) blocked the α1-AR action on IPSC amplitude (n=6; p<0.05). Phenylephrine failed to decrease IPSCs amplitude in the presence of paxilline, a BK channel blocker (n=7; p<0.05). Taken together, these results demonstrate that α1-ARs at presynaptic terminals can modulate GABA release onto VTA-DA cells. Drug-induced changes in α1-AR could contribute to the modifications occurring in the VTA during the addiction process. PMID:25261018
Miller, Sarah; Akram, Harith; Lagrata, Susie; Hariz, Marwan; Zrinzo, Ludvic; Matharu, Manjit
SEE LEONE AND PROIETTI CECCHINI DOI101093/AWW233 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks are primary headache disorders characterized by short-lasting attacks of unilateral pain accompanied by autonomic features. A small minority are refractory to medical treatment. Neuroimaging studies have suggested a role of the posterior hypothalamic region in their pathogenesis. Previous case reports on deep brain stimulation of this region, now understood to be the ventral tegmental area, for this disorder are limited to a total of three patients. We present a case series of 11 new patients treated with ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in an uncontrolled, open-label prospective observational study. Eleven patients with refractory short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks underwent ipsilateral ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in a specialist unit. All patients had failed, or been denied access to, occipital nerve stimulation within the UK's National Health Service. Primary endpoint was change in mean daily attack frequency at final follow-up. Secondary outcomes included attack severity, attack duration, headache load (a composite score of attack frequency, severity and duration), quality of life measures, disability and affective scores. Information was also collected on adverse events. Eleven patients (six male) with a median age of 50 years (range 26-67) were implanted between 2009 and 2014. Median follow-up was 29 months (range 7-63). At final follow-up the median improvement in daily attack frequency was 78% (interquartile range 33%). Response rate (defined as at least a 50% improvement in daily attack frequency) was 82% and four patients were rendered pain-free for prolonged periods of time. Headache load improved by 99% (interquartile range 52%). Improvements were observed in a number of quality of life, disability and affect measures. Adverse events included mild incision
Mazei-Robison, Michelle S; Appasani, Raghu; Edwards, Scott; Wee, Sunmee; Taylor, Seth R; Picciotto, Marina R; Koob, George F; Nestler, Eric J
Our previous observations show that chronic opiate administration, including self-administration, decrease the soma size of dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rodents and humans, a morphological change correlated with increased firing rate and reward tolerance. Given that a general hallmark of drugs of abuse is to increase activity of the mesolimbic DA circuit, we sought to determine whether additional drug classes produced a similar morphological change. Sections containing VTA were obtained from rats that self-administered cocaine or ethanol and from mice that consumed nicotine. In contrast to opiates, we found no change in VTA DA soma size induced by any of these other drugs. These data suggest that VTA morphological changes are induced in a drug-specific manner and reinforce recent findings that some changes in mesolimbic signaling and neuroplasticity are drug-class dependent.
Yoo, Ji Hoon; Zell, Vivien; Gutierrez-Reed, Navarre; Wu, Johnathan; Ressler, Reed; Shenasa, Mohammad Ali; Johnson, Alexander B; Fife, Kathryn H; Faget, Lauren; Hnasko, Thomas S
In addition to dopamine neurons, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains GABA-, glutamate- and co-releasing neurons, and recent reports suggest a complex role for the glutamate neurons in behavioural reinforcement. We report that optogenetic stimulation of VTA glutamate neurons or terminals serves as a positive reinforcer on operant behavioural assays. Mice display marked preference for brief over sustained VTA glutamate neuron stimulation resulting in behavioural responses that are notably distinct from dopamine neuron stimulation and resistant to dopamine receptor antagonists. Whole-cell recordings reveal EPSCs following stimulation of VTA glutamate terminals in the nucleus accumbens or local VTA collaterals; but reveal both excitatory and monosynaptic inhibitory currents in the ventral pallidum and lateral habenula, though the net effects on postsynaptic firing in each region are consistent with the observed rewarding behavioural effects. These data indicate that VTA glutamate neurons co-release GABA in a projection-target-dependent manner and that their transient activation drives positive reinforcement.
Yoo, Ji Hoon; Zell, Vivien; Gutierrez-Reed, Navarre; Wu, Johnathan; Ressler, Reed; Shenasa, Mohammad Ali; Johnson, Alexander B.; Fife, Kathryn H.; Faget, Lauren; Hnasko, Thomas S.
In addition to dopamine neurons, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains GABA-, glutamate- and co-releasing neurons, and recent reports suggest a complex role for the glutamate neurons in behavioural reinforcement. We report that optogenetic stimulation of VTA glutamate neurons or terminals serves as a positive reinforcer on operant behavioural assays. Mice display marked preference for brief over sustained VTA glutamate neuron stimulation resulting in behavioural responses that are notably distinct from dopamine neuron stimulation and resistant to dopamine receptor antagonists. Whole-cell recordings reveal EPSCs following stimulation of VTA glutamate terminals in the nucleus accumbens or local VTA collaterals; but reveal both excitatory and monosynaptic inhibitory currents in the ventral pallidum and lateral habenula, though the net effects on postsynaptic firing in each region are consistent with the observed rewarding behavioural effects. These data indicate that VTA glutamate neurons co-release GABA in a projection-target-dependent manner and that their transient activation drives positive reinforcement. PMID:27976722
Gigante, Eduardo D.; Benaliouad, Faiza; Zamora-Olivencia, Veronica; Wise, Roy A.
Electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus can motivate feeding or can serve as a reward in its own right. It remains unclear whether the same or independent but anatomically overlapping circuitries mediate the two effects. Electrical stimulation findings implicate medial forebrain bundle (MFB) fibers of passage in both effects, and optogenetic studies confirm a contribution from fibers originating in the lateral hypothalamic area and projecting to or through the ventral tegmental area. Here we report that optogenetic activation of ventral tegmental fibers from cells of origin in more anterior or posterior portions of the MFB failed to induce either reward or feeding. The feeding and reward induced by optogenetic activation of fibers from the lateral hypothalamic cells of origin were influenced similarly by variations in stimulation pulse width and pulse frequency, consistent with the hypothesis of a common substrate for the two effects. There were, however, several cases where feeding but not self-stimulation or self-stimulation but not feeding were induced, consistent with the hypothesis that distinct but anatomically overlapping systems mediate the two effects. Thus while optogenetic stimulation provides a more selective tool for characterizing the mechanisms of stimulation-induced feeding and reward, it does not yet resolve the question of common or independent substrates. PMID:27387668
Vitay, Julien; Hamker, Fred H.
Neural activity in dopaminergic areas such as the ventral tegmental area is influenced by timing processes, in particular by the temporal expectation of rewards during Pavlovian conditioning. Receipt of a reward at the expected time allows to compute reward-prediction errors which can drive learning in motor or cognitive structures. Reciprocally, dopamine plays an important role in the timing of external events. Several models of the dopaminergic system exist, but the substrate of temporal learning is rather unclear. In this article, we propose a neuro-computational model of the afferent network to the ventral tegmental area, including the lateral hypothalamus, the pedunculopontine nucleus, the amygdala, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the ventral basal ganglia (including the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum), as well as the lateral habenula and the rostromedial tegmental nucleus. Based on a plausible connectivity and realistic learning rules, this neuro-computational model reproduces several experimental observations, such as the progressive cancelation of dopaminergic bursts at reward delivery, the appearance of bursts at the onset of reward-predicting cues or the influence of reward magnitude on activity in the amygdala and ventral tegmental area. While associative learning occurs primarily in the amygdala, learning of the temporal relationship between the cue and the associated reward is implemented as a dopamine-modulated coincidence detection mechanism in the nucleus accumbens. PMID:24550821
McDaid, John; McElvain, Maureen A; Brodie, Mark S
The dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (DA VTA neurons) are important for the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse, including ethanol. Ethanol increases the firing frequency of DA VTA neurons from rats and mice. Because of a recent report on block of ethanol excitation in mouse DA VTA neurons with ZD7288, a selective blocker of the hyperpolarization-activated cationic current Ih, we examined the effect of ZD7288 on ethanol excitation in DA VTA neurons from C57Bl/6J and DBA/2J mice and Fisher 344 rats. Ethanol (80 mM) caused only increases in firing rate in mouse DA VTA neurons in the absence of ZD7288, but in the presence of ZD7288 (30 microM), ethanol produced a more transient excitation followed by a decrease of firing. This same biphasic phenomenon was observed in DA VTA neurons from rats in the presence of ZD7288 only at very high ethanol concentrations (160-240 mM) but not at lower pharmacologically relevant concentrations. The longer latency ethanol-induced inhibition was not observed in DA VTA neurons from mice or rats in the presence of barium (100 microM), which blocks G protein-linked potassium channels (GIRKs) and other inwardly rectifying potassium channels. Ethanol may have a direct effect to increase an inhibitory potassium conductance, but this effect of ethanol can only decrease the firing rate if Ih is blocked.
Murschall, Anja; Hauber, Wolfgang
Pavlovian stimuli can markedly elevate instrumental responding, an effect known as Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT). As the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in PIT is yet unknown, we examined the effects of transient VTA inactivation by direct microinjections of a mixture of the GABA[subscript A] and GABA[subscript B] receptor…
Cocaine leads to a strong euphoria, which is at the origin of its recreational use. Past the acute effects, the drug leaves traces in the brain that persist long after it has been cleared from the body. These traces eventually shape behavior such that drug use may become compulsive and addiction develops. Here we discuss cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity of glutamatergic transmission onto dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) as one of the earliest traces after a first injection of cocaine. We review the literature that has examined the induction requirements as well as the expression mechanism of this form of plasticity and ask the question about its functional significance.
Holly, Elizabeth N.; Miczek, Klaus A.
Aversive events rapidly and potently excite certain dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), promoting phasic increases in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. This is in apparent contradiction to a wealth of literature demonstrating that most VTA dopamine neurons are strongly activated by reward and reward-predictive cues while inhibited by aversive stimuli. How can these divergent processes both be mediated by VTA dopamine neurons? The answer may lie within the functional and anatomical heterogeneity of the VTA. We focus on VTA heterogeneity in anatomy, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, and afferent/efferent connectivity. Second, recent evidence for a critical role of VTA dopamine neurons in response to both acute and repeated stress will be discussed. Understanding which dopamine neurons are activated by stress, the neural mechanisms driving the activation, and where these neurons project will provide valuable insight into how stress can promote psychiatric disorders associated with the dopamine system, such as addiction and depression. PMID:26676983
Walsh, J.J.; Han, M.H.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the brain’s reward circuitry is composed of a heterogeneous population of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate neurons that play important roles in mediating mood-related functions including depression. These neurons project to different brain regions, including the nucleus accumbens (NAc), the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and the amygdala. The functional understanding of these projection pathways has been improved since the extensive use of advanced techniques such as viral-mediated gene transfer, cell-type specific neurophysiology and circuit-probing optogenetics. In this article, we will discuss the recent progress in understanding these VTA projection-specific functions, focusing on mood-related disorders. PMID:24931766
Holly, Elizabeth N; Miczek, Klaus A
Aversive events rapidly and potently excite certain dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), promoting phasic increases in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. This is in apparent contradiction to a wealth of literature demonstrating that most VTA dopamine neurons are strongly activated by reward and reward-predictive cues while inhibited by aversive stimuli. How can these divergent processes both be mediated by VTA dopamine neurons? The answer may lie within the functional and anatomical heterogeneity of the VTA. We focus on VTA heterogeneity in anatomy, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, and afferent/efferent connectivity. Second, recent evidence for a critical role of VTA dopamine neurons in response to both acute and repeated stress will be discussed. Understanding which dopamine neurons are activated by stress, the neural mechanisms driving the activation, and where these neurons project will provide valuable insight into how stress can promote psychiatric disorders associated with the dopamine system, such as addiction and depression.
Fields, Howard L; Hjelmstad, Gregory O; Margolis, Elyssa B; Nicola, Saleem M
Ventral tegmental area (VTA) neuron firing precedes behaviors elicited by reward-predictive sensory cues and scales with the magnitude and unpredictability of received rewards. These patterns are consistent with roles in the performance of learned appetitive behaviors and in positive reinforcement, respectively. The VTA includes subpopulations of neurons with different afferent connections, neurotransmitter content, and projection targets. Because the VTA and substantia nigra pars compacta are the sole sources of striatal and limbic forebrain dopamine, measurements of dopamine release and manipulations of dopamine function have provided critical evidence supporting a VTA contribution to these functions. However, the VTA also sends GABAergic and glutamatergic projections to the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, VTA-mediated but dopamine-independent positive reinforcement has been demonstrated. Consequently, identifying the neurotransmitter content and projection target of VTA neurons recorded in vivo will be critical for determining their contribution to learned appetitive behaviors.
Kahn, I; Shohamy, D
Recent studies suggest that memory formation in the hippocampus is modulated by the motivational significance of events, allowing past experience to adaptively guide behavior. The effects of motivation on memory are thought to depend on interactions between the hippocampus, the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Indeed, animal studies reveal anatomical pathways for circuit-level interaction between these regions. However, a homologue circuit connectivity in humans remains to be shown. We characterized this circuitry in humans by exploiting spontaneous low-frequency modulations in the fMRI signal (termed resting-state functional connectivity), which are thought to reflect functionally related regions and their organization into functional networks in the brain. We examined connectivity in this network across two datasets (hi-resolution, n = 100; standard resolution, n = 894). Results reveal convergent connectivity between the hippocampus, and both the NAcc and the VTA centered on ventral regions in the body of the hippocampus. Additionally, we found individual differences in the strength of connectivity within this network. Together, these results provide a novel task-independent characterization of circuitry underlying interactions between the hippocampus, NAcc, and VTA and provide a framework with which to understand how connectivity might reflect and constrain the effects of motivation on memory.
Inyushin, Mikhail U.; Arencibia-Albite, Francisco; Vázquez-Torres, Rafael; Vélez-Hernández, María E.; Jiménez-Rivera, Carlos A.
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is the source of dopaminergic projections innervating cortical structures and ventral forebrain. Dysfunction of this mesocorticolimbic system is critically involved in psychiatric disorders such as addiction and schizophrenia. Changes in VTA dopamine (DA) neuronal activity can alter neurotransmitter release at target regions which modify information processing in the reward circuit. Here we studied the effect of α-2 noradrenergic receptor activation on the hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih ) in DA neurons of the rat VTA. Brain slice preparations using whole-cell current and voltage-clamp techniques were employed. Clonidine and UK14304 (α-2 receptor selective agonists) were found to decrease Ih amplitude and to slow its rate of activation indicating a negative shift in the current’s voltage dependence. Two non-subtype-selective α-2 receptor antagonists, yohimbine and RS79948, prevented the effects of α-2 receptor activation. RX821002, a noradrenergic antagonist specific for α-2A and α-2D did not prevent Ih inhibition. This result suggests that clonidine might be acting via an α-2C subtype since this receptor is the most abundant variant in the VTA. Analysis of a second messenger system associated with the α-2 receptor revealed that Ih inhibition is independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and resulted from the activation of protein kinase C. It is suggested that the α-2 mediated hyperpolarizing shift in Ih voltage dependence can facilitate the transition from pacemaker firing to afferent-driven burst activity. This transition may play a key role on the changes in synaptic plasticity that occurs in the mesocorticolimbic system under pathological conditions. PMID:20122999
Chen, Wei; Wang, Hai Jun; Shang, Ning Ning; Liu, Jun; Li, Juan; Tang, Dong Hui; Li, Qiong
Obesity has been associated with the excessive intake of palatable food as well as physical inactivity. To investigate the neurobiological mechanism underlying the exercised-induced prevention and treatment of obesity, the present study examined the effect of treadmill exercise on the preference for palatable food in mice. Levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system were also analysed, as well as levels of dopamine, dopamine transporter, and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Forty C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into a control group (CG, n=10) and a high-fat diet group (HG, N=30). Mice of the HG group were fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks in order to induce a model of obesity, following which the obese mice were randomly divided into an obese control group (OG, n=11) and an obese+exercise group (OEG, n=12). OEG mice received 8 weeks of treadmill exercise intervention. Our results indicate that, relative to animals in the OG group, OEG mice exhibited significant decreases in the preference for high-fat diets and insulin resistance, along with increases in the preference for sucrose and milk, TH and D2 receptor expression, and levels of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system. These results suggest that moderate-intensity treadmill exercise can alter food preference in obese mice, which may be mediated by dopaminergic plasticity of the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Mansvelder, Huibert D.; Fagen, Zara M.; Chang, Ben; Mitchum, Robert; McGehee, Daniel S.
Each year, tobacco use causes over 4 million deaths worldwide and billions of dollars are spent on treatment for tobacco-related illness. Bupropion, an atypical antidepressant, improves the rates of successful smoking cessation, however, the mechanisms by which bupropion reduces cigarette smoking and depression are unknown. Here we show that clinical concentrations of bupropion inhibit nicotine’s stimulatory effects on brain reward areas. Many drugs of abuse, including nicotine, stimulate dopamine (DA) release in the mesoaccumbens reward system. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) mediate nicotine’s stimulation of DA release, as well as its rewarding effects. Nicotinic receptors are expressed by excitatory and inhibitory neurons that control DA neuron excitability, and by the DA neurons themselves. Bupropion is a broad-spectrum non-competitive nicotinic receptor antagonist. Here we report that pre-treatment of brain slices with a clinically relevant concentration of bupropion dramatically reduces the effects of nicotine on DA neuron excitability. Nicotinic receptors on VTA DA neurons and their synaptic inputs are inhibited by 75 – 95% after bupropion treatment. We also find that bupropion alone reduces GABAergic transmission to DA neurons, thereby diminishing tonic inhibition of these neurons. This increases DA neuron excitability during bupropion treatment in the absence of nicotine, and may contribute to bupropion’s antidepressant actions. PMID:17868653
Luu, Percy; Malenka, Robert C
Long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses on ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) cells is thought to play an important role in mediating some of the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse yet little is known about its underlying mechanisms. We find that spike timing-dependent LTP (STD LTP) in VTA DA cells is absent in slices prepared from mice previously administered cocaine, suggesting that cocaine-induced LTP and STD LTP share underlying mechanisms. This form of STD LTP is dependent on NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation and a rise in postsynaptic calcium but surprisingly was not affected by an inhibitor of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). It was blocked by antagonists of conventional isoforms of PKC, whereas activation of protein kinase C (PKC) using a phorbol ester enhanced synaptic strength. These results suggest that NMDAR-mediated activation of PKC, but not CaMKII, is a critical trigger for LTP in VTA DA cells.
Fu, YuHong; Paxinos, George; Watson, Charles; Halliday, Glenda M
The pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised by the loss of neurons in the substantia nigra parcompacta (A9), which results in the insufficient release of dopamine, and the appearance of motor symptoms. Not all neurons in the A9 subregions degenerate in PD, and the dopaminergic (DA) neurons located in the neighboring ventral tegmental area (A10) are relatively resistant to PD pathogenesis. An increasing number of quantitative studies using human tissue samples of these brain regions have revealed important biological differences. In this review, we first describe current knowledge on the multi-segmental neuromere origin of these DA neurons. We then compare the continued transcription factor and protein expression profile and morphological differences distinguishing subregions within the A9 substantia nigra, and between A9 and A10 DA neurons. We conclude that the expression of three types of factors and proteins contributes to the diversity observed in these DA neurons and potentially to their differential vulnerability to PD. In particular, the specific axonal structure of A9 neurons and the way A9 neurons maintain their DA usage makes them easily exposed to energy deficits, calcium overload and oxidative stress, all contributing to their decreased survival in PD. We highlight knowledge gaps in our understanding of the cellular biomarkers for and their different functions in DA neurons, knowledge which may assist to identify underpinning disease mechansims that could be targeted for the treatment of any subregional dysfunction and loss of these DA neurons.
Matsukawa, Kanji; Ishii, Kei; Ishida, Tomoko; Nagai, Atsushi; Liang, Nan
We have examined for the first time whether electrical stimulation of the mesencephalic ventral tegmental area (VTA) or the substantia nigra (SN) was capable of suppressing cardiac baroreflex sensitivity in decerebrate cats. After decerebration was performed by electrocoagulation at the precollicular-premammillary level and inhalation anesthesia was stopped, the animals were able to show spontaneous motor activity intermittently. Electrical stimulations of the mesencephalic areas (the VTA and SN) for 30s were conducted with a monopolar tungsten microelectrode (current intensity of pulse trains, 50-100 μA; frequency, 40-50 Hz; pulse duration, 0.5-1.0 ms), without producing tibial motor discharge. Stimulation of the VTA evoked the significant increases in heart rate (HR, 12 ± 2 beats/min) and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, 12 ± 3 mm Hg). When the baroreflex bradycardia and the slope of the cardiac baroreflex curve were examined using a pressor response with brief occlusion of the abdominal aorta, the VTA stimulation blunted both the baroreflex bradycardia and the maximal slope of the baroreflex MAP-HR curve by 63-74% in the same manner as spontaneously-evoked motor activity. In contrast, stimulation of the SN elicited no modulation of cardiac baroreflex. It is likely that stimulation of the mesencephalic VTA suppresses cardiac baroreflex sensitivity and has the similar features of the effects on the cardiac baroreflex function as those during spontaneously-evoked motor activity.
Taylor, Anna M W; Castonguay, Annie; Ghogha, Atefeh; Vayssiere, Pia; Pradhan, Amynah A A; Xue, Lihua; Mehrabani, Sadaf; Wu, Juli; Levitt, Pat; Olmstead, Mary C; De Koninck, Yves; Evans, Christopher J; Cahill, Catherine M
Opioid dependence is accompanied by neuroplastic changes in reward circuitry leading to a negative affective state contributing to addictive behaviors and risk of relapse. The current study presents a neuroimmune mechanism through which chronic opioids disrupt the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic circuitry that contributes to impaired reward behavior. Opioid dependence was induced in rodents by treatment with escalating doses of morphine. Microglial activation was observed in the VTA following spontaneous withdrawal from chronic morphine treatment. Opioid-induced microglial activation resulted in an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and a reduction in the expression and function of the K+Cl− co-transporter KCC2 within VTA GABAergic neurons. Inhibition of microglial activation or interfering with BDNF signaling prevented the loss of Cl− extrusion capacity and restored the rewarding effects of cocaine in opioid-dependent animals. Consistent with a microglial-derived BDNF-induced disruption of reward, intra-VTA injection of BDNF or a KCC2 inhibitor resulted in a loss of cocaine-induced place preference in opioid-naïve animals. The loss of the extracellular Cl− gradient undermines GABAA-mediated inhibition, and represents a mechanism by which chronic opioid treatments can result in blunted reward circuitry. This study directly implicates microglial-derived BDNF as a negative regulator of reward in opioid-dependent states, identifying new therapeutic targets for opiate addictive behaviors. PMID:26202104
Cohen, Jeremiah Y; Haesler, Sebastian; Vong, Linh; Lowell, Bradford B; Uchida, Naoshige
Dopamine has a central role in motivation and reward. Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) signal the discrepancy between expected and actual rewards (that is, reward prediction error), but how they compute such signals is unknown. We recorded the activity of VTA neurons while mice associated different odour cues with appetitive and aversive outcomes. We found three types of neuron based on responses to odours and outcomes: approximately half of the neurons (type I, 52%) showed phasic excitation after reward-predicting odours and rewards in a manner consistent with reward prediction error coding; the other half of neurons showed persistent activity during the delay between odour and outcome that was modulated positively (type II, 31%) or negatively (type III, 18%) by the value of outcomes. Whereas the activity of type I neurons was sensitive to actual outcomes (that is, when the reward was delivered as expected compared to when it was unexpectedly omitted), the activity of type II and type III neurons was determined predominantly by reward-predicting odours. We 'tagged' dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons with the light-sensitive protein channelrhodopsin-2 and identified them based on their responses to optical stimulation while recording. All identified dopaminergic neurons were of type I and all GABAergic neurons were of type II. These results show that VTA GABAergic neurons signal expected reward, a key variable for dopaminergic neurons to calculate reward prediction error.
Chen, Han-Ting; Chen, Jin-Chung
The molecular mechanisms underlying drug extinction remain largely unknown, although a role for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamate neurons has been suggested. Considering that the mPFC sends glutamate efferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested whether the VTA is involved in methamphetamine (METH) extinction via conditioned place preference (CPP). Among various METH-CPP stages, we found that the amount of phospho-GluR1/Ser845 increased in the VTA at behavioral extinction, but not the acquisition or withdrawal stage. Via surface biotinylation, we found that levels of membrane GluR1 were significantly increased during METH-CPP extinction, while no change was observed at the acquisition stage. Specifically, the number of dendritic spines in the VTA was increased at behavioral extinction, but not during acquisition. To validate the role of the mPFC in METH-CPP extinction, we lesioned the mPFC. Ibotenic acid lesioning of the mPFC did not affect METH-CPP acquisition, however, it abolished the extinction stage and reversed the enhanced phospho-GluR1/Ser845 levels as well as increases in VTA dendritic spines during METH-CPP extinction. Overall, this study demonstrates that the mPFC plays a critical role in METH-CPP extinction and identifies the VTA as an alternative target in mediating the extinction of drug conditioning.
Dopamine is critical for higher neural processes and modifying the activity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, the mechanism of dopamine contribution to the modification of neural representation is unclear. Using in vivo two-photon population Ca2+ imaging in awake mice, this study investigated how neural representation of visual input to PFC neurons is regulated by dopamine. Phasic stimulation of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) evoked prolonged Ca2+ transients, lasting ∼30 s in layer 2/3 neurons of the PFC, which are regulated by a dopamine D1 receptor-dependent pathway. Furthermore, only a conditioning protocol with visual sensory input applied 0.5 s before the VTA dopaminergic input could evoke enhanced Ca2+ transients and increased pattern similarity (or establish a neural representation) of PFC neurons to the same sensory input. By increasing both the level of neuronal response and pattern similarity, dopaminergic input may establish robust and reliable cortical representation. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02726.001 PMID:25269147
Arsenault, John T; Rima, Samy; Stemmann, Heiko; Vanduffel, Wim
Monkey electrophysiology suggests that the activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) helps regulate reinforcement learning and motivated behavior, in part by broadcasting prediction error signals throughout the reward system. However, electrophysiological studies do not allow causal inferences regarding the activity of VTA neurons with respect to these processes because they require artificial manipulation of neuronal firing. Rodent studies fulfilled this requirement by demonstrating that electrical and optogenetic VTA stimulation can induce learning and modulate downstream structures. Still, the primate dopamine system has diverged significantly from that of rodents, exhibiting greatly expanded and uniquely distributed cortical and subcortical innervation patterns. Here, we bridge the gap between rodent perturbation studies and monkey electrophysiology using chronic electrical microstimulation of macaque VTA (VTA-EM). VTA-EM was found to reinforce cue selection in an operant task and to motivate future cue selection using a Pavlovian paradigm. Moreover, by combining VTA-EM with concurrent fMRI, we demonstrated that VTA-EM increased fMRI activity throughout most of the dopaminergic reward system. These results establish a causative role for primate VTA in regulating stimulus-specific reinforcement and motivation as well as in modulating activity throughout the reward system.
Meye, Frank J; van Zessen, Ruud; Smidt, Marten P; Adan, Roger A H; Ramakers, Geert M J
μ-Opioid receptors (MORs) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are pivotally involved in addictive behavior. While MORs are typically activated by opioids, they can also become constitutively active in the absence of any agonist. In the current study, we present evidence that MOR constitutive activity is highly relevant in the mouse VTA, as it regulates GABAergic input to dopamine neurons. Specifically, suppression of MOR constitutive activity with the inverse agonist KC-2-009 enhanced GABAergic neurotransmission onto VTA dopamine neurons. This inverse agonistic effect was fully blocked by the specific MOR neutral antagonist CTOP, which had no effect on GABAergic transmission itself. We next show that withdrawal from chronic morphine further increases the magnitude of inverse agonistic effects at the MOR, suggesting enhanced MOR constitutive activity. We demonstrate that this increase can be an adaptive response to the detrimental elevation in cAMP levels known to occur during morphine withdrawal. These findings offer important insights in the physiological occurrence and function of MOR constitutive activity, and have important implications for therapeutic strategies aimed at normalizing MOR signaling during addiction and opioid overdose.
Liu, Changliang; Fang, Xing; Wu, Qianqian; Jin, Guozhang; Zhen, Xuechu
Morphine excites dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), an effect mediated by both local and systemic mechanisms. While the importance of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) - VTA circuit in opiate addiction is well established, little is known about how the PFC regulates the activity of VTA DA neurons upon morphine stimulation. One major challenge is that VTA DA neurons are highly heterogeneous in terms of projection and regulation, making their responses to PFC manipulations variable. Our previous work has identified a subgroup of VTA DA neurons exhibiting significant slow oscillation in their firing sequence, and demonstrated that most of these neurons are functionally connected with the PFC. In the present study, we focus our efforts only on VTA DA neurons expressing strong slow oscillation, and report that blocking the neuronal activity in the PFC remarkably attenuates the morphine-induced excitation of these neurons. Using in vivo microdialysis, we find that inactivation of the PFC also reduces the morphine-induced elevation of DA levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Furthermore, 24 h after only single morphine exposure, PFC-inactivation failed to prevent subsequent morphine challenge from exciting VTA DA neurons, which is paralleled by altered response of PFC pyramidal neurons to morphine stimulation. Our results indicate that the PFC gates acute morphine action on a subset of VTA DA neurons, which is highly plastic and can be functionally remodeled by morphine exposure.
Somalwar, Amita R; Shelkar, Gajanan P; Subhedar, Nishikant K; Kokare, Dadasaheb M
Rats with electrode implanted in the lateral hypothalamus (LH)-medial forebrain bundle (MFB) area actively engage in intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). However, the neuronal substrate that translates the electrical pulses into the neural signals, and integrates the information with mesolimbic reward system, has remained elusive. We test the hypothesis that the cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) neurons in the LH-MFB area may support this function. The ICSS activity via an electrode in LH-MFB area was facilitated by CART (55-102) peptide stereotaxically injected in the lateral ventricle or posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA), but attenuated by CART antibody. While the ICSS experience seems to activate CART cells in the LH, the pVTA showed significant increment in the CART fiber terminals on the dopamine cells, increase in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactivity, and CART and synaptophysin colabeled elements. Neuronal tracing experiments revealed that CART cells of the LH-MFB region project to the pVTA. The rats with stereotaxically implanted cannulae in pVTA avidly self-infused CART (55-102) suggesting a role for the peptide in motivation, however, CART (1-39) was ineffective. CART self-infusing activity was inhibited by dopamine D1 receptors antagonist, given directly in the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh). The rats trained to self-administer CART (55-102) showed enhanced TH immunoreactivity in the cells of pVTA and fibers in AcbSh. We suggest that CART neurons of the LH-MFB area may play a role in conveying reward information to the mesolimbic dopamine neurons, which in turn may arouse the goal directed behavior.
Nazari-Serenjeh, Farzaneh; Rezayof, Ameneh
The aim of the current study was to examine the existence of a cooperative interaction between the basolateral nucleus of amygdala (BLA) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in inhibitory avoidance task. The BLA and the VTA regions of adult male Wistar rats were simultaneously cannulated and memory consolidation was measured in a step-through type inhibitory avoidance apparatus. Post-training microinjection of muscimol, a potent GABA-A receptor agonist (0.01-0.02 μg/rat), into the VTA impaired memory in a dose-dependent manner. Post-training intra-BLA microinjection of NMDA (0.02-0.04 μg/rat), 5 min before the intra-VTA injection of muscimol (0.02 μg/rat), attenuated muscimol-induced memory impairment. Microinjection of a NMDA receptor antagonist, D-AP5 (0.02-0.06 μg/rat) into the BLA inhibited NMDA effect on the memory impairment induced by intra-VTA microinjection of muscimol. On the other hand, post-training intra-BLA microinjection of muscimol (0.02-0.04 μg/rat) dose-dependently decreased step-through latency, indicating an impairing effect on memory. This impairing effect was however significantly attenuated by intra-VTA microinjection of NMDA (0.01-0.03 μg/rat). Intra-VTA microinjection of D-AP5 (0.02-0.08 μg/rat), 5 min prior to NMDA injection, inhibited NMDA response on the impairing effect induced by intra-BLA microinjection of muscimol. It should be considered that post-training microinjection of the same doses of NMDA or D-AP5 into the BLA or the VTA alone had no effect on memory consolidation. The data suggest that the relationship between the BLA and the VTA in mediating memory consolidation in inhibitory avoidance learning may be dependent on a cooperative interaction between the glutamatergic and GABAergic systems via NMDA and GABA-A receptors.
Jin, Wyju; Kim, Min Sun; Jang, Eun Young; Lee, Jun Yeon; Lee, Jin Gyeom; Kim, Hong Yu; Yoon, Seong Shoon; Lee, Bong Hyo; Chang, Suchan; Kim, Jae Hyo; Choi, Kwang H; Koo, Ho; Gwak, Young Seob; Steffensen, Scott C; Ryu, Yeon-Hee; Kim, Hee Young; Yang, Chae Ha
There is growing public interest in alternative approaches to addiction treatment and scientific interest in elucidating the neurobiological underpinnings of acupuncture. Our previous studies showed that acupuncture at a specific Shenmen (HT7) points reduced dopamine (DA) release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) induced by drugs of abuse. The present study was carried out to evaluate the effects of HT7 acupuncture on γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuronal activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. Using microdialysis and in vivo single-unit electrophysiology, we evaluated the effects of HT7 acupuncture on VTA GABA and NAc DA release and VTA GABA neuronal activity in rats. Using a within-session reinstatement paradigm in rats self-administering cocaine, we evaluated the effects of HT7 stimulation on cocaine-primed reinstatement. Acupuncture at HT7 significantly reduced cocaine suppression of GABA release and GABA neuron firing rates in the VTA. HT7 acupuncture attenuated cocaine-primed reinstatement, which was blocked by VTA infusions of the selective GABAB receptor antagonist 2-hydroxysaclofen. HT7 stimulation significantly decreased acute cocaine-induced DA release in the NAc, which was also blocked by 2-hydroxysaclofen. HT7 acupuncture also attenuated cocaine-induced sensitization of extracellular DA levels in the NAc. Moreover, HT7 acupuncture reduced both locomotor activity and neuronal activation in the NAc induced by acute cocaine in a needle-penetration depth-dependent fashion. These results suggest that acupuncture may suppress cocaine-induced DA release in the NAc and cocaine-seeking behavior through activation of VTA GABA neurons. Acupuncture may be an effective therapy to reduce cocaine relapse by enhancing GABAergic inhibition in the VTA.
Addy, Nii A.; Nunes, Eric J.; Wickham, Robert J.
The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system is known to play a role in cue-mediated reward-seeking for natural rewards and drugs of abuse. Specifically, cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been shown to regulate cue-induced drug-seeking. However, the potential role of these VTA receptors in regulating cue-induced reward seeking for natural rewards is unknown. Here, we examined whether blockade of VTA acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) would alter cue-induced sucrose seeking in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Subjects underwent 10 days of sucrose self-administration training (fixed ratio 1 schedule) followed by 7 days of forced abstinence. On withdrawal day 7, rats received bilateral VTA infusion of vehicle, the muscarinic AChR antagonist scopolamine (2.4 or 24 μg/side), the nicotinic AChR antagonist mecamylamine (3 or 30 μg/side), or the NMDAR antagonist AP-5 (0.1 or 1 μg/side) immediately prior to examination of cue-induced sucrose-seeking. Scopolamine infusion led to robust attenuation, but did not completely block, sucrose-seeking behavior. In contrast, VTA administration of mecamylamine or AP-5 did not alter cue-induced sucrose-seeking. Together, the data suggest that VTA muscarinic AChRs, but not nicotinic AChRs nor NMDARs, facilitate the ability of food-associated cues to drive seeking behavior for a food reward. PMID:26026787
Choi, Kwang Ho; Edwards, Scott; Graham, Danielle L; Larson, Erin B; Whisler, Kimberly N; Simmons, Diana; Friedman, Allyson K; Walsh, Jessica J; Rahman, Zia; Monteggia, Lisa M; Eisch, Amelia J; Neve, Rachael L; Nestler, Eric J; Han, Ming-Hu; Self, David W
Chronic cocaine use produces numerous biological changes in brain, but relatively few are functionally associated with cocaine reinforcement. Here we show that daily intravenous cocaine self-administration, but not passive cocaine administration, induces dynamic upregulation of the AMPA glutamate receptor subunits GluR1 and GluR2 in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rats. Increases in GluR1 protein and GluR1(S845) phosphorylation are associated with increased GluR1 mRNA in self-administering animals, whereas increased GluR2 protein levels occurred despite substantial decreases in GluR2 mRNA. We investigated the functional significance of GluR1 upregulation in the VTA on cocaine self-administration using localized viral-mediated gene transfer. Overexpression of GluR1(WT) in rat VTA primarily infected dopamine neurons (75%) and increased AMPA receptor-mediated membrane rectification in these neurons with AMPA application. Similar GluR1(WT) overexpression potentiated locomotor responses to intra-VTA AMPA, but not NMDA, infusions. In cocaine self-administering animals, overexpression of GluR1(WT) in the VTA markedly increased the motivation for cocaine injections on a progressive ratio schedule of cocaine reinforcement. In contrast, overexpression of protein kinase A-resistant GluR1(S845A) in the VTA reduced peak rates of cocaine self-administration on a fixed ratio reinforcement schedule. Neither viral vector altered sucrose self-administration, and overexpression of GluR1(WT) or GluR1(S845A) in the adjacent substantia nigra had no effect on cocaine self-administration. Together, these results suggest that dynamic regulation of AMPA receptors in the VTA during cocaine self-administration contributes to cocaine addiction by acting to facilitate subsequent cocaine use.
Roseberry, Aaron G
Fasting and food restriction alter the activity of the mesolimbic dopamine system to affect multiple reward-related behaviors. Food restriction decreases baseline dopamine levels in efferent target sites and enhances dopamine release in response to rewards such as food and drugs. In addition to releasing dopamine from axon terminals, dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) also release dopamine from their soma and dendrites, and this somatodendritic dopamine release acts as an autoinhibitory signal to inhibit neighboring VTA dopamine neurons. It is unknown whether acute fasting also affects dopamine release, including the local inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release in the VTA. In these studies, I have tested whether fasting affects the inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release within the VTA by examining whether an acute 24-h fast affects the inhibitory postsynaptic current mediated by evoked somatodendritic dopamine release (D2R IPSC). Fasting increased the contribution of the first action potential to the overall D2R IPSC and increased the ratio of repeated D2R IPSCs evoked at short intervals. Fasting also reduced the effect of forskolin on the D2R IPSC and led to a significantly bigger decrease in the D2R IPSC in low extracellular calcium. Finally, fasting resulted in an increase in the D2R IPSCs when a more physiologically relevant train of D2R IPSCs was used. Taken together, these results indicate that fasting caused a change in the properties of somatodendritic dopamine release, possibly by increasing dopamine release, and that this increased release can be sustained under conditions where dopamine neurons are highly active.
Buczynski, Matthew W; Polis, Ilham Y; Parsons, Loren H
Cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1) have an important role in nicotine reward and their function is disrupted by chronic nicotine exposure, suggesting nicotine-induced alterations in endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling. However, the effects of nicotine on brain eCB levels have not been rigorously evaluated. Volitional intake of nicotine produces physiological and behavioral effects distinct from forced drug administration, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not known. This study compared the effects of volitional nicotine self-administration (SA) and forced nicotine exposure (yoked administration (YA)) on levels of eCBs and related neuroactive lipids in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and other brain regions. Brain lipid levels were indexed both by in vivo microdialysis in the VTA and lipid extractions from brain tissues. Nicotine SA, but not YA, reduced baseline VTA dialysate oleoylethanolamide (OEA) levels relative to nicotine-naïve controls, and increased anandamide (AEA) release during nicotine intake. In contrast, all nicotine exposure paradigms increased VTA dialysate 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) levels. Thus, nicotine differentially modulates brain lipid (2-AG, AEA, and OEA) signaling, and these modulations are influenced by the volitional nature of the drug exposure. Corresponding bulk tissue analysis failed to identify these lipid changes. Nicotine exposure had no effect on fatty acid amide hydrolase activity in the VTA, suggesting that changes in AEA and OEA signaling result from alterations in their nicotine-induced biosynthesis. Both CB1 (by AEA and 2-AG) and non-CB1 (by OEA) targets can alter the excitability and activity of the dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Collectively, these findings implicate disrupted lipid signaling in the motivational effects of nicotine. PMID:23169348
Rice, Matthew W; Roberts, Rosalinda C; Melendez-Ferro, Miguel; Perez-Costas, Emma
Previous work from our laboratory showed deficits in tyrosine hydroxylase protein expression within the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) in schizophrenia. However, little is known about the nature and specific location of these deficits within the SN/VTA. The present study had two aims: 1) test if tyrosine hydroxylase deficits could be explained as the result of neuronal loss; 2) assess if deficits in tyrosine hydroxylase are subregion specific within the SN/VTA, and thus, could affect specific dopaminergic pathways. To achieve these objectives: 1) we obtained estimates of the number of dopaminergic neurons, total number of neurons and their ratio in matched SN/VTA schizophrenia and control samples; 2) we performed a qualitative assessment in SN/VTA schizophrenia and control matched samples that were processed simultaneously for tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. We did not find any significant differences in the total number of neurons, dopaminergic neurons, or their ratio. Our qualitative study of TH expression showed a conspicuous decrease in labeling of neuronal processes and cell bodies within the SN/VTA, which was sub-region specific. Dorsal diencephalic dopaminergic populations of the SN/VTA presented the most conspicuous decrease in TH labeling. These data support the existence of pathway-specific dopaminergic deficits that would affect the dopamine input to the cortex without significant neuronal loss. Interestingly, these findings support earlier reports of decreases in tyrosine hydroxylase labeling in the target areas for this dopaminergic input in the prefrontal and entorhinal cortex. Finally, our findings support that tyrosine hydroxylase deficits could contribute to the hypodopaminergic state observed in cortical areas in schizophrenia. PMID:25269834
Amirabadi, Sanaz; Pakdel, Firouz Ghaderi; Shahabi, Parviz; Naderi, Somayyeh; Osalou, Mostafa Ashrafi; Cankurt, Ulker
Introduction The most common interpretation for the mechanisms of antidepression is the increase of the brain monoamine levels such as dopamine (DA). The increase of DA can reduce depression but it can also decrease the monoamine release because of autoreceptor inhibition. Although bupropion can decrease the dopamine release, there is evidence about stimulatory effects of chronic application of bupropion on ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. In this study, the intra-VTA acute microinfusion of bupropion on putative VTA non-Dopaminergic (VTA-nonDA) neuronal firing rates was evaluated by a single neuron recording technique. Methods Animals were divided into 7 groups (sham, and 6 bupropion-microinfused groups with 1, 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-4, and 10-5 mol, 1 µl/3 min, intra-VTA). A single neuron recording technique was done according to the stereotaxic coordination. After 10 min baseline recording, ACSF or bupropion was microinfused. The recording continued to recovery period in the treated groups. The prestimulus time (PST) and interspike interval (ISI) histograms were calculated for every single unit. The assessment of the drug effect was carried out by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Post-hoc test. Results 126 non-DA neurons were separated. Bupropion could inhibit 116 neurons and 11 neurons had no significant response. Maximum inhibition was 79.1% of baseline firing rate with 44.3 min duration. The inhibitory effect of bupropion was dose-dependent. Discussion The acute inhibitory effects of bupropion on VTA-nonDA neurons can explain the fast inhibitory effects of bupropion and other antidepressants on the VTA. These data can explain some side effects of antidepressants. PMID:25337378
Reyes, Stefanie; Fu, Yuhong; Double, Kay; Thompson, Lachlan; Kirik, Deniz; Paxinos, George; Halliday, Glenda M
G-protein-regulated inward-rectifier potassium channel 2 (GIRK2) is reported to be expressed only within certain dopamine neurons of the substantia nigra (SN), although very limited data are available in humans. We examined the localization of GIRK2 in the SN and adjacent ventral tegmental area (VTA) of humans and mice by using either neuromelanin pigment or immunolabeling with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or calbindin. GIRK2 immunoreactivity was found in nearly every human pigmented neuron or mouse TH-immunoreactive neuron in both the SN and VTA, although considerable variability in the intensity of GIRK2 staining was observed. The relative intensity of GIRK2 immunoreactivity in TH-immunoreactive neurons was determined; in both species nearly all SN TH-immunoreactive neurons had strong GIRK2 immunoreactivity compared with only 50-60% of VTA neurons. Most paranigral VTA neurons also contained calbindin immunoreactivity, and approximately 25% of these and nearby VTA neurons also had strong GIRK2 immunoreactivity. These data show that high amounts of GIRK2 protein are found in most SN neurons as well as in a proportion of nearby VTA neurons. The single previous human study may have been compromised by the fixation method used and the postmortem delay of their controls, whereas other studies suggesting that GIRK2 is located only in limited neuronal groups within the SN have erroneously included VTA regions as part of the SN. In particular, the dorsal layer of dopamine neurons directly underneath the red nucleus is considered a VTA region in humans but is commonly considered the dorsal tier of the SN in laboratory species.
During sociosexual encounters, different brain mechanisms interact to orchestrate information about the salience of external stimuli along with the current physiological and environmental conditions in order to process these in an optimal manner. One candidate neural system involves the potential interplay between the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and mesolimbic reward circuitry. We present here evidence indicating that projections originating from the POM play a modulatory role on the mesolimbic reward circuitry related to male sexual behavior in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). First, we used an asymmetrical inactivation strategy where POM and ventral tegmental area (VTA) were unilaterally inactivated via the GABAA agonist muscimol, either in an ipsilateral or contralateral fashion. Ipsilateral injections of muscimol had negligible effects on both appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors. In contrast, contralateral injections significantly impaired appetitive sexual behaviors but had no clear effect on consummatory sexual behaviors. Next, we labeled cells projecting from the POM to the VTA by stereotaxic injection into VTA of the retrograde tracer biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). Two weeks later, brains from males who had been allowed to interact freely with a female (15 min) or kept as controls were collected and fixed for double immunohistochemical labeling of BDA and the immediate early gene Fos. More retrogradely labeled BDA cells in POM expressed Fos after sociosexual interactions than in control conditions. Overall, these findings provide novel evidence for the interplay between POM and VTA in the modulation of appetitive but not consummatory sexual behaviors. Schematic representation of the putative role of the projection from the medial POM to the VTA in the regulation of appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors. Unilateral inactivation of POM and VTA on (1) ipsilateral sides has negligible effects on both aspects of sexual behaviors, whereas
Taylor, Norman E; Van Dort, Christa J; Kenny, Jonathan D; Pei, JunZhu; Guidera, Jennifer A; Vlasov, Ksenia Y; Lee, Justin T; Boyden, Edward S; Brown, Emery N; Solt, Ken
Dopamine (DA) promotes wakefulness, and DA transporter inhibitors such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate are effective for increasing arousal and inducing reanimation, or active emergence from general anesthesia. DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are involved in reward processing, motivation, emotion, reinforcement, and cognition, but their role in regulating wakefulness is less clear. The current study was performed to test the hypothesis that selective optogenetic activation of VTA DA neurons is sufficient to induce arousal from an unconscious, anesthetized state. Floxed-inverse (FLEX)-Channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) expression was targeted to VTA DA neurons in DA transporter (DAT)-cre mice (ChR2+ group; n = 6). Optical VTA stimulation in ChR2+ mice during continuous, steady-state general anesthesia (CSSGA) with isoflurane produced behavioral and EEG evidence of arousal and restored the righting reflex in 6/6 mice. Pretreatment with the D1 receptor antagonist SCH-23390 before optical VTA stimulation inhibited the arousal responses and restoration of righting in 6/6 ChR2+ mice. In control DAT-cre mice, the VTA was targeted with a viral vector lacking the ChR2 gene (ChR2- group; n = 5). VTA optical stimulation in ChR2- mice did not restore righting or produce EEG changes during isoflurane CSSGA in 5/5 mice. These results provide compelling evidence that selective stimulation of VTA DA neurons is sufficient to induce the transition from an anesthetized, unconscious state to an awake state, suggesting critical involvement in behavioral arousal.
Krashia, Paraskevi; Martini, Alessandro; Nobili, Annalisa; Aversa, Daniela; D'Amelio, Marcello; Berretta, Nicola; Guatteo, Ezia; Mercuri, Nicola Biagio
We studied the properties of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) in mice expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) under the control of the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter (TH-GFP). By using a practical map of cell positioning in distinct SNpc and VTA subregions in horizontal midbrain slices we saw that the spontaneous firing, membrane properties, cell body size and magnitude of the hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih ) in TH-GFP-positive neurons (TH-GFP(+) ) vary significantly among subregions, following a mediolateral gradient. Block of Ih with Zd7288 inhibited firing in the most lateral subregions, but had little effect in the intermediate/medial VTA. In addition, TH-GFP(+) cells were excited by Met(5) -Enkephalin. Extracellular recordings from a large neuron number showed that all TH-GFP(+) cells were inhibited by dopamine, suggesting that this is a reliable approach for identifying dopaminergic neurons in vitro. Simultaneous recordings from dopamine-sensitive and dopamine-insensitive neurons showed that dopamine-insensitive cells (putative non-dopaminergic neurons) are unaffected by Zd7288 but inhibited by Met(5) -Enkephalin. Under patch-clamp, dopamine generated a quantitatively similar outward current in most TH-GFP(+) neurons, although medial VTA cells showed reduced dopamine sensitivity. Pargyline prolonged the dopamine current, whereas cocaine enhanced dopamine-mediated responses in both the SNpc and the VTA. Our work provides new insights into the variability in mouse midbrain dopaminergic neurons along the medial-lateral axis and points to the necessity of a combination of different electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches for reliably identifying these cells to distinguish them from non-dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain.
Buczynski, Matthew W; Polis, Ilham Y; Parsons, Loren H
Cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB(1)) have an important role in nicotine reward and their function is disrupted by chronic nicotine exposure, suggesting nicotine-induced alterations in endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling. However, the effects of nicotine on brain eCB levels have not been rigorously evaluated. Volitional intake of nicotine produces physiological and behavioral effects distinct from forced drug administration, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not known. This study compared the effects of volitional nicotine self-administration (SA) and forced nicotine exposure (yoked administration (YA)) on levels of eCBs and related neuroactive lipids in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and other brain regions. Brain lipid levels were indexed both by in vivo microdialysis in the VTA and lipid extractions from brain tissues. Nicotine SA, but not YA, reduced baseline VTA dialysate oleoylethanolamide (OEA) levels relative to nicotine-naïve controls, and increased anandamide (AEA) release during nicotine intake. In contrast, all nicotine exposure paradigms increased VTA dialysate 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) levels. Thus, nicotine differentially modulates brain lipid (2-AG, AEA, and OEA) signaling, and these modulations are influenced by the volitional nature of the drug exposure. Corresponding bulk tissue analysis failed to identify these lipid changes. Nicotine exposure had no effect on fatty acid amide hydrolase activity in the VTA, suggesting that changes in AEA and OEA signaling result from alterations in their nicotine-induced biosynthesis. Both CB(1) (by AEA and 2-AG) and non-CB(1) (by OEA) targets can alter the excitability and activity of the dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Collectively, these findings implicate disrupted lipid signaling in the motivational effects of nicotine.
Solecki, Wojciech; Wickham, Robert J; Behrens, Shay; Wang, Jie; Zwerling, Blake; Mason, Graeme F; Addy, Nii A
Exposure to drug-associated cues evokes drug-seeking behavior and is regarded as a major cause of relapse. Cues evoke burst firing of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons and phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Cholinergic and glutamatergic input to the VTA is suggested to gate phasic DA activity. However, the role of VTA cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors in regulating phasic dopamine release and cue-induced drug-seeking in cocaine experienced subjects is not known. In male Sprague-Dawley rats, we found that VTA inactivation strongly inhibited, while VTA stimulation promoted, cocaine-seeking behavior during early withdrawal. Blockade of phasic activated D1 receptors in the NAc core also strongly inhibited cue-induced cocaine-seeking--suggesting an important role of phasic DA activity in the VTA to NAc core circuit. Next, we examined the role of VTA acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in regulating both NAc core phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking. In cocaine naïve subjects, VTA infusion of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antagonist mecamylamine, the muscarinic AChR antagonist scopolamine, or the NMDAR antagonist AP-5, led to robust attenuation of phasic DA release in the NAc core. During early cocaine withdrawal, VTA infusion of AP-5 had limited effects on NAc phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking while VTA infusion of mecamylamine or scopolamine robustly inhibited both phasic DA release and cocaine-seeking. The results demonstrate that VTA AChRs, but not NMDARs, strongly regulate cue-induced cocaine-seeking and phasic DA release during early cocaine withdrawal.
Pan, Bin; Zhong, Peng; Sun, Dalong; Liu, Qing-song
Drugs of abuse such as cocaine induce long-term synaptic plasticity in the reward circuitry, which underlies the formation of drug-associated memories and addictive behavior. We reported previously that repeated cocaine exposure in vivo facilitates long-term potentiation (LTP) in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) by reducing the strength of GABAergic inhibition and that endocannabinoid-dependent long-term depression at inhibitory synapses (I-LTD) constitutes a mechanism for cocaine-induced reduction of GABAergic inhibition. The present study investigated the downstream signaling mechanisms and functional consequences of I-LTD in the VTA in the rat. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling has been implicated in long-term synaptic plasticity, associative learning, and drug addiction. We tested the hypothesis that VTA ERK activity is required for I-LTD and cocaine-induced long-term synaptic plasticity and behavioral effects. We show that the activation of receptors required for I-LTD increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation and inhibitors of ERK activation blocked I-LTD. We further demonstrate that ERK mediates cocaine-induced reduction of GABAergic inhibition and facilitation of LTP induction. Finally, we show that cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) training (15 mg/kg; four pairings) increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the VTA, while bilateral intra-VTA injections of a CB(1) antagonist or an inhibitor of ERK activation attenuated ERK1/2 phosphorylation and the acquisition, but not the expression, of CPP to cocaine. Our study has identified the CB(1) and ERK signaling cascade as a key mediator of several forms of cocaine-induced synaptic plasticity and provided evidence linking long-term synaptic plasticity in the VTA to rewarding effects of cocaine.
García-Pérez, Daniel; Luisa Laorden, M; Núñez, Cristina; Victoria Milanés, M
Opiates cause persistent restructuring in the mesolimbic reward system. Although a possible role for midkine and pleiotrophin cytokines in the field of synaptic plasticity has been proposed, it has not been assessed whether morphine administration regulates astrogliosis and midkine and pleiotrophin transcription. We observed that single morphine injection and chronic morphine increased glial fibrillary acidic protein expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Interestingly, single morphine injection and chronic morphine increased VTA midkine and pleiotrophin mRNA expression. Given these results, we hypothesize a role for these cytokines in mediating, at least in part, acute neuroprotective effects and chronic neurotrophic adaptations that contribute to drug dependence.
Morikawa, Hitoshi; Morrisett, Richard A.
The dopaminergic system originating in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been extensively studied over the past decades as a critical neural substrate involved in the development of alcoholism and addiction to other drugs of abuse. Accumulating evidence indicates that ethanol modulates the functional output of this system by directly affecting the firing activity of VTA dopamine neurons, whereas withdrawal from chronic ethanol exposure leads to a reduction in the functional output of these neurons. This chapter will provide an update on the mechanistic investigations of the acute ethanol action on dopamine neuron activity and the neuroadaptations/plasticities in the VTA produced by previous ethanol experience. PMID:20813245
Effects of S-citalopram, citalopram, and R-citalopram on the firing patterns of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex and cognitive function in the rat.
Schilström, Björn; Konradsson-Geuken, Asa; Ivanov, Vladimir; Gertow, Jens; Feltmann, Kristin; Marcus, Monica M; Jardemark, Kent; Svensson, Torgny H
Escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of citalopram, possesses superior efficacy compared to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of major depression. Escitalopram binds to an allosteric site on the serotonin transporter, which further enhances the blockade of serotonin reuptake, whereas R-citalopram antagonizes this positive allosteric modulation. Escitalopram's effects on neurotransmitters other than serotonin, for example, dopamine and glutamate, are not well studied. Therefore, we here studied the effects of escitalopram, citalopram, and R-citalopram on dopamine cell firing in the ventral tegmental area, using single-cell recording in vivo and on NMDA receptor-mediated currents in pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex using in vitro electrophysiology in rats. The cognitive effects of escitalopram and citalopram were also compared using the novel object recognition test. Escitalopram (40-640 μg/kg i.v.) increased both firing rate and burst firing of dopaminergic neurons, whereas citalopram (80-1280 μg/kg) had no effect on firing rate and only increased burst firing at high dosage. R-citalopram (40-640 μg/kg) had no significant effects. R-citalopram (320 μg/kg) antagonized the effects of escitalopram (320 μg/kg). A very low concentration of escitalopram (5 nM), but not citalopram (10 nM) or R-citalopram (5 nM), potentiated NMDA-induced currents in pyramidal neurons. Escitalopram's effect was antagonized by R-citalopram and blocked by the dopamine D(1) receptor antagonist SCH23390. Escitalopram, but not citalopram, improved recognition memory. Our data suggest that the excitatory effect of escitalopram on dopaminergic and NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission may have bearing on its cognitive-enhancing effect and superior efficacy compared to other SSRIs in major depression.
Nimitvilai, Sudarat; You, Chang; Arora, Devinder S.; McElvain, Maureen A.; Vandegrift, Bertha J.; Brodie, Mark S.; Woodward, John J.
Drugs of abuse increase the activity of dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and output from the VTA is critical for both natural and drug-induced reward and reinforcement. Ethanol and the abused inhalant toluene both enhance VTA neuronal firing, but the mechanisms of this effect is not fully known. In this study, we used extracellular recordings to compare the actions of toluene and ethanol on DA VTA neurons. Both ethanol and toluene increased the firing rate of DA neurons, although toluene was ~100 times more potent than ethanol. The mixed ion channel blocker quinine (100 μM) blocked the increases in firing produced by ethanol and toluene, indicating some similarity in mechanisms of excitation. A mixture of antagonists of GABA and cholinergic receptors did not prevent toluene-induced or ethanol-induced excitation, and toluene-induced excitation was not altered by co-administration of ethanol, suggesting independent mechanisms of excitation for ethanol and toluene. Concurrent blockade of NMDA, AMPA, and metabotropic glutamate receptors enhanced the excitatory effect of toluene while having no significant effect on ethanol excitation. Nicotine increased firing of DA VTA neurons, and this was blocked by the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine (1 μM). Mecamylamine did not alter ethanol or toluene excitation of firing but the muscarinic antagonist atropine (5 μM) or a combination of GABA antagonists (bicuculline and CGP35348, 10 μM each) reduced toluene-induced excitation without affecting ethanol excitation. The Ih current blocker ZD7288 abolished the excitatory effect of toluene but unlike the block of ethanol excitation, the effect of ZD7288 was not reversed by the GIRK channel blocker barium, but was reversed by GABA antagonists. These results demonstrate that the excitatory effects of ethanol and toluene have some similarity, such as block by quinine and ZD7288, but also indicate that there are important differences between these two drugs
Mejías-Aponte, Carlos A.; Kiyatkin, Eugene A.
Cocaine’s multiple pharmacological substrates are ubiquitously present in the peripheral and central nervous system. Thus, upon its administration, cocaine acts in the periphery before directly acting in the brain. We determined whether cocaine alters ventral tegmental area (VTA) neuronal activity via peripheral actions, and whether this precedes its central actions. In urethane-anesthetized rats, we recorded VTA neurons responses to intravenous injections of two cocaine analogs: cocaine-hydrochloride (HCl, 0.25 mg/kg) that readily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and cocaine-methiodide (MI, 0.33 mg/kg) that does not cross the BBB. Both cocaine analogs produced sustained changes in discharge rates that began 5s after the initiation of a 10s drug infusion. Within the first 90s post-injection the magnitudes of neuronal responsive of both cocaine analogs were comparable, but later in time the effects of cocaine-HCl were stronger and persisted longer than those of cocaine-MI. The proportion of neurons responsive to cocaine-HCl was twice to that of cocaine-MI (74% and 35% respectively). Both analogs also differed in the response onsets. Cocaine-MI rarely evoked responses after 1 min whereas cocaine-HCl continued to evoke responses within 3 min post-injection. VTA neurons were either excited or inhibited by both cocaine analogs. Most units responsive to cocaine-MI, regardless of excitation or inhibition, had electrophysiological characteristics of putative DA neurons. Units inhibited by cocaine-HCl also had characteristic of DA neurons whereas excited neurons had widely varying action potential durations and discharge rates. Cocaine-MI and cocaine-HCl each produced changes in VTA neuron activity under full DA receptor blockade. However, the duration of inhibition was shortened, the number of excitations increased, and they occurred with an earlier onset during DA receptor blockade. These findings indicate that cocaine acts peripherally with a short latency and
Wickham, R J; Solecki, W B; Nunes, E J; Addy, N A
Stimuli paired with rewards acquire reinforcing properties to promote reward-seeking behavior. Previous work supports the role of ventral tegmental area (VTA) nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in mediating conditioned reinforcement elicited by drug-associated cues. However, it is not known whether these cholinergic mechanisms are specific to drug-associated cues or whether VTA cholinergic mechanisms also underlie the ability of cues paired with natural rewards to act as conditioned reinforcers. Burst firing of VTA dopamine (DA) neurons and the subsequent phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays an important role in cue-mediated behavior and in the ability of cues to acquire reinforcing properties. In the VTA, both AChRs and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) regulate DA burst firing and phasic DA release. Here, we tested the role of VTA nAChRs, muscarinic AChRs (mAChRs), and NMDARs in the conditioned reinforcement elicited by a food-associated, natural reward cue. Subjects received 10 consecutive days of Pavlovian conditioning training where lever extension served as a predictive cue for food availability. On day 11, rats received bilateral VTA infusion of saline, AP-5 (0.1 or 1μg), mecamylamine (MEC: 3 or 30μg) or scopolamine (SCOP: 3 or 66.7μg) immediately prior to the conditioned reinforcement test. During the test, nosepoking into the active (conditioned reinforced, CR) noseport produced a lever cue while nosepoking on the inactive (non-conditioned reinforced, NCR) noseport had no consequence. AP-5 robustly attenuated conditioned reinforcement and blocked discrimination between CR and NCR noseports at the 1-μg dose. MEC infusion decreased responding for both CR and NCR while 66.7-μg SCOP disrupted the subject's ability to discriminate between CR and NCR. Together, our data suggest that VTA NMDARs and mAChRs, but not nAChRs, play a role in the ability of natural reward-associated cues to act as conditioned reinforcers.
Esmaeili, Mohammad-Hossein; Kermani, Mojtaba; Parvishan, Asghar; Haghparast, Abbas
Considerable evidences show that the VTA, as a major source of dopamine neurons projecting to cortical and limbic regions, has a major role in cognitive and motivating aspects of addiction. The current study assessed the ability of the selective D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390 and D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride administrated into the CA1 region of hippocampus (dorsal hippocampus) to alter the rewarding effects of intra-VTA administration of morphine using the conditioned place preference (CPP). After bilaterally implantation of cannulae into the CA1 and/or VTA in adult male Wistar rats weighing 210-310 g, dose-response effects of different doses of intra-VTA morphine (0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 and 3 μg/side) on CPP paradigm were evaluated and animal displacement, conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded by Ethovision software. In the next experiments, SCH 23390 (0.02, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.5 μg/side) or sulpiride (0.25, 0.75, 1.5 and 3 μg/side) were injected into the CA1, 5 min after intra-VTA injection of morphine during 3 days conditioning phase. Our results showed that intra-VTA morphine dose-dependently induces CPP in rats. Moreover, the blocking D1 and D2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus decreased intra-VTA morphine-induced CPP significantly (P<0.01). Intra-CA1 administration of these antagonists alone, in all doses, could not induce CPP. We suggest that D1 and D2 receptors in the CA1 region of hippocampus have a key role in the development of CPP induced by morphine at the level of the VTA. It seems that there is an interaction between dopaminergic and opioidergic systems in these areas in reward circuit.
Ting-A-Kee, Ryan; Vargas-Perez, Hector; Bufalino, Mary-Rose; Bahi, Amine; Dreyer, Jean-Luc; Tyndale, Rachel F; van der Kooy, Derek
Recent work has shown that infusion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) promotes a switch in the mechanisms mediating morphine motivation, from a dopamine-independent to a dopamine-dependent pathway. Here we showed that a single infusion of intra-VTA BDNF also promoted a switch in the mechanisms mediating ethanol motivation, from a dopamine-dependent to a dopamine-independent pathway (exactly opposite to that seen with morphine). We suggest that intra-VTA BDNF, via its actions on TrkB receptors, precipitates a switch similar to that which occurs naturally when mice transit from a drug-naive, non-deprived state to a drug-deprived state. The opposite switching of the mechanisms underlying morphine and ethanol motivation by BDNF in previously non-deprived animals is consistent with their proposed actions on VTA GABAA receptors.
Zhao-Shea, Rubing; DeGroot, Steven R; Liu, Liwang; Vallaster, Markus; Pang, Xueyan; Su, Qin; Gao, Guangping; Rando, Oliver J; Martin, Gilles E; George, Olivier; Gardner, Paul D; Tapper, Andrew R
Increased anxiety is a prominent withdrawal symptom in abstinent smokers, yet the neuroanatomical and molecular bases underlying it are unclear. Here we show that withdrawal-induced anxiety increases activity of neurons in the interpeduncular intermediate (IPI), a subregion of the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). IPI activation during nicotine withdrawal was mediated by increased corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) receptor-1 expression and signalling, which modulated glutamatergic input from the medial habenula (MHb). Pharmacological blockade of IPN CRF1 receptors or optogenetic silencing of MHb input reduced IPI activation and alleviated withdrawal-induced anxiety; whereas IPN CRF infusion in mice increased anxiety. We identified a mesointerpeduncular circuit, consisting of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons projecting to the IPN, as a potential source of CRF. Knockdown of CRF synthesis in the VTA prevented IPI activation and anxiety during nicotine withdrawal. These data indicate that increased CRF receptor signalling within a VTA-IPN-MHb circuit triggers anxiety during nicotine withdrawal.
Heller, Elizabeth A; Kaska, Sophia; Fallon, Barbara; Ferguson, Deveroux; Kennedy, Pamela J; Neve, Rachael L; Nestler, Eric J; Mazei-Robison, Michelle S
Drugs of abuse modulate the function and activity of the mesolimbic dopamine circuit. To identify novel mediators of drug-induced neuroadaptations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we performed RNA sequencing analysis on VTA samples from mice administered repeated saline, morphine, or cocaine injections. One gene that was similarly up-regulated by both drugs was serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1). SGK1 activity, as measured by phosphorylation of its substrate N-myc downstream regulated gene (NDRG), was also increased robustly by chronic drug treatment. Increased NDRG phosphorylation was evident 1 but not 24 h after the last drug injection. SGK1 phosphorylation itself was similarly modulated. To determine the role of increased SGK1 activity on drug-related behaviors, we over-expressed constitutively active (CA) SGK1 in the VTA. SGK1-CA expression reduced locomotor sensitization elicited by repeated cocaine, but surprisingly had the opposite effect and promoted locomotor sensitization to morphine, without affecting the initial locomotor responses to either drug. SGK1-CA expression did not significantly affect morphine or cocaine conditioned place preference, although there was a trend toward increased conditioned place preference with both drugs. Further characterizing the role of this kinase in drug-induced changes in VTA may lead to improved understanding of neuroadaptations critical to drug dependence and addiction. We find that repeated, but not acute, morphine or cocaine administration induces an increase in serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase (SGK1) gene expression and activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). This increase in SGK1 activity may play a role in drug-dependent behaviors and suggests a novel signaling cascade for potential intervention in drug dependence and addiction.
Boyson, Christopher O.; Montagud-Romero, Sandra; Stein, Dirson J.; Gobrogge, Kyle L.; DeBold, Joseph F.; Miczek, Klaus A.
Intermittent social defeat stress escalates later cocaine self-administration. Reward and stress both activate ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, increasing downstream extracellular dopamine concentration in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. The stress neuropeptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and its receptors (CRF-R1, CRF-R2) are located in the VTA and influence dopaminergic activity. These experiments explore how CRF release and the activation of its receptors within the VTA both during and after stress influence later cocaine self-administration in rats. In vivo microdialysis of CRF in the VTA demonstrated that CRF is phasically released in the posterior VTA (pVTA) during acute defeat, but, with repeated defeat, CRF is recruited into the anterior VTA (aVTA) and CRF tone is increased in both subregions. Intra-VTA antagonism of CRF-R1 in the pVTA and CRF-R2 in the aVTA during each social defeat prevented escalated cocaine self-administration in a 24 h “binge.” VTA CRF continues to influence cocaine seeking in stressed animals long after social defeat exposure. Unlike nonstressed controls, previously stressed rats show significant cocaine seeking after 15 d of forced abstinence. Previously stressed rats continue to express elevated CRF tone within the VTA and antagonism of pVTA CRF-R1 or aVTA CRF-R2 reverses cocaine seeking. In conclusion, these experiments demonstrate neuroadaptive changes in tonic and phasic CRF with repeated stress, that CRF release during stress may contribute to later escalated cocaine taking, and that persistently elevated CRF tone in the VTA may drive later cocaine seeking through increased activation of pVTA CRF-R1 and aVTA CRF-R2. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has emerged as a likely candidate molecule underlying the fundamental link between stress history and escalated drug self-administration. However, the nature of CRF
Greenberg, Gian D; Steinman, Michael Q; Doig, Ian E; Hao, Rebecca; Trainor, Brian C
Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have important functions related to rewards but are also activated in aversive contexts. Electrophysiology studies suggest that the degree to which VTA dopamine neurons respond to noxious stimuli is topographically organized across the dorsal-ventral extent. We used c-fos immunohistochemistry to examine the responses of VTA dopamine neurons in contexts of social defeat and social approach. Studying monogamous California mice (Peromyscus californicus) allowed us to observe the effects of social defeat on both males and females. Females exposed to three episodes of defeat, but not a single episode, had more tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)/c-fos-positive cells in the ventral (but not dorsal) VTA compared with controls. This observation suggests that repeated exposure to aversive contexts is necessary to trigger activation of VTA dopamine neurons. Defeat did not affect TH/c-fos colocalizations in males. We also examined the long-term effects of defeat on c-fos expression in a social interaction test. As previously reported, defeat reduced social interaction in females but not males. Surprisingly, there were no effects of defeat stress on TH/c-fos colocalizations in any subregion of the VTA. However, females had more TH/c-fos-positive cells than males across the entire VTA, and also had greater c-fos-positive cell counts in posterior subregions of the nucleus accumbens shell. Our results show that dopamine neurons in the VTA are more responsive to social contexts in females and that the ventral VTA in particular is sensitive to aversive contexts.
Corbit, Laura H; Janak, Patricia H; Balleine, Bernard W
This study compared the contribution of the general activating and specific cueing properties of Pavlovian stimuli to Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) and the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in mediating these effects. In Experiment 1, hungry rats initially received Pavlovian training, in which three distinct auditory stimuli predicted the delivery of three different food outcomes. Next, the rats were trained to perform two instrumental actions, each earning a unique outcome selected from the three used in Pavlovian conditioning. Finally, the effects of the three stimuli on performance of the two actions were assessed in extinction. Presentation of a stimulus that had been paired with the same outcome as an action increased its performance relative to the other action, demonstrating that PIT effects can be outcome selective. In contrast, presentation of the stimulus that predicted the outcome that was not earned during instrumental training facilitated the performance of both actions indiscriminately. This effect, but not the outcome-selective effect, was abolished by a shift from a hungry to a relatively sated state. Experiment 2 examined the effects of inactivation of the VTA on these two forms of PIT. VTA inactivation was found to attenuate PIT but, unlike satiety, did not appear to differentially affect the general or the outcome-selective forms of PIT. The VTA appears therefore to play an important but general role in the initiation of instrumental actions, enabling cues to influence performance whether they enhance responding by changes in arousal or by retrieving particular actions based on their consequences.
Fu, Yuhong; Yuan, Yuan; Halliday, Glenda; Rusznák, Zoltán; Watson, Charles; Paxinos, George
The three main dopamine cell groups of the brain are located in the substantia nigra (A9), ventral tegmental area (A10), and retrorubral field (A8). Several subdivisions of these cell groups have been identified in rats and humans but have not been well described in mice, despite the increasing use of mice in neurodegenerative models designed to selectively damage A9 dopamine neurons. The aim of this study was to determine whether typical subdivisions of these dopamine cell groups are present in mice. The dopamine neuron groups were analysed in 15 adult C57BL/6J mice by anatomically localising tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine transporter protein (DAT), calbindin, and the G-protein-activated inward rectifier potassium channel 2 (GIRK2) proteins. Measurements of the labeling intensity, neuronal morphology, and the proportion of neurons double-labeled with TH, DAT, calbindin, or GIRK2 were used to differentiate subregions. Coronal maps were prepared and reconstructed in 3D. The A8 cell group had the largest dopamine neurons. Five subregions of A9 were identified: the reticular part with few dopamine neurons, the larger dorsal and smaller ventral dopamine tiers, and the medial and lateral parts of A9. The latter has groups containing some calbindin-immunoreactive dopamine neurons. The greatest diversity of dopamine cell types was identified in the seven subregions of A10. The main dopamine cell groups in the mouse brain are similar in terms of diversity to those observed in rats and humans. These findings are relevant to models using mice to analyse the selective vulnerability of different types of dopamine neurons.
Ahmadi, Shamseddin; Zarrindast, Mohammad Reza; Nouri, Maryam; Haeri-Rohani, Ali; Rezayof, Ameneh
The interaction of opiate, cholinergic, glutamatergic and (possibly) dopaminergic inputs in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) influencing a learned behavior is certainly a topic of great interest. In the present study, the effect of intra-VTA administration of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agents on nicotine's effect in morphine state-dependent learning was investigated. An inhibitory avoidance (IA) task was used for memory assessment in male Wistar rats. Subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of morphine (5 and 7.5mg/kg) immediately after training decreased IA response on the test day, which was reinstated by pre-test administration of the same doses of the opioid; this is known as state-dependency. Moreover, pre-test administration of nicotine (0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 mg/kg, s.c.) also reversed the decrease in IA response because of post-training morphine (5mg/kg). Here, we also show that when infused into the VTA before testing, NMDA (0.01 and 0.1 microg/rat) reverse the post-training morphine effect on memory. In addition, the sub-effective doses of NMDA (0.0001 and 0.001 microg/rat) in combination with a low dose of nicotine (0.1mg/kg) which had no effects by themselves, synergistically improved retrieval of IA memory on the test day. In contrast, pre-test administration of a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist D-AP5 (0.5, 1 and 2 microg/rat) which had no effect alone prevented the nicotine reversal of morphine effect on memory. Our data indicate that NMDA receptors in the VTA are involved in the reversing effect of nicotine on morphine induced state-dependency.
Cha, Jiook; Carlson, Joshua M; Dedora, Daniel J; Greenberg, Tsafrir; Proudfit, Greg H; Mujica-Parodi, Lilianne R
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been primarily implicated in reward-motivated behavior. Recently, aberrant dopaminergic VTA signaling has also been implicated in anxiety-like behaviors in animal models. These findings, however, have yet to be extended to anxiety in humans. Here we hypothesized that clinical anxiety is linked to dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic circuit during threat processing in humans; specifically, excessive or dysregulated activity of the mesocorticolimbic aversion circuit may be etiologically related to errors in distinguishing cues of threat versus safety, also known as "overgeneralization of fear." To test this, we recruited 32 females with generalized anxiety disorder and 25 age-matched healthy control females. We measured brain activity using fMRI while participants underwent a fear generalization task consisting of pseudo-randomly presented rectangles with systematically varying widths. A mid-sized rectangle served as a conditioned stimulus (CS; 50% electric shock probability) and rectangles with widths of CS ±20%, ±40%, and ±60% served as generalization stimuli (GS; never paired with electric shock). Healthy controls showed VTA reactivity proportional to the cue's perceptual similarity to CS (threat). In contrast, patients with generalized anxiety disorder showed heightened and less discriminating VTA reactivity to GS, a feature that was positively correlated with trait anxiety, as well as increased mesocortical and decreased mesohippocampal coupling. Our results suggest that the human VTA and the mesocorticolimbic system play a crucial role in threat processing, and that abnormalities in this system are implicated in maladaptive threat processing in clinical anxiety.
Enrico, P; Migliore, M; Spiga, S; Mulas, G; Caboni, F; Diana, M
Dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play a key role in the neurobiological basis of goal-directed behaviors and addiction. Morphine (MOR) withdrawal induces acute and long-term changes in the morphology and physiology of VTA DA cells, but the mechanisms underlying these modifications are poorly understood. Because of their predictive value, computational models are a powerful tool in neurobiological research, and are often used to gain further insights and deeper understanding on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying the development of various psychiatric disorders. Here we present a biophysical model of a DA VTA neuron based on 3D morphological reconstruction and electrophysiological data, showing how opiates withdrawal-driven morphological and electrophysiological changes could affect the firing rate and discharge pattern. The model findings suggest how and to what extent a change in the balance of GABA/GLU inputs can take into account the experimentally observed hypofunction of VTA DA neurons during acute and prolonged withdrawal, whereas morphological changes may play a role in the increased excitability of VTA DA cell to opiate administration observed during opiate withdrawal.
Labouèbe, Gwenaël; Lomazzi, Marta; Cruz, Hans G; Creton, Cyril; Luján, Rafael; Li, Meng; Yanagawa, Yuchio; Obata, Kunihiko; Watanabe, Masahiko; Wickman, Kevin; Boyer, Stephanie B; Slesinger, Paul A; Lüscher, Christian
Agonists of GABA(B) receptors exert a bi-directional effect on the activity of dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area, which can be explained by the fact that coupling between GABA(B) receptors and G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels is significantly weaker in DA neurons than in GABA neurons. Thus, low concentrations of agonists preferentially inhibit GABA neurons and thereby disinhibit DA neurons. This disinhibition might confer reinforcing properties on addictive GABA(B) receptor agonists such as gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and its derivatives. Here we show that, in DA neurons of mice, the low coupling efficiency reflects the selective expression of heteromeric GIRK2/3 channels and is dynamically modulated by a member of the regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) protein family. Moreover, repetitive exposure to GHB increases the GABA(B) receptor-GIRK channel coupling efficiency through downregulation of RGS2. Finally, oral self-administration of GHB at a concentration that is normally rewarding becomes aversive after chronic exposure. On the basis of these results, we propose a mechanism that might underlie tolerance to GHB.
Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G; Olivos, Diana R; Jeffrey, Brianne A; Hayes, Matthew R
Peripheral coadministration of amylin and leptin produces enhanced suppression of food intake and body weight, but the central nuclei mediating these effects remain unclear. Because each of these peptides controls feeding via actions at the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested the hypothesis that the VTA is a site of action for the cooperative effects of leptin and amylin on energy balance control. First, we show that intra-VTA injection of amylin and leptin at doses of each peptide that are effective in reducing food intake and body weight when administered separately produces an enhanced suppression of feeding when administered in combination. We also demonstrate that subthreshold doses of both amylin and leptin cause significant hypophagia and body weight loss when coadministered into the VTA. Additionally, we provide evidence that VTA amylin receptor blockade significantly attenuates the ability of intra-VTA leptin to reduce feeding and body weight gain. Together, these data provide the first evidence that the VTA mediates the interaction of amylin and leptin to cooperatively promote negative energy balance.
Madhavan, Anuradha; Argilli, Emanuela; Bonci, Antonello; Whistler, Jennifer L
Potentiation of glutamate responses is a critical synaptic response to cocaine exposure in ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. However, the mechanism by which cocaine exposure promotes potentiation of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and subsequently AMPA receptors (AMPARs) is not fully understood. In this study we demonstrate that repeated cocaine treatment causes loss of D2 dopamine receptor functional responses via interaction with lysosome-targeting G-protein-associated sorting protein1 (GASP1). We also show that the absence of D2 downregulation in GASP1-KO mice prevents cocaine-induced potentiation of NMDAR currents, elevation of the AMPA/NMDA ratio, and redistribution of NMDAR and AMPAR subunits to the membrane. As a pharmacological parallel, coadministration of the high-affinity D2 agonist, aripiprazole, reduces not only functional downregulation of D2s in response to cocaine but also potentiation of NMDAR and AMPAR responses in wild-type mice. Together these data suggest that functional loss of D2 receptors is a critical mechanism mediating cocaine-induced glutamate plasticity in VTA neurons.
Zhang, W; Yang, H L; Song, J J; Chen, M; Dong, Y; Lai, B; Yu, Y G; Ma, L; Zheng, P
Opioid-induced rewarding and motorstimulant effects are mediated by an increased activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons. The excitatory mechanism of opioids on VTA-DA neurons has been proposed to be due to the depression of GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons. However, how opioids depress GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons remain to be studied. In the present study, we explored the mechanism of the inhibitory effect of [D-Ala(2), N-Me-Phe(4), Gly(5)-ol]-enkephalin (DAMGO) on GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons using multiple approaches and techniques. Our results showed that (1) DAMGO inhibits GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons at presynaptic sites; (2) effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons is inhibited by potassium channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) and Gi protein inhibitor N-ethylmaleimide (NEM); (3) phospholipase A2 (PLA2) does not mediate the effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons, but mediates it in the periaqueductal gray (PAG); (4) multiple downstream signaling molecules of μ receptors do not mediate the effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons. These results suggest that DAMGO depresses inhibitory synaptic transmission via μ receptor-Gi protein-Kv channel pathway in VTA-DA neurons, but via μ receptor-PLA2 pathway in PAG neurons.
Merrill, Collin B; Friend, Lindsey N; Newton, Scott T; Hopkins, Zachary H; Edwards, Jeffrey G
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in adaptive reward and motivation processing and is composed of dopamine (DA) and GABA neurons. Defining the elements regulating activity and synaptic plasticity of these cells is critical to understanding mechanisms of reward and addiction. While endocannabinoids (eCBs) that potentially contribute to addiction are known to be involved in synaptic plasticity mechanisms in the VTA, where they are produced is poorly understood. In this study, DA and GABAergic cells were identified using electrophysiology, cellular markers, and a transgenic mouse model that specifically labels GABA cells. Using single-cell RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry, we investigated mRNA and proteins involved in eCB signaling such as diacylglycerol lipase α, N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D, and 12-lipoxygenase, as well as type I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Our results demonstrate the first molecular evidence of colocalization of eCB biosynthetic enzyme and type I mGluR mRNA in VTA neurons. Further, these data reveal higher expression of mGluR1 in DA neurons, suggesting potential differences in eCB synthesis between DA and GABA neurons. These data collectively suggest that VTA GABAergic and DAergic cells have the potential to produce various eCBs implicated in altering neuronal activity or plasticity in adaptive motivational reward or addiction.
Flatscher-Bader, T; Zuvela, N; Landis, N; Wilce, P A
Drugs of abuse including nicotine and alcohol elicit their effect by stimulating the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system. There is a high incidence of nicotine dependence in alcoholics. To date only limited data is available on the molecular mechanism underlying the action of alcohol and nicotine in the human brain. This study utilized gene expression screening to identify genes sensitive to chronic alcohol abuse within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the human brain. Alcohol-responsive genes encoded proteins primarily involved in structural plasticity and neurotransmitter transport and release. In particular, genes involved with brain-derived neurotrophic factor signalling and glutamatergic transmission were found to be affected. The possibility that glutamate transport was a target of chronic alcohol and/or tobacco abuse was further investigated in an extended case set by measurement of mRNA and protein expression. Expression levels of vesicular glutamate transporters SLC17A6 and SLC17A7 were robustly induced by smoking, an effect that was reduced by alcohol co-exposure. Glutamatergic transmission is vital for the control of the VTA and may also be critical to the weighting of novelty and importance of a stimulus, an essential output of this brain region. We conclude that enduring plasticity within the VTA may be a major molecular mechanism for the maintenance of smoking addiction and that alcohol, nicotine and co-abuse have distinct impacts on glutamatergic transmission with important implications for the control of this core mesolimbic structure.
Warren, Brandon L.; Iñiguez, Sergio D.; Alcantara, Lyonna F.; Wright, Katherine N.; Parise, Eric M.; Weakley, Sarah K.; Bolaños-Guzmán, Carlos A.
There is a rise in the concurrent use of methylphenidate (MPH) and fluoxetine (FLX) in pediatric populations. However, the long-term neurobiological consequences of combined MPH and FLX treatment (MPH+FLX) during juvenile periods are unknown. We administered saline (VEH), MPH, FLX, or MPH+FLX to juvenile Sprague-Dawley male rats from postnatal day 20–35, and assessed their reactivity to reward- and mood-related stimuli 24-h or 2-months after drug exposure. We also assessed mRNA and protein levels within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to determine the effect of MPH, FLX, or MPH+FLX on the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase-1/2 (ERK) pathway – a signaling cascade implicated in motivation and mood regulation. MPH+FLX enhanced sensitivity to drug (i.e., cocaine) and sucrose rewards, as well as anxiety- (i.e., elevated plus-maze) and stress- (i.e., forced swimming) eliciting situations when compared to VEH-treated rats. MPH+FLX exposure also increased mRNA of ERK2 and its downstream targets cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cFos, early growth response protein-1 (zif268), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and also increased protein phosphorylation of ERK2, CREB, and mTOR 2-months after drug exposure when compared to VEH-treated rats. Using herpes simplex virus-mediated gene transfer to block ERK2 activity within the VTA, we rescued the MPH+FLX-induced behavioral deficits seen in the forced swimming task 2-months after drug treatment. These results indicate that concurrent MPH+FLX exposure during preadolescence increases sensitivity to reward-related stimuli while simultaneously enhancing susceptibility to stressful situations, at least in part, due to long-lasting disruptions in ERK signaling within the VTA. PMID:21753012
Lerma-Cabrera, Jose M.; Carvajal, Francisca; de la Torre, Lourdes; de la Fuente, Leticia; Navarro, Montserrat; Thiele, Todd E.; Cubero, Inmaculada
The Melanocortin system is involved in animal models of obesity and anorexia-cachexia and MC4 receptors (MC4-R) are currently a target system for the development of drugs aimed to treat obesity and eating disorders in humans. Previous evidence suggest that feeding peptides might lack their orexigenic activity while stimulate ethanol intake. The present study comparatively evaluated food intake (4-h interval) in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats drinking ethanol (6% w/v, 2 bottle choice paradigm) (EE group) and ethanol-naïve (EN) rats in response to bilateral infusion of the selective MC4-R antagonist HS014 (0, 0.02 or 0.05 μg/0.5μl/site) or the selective MC4-R agonist cyclo(NH-CH2-CH2-CO-His-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Glu)-NH2 (0, 0.75 or 1.5 μg/0.5μl/site), into the lateral hypothalamus (LH), the nucleus accumbens (NAc), or the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The main findings in the study are: 1) LH-infusions of the MC4-R antagonist increased and the agonist reduced feeding and total calories consumed, while ethanol intake remained unaltered. 2) NAc- and VTA-infusions of the selective agonist reduced food, ethanol and total calories intake. 3) NAc- and VTA-infusions of the MC4-R antagonist increased feeding in EN rats, but not in EE animals which showed a mild increase in ethanol intake, while total calories consumed remained unaltered. Present data show that having ethanol available reduces feeding elicited by NAc and VTA-MC4-R blockade. Additionally, while MC4-R signalling in the LH appears to modulate homeostatic aspects of feeding, it may contribute to non-homeostatic aspects of ingestive behaviours in the VTA and the NAc. PMID:22713514
Ding, Zheng-Ming; Katner, Simon N; Rodd, Zachary A; Truitt, William; Hauser, Sheketha R; Deehan, Gerald A; Engleman, Eric A; McBride, William J
Clinical evidence indicates a frequent co-morbidity of nicotine and alcohol abuse and dependence. The posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA) appears to support the reinforcing and dopamine-stimulating effects of both drugs. The current study tested the hypothesis that repeated exposure of the pVTA to one drug would increase the sensitivity of local dopamine neurons to the stimulating effects of the other drug. Female Wistar rats received repeated daily microinjections of either 100 μM nicotine or vehicle directly into the pVTA for 7 days. On the 8th day, rats received microinjections of either vehicle or ethanol (100 or 200 mg%) into the pVTA while extracellular dopamine samples were collected from the ipsilateral nucleus accumbens shell (NACsh) with microdialysis. Another experiment tested the effects of challenge microinjections of 200 μM nicotine in the pVTA on extracellular dopamine levels in the NACsh following 7 daily pretreatments with 200 mg% ethanol in the pVTA. Nicotine pretreatments increased the dopamine-stimulating effects of ethanol in the pVTA (100 mg% ethanol: 115% vs 160% of baseline in the vehicle and nicotine groups, respectively, p < 0.05; 200 mg% ethanol: 145% vs 190% of baseline in the vehicle and nicotine groups, respectively, p < 0.05). In contrast, ethanol pretreatments did not alter the stimulating effects of nicotine in the pVTA. The results suggest that repeated exposure of the pVTA to nicotine increased the response of local dopamine neurons to the stimulating effects of ethanol, whereas repeated exposure of the pVTA to ethanol did not alter the responses of pVTA dopamine neurons to nicotine.
Haghparast, Abbas; Esmaeili, Mohammad-Hossein; Taslimi, Zahra; Kermani, Mojtaba; Yazdi-Ravandi, Saeid; Alizadeh, Amir-Mohammad
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) as a major source of dopamine neurons projecting to cortical and limbic regions has a crucial role in reward and addiction. The current study assessed the role of D1 and D2 receptors within the dorsal hippocampus (CA1) in the expression of conditioned place preference (CPP) by intra-VTA morphine in the rats. In the present study, 160 adult male albino Wistar rats weighing 220-290g were bilaterally implanted by two cannulae into the CA1 and VTA. The CPP paradigm was done and animal displacement, conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded. For blocking the dopamine D1/D2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus, SCH23390 (0.02, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.5μg per side) or sulpiride (0.25, 0.75, 1.5 and 3μg per side) were microinjected into the CA1, just 5min before the CPP test on the post-conditioning day. All animals received intra-VTA morphine (1μg per side) during 3-days conditioning phase. Our results showed that sulpiride (1.5 and 3μg) but not SCH23390 in the dorsal hippocampus significantly decreased the expression of CPP induced by intra-VTA morphine (p<0.001). Intra-CA1 administration of these antagonists alone, in all doses, could not induce CPP. We suggest that D2 receptors in the CA1 region of hippocampus have a key role in the expression of CPP induced by morphine at the level of the VTA and there is a relationship between dopaminergic D2 receptors and opioidergic systems in these areas in reward circuit.
Rashidy-Pour, Ali; Pahlevani, Pouyan; Vaziri, Anoumid; Shaigani, Pariya; Zarepour, Leila; Vafaei, Abbas Ali; Haghparast, Abbas
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a critical part of the brain reward system and has been engaged in mediating rewarding actions. CB1 receptors are one of the receptors that mediate the actions of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in the central nervous system. Our aim was to determine the potentiating effects of CB1 receptors within the VTA in the acquisition and expression of morphine conditioned place preference (CPP). Stereotaxic surgery was performed bilaterally on each rat to administrate WIN55,212-2 (1, 2 and 4 mmol/0.3 μl DMSO) as CB1 receptor agonist and AM251 (15, 45 and 90 mmol/0.3 μl DMSO) as CB1 receptor antagonist. A three-compartment apparatus was used for the CPP test. The results showed that two doses of WIN55,212-2 (2 and 4 mmol) potentiates the rewarding effects of ineffective dose of morphine (2 mg/kg). We did not see any significant difference between any other doses of WIN55,212-2 and vehicle in the group which received the effective dose of morphine (5mg/kg). Additionally, conditioning scores decreased significantly with the highest administrated dose of AM251 (90 mmol) compared to the vehicle group. We did not observe any significant differences in the experiments for CPP expression by WIN55,212-2 or AM251. It seems that the cannabinoid and opioid systems are in interaction with each other and affect dopaminergic and/or non-dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Blockade of CB1 receptors may increase GABA release, resulting in the reduction of dopamine output followed by a decrease in the acquisition of morphine-induced CPP in rats.
Dobbs, L K; Mark, G P
Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important mediator of dopamine (DA) release and the behavioral reinforcing characteristics of drugs of abuse in the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Within the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the interaction of DA with ACh appears to be integral in mediating motivated behaviors. However, the effects of methamphetamine on VTA ACh and DA release remain poorly characterized. The current investigation performed microdialysis to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on extracellular levels of ACh and DA. Male C57BL/6J mice received an i.p. injection (saline, 2 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg) and an intra-VTA infusion (vehicle, 100 microM or 1 mM) of methamphetamine. Locally perfused methamphetamine resulted in no change in extracellular ACh compared with vehicle, but caused a strong, immediate and dose-dependent increase in extrasynaptic DA levels (1240% and 2473% of baseline, respectively) during the 20-min pulse perfusion. An i.p. injection of methamphetamine increased extrasynaptic DA to 275% and 941% of baseline (2 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively). Systemic methamphetamine significantly increased ACh levels up to 275% of baseline for 40-60 min (2 mg/kg) and 397% of baseline for 40-160 min (5 mg/kg) after injection. ACh remained elevated above baseline for 2-3 h post injection, depending on the methamphetamine dose. Methamphetamine-induced locomotor activity was dose-dependently correlated with extrasynaptic VTA ACh, but not DA levels. These data suggest that methamphetamine acts in the VTA to induce a robust and short-lived increase in extracellular DA release but acts in an area upstream from the VTA to produce a prolonged increase in ACh release in the VTA. We conclude that methamphetamine may activate a recurrent loop in the mesocorticolimbic DA system to stimulate pontine cholinergic nuclei and produce a prolonged ACh release in the VTA.
Gillies, G E; Virdee, K; McArthur, S; Dalley, J W
The knowledge that diverse populations of dopaminergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can be distinguished in terms of their molecular, electrophysiological and functional properties, as well as their differential projections to cortical and subcortical regions has significance for key brain functions, such as the regulation of motivation, working memory and sensorimotor control. Almost without exception, this understanding has evolved from landmark studies performed in the male sex. However, converging evidence from both clinical and pre-clinical studies illustrates that the structure and functioning of the VTA dopaminergic systems are intrinsically different in males and females. This may be driven by sex differences in the hormonal environment during adulthood ('activational' effects) and development (perinatal and/or pubertal 'organizational' effects), as well as genetic factors, especially the SRY gene on the Y chromosome in males, which is expressed in a sub-population of adult midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Stress and stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, are important factors which interact with the VTA dopaminergic systems in order to achieve behavioral adaptation and enable the individual to cope with environmental change. Here, also, there is male/female diversity not only during adulthood, but also in early life when neurobiological programing by stress or glucocorticoid exposure differentially impacts dopaminergic developmental trajectories in male and female brains. This may have enduring consequences for individual resilience or susceptibility to pathophysiological change induced by stressors in later life, with potential translational significance for sex bias commonly found in disorders involving dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. These findings highlight the urgent need for a better understanding of the sexual dimorphism in the VTA if we are to improve strategies for the prevention and treatment of
Gillies, G.E.; Virdee, K.; McArthur, S.; Dalley, J.W.
The knowledge that diverse populations of dopaminergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can be distinguished in terms of their molecular, electrophysiological and functional properties, as well as their differential projections to cortical and subcortical regions has significance for key brain functions, such as the regulation of motivation, working memory and sensorimotor control. Almost without exception, this understanding has evolved from landmark studies performed in the male sex. However, converging evidence from both clinical and pre-clinical studies illustrates that the structure and functioning of the VTA dopaminergic systems are intrinsically different in males and females. This may be driven by sex differences in the hormonal environment during adulthood (‘activational’ effects) and development (perinatal and/or pubertal ‘organizational’ effects), as well as genetic factors, especially the SRY gene on the Y chromosome in males, which is expressed in a sub-population of adult midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Stress and stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, are important factors which interact with the VTA dopaminergic systems in order to achieve behavioral adaptation and enable the individual to cope with environmental change. Here, also, there is male/female diversity not only during adulthood, but also in early life when neurobiological programing by stress or glucocorticoid exposure differentially impacts dopaminergic developmental trajectories in male and female brains. This may have enduring consequences for individual resilience or susceptibility to pathophysiological change induced by stressors in later life, with potential translational significance for sex bias commonly found in disorders involving dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. These findings highlight the urgent need for a better understanding of the sexual dimorphism in the VTA if we are to improve strategies for the prevention and
Dobbs, Lauren K.; Mark, Gregory P.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important mediator of dopamine (DA) release and the behavioral reinforcing characteristics of drugs of abuse in the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Within the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the interaction of DA with ACh appears to be integral in mediating motivated behaviors. However, the effects of methamphetamine on VTA ACh and DA release remain poorly characterized. The current investigation performed microdialysis to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on extracellular levels of ACh and DA. Male C57BL/6J mice received an IP injection (saline, 2 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg) and an intra-VTA infusion (vehicle, 100 µM or 1 mM) of methamphetamine. Locally perfused methamphetamine resulted in no change in extracellular ACh compared to vehicle, but caused a strong, immediate and dose-dependent increase in extrasynaptic DA levels (1240% and 2473% of baseline, respectively) during the 20-minute pulse perfusion. An IP injection of methamphetamine increased extrasynaptic DA to 275% and 941% of baseline (2 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively). Systemic methamphetamine significantly increased ACh levels up to 275% of baseline for 40 – 60 minutes (2 mg/kg) and 397% of baseline for 40 – 160 minutes (5 mg/kg) after injection. ACh remained elevated above baseline for 2 to 3 hours post injection, depending on the methamphetamine dose. Methamphetamine-induced locomotor activity was dose-dependently correlated with extrasynaptic VTA ACh, but not DA levels. These data suggest that methamphetamine acts in the VTA to induce a robust and short-lived increase in extracellular DA release but acts in an area upstream from the VTA to produce a prolonged increase in ACh release in the VTA. We conclude that methamphetamine may activate a recurrent loop in the mesocorticolimbic DA system to stimulate pontine cholinergic nuclei and produce a prolonged ACh release in the VTA. PMID:18760336
Engle, Staci E; McIntosh, J Michael; Drenan, Ryan M
Nicotine + ethanol co-exposure results in additive and/or synergistic effects in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine (DA) pathway, but the mechanisms supporting this are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits (α6* nAChRs) are involved in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure. Exposing VTA slices from C57BL/6 WT animals to drinking-relevant concentrations of ethanol causes a marked enhancement of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) function in VTA neurons. This effect was sensitive to α-conotoxin MII (an α6β2* nAChR antagonist), suggesting that α6* nAChR function is required. In mice expressing hypersensitive α6* nAChRs (α6L9S mice), we found that lower concentrations (relative to C57BL/6 WT) of ethanol were sufficient to enhance AMPAR function in VTA neurons. Exposure of live C57BL/6 WT mice to ethanol also produced AMPAR functional enhancement in VTA neurons, and studies in α6L9S mice strongly suggest a role for α6* nAChRs in this response. We then asked whether nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance VTA AMPAR function. We identified low concentrations of nicotine and ethanol that were capable of strongly enhancing VTA AMPAR function when co-applied to slices, but that did not enhance AMPAR function when applied alone. This effect was sensitive to both varenicline (an α4β2* and α6β2* nAChR partial agonist) and α-conotoxin MII. Finally, nicotine + ethanol co-exposure also enhanced AMPAR function in VTA neurons from α6L9S mice. Together, these data identify α6* nAChRs as important players in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure in VTA neurons.
Shnitko, Tatiana A.; Robinson, Donita L.
Voltammetric measurements of catecholamines in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are infrequent because of lack of chemical selectivity between dopamine and norepinephrine and their overlapping anatomical inputs. Here, we examined the contribution of norepinephrine to the catecholamine release in the mPFC evoked by electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Initially, electrical stimulation was delivered in the midbrain at incremental depths of −5 to −9.4mm from bregma while catecholamine release was monitored in the mPFC. Although catecholamine release was observed at dorsal stimulation sites that may correspond to the dorsal noradrenergic bundle (DNB, containing noradrenergic axonal projections to the mPFC), maximal release was evoked by stimulation of the VTA (the source of dopaminergic input to the mPFC). Next, VTA-evoked catecholamine release was monitored in the mPFC before and after knife incision of the DNB, and no significant changes in the evoked catecholamine signals were found These data indicated that DNB fibers did not contribute to the VTA-evoked catecholamine release observed in the mPFC. Finally, while the D2-receptor antagonist raclopride significantly altered VTA-evoked catecholamine release, the α2-adrenergic receptor antagonist idazoxan did not. Specifically, raclopride reduced catecholamine release in the mPFC, opposite to that observed in the striatum, indicating differential autoreceptor regulation of mesocortical and mesostriatal neurons. Together, these findings suggest that the catecholamine release in the mPFC arising from VTA stimulation was predominately dopaminergic rather than noradrenergic. PMID:24285555
Aransay, Ana; Rodríguez-López, Claudia; García-Amado, María; Clascá, Francisco; Prensa, Lucía
Pathways arising from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) release dopamine and other neurotransmitters during the expectation and achievement of reward, and are regarded as central links of the brain networks that create drive, pleasure, and addiction. While the global pattern of VTA projections is well-known, the actual axonal wiring of individual VTA neurons had never been investigated. Here, we labeled and analyzed the axons of 30 VTA single neurons by means of single-cell transfection with the Sindbis-pal-eGFP vector in mice. These observations were complemented with those obtained by labeling the axons of small populations of VTA cells with iontophoretic microdeposits of biotinylated dextran amine. In the single-cell labeling experiments, each entire axonal tree was reconstructed from serial sections, the length of terminal axonal arbors was estimated by stereology, and the dopaminergic phenotype was tested by double-labeling for tyrosine hydroxylase immunofluorescence. We observed two main, markedly different VTA cell morphologies: neurons with a single main axon targeting only forebrain structures (FPN cells), and neurons with multibranched axons targeting both the forebrain and the brainstem (F + BSPN cells). Dopaminergic phenotype was observed in FPN cells. Moreover, four “subtypes” could be distinguished among the FPN cells based on their projection targets: (1) “Mesocorticolimbic” FPN projecting to both neocortex and basal forebrain; (2) “Mesocortical” FPN innervating the neocortex almost exclusively; (3) “Mesolimbic” FPN projecting to the basal forebrain, accumbens and caudateputamen; and (4) “Mesostriatal” FPN targeting only the caudateputamen. While the F + BSPN cells were scattered within VTA, the mesolimbic neurons were abundant in the paranigral nucleus. The observed diversity in wiring architectures is consistent with the notion that different VTA cell subpopulations modulate the activity of specific sets of prosencephalic and
Khaliq, Zayd M.; Bean, Bruce P.
We analyzed ionic currents that regulate pacemaking in dopaminergic neurons of the mouse ventral tegmental area by comparing voltage trajectories during spontaneous firing with ramp-evoked currents in voltage clamp. Most recordings were made in brain slice, with key experiments repeated using acutely dissociated neurons, which gave identical results. During spontaneous firing, net ionic current flowing between spikes was calculated from the time derivative of voltage multiplied by cell capacitance, signal-averaged over many firing cycles to enhance resolution. Net inward interspike current had a distinctive nonmonotonic shape, reaching a minimum (generally <1 pA) between −60 and −55 mV. Under voltage clamp, ramps over subthreshold voltages elicited a time- and voltage-dependent outward current that peaked near −55 mV. This current was undetectable with 5 mV/s ramps and increased steeply with depolarization rate over the range (10 –50 mV/s) typical of natural pacemaking. Ramp-evoked subthreshold current was resistant to α-dendrotoxin, paxilline, apamin, and tetraethylammonium but sensitive to 4-aminopyridine and 0.5 mM Ba2+, consistent with A-type potassium current (IA). Same-cell comparison of currents elicited by various ramp speeds with natural spontaneous depolarization showed how the steep dependence of IA on depolarization rate results in small net inward currents during pacemaking. These results reveal a mechanism in which subthreshold IA is near zero at steady state, but is engaged at depolarization rates >10 mV/s to act as a powerful, supralinear feedback element. This feedback mechanism explains how net ionic current can be constrained to <1–2 pA but reliably inward, thus enabling slow, regular firing. PMID:18945898
Khaliq, Zayd M.; Bean, Bruce P.
Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) fire spontaneously in a pacemaker-like manner. We analyzed the ionic currents that drive pacemaking in dopaminergic VTA neurons, studied in mouse brain slices. Pacemaking was not inhibited by blocking hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih) or blocking all calcium current by Mg2+ replacement of Ca2+. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) stopped spontaneous activity and usually resulted in stable resting potentials near −60 mV to −55 mV, 10–15 mV below the action potential threshold. When external sodium was replaced by N-methyl-D-glucamine (NMDG) with TTX present, cells hyperpolarized by an average of −11 mV, suggesting a significant resting sodium conductance not sensitive to TTX. Voltage-clamp experiments using slow (10 mV/s) ramps showed a steady-state, steeply voltage-dependent current blocked by TTX that activates near −60 mV, as well as a sodium “background” current with little voltage-sensitivity, revealed by NMDG replacement for sodium with TTX present. We quantified these two components of sodium current during the pacemaking trajectory using action potential clamp. The initial phase of depolarization, up to about −55 mV, is driven mainly by non-voltage-dependent sodium background current. Above −55 mV, TTX-sensitive voltage-dependent “persistent” Na current helps drive the final phase of depolarization to the spike threshold. Voltage-dependent calcium current is small at all subthreshold voltages. The pacemaking mechanism in VTA neurons differs from that in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) neurons, where subthreshold calcium current plays a dominant role. In addition, we found that non-voltage-dependent background sodium current is much smaller in SNc neurons than VTA neurons. PMID:20505107
Pina, Melanie M; Cunningham, Christopher L
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a well-established neural substrate of reward-related processes. Activity within this structure is increased by the primary and conditioned rewarding effects of abused drugs and its engagement is heavily reliant on excitatory input from structures upstream. In the case of drug seeking, it is thought that exposure to drug-associated cues engages glutamatergic VTA afferents that signal directly to dopamine cells, thereby triggering this behavior. It is unclear, however, whether glutamate input to VTA is directly involved in ethanol-associated cue seeking. Here, the role of intra-VTA ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) signaling in ethanol-cue seeking was evaluated in DBA/2J mice using an ethanol conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure. Intra-VTA iGluRs α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPAR)/kainate and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDAR) were blocked during ethanol CPP expression by co-infusion of antagonist drugs 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX; AMPA/kainate) and d-(-)-2-Amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5; NMDA). Compared to aCSF, bilateral infusion of low (1 DNQX+100 AP5ng/side) and high (5 DNQX+500 AP5ng/side) doses of the AMPAR and NMDAR antagonist cocktail into VTA blocked ethanol CPP expression. This effect was site specific, as DNQX/AP5 infusion proximal to VTA did not significantly impact CPP expression. An increase in activity was found at the high but not low dose of DNQX/AP5. These findings demonstrate that activation of iGluRs within the VTA is necessary for ethanol-associated cue seeking, as measured by CPP.
Kenny, Paul J.; Chartoff, Elena; Roberto, Marisa; Carlezon, William A.; Markou, Athina
Nicotine is considered an important component of tobacco responsible for the smoking habit in humans. Nicotine increases glutamate-mediated transmission throughout brain reward circuitries. This action of nicotine could potentially contribute to its intrinsic rewarding and reward-enhancing properties, which motivate consumption of the drug. Here we show that the competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist LY235959 (0.5–2.5 mg/kg) abolished nicotine-enhanced brain reward function, reflected in blockade of the lowering of intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) thresholds usually observed after experimenter-administered (0.25 mg/kg) or intravenously self-administered (0.03 mg/kg/infusion) nicotine injections. The highest LY235959 dose (5 mg/kg) tested reversed the hedonic valence of nicotine from positive to negative, reflected in nicotine-induced elevations of ICSS thresholds. LY235959 doses that reversed nicotine-induced lowering of ICSS thresholds also markedly decreased nicotine self-administration without altering responding for food reinforcement, whereas the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist NBQX had no effects on nicotine intake. In addition, nicotine self-administration upregulated NMDA receptor subunit expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), suggesting important interactions between nicotine and the NMDA receptor. Furthermore, nicotine (1 μM) increased NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in rat CeA slices, similar to its previously described effects in the VTA. Finally, infusion of LY235959 (0.1–10 ng/side) into the CeA or VTA decreased nicotine self-administration. Taken together, these data suggest that NMDA receptors, including those in the CeA and VTA, gate the magnitude and valence of the effects of nicotine on brain reward systems, thereby regulating motivation to consume the drug. PMID:18418357
Matheny, M; Strehler, K Y E; King, M; Tümer, N; Scarpace, P J
The present investigation examined whether leptin stimulation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) has a role in body weight homeostasis independent of the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). To this end, recombinant adeno-associated viral techniques were employed to target leptin overexpression or overexpression of a dominant negative leptin mutant (leptin antagonist). Leptin antagonist overexpression in MBH or VTA increased food intake and body weight to similar extents over 14 days in rats. Simultaneous overexpression of leptin in VTA with antagonist in MBH resulted in food intake and body weight gain that were less than with control treatment but greater than with leptin alone in VTA. Notably, leptin overexpression in VTA increased P-STAT3 in MBH along with VTA, and leptin antagonist overexpression in the VTA partially attenuated P-STAT3 levels in MBH. Interestingly, leptin antagonist overexpression elevated body weight gain, but leptin overexpression in the NTS failed to modulate either food intake or body weight despite increased P-STAT3. These data suggest that leptin function in the VTA participates in the chronic regulation of food consumption and body weight in response to stimulation or blockade of VTA leptin receptors. Moreover, one component of VTA-leptin action appears to be independent of the MBH, and another component appears to be related to leptin receptor-mediated P-STAT3 activation in the MBH. Finally, leptin receptors in the NTS are necessary for normal energy homeostasis, but mostly they appear to have a permissive role. Direct leptin activation of NTS slightly increases UCP1 levels, but has little effect on food consumption or body weight.
Perrotti, Linda I; Bolaños, Carlos A; Choi, Kwang-Ho; Russo, Scott J; Edwards, Scott; Ulery, Paula G; Wallace, Deanna L; Self, David W; Nestler, Eric J; Barrot, Michel
The transcription factor deltaFosB is induced in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum by chronic exposure to several drugs of abuse, and increasing evidence supports the possibility that this induction is involved in the addiction process. However, to date there has been no report of deltaFosB induction by drugs of abuse in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is also a critical brain reward region. In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry to demonstrate that chronic forced administration of cocaine induces deltaFosB in the rat VTA. This induction occurs selectively in a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) cell population within the posterior tail of the VTA. A similar effect is seen after chronic cocaine self-administration. Induction of deltaFosB in the VTA occurs after psychostimulant treatment only: it is seen with both chronic cocaine and amphetamine, but not with chronic opiates or stress. The expression of deltaFosB appears to be mediated by dopamine systems, as repeated administration of a dopamine uptake inhibitor induced deltaFosB in the VTA, while administration of serotonin or norepinephrine uptake inhibitors failed to produce this effect. Time course analysis showed that, following 14 days of cocaine administration, deltaFosB persists in the VTA for almost 2 weeks after cocaine withdrawal. This accumulation and persistence may account for some of the long-lasting changes in the brain associated with chronic drug use. These results provide the first evidence of deltaFosB induction in a discrete population of GABA cells in the VTA, which may regulate the functioning of the brain's reward mechanisms.
Settell, Megan L.; Testini, Paola; Cho, Shinho; Lee, Jannifer H.; Blaha, Charles D.; Jo, Hang J.; Lee, Kendall H.; Min, Hoon-Ki
Background: The ventral tegmental area (VTA), containing mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic neurons, is implicated in processes involving reward, addiction, reinforcement, and learning, which are associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Electrical stimulation of the VTA or the medial forebrain bundle and its projection target the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is reported to improve depressive symptoms in patients affected by severe, treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) and depressive-like symptoms in animal models of depression. Here we sought to determine the neuromodulatory effects of VTA deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a normal large animal model (swine) by combining neurochemical measurements with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Animals (n = 8 swine) were implanted with a unilateral DBS electrode targeting the VTA. During stimulation (130 Hz frequency, 0.25 ms pulse width, and 3 V amplitude), fMRI was performed. Following fMRI, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in combination with carbon fiber microelectrodes was performed to quantify VTA-DBS-evoked dopamine release in the ipsilateral NAc. In a subset of swine, the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) percent change evoked by stimulation was performed at increasing voltages (1, 2, and 3 V). Results: A significant increase in VTA-DBS-evoked BOLD signal was found in the following regions: the ipsilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior and posterior cingulate, insula, premotor cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and striatum. A decrease in the BOLD signal was also observed in the contralateral parahippocampal cortex, dorsolateral and anterior prefrontal cortex, insula, inferior temporal gyrus, and primary somatosensory cortex (Bonferroni-corrected < 0.001). During neurochemical measurements, stimulation time-locked changes in dopamine release were recorded in the NAc, confirming that mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons were stimulated by DBS. In the
Saryyeva, Assel; Nakamura, Makoto; Krauss, Joachim K; Schwabe, Kerstin
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to alleviate motor dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD). The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) may be a potential target for severe freezing and postural instability with 25 Hz stimulation being considered more effective than 130 Hz stimulation. Here we evaluated the expression of c-Fos after 25 Hz and 130 Hz DBS of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg, i.e., the rodent equivalent to the human PPN) in the rat 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) PD model. Anaesthetized male Sprague Dawley rats with unilateral 6-OHDA-induced nigrostriatal lesions were stimulated with 25 Hz, 130 Hz, or 0 Hz sham-stimulation for 4h by electrodes implanted into the ipsilateral PPTg. Thereafter the distribution and number of neurons expressing the immediate early gene c-Fos, a marker for acute neuronal activity, was assessed. DBS of the PPTg induced strong ipsilateral c-Fos expression at the stimulation site, with 25 Hz having a more marked impact than 130 Hz. Additionally, c-Fos was strongly expressed in the central gray. In the dorsal part expression was stronger after 25 Hz stimulation, while in the medial and ventral part there was no difference between 25 Hz and 130 Hz stimulation. Expression in the basal ganglia was negligible. In the rat 6-OHDA PD model stimulation of the PPTg did not affect c-Fos expression in the basal ganglia, but had a strong impact on other functional circuitries. PPN stimulation in humans might therefore also have an impact on other systems than the motor system.
García-Pérez, Daniel; Laorden, M Luisa; Milanés, M Victoria
Pleiotrophin (PTN) and midkine (MK) are secreted growth factors and cytokines, proposed to be significant neuromodulators with multiple neuronal functions. PTN and MK are generally related with cell proliferation, growth, and differentiation by acting through different receptors. PTN or MK, signaling through receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase β/ζ (RPTPβ/ζ), lead to the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and thymoma viral proto-oncogene (Akt), which induce morphological changes and modulate addictive behaviors. Besides, there is increasing evidence that during the development of drug addiction, astrocytes contribute to the synaptic plasticity by synthesizing and releasing substances such as cytokines. In the present work, we studied the effect of acute morphine, chronic morphine, and morphine withdrawal on PTN, MK, and RPTPβ/ζ expression and on their signaling pathways in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Present results indicated that PTN, MK, and RPTPβ/ζ levels increased after acute morphine injection, returned to basal levels during chronic opioid treatment, and were upregulated again during morphine withdrawal. We also observed an activation of astrocytes after acute morphine injection and during opiate dependence and withdrawal. In addition, immunofluorescence analysis revealed that PTN, but not MK, was overexpressed in astrocytes and that dopaminergic neurons expressed RPTPβ/ζ. Interestingly, p-ERK 1/2 levels during chronic morphine and morphine withdrawal correlated RPTPβ/ζ expression. All these observations suggest that the neuroprotective and behavioral adaptations that occur during opiate addiction could be, at least partly, mediated by these cytokines.
Berry, Jennifer N.; Saunders, Meredith A.; Sharrett-Field, Lynda J.; Reynolds, Anna R.; Bardo, Michael T.; Pauly, James R.; Prendergast, Mark A.
Elevations in circulating corticosteroids during periods of stress may influence activity of the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway by increasing glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression and/or function in a glucocorticoid receptor-dependent manner. The current study employed organotypic co-cultures of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) to examine the effects of corticosterone exposure on NMDA receptor-mediated neuronal viability. Co-cultures were pre-exposed to vehicle or corticosterone (CORT; 1 μM) for 5 days prior to a 24 hour co-exposure to NMDA (200 μM). Co-cultures pre-exposed to a non-toxic concentration of corticosterone and subsequently NMDA showed significant neurotoxicity in the VTA only. This was evidenced by increases in propidium iodide uptake as well as decreases in immunoreactivity of the neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN). Co-exposure to the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-7-phosphonovaleric acid (APV; 50 μM) or the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist mifepristone (10 μM) attenuated neurotoxicity. In contrast, the combination of corticosterone and NMDA did not produce any significant effects on either measure within the NAcc. Cultures of the VTA and NAcc maintained without synaptic contact showed no response to CORT or NMDA. These results demonstrate the ability to functionally reconstitute key regions of the mesolimbic reward pathway ex vivo and to reveal a GR-dependent enhancement of NMDA receptor-dependent signaling in the VTA. PMID:26631585
Peris, Joanna; MacFadyen, Kaley; Smith, Justin A; de Kloet, Annette D; Wang, Lei; Krause, Eric G
The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) circuitry determines which behaviors are positively reinforcing and therefore should be encoded in the memory to become a part of the behavioral repertoire. Natural reinforcers, like food and sex, activate this pathway, thereby increasing the likelihood of further consummatory, social, and sexual behaviors. Oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in mediating natural reward and OT-synthesizing neurons project to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc); however, direct neuroanatomical evidence of OT regulation of DA neurons within the VTA is sparse. To phenotype OT-receptor (OTR) expressing neurons originating within the VTA, we delivered Cre-inducible adeno-associated virus that drives the expression of fluorescent marker into the VTA of male mice that had Cre-recombinase driven by OTR gene expression. OTR-expressing VTA neurons project to NAc, prefrontal cortex, the extended amygdala, and other forebrain regions but less than 10% of these OTR-expressing neurons were identified as DA neurons (defined by tyrosine hydroxylase colocalization). Instead, almost 50% of OTR-expressing cells in the VTA were glutamate (GLU) neurons, as indicated by expression of mRNA for the vesicular GLU transporter (vGluT). About one-third of OTR-expressing VTA neurons did not colocalize with either DA or GLU phenotypic markers. Thus, OTR expression by VTA neurons implicates that OT regulation of reward circuitry is more complex than a direct action on DA neurotransmission. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1094-1108, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Augmented cocaine seeking in response to stress or CRF delivered into the ventral tegmental area following long-access self-administration is mediated by CRF receptor type 1 but not CRF receptor type 2.
Blacktop, Jordan M; Seubert, Chad; Baker, David A; Ferda, Nathan; Lee, Geng; Graf, Evan N; Mantsch, John R
Stressful events are determinants of relapse in recovering cocaine addicts. Excessive cocaine use may increase susceptibility to stressor-induced relapse through alterations in brain corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) regulation of neurocircuitry involved in drug seeking. We previously reported that the reinstatement of cocaine seeking by a stressor (footshock) is CRF dependent and is augmented in rats that self-administered cocaine under long-access (LgA; 6 h daily) conditions for 14 d when compared with rats provided shorter daily cocaine access [short access (ShA) rats; 2 h daily]. Further, we have demonstrated that reinstatement in response to intracerebroventricular CRF administration is heightened in LgA rats. This study examined the role of altered ventral tegmental area (VTA) responsiveness to CRF in intake-dependent increases in CRF- and stress-induced cocaine seeking. Bilateral intra-VTA administration of CRF (250 or 500 ng/side) produced reinstatement in LgA but not ShA rats. In LgA rats, intra-VTA CRF-induced reinstatement was blocked by administration of the CRF-receptor type 1 (CRF-R1) antagonist antalarmin (500 ng/side) or CP-376395 (500 ng/side), but not the CRF-R2 antagonist astressin-2B (500 ng or 1 μg/side) or antisauvagine-30 (ASV-30; 500 ng/side) into the VTA. Likewise, intra-VTA antalarmin, but not astressin-2B, blocked footshock-induced reinstatement in LgA rats. By contrast, neither intra-VTA antalarmin nor CP-376395 altered food-reinforced lever pressing. Intra-VTA injection of the CRF-R1-selective agonist cortagine (100 ng/side) but not the CRF-R2-selective agonist rat urocortin II (rUCN II; 250 ng/side) produced reinstatement. These findings reveal that excessive cocaine use increases susceptibility to stressor-induced relapse in part by augmenting CRF-R1-dependent regulation of addiction-related neurocircuitry in the VTA.
Dwyer, Jessica A; Ingram, Matthew L; Snow, Anna C; Thorpe, Christina M; Martin, Gerard M; Skinner, Darlene M
The head-direction (HD) signal is believed to originate in the dorsal tegmental nucleus (DTN) and lesions to this structure have been shown to disrupt HD cell firing in other areas along the HD cell circuit. To investigate the role of the DTN in spatial navigation, rats with bilateral, electrolytic (Experiment 1), or neurotoxic (Experiment 2) lesions to the DTN were compared with sham controls on two tasks that differed in difficulty and could be solved using directional heading. Rats were first trained on a direction problem in a water T maze where they learned to travel either east or west from two locations in the experimental room. DTN-lesioned rats were impaired relative to sham controls, both early in training, on the first block of eight trials, and on the total trials taken to reach criterion. In the food-foraging task, rats were trained to leave a home cage at the periphery of a circular table, find food in the center of the table and return to the home cage. Again, DTN-lesioned rats were impaired relative to sham rats, making more errors on the return component of the foraging trip. These data extend previous cell-recording studies and behavioral tests in which rats with electrolytic DTN lesions were used, and they demonstrate the importance of the direction system to spatial learning.
Effects of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition on neuronal responses to nicotine, cocaine and morphine in the nucleus accumbens shell and ventral tegmental area: involvement of PPAR-alpha nuclear receptors.
Luchicchi, Antonio; Lecca, Salvatore; Carta, Stefano; Pillolla, Giuliano; Muntoni, Anna L; Yasar, Sevil; Goldberg, Steven R; Pistis, Marco
The endocannabinoid system regulates neurotransmission in brain regions relevant to neurobiological and behavioral actions of addicting drugs. We recently demonstrated that inhibition by URB597 of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the main enzyme that degrades the endogenous cannabinoid N-acylethanolamine (NAE) anandamide and the endogenous non-cannabinoid NAEs oleoylethanolamide and palmitoylethanolamide, blocks nicotine-induced excitation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons and DA release in the shell of the nucleus accumbens (ShNAc), as well as nicotine-induced drug self-administration, conditioned place preference and relapse in rats. Here, we studied whether effects of FAAH inhibition on nicotine-induced changes in activity of VTA DA neurons were specific for nicotine or extended to two drugs of abuse acting through different mechanisms, cocaine and morphine. We also evaluated whether FAAH inhibition affects nicotine-, cocaine- or morphine-induced actions in the ShNAc. Experiments involved single-unit electrophysiological recordings from DA neurons in the VTA and medium spiny neurons in the ShNAc in anesthetized rats. We found that URB597 blocked effects of nicotine and cocaine in the ShNAc through activation of both surface cannabinoid CB1-receptors and alpha-type peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptor. URB597 did not alter the effects of either cocaine or morphine on VTA DA neurons. These results show that the blockade of nicotine-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons, which we previously described, is selective for nicotine and indicate novel mechanisms recruited to regulate the effects of addicting drugs within the ShNAc of the brain reward system.
Marti, Fabio; Arib, Ouafa; Morel, Carole; Dufresne, Virginie; Maskos, Uwe; Corringer, Pierre-Jean; de Beaurepaire, Renaud; Faure, Philippe
Nicotine prominently mediates the behavioral effects of tobacco consumption, either through smoking or when taking tobacco by snuff or chew. However, many studies question the exclusive role of nicotine in these effects. The use of preparations containing all the components of tobacco, such as tobacco and smoke extracts, may be more suitable than nicotine alone to investigate the behavioral effects of smoking and tobacco intake. In the present study, the electrophysiological effects of tobacco and smoke on ventral tegmental area dopaminergic (DA) neurons were examined in vivo in anesthetized wild-type (WT), β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) knockout (β2−/−), α4−/−, and α6−/− mice and compared with those of nicotine alone. In WT mice, smoke and nicotine had similar potentiating effects on DA cell activity, but the action of tobacco on neuronal firing was weak and often inhibitory. In particular, nicotine triggered strong bursting activity, whereas no bursting activity was observed after tobacco extract (ToE) administration. In β2−/− mice, nicotine or extract elicited no modification of the firing patterns of DA cells, indicating that extract acts predominantly through nAChRs. The differences between DA cell activation profiles induced by tobacco and nicotine alone observed in WT persisted in α6−/− mice but not in α4−/− mice. These results would suggest that tobacco has lower addiction-generating properties compared with either nicotine alone or smoke. The weak activation and prominent inhibition obtained with ToEs suggest that tobacco contains compounds that counteract some of the activating effects of nicotine and promote inhibition on DA cell acting through α4β2*-nAChRs. The nature of these compounds remains to be elucidated. It nevertheless confirms that nicotine is the main substance involved in the tobacco addiction-related activation of mesolimbic DA neurons. PMID:21716264
Hwa, Lara S.; Holly, Elizabeth N.; DeBold, Joseph F.; Miczek, Klaus A.
Rationale Excessive alcohol (EtOH) drinking is difficult to model in animals despite the extensive human literature demonstrating that stress increases EtOH consumption. Objective The current experiments show escalations in voluntary EtOH drinking caused by a history of social defeat stress and intermittent access to EtOH in C57BL/6J mice compared to non-stressed mice given intermittent EtOH or continuous EtOH. To explore a mechanistic link between stress and drinking, we studied the role of corticotropin-releasing factor type-1 receptors (CRF-R1) in the dopamine-rich ventral tegmental area (VTA). Results Intra-VTA infusions of a CRF-R1 antagonist, CP376395, infused into the VTA dose-dependently and selectively reduced intermittent EtOH intake in stressed and non-stressed mice, but not in mice given continuous EtOH. In contrast, intra-VTA infusions of the CRF-R2 antagonist astressin2B non-specifically suppressed both EtOH and H2O drinking in the stressed group without effects in the non-stressed mice. Using in vivo microdialysis in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAc), we observed that stressed mice drinking EtOH intermittently had elevated levels of tonic dopamine concentrations compared to non-stressed drinking mice. Also, VTA CP376395 potentiated dopamine output to the NAc only in the stressed group causing further elevations of dopamine post-infusion. Conclusions These findings illustrate a role for extrahypothalamic CRF-R1 as especially important for stress-escalated EtOH drinking beyond schedule-escalated EtOH drinking. CRF-R1 may be a mechanism for balancing the dysregulation of stress and reward in alcohol use disorders. PMID:26576941
Krabbe, Sabine; Duda, Johanna; Schiemann, Julia; Poetschke, Christina; Schneider, Gaby; Kandel, Eric R.; Liss, Birgit; Roeper, Jochen; Simpson, Eleanor H.
There is strong evidence that the core deficits of schizophrenia result from dysfunction of the dopamine (DA) system, but details of this dysfunction remain unclear. We previously reported a model of transgenic mice that selectively and reversibly overexpress DA D2 receptors (D2Rs) in the striatum (D2R-OE mice). D2R-OE mice display deficits in cognition and motivation that are strikingly similar to the deficits in cognition and motivation observed in patients with schizophrenia. Here, we show that in vivo, both the firing rate (tonic activity) and burst firing (phasic activity) of identified midbrain DA neurons are impaired in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), but not in the substantia nigra (SN), of D2R-OE mice. Normalizing striatal D2R activity by switching off the transgene in adulthood recovered the reduction in tonic activity of VTA DA neurons, which is concordant with the rescue in motivation that we previously reported in our model. On the other hand, the reduction in burst activity was not rescued, which may be reflected in the observed persistence of cognitive deficits in D2R-OE mice. We have identified a potential molecular mechanism for the altered activity of DA VTA neurons in D2R-OE mice: a reduction in the expression of distinct NMDA receptor subunits selectively in identified mesolimbic DA VTA, but not nigrostriatal DA SN, neurons. These results suggest that functional deficits relevant for schizophrenia symptoms may involve differential regulation of selective DA pathways. PMID:25675529
Hayes, Dave J; Hoang, John; Greenshaw, Andrew J
Brain γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)(2C) receptors are implicated in the neuronal regulation of reward- and aversion-related behaviour. Within the mesocorticolimbic pathways of the brain, relationships between GABA containing neurons and 5-HT(2C) receptor activity may be important in this context. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the role of NAc shell GABA receptors on ventral tegmental area intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and to examine the systemic effects of GABAergic ligands in this context. The second aim was to investigate the relationship between GABA receptor- and 5-HT(2C) receptor-related ICSS behaviour, using systemic administration of the selective agonist WAY 161503. Locomotor activity was assessed to compare the potential motor effects of drugs; feeding behaviour and intra-NAc injections of amphetamine (1.0 µg/side) were used as positive controls. When administered systemically the GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol and antagonist picrotoxin did not selectively change ICSS reward thresholds, although the 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist WAY 161503 (1.0 mg/kg) decreased reward measures. Intra-NAc shell administration of muscimol (225 ng/side) and picrotoxin (125 ng/side), respectively, decreased and increased measures of reward. Intra-NAc shell baclofen (0-225 ng/side; GABA(B) receptor agonist) did not affect any ICSS measures although it increased feeding. Combining picrotoxin and WAY 161503 attenuated the effects of each. These results suggest that a 5-HT(2C) and GABA(A) receptor-mediated neuronal relationship in the NAc shell may be relevant for the regulation of brain reward pathways.
Kline, Ryan L.; Zhang, Sheng; Farr, Olivia M.; Hu, Sien; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; Li, Chiang-Shan R.
Background: Methylphenidate (MPH) influences catecholaminergic signaling. Extant work examined the effects of MPH on the neural circuits of attention and cognitive control, but few studies have investigated the effect of MPH on the brain's resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC). Methods: In this observational study, we compared rsFC of a group of 24 healthy adults who were administered an oral 45 mg dose of MPH with a group of 24 age and gender matched controls who did not receive MPH. We focused on three seed regions: basal nucleus of Meynert (BNM), locus coeruleus (LC), and ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra, pars compacta (VTA/SNc), each providing cholinergic, noradrenergic and dopaminergic inputs to the cerebral cortex. Images were pre-processed and analyzed as in our recent work (Li et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2015). We used one-sample t-test to characterize group-specific rsFC of each seed region and two-sample t-test to compare rsFC between groups. Results: MPH reversed negative connectivity between BNM and precentral gyri. MPH reduced positive connectivity between LC and cerebellum, and induced positive connectivity between LC and right hippocampus. MPH decreased positive VTA/SNc connectivity to the cerebellum and putamen, and reduced negative connectivity to left middle occipital gyrus. Conclusion: MPH had distinct effects on the rsFC of BNM, LC, and VTA/SNc in healthy adults. These new findings may further our understanding of the role of catecholaminergic signaling in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson's disease and provide insights into the therapeutic mechanisms of MPH in the treatment of clinical conditions that implicate catecholaminergic dysfunction. PMID:27148006
Lowe, J D; Bailey, C P
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The majority of studies examining desensitization of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) have examined those located at cell bodies. However, MORs are extensively expressed at nerve terminals throughout the mammalian nervous system. This study is designed to investigate agonist-induced MOR desensitization at nerve terminals in the mouse ventral tegmental area (VTA). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH MOR function was measured in mature mouse brain slices containing the VTA using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology. Presynaptic MOR function was isolated from postsynaptic function and the functional selectivity, time-dependence and mechanisms of agonist-induced MOR desensitization were examined. KEY RESULTS MORs located at GABAergic nerve terminals in the VTA were completely resistant to rapid desensitization induced by the high-efficacy agonists DAMGO and Met-enkephalin. MORs located postsynaptically on GABAergic cell bodies readily underwent rapid desensitization in response to DAMGO. However, after prolonged (>7 h) treatment with Met-enkephalin, profound homologous MOR desensitization was observed. Morphine could induce rapid MOR desensitization at nerve terminals when PKC was activated. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Agonist-induced MOR desensitization in GABAergic neurons in the VTA is compartment-selective as well as agonist-selective. When MORs are located at cell bodies, higher-efficacy agonists induce greater levels of rapid desensitization than lower-efficacy agonists. However, the converse is true at nerve terminals where agonists that induce MOR desensitization via PKC are capable of rapid agonist-induced desensitization while higher-efficacy agonists are not. MOR desensitization induced by higher-efficacy agonists at nerve terminals only takes place after prolonged receptor activation. LINKED ARTICLES This article is part of a themed section on Opioids: New Pathways to Functional Selectivity. To view the other articles in this section visit http
Silberman, Yuval; Matthews, Robert T; Winder, Danny G
A growing literature suggests that catecholamines and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) interact in a serial manner to activate the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) to drive stress- or cue-induced drug- and alcohol-seeking behaviors. Data suggest that these behaviors are driven in part by BNST projections to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Together, these findings suggest the existence of a CRF-signaling pathway within the BNST that is engaged by catecholamines and regulates the activity of BNST neurons projecting to the VTA. Here we test three aspects of this model to determine: (1) whether catecholamines modify CRF neuron activity in the BNST; (2) whether CRF regulates excitatory drive onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons; and (3) whether this system is altered by ethanol exposure and withdrawal. A CRF neuron fluorescent reporter strategy was used to identify BNST CRF neurons for whole-cell patch-clamp analysis in acutely prepared slices. Using this approach, we found that both dopamine and isoproterenol significantly depolarized BNST CRF neurons. Furthermore, using a fluorescent microsphere-based identification strategy we found that CRF enhances the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons in naive mice. This action of CRF was occluded during acute withdrawal from chronic intermittent ethanol exposure. These findings suggest that dopamine and isoproterenol may enhance CRF release from local BNST sources, leading to enhancement of excitatory neurotransmission on VTA-projecting neurons, and that this pathway is engaged by patterns of alcohol exposure and withdrawal known to drive excessive alcohol intake.
Mátyás, Ferenc; Urbán, Gabriella M; Watanabe, Masahiko; Mackie, Ken; Zimmer, Andreas; Freund, Tamás F; Katona, István
Intact endogenous cannabinoid signaling is involved in several aspects of drug addiction. Most importantly, endocannabinoids exert pronounced influence on primary rewarding effects of abused drugs, including exogenous cannabis itself, through the regulation of drug-induced increase in bursting activity of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Previous electrophysiological studies have proposed that these dopaminergic neurons may release endocannabinoids in an activity-dependent manner to regulate their various synaptic inputs; however, the underlying molecular and anatomical substrates have so far been elusive. To facilitate understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms involving endocannabinoid signaling in drug addiction, we carried out detailed analysis of the molecular architecture of the endocannabinoid system in the VTA. In situ hybridization for sn-1-diacylglycerol lipase-alpha (DGL-alpha), the biosynthetic enzyme of the most abundant endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), revealed that DGL-alpha was expressed at moderate to high levels by most neurons of the VTA. Immunostaining for DGL-alpha resulted in a widespread punctate pattern at the light microscopic level, whereas high-resolution electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that this pattern is due to accumulation of the enzyme adjacent to postsynaptic specializations of several distinct morphological types of glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. These axon terminal types carried presynaptic CB(1) cannabinoid receptors on the opposite side of DGL-alpha-containing synapses and double immunostaining confirmed that DGL-alpha is present on the plasma membrane of both tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive (dopaminergic) and TH-negative dendrites. These findings indicate that retrograde synaptic signaling mediated by 2-AG via CB(1) may influence the drug-reward circuitry at multiple types of synapses in the VTA.
Bassett, J. P.; Taube, J. S.; Oman, C. M. (Principal Investigator)
Many neurons in the rat lateral mammillary nuclei (LMN) fire selectively in relation to the animal's head direction (HD) in the horizontal plane independent of the rat's location or behavior. One hypothesis of how this representation is generated and updated is via subcortical projections from the dorsal tegmental nucleus (DTN). Here we report the type of activity in DTN neurons. The majority of cells (75%) fired as a function of the rat's angular head velocity (AHV). Cells exhibited one of two types of firing patterns: (1) symmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with AHV during head turns in both directions, and (2) asymmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with head turns in one direction and correlated either negatively or not at all in the opposite direction. In addition to modulation by AHV, some of the AHV cells (40.1%) were weakly modulated by the rat's linear velocity, and a smaller number were modulated by HD (11%) or head pitch (15.9%). Autocorrelation analyses indicated that with the head stationary, AHV cells displayed irregular discharge patterns. Because afferents from the DTN are the major source of information projecting to the LMN, these results suggest that AHV information from the DTN plays a significant role in generating the HD signal in LMN. A model is proposed showing how DTN AHV cells can generate and update the LMN HD cell signal.
Cook, Jason B; Werner, David F; Maldonado-Devincci, Antoniette M; Leonard, Maggie N; Fisher, Kristen R; O'Buckley, Todd K; Porcu, Patrizia; McCown, Thomas J; Besheer, Joyce; Hodge, Clyde W; Morrow, A Leslie
Neuroactive steroids are endogenous neuromodulators capable of altering neuronal activity and behavior. In rodents, systemic administration of endogenous or synthetic neuroactive steroids reduces ethanol self-administration. We hypothesized this effect arises from actions within mesolimbic brain regions that we targeted by viral gene delivery. Cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) converts cholesterol to pregnenolone, the rate-limiting enzymatic reaction in neurosteroidogenesis. Therefore, we constructed a recombinant adeno-associated serotype 2 viral vector (rAAV2), which drives P450scc expression and neuroactive steroid synthesis. The P450scc-expressing vector (rAAV2-P450scc) or control GFP-expressing vector (rAAV2-GFP) were injected bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus accumbens (NAc) of alcohol preferring (P) rats trained to self-administer ethanol. P450scc overexpression in the VTA significantly reduced ethanol self-administration by 20% over the 3 week test period. P450scc overexpression in the NAc, however, did not alter ethanol self-administration. Locomotor activity was unaltered by vector administration to either region. P450scc overexpression produced a 36% increase in (3α,5α)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (3α,5α-THP, allopregnanolone)-positive cells in the VTA, but did not increase 3α,5α-THP immunoreactivity in NAc. These results suggest that P450scc overexpression and the resultant increase of 3α,5α-THP-positive cells in the VTA reduces ethanol reinforcement. 3α,5α-THP is localized to neurons in the VTA, including tyrosine hydroxylase neurons, but not astrocytes. Overall, the results demonstrate that using gene delivery to modulate neuroactive steroids shows promise for examining the neuronal mechanisms of moderate ethanol drinking, which could be extended to other behavioral paradigms and neuropsychiatric pathology.
GARZÓN, M.; DUFFY, A. M.; CHAN, J.; LYNCH, M.-K.; MACKIE, K.; PICKEL, V. M.
Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChRs) mediate nicotine-induced burst-firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a limbic brain region critically involved in reward and in dopamine D2 receptor (D2R)-related cortical dysfunctions associated with psychosis. The known presence of α7nAChRs and Gi-coupled D2Rs in dopamine neurons of the VTA suggests that these receptors are targeted to at least some of the same neurons in this brain region. To test this hypothesis, we used electron microscopic immunolabeling of antisera against peptide sequences of α7nACh and D2 receptors in the mouse VTA. Dual D2R and α7nAChR labeling was seen in many of the same somata (co-localization over 97%) and dendrites (co-localization over 49%), where immunoreactivity for each of the receptors was localized to endomembranes as well as to non-synaptic or synaptic plasma membranes often near excitatory-type synapses. In comparison with somata and dendrites, many more small axons and axon terminals were separately labeled for each of the receptors. Thus, single-labeled axon terminals were predominant for both α7nAChR (57.9%) and D2R (89.0%). The majority of the immunolabeled axonal profiles contained D2R-immunoreactivity (81.6%) and formed either symmetric or asymmetric synapses consistent with involvement in the release of both inhibitory and excitatory transmitters. Of 160 D2R-labeled terminals, 81.2% were presynaptic to dendrites that expressed α7nAChR alone or together with the D2R. Numerous glial processes inclusive of those enveloping either excitatory- or inhibitory-type synapses also contained single labeling for D2R (n = 152) and α7nAChR (n =561). These results suggest that classic antipsychotic drugs, all of which block the D2R, may facilitate α7nAChR-mediated burst-firing by elimination of D2R-dependent inhibition in neurons expressing both receptors as well as by indirect pre-synaptic and glial mechanisms. PMID:23954803
Petrovic, Jelena; Lazic, Katarina; Kalauzi, Aleksandar; Saponjic, Jasna
The aim of this study was to demonstrate that two REM clusters, which emerge following bilateral pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) lesions in rats, are two functionally distinct REM states. We performed the experiments in Wistar rats, chronically instrumented for sleep recording. Bilateral PPT lesions were produced by the microinfusion of 100 nl of 0.1M ibotenic acid (IBO). Following a recovery period of 2 weeks, we recorded their sleep for 6h. Bilateral PPT lesions were identified by NADPH - diaphorase histochemistry. We applied Fourier analysis to the signals acquired throughout the 6h recordings, and each 10s epoch was differentiated as a Wake, NREM or REM state. We analyzed the topography of the sleep/wake states architecture and their transition structure, their all state-related EEG microstructures, and the sensorimotor (SMCx) and motor (MCx) cortex REM related cortico-muscular coherences (CMCs). Bilateral PPT lesion in rats increased the likelihood of the emergence of two distinct REM sleep states, specifically expressed within the MCx: REM1 and REM2. Bilateral PPT lesion did not change the sleep/wake states architecture of the SMCx, but pathologically increased the duration of REM1 within the MCx, alongside increasing Wake/REM1/Wake and NREM/REM2/NREM transitions within both cortices. In addition, the augmented total REM SMCx EEG beta amplitude and REM1 MCx EEG theta amplitude was the underlying EEG microstructure pathology. PPT lesion induced REM1 and REM2 are differential states with regard to total EMG power, topographically distinct EEG microstructures, and locomotor drives to nuchal musculature.
DICKERSON, J. W.; HEMMERLE, A. M.; NUMAN, S.; LUNDGREN, K. H.; SEROOGY, K. B.
Decreased availability or efficacy of neurotrophic factors may underlie an increased susceptibility of mesencephalic dopaminergic cells to age-related degeneration. Neuregulins (NRGs) are pleotrophic growth factors for many cell types including mesencephalic dopamine cells in culture and in vivo. The functional NRG receptor ErbB4 is expressed by virtually all midbrain dopamine neurons. To determine if levels of the NRG receptor are maintained during aging in the dopaminergic ventral mesencephalon, expression of ErbB4 mRNA and protein was examined in young (3 months), middle-aged (18 months), and old (24–25 months) Brown Norway/Fischer 344 F1 rats. ErbB4 mRNA levels in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), but not the adjacent ventral tegmental area (VTA) or subtantia nigra pars lateralis (SNl), were significantly reduced in the middle-aged and old animals when compared to young rats. Protein expression of ErbB4 in the ventral midbrain was significantly decreased in the old rats when compared to the young rats. Expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA levels were significantly reduced in the old rats when compared to young animals in the SNpc, but not in the VTA or SNl. Tyrosine hydroxylase protein levels in the ventral midbrain were also decreased in the old animals when compared to the young animals. These data demonstrate a progressive decline of ErbB4 expression, coinciding with a loss of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme TH, in the ventral midbrain of aged rats, particularly in the SNpc. These findings may implicate a role for diminished NRG/ErbB4 trophic support in dopamine-related neurodegenerative disorders of aging such as Parkinson’s disease. PMID:19505538
Kita, Takako; Kita, Hitoshi
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) receives cholinergic and non-cholinergic projections from the mesopontine tegmentum. This study investigated the numbers and distributions of neurons involved in these projections in rats using Fluorogold (FG) retrograde tracing combined with immunostaining of choline acetyltransferase and a neuron-specific nuclear protein. The results suggest that a small population of cholinergic neurons mainly in the caudoventral part of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN), approximately 360 neurons (≈10% of total) in the homolateral and 80 neurons (≈2%) in the contralateral PPN, projects to the STN. In contrast, the number of non-cholinergic neurons projecting to the STN was estimated to be 9 times as much, with approximately 3300 in the homolateral side and 1300 neurons in the contralateral side. A large gathering of the FG-labeled non-cholinergic neurons was found rostrodorsomedial to the caudolateral PPN. The biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) anterograde tracing method was used to substantiate the mesopontine-STN projections. Injection of BDA into the caudoventral PPN labeled numerous thin fibers with small en-passant varicosities in the STN. Injection of BDA into the non-cholinergic neuron-rich area labeled a moderate number of thicker fibers with patches of aggregates of larger boutons. The densities of labeled fibers and the number of retrogradely labeled cells in the mesopontine tegmentum suggested that the terminal field formed in the STN by each cholinergic neuron is more extensive than that by each non-cholinergic neuron. The findings suggest that cholinergic and non-cholinergic mesopontine afferents may carry different information to the STN. PMID:21198985
Dillingham, Christopher M.; Holmes, Joshua D.; Wright, Nicholas F.; Erichsen, Jonathan T.; Aggleton, John P.; Vann, Seralynne D.
The principal projections to the mammillary bodies arise from just two sites, Gudden’s tegmental nuclei (dorsal and ventral nuclei) and the hippocampal formation (subiculum and pre/postsubiculum). The present study sought to compare the neurochemical properties of these mammillary body inputs in the rat, with a focus on calcium-binding proteins. Neuronal calretinin (CR) immunoreactivity was sparse in Gudden’s tegmental nuclei and showed no co-localization with neurons projecting to the mammillary bodies. In contrast, many of the ventral tegmental nucleus of Gudden cell that project to the mammillary bodies were parvalbumin (PV)-positive whereas a smaller number of mammillary inputs stained for calbindin (CB). Only a few mammillary body projection cells in the dorsal tegmental nucleus of Gudden co-localized with PV and none co-localized with CB. A very different pattern was found in the hippocampal formation. Here, a large proportion of postsubiculum cells that project to the mammillary bodies co-localized with CR, but not CB or PV. While many neurons in the dorsal and ventral subiculum projected to the mammillary bodies, these cells did not co-localize with the immunofluorescence of any of the three tested proteins. These findings highlight marked differences between hippocampal and tegmental inputs to the rat mammillary bodies as well as differences between the medial and lateral mammillary systems. These findings also indicate some conserved neurochemical properties in Gudden’s tegmental nuclei across rodents and primates. PMID:26300741
Abela, Andrew R; Dougherty, Stephen D; Fagen, Erin D; Hill, Carolyn J R; Chudasama, Y
Two experiments are reported in which rats with selective hippocampal lesions were tested on 2 prefrontal-dependent tasks. In Experiment 1, we compared the effects of lesions of the ventral hippocampus (vHC), dorsal hippocampus (dHC), and sham control surgery on the 5-choice reaction time task. Whereas rats with lesions of the dHC were indistinguishable from sham controls, those with vHC lesions showed increased premature responses and reduced accuracy throughout the experiment. The subsequent administration of systemic escitalopram (5 mg/kg), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, reduced the number of premature responses in the vHC animals to control levels. In contrast, systemic injections of GBR 12909, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, failed to ameliorate the impulsive deficit in the vHC group and, in addition, elevated perseverative responding in the vHC group only. In Experiment 2, we tested a separate group of rats with vHC lesions on a touchscreen visual discrimination and reversal learning task. Rats with vHC lesions acquired the visual discrimination as well as sham controls and showed normal inhibitory control of a previously reinforced response during reversal learning. These data support a role for the vHC in inhibitory control functions, especially in the inhibitory control of impulsive actions.
Pratt, Wayne E; Clissold, Kara A; Lin, Peagan; Cain, Amanda E; Ciesinski, Alexa F; Hopkins, Thomas R; Ilesanmi, Adeolu O; Kelly, Erin A; Pierce-Messick, Zachary; Powell, Daniel S; Rosner, Ian A
Central serotonin (5-HT) pathways are known to influence feeding and other ingestive behaviors. Although the ventral tegmentum is important for promoting the seeking and consumption of food and drugs of abuse, the roles of 5-HT receptor subtypes in this region on food intake have yet to be comprehensively examined. In these experiments, food restricted rats were given 2-h access to rat chow; separate groups of non-restricted animals had similar access to a sweetened fat diet. Feeding and locomotor activity were monitored following ventral tegmentum stimulation or blockade of 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, or 5-HT2C receptors. 5-HT1A receptor stimulation transiently inhibited rearing behavior and chow intake in food-restricted rats, and had a biphasic effect on non-restricted rats offered the palatable diet. 5-HT1B receptor agonism transiently inhibited feeding in restricted animals, but did not affect intake of non-restricted rats. In contrast, 5-HT1B receptor antagonism decreased palatable feeding. Although stimulation of ventral tegmental 5-HT2B receptors with BW723C86 did not affect hunger-driven food intake, it significantly affected palatable feeding, with a trend for an increasing intake at 2.0µg/side but not at 5.0µg/side. Antagonism of the same receptor modestly but significantly inhibited feeding of the palatable diet at 5.0µg/side ketanserin. Neither stimulation nor blockade of 5-HT2A or 5-HT2C receptors caused prolonged effects on intake or locomotion. These data suggest that serotonin's effects on feeding within the ventral tegmentum depend upon the specific receptor targeted, as well as whether intake is motivated by food restriction or the palatable nature of the offered diet.
Sego, Chemutai; Gonçalves, Luciano; Lima, Leandro; Furigo, Isadora C; Donato, Jose; Metzger, Martin
The lateral habenula (LHb) is an epithalamic structure differentiated in a medial (LHbM) and a lateral division (LHbL). Together with the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), the LHb has been implicated in the processing of aversive stimuli and inhibitory control of monoamine nuclei. The inhibitory LHb influence on midbrain dopamine neurons has been shown to be mainly mediated by the RMTg, a mostly GABAergic nucleus that receives a dominant input from the LHbL. Interestingly, the RMTg also projects to the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR), which also receives direct LHb projections. To compare the organization and transmitter phenotype of LHb projections to the DR, direct and indirect via the RMTg, we first placed injections of the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin into the LHb or the RMTg. We then confirmed our findings by retrograde tracing and investigated a possible GABAergic phenotype of DR-projecting RMTg neurons by combining retrograde tracing with in situ hybridization for GAD67. We found only moderate direct LHb projections to the DR, which mainly emerged from the LHbM and were predominantly directed to the serotonin-rich caudal DR. In contrast, RMTg projections to the DR were more robust, emerged from RMTg neurons enriched in GAD67 mRNA, and were focally directed to a distinctive DR subdivision immunohistochemically characterized as poor in serotonin and enriched in presumptive glutamatergic neurons. Thus, besides its well-acknowledged role as a GABAergic control center for the ventral tegmental area (VTA)-nigra complex, our findings indicate that the RMTg is also a major GABAergic relay between the LHb and the DR.
Brambilla, Dario; Barajon, Isabella; Bianchi, Susanna; Opp, Mark R.; Imeri, Luca
Study Objectives: REM sleep is suppressed during infection, an effect mimicked by the administration of cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1). In spite of this observation, brain sites and neurochemical systems mediating IL-1-induced suppression of REM sleep have not been identified. Cholinergic neurons in the brainstem laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are part of the neuronal circuitry responsible for REM sleep generation. Since IL-1 inhibits acetylcholine synthesis and release, the aim of this study was to test the two different, but related hypotheses. We hypothesized that IL-1 inhibits LDT cholinergic neurons, and that, as a result of this inhibition, IL-1 suppresses REM sleep. Design, Measurement, and Results: To test these hypotheses, the electrophysiological activity of putative cholinergic LDT neurons was recorded in a rat brainstem slice preparation. Interleukin-1 significantly inhibited the firing rate of 76% of recorded putative cholinergic LDT neurons and reduced the amplitude of glutamatergic evoked potentials in 60% of recorded neurons. When IL-1 (1 ng) was microinjected into the LDT of freely behaving rats, REM sleep was reduced by about 50% (from 12.7% ± 1.5% of recording time [after vehicle] to 6.1% ± 1.4% following IL-1 administration) during post-injection hours 3-4. Conclusions: Results of this study support the hypothesis that IL-1 can suppress REM sleep by acting at the level of the LDT nucleus. Furthermore this effect may result from the inhibition of evoked glutamatergic responses and of spontaneous firing of putative cholinergic LDT neurons. Citation: Brambilla D; Barajon I; Bianchi S; Opp MR; Imeri L. Interleukin-1 inhibits putative cholinergic neurons in vitro and REM sleep when microinjected into the rat laterodorsal tegmental nucleus. SLEEP 2010;33(7):919-929. PMID:20614852
Gomez-Nieto, Ricardo; Rubio, Maria E.
Geometry of the dendritic tree and synaptic organization of afferent inputs are essential factors in determining how synaptic input is integrated by neurons. This information remains elusive for one of the first brainstem neurons involved in processing of the primary auditory signal from the ear, the bushy cells (BCs) of the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN). Here, we labeled the BC dendritic trees with retrograde tracing techniques to analyze their geometry and synaptic organization after immunofluorescence for excitatory and inhibitory synaptic markers, electron microscopy, morphometry, double tract-tracing methods, and 3-D reconstructions. Our study revealed that BC dendrites provide space for a large number of compartmentalized excitatory and inhibitory synaptic interactions. The dendritic inputs on BCs are of cochlear and non-cochlear origin, and their proportion and distribution are dependent on the branching pattern and orientation of the dendritic tree in the VCN. Three-dimensional reconstructions showed that BC dendrites branch and cluster with those of other BCs in the core of the VCN. Within the cluster, incoming synaptic inputs establish divergent multiple-contact synapses (dyads and triads) between BCs. Furthermore, neuron-neuron connections including puncta adherentia, sarcoplasmic junctions and gap junctions are common between BCs, which suggests that these neurons are electrically coupled. Together, our study demonstrates the existence of a BC network in the rat VCN. This network may establish the neuroanatomical basis for acoustic information processing by individual BCs, as well as for enhanced synchronization of the output signal of the VCN. PMID:19634178
Latif, A; Nakhla, A M
Inclusion of salmon calcitonin in the culture medium of rat ventral prostate explants diminished l-tartarate-sensitive acid phosphatase activity in the tissues with a concomitant increment of the enzyme activity in the medium. The effect of the hormone was dose-dependent for a dose range of 10(-12)-10(-6) M. Acid phosphatase activity in prostate explants decreased from 38.6 +/- 3.5 to 20.5 +/- 2.8, whereas it increased from 0.60 +/- 0.15 to 2.80 +/- 0.40 nmol p-nitrophenol liberated/mg protein/30 min in the culture medium. Tissues exposed to 10(-6) M salmon calcitonin had higher acetylcholinesterase activity (8.8 +/- 0.7) than non-exposed ones (6.2 +/- 0.5 mumol substrate hydrolyzed/g tissue/min). These results suggest that locally produced calcitonin causes a release for prostatic acid phosphatase from prostate tissues possibly through its interaction with the cholinergic system.
Ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra and prefrontal cortex rodent organotypic brain slices as an integrated model to study the cellular changes induced by oxygen/glucose deprivation and reperfusion: effect of neuroprotective agents.
Colombo, Laura; Parravicini, Chiara; Lecca, Davide; Dossi, Elena; Heine, Claudia; Cimino, Mauro; Wanke, Enzo; Illes, Peter; Franke, Heike; Abbracchio, Maria P
Unveiling the roles of distinct cell types in brain response to insults is a partially unsolved challenge and a key issue for new neuroreparative approaches. In vivo models are not able to dissect the contribution of residential microglia and infiltrating blood-borne monocytes/macrophages, which are fundamentally undistinguishable; conversely, cultured cells lack original tissue anatomical and functional complexity, which profoundly alters reactivity. Here, we tested whether rodent organotypic co-cultures from mesencephalic ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra and prefrontal cortex (VTA/SN-PFC) represent a suitable model to study changes induced by oxygen/glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/R). OGD/R induced cytotoxicity to both VTA/SN and PFC slices, with higher VTA/SN susceptibility. Neurons were highly affected, with astrocytes and oligodendrocytes undergoing very mild damage. Marked reactive astrogliosis was also evident. Notably, OGD/R triggered the activation of CD68-expressing microglia and increased expression of Ym1 and Arg1, two markers of "alternatively" activated beneficial microglia. Treatment with two well-known neuroprotective drugs, the anticonvulsant agent valproic acid and the purinergic P2-antagonist PPADS, prevented neuronal damage. Thus, VTA/SN-PFC cultures are an integrated model to investigate OGD/R-induced effects on distinct cells and easily screen neuroprotective agents. The model is particularly adequate to dissect the microglia phenotypic shift in the lack of a functional vascular compartment.
Sagheddu, Claudia; De Felice, Marta; Casti, Alberto; Madeddu, Camilla; Spiga, Saturnino; Muntoni, Anna Lisa; Mackie, Kenneth; Marsicano, Giovanni; Colombo, Giancarlo; Castelli, Maria Paola; Pistis, Marco
The progressive predominance of rewarding effects of addictive drugs over their aversive properties likely contributes to the transition from drug use to drug dependence. By inhibiting the activity of DA neurons in the VTA, GABA projections from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are well suited to shift the balance between drug-induced reward and aversion. Since cannabinoids suppress RMTg inputs to DA cells and CB1 receptors affect alcohol intake in rodents, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system, by modulating this pathway, might contribute to alcohol preference. Here we found that RMTg afferents onto VTA DA neurons express CB1 receptors and display a 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-dependent form of short-term plasticity, that is, depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI). Next, we compared rodents with innate opposite alcohol preference, the Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. We found that DA cells from alcohol-naive sP rats displayed a decreased probability of GABA release and a larger DSI. This difference was due to the rate of 2-AG degradation. In vivo, we found a reduced RMTg-induced inhibition of putative DA neurons in sP rats that negatively correlated with an increased firing. Finally, alcohol failed to enhance RMTg spontaneous activity and to prolong RMTg-induced silencing of putative DA neurons in sP rats. Our results indicate functional modifications of RMTg projections to DA neurons that might impact the reward/aversion balance of alcohol attributes, which may contribute to the innate preference observed in sP rats and to their elevated alcohol intake. PMID:25232109
Melis, Miriam; Sagheddu, Claudia; De Felice, Marta; Casti, Alberto; Madeddu, Camilla; Spiga, Saturnino; Muntoni, Anna Lisa; Mackie, Kenneth; Marsicano, Giovanni; Colombo, Giancarlo; Castelli, Maria Paola; Pistis, Marco
The progressive predominance of rewarding effects of addictive drugs over their aversive properties likely contributes to the transition from drug use to drug dependence. By inhibiting the activity of DA neurons in the VTA, GABA projections from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are well suited to shift the balance between drug-induced reward and aversion. Since cannabinoids suppress RMTg inputs to DA cells and CB1 receptors affect alcohol intake in rodents, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system, by modulating this pathway, might contribute to alcohol preference. Here we found that RMTg afferents onto VTA DA neurons express CB1 receptors and display a 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-dependent form of short-term plasticity, that is, depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI). Next, we compared rodents with innate opposite alcohol preference, the Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. We found that DA cells from alcohol-naive sP rats displayed a decreased probability of GABA release and a larger DSI. This difference was due to the rate of 2-AG degradation. In vivo, we found a reduced RMTg-induced inhibition of putative DA neurons in sP rats that negatively correlated with an increased firing. Finally, alcohol failed to enhance RMTg spontaneous activity and to prolong RMTg-induced silencing of putative DA neurons in sP rats. Our results indicate functional modifications of RMTg projections to DA neurons that might impact the reward/aversion balance of alcohol attributes, which may contribute to the innate preference observed in sP rats and to their elevated alcohol intake.
Nicotine and ethanol activate protein kinase A synergistically via G(i) betagamma subunits in nucleus accumbens/ventral tegmental cocultures: the role of dopamine D(1)/D(2) and adenosine A(2A) receptors.
Inoue, Yuichiro; Yao, Lina; Hopf, F Woodward; Fan, Peidong; Jiang, Zhan; Bonci, Antonello; Diamond, Ivan
Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly used drugs of abuse and show the most serious comorbidity. The mesolimbic dopamine system contributes significantly to nicotine and ethanol reinforcement, but the underlying cellular signaling mechanisms are poorly understood. Nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptors are highly expressed on ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, with relatively low expression in nucleus accumbens (NAcb) neurons. Because dopamine receptors D(1) and D(2) are highly expressed on NAcb neurons, nicotine could influence NAcb neurons indirectly by activating VTA neurons to release dopamine in the NAcb. To investigate this possibility in vitro, we established primary cultures containing neurons from VTA or NAcb separately or in cocultures. Nicotine increased cAMP response element-mediated gene expression only in cocultures; this increase was blocked by nACh or dopamine D(1) or D(2) receptor antagonists. Furthermore, subthreshold concentrations of nicotine with ethanol increased gene expression in cocultures, and this increase was blocked by nACh, D(2) or adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists, Gbetagamma or protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitors, and adenosine deaminase. These results suggest that nicotine activated VTA neurons, causing the release of dopamine, which in turn stimulated both D(1) and D(2) receptors on NAcb neurons. In addition, subthreshold concentrations of nicotine and ethanol in combination also activated NAcb neurons through synergy between D(2) and A(2A) receptors. These data provide a novel cellular mechanism, involving Gbetagamma subunits, A(2A) receptors, and PKA, whereby combined use of tobacco and alcohol could enhance the reinforcing effect in humans as well as facilitate long-term neuroadaptations, increasing the risk for developing coaddiction.
Song, Zhimin; Borland, Johnathan M; Larkin, Tony E; O'Malley, Maureen; Albers, H Elliott
Social reward plays a fundamental role in shaping human and animal behavior. The rewarding nature of many forms of social behavior including sexual behavior, parental behavior, and social play has been revealed using well-established procedures such as the conditioned place preference test. Many motivated social behaviors are regulated by the nonapeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) through their actions in multiple brain structures. Interestingly, there are few data on whether OT or AVP might contribute to the rewarding properties of social interaction by their actions within brain structures that play a key role in reward mechanisms such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of OT and AVP in the VTA in regulating the reward-like properties of social interactions. Social interactions between two male hamsters reduced a spontaneous place avoidance in hamsters injected with saline control. Interestingly, however, OT and AVP injected into the VTA induced a significant two-fold reduction in place avoidance for the social interaction chamber when compared to control injections of vehicle. Finally, because OT and AVP can act on each other's receptors to influence social behavior, we also injected highly selective OTR and V1aR agonists and antagonists to determine whether OT or AVP V1a receptors were responsible for mediating the effects of these neuropeptides on social reward. Our results not only demonstrated that OT and AVP activate OTRs and not V1aRs to mediate social reward, they also demonstrated that the activation of OT receptors in the VTA is essential for the expression of the rewarding properties of social interactions.
Assinder, S J; Johnson, C; King, K; Nicholson, H D
Oxytocin (OT) is present in the male reproductive tract, where it is known to modulate contractility, cell growth, and steroidogenesis. Little is known about how OT regulates these processes. This study describes the localization of OT receptor in the rat ventral prostate and investigates if OT regulates gene expression and/or activity of 5alpha-reductase isoforms I and II. The ventral prostates of adult male Wistar rats were collected following daily sc administration of saline (control), OT, a specific OT antagonist or both OT plus antagonist for 3 d. Expression of the OT receptor was identified in the ventral prostate by RT-PCR and Western blot, and confirmed to be a single active binding site by radioreceptor assay. Immunohistochemistry localized the receptor to the epithelium of prostatic acini and to the stromal tissue. Real-time RT-PCR determined that OT treatment significantly reduced expression of 5alpha-reductase I but significantly increased 5alpha-reductase II expression in the ventral prostate. Activity of both isoforms of 5alpha-reductase was significantly increased by OT, resulting in increased concentration of prostatic dihydrotestosterone. In conclusion, OT is involved in regulating conversion of testosterone to the biologically active dihydrotestosterone in the rat ventral prostate. It does so by differential regulation of 5alpha-reductase isoforms I and II.
Hansen, S; Bergvall, A H; Nyiredi, S
A growing body of evidence suggests that an interference with dopamine (DA) transmission disrupts maternal behavior in the rat. The present brain microdialysis study was therefore conducted to investigate whether infants can modulate ventral striatal DA release in mother rats. There was a significant rise in the extracellular concentrations DA, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the ventral striatum when mothers were reunited with their litters following separation overnight. Nursing was the predominant behavior during this phase of the experiment. More active behaviors were elicited by soiling pups with flowerpot earth, and this was accompanied by further increases in DA, DOPAC, HVA, and 5-HIAA. It is suggested that pup-induced stimulation of ventral striatal DA release facilitates parental responses such as pup retrieval.
Kamii, Hironori; Kurosawa, Ryo; Taoka, Naofumi; Shinohara, Fumiya; Minami, Masabumi; Kaneda, Katsuyuki
The laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) is a brainstem nucleus implicated in reward processing and is one of the main sources of cholinergic afferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Neuroplasticity in this structure may affect the excitability of VTA dopamine neurons and mesocorticolimbic circuitry. Here, we provide evidence that cocaine-induced intrinsic membrane plasticity in LDT cholinergic neurons is involved in addictive behaviors. After repeated experimenter-delivered cocaine exposure, ex vivo whole-cell recordings obtained from LDT cholinergic neurons revealed an induction of intrinsic membrane plasticity in regular- but not burst-type neurons, resulting in increased firing activity. Pharmacological examinations showed that increased riluzole-sensitive persistent sodium currents, but not changes in Ca(2+) -activated BK, SK or voltage-dependent A-type potassium conductance, mediated this plasticity. In addition, bilateral microinjection of riluzole into the LDT immediately before the test session in a cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm inhibited the expression of cocaine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that intrinsic membrane plasticity in LDT cholinergic neurons is causally involved in the development of cocaine-induced addictive behaviors.
Fenu, S; Espa, E; Cadoni, C; Di Chiara, G
Drugs of abuse possess the seemingly paradoxical property of conditioning rats to avoid from drinking a saccharin solution that had been predictively paired with their systemic administration (conditioned saccharin avoidance, CSA). CSA is dependent upon an intact dopamine (DA) transmission but the locus, central or peripheral, and eventually the brain area from which this effect originates and its relationship with the rewarding properties of the drug is debated. In order to clarify this issue we tested the ability of amphetamine and morphine to induce CSA after infusion at the same dose-range and in the same areas from which these drugs induce conditioned place preference (CPP). Drugs were infused intracerebrally immediately after saccharin drinking in two acquisition trials and CSA was tested on a two bottle saccharin/water choice. Amphetamine (10 and 20 μg/0.5 μl) induced CSA after infusion in the NAc shell but was ineffective in the NAc core. Morphine (0.5 and 1 μg/0.5 μl) induced CSA from the VTA at both doses tested. Amphetamine (20 μg/0.5 μl) and morphine (1 μg/0.5 μl) failed to induce CSA after infusion 1.2mm dorsal the NAc shell and the VTA respectively. Finally, morphine (1 μg/0.5 μl), infused in the VTA, elicited a selective increase in dialysate DA in the NAc shell. These results indicate that drugs of abuse induce CSA from the same intracerebral sites and at the same doses at which they induce CPP. These observations are consistent with the existence of a strong relationship between CSA and drug reward related to their ability to stimulate DA transmission in the NAc shell.
GENE ARRAY ANALYSIS OF THE VENTRAL PROSTATE IN RATS EXPOSED TO EITHER VINCLOZOLIN OR PROCYMIDONE. MB Rosen, VS Wilson, JE Schmid, and LE Gray Jr. US EPA, ORD, NHEERL, RTP, NC.
Vinclozolin (Vi) and procymidone (Pr) are antiandrogenic fungicides. While changes in gene expr...
Halverson, Hunter E.; Freeman, John H.
The conditioned stimulus (CS) pathway that is necessary for visual delay eyeblink conditioning was investigated in the current study. Rats were initially given eyeblink conditioning with stimulation of the ventral nucleus of the lateral geniculate (LGNv) as the CS followed by conditioning with light and tone CSs in separate training phases.…
Loskutova, L V; Kostiunina, N V; Red'kina, A V
Wistar rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine on 32nd day after birth. Latent inhibition was measured in passive or active avoidance tasks when the rats received 20 and 100 pre-exposures of conditioned stimulus. Prepubertal and adult lesioned rats showed a deficit in the latent inhibition but not in the capacity to avoidance learning in presence of the conditioned stimulus novelty. Possible mechanism of the involvement of hippocampal dopaminergic terminals in attention inhibition to irrelevant information is considered.
Rowell, Peter P; Volk, Kelly A
Dopaminergic mesolimbic neurons, with cell bodies in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), have been shown to be involved in the development of drug dependence. The application of nicotine to either the VTA or NAc produces an increase in dopamine release; however, the positive reinforcement produced by the systemic injection of nicotine is primarily due to stimulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the VTA. Because the brain levels of nicotine would likely be the same in both brain areas, the nAChRs in the NAc may be less sensitive than those in the VTA. This study was undertaken to make a direct comparison of the native nAChRs in intact slices of NAc and VTA by measuring nicotine-stimulated efflux of (86)Rb(+) in a superfusion assay. The potency of nicotine and several other agonists was similar in both brain areas, but nicotine was somewhat more efficacious in the NAc. The effects of treatment duration, calcium and nicotinic antagonists were also determined. The results suggest that the predominant effect of nicotine in the VTA following systemic administration is due to differences in neuronal circuitry or firing patterns rather than inherent differences in the two nAChR populations.
Petrovic, Jelena; Ciric, Jelena; Lazic, Katarina; Kalauzi, Aleksandar; Saponjic, Jasna
The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) represents a major aggregation of cholinergic neurons in the mammalian brainstem, which is important in the generation and maintenance of REM sleep. We investigated the effects of unilateral and bilateral PPT lesions on sleep and all the conventional sleep-state related EEG frequency bands amplitudes, in an attempt to find the EEG markers for the onset and progression of PPT cholinergic neuronal degeneration. The experiments were performed on 35 adult male Wistar rats, chronically implanted for sleep recording. During the surgical procedure for EEG and EMG electrodes implantation, the unilateral or bilateral PPT lesion was produced under ketamine/diazepam anesthesia, by the stereotaxically guided microinfusion of 100 nl 0.1M ibotenic acid (IBO) into PPT. We applied Fourier analysis to signals acquired throughout 6h of recordings, and each 10s epoch was differentiated as a Wake, NREM or REM state. We also calculated the group probability density estimates (PDE) of all Wake, NREM and REM conventional EEG frequency amplitudes, and the number of all the transition states using MATLAB 6.5. Our results show that the unilateral or bilateral PPT lesions did not change the sleep/wake architecture, but did change the sleep/wake state transitions structure and the sleep/state related "EEG microstructure". Unilateral or bilateral PPT lesions sustainably increased Wake/REM and REM/Wake transitions from 14 to 35 days after lesions. This was followed by decreased NREM/REM and REM/NREM transitions from 28 days only in the case of the bilateral PPT lesion. The unilateral PPT lesion augmented both Wake theta and REM beta while it also attenuated the relative amplitude of the Wake delta frequency, with a delay of one week. Following a bilateral PPT lesion there was augmentation of the relative amplitude of the Wake, NREM, and REM beta and REM gamma frequency which occurred simultaneously to NREM and Wake delta attenuation. We have shown
Khanday, M A; Mallick, B N
Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is regulated by the interaction of the REM-ON and REM-OFF neurons located in the pedunculo-pontine-tegmentum (PPT) and the locus coeruleus (LC), respectively. Many other brain areas, particularly those controlling non-REMS (NREMS) and waking, modulate REMS by modulating these REMS-related neurons. Perifornical (PeF) orexin (Ox)-ergic neurons are reported to increase waking and reduce NREMS as well as REMS; dysfunction of the PeF neurons are related to REMS loss-associated disorders. Hence, we were interested in understanding the neural mechanism of PeF-induced REMS modulation. As a first step we have recently reported that PeF Ox-ergic neurons modulate REMS by influencing the LC neurons (site for REM-OFF neurons). Thereafter, in this in vivo study we have explored the role of PeF inputs on the PPT neurons (site for REM-ON neurons) for the regulation of REMS. Chronic male rats were surgically prepared with implanted bilateral cannulae in PeF and PPT and electrodes for recording sleep-waking patterns. After post-surgical recovery sleep-waking-REMS were recorded when bilateral PeF neurons were stimulated by glutamate and simultaneously bilateral PPT neurons were infused with either saline or orexin receptor1 (OX1R) antagonist. It was observed that PeF stimulation increased waking and decreased NREMS as well as REMS, which were prevented by OX1R antagonist into the PPT. We conclude that the PeF stimulation-induced reduction in REMS was likely to be due to inhibition of REM-ON neurons in the PPT. As waking and NREMS are inversely related, subject to confirmation, the reduction in NREMS could be due to increased waking or vice versa. Based on our findings from this and earlier studies we have proposed a model showing connections between PeF- and PPT-neurons for REMS regulation.
Sarobo, Carolina; Lacorte, Lívia M; Martins, Marcela; Rinaldi, Jaqueline C; Moroz, Andrei; Scarano, Wellerson R; Delella, Flavia K; Felisbino, Sérgio L
Coffee intake has been associated with a low risk of developing cancer, including prostate cancer, which is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. However, few studies have evaluated the chronic effects of caffeine, which is the most abundant methylxanthine in coffee, on prostate morphology and physiology. In the present study, we investigated the effects of chronic, low-dose caffeine intake on rat prostate morphology from puberty to adulthood. Five-week-old male Wistar rats were randomized into two experimental groups: caffeine-treated (20 ppm in drinking water, n = 12) and control (n = 12). The ventral and dorsolateral prostates were dissected, weighted and submitted to morphological, morphometrical and immunohistochemical analysis of cellular proliferation, apoptosis and androgen receptor (AR) tissue expression. The testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations were measured in the plasma. Our results show that caffeine intake increased the concentrations of T and DHT, organ weight, epithelial cell proliferation and AR tissue expression in the ventral prostatic lobe. All the ventral prostates from the caffeine-treated animals presented various degrees of epithelial and stromal hyperplasia. Our results suggest that chronic caffeine intake from puberty increases androgenic signalling and cell proliferation in the rat prostate gland and can be related to the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia. PMID:23136995
Sandner, Guy; Host, Lionel; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry; Guignard, Blandine; Zwiller, Jean
Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms play a role in psychiatric diseases. In this study, we considered rats with neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) that are currently used for modeling neurodevelopmental aspects of schizophrenia. Contribution of epigenetic regulation to the effects of the lesion was investigated, using a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Lesioned or sham-operated rats were treated with the general HDAC inhibitor phenylbutyrate, which was injected daily from the day after surgery until adulthood. Changes in the volume of the lesion were monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Anxiety was analyzed in the Plus Maze Test. Hypersensitivity of the dopaminergic system was evaluated by measuring the locomotor response to apomorphine. An associative conditioning test rewarded with food was used to evaluate learning abilities. The volume of the lesions expanded long after surgery, independently of the treatment, as assessed by MRI. Removal of the ventral hippocampus reduced anxiety, and this remained unchanged when animals were treated with phenylbutyrate. In contrast, NVHL rats’ hypersensitivity to apomorphine and deterioration of the associative learning were reduced by the treatment. Global HDAC activity, which was increased in the prefrontal cortex of lesioned non-treated rats, was found to be reversed by HDAC inhibition. The study provides evidence that chromatin remodeling may be useful for limiting behavioral consequences due to lesioning of the ventral hippocampus at an early age. This represents a novel approach for treating disorders resulting from insults occurring during brain development. PMID:21423460
Ho, K C; Snoek, R; Quarmby, V; Viskochil, D H; Rennie, P S; Wilson, E M; French, F S; Bruchovsky, N
Nuclear and cytosolic forms of a 20-kdalton rat ventral prostate protein were purified and partially sequenced from their N-termini. Isolated nuclei were treated with micrococcal nuclease and extracted in 0.6 M NaCl, and proteins were separated by affinity chromatography on Matrex gel green A, ammonium sulfate fractionation, and fast protein liquid chromatography on Superose 12. The 43 amino acid N-terminal sequence of the nuclear 20-kdalton protein was identical with the cytosolic protein except it lacked 7 N-terminal amino acids present in the cytosolic form. The DNA sequence of a full-length complementary DNA clone isolated from a ventral prostate gt11 library extended the N-terminal sequence of the cytosolic form by an additional nine amino acids from the predicted initiation methionine. The cDNA included the nucleotide sequence for the 43 amino acid N-terminal sequence of the purified 20-kdalton protein and predicted molecular weights of 16,686, 17,521, and 18,650, respectively, for the nuclear, cytoplasmic, and nonprocessed proteins. Northern blot analyses of reproductive tract tissue RNAs using the 20-kdalton protein cDNA as probe revealed a single mRNA species of 0.92 kb detectable only in extracts of rat ventral prostate. Expression of the 0.92-kb mRNA was androgen dependent since the mRNA was undetectable in extracts obtained 4 days after castration and was restored 16 h after restimulation with androgen.
Angst, Marie-Josée; Macedo, Carlos Eduardo; Guiberteau, Thierry; Sandner, Guy
Sprague-Dawley rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampus lesions 7 days after birth according to the Lipska and Weinberger's procedure for modeling schizophrenia. The aim of the present work was to better characterize their learning capacity. A double latent inhibition study was conducted using respectively conditioned taste aversion and conditioned emotional response. In the background of this evaluation, locomotion under apomorphine and startle reactions, inhibited or not by prepulses, was also evaluated. Our experimental methods were the same as those used in previous studies from the laboratory which were found to be sensitive to pharmacological manipulations and shown by others to be unaffected by lesions of the ventral hippocampus carried out in adult rats. In contrast, neonatally lesioned rats, once adults (over 60 days old), were hyper-responsive to noise--i.e., the startle response to a 105 db(A) noise pulse was enhanced--and hyperactive under apomorphine (0.7 mg/kg). The prepulse inhibition properties of the startle remained unchanged. Lesioned rats showed a deficit but not a suppression of conditioning, similar in both tests, but latent inhibition was preserved. Such observations complement the already known memory deficit produced in this neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia.
Kippin, Tod E; van der Kooy, Derek
The tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus (TPP) of the brainstem mediates food reward in food-sated animals and opiate reward in drug-naive animals. In the present study, we examine the effect of excitotoxic lesions of the TPP on sexual behaviour in naive and experienced male rats. Male, Long-Evans rats received either 0.25 micro L injections of NMDA (4.2 micro g/side) or vehicle (shams) into the TPP. In sexually naive males, complete bilateral TPP lesions decreased all measure of copulation (i.e. mounts, intromissions and ejaculations), prevented acquisition of conditioned sexual excitement, decreased approach preference for a receptive female over a non-receptive one, and decreased non-contact erections; unilateral or bilateral posterior-sparing TPP lesions did not affect any of these measures. Conversely, in sexually experienced males, lesions not only failed to disrupt copulation, but also increased conditioned sexual excitement, decreased post-ejaculatory interval and blocked the effect of prolonged copulation on conditioned sexual excitement. Following differential pairing of distinctive environments with and without copulation, sham males with sexual experience displayed a significant preference for the environment paired with copulation, whereas the lesion males with sexual experience displayed a significant aversion for the environment paired with copulation. These findings indicate that the TPP is critical for the acquisition of copulation in naive males and mediates the rewarding consequences of copulation in experienced males. Together these findings demonstrate that the TPP mediates sexual reward, but that sexual experience is not sufficient to produce a deprivation state.
Moreno, Estefanía; Vaz, Sandra H.; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Ferrada, Carla; Quiroz, César; Barodia, Sandeep; Kabbani, Nadine; Canela, Enric I.; McCormick, Peter J.; Lluis, Carme; Franco, Rafael; Ribeiro, Joaquim A; Sebastião, Ana M.; Ferré, Sergi
Previous studies have shown that dopamine and galanin modulate cholinergic transmission in the hippocampus, but little is known about the mechanisms involved and their possible interactions. By using resonance energy transfer techniques in transfected mammalian cells we demonstrated the existence of heteromers between the dopamine D1-like receptors (D1 and D5) and galanin Gal1, but not Gal2 receptors. Within the D1-Gal1 and D5-Gal1 receptor heteromers, dopamine receptor activation potentiated and dopamine receptor blockade counteracted MAPK activation induced by stimulation of Gal1 receptors, while Gal1 receptor activation or blockade did not modify D1-like receptor-mediated MAPK activation. Ability of a D1-like receptor antagonist to block galanin-induced MAPK activation (cross-antagonism) was used as a “biochemical fingerprint” of D1-like-Gal1 receptor heteromers, allowing their identification in the rat ventral hippocampus. The functional role of D1-like-Gal receptor heteromers was demonstrated in synaptosomes from rat ventral hippocampus, where galanin facilitated acetylcholine release, but only with co-stimulation of D1-like receptors. Electrophysiological experiments in rat ventral hippocampal slices showed that these receptor interactions modulate hippocampal synaptic transmission. Thus, a D1-like receptor agonist, that was ineffective when administered alone, turned an inhibitory effect of galanin into an excitatory effect, an interaction that required cholinergic neurotransmission. Altogether, our results strongly suggest that D1-like-Gal1 receptor heteromers act as processors that integrate signals of two different neurotransmitters, dopamine and acetylcholine, to modulate hippocampal cholinergic neurotransmission. PMID:21593325
Alam, Mesbah; Heissler, Hans E; Schwabe, Kerstin; Krauss, Joachim K
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) area has been introduced as a novel surgical therapy for dopamine refractory gait problems, freezing and postural instability in the late stage of Parkinson's disease (PD). Lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPTg) nucleus, the equivalent of the PPN in rodents, were shown to reduce the elevated discharge rate of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model of PD. In order to further elucidate the modulatory effect of the PPTg on the STN we examined the effect of 25 Hz low frequency PPTg stimulation on neuronal single unit activity and oscillatory local field potentials (LFPs) of the STN, and on the electrocorticogram (ECoG) of the primary motor cortex region in rats with unilateral 6-OHDA induced nigrostriatal lesions. Stimulation of the PPTg reduced the enhanced firing rate in the STN, without affecting the firing pattern or approximate entropy (ApEn). It also reduced the activity in the beta band (15-30 Hz) of the STN, which is elevated in 6-OHDA lesioned rats, without affecting beta activity in the motor cortex. We showed a modulatory effect of PPTg stimulation on altered neuronal STN activity in the PD 6-OHDA rat model, indicating that PPTg DBS may alter activity of the basal ganglia circuitry at least partially. It remains unclear, however, how these changes are exactly mediated and whether they are relevant with regard to the descending PPTg projections in the lower brainstem.
Minardi, Silvia; Taraballi, Francesca; Wang, Xin; Cabrera, Fernando J; Van Eps, Jeffrey L; Robbins, Andrew B; Sandri, Monica; Moreno, Michael R; Weiner, Bradley K; Tasciotti, Ennio
Ventral hernia repair remains a major clinical need. Herein, we formulated a type I collagen/elastin crosslinked blend (CollE) for the fabrication of biomimetic meshes for ventral hernia repair. To evaluate the effect of architecture on the performance of the implants, CollE was formulated both as flat sheets (CollE Sheets) and porous scaffolds (CollE Scaffolds). The morphology, hydrophylicity and in vitro degradation were assessed by SEM, water contact angle and differential scanning calorimetry, respectively. The stiffness of the meshes was determined using a constant stretch rate uniaxial tensile test, and compared to that of native tissue. CollE Sheets and Scaffolds were tested in vitro with human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (h-BM-MSC), and finally implanted in a rat ventral hernia model. Neovascularization and tissue regeneration within the implants was evaluated at 6weeks, by histology, immunofluorescence, and q-PCR. It was found that CollE Sheets and Scaffolds were not only biomechanically sturdy enough to provide immediate repair of the hernia defect, but also promoted tissue restoration in only 6weeks. In fact, the presence of elastin enhanced the neovascularization in both sheets and scaffolds. Overall, CollE Scaffolds displayed mechanical properties more closely resembling those of native tissue, and induced higher gene expression of the entire marker genes tested, associated with de novo matrix deposition, angiogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscles, compared to CollE Sheets. Altogether, this data suggests that the improved mechanical properties and bioactivity of CollE Sheets and Scaffolds make them valuable candidates for applications of ventral hernia repair.
Papadopoulos, Georgios; Vlachodimitropoulos, Dimitrios; Kyroudi, Aspasia; Kouloukoussa, Mirsini; Perrea, Despina; Mitropoulos, Dionisios
Background Quinazoline-based alpha1-adrenergic receptor antagonists may not act solely on smooth muscle contractility. We evaluated the in vivo effect of terazosin on the expression of caspase-3 in the rat ventral prostate. Methods Fifteen Wistar rats were treated with terazosin (1.2 mg/kg body weight, given orally every second day) for 120 days. Another 15 control animals received the same amount of distilled water. The expression of caspase-3 was assessed immunohistochemically in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Results Terazosin treatment did not affect prostate weight and histomorphology. In controls caspase-3 was expressed weakly and sporadically. In contrast, strong and weak expression was evident in 67% and 33% of the terazosin-treated specimens, respectively. Conclusions These findings implicate the induction of caspase-3 expression by terazosin as a potential molecular mechanism of its apoptotic action on prostate cells. PMID:23518907
Bobal, Michael G.; Savage, Lisa M.
The thalamus is a critical node for several pathways involved in learning and memory. Damage to the thalamus by trauma, disease or malnourishment can impact the effectiveness of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC) and lead to a profound amnesia state. Using the pyrithiamine-induced thiamine deficiency (PTD) rat model of human Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, we tested the hypothesis that co-infusion of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor physostigmine across the PFC and HPC would recover spatial alternation performance in PTD rats. When cholinergic tone was increased by dual injections across the PFC-HPC, spontaneous alternation performance in PTD rats was recovered. In addition, we tested a second hypothesis that two ventral midline thalamic nuclei, the rhomboid nucleus and nucleus reuniens (Rh-Re), form a critical node needed for the recovery of function observed when cholinergic tone was increased across the PFC and HPC. By using the GABAA agonist muscimol to temporarily deactivate the Rh-Re the recovery of alternation behavior obtained in the PTD model by cholinergic stimulation across the PFC-HPC was blocked. In control pair-fed (PF) rats, inactivation of the Rh-Re impaired spontaneous alternation. However, when inactivation of the Rh-Re co-occurred with physostigmine infusions across the PFC-HPC, PF rats had normal performance. These results further demonstrate that the Rh-Re is critical in facilitating interactions between the HPC and PFC, but other redundant pathways also exist. PMID:25446352
Sandner, Guy; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry; Guignard, Blandine; Nehlig, Astrid
Rats with a neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL) are used to model schizophrenia. They show enhanced locomotion and difficulties in learning after puberty. Such behavioral modifications are strengthened by dopaminergic psychostimulant drugs, which is also relevant for schizophrenia because illustrating its dopaminergic facet. But it remains questionable that only dopaminergic drugs elicit such effects. The behavioral effects could simply represent a non specific arousal, in which case NVHL rats should also be hyper-responsive to other vigilance enhancing drugs. We administered an adenosine (caffeine) or an adrenaline receptor antagonist, (RX821002) at doses documented to modify alertness of rats, respectively 5 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg. Rats were selected prior to the experiments using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Each group contained typical and similar NVHL lesions. They were compared to sham lesioned rats. We evaluated locomotion in a new environment and the capacity to remember a visual or acoustic cue that announced the occurrence of food. Both caffeine and RX82100 enhanced locomotion in the novel environment, particularly in NVHL rats. But, RX82100 had a biphasic effect on locomotion, consisting of an initial reduction preceding the enhancement. It was independent of the lesion. Caffeine did not modify the learning performance of NVHL rats. But, RX821002 was found to facilitate learning. Patients tend to intake much more caffeine than healthy people, which has been interpreted as a means to counter some cognitive deficits. This idea was not validated with the present results. But adrenergic drugs could be helpful for attenuating some of their cognitive deficits. PMID:24478661
Barr, Jeffrey L.; Scholl, Jamie L.; Solanki, Rajeshwari R.; Watt, Michael J.; Lowry, Christopher A.; Renner, Kenneth J.; Forster, Gina L.
Amphetamine withdrawal in both humans and rats is associated with increased anxiety states, which are thought to contribute to drug relapse. Serotonin in the ventral hippocampus mediates affective behaviors, and reduced serotonin levels in this region are observed in rat models of high anxiety, including during withdrawal from chronic amphetamine. This goal of this study was to understand the mechanisms by which reduced ventral hippocampus serotonergic neurotransmission occurs during amphetamine withdrawal. Serotonin synthesis (assessed by accumulation of serotonin precursor as a measure of the capacity of in vivo tryptophan hydroxylase activity), expression of serotonergic transporters, and in vivo serotonergic clearance using in vivo microdialysis, were assessed in the ventral hippocampus in adult male Sprague Dawley rats at 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine. Overall, results showed that diminished extracellular serotonin at 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine was not accompanied by a change in capacity for serotonin synthesis (in vivo tryptophan hydroxylase activity), nor serotonin transporter expression or function in the ventral hippocampus, but instead was associated with increased expression and function of organic cation transporters (low affinity, high capacity serotonin transporters). These findings suggest that 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine reduces the availability of extracellular serotonin in the ventral hippocampus by increasing organic cation transporter-mediated serotonin clearance, which may represent at future pharmacological target for reversing anxiety states during drug withdrawal. PMID:23157166
Ohta, Hiroki; Ohki, Takao; Kanaoka, Yuji; Koizumi, Makoto; Okano, Hirotaka J.
During rodent experiments, the caudal ventral artery (CVA) is useful for blood pressure (BP) measurement. However, CVA measurements may not reflect the true BP. This study was performed to verify the site-specific accuracy of invasive arterial BP monitoring during surgery in rats. Invasive arterial BP was simultaneously measured in rats via the CVA and the common carotid artery (CCA). The BP values were analysed while the rats were subjected to cooling of the head or tail. Additionally, the rats underwent digital subtraction angiography and histological examination of these arteries. The pressure difference was more significant in the tail cooling group than in the head cooling group. Digital subtraction angiography revealed that angiospasms occurred more frequently in the CVA than in the CCA upon cooling. This phenomenon was supported by histological analysis, which showed that the tunica media area was significantly larger in the CVA than in the CCA. CVA pressure is susceptible to environmental changes and may not accurately reflect the true BP without a strictly controlled laboratory environment. Therefore, understanding the pitfalls of this method is necessary to avoid cooling of the tail during BP measurement. PMID:28198822
Macedo, Carlos Eduardo; Sandner, Guy; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry
Sprague Dawley rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampus lesions 7 days after birth. This corresponds to the Lipska and Weinberger's procedure for modeling schizophrenia. The aim of the present work was to test the learning capacity of such rats with an associative Pavlovian and an instrumental learning paradigm, both methods using reward outcome (food, sucrose or polycose). The associative paradigm comprised also a second learning test with reversed learning contingencies. The instrumental conditioning comprised an extinction test under outcome devaluation conditions. Neonatally lesioned rats, once adults (over 60 days of age), showed a conditioning deficit in the associative paradigm but not in the instrumental one. Lesioned rats remained able to adapt as readily as controls to the reversed learning contingency and were as sensitive as controls to the devaluation of outcome. Such observations indicate that the active access (instrumental learning) to a reward could have compensated for the deficit observed under the "passive" stimulus-reward associative learning condition. This feature is compared to the memory management impairments observed in clinical patients.
Ishihara, A.; Ohira, Y.; Roy, R. R.; Nagaoka, S.; Sekiguchi, C.; Hinds, W. E.; Edgerton, V. R.
Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities and soma cross-sectional areas (CSA) of neurons in the dorsolateral region of the ventral horn at the L5 segmental level of the spinal cord in the rat were determined after 14 days of spaceflight and after 9 days of recovery on earth. The results were compared to those in age-matched ground-based control rats. Spinal cords were quick-frozen, and the SDH activity and CSA of a sample of neurons with a visible nucleus were determined using a digitizer and a computer-assisted image analysis system. An inverse relationship between CSA and SDH activity of neurons was observed in all groups of rats. No change in mean CSA or mean SDH activity or in the size distribution of neurons was observed following spaceflight or recovery. However, there was a selective decrease in the SDH activity of neurons with soma CSA between 500 and 800 microns2 in the flight rats, and this effect persisted for at least 9 days following return to 1 g. It remains to be determined whether the selected population of motoneurons or the specific motor pools affected by spaceflight may be restricted to specific muscles.
Park, Eunkyoung; Song, Inho; Jang, Dong Pyo; Kim, In Young
The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) has recently been introduced as an alternative target to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internus (GPi) for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease with severe and medically intractable axial symptoms such as gait and postural impairment. However, it is little known about how electrical stimulation of the PPN affects control of neuronal activities between the PPN and basal ganglia. We examined how low frequency stimulation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) affects control of neuronal activities between the PPN and basal ganglia in 6-OHDA lesioned rats. In order to identify the effect of low frequency stimulation on the PPTg, neuronal activity in both the STN and substantia nigra par reticulata (SNr) were recorded and subjected to quantitative analysis, including analysis of firing rates and firing patterns. In this study, we found that the firing rates of the STN and SNr were suppressed during low frequency stimulation of the PPTg. However, the firing pattern, in contrast to the firing rate, did not exhibit significant changes in either the STN or SNr of 6-OHDA lesioned rats during low frequency stimulation of the PPTg. In addition, we also found that the firing rate of STN and SNr neurons displaying burst and random pattern were decreased by low frequency stimulation of PPTg, while the neurons displaying regular pattern were not affected. These results indicate that low frequency stimulation of the PPTg affects neuronal activity in both the STN and SNr, and may represent electrophysiological efficacy of low frequency PPN stimulation.
Effects of bilateral vestibular deafferentation in rat on hippocampal theta response to somatosensory stimulation, acetylcholine release, and cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus.
Aitken, Phillip; Zheng, Yiwen; Smith, Paul F
Vestibular dysfunction has been shown to cause spatial memory impairment. Neurophysiological studies indicate that bilateral vestibular loss (BVL), in particular, is associated with an impairment of the response of hippocampal place cells and theta rhythm. However, the specific neural pathways through which vestibular information reaches the hippocampus are yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the hypothesised 'theta-generating pathway' from the brainstem vestibular nucleus to the hippocampus. BVL, and in some cases, unilateral vestibular loss (UVL), induced by intratympanic sodium arsanilate injections in rats, were used to investigate the effects of vestibular loss on somatosensory-induced type 2 theta rhythm, acetylcholine (ACh) release in the hippocampus, and the number of cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg), an important part of the theta-generating pathway. Under urethane anaesthesia, BVL was found to cause a significant increase in the maximum power of the type 2 theta (3-6 Hz) frequency band compared to UVL and sham animals. Rats with BVL generally exhibited a lower basal level of ACh release than sham rats; however, this difference was not statistically significant. The PPTg of BVL rats exhibited significantly more choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive neurons than that of sham animals, as did the contralateral PPTg of UVL animals; however, the number of ChAT-positive neurons on the ipsilateral side of UVL animals was not significantly different from sham animals. The results of these studies indicate that parts of the theta-generating pathway undergo a significant reorganisation following vestibular loss, which suggests that this pathway is important for the interaction between the vestibular system and the hippocampus.
Venâncio, Daniel P.; Andersen, Monica L.; Vilamaior, Patricia S. L.; Santos, Fernanda C.; Zager, Adriano; Tufik, Sérgio; Taboga, Sebastião R.; De Mello, Marco T.
We investigated the effect of 96 h paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) and 21-day sleep restriction (SR) on prostate morphology using stereological assays in male rats. After euthanasia, the rat ventral prostate was removed, weighed, and prepared for conventional light microscopy. Microscopic analysis of the prostate reveals that morphology of this gland was altered after 96 h of PSD and 21 days of SR, with the most important alterations occurring in the epithelium and stroma in the course of both procedures compared with the control group. Both 96 h PSD and 21-day SR rats showed lower serum testosterone and higher corticosterone levels than control rats. The significance of our result referring to the sleep deprivation was responsible for deep morphological alterations in ventral prostate tissue, like to castration microscopic modifications. This result is due to the marked alterations in hormonal status caused by PSD and SR. PMID:22927719
Dickenson, Anthony H.
Neuropathic pain represents a substantial clinical challenge; understanding the underlying neural mechanisms and back-translation of therapeutics could aid targeting of treatments more effectively. The ventral posterior thalamus (VP) is the major termination site for the spinothalamic tract and relays nociceptive activity to the somatosensory cortex; however, under neuropathic conditions, it is unclear how hyperexcitability of spinal neurons converges onto thalamic relays. This study aimed to identify neural substrates of hypersensitivity and the influence of pregabalin on central processing. In vivo electrophysiology was performed to record from VP wide dynamic range (WDR) and nociceptive-specific (NS) neurons in anesthetized spinal nerve-ligated (SNL), sham-operated, and naive rats. In neuropathic rats, WDR neurons had elevated evoked responses to low- and high-intensity punctate mechanical stimuli, dynamic brushing, and innocuous and noxious cooling, but less so to heat stimulation, of the receptive field. NS neurons in SNL rats also displayed increased responses to noxious punctate mechanical stimulation, dynamic brushing, noxious cooling, and noxious heat. Additionally, WDR, but not NS, neurons in SNL rats exhibited substantially higher rates of spontaneous firing, which may correlate with ongoing pain. The ratio of WDR-to-NS neurons was comparable between SNL and naive/sham groups, suggesting relatively few NS neurons gain sensitivity to low-intensity stimuli leading to a “WDR phenotype.” After neuropathy was induced, the proportion of cold-sensitive WDR and NS neurons increased, supporting the suggestion that changes in frequency-dependent firing and population coding underlie cold hypersensitivity. In SNL rats, pregabalin inhibited mechanical and heat responses but not cold-evoked or elevated spontaneous activity. PMID:27098028
Labrie, C.; Simard, J.; Zhao, H.F.; Belanger, A.; Pelletier, G.; Labrie, F. )
Androgens play a major role in the development, growth, and function of accessory sexual organs, especially the prostate. However, the testis is not the sole source of circulating androgens in man, since the adrenal gland secretes dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and androstenedione (delta 4-dione) in large quantities. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of plasma concentrations of DHEA and delta 4-dione similar to those found in adult man on sensitive and specific markers of androgen action in the rat ventral prostate. In addition to ventral prostate weight, we have measured the steady state levels of the mRNAs encoding the C1 component of rat prostatic binding protein (PBP-C1) and spermine-binding protein (SBP) using 35S-labeled cDNA probes for in situ hybridization. One week after castration, ventral prostate weight fell 84%, while prostatic 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and androgen-dependent mRNAs were undetectable. When administered via Silastic implants to castrated adult rats for 1 week, plasma concentrations of 1.37 +/- 0.06 ng/ml DHEA or 0.43 +/- 0.08 ng/ml delta 4-dione independently caused increases in ventral prostate weight to 33% and 65% of normal values, respectively. The same plasma levels of DHEA and delta 4-dione resulted in high intraprostatic levels of DHT to 1.19 +/- 0.34 and 3.66 +/- 0.89 ng/g tissue, respectively. Furthermore, DHEA caused an increase in the steady state levels of PBP-C1 and SBP mRNAs to 50% and 57% of the normal state, respectively, while delta 4-dione caused increases corresponding to 80% and 119% of control values, respectively. Castrated adult rats receiving testosterone at a concentration of 1.66 +/- 0.37 ng/ml plasma maintained normal ventral prostate weight and gene expression levels.
Insel, Nathan; Pilkiw, Maryna; Nobrega, José N; Hutchison, William D; Takehara-Nishiuchi, Kaori; Hamani, Clement
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subgenual cingulate gyrus (SCG) has been used to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression. As in humans, DBS applied to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of rats induces antidepressant-like responses. Physiological interactions between structures that play a role in depression and antidepressant treatment are still unknown. The present study examined the effect of DBS on inter-region communication by measuring the coherence of local field potentials in the rat infralimbic cortex (IL; homologue of the SCG) and one of its major afferents, the ventral hippocampus (VH). Rats received daily IL DBS treatment (100 μA, 90 μs, 130 Hz; 8h/day). Recordings were conducted in unrestrained, behaving animals on the day before treatment, after 1 and 10 days of treatment, and 10 days stimulation offset. VH-IL coherence in the 2-4 Hz range was reduced in DBS-treated animals compared with shams after 10 days, but not after only 1 day of treatment. No effect of DBS was observed in the 6-10 Hz (theta) range, where coherence was generally high and could be further evoked with a loud auditory stimulus. Finally, coherence was not affected by fluoxetine (10mg/kg), suggesting that the effects of DBS were not likely mediated by increased serotonin levels. While these data support the hypothesis that DBS disrupts communication between regions important for expectation-based control of emotion, they also suggest that lasting physiological effects require many days of treatment and, furthermore, may be specific to lower-frequency patterns, the nature and scope of which await further investigation.
Bartlett, E L; Smith, P H
Anatomic, intrinsic, and synaptic properties of dorsal and ventral division neurons in rat medial geniculate body. Presently little is known about what basic synaptic and cellular mechanisms are employed by thalamocortical neurons in the two main divisions of the auditory thalamus to elicit their distinct responses to sound. Using intracellular recording and labeling methods, we characterized anatomic features, membrane properties, and synaptic inputs of thalamocortical neurons in the dorsal (MGD) and ventral (MGV) divisions in brain slices of rat medial geniculate body. Quantitative analysis of dendritic morphology demonstrated that tufted neurons in both divisions had shorter dendrites, smaller dendritic tree areas, more profuse branching, and a greater dendritic polarization compared with stellate neurons, which were only found in MGD. Tufted neuron dendritic polarization was not as strong or consistent as earlier Golgi studies suggested. MGV and MGD cells had similar intrinsic properties except for an increased prevalence of a depolarizing sag potential in MGV neurons. The sag was the only intrinsic property correlated with cell morphology, seen only in tufted neurons in either division. Many MGV and MGD neurons received excitatory and inhibitory inferior colliculus (IC) inputs (designated IN/EX or EX/IN depending on excitation/inhibition sequence). However, a significant number only received excitatory inputs (EX/O) and a few only inhibitory (IN/O). Both MGV and MGD cells displayed similar proportions of response combinations, but suprathreshold EX/O responses only were observed in tufted neurons. Excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs and IPSPs) had multiple distinguishable amplitude levels implying convergence. Excitatory inputs activated alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors the relative contributions of which were variable. For IN/EX cells with suprathreshold inputs
Garzón, Miguel; Pickel, Virginia M
Muscarinic m2 receptors (M2Rs) are implicated in autoregulatory control of cholinergic output neurons located within the pedunculopontine (PPT) and laterodorsal tegmental (LTD) nuclei of the mesopontine tegmentum (MPT). However, these nuclei contain many noncholinergic neurons in which activation of M2R heteroceptors may contribute significantly to the decisive role of the LTD and PPT in sleep-wakefulness. We examined the electron microscopic dual immunolabeling of M2Rs and the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAchT) in the MPT of rat brain to identify the potential sites for M2R activation. M2R immunogold labeling was predominately seen in somatodendritic profiles throughout the PPT/LTD complex. In somata, M2R immunogold particles were often associated with Golgi lamellae and cytoplasmic endomembrannes, but were rarely in contact with the plasma membrane, as was commonly seen in dendrites. Approximately 36% of the M2R-labeled somata and 16% of the more numerous M2R-labeled dendrites coexpressed VAchT. M2R and M2R/VAchT-labeled dendritic profiles received synapses from inhibitory- and excitatory-type axon terminals, over 88% of which were unlabeled and others contained exclusively M2R or VAchT immunoreactivity. In axonal profiles M2R immunogold was localized to plasmalemmal and cytoplasmic regions and showed a similar distribution in many VAchT-negative glial profiles. These results provide ultrastructural evidence suggestive of somatic endomembrane trafficking of M2Rs, whose activation serves to regulate the postsynaptic excitatory and inhibitory responses in dendrites of cholinergic and noncholinergic neurons in the MPT. They also suggest the possibility that M2Rs in this brain region mediate the effects of acetylcholine on the release of other neurotransmitters and on glial signaling. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3084-3103, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Benzel, E C; Khare, V; Fowler, M R
The neural injury prevention capabilities of narcotic antagonists have previously been reported. Of the available narcotic antagonists, naloxone has been the most widely studied. Other agents with higher potency, longer half-lives, and greater specificity, however, may be more desirable for the prevention of the "secondary injury" following a primary neural insult. The relative neural injury prevention efficacies of the various narcotic antagonists is not known. The establishment of the relative effectiveness of these drugs is warranted and is of potential clinical importance. Therefore, a study was undertaken to compare the effects of the two narcotic antagonists, naloxone and nalmefene, with respect to their neuro-protective efficacy following experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats. Ninety adult Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups--control; naloxone (2 mg/kg i.p., 45 min following injury); and nalmefene (0.1 mg/kg i.p., 45 min following injury)--following lesioning with the ventral SCI technique. Results were evaluated by the inclined-plane technique and neurologic examination at 1 day and 1 week following injury. Histomorphological evaluation of the injured segment of spinal cord was performed following euthanasia at 1 week following injury. A significant improvement (compared with the control group) was noted in both treatment groups. This was observed with respect to neurological examination and inclined-plane scores in both treatment groups at 24 h and 1 week following lesioning (with a significance level of at least p less than 0.001; analysis of variance). The nalmefene group demonstrated a greater level of function than the naloxone group at both 24 h and 1 week following injury (not significant; p greater than 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Fisone, G.; Wu, C.F.; Consolo, S.; Nordstroem, O.; Brynne, N.; Bartfai, T.; Melander, T.; Hoekfelt, T.
A high density of galanin binding sites was found by using /sup 125/I-labeled galanin, iodinated by chloramine-T, followed by autoradiography in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus of the rat. Lesions of the fimbria and of the septum caused disappearance of a major population of these binding sites, suggesting that a large proportion of them is localized on cholinergic nerve terminals of septal afferents. As a functional correlate to these putative galanin receptor sites, it was shown, both in vivo and in vitro, that galanin, in a concentration-dependent manner, inhibited the evoked release of acetylcholine in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus. Intracerebroventricularly applied galanin fully inhibited the scopolamine stimulated release of acetylcholine in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus, as measured by the microdialysis technique. In vitro, galanin inhibited the 25 mM K/sup +/-evoked release of (/sup 3/H)acetylcholine from slices of the ventral hippocampus, with an IC/sub 50/ value of approx. = 50 nM. These results are discussed with respect to the colocalization of galanin- and choline acetyltransferase-like immunoreactivity in septal somata projecting to the hippocampus.
Mairesse, Jérôme; Gatta, Eleonora; Reynaert, Marie-Line; Marrocco, Jordan; Morley-Fletcher, Sara; Soichot, Marion; Deruyter, Lucie; Camp, Gilles Van; Bouwalerh, Hammou; Fagioli, Francesca; Pittaluga, Anna; Allorge, Delphine; Nicoletti, Ferdinando; Maccari, Stefania
Oxytocin receptors are known to modulate synaptic transmission and network activity in the hippocampus, but their precise function has been only partially elucidated. Here, we have found that activation of presynaptic oxytocin receptor with the potent agonist, carbetocin, enhanced depolarization-evoked glutamate release in the ventral hippocampus with no effect on GABA release. This evidence paved the way for examining the effect of carbetocin treatment in "prenatally restraint stressed" (PRS) rats, i.e., the offspring of dams exposed to repeated episodes of restraint stress during pregnancy. Adult PRS rats exhibit an anxious/depressive-like phenotype associated with an abnormal glucocorticoid feedback regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and, remarkably, with a reduced depolarization-evoked glutamate release in the ventral hippocampus. Chronic systemic treatment with carbetocin (1mg/kg, i.p., once a day for 2-3 weeks) in PRS rats corrected the defect in glutamate release, anxiety- and depressive-like behavior, and abnormalities in social behavior, in the HPA response to stress, and in the expression of stress-related genes in the hippocampus and amygdala. Of note, carbetocin treatment had no effect on these behavioral and neuroendocrine parameters in prenatally unstressed (control) rats, with the exception of a reduced expression of the oxytocin receptor gene in the amygdala. These findings disclose a novel function of oxytocin receptors in the hippocampus, and encourage the use of oxytocin receptor agonists in the treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders in adult life.
Orlowski, J; Bird, C E; Clark, A F
Androgen metabolism and the regulation of rat ventral prostate cell proliferation and secretory function were examined during sexual maturation. Changes in acid phosphatase (AP) characteristics were measured as a marker of androgen-dependent prostatic secretory function. In immature (21-day-old) rats, total AP activity per cell was low (14.2 +/- 1.3 mol p-nitrophenol phosphate hydrolysed/h per mg DNA); it increased threefold as the weight, protein and DNA contents of the prostate increased to adult (65-day) levels. This corresponded with significant (P less than 0.001) increases in the staining intensities of three of the four bands of secretory AP on isoelectric focusing gels. The extent of inhibition of AP by tartrate decreased at the same time. Secretory AP is known to be relatively tartrate-resistant. The changes in AP activity occurred after prostatic 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (5 alpha-DHT) levels increased from 4.6 +/- 0.7 pmol/mg DNA (21 days) to reach a peak of 17.6 +/- 2.3 pmol/mg DNA at 58 days. Prostatic 5 alpha-DHT concentrations were always higher than testosterone levels. Prostatic 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha,17 beta-diol (3 alpha-Adiol) levels were lower than 5 alpha-DHT levels except on day 58 when levels peaked dramatically at 26.2 +/- 5.5 pmol/mg DNA. Changes in prostatic 5 alpha-DHT and 3 alpha-Adiol levels corresponded with changes in 5 alpha-reductase and 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase (3 alpha-HSOR) activities. The oxidative reaction of 3 alpha-HSOR was approximately fourfold higher than the reductive reaction, indicating a preference for the formation of 5 alpha-DHT. The plasma levels of testosterone, 5 alpha-DHT and 3 alpha-Adiol cannot account for their respective prostatic levels, indicating the importance of the steroid-metabolizing enzymes in regulating intracellular androgen levels. Changes in the AP characteristics could be correlated with the androgen status of the prostate.
Romero-Pimentel, A L; Vázquez-Roque, R A; Camacho-Abrego, I; Hoffman, K L; Linares, P; Flores, G; Manjarrez, E
The neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL) is an established neurodevelopmental rat model of schizophrenia. Rats with NVHL exhibit several behavioral, molecular and physiological abnormalities that are similar to those found in schizophrenics. Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric illness characterized by profound disturbances of mental functions including neurophysiological deficits in brain information processing. These deficits can be assessed by auditory evoked potentials (AEPs), where schizophrenics exhibit abnormalities in amplitude, duration and latency of such AEPs. The aim of the present study was to compare the density of cells in the temporal cerebral cortex and the N40-AEP of adult NVHL rats versus adult sham rats. We found that rats with NVHL exhibit significant lower amplitude of the N40-AEP and a significant lower number of cells in bilateral regions of the temporal cerebral cortex compared to sham rats. Because the AEP recordings were obtained from anesthetized rats, we suggest that NVHL leads to inappropriate innervation in thalamic-cortical pathways in the adult rat, leading to altered function of cortical networks involved in processing of primary auditory information.
Fine, A; Dunnett, S B; Björklund, A; Iversen, S D
The memory dysfunction of Alzheimer disease has been associated with a cortical cholinergic deficiency and loss of cholinergic neurons of the nucleus basalis of Meynert. This cholinergic component of Alzheimer disease can be modeled in the rat by ibotenic acid lesions of the cholinergic nucleus basalis magnocellularis. The memory impairment caused by such unilateral lesions, as reflected in passive avoidance behavior, is reversed by grafts into the deafferented neocortex of embryonic neurons of the cholinergic ventral forebrain, but not by grafts of noncholinergic hippocampal cells. Images PMID:3860857
Lecourtier, L; Antal, M-C; Cosquer, B; Schumacher, A; Samama, B; Angst, M-J; Ferrandon, A; Koning, E; Cassel, J-C; Nehlig, A
Neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) in rats are considered a potent developmental model of schizophrenia. After NVHL, rats appear normal during their preadolescent time, whereas in early adulthood, they develop behavioral deficits paralleling symptomatic aspects of schizophrenia, including hyperactivity, hypersensitivity to amphetamine (AMPH), prepulse and latent inhibition deficits, reduced social interactions, and spatial working and reference memory alterations. Surprisingly, the question of the consequences of NVHL on postnatal neurobehavioral development has not been addressed. This is of particular importance, as a defective neurobehavioral development could contribute to impairments seen in adult rats. Therefore, at several time points of the early postsurgical life of NVHL rats, we assessed behaviors accounting for neurobehavioral development, including negative geotaxis and grip strength (PD11), locomotor coordination (PD21), and open-field (PD25). At adulthood, the rats were tested for anxiety levels, locomotor activity, as well as spatial reference memory performance. Using a novel task, we also investigated the consequences of the lesions on procedural-like memory, which had never been tested following NVHL. Our results point to preserved neurobehavioral development. They also confirm the already documented locomotor hyperactivity, spatial reference memory impairment, and hyperresponsiveness to AMPH. Finally, our rseults show for the first time that NVHL disabled the development of behavioral routines, suggesting dramatic procedural memory deficits. The presence of procedural memory deficits in adult rats subjected to NHVL suggests that the lesions lead to a wider range of cognitive deficits than previously shown. Interestingly, procedural or implicit memory impairments have also been reported in schizophrenic patients.
Wang, Peng; Li, Hui; Barde, Swapnali; Zhang, Ming-Dong; Sun, Jing; Wang, Tong; Zhang, Pan; Luo, Hanjiang; Wang, Yongjun; Yang, Yutao; Wang, Chuanyue; Svenningsson, Per; Theodorsson, Elvar; Hökfelt, Tomas G. M.; Xu, Zhi-Qing David
The neuropeptide galanin coexists in rat brain with serotonin in the dorsal raphe nucleus and with noradrenaline in the locus coeruleus (LC), and it has been suggested to be involved in depression. We studied rats exposed to chronic mild stress (CMS), a rodent model of depression. As expected, these rats showed several endophenotypes relevant to depression-like behavior compared with controls. All these endophenotypes were normalized after administration of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The transcripts for galanin and two of its receptors, galanin receptor 1 (GALR1) and GALR2, were analyzed with quantitative real-time PCR using laser capture microdissection in the following brain regions: the hippocampal formation, LC, and ventral periaqueductal gray (vPAG). Only Galr1 mRNA levels were significantly increased, and only in the latter region. After knocking down Galr1 in the vPAG with an siRNA technique, all parameters of the depressive behavioral phenotype were similar to controls. Thus, the depression-like behavior in rats exposed to CMS is likely related to an elevated expression of Galr1 in the vPAG, suggesting that a GALR1 antagonist could have antidepressant effects. PMID:27457954
Fu, Juan; Xing, Xiaoli; Han, Mengfi; Xu, Na; Piao, Chengji; Zhang, Yue; Zheng, Xigeng
The return of learned fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research since an analogous process may contribute to long-term fear maintenance or clinical relapse. A number of studies demonstrate that mPFC and hippocampus are important in the modulation of post-extinction re-expression of fear memory. However, the region-specific role of these structures in the fear return evoked by a sub-threshold conditioning (SC) is not known. In the present experiments, we first examined specific roles of the prelimbic cortex (PL), the dorsal hippocampus (DH, the dorsal CA1 area in particular), the ventral hippocampus (the ventral dentate gyrus (vDG) and the ventral CA1 area in particular) in this fear return process. Then we examined the role of connections between PL and vCA1 with this behavioral approach. Rats were subjected to five tone-shock pairings (1.0-mA shock) to induce conditioned fear (freezing), followed by three fear extinction sessions (25 tone-alone trials each session). After a post-test for extinction memory, some rats were retrained with the SC procedure to reinstate tone-evoked freezing. Rat groups were injected with low doses of the GABAA agonist muscimol to selectively inactivate PL, DH, vDG, or vCA1 120 min before the fear return test. A disconnection paradigm with ipsilateral or contralateral muscimol injection of the PL and the vCA1 was used to examine the role of this pathway in the fear return. We found that transient inactivation of these areas significantly impaired fear return (freezing): inactivation of the prelimbic cortex blocked SC-evoked fear return in particular but did not influence fear expression in general; inactivation of the DH area impaired fear return, but had no effect on the extinction retrieval process; both ventral DG and ventral CA1 are required for the return of extinguished fear whereas only ventral DG is required for the extinction retrieval. These findings suggest that PL, DH, vDG, and vCA1 all contribute to the fear
Kim, Jung Hwan; Astary, Garrett W; Kantorovich, Svetlana; Mareci, Thomas H; Carney, Paul R; Sarntinoranont, Malisa
Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a promising local delivery technique for overcoming the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and treating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). For CED, therapeutics are infused directly into brain tissue and the drug agent is spread through the extracellular space, considered to be highly tortuous porous media. In this study, 3D computational models developed using magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion tensor imaging data sets were used to predict CED transport in the rat ventral hippocampus using a voxelized modeling previously developed by our group. Predicted albumin tracer distributions were compared with MR-measured distributions from in vivo CED in the ventral hippocampus up to 10 μL of Gd-DTPA albumin tracer infusion. Predicted and measured tissue distribution volumes and distribution patterns after 5 and 10 μL infusions were found to be comparable. Tracers were found to occupy the underlying landmark structures with preferential transport found in regions with less fluid resistance such as the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. Also, tracer spread was bounded by high fluid resistance layers such as the granular cell layer and pyramidal cell layer of dentate gyrus. Leakage of tracers into adjacent CSF spaces was observed towards the end of infusions.
Takahashi, Yuzuru; Ohtori, Seiji; Takahashi, Kazuhisa
The ventral horn of the rat spinal cord was investigated with respect to the somatotopic organization of the motor neurons that innervate the lumbar muscles. Neurotracer 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) was applied to specific sites in lumbar muscles. Spinal cord segments at L1 through L4 levels were cut into 40-mum serial transverse sections. Labeled neurons were located in the ventromedial nucleus (VM) and lateromedial nucleus (LM) nuclei of Rexed's lamina IX. Motor neurons innervating the m. interspinales lumborum and m. multifidus were without exception present in the VM, whereas all motor neurons innervating the m. rectus abdominis were present in the LM. Forty percent of motor neurons innervating the m. quadratus lumborum were present in the VM and the other 60% were in the LM. Although most of the motor neurons innervating the m. psoas major were present in the LM, a few labeled neurons existed in the VM. These results suggest that the border zone demarcating the areas of innervation of the dorsal and ventral rami of spinal nerves crosses the m. quadratus lumborum.
Perinatal exposure to estrogenic compounds and the subsequent effects on the prostate of the adult rat: evaluation of inflammation in the ventral and lateral lobes.
Stoker TE, Robinette CL, Cooper RL.
Endocrinology Branch, Reproductive Toxicology Division, National ...
Espinosa, Pedro; Silva, Roxana A.; Sanguinetti, Nicole K.; Venegas, Francisca C.; Riquelme, Raul; González, Luis F.; Cruz, Gonzalo; Renard, Georgina M.; Moya, Pablo R.; Sotomayor-Zárate, Ramón
We sought to determine the long-term changes produced by neonatal sex hormone administration on the functioning of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in adult male rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were injected subcutaneously at postnatal day 1 and were assigned to the following experimental groups: TP (testosterone propionate of 1.0 mg/50 μL); DHT (dihydrotestosterone of 1.0 mg/50 μL); EV (estradiol valerate of 0.1 mg/50 μL); and control (sesame oil of 50 μL). At postnatal day 60, neurochemical studies were performed to determine dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area and dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. Molecular (mRNA expression of tyrosine hydroxylase) and cellular (tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity) studies were also performed. We found increased dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area of TP and EV rats, in addition to increased dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. However, neonatal exposure to DHT, a nonaromatizable androgen, did not affect midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Correspondingly, compared to control rats, levels of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and protein were significantly increased in TP and EV rats but not in DHT rats, as determined by qPCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Our results suggest an estrogenic mechanism involving increased tyrosine hydroxylase expression, either by direct estrogenic action or by aromatization of testosterone to estradiol in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area. PMID:26904299
Zhao, ZhengLin; Kim, Sang Chan; Zhao, RongJie; Wu, YiYan; Zhang, Jie; Liu, HongFeng; Kim, Young Woo; Zhu, XiaoDong; Gu, ChangHong; Lee, Chul Won; Lee, Bong Hyo; Jang, Eun Young; Ko, Hae Li; Yang, Chae Ha
This study investigated the involvement of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system in the anxiolytic effects of acupuncture during ethanol withdrawal (EW). Rats were intraperitoneally treated with 3g/kg/day of ethanol for 28 days and experienced 3 days of withdrawal. During EW, the rats were bilaterally treated with acupuncture at acupoints HT7 (Shenmen) or PC6 (Neiguan) or at a non-acupoint (tail) once daily for 1min over 3 days. High-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) analysis showed that EW significantly decreased both DA and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels in the nucleus accumbens shell (NaccSh); however, these processes were inhibited by acupuncture at HT7 but not at PC6. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and western blot assays also revealed that acupuncture at HT7 prevented the EW-induced reductions in tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and tyrosine hydroxylase protein expression in the NaccSh. A prior intra-NaccSh infusion of a cocktail of the selective DA1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 and the selective DA2 receptor antagonist eticlopride blocked the anxiolytic effect of acupuncture at HT7 in elevated plus maze tests. In addition, acupuncture at HT7 suppressed EW-induced increased BDNF levels in the VTA. These findings suggest that acupuncture at HT7 improves the VTA-Nacc DAergic function via inhibition of BDNF expression in the VTA, thereby exerting anxiolytic effects during EW.
Emmons, Eric B.; Narayanan, Nandakumar S.; LaLumiere, Ryan T.
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) modulates memory consolidation for a variety of types of learning, whereas other brain regions play more selective roles in specific kinds of learning suggesting a role for differential consolidation via distinct BLA pathways. The ventral hippocampus (VH), an efferent target of the BLA, has been suggested to selectively process emotion-related learning, yet whether the BLA → VH pathway modulates memory consolidation, and does so in a learning-specific manner, is unknown. To address this issue, the BLA of male Sprague-Dawley rats was bilaterally transduced to express either ChR2(E123A) or eArchT3.0. Fiber optic probes were implanted in the VH to provide illumination of BLA axons. Rats then underwent a modified contextual fear conditioning task permitting separation of context and footshock learning. On day 1, rats received 3 min of pre-exposure to the apparatus. On day 2, rats were placed into the apparatus, received an immediate footshock, and quickly removed. Retention was tested on day 4. Optical stimulation of the BLA → VH pathway following footshock, but not context, training using trains of 40-Hz light pulses enhanced retention. Continuous optical inhibition of this pathway for 15 min starting 25 min after footshock training impaired retention. These findings indicate that BLA → VH projections influence the consolidation for footshock, but not context, learning of a modified CFC task and provide direct evidence that BLA projections to other brain regions modulate memory consolidation selectively depending on the kind of learning involved. PMID:26773098
Zhang, Xijing; Davidson, Steve; Giesler, Glenn J
Spinal marginal zone (MZ) neurons play a crucial role in the transmission of nociceptive and thermoreceptive information to the brain. The precise areas to which physiologically characterized MZ neurons project in the ventral posterior lateral (VPL) nucleus of the thalamus have not been clearly established. Here, we examine this projection in rats using the method of antidromic activation to map the axon terminals of neurons recorded from the MZ. Thirty-three neurons were antidromically activated using pulses of < or =30 microA in the contralateral VPL. In every case, the most rostral point from which the MZ neuron could be antidromically activated was surrounded by stimulating tracks in which large-amplitude current pulses failed to activate the examined neuron, indicating the termination of the spinothalamic tract (STT) axon. Each of 30 examined neurons responded to noxious but not innocuous mechanical stimuli applied to their cutaneous receptive fields, which ranged in size from two digits to the entire limb. Of 17 thermally tested neurons, 16 responded to innocuous or noxious thermal stimuli. Among STT neurons that responded to thermal stimuli, 50% responded to innocuous cooling as well as noxious heat and cold, 31% responded to noxious heat and cold, and 19% responded only to noxious heat. Axons from cells responsive to innocuous cooling terminated in the core region of VPL, significantly dorsal and medial relative to other thermally responsive subgroups. In rats, thermally responsive subgroups of MZ neurons project directly to distinct regions of VPL.
Roy, R. R.; Ishihara, A.; Moran, M. M.; Wade, C. E.; Edgerton, V. R.
BACKGROUND: Spaceflights of short duration (approximately 2 wk) result in adaptations in the size and/or metabolic properties of a select population of motoneurons located in the lumbosacral region of the rat spinal cord. A decrease in succinate dehydrogenase (SDH, an oxidative marker enzyme) activity of moderately sized (500-800 microm2) motoneurons in the retrodorsolateral region of the spinal cord (L6) has been observed after a 14-d flight. HYPOTHESIS: Our hypothesis was that exposure to short-term hypergravity would result in adaptations in the opposite direction, reflecting a continuum of morphological and biochemical responses in the spinal motoneurons from zero gravity to hypergravity. METHODS: Young, male rats were centrifuged at either 1.5 or 2.0 G for 2 wk. The size and SDH activity of a population of motoneurons in the retrodorsolateral region of the spinal cord (L5) were determined and compared with age-matched rats maintained at 1.0 G. The absolute and relative (to body weight) masses of the soleus, gastrocnemius, adductor longus and tibialis anterior muscles were compared among the three groups. RESULTS: There were no effects of either hypergravity intervention on the motoneuron properties. Rats maintained under hypergravity conditions gained less body mass than rats kept at 1.0 G. For the 1.5 and 2.0 G groups, the muscle absolute mass was smaller and relative mass similar to that observed in the 1.0 G rats, except for the adductor longus. The adductor longus absolute mass was similar to and the relative mass larger in both hypergravity groups than in the 1.0 G group. CONCLUSIONS: Our hypothesis was rejected. The findings suggest that rat motoneurons are more responsive to short-term chronic exposure to spaceflight than to hypergravity conditions.
Lebron, Kelimer; Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.
Extinction of auditory fear conditioning is thought to form a new memory. We previously found that rats with vmPFC lesions could extinguish fear to the tone within a session, but showed no recall of extinction 24 h later. One interpretation is that the vmPFC is the sole storage site of extinction memory. However, it is also possible that lesioned…
Li, Xia; Li, Jie; Peng, Xiao-Qing; Spiller, Krista; Gardner, Eliot L; Xi, Zheng-Xiong
The metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGluR7) has received much attention as a potential target for the treatment of epilepsy, major depression, and anxiety. In this study, we investigated the possible involvement of mGluR7 in cocaine reward in animal models of drug addiction. Pretreatment with the selective mGluR7 allosteric agonist N,N'-dibenzyhydryl-ethane-1,2-diamine dihydrochloride (AMN082; 1-20 mg/kg, i.p.) dose-dependently inhibited cocaine-induced enhancement of electrical brain-stimulation reward and intravenous cocaine self-administration under both fixed-ratio and progressive-ratio reinforcement conditions, but failed to alter either basal or cocaine-enhanced locomotion or oral sucrose self-administration, suggesting a specific inhibition of cocaine reward. Microinjections of AMN082 (1-5 microg/microl per side) into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or ventral pallidum (VP), but not dorsal striatum, also inhibited cocaine self-administration in a dose-dependent manner. Intra-NAc or intra-VP co-administration of 6-(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-methyl-3-pyridin-4-ylisoxazolo[4,5-c]pyridin-4(5H)-one (MMPIP, 5 microg/microl per side), a selective mGluR7 allosteric antagonist, significantly blocked AMN082's action, suggesting an effect mediated by mGluR7 in these brain regions. In vivo microdialysis demonstrated that cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) priming significantly elevated extracellular DA in the NAc or VP, while decreasing extracellular GABA in VP (but not in NAc). AMN082 pretreatment selectively blocked cocaine-induced changes in extracellular GABA, but not in DA, in both naive rats and cocaine self-administration rats. These data suggest: (1) mGluR7 is critically involved in cocaine's acute reinforcement; (2) GABA-, but not DA-, dependent mechanisms in the ventral striatopallidal pathway appear to underlie AMN082's actions; and (3) AMN082 or other mGluR7-selective agonists may be useful in the treatment of cocaine addiction.
Kouvaros, Stylianos; Papatheodoropoulos, Costas
Functions of the hippocampus are segregated along its long axis and emerging evidence shows that the local circuitry is specialized accordingly. Sharp waves (SPWs) and ripples are a basic hippocampal network activity implicated in memory processing. Using recordings from the CA1 field of both dorsal (DH) and ventral (VH) rat hippocampal slices we found that SPWs are larger, shorter and occur much more frequently in the VH than in the DH. Clusters of SPWs (i.e. multiple consecutive events grouped in sequences that depend on NMDA receptors) occur with higher probability in the VH and the frequency of occurrence of consecutive intra-cluster events is higher in the VH (∼10Hz) than in the DH (∼5Hz). The ripple oscillation displays higher amplitude and frequency in the VH than in DH and the associated multiunit firing peaks at a later phase of the ripple waves in the VH than in the DH. Isolated unit complex spike bursts display a significantly lower number of spikes and longer inter-spike intervals in the VH than in the DH suggesting that the synaptically driven neuronal excitability is lower in the VH. We propose that to some extent these differences result from the relatively higher network excitability of the VH compared with DH. Furthermore, they might reflect specializations that provide the local circuitries of the DH and VH with the required optimal ability for synaptic plasticity and might also suggest that the VH could be a favored site of SPW-Rs initiation.
Damle, Sheela R; Krzyzanowska, Agata; Frawley, Robert J; Cunningham, Matthew E
Surgical models in animals are used extensively to study small molecules and devices for lumbar intervertebral disc repair, replacement, and fusion. Although the ventral lumbar animal models themselves are well described, critical assessment of morbidity and mortality avoidance when using the models have not been reported. Hypothesizing that technique modifications and the relative prevalence and severity of complications would be correlated, we collected and examined peri- and postoperative data stratified by surgical technique. We here report complications associated with the transperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine in 268 Lewis rats and offer data-driven suggestions regarding complication avoidance through technique modification. Compared with wider exposure, limiting the width of exposure to a maximum of 3 mm resulted in fewer neurologic complications in the lower limbs. In addition, avoiding extracorporeal reflection of the small intestine during the exposure was associated with lower incidence of postoperative gastrointestinal distress and fewer situations requiring euthanasia. These findings underscore the importance of detailed approaches in minimizing postoperative morbidity and attrition in surgical models.
Kemppainen, Heidi; Nurmi, Harri; Raivio, Noora; Kiianmaa, Kalervo
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of ventral pallidal opioidergic mechanisms in the control of ethanol intake by studying the effects of acute administration of morphine on the levels of GABA, glutamate, and dopamine in the ventral pallidum. The study was conducted using the alcohol-preferring Alko Alcohol (AA) and alcohol-avoiding Alko Non-Alcohol (ANA) rat lines that have well-documented differences in their voluntary ethanol intake and brain opioidergic systems. Therefore, examination of neurobiological differences between the lines is supposed to help to identify the neuronal mechanisms underlying ethanol intake, since selection pressure is assumed gradually to lead to enrichment of alleles promoting high or low ethanol intake, respectively. The effects of an acute dose of morphine (1 or 10 mg/kg s.c.) on the extracellular levels of GABA and glutamate in the ventral pallidum were monitored with in vivo microdialysis. The concentrations of GABA and glutamate in the dialyzates were determined with a high performance liquid chromatography system using fluorescent detection, while electrochemical detection was used for dopamine. The levels of glutamate in the rats injected with morphine 1 mg/kg were significantly above the levels found in the controls and in the rats receiving morphine 10 mg/kg. Morphine 10 mg/kg also increased the levels of dopamine. Morphine could not, however, modify the levels of GABA. The rat lines did not differ in any of the effects of morphine. The data suggest that the glutamatergic and dopaminergic systems in the ventral pallidum may mediate some effects of morphine. Since there were no differences between the AA and ANA lines, the basic hypothesis underlying the use of the genetic animal model suggests that the effects of morphine detected probably do not underlie the different intake of ethanol by the lines and contribute to the control of ethanol intake in these animals.
Feja, Malte; Koch, Michael
Maladaptive levels of impulsivity are found in several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as ADHD, addiction, aggression and schizophrenia. Intolerance to delay-of-gratification, or delay-discounting, and deficits in impulse control are dissociable forms of impulsivity top-down controlled by the prefrontal cortex, with the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) suggested to be critically involved. The present study used transient inactivation of the rats' vmPFC via bilateral microinfusion of the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol (0.05, 0.5 μg/0.3 μl) to analyse its relevance for impulse control in a 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) and delay-discounting in a Skinner box. Intra-vmPFC injection of low-dose muscimol impaired impulse control indicated by enhanced premature responding in the 5-CSRTT, while flattening the delay-dependent shift in the preference of the large reward in the delay-discounting task. Likewise, high-dose muscimol did not affect delay-discounting, though raising the rate of omissions. On the contrary, 5-CSRTT performance was characterised by deficits in impulse and attentional control. These data support the behavioural distinction of delay-discounting and impulse control on the level of the vmPFC in rats. Reversible inactivation with muscimol revealed an obvious implication of the vmPFC in the modulation of impulse control in the 5-CSRTT. By contrast, delay-discounting processes seem to be regulated by other neuronal pathways, with the vmPFC playing, if at all, a minor role.
Agnesi, Filippo; Blaha, Charles D.; Lin, Jessica; Lee, Kendall H.
Thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) is proven therapy for essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome. We tested the hypothesis that high-frequency electrical stimulation results in local thalamic glutamate release. Enzyme-linked glutamate amperometric biosensors were implanted in anesthetized rat thalamus adjacent to the stimulating electrode. Electrical stimulation was delivered to investigate the effect of frequency, pulse width, voltage-controlled or current-controlled stimulation, and charge balancing. Monophasic electrical stimulation-induced glutamate release was linearly dependent on stimulation frequency, intensity and pulse width. Prolonged stimulation evoked glutamate release to a plateau that subsequently decayed back to baseline after stimulation. Glutamate release was less pronounced with voltage-controlled stimulation and not present with charge balanced current-controlled stimulation. Using fixed potential amperometry in combination with a glutamate bioprobe and adjacent microstimulating electrode, the present study has shown that monophasic current-controlled stimulation of the thalamus in the anesthetized rat evoked linear increases in local extracellular glutamate concentrations that were dependent on stimulation duration, frequency, intensity and pulse width. However, the efficacy of monophasic voltage-controlled stimulation, in terms of evoking glutamate release in the thalamus, was substantially lower compared to monophasic current-controlled stimulation and entirely absent with biphasic (charge balanced) current-controlled stimulation. It remains to be determined whether similar glutamate release occurs with human DBS electrodes and similar charge balanced stimulation. As such, the present results indicate the importance of evaluating local neurotransmitter dynamics in studying the mechanism of action of DBS.
Gourévitch, Boris; Cai, Jun; Mellen, Nicholas
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) occurs in babies chronically exposed to opioids during pregnancy. NAS shares features with opioid withdrawal symptoms seen in adults, including autonomic dysregulation. Here, the effect of low-dose in utero methadone (MTD) exposure on respiration-modulated networks along the ventral respiratory column (VRC) in ventrolateral medulla was investigated in the neonate Sprague-Dawley rat. MTD was administered via drinking water (3mg/kg/day in drinking water of the mother E7-E21). Lower expression levels of myelin-associated proteins phosphorylated axonal neurofilament subunit H (pNFH), 2',3'-Cyclicnucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) and myelin basic protein (MBP), in MTD-exposed pups compared to controls at P3, P6 and P10 indicated MTD transport across the placenta. We investigated whether in utero MTD exposure led to network-level excitability changes consistent with tolerance, and also probed for changes in endogenous opioid modulation of respiratory networks. To this end, high-speed (45.5Hz) optical recordings of respiratory network activity in control and MTD-exposed neonate (P0-P2) pups before and during administration of the μ-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone (NAL; 10μM) were carried out. Spike rate was estimated from optical traces via deconvolution, and coupling between all neuron pairs in recorded networks was quantified using the normalized transfer entropy (NTE). Recordings of local networks along the VRC, together with recordings of respiratory output from ventral root C1 did not reveal changes in respiratory activity at the system level, but cellular and network changes in MTD-exposed pups were consistent with the development of opioid tolerance. MTD-exposed pups were found to have i. higher neuronal firing rates; ii. higher covariance between neuronal activity and motor output; iii. more bidirectionally and unidirectionally coupled neurons, and fewer uncoupled neurons; iv. stronger coupling and shorter
Kawamura, H; Kimura, M; Ichihara, I
After long-term castration, rats were injected with cotton seed oil, testosterone- and estradiol-17 beta-cypionate (CS, TC and EC). The height of the epithelial cells of the ventral prostates from the castrated rats increased after TC and EC-injection. The secretory and basal cells formed two layers of epithelium, an inner layer near the lumen with pale nuclei and another layer with dark nuclei. These two layers could result from a reduction of secretory epithelial cells. Castration decreased the ratio of secretory cells to basal cells (S/B). TC-injection increased the ratio of S/B because of the secretory epithelial cell growth. Longer dark cells may be transient cells, appearing during the differentiation of basal cells into secretory epithelial cells. A sheet branching off from the basal lamina was observed. Androgen may stimulate the synthesis of the lamina, but whether it induces the synthesis or turnover of the basal lamina has not been established. EC increased the ventral prostatic weight and secretory epithelial cell height and induced the appearance of crystalline granules. Increase in S/B ratio may result from an increase in the secretory epithelial cells, but not from basal cell multiplication due to squamous metaplasia. The ratio is significantly correlated to the weight of the ventral prostate, but not to the secretory epithelial cell height. Its value could indicate the multiplication of secretory epithelial cells, differentiation of basal cells into epithelial cells, or both. It is probable that basal cells do not change in number, but control the size of the rat ventral prostate in response to the hormone level.
Ollmann, Tamás; Péczely, László; László, Kristóf; Kovács, Anita; Gálosi, Rita; Berente, Eszter; Karádi, Zoltán; Lénárd, László
The ventral pallidum (VP) is innervated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system and it has a key role in motivation, reward, and memory processes. Neurotensin (NT) is an important neuromodulator which has been shown to modulate reinforcement in the ventral tegmental area, in the ventral mesencephalic region and in the central nucleus of amygdala. Neurotensin receptor 1 (NTR1) has already been detected in the VP in abundance, but its role in rewarding and reinforcing processes is not fully understood yet. In our present experiments, the effects of NT on positive reinforcement were investigated in the VP. In conditioned place preference (CPP) test, male Wistar rats were microinjected bilaterally with 100 ng or 250 ng NT in the volume of 0.4 μl. In other groups of animals, 35 ng NTR1 antagonist SR 48692 was applied by itself, or microinjected 15 min before 100 ng NT treatment. One hundred ng dose of NT induced CPP, whereas animals injected with 250 ng NT did not exhibit significant differences from the vehicle group. Antagonist pretreatment inhibited the effect of NT, while the antagonist applied by itself had no effect. Our results show that NT injected into the VP is involved in positive reinforcement. This effect is specific to NTR1 receptors because the development of CPP can be prevented by specific antagonist.
Pratt, Wayne E; Lin, Peagan; Pierce-Messick, Zachary; Ilesanmi, Adeolu O; Clissold, Kara A
Although serotonin (5-HT) signaling is known to regulate food intake and energy homeostasis, the roles of the 5-HT3 receptor in feeding processes have been elusive. 5-HT3 receptors are found throughout mesolimbic circuitry that promote feeding not only in response to hunger, but also to the palatable and rewarding properties of food. These experiments examined if stimulation or blockade of the 5-HT3 receptor of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) or ventral tegmentum affected food intake in the rat in response to hunger or the presence of a palatable diet. Rats (N=6-9/group) received bilateral injections of the 5-HT3 agonist m-chlorophenylbiguanide hydrochloride (mCPBG; at 0.0, 10.0, or 20.0μg/0.5μl/side) or the 5-HT3 antagonist ondansetron hydrochloride (at 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, or 5.0μg/0.5μl/side) into either the NAcc or the ventral tegmentum. NAcc 5-HT3 receptor stimulation significantly increased 2-h food intake in food-deprived animals offered rat chow and in a separate group of unrestricted rats offered a sweetened fat diet. In contrast to the feeding increase seen with NAcc treatments, stimulation of 5-HT3 receptors of the ventral tegmentum significantly reduced food and water intake in food-restricted animals; reductions of intake in non-restricted rats offered the palatable diet did not approach significance. Blockade of the 5-HT3 receptor had no effect on feeding in either brain region. These data support a functional role for serotonergic signaling in the mesolimbic pathway on motivated behavior, and demonstrate that 5-HT3 receptors differentially modulate food consumption in a region-dependent manner.
Li, Yong-Xin; Schaffner, Anne E; Walton, Marc K; Barker, Jeffery L
Embryonic rat ventral spinal cord neurons were dissociated at day 15 and grown on: (i) poly-D-lysine (PDL); (ii) a confluent monolayer of type I astrocytes; or (iii) PDL in astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM) to examine the influence of astroglia on the regulation of GABAA receptor/Cl− channel properties. Potentiometric oxonol dye recordings of intact cells indicated that embryonic neurons were uniformly depolarized by muscimol. The depolarizing effects disappeared in cells dissociated during the early postnatal period and recovered in culture for 24 h. Similar recordings using the calcium-imaging dye fura-2 AM revealed that GABA or muscimol triggered a sustained rise in cytosolic Ca2+ (Cac2+) in embryonic neurons that was dependent on extracellular Ca2+, blocked by bicuculline and nifedipine and sensitive to changes in extracellular chloride. The incidence and amplitude of the Ca2+ response decreased with time in vitro and was accelerated in neurons cultured on astrocytes compared with those on PDL. Perforated patch-clamp recordings revealed that GABA depolarized neurons in a Cl−-dependent and bicuculline-sensitive manner. Both the resting membrane potential and the GABA equilibrium potential became more hyperpolarized with time in vitro. Astrocytes and ACM accelerated the transformation of GABAergic potential responses from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing. The change occurred over the first 4 days in co-culture or in ACM but took more than 2 weeks in neurons cultured on PDL alone. The intrinsic, elementary properties of GABAA receptor/Cl− channels including open time and unitary conductance changed independently of the presence of astrocytes or ACM. Mean open time of the dominant kinetic component decreased and conductance increased with time in vitro. In sum, astrocytes accelerate the developmental change in the Cl− ion gradient extrinsic to GABAA receptor/Cl− channels, which is critical for triggering Ca2+ entry, without influencing parallel changes in
Kim, Jun Hee; Shin, Sun Young; Yun, Sang Soon; Kim, Tae Jin; Oh, Seung-June; Kim, Kwang Myung; Chung, Young-Shin; Hong, Eun-Kyoung; Uhm, Dae-Yong; Kim, Sung Joon
Prostate neuroendocrine (NE) cells play important roles in the growth and differentiation of the prostate. Following enzymatic digestion of rat ventral prostate, the whole-cell patch-clamp technique was applied to dark, round cells that exhibited chromogranin-A immunoreactivity, a representative marker of NE cells. Under zero current-clamp conditions, putative NE cells showed hyperpolarized resting membrane potentials of some -70 mV, and spontaneous action potentials were induced by an increase in external [K+] or by the injection of current. Using a CsCl pipette solution, step-like depolarization activated high-voltage-activated Ca2+ current (HVA I(Ca)) and tetrodotoxin-resistant voltage-activated Na+ current. The HVA I(Ca) was blocked by nifedipine and omega-conotoxin GVIA, L-type and N-type Ca2+ channel blockers, respectively. Using a KCl pipette solution, the transient outward K+ current (I(to)), Ca2+ -activated K+ currents (I(K,Ca)), the non-inactivating outward current and an inwardly rectifying K+ current (I(Kir)) were identified. I(K,Ca) was suppressed by charybdotoxin (50 nM), iberiotoxin (10 nM) or clotrimazol (1 microM), but not by apamine (100 nM). I(to) was inhibited by 4-aminopyridine (5 mM). I(Kir) was identified as a Ba2+ -sensitive inwardly rectifying current in the presence of a high-K+ bath solution. The voltage- and Ca2+ -activated ion channels could play significant roles in the regulation of neurohormonal secretion in the prostate.
Beaudet, A; Rambourg, A
The tridimensional structure of rough endoplasmic reticulum was examined with both high and low voltage electron microscopes in large ventral horn cells of rat spinal cord, by combining stereoscopic techniques with the use of thick sections selectively impregnated with heavy metal salts. In all neurons examined Nissl bodies appeared as well defined clusters of densely stained and profusely anastomosed plate-, ribbon-, and thread-like cisternae. Plate-like cisternae were variable in size, often showed a shallow curvature, and usually ran in short parallel arrays, separated from one another by fairly constant intervals. All gave rise at their edges to several ribbon-like extensions which occasionally decreased in width distally, turning into thin, thread-like cisternae. Characteristically, these ribbon-like structures would emerge at an angle from their plate of origin and smoothly curve away from the plane of the plate to merge with ribbons or threads arising from adjacent or more distant plates. Most plate-like cisternae were found at the periphery of Nissl bodies and tended to be oriented parallel to their surface. In contrast, the center of Nissl bodies was almost exclusively occupied by a complex network of ribbon- and thread-like cisternae. It is suggested that the basic plate/ribbon association here described in spinal motoneurons might be a constant feature of Nissl body architecture in various neuronal types, while the size, orientation, and relative proportion of plate-like cisternae may vary according to the metabolic state and/or functional specialization of the cells.
Long term exposure to combination paradigm of environmental enrichment, physical exercise and diet reverses the spatial memory deficits and restores hippocampal neurogenesis in ventral subicular lesioned rats.
Kapgal, Vijayakumar; Prem, Neethi; Hegde, Preethi; Laxmi, T R; Kutty, Bindu M
Subiculum is an important structure of the hippocampal formation and plays an imperative role in spatial learning and memory functions. We have demonstrated earlier the cognitive impairment following bilateral ventral subicular lesion (VSL) in rats. We found that short term exposure to enriched environment (EE) did not help to reverse the spatial memory deficits in water maze task suggesting the need for an appropriate enriched paradigm towards the recovery of spatial memory. In the present study, the efficacy of long term exposure of VSL rats to combination paradigm of environmental enrichment (EE), physical exercise and 18 C.W. diet (Combination Therapy - CT) in reversing the spatial memory deficits in Morris water maze task has been studied. Ibotenate lesioning of ventral subiculum produced significant impairment of performance in the Morris water maze and reduced the hippocampal neurogenesis in rats. Post lesion exposure to C.T. restored the hippocampal neurogenesis and improved the spatial memory functions in VSL rats. Our study supports the hypothesis that the combination paradigm is critical towards the development of an enhanced behavioral and cognitive experience especially in conditions of CNS insults and the associated cognitive dysfunctions.
Chambers, R. Andrew; Self, David W.
The high prevalence of substance use disorders in schizophrenia relative to the general population and other psychiatric diagnoses could result from developmental neuropathology in hippocampal and cortical structures that underlie schizophrenia. In this study, we tested the effects of neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions on instrumental behavior reinforced by sucrose pellets and intravenous cocaine injections. Lesioned rats acquired sucrose self-administration faster than sham-lesioned rats, but rates of extinction were not altered. Lesioned rats also responded at higher rates during acquisition of cocaine self-administration, and tended to acquire self-administration faster. Higher response rates reflected perseveration of responding during the post-injection “time-out” periods, and a greater incidence of binge-like cocaine intake, which persisted even after cocaine self-administration stabilized. In contrast to sucrose, extinction from cocaine self-administration was prolonged in lesioned rats, and reinstatement of cocaine seeking induced by cocaine priming increased compared with shams. These results suggest that neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions facilitate instrumental learning for both natural and drug rewards, and reduce inhibitory control over cocaine taking while promoting cocaine seeking and relapse after withdrawal. The findings are discussed in terms of possible developmental or direct effects of the lesions, and both positive reinforcement (substance use vulnerability as a primary disease symptom) and negative reinforcement (self-medication) theories of substance use comorbidity in schizophrenia. PMID:12464446
Chen, Li; Lodge, Daniel J
Background: Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder that affects 1% of the US population. While the exogenous administration of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol is reported to exacerbate psychosis in schizophrenia patients, augmenting the levels of endogenous cannabinoids has gained attention as a possible alternative therapy to schizophrenia due to clinical and preclinical observations. Thus, patients with schizophrenia demonstrate an inverse relationship between psychotic symptoms and levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide. In addition, increasing endocannabinoid levels (by blockade of enzymatic degradation) has been reported to attenuate social withdrawal in a preclinical model of schizophrenia. Here we examine the effects of increasing endogenous cannabinoids on dopamine neuron activity in the sub-chronic phencyclidine (PCP) model. Aberrant dopamine system function is thought to underlie the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Methods: Using in vivo extracellular recordings in chloral hydrate–anesthetized rats, we now demonstrate an increase in dopamine neuron population activity in PCP-treated rats. Results: Interestingly, endocannabinoid upregulation, induced by URB-597, was able to normalize this aberrant dopamine neuron activity. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the ventral pallidum is the site where URB-597 acts to restore ventral tegmental area activity. Conclusions: Taken together, we provide preclinical evidence that augmenting endogenous cannabinoids may be an effective therapy for schizophrenia, acting in part to restore ventral pallidal activity. PMID:25539511
Chowdhury, Tara G; Ríos, Mariel B; Chan, Thomas E; Cassataro, Daniela S; Barbarich-Marsteller, Nicole C; Aoki, Chiye
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric illness characterized by restricted eating and irrational fears of gaining weight. There is no accepted pharmacological treatment for AN, and AN has the highest mortality rate among psychiatric illnesses. Anorexia nervosa most commonly affects females during adolescence, suggesting an effect of sex and hormones on vulnerability to the disease. Activity-based anorexia (ABA) is a rodent model of AN that shares symptoms with AN, including over-exercise, elevation of stress hormones, and genetic links to anxiety traits. We previously reported that ABA in adolescent female rats results in increased apical dendritic branching in CA1 pyramidal cells of the ventral hippocampus at postnatal day 44 (P44). To examine the long-term effects of adolescent ABA (P44) in female rats, we compared the apical branching in the ventral hippocampal CA1 after recovery from ABA (P51) and after a relapse of ABA (P55) with age-matched controls. To examine the age-dependence of the hippocampal plasticity, we examined the effect of ABA during adulthood (P67). We found that while ABA at P44 resulted in increased branching of ventral hippocampal pyramidal cells, relapse of ABA at P55 resulted in decreased branching. ABA induced during adulthood did not have an effect on dendritic branching, suggesting an age-dependence of the vulnerability to structural plasticity. Cells from control animals were found to exhibit a dramatic increase in branching, more than doubling from P44 to P51, followed by pruning from P51 to P55. The proportion of mature spines on dendrites from the P44-ABA animals is similar to that on dendrites from P55-CON animals. These results suggest that the experience of ABA may cause precocious anatomical development of the ventral hippocampus. Importantly, we found that adolescence is a period of continued development of the hippocampus, and increased vulnerability to mental disorders during adolescence may be due to insults during this
The role of serotonin in stress and anxiety, particularly in social environments, is not well understood. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are useful for patients that experience social anxiety; however, their mechanism of action has not been fully characterized. Dopamine is known to operate in different temporal modes (fast phasic, intermediate, and tonic changes). We hypothesized that serotonin may also operate in temporal modes in the context of social stress. We used wireless voltammetry (4 Hz) to investigate changes in extracellular ventral striatal serotonin and dopamine during a test of repeated social interactions between two rats. Test rats (electrode-implanted; n = 5) and counter rats (n = 6) were placed in separate sections of a partitioned box. The partitions were raised to allow interactions for 10 min; four sessions were repeated at 10-min intervals. In the first session, serotonin increased gradually, then peaked at approximately the end of the interaction, and decreased rapidly between sessions. This slow phasic increase in serotonin diminished gradually (but significantly) in subsequent interactions. Test rats received active, one-sided contacts (chasing, walking-over, and occasional attacking behavior) from counter rats. Changes in contact times were not correlated with changes in phasic serotonin increases. Dopamine levels did not increase. Citalopram caused significant suppression of slow phasic increases, caused tonic increases in basal serotonin concentrations, and caused active (chasing, all grooming), but not aggressive behavior in test rats. These findings implied that the slow phasic serotonin increase in the ventral striatum induced adaptation to social stress caused by a counter rat; moreover, the tonic increase in serotonin promoted the adaptive change and caused socially dominant behavior.
Lawrence, N S; Sharp, T; Peters, S P; Gray, J A; Young, A M J
Latent inhibition describes a process of learning to ignore stimuli of no consequence, and is disrupted in acute, positive-symptomatic schizophrenia. Understanding the neural basis of latent inhibition in animals may help to elucidate the neural dysfunction underlying positive schizophrenic symptoms in man. Evidence suggests a crucial role for dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens in the control of latent inhibition. The present studies investigated the role of the GABA-ergic efferent from the nucleus accumbens to the ventral pallidum in latent inhibition. The GABA(A) agonist muscimol (4.56 ng/microl), and antagonist picrotoxin (0.2 microg/microl), were infused into the ventral pallidum, and effects on latent inhibition were assessed using a conditioned suppression procedure. Neither drug produced specific effects on latent inhibition when given alone and, in the case of muscimol, failed to reverse the disruption of latent inhibition induced by systemic amphetamine. In addition to significant non-specific drug effects, a positive control experiment revealed that intra-pallidal picrotoxin significantly enhanced locomotion, suggesting that our manipulations of ventral pallidal GABA function were behaviourally effective. We conclude that modulating ventral pallidal GABA transmission does not affect latent inhibition. The implications of this finding for theories of the neural circuitry mediating latent inhibition and for understanding the functional role of ventral pallidal GABA transmission are discussed.
Bettuzzi, S; Hiipakka, R A; Gilna, P; Liao, S T
The concentrations of a small number of mRNAs in the rat ventral prostate increase after castration and then decrease upon androgen treatment. Since the repression of specific gene expression may be important in the regulation of organ growth, we have cloned a cDNA for an androgen-repressed mRNA, the concentration of which increased 17-fold 4 days after castration, and this increase was reversed rapidly by androgen treatment. By sequence analysis the androgen-repressed mRNA was identified as that coding for sulphated glycoprotein 2. Images Fig. 1. PMID:2920020
King, A. E.; Lopez-Garcia, J. A.; Cumberbatch, M.
1. The rat spinal cord in vitro has been used to assess the effect of 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) on the dorsal root evoked extracellular ventral root reflex (DR-VRR) and the intracellular excitatory postsynaptic potential (e.p.s.p.) in ventral horn neurones and motoneurones. 2. CNQX (1-5 microM) produces a selective and dose-dependent reduction in the amplitude of the monosynaptic component of the DR-VRR recorded from lumbar spinal segments. 3. With low intensity dorsal root stimulation CNQX selectively attenuates the amplitude of the short latency intracellular e.p.s.p. (70% reduction, P < 0.005) and its rise-time (75%, P < 0.01) without affecting the half-time to decay. 4. When high intensity stimulation is used CNQX significantly attenuates the amplitude of the e.p.s.p. (56%, P < 0.005), rise-time (76%, P < 0.01) and abolishes the short latency spike. In addition longer latency synaptic components are attenuated and the half-time to decay significantly reduced (47%, P < 0.005). 5. The results with CNQX are compared to D-aminophosphonovalerate and discussed in relation to the recruitment of low versus high threshold afferents. The data supports an involvement of non-NMDA receptors in transmission through both mono- and polysynaptic pathways in the ventral horn. PMID:1358390
Di Benedetto, M; D'addario, C; Candeletti, S; Romualdi, P
The prodynorphin system is implicated in the neurochemical mechanism of psychostimulants. Exposure to different drugs of abuse can induce neuroadaptations in the brain and affect opioid gene expression. The present study aims to examine the possibility of a common neurobiological substrate in drug addiction processes. We studied the effects of single and repeated 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine ('Ecstasy') on the gene expression of the opioid precursor prodynorphin, and on the levels of peptide dynorphin A in the rat brain. Acute (8 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine markedly raised, two hours later, prodynorphin mRNA levels in the prefrontal cortex, and in the caudate putamen, whereas it decreased gene expression in the ventral tegmental area. Chronic (8 mg/kg, intraperitoneally, twice a day for 7 days) 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine increased prodynorphin mRNA in the nucleus accumbens, hypothalamus and caudate putamen and decreased it in the ventral tegmental area. Dynorphin A levels increased after chronic treatment in the ventral tegmental area and decreased after acute treatment in the nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex and hypothalamus. These findings confirm the role of the dynorphinergic system in mediating the effects of drugs of abuse, such as 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, in various regions of the rat brain, which may be important sites for the opioidergic mechanisms activated by addictive drugs.
Zaniewska, Magdalena; Alenina, Natalia; Wydra, Karolina; Fröhler, Sebastian; Kuśmider, Maciej; McCreary, Andrew C; Chen, Wei; Bader, Michael; Filip, Małgorzata
We have previously demonstrated that nicotine withdrawal produces depression-like behavior and that serotonin (5-HT)2A/2C receptor ligands modulate that mood-like state. In the present study we aimed to identify the mechanisms (changes in radioligand binding, transcription or RNA-editing) related to such a behavioral outcome. Rats received vehicle or nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, s.c.) for 5 days in home cages. Brain 5-HT2A/2C receptors were analyzed on day 3 of nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine withdrawal increased [(3)H]ketanserin binding to 5-HT2A receptors in the ventral tegmental area and ventral dentate gyrus, yet decreased binding in the nucleus accumbens shell. Reduction in [(3)H]mesulergine binding to 5-HT2C receptors was seen in the ventral dentate gyrus. Profound decrease in the 5-HT2A receptor transcript level was noted in the hippocampus and ventral tegmental area. Out of five 5-HT2C receptor mRNA editing sites, deep sequencing data showed a reduction in editing at the E site and a trend toward reduction at the C site in the hippocampus. In the ventral tegmental area, a reduction for the frequency of CD 5-HT2C receptor transcript was seen. These results show that the reduction in the 5-HT2A receptor transcript level may be an auto-regulatory response to the increased receptor density in the hippocampus and ventral tegmental area during nicotine withdrawal, while decreased 5-HT2C receptor mRNA editing may explain the reduction in receptor labeling in the hippocampus. Serotonin (5-HT)2A/2C receptor ligands alleviate depression-like state in nicotine-withdrawn rats. Here, we show that the reduction in 5-HT2A receptor transcript level may be an auto-regulatory response to the increased receptor number in the hippocampus and ventral tegmental area during nicotine withdrawal, while attenuated 5-HT2C receptor mRNA editing in the hippocampus might explain reduced inverse agonist binding to 5-HT2C receptor and suggest a shift toward a population of more active receptors. 5
Tidball, Patrick; Burn, Hannah V.; Teh, Kai Lun; Volianskis, Arturas; Collingridge, Graham L.; Fitzjohn, Stephen M.
Background The hippocampus is critically involved in learning and memory processes. Although once considered a relatively homogenous structure, it is now clear that the hippocampus can be divided along its longitudinal axis into functionally distinct domains, responsible for the encoding of different types of memory or behaviour. Although differences in extrinsic connectivity are likely to contribute to this functional differentiation, emerging evidence now suggests that cellular and molecular differences at the level of local hippocampal circuits may also play a role. Methods In this study, we have used extracellular field potential recordings to compare basal input/output function and group I metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent forms of synaptic and intrinsic plasticity in area CA1 of slices taken from the dorsal and ventral sectors of the adult rat hippocampus. Results Using two extracellular electrodes to simultaneously record field EPSPs and population spikes, we show that dorsal and ventral hippocampal slices differ in their basal levels of excitatory synaptic transmission, paired-pulse facilitation, and EPSP-to-Spike coupling. Furthermore, we show that slices taken from the ventral hippocampus have a greater ability than their dorsal counterparts to exhibit long-term depression of synaptic transmission and EPSP-to-Spike potentiation induced by transient application of the group I mGluR agonist (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine. Conclusions Together, our results provide further evidence that the information processing properties of local hippocampal circuits differ in the dorsal and ventral hippocampal sectors, and that these differences may in turn contribute to the functional differentiation that exists along the hippocampal longitudinal axis.
Huff, Mary L.; Emmons, Eric B.; Narayanan, Nandakumar S.; LaLumiere, Ryan T.
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) modulates memory consolidation for a variety of types of learning, whereas other brain regions play more selective roles in specific kinds of learning suggesting a role for differential consolidation via distinct BLA pathways. The ventral hippocampus (VH), an efferent target of the BLA, has been suggested to…
Hayashi, Teruo; Justinova, Zuzana; Hayashi, Eri; Cormaci, Gianfrancesco; Mori, Tomohisa; Tsai, Shang-Yi; Barnes, Chanel; Goldberg, Steven R.
σ-1 Receptors are endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones that are implicated in the neuroplasticity associated with psychostimulant abuse. We immunocytochemically examined the distribution of σ-1 receptors in the brain of drug-naive rats and then examined the dynamics of σ-1 receptors and other ER chaperones in specific brain subregions of rats that self-administered methamphetamine, received methamphetamine passively, or received only saline injections. σ-1 Receptors were found to be expressed in moderate to high levels in the olfactory bulb, striatum, nucleus accumbens shell, olfactory tubercle, amygdala, hippocampus, red nucleus, ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra, and locus ceruleus. Methamphetamine, whether self-administered or passively received, significantly elevated ER chaperones including the σ-1 receptor, BiP, and calreticulin in the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra. In the olfactory bulb, however, only the σ-1 receptor chaperone was increased, and this increase occurred only in rats that actively self-administered methamphetamine. Consistent with an increase in σ-1 receptors, extracellular signal-regulated kinase was found to be activated and protein kinase A attenuated in the olfactory bulb of methamphetamine self-administering rats. σ-1 Receptors in the olfactory bulb were found to be colocalized with dopamine D1 receptors. These results indicate that methamphetamine induces ER stress in the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra in rats whether the drug is received actively or passively. However, the changes seen only in rats that actively self-administered methamphetamine suggest that D1 and σ-1 receptors in the olfactory bulb might play an important role in the motivational conditioning/learning aspects of methamphetamine self-administration in the rat. PMID:19940104
Ouhaz, Zakaria; Ba-M'hamed, Saadia; Bennis, Mohamed
Animals with neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions develop during or after adolescence abnormal behaviors related to schizophrenia such as anxiety and latent inhibition disruption. The aim of this study was to test whether haloperidol injection prior to pre-exposure session in the latent inhibition test would facilitate latent inhibition. Lesioned animals showed a significant decrease in the number and duration of social interactions, a decrease in the marbles buried, a significant increase in locomotor activity, and a disruption of latent inhibition. In the conditioned taste aversion test, injection of haloperidol produced the recovery of latent inhibition. These findings demonstrate that neonatal lidocaine lesion of the ventral hippocampus can induce behavioral changes related to schizophrenia, and injection of haloperidol, when restricted only to a three-day pre-exposure, is sufficient to facilitate latent inhibition.
Jaramillo-Loranca, Blanca Estela; Garcés-Ramírez, Linda; Munguía Rosales, Alicia Angélica; Luna Ramírez, Carolina; Vargas Hernández, Genaro; Morales-Dionisio, Oscar; González-Elizalde, Kateri; Flores, Gonzalo; Zamudio, Sergio; De La Cruz-López, Fidel
Sigma (σ) receptors have generated a great deal of interest due to their possible role in psychosis, neuroprotection, and various other behaviors including addictive processes. Sigma receptors have been located in brain areas involved in motor functions, including the dopaminergic projections from the substantia nigra to the striatum. Evidence suggests that one of their major roles might be to regulate the activity of the glutamatergic system via the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. The sigma receptor agonist 1,3-di-o-tolyl-guanidine (DTG) was found to increase dopamine release in the striatum, nucleus accumbens, and prefrontal cortex, in a dose-dependent manner, after central as well as peripheral administration, suggesting a modulatory role of these receptors on the dopaminergic system. The present study examines whether chronic administration of the DTG sigma agonist induces neuromorphological and behavioral changes in neonatal ventral hippocampal lesioned (nVHL) rats as a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia. The results show that the DTG administration reduces the hyperlocomotor activity in nVHL rats and reverses the neuronal hypotrophy generated in nVHL rats in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. Our results demonstrate that DTG, a sigma-1 receptor agonist, reverses some of the behavioral and neuromorphological effects of nVHL on the rat and supports the possibility that DTG may have beneficial effects in the management of symptoms of schizophrenia.
Hori, S E; Powell, K J; Robertson, G S
Recognition memory was assessed in adult rats that received bilateral injections of saline (sham lesions) or ibotenic acid (lesioned) in the ventral hippocampus as neonates (postnatal day 7, PD7) or young adult (42 days of age, PD42) using the Novel Object Recognition Test (NORT). Normal or sham-lesioned rats were able to distinguish novel from familiar objects over a 0.5 and 2 h delay between the sample and choice phases. Adult rats (PD70) lesioned as neonates performed progressively worse than sham-lesioned animals at delays of 0.5 and 2 h. A single injection of darbepoetin alfa (500 or 5000 U/kg, i.p.), given 1 h before the sample phase restored performance 0.5 or 2 h later in the choice phase to same levels as sham-lesioned rats. Adults lesioned on PD42 displayed deficits in NORT performance with a 2 h delay between the choice and sample phases that were completely reversed by administration of darbepoetin alfa (5000 U/kg, i.p.) 1 h before the sample phase. These results suggest that darbepoetin alfa may have utility in treating memory deficits associated with brain dysfunction related to developmental disorders such as schizophrenia.
Czéh, Boldizsár; Varga, Zsófia K Kalangyáné; Henningsen, Kim; Kovács, Gábor L; Miseta, Attila; Wiborg, Ove
Major depressive disorder is a common and complex mental disorder with unknown etiology. GABAergic dysfunction is likely to contribute to the pathophysiology since disrupted GABAergic systems are well documented in depressed patients. Here we studied structural changes in the hippocampal GABAergic network using the chronic mild stress (CMS) model, as one of the best validated animal models for depression. Rats were subjected to 9 weeks of daily stress and behaviorally characterized using the sucrose consumption test into anhedonic and resilient animals based on their response to stress. Different subtypes of GABAergic interneurons were visualized by immunohistochemistry using antibodies for parvalbumin (PV), calretinin (CR), calbindin (CB), cholecystokinin (CCK), somatostatin (SOM), and neuropeptide Y (NPY). We used an unbiased quantification method to systematically count labeled cells in different subareas of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus. Chronic stress reduced the number of specific interneurons in distinct hippocampal subregions significantly. PV+ and CR+ neurons were reduced in all dorsal subareas, whereas in the ventral part only the CA1 was affected. Stress had the most pronounced effect on the NPY+ and SOM+ cells and reduced their number in almost all dorsal and ventral subareas. Stress had no effect on the CCK+ and CB+ interneurons. In most cases the effect of stress was irrespective to the behavioral phenotype. However, in a few specific areas the number of SOM+, NPY+, and CR+ neurons were significantly reduced in anhedonic animals compared to the resilient group. Overall, these data clearly demonstrate that chronic stress affects the structural integrity of specific GABAergic neuronal subpopulations and this should also affect the functioning of these hippocampal GABAergic networks.
Oz, Murat; Yang, Keun-Hang; O'donovan, Michael J; Renaud, Leo P
In neonatal spinal cord, we previously reported that exogenous angiotensin II (ANG II) acts at postsynaptic AT1 receptors to depolarize neonatal rat spinal ventral horn neurons in vitro. This study evaluated an associated increase in synaptic activity. Patch clamp recordings revealed that 38/81 thoracolumbar (T7-L5) motoneurons responded to bath applied ANG II (0.3-1 microM; 30 s) with a prolonged (5-10 min) and reversible increase in spontaneous postsynaptic activity, selectively blockable with Losartan (n = 5) but not PD123319 (n = 5). ANG-II-induced events included both spontaneous inhibitory (IPSCs; n = 6) and excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs; n = 5). While most ANG induced events were tetrodotoxin-sensitive, ANG induced a significant tetrodotoxin-resistant increase in frequency but not amplitude of miniature IPSCs (n = 7/13 cells) and EPSCs (n = 2/7 cells). In 35/77 unidentified neurons, ANG II also induced a tetrodotoxin-sensitive and prolonged increase in their spontaneous synaptic activity that featured both IPSCs (n = 5) and EPSCs (n = 4) when tested in the presence of selective amino acid receptor antagonists. When tested in the presence of tetrodotoxin, ANG II was noted to induce a significant increase in the frequency but not the amplitude of mIPSCs (n = 9) and mEPSCs (n = 8). ANG also increased spontaneous motor activity from isolated mouse lumbar ventral rootlets. Collectively, these observations support the existence of a wide pre- and postsynaptic distribution of ANG II AT1 receptors in neonatal ventral spinal cord that are capable of influencing both inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission.
Brazhnik, Elena; McCoy, Alex J.; Novikov, Nikolay; Hatch, Christina E.
Loss of dopamine is associated with increased synchronization and oscillatory activity in the subthalamic nucleus and basal ganglia (BG) output nuclei in both Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and animal models of PD. We have previously observed substantial increases in spectral power in the 25–40 Hz range in LFPs recorded in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNpr) and motor cortex (MCx) in the hemiparkinsonian rat during treadmill walking. The current study explores the hypothesis that SNpr output entrains activity in the ventral medial thalamus (VM) in this frequency range after loss of dopamine, which in turn contributes to entrainment of the MCx and BG. Electrode bundles were implanted in MCx, SNpr, and VM of rats with unilateral dopamine cell lesions. Spiking and LFP activity were recorded during epochs of rest and walking on a circular treadmill. After dopamine cell lesion, 30–36 Hz LFP activity in the VM became more robust during treadmill walking and more coherent with LFP activity in the same range in MCx and SNpr. Infusion of the GABAA antagonist picrotoxin into the VM reduced both high beta power in MCx and SNpr and coherence between MCx and SNpr while temporarily restoring walking ability. Infusion of the GABAA agonist muscimol into the VM also reduced MCx–SNpr coherence and beta power but failed to improve walking. These results support the view that synchronized neuronal activity in the VM contributes to the emergence of high beta oscillations throughout the BG-thalamocortical network in the behaving parkinsonian rat. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Parkinson's disease symptoms are associated with dramatic increases in synchronized beta range (15–35 Hz) oscillatory local field activity in several brain areas involved in motor control, but the mechanisms promoting this activity and its functional significance remain unresolved. This oscillatory activity can be recorded in awake behaving rats with unilateral dopamine cell lesions using chronically
Park, Jinwoo; Kile, Brian M.; Wightman, R. Mark
The role and contribution of the dense noradrenergic innervation in the ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST) and anteroventral thalamic nucleus (AV) to biological function and animal behaviors is poorly understood due to the small size of these nuclei. The aim of this study was to compare norepinephrine release and uptake in the vBNST with that in the AV of anesthetized rats. Measurements were made in vivo with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry following electrical stimulation of noradrenergic projection pathways, either the dorsal noradrenergic bundle (DNB) or the ventral noradrenergic bundle (VNB). The substance detected was identified as norepinephrine based upon voltammetric, anatomical, neurochemical, and pharmacological evidence. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry enables the selective monitoring of local norepinephrine overflow in the vBNST evoked by the stimulation of either the DNB or VNB while norepinephrine in the AV was only evoked by DNB stimulation. The α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, yohimbine, and the norepinephrine uptake inhibitor, desipramine, increased norepinephrine overflow and slowed its disappearance in both regions. However, control of extracellular norepinephrine by both autoreceptors and uptake was greater in the AV. The greater control exerted by autoreceptors and uptake in the AV resulted in reduced extracellular concentration compared to the vBNST when large numbers of stimulation pulses were employed. The differences in noradrenergic transmission observed in the terminal fields of the vBNST and the AV may differentially regulate activity in these two regions that both contain high densities of norepinephrine terminals. PMID:20128849
Chen, J C; Ramirez, V D
In this paper, by means of a superfusion technique, we have examined the effect of ovine prolactin on dopaminergic neurons innervating the dorsal striatum, ventral striatum and the mediobasal hypothalamus of male rats. Fragments from dorsal striatum were superfused with ovine prolactin dissolved in normal medium (Krebs-Ringer phosphate) or medium containing tetrodotoxin (TTX, 10(-6) M). Ovine prolactin stimulated the in vitro release of dopamine from dorsal and ventral striatal fragments. In dorsal striatal fragments a linear dose-dependent dopamine release was observed only when fragments were superfused with Krebs-Ringer phosphate-TTX medium. In addition, [Leu5]enkephalin (10(-6) and 10(-5) M) decreased the prolactin-induced in vitro dopamine release from dorsal striatal fragments superfused with Krebs-Ringer phosphate-TTX medium. Ovine prolactin (10(-9)-10(-5) M) did not elicit changes in dopamine, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid or 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid outputs from mediobasal hypothalamic fragments superfused with Krebs-Ringer phosphate medium containing TTX. The possible regulatory mechanisms of ovine prolactin on dopaminergic neurons are discussed.
Wu, Sheng-Hua; Cheng, Kuang-I; Chai, Chee-Yin; Yeh, Jwu-Lai; Wu, Tai-Cheng; Kwan, Aij-Lie
Background. Severe burns result in hypercatabolic state and concomitant muscle atrophy that persists for several months, thereby limiting patient recovery. However, the effects of burns on the corresponding spinal dermatome remain unknown. This study aimed to investigate whether burns induce apoptosis of spinal cord ventral horn motor neurons (VHMNs) and consequently cause skeletal muscle wasting. Methods. Third-degree hindpaw burn injury with 1% total body surface area (TBSA) rats were euthanized 4 and 8 weeks after burn injury. The apoptosis profiles in the ventral horns of the lumbar spinal cords, sciatic nerves, and gastrocnemius muscles were examined. The Schwann cells in the sciatic nerve were marked with S100. The gastrocnemius muscles were harvested to measure the denervation atrophy. Result. The VHMNs apoptosis in the spinal cord was observed after inducing third-degree burns in the hindpaw. The S100 and TUNEL double-positive cells in the sciatic nerve increased significantly after the burn injury. Gastrocnemius muscle apoptosis and denervation atrophy area increased significantly after the burn injury. Conclusion. Local hindpaw burn induces apoptosis in VHMNs and Schwann cells in sciatic nerve, which causes corresponding gastrocnemius muscle denervation atrophy. Our results provided an animal model to evaluate burn-induced muscle wasting, and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. PMID:25695065
Sanches, Lucas D; Santos, Sergio A A; Carvalho, Jaqueline R; Jeronimo, Gabriela D M; Favaro, Wagner J; Reis, Maria D G; Felisbino, Sérgio L; Justulin, Luis A
Despite recent advances in understanding the biological basis of prostate cancer (PCa), the management of this disease remains a challenge. Chemoprotective agents have been used to protect against or eradicate prostate malignancies. Here, we investigated the protective effect of γ-tocopherol on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced epithelial dysplasia in the rat ventral prostate (VP). Thirty-two male Wistar rats were divided into four groups (n = 8): control (CT): healthy control animals fed a standard diet; control+γ-tocopherol (CT+γT): healthy control animals without intervention fed a γ-tocopherol-enriched diet (20 mg/kg); N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU): rats that received a single dose of MNU (30 mg/kg) plus testosterone propionate (100 mg/kg) and were fed a standard diet; and MNU+γ-tocopherol (MNU+γT): rats that received the same treatment of MNU plus testosterone and were fed with a γ-tocopherol-enriched diet (20 mg/kg). After 4 months, the VPs were excised to evaluate morphology, cell proliferation and apoptosis, as well as cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), glutathione-S-transferase-pi (GST-pi) and androgen receptor (AR) protein expression, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity. An increase in the incidence of epithelial dysplasias, such as stratified epithelial hyperplasia and squamous metaplasia, in the MNU group was accompanied by augmented cell proliferation, GST-pi and Cox-2 immunoexpression and pro-MMP-9 activity. Stromal thickening and inflammatory foci were also observed. The administration of a γ-tocopherol-enriched diet significantly attenuated the adverse effects of MNU in the VP. The incidence of epithelial dysplasia decreased, along with the cell proliferation index, GST-pi and Cox-2 immunoexpression. The gelatinolytic activity of pro-MMP-9 returned to the levels observed for the CT group. These results suggest that γ-tocopherol acts as a protective agent against MNU-induced prostatic disorders in the rat ventral prostate. PMID:24205794
Hippocampus and Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats: muscimol infusions into the ventral, but not dorsal, hippocampus impair the acquisition of conditional freezing to an auditory conditional stimulus.
Maren, Stephen; Holt, William G
The authors compared the effects of pharmacological inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) or ventral hippocampus (VH) on Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. Freezing behavior served as the measure of fear. Pretraining infusions of muscimol, a GABAA receptor agonist, into the VH disrupted auditory, but not contextual, fear conditioning; DH infusions did not affect fear conditioning. Pretesting inactivation of the VH or DH did not affect the expression of conditional freezing. Pretraining electrolytic lesions of the VH reproduced the effects of muscimol infusions, whereas posttraining VH lesions disrupted both auditory and contextual freezing. Hence, neurons in the VH are importantly involved in the acquisition of auditory fear conditioning and the expression of auditory and contextual fear under some conditions.
The effects of neurotoxic or electrolytic ventral subicular (vSUB) lesions on the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats were examined. Conditioning consisted of the delivery of tone-footshock trials in a novel observation chamber, and freezing served as the measure of conditional fear. Pretraining vSUB lesions produced a severe tone freezing deficit and a modest context freezing deficit, whereas posttraining lesions produced severe deficits in freezing to both a tone and a context conditional stimulus (CS). Similar impairments were produced by neurotoxic and electrolytic lesions. Increases in motor activity associated with the lesions could not account for freezing deficits. These results reveal that neurons in the vSUB have an important role in both the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning to contextual and acoustic CSs.
Comparison of the effects of two AR antagonists on tissue weights and hormone levels in male rats and on expression of three androgen dependent genes in the ventral prostate
VS Wilson, CR Wood, GA Held, CS Lambright, JS Ostby, JR Furr, LE Gray Jr. US EPA, ORD, NHEERL, RTD, ...
Lancia, Andrew J; Williams, Evelyn A; McKnight, Lucas V; Zahm, Daniel S
The terminal arbors of dopaminergic projections in the nucleus accumbens (Acb) core degenerate more rapidly, completely and permanently in a variety of neurotoxic circumstances than do those in the medial shell. It is unknown if this always reflects purely losses of the distal parts of axons from the core (as proposed in methamphetamine intoxication), or whether, in some circumstances, the disproportionate loss of core axons may also stem from an intrinsic vulnerability to degeneration of core-projecting neuronal perikarya. Experiments described here addressed this issue in the following manner. Three days after Fluoro-Gold (FG), a retrogradely transported tracer, had been iontophoresed selectively into the core or medial shell of male Sprague-Dawley rats, each received an infusion of saline vehicle containing or lacking 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in the ipsilateral medial forebrain bundle (MFB). Twenty-one days later the brains were processed to exhibit ventral mesencephalic neurons containing FG. Application of an unbiased sampling method revealed substantially greater losses of FG labeled neurons relative to controls in rats that had received 6-OHDA lesions and deposition of FG in the Acb core as compared to the medial shell. Of the few core-projecting neurons that remained in the ventral mesencephalon after these lesions, 54% did not co-localize tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity (TH-ir) and, thus, were not expected to degenerate. The capacity to selectively remove core-projecting dopaminergic neurons may be useful in the determination of molecular correlates of vulnerability and resistance to neurotoxicity and to possibly test the role of the core in reinforcement paradigms.
Pochettino, Arístides A; Hapon, María Belén; Biolatto, Silvana M; Madariaga, María José; Jahn, Graciela A; Konjuh, Cintia N
The herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is used on a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic broadleaf weeds. 2,4-D has been shown to produce a wide range of adverse effects on animal and human health. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of pre- and postnatal exposure to 2,4-D on rat ventral prostate (VP). Pregnant rats were exposed daily to oral doses of 70 mg/kg/day of 2,4-D from 16 days of gestation up to 23 days after delivery. Then, the treated groups (n = 8) were fed with a 2,4-D added diet until sacrificed by decapitation on postnatal day (PND) 45, 60, or 90. Morphometric studies were performed and androgen receptor (AR) protein levels in the VP were determined. AR, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-1) and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-1R) mRNA expression in the VP along with testosterone (T), dihydroxytestosterone (DHT), growth hormone (GH) and IGF-1 serum levels were also determined to ascertain whether these parameters were differentially affected. Results of this study showed that 2,4-D exposure during gestation and until adulthood altered development of the prostate gland in male rats, delaying it at early ages while increasing its size in adults, indicate that 2,4-D could behave as endocrine disruptors (EDs).
Spivey, Jaclyn M.; Padilla, Eimeira; Shumake, Jason D.; Gonzalez-Lima, F.
This is the first study to assess the effects of mother-infant separation on regional metabolic capacity in the preweanling rat brain. Mother-infant separation is generally known to be stressful for rat pups. Holtzman adolescent rats show a depressive-like behavioral phenotype after maternal separation during the preweanling period. However, information is lacking on the effects of maternal separation on the brains of rat pups. We addressed this issue by mapping the brains of preweanling Holtzman rat pups using cytochrome oxidase histochemistry, which reflects long-term changes in brain metabolic capacity, following two weeks of repeated, prolonged maternal separation, and compared this to both early handled and non-handled pups. Quantitative image analysis revealed that maternal separation reduced cytochrome oxidase activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens shell. Maternal separation reduced prefrontal cytochrome oxidase to a greater degree in female pups than in males. Early handling reduced cytochrome oxidase activity in the posterior parietal cortex, ventral tegmental area, and subiculum, but increased cytochrome oxidase activity in the lateral frontal cortex. The sex-dependent effects of early handling on cytochrome oxidase activity were limited to the medial prefrontal cortex. Regardless of separation group, females had greater cytochrome oxidase activity in the habenula and ventral tegmental area compared to males. These findings suggest that early life mother-infant separation results in dysfunction of prefrontal and mesolimbic regions in the preweanling rat brain that may contribute to behavioral changes later in life. PMID:20969837
Ribeiro, Daniele Lisboa; Pinto, Maria Etelvina; Maeda, Samantha Yuri; Taboga, Sebastião Roberto; Góes, Rejane Maira
Obesity affects sex hormone secretion, which can negatively influence prostatic structure, homeostasis, and disease. This investigation aimed to evaluate the repercussions of obesity induced by a high-fat diet on the rat prostate, with or without treatment with the aromatase inhibitor, Letrozole. Adult Wistar rats were fed a high-fat diet (20% saturated fat, O) for 15 weeks to induce obesity or received a balanced diet (4% fat, C). Then, a group of C and O rats were daily treated with Letrozole (1 mg/kg b.w. per day) for 2 weeks (CL and OL, respectively). Subsequently, ventral prostate was processed for analysis by transmission electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting. Obesity decreased 70% of the testosterone plasma level. The prostate showed epithelial atrophy and dilated acini in the intermediate portion and epithelial wrinkling in the distal tips. The relative frequency of smooth muscle α-actin in the O group increased by 67%. Ultrastructurally, epithelial cells in obese animals presented altered secretory organelles, lipid droplets, and thicker subjacent fibromuscular layer. Letrozole treatment caused a partial restoration of the prostatic changes caused by obesity. Obesity increased the prostatic content of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) by 150%, and Letrozole treatment increased this protein even more in the control and obese groups. This investigation shows that obesity provokes structural and ultrastructural changes in the epithelium of rat prostate; these changes might affect gland homeostasis and physiology. The epithelial and smooth muscle cell hyperplasia and increased FGF-2 expression observed in this experimental model of obesity/insulin-resistance might explain the high frequency of benign prostatic hyperplasia in insulin-resistant men.
Meyer, F; Peterschmitt, Y; Louilot, A
Latent inhibition has been found to be disrupted in patients with acute schizophrenia. Striatal dopaminergic dysregulation is commonly acknowledged in schizophrenia. This disease may be consecutive to a functional disconnection between integrative regions, stemming from neurodevelopmental failures. Various anomalies suggesting early abnormal brain development have been described in the entorhinal cortex (ENT) and ventral subiculum (SUB) of patients. This study examines the consequences of a neonatal transitory blockade of the left ENT or left SUB for latent inhibition-related dopamine responses in the anterior part of the dorsal striatum using in-vivo voltammetry in freely moving adult rats. Reversible inactivation of both structures in different animals was achieved by local microinjection of tetrodotoxin (TTX) at postnatal day 8. Results obtained during the retention session of a three-stage latent inhibition protocol showed that the functional neonatal disconnection of the ENT or SUB caused the behavioural latent inhibition expression in pre-exposed (PE)-TTX-conditioned adult rats to disappear. After postnatal inactivation of the SUB, PE-TTX-conditioned rats displayed a reversal of the latent inhibition-related striatal dopamine responses, whereas after neonatal blockade of the ENT, dopamine changes in PE-TTX-conditioned rats monitored in the anterior striatum were between those observed in PE-phosphate-buffered-saline-conditioned and non-PE-TTX-conditioned animals. These data suggest that neonatal functional inactivation of the SUB disrupts latent inhibition-related striatal dopamine responses in adult animals more than that of the ENT. They may help improve understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
Schwartz, M D; Nuñez, A A; Smale, L
Circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology are very different in diurnal and nocturnal rodents. A pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus is responsible for generating and maintaining circadian rhythms in mammals, and cellular and molecular rhythms within the SCN of diurnal and nocturnal rodents are very similar. The neural substrates determining whether an animal has a diurnal or nocturnal phase preference are thus likely to reside downstream of the SCN. The ventral subparaventricular zone (vSPVZ), a major target of the SCN that is important for the expression of circadian rhythmicity in nocturnal lab rats (Rattus norvegicus), exhibits different rhythms in cFos expression in diurnal Nile grass rats compared to lab rats. We examined the effects of chemotoxic lesions of the cFos-expressing cells of the vSPVZ on activity rhythms of grass rats to evaluate the hypothesis that these cells support diurnality in this species. Male grass rats housed in a 12:12 light:dark (LD) cycle were given bilateral injections of the neurotoxin n-methyl-D-L-aspartic acid (NMA) or vehicle aimed at the vSPVZ; cells in the SCN are resistant to NMA, which kills neurons in other brain regions, but leaves fibers of passage intact. vSPVZ-damaged grass rats exhibited highly unstable patterns of activity in constant darkness (DD) and in the LD cycle that followed. However, crepuscular bouts of activity could be seen in all animals with vSPVZ lesions. Damage to the vSPVZ reduced cFos expression in this area but not in the SCN. Using correlational analyses, we found that the number of cFos-ir cells in the vSPVZ was unrelated to several parameters of the activity rhythms during the initial post-surgical period, when animals were in LD. However, the number of cells expressing cFos in the vSPVZ was positively correlated with general activity during the subjective day relative to the subjective night when the animals were switched to DD, and this pattern persisted
Sáttolo, S; Carvalho, C A F; Cagnon, V H A
The harmful influence of the chronic alcohol ingestion on the male reproductive system leads to important alterations including hypogonadism and feminization, besides the morphological and functional disorganization of the different sexual glands. So, the aim of this study was to analyse the structural changes on the ventral lobe of the prostate of rats with hormonal replacement associated to chronic alcohol ingestion. A total of 30 rats (Rattus norvegicus albinus) was divided into three groups: control-received water; alcoholic-received ethanol diluted to 20% and hormone-treated alcoholic-received ethanol diluted to 20% associated with the administering of testosterone (5mg/kg of weight) during the last 30 days of treatment. After 150 days of treatment, the animals were sacrificed, the prostate removed and submitted to transmission and scanning electron microscopies, histochemical analysis for acid phosphatase, testosterone level and stereologic analysis. In the alcoholic group the results demonstrated reduction of the total cellular volume and disorganization of the organelles involved in the secretory process. It was characterized a partial recovery of the cellular volume after treatment with testosterone. It was concluded that the ethanol impaired the cellular morphology and the hormonal replacement by itself did not bring about efficient remodeling of the organelles responsible for the secretory process.
Cayatte, Corinne; Pons, Catherine; Guigonis, Jean-Marie; Pizzol, Jérôme; Elies, Laetitia; Kennel, Philippe; Rouquié, David; Bars, Rémi; Rossi, Bernard; Samson, Michel
To better understand the effects of antiandrogens on the prostate, we investigated the changes in the proteome of rat ventral prostate (VP) following treatment with a well characterized 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, finasteride. Sprague-Dawley rats were treated daily by gavage with finasteride at 0, 1, 5, 25, and 125 mg/kg/day. Changes in plasma hormone levels as well as the weight and histology of sex accessory tissues were determined after 28 days of treatment and showed a dose-related decrease of VP weights together with a marked atrophy of the tissue visible at the macroscopic and microscopic levels. In addition, significant reductions in seminal vesicle and epididymis weights were noted. VP proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis: 37 proteins, mainly involved in protein synthesis, processing, and cellular trafficking and in metabolism, detoxification, and oxidative stress, were identified as modulated by finasteride. The prominent feature of this study is the demonstration of finasteride dose-dependent up-regulation of a protein similar to l-amino-acid oxidase 1 (Lao1). An up-regulation of this protein was also observed with the antiandrogen flutamide. Lao1 expression occurred as early as 48 h after antiandrogen administration and persisted throughout the treatment duration. Immunohistochemistry showed that this protein was only detectable in epithelial cells and secretory vesicles. Altogether these data point to a potential use of Lao1 to reveal antiandrogen-induced prostate injury.
Gretenkord, Sabine; Whittington, Miles A.; Gartside, Sarah E.
Cortical slow oscillations (0.1–1 Hz), which may play a role in memory consolidation, are a hallmark of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and also occur under anesthesia. During slow oscillations the neuronal network generates faster oscillations on the active Up-states and these nested oscillations are particularly prominent in the PFC. In rodents the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) consists of several subregions: anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), prelimbic (PrL), infralimbic (IL), and dorsal peduncular cortices (DP). Although each region has a distinct anatomy and function, it is not known whether slow or fast network oscillations differ between subregions in vivo. We have simultaneously recorded slow and fast network oscillations in all four subregions of the rodent mPFC under urethane anesthesia. Slow oscillations were synchronous between the mPFC subregions, and across the hemispheres, with no consistent amplitude difference between subregions. Delta (2–4 Hz) activity showed only small differences between subregions. However, oscillations in the spindle (6–15 Hz)-, beta (20–30 Hz), gamma (30–80 Hz)-, and high-gamma (80–150 Hz)-frequency bands were consistently larger in the dorsal regions (ACC and PrL) compared with ventral regions (IL and DP). In dorsal regions the peak power of spindle, beta, and gamma activity occurred early after onset of the Up-state. In the ventral regions, especially the DP, the oscillatory power in the spindle-, beta-, and gamma-frequency ranges peaked later in the Up-state. These results suggest variations in fast network oscillations within the mPFC that may reflect the different functions and connectivity of these subregions. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We demonstrate, in the urethane-anesthetized rat, that within the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) there are clear subregional differences in the fast network oscillations associated with the slow oscillation Up-state. These differences, particularly between the dorsal and ventral
Fávaro, W J; Cagnon, V H A
Nicotine and alcohol adversely affect prostate gland function. In this work, immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the immunoreactivity and distribution of androgen and alpha, beta-oestrogen receptors following chronic treatment with alcohol, nicotine or a combination of both substances, as well as to relate these results to the development of possible prostatic pathologies. Forty male rats were divided into four groups: the Control group received tap water; the Alcoholic group received diluted 10% Gay Lussac ethanol; the Nicotine group received a 0.125 mg/100 g body weight dose of nicotine injected subcutaneously on a daily basis (Sigma Chemical Company, St. Louis, MO, USA); the Nicotine-Alcohol group received simultaneous alcohol and nicotine treatment. After 90 days of treatment, samples of the ventral lobe of the prostate were collected and processed for immunohistochemistry, light microscopy and the quantification of serum hormonal concentrations. The results showed significantly decreased serum testosterone levels and increased serum oestrogen levels in the animals from the nicotine-alcohol, the alcoholic and the nicotine groups, as well as their hormonal receptor levels. Then, it was concluded that ethanol and nicotine compromised the prostatic hormonal balance, which is a crucial factor to maintain the morphological and physiological features of this organ.
Blandino, Peter; Hueston, Cara M; Barnum, Christopher J; Bishop, Christopher; Deak, Terrence
The impact of acute stress on inflammatory signaling within the central nervous system is of interest because these factors influence neuroendocrine function both directly and indirectly. Exposure to certain stressors increases expression of the proinflammatory cytokine, Il-1β in the hypothalamus. Increased IL-1 is reciprocally regulated by norepinephrine (stimulatory) and corticosterone (inhibitory), yet neural pathways underlying increased IL-1 have not been clarified. These experiments explored the impact of bilateral lesions of the ventral noradrenergic bundle (VNAB) on IL-1 expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) after foot shock. Adult male Sprague Dawley rats received bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions of the VNAB (VNABx) and were exposed to intermittent foot shock. VNABx depleted approximately 64% of norepinephrine in the PVN and attenuated the IL-1 response produced by foot shock. However, characterization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response, a crucial prerequisite for interpreting the effect of VNABx on IL-1 expression, revealed a profound dissociation between ACTH and corticosterone. Specifically, VNABx blocked the intronic CRH response in the PVN and the increase in plasma ACTH, whereas corticosterone was unaffected at all time points examined. Additionally, foot shock led to a rapid and profound increase in cyclooxygenase-2 and IL-1 expression within the adrenal glands, whereas more subtle effects were observed in the pituitary gland. Together the findings were the 1) demonstration that exposure to acute stress increased expression of inflammatory factors more broadly throughout the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; 2) implication of a modest role for norepinephrine-containing fibers of the VNAB as an upstream regulator of PVN IL-1; and 3) suggestion of an ACTH-independent mechanism controlling the release of corticosterone in VNABx rats.
Li, Cheng X; Chappell, Tyson D; Ramshur, John T; Waters, Robert S
In this study, we examined the role of the ventral posterior lateral nucleus (VPL) as a possible substrate for large-scale cortical reorganization in the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) of primary somatosensory cortex (SI) that follows forelimb amputation. Previously, we reported that, 6 weeks after forelimb amputation in young adult rats, new input from the shoulder becomes expressed throughout the FBS that quite likely has a subcortical origin. Subsequent examination of the cuneate nucleus (CN) 1 to 30 weeks following forelimb amputation showed that CN played an insignificant role in cortical reorganization and led to the present investigation of VPL. As a first step, we used electrophysiological recordings in forelimb intact adult rats (n=8) to map the body representation in VPL with particular emphasis on the forepaw and shoulder representations and showed that VPL was somatotopically organized. We next used stimulation and recording techniques in forelimb intact rats (n=5) and examined the pattern of projection (a) from the forelimb and shoulder to SI, (b) from the forepaw and shoulder to VPL, and (c) from sites in the forepaw and shoulder representation in VPL to forelimb and shoulder sites in SI. The results showed that the projections were narrowly focused and homotopic. Electrophysiological recordings were then used to map the former forepaw representation in forelimb amputated young adult rats (n=5) at 7 to 24 weeks after amputation. At each time period, new input from the shoulder was observed in the deafferented forepaw region in VPL. To determine whether the new shoulder input in the deafferented forepaw VPL projected to a new shoulder site in the deafferented FBS, we examined the thalamocortical pathway in 2 forelimb-amputated rats. Stimulation of a new shoulder site in deafferented FBS antidromically-activated a cell in the former forepaw territory in VPL; however, similar stimulation from a site in the original shoulder representation, outside the
Ubeda-Bañon, I; Novejarque, A; Mohedano-Moriano, A; Pro-Sistiaga, P; Insausti, R; Martinez-Garcia, F; Lanuza, E; Martinez-Marcos, A
Vertebrates sense chemical signals through the olfactory and vomeronasal systems. In squamate reptiles, which possess the largest vomeronasal system of all vertebrates, the accessory olfactory bulb projects to the nucleus sphericus, which in turn projects to a portion of the ventral striatum known as olfactostriatum. Characteristically, the olfactostriatum is innervated by neuropeptide Y, tyrosine hydroxylase and serotonin immunoreactive fibers. In this study, the possibility that a structure similar to the reptilian olfactostriatum might be present in the mammalian brain has been investigated. Injections of dextran-amines have been aimed at the posteromedial cortical amygdaloid nucleus (the putative mammalian homologue of the reptilian nucleus sphericus) of rats and mice. The resulting anterograde labeling includes the olfactory tubercle, the islands of Calleja and sparse terminal fields in the shell of the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. This projection has been confirmed by injections of retrograde tracers into the ventral striato-pallidum that render retrograde labeling in the posteromedial cortical amygdaloid nucleus. The analysis of the distribution of neuropeptide Y, tyrosine hydroxylase, serotonin and substance P in the ventral striato-pallidum of rats, and the anterograde tracing of the vomeronasal amygdaloid input in the same material confirm that, similar to reptiles, the ventral striatum of mammals includes a specialized vomeronasal structure (olfactory tubercle and islands of Calleja) displaying dense neuropeptide Y-, tyrosine hydroxylase- and serotonin-immunoreactive innervations. The possibility that parts of the accumbens shell and/or ventral pallidum could be included in the mammalian olfactostriatum cannot be discarded.
Cruz, G; Riquelme, R; Espinosa, P; Jara, P; Dagnino-Subiabre, A; Renard, G M; Sotomayor-Zárate, R
Research in programming has focused in the study of stimuli that affect sensitive periods of development such as prenatal and neonatal stage. We previously showed that exposure to estradiol valerate to female rats during the first 12 h of life increased catecholamine content in ventromedial-arcuatus hypothalamus of the adult rat. However, changes in others dopaminergic circuits have not been studied. The purpose of this work was to determine the neurotransmitters changes induced by neonatal estradiol valerate (0.1 mg/50 μl s. c. per rat) administration on nigrostriatal pathway of adult female rats. Sesame oil (50 μl s. c. per rat) was administered in a control parallel group. EV-1 adult rats presented effective markers of long-term estrogenization as decreased serum levels of progesterone and a reduction in the size of estrogen-sensitive organs. In the brain, neonatal estradiol valerate administration led to a significant increase in dopamine content in striatum, substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. With respect to the contents of dopamine metabolites, only 3-methoxytyramine content increased in substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. In addition, the content of noradrenaline increased only in striatum. Interestingly, estrogenized rats lacked locomotor activity induced by acute dose of amphetamine (1 mg/kg i. p.). Altogether, these results show that neonatal exposure to estradiol valerate permanently modified the content of monoamine neurotransmitters in nigrostriatal pathway and amphetamine-induced locomotor activity of adult female rats. This might imply that estrogenized rats could have changes in the expression of key proteins in dopaminergic regulation, as tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter.
Leszczyńska, Anna N.; Majczyński, Henryk; Wilczyński, Grzegorz M.; Sławińska, Urszula; Cabaj, Anna M.
Lateral thoracic hemisection of the rodent spinal cord is a popular model of spinal cord injury, in which the effects of various treatments, designed to encourage locomotor recovery, are tested. Nevertheless, there are still inconsistencies in the literature concerning the details of spontaneous locomotor recovery after such lesions, and there is a lack of data concerning the quality of locomotion over a long time span after the lesion. In this study, we aimed to address some of these issues. In our experiments, locomotor recovery was assessed using EMG and CatWalk recordings and analysis. Our results showed that after hemisection there was paralysis in both hindlimbs, followed by a substantial recovery of locomotor movements, but even at the peak of recovery, which occurred about 4 weeks after the lesion, some deficits of locomotion remained present. The parameters that were abnormal included abduction, interlimb coordination and speed of locomotion. Locomotor performance was stable for several weeks, but about 3–4 months after hemisection secondary locomotor impairment was observed with changes in parameters, such as speed of locomotion, interlimb coordination, base of hindlimb support, hindlimb abduction and relative foot print distance. Histological analysis of serotonergic innervation at the lumbar ventral horn below hemisection revealed a limited restoration of serotonergic fibers on the ipsilateral side of the spinal cord, while on the contralateral side of the spinal cord it returned to normal. In addition, the length of these fibers on both sides of the spinal cord correlated with inter- and intralimb coordination. In contrast to data reported in the literature, our results show there is not full locomotor recovery after spinal cord hemisection. Secondary deterioration of certain locomotor functions occurs with time in hemisected rats, and locomotor recovery appears partly associated with reinnervation of spinal circuitry by serotonergic fibers. PMID
Thoracic Hemisection in Rats Results in Initial Recovery Followed by a Late Decrement in Locomotor Movements, with Changes in Coordination Correlated with Serotonergic Innervation of the Ventral Horn.
Leszczyńska, Anna N; Majczyński, Henryk; Wilczyński, Grzegorz M; Sławińska, Urszula; Cabaj, Anna M
Lateral thoracic hemisection of the rodent spinal cord is a popular model of spinal cord injury, in which the effects of various treatments, designed to encourage locomotor recovery, are tested. Nevertheless, there are still inconsistencies in the literature concerning the details of spontaneous locomotor recovery after such lesions, and there is a lack of data concerning the quality of locomotion over a long time span after the lesion. In this study, we aimed to address some of these issues. In our experiments, locomotor recovery was assessed using EMG and CatWalk recordings and analysis. Our results showed that after hemisection there was paralysis in both hindlimbs, followed by a substantial recovery of locomotor movements, but even at the peak of recovery, which occurred about 4 weeks after the lesion, some deficits of locomotion remained present. The parameters that were abnormal included abduction, interlimb coordination and speed of locomotion. Locomotor performance was stable for several weeks, but about 3-4 months after hemisection secondary locomotor impairment was observed with changes in parameters, such as speed of locomotion, interlimb coordination, base of hindlimb support, hindlimb abduction and relative foot print distance. Histological analysis of serotonergic innervation at the lumbar ventral horn below hemisection revealed a limited restoration of serotonergic fibers on the ipsilateral side of the spinal cord, while on the contralateral side of the spinal cord it returned to normal. In addition, the length of these fibers on both sides of the spinal cord correlated with inter- and intralimb coordination. In contrast to data reported in the literature, our results show there is not full locomotor recovery after spinal cord hemisection. Secondary deterioration of certain locomotor functions occurs with time in hemisected rats, and locomotor recovery appears partly associated with reinnervation of spinal circuitry by serotonergic fibers.
Adams, Wendy K; Sussman, Jacob L; Kaur, Sukhbir; D'souza, Anna M; Kieffer, Timothy J; Winstanley, Catharine A
High impulsivity, mediated through ventral striatal dopamine signalling, represents an established risk factor for substance abuse, and may likewise confer vulnerability to pathological overeating. Mechanistically, the assumption is that trait impulsivity facilitates the initiation of maladaptive eating styles or choices. However, whether consumption of appetitive macronutrients themselves causes deficits in impulse control and striatal signalling, thereby contributing to cognitive changes permissive of overeating behaviour, has yet to be considered. We examined the effects of chronic maintenance on restricted equicaloric, but high-fat or high-sugar, diets (48 kcal/day; 60 kcal% fat or sucrose) on rats' performance in the five-choice serial reaction time task, indexing impulsivity and attention. Markers of dopamine signalling in the dorsal and ventral striatum, and plasma insulin and leptin levels, were also assessed. Rats maintained on the high-fat diet (HFD) were more impulsive, whereas the high-sugar diet (HSD) did not alter task performance. Importantly, body weight and hormone levels were similar between groups when behavioural changes were observed. Maintenance on HFD, but not on HSD, reduced the levels of dopamine D2 receptor (D2 R), cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and phosphophorylated CREB (Ser133) proteins in the ventral, but not dorsal, striatum. D2 R expression in the ventral striatum also negatively correlated with impulsive responding, independently of diet. These data indicate that chronic exposure to even limited amounts of high-fat foods may weaken impulse control and alter neural signalling in a manner associated with vulnerability to addictions - findings that have serious implications for the propagation of uncontrolled eating behaviour in obesity and binge-eating disorder.
Dobbs, Lauren K; Cunningham, Christopher L
Methamphetamine (METH) indirectly stimulates the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) acetylcholine (ACh) neurons to increase ACh within the ventral tegmental area (VTA). LDT ACh inhibition attenuates METH and saline locomotor activity. The aim of these experiments was to determine whether LDT ACh contributes to METH conditioned place preference (CPP). C57BL/6J mice received a bilateral electrolytic or sham lesion of the LDT. After recovery, mice received alternating pairings of METH (0.5 mg/kg) and saline with distinct tactile floor cues over 8 days. During preference tests, mice were given access to both floor types and time spent on each was recorded. Mice were tested again after exposure to both extinction and reconditioning trials. Brains were then processed for choline acetyltransferase immunohistochemistry to label LDT ACh neurons. Lesioned mice had significantly fewer LDT ACh neurons and showed increased saline and METH locomotor activity during the first conditioning trial compared to sham mice. Locomotor activity (saline and METH) was negatively correlated with the number of LDT ACh neurons. Lesioned and sham mice showed similar METH CPP following conditioning, extinction and reconditioning trials. LDT ACh neurons are not necessary for METH reward as indexed by CPP, but may be important for basal and METH-induced locomotor activity.
Makatsori, A; Duncko, R; Schwendt, M; Moncek, F; Johansson, B B; Jezova, D
Lewis rats that are known to be addiction-prone, develop compulsive running if they have access to running wheels. The present experiments were aimed 1) to evaluate the activation of stress systems following chronic and acute voluntary wheel running in Lewis rats by measurement of hormone release and gene expression of neuropeptides related to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity and 2) to test the hypothesis that wheel running as a combined model of addictive behavior and stress exposure is associated with modulation of ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits in the ventral tegmental area. Voluntary running for three weeks but not for one night resulted in a rise in plasma corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels (p<0.05) compared to those in control rats. Principal component analysis revealed the relation between POMC gene expression in the intermediate pituitary and running rate. Acute exposure of animals to voluntary wheel running induced a significant decrease in alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) receptor GluR1 subunit mRNA levels (p<0.01), while repeated voluntary physical activity increased levels of GluR1 mRNA in the ventral tegmentum (p<0.05). Neither acute nor chronic wheel running influenced N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunit NR1 mRNA levels in the ventral tegmental area. Thus, the present study revealed changes in AMPA receptor subunit gene expression in a reward-related brain structure as well as an activation of HPA axis in response to compulsive wheel running in Lewis rats. It may be suggested that hormones of HPA axis and glutamate receptors belong to the factors that substantiate higher vulnerability to addictive behavior.
... Philadelphia. PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:539-545. Nagle AP, Soper NJ. Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair. In: Khatri ... Support Get email updates Subscribe to RSS Follow us Disclaimers Copyright Privacy Accessibility Quality Guidelines Viewers & Players ...
Kaag, Anne Marije; Schluter, Renée S.; Karel, Peter; Homberg, Judith; van den Brink, Wim; Reneman, Liesbeth; van Wingen, Guido A.
Appetitive conditioning refers to the process of learning cue-reward associations and is mediated by the mesocorticolimbic system. Appetitive conditioned responses are difficult to extinguish, especially for highly salient reward such as food and drugs. We investigate whether aversive counterconditioning can alter reward reinstatement in the ventral striatum in healthy volunteers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In the initial conditioning phase, two different stimuli were reinforced with a monetary reward. In the subsequent counterconditioning phase, one of these stimuli was paired with an aversive shock to the wrist. In the following extinction phase, none of the stimuli were reinforced. In the final reinstatement phase, reward was reinstated by informing the participants that the monetary gain could be doubled. Our fMRI data revealed that reward signaling in the ventral striatum and ventral tegmental area following reinstatement was smaller for the stimulus that was counterconditioned with an electrical shock, compared to the non-counterconditioned stimulus. A functional connectivity analysis showed that aversive counterconditioning strengthened striatal connectivity with the hippocampus and insula. These results suggest that reward signaling in the ventral striatum can be attenuated through aversive counterconditioning, possibly by concurrent retrieval of the aversive association through enhanced connectivity with hippocampus and insula. PMID:27594829
Sanna, Fabrizio; Argiolas, Antonio; Melis, Maria Rosaria
Oxytocin (80 ng) induces yawning when injected into the caudal part of the ventral tegmental area, the hippocampal ventral subiculum and the posteromedial nucleus of the amygdala of male rats. The behavioural response occurred concomitantly with an increase in the concentration of extracellular dopamine and its main metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) in the dialysate obtained from the shell of the nucleus accumbens and of the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex by means of intracerebral microdialysis. Both oxytocin responses were significantly reduced by d(CH₂)₅Tyr(Me)²-Orn⁸-vasotocin, a selective oxytocin receptor antagonist, injected in the above brain areas 15 min before oxytocin. Similar results were obtained by activating central oxytocinergic neurons originating in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and projecting to the ventral tegmental area, the hippocampus and the amygdala, with the dopamine agonist apomorphine given at a dose that induces yawning when injected into the paraventricular nucleus. Since oxytocin is considered a key regulator of emotional and social reward that enhances amygdala-dependent, socially reinforced learning and emotional empathy, mesolimbic and mesocortical dopamine neurons play a key role in motivation and reward, and yawning in mammals is considered a primitive, unconscious form of empathy, the present results support the hypothesis that oxytocinergic neurons originating in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and projecting to the above brain areas and mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic neurons participate in the complex neural circuits that play a role in the above mentioned functions.
Steiniger, Björn; Kretschmer, Beate D
The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) has an important anatomical position connecting basal ganglia and limbic systems with motor execution structures in the pons and spinal cord. It receives glutamatergic and GABAergic input and has additional reciprocal connections with mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons, suggesting that the PPTg plays a key role in frontostriatal information processing. In vivo microdialysis in freely moving rats, in combination with behavioral analysis, was used in this study to investigate whether the dopaminergic input can be modulated at the level of the PPTg via N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) or GABA(B) receptors. Stimulation of the GABA(B) receptor decreased dopamine release in the PPTg while that of the AMPA and NMDA receptors increased it. A time-related comparison of the effects of NMDA (0.75 and 1 mM) and AMPA (50 and 25 microM) revealed a more long-lasting effect after AMPA stimulation than after NMDA. However, only the infusion of the GABA(B) receptor agonist baclofen (100 and 200 microM) stimulated stereotyped behavior (e.g. sniffing, digging or head movements) and contralateral circling. This study clearly demonstrates that GABAergic as well as glutamatergic terminals in the PPTg are critically involved in the modulation of the dopamine system. Moreover, a decrease in PPTg dopamine via GABA(B) receptor stimulation seems to be behaviorally relevant.
Pidoplichko, Volodymyr I.; Noguchi, Jun; Areola, Oluwasanmi O.; Liang, Yong; Peterson, Jayms; Zhang, Tianxiang; Dani, John A.
Tobacco use is a major health problem that is estimated to cause 4 million deaths a year worldwide. Nicotine is the main addictive component of tobacco. It acts as an agonist to activate and desensitize nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). A component of nicotine's addictive power is attributable to actions on the mesolimbic dopaminergic…
Vann, Seralynne D.
Mammillary body atrophy is present in a number of neurological conditions and recent clinical findings highlight the importance of these nuclei for memory. While most accounts of diencephalic amnesia emphasize the functional importance of the hippocampal projections to the mammillary bodies, the present study tested the importance of the other…
Dobbs, Lauren K.; Mark, Gregory P.
Methamphetamine (MA) increases dopamine (DA) levels within the mesolimbic pathway and acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter known to increase DA cell firing and release and mediate reinforcement, within the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The laterodorsal tegmental (LDT) and pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) nuclei provide cholinergic input to the VTA; however, the contribution of LDT- and PPT-derived ACh to MA-induced DA and ACh levels and locomotor activation remains unknown. The first experiment examined the role of LDT-derived ACh in MA locomotor activation by reversibly inhibiting these neurons with bilateral intra-LDT microinjections of the M2 receptor agonist oxotremorine (OXO). Male C57BL/6 J mice were given a bilateral 0.1 µl OXO (0, 1, or 10 nM/side) microinjection immediately prior to IP saline or MA (2 mg/kg). The highest OXO concentration significantly inhibited both saline-and MA-primed locomotor activity. In a second set of experiments we characterized the individual contributions of ACh originating in the LDT or pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) to MA-induced levels of ACh and DA by administering intra-LDT or PPT OXO and performing in vivo microdialysis in the VTA and NAc. Intra-LDT OXO dose-dependently attenuated the MA-induced increase in ACh within the VTA but had no effect on DA in NAc. Intra-PPT OXO had no effect on ACh or DA levels within the VTA or NAc, respectively. We conclude that LDT, but not PPT, ACh is important in locomotor behavior and the cholinergic, but not dopaminergic, response to systemic MA. PMID:21945297
Clément, Olivier; Sapin, Emilie; Bérod, Anne; Fort, Patrice; Luppi, Pierre-Hervé
Study Objectives: To determine whether sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus (SLD) neurons triggering paradoxical (REM) sleep (PS) are glutamatergic. Design: Three groups of rats were used: controls, rats deprived of PS for 72 h, and rats allowed to recover for 3 h after deprivation. Brain sections were processed for double labeling combining Fos immunohistochemistry and vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (vGLUT2) in situ hybridization. Measurements and Results: The number of single Fos+ and Fos/vGLUT2+ double-labeled neurons was counted for each experimental condition. A very large number of Fos+ neurons expressing vGLUT2 mRNA specifically after PS hypersomnia was counted in the SLD. These double-labeled cells accounted for 84% of the total number of Fos+ cells. Conclusions: This finding adds further evidence to the concept that PS-on neurons of the SLD generating PS are of small size and glutamatergic in nature. By means of their descending projections to medullary and/or spinal glycinergic/GABAergic premotoneurons, they may be especially important for the induction of muscle atonia during PS, a disturbed phenomenon in narcolepsy and REM sleep behavior disorder. Citation: Clément O; Sapin E; Bérod A; Fort P; Luppi PH. Evidence that neurons of the sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus triggering paradoxical (REM) sleep are glutamatergic. SLEEP 2011;34(4):419-423. PMID:21461384
Omelchenko, Natalia; Roy, Priya; Balcita-Pedicino, Judith Joyce; Poloyac, Samuel; Sesack, Susan R
In utero exposure of rats to nicotine (NIC) provides a useful animal model for studying the impact of smoking during pregnancy on human offspring. Certain sequelae of prenatal NIC exposure suggest an impact on the development of the midbrain dopamine (DA) system, which receives a robust cholinergic innervation from the mesopontine tegmentum. We therefore investigated whether prenatal NIC induced structural changes in cells and synapses within the midbrain that persisted into adulthood. Osmotic minipumps delivering either sodium bitartrate (vehicle; VEH) or NIC bitartrate at 2 mg/kg/day were implanted into nine timed-pregnant dams at E4. At birth, rat pups were culled to litters of six males each, and the litters were cross-fostered. Plasma levels of NIC and cotinine from killed pups provided evidence of NIC exposure in utero. Pups separated from dams at weaning showed a trend toward reduced locomotor activity at this time point but not when tested again in adulthood. Adult rats were killed for anatomical studies. Estimates of brain size and volume did not vary with NIC treatment. Midbrain sections stained for Nissl or by immunoperoxidase for tyrosine hydroxylase and analyzed using unbiased stereology revealed no changes in volume or cell number in the substantia nigra compacta or ventral tegmental area as a result of NIC exposure. Within the ventral tegmental area, electron microscopic physical disector analysis showed no significant differences in the number of axon terminals or the number of asymmetric (putative excitatory) or symmetric (putative inhibitory) synapses. Although too infrequent to estimate by unbiased stereology, no obvious difference in the proportion of cholinergic axons was noted in NIC- versus VEH-treated animals. These data suggest that activation of nicotinic receptors during prenatal development induces no significant modifications in the structure of cells in the ventral midbrain when assessed in adulthood.
Cebrián, Carolina; Prensa, Lucía
The most caudally located dopaminergic (DA) ventral tier neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) form typical cell clusters that are deeply embedded in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Here we examine the efferent projections of 35 neurons located in the SNr region where these SNc cell clusters reside. The neuronal cell body was injected with biotinylated dextran amine so as to trace each complete axon in the sagittal or the coronal plane. Electrophysiological guidance guaranteed that the tracer was ejected among neurons displaying a typical SNc discharge pattern. Furthermore, double immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical labeling ensured that the tracer deposits were placed within the DA cell clusters. Three types of projection neurons occurred in the SNc ventral tier cell cluster region: type I neurons, projecting to basal ganglia; type II neurons, targeting both the basal ganglia and thalamus; and type III neurons, projecting only to the thalamus. The striatum was targeted by most of the type I and II neurons and the innervation reached both the striosome/subcallosal streak and matrix compartments. Many nigrostriatal fibers provided collaterals to the globus pallidus and, less frequently, to the subthalamic nucleus. At a thalamic level, type II and III neurons preferentially targeted the reticular, ventral posterolateral, and ventral medial nuclei. Our results reveal that the SNr region where DA ventral tier cell clusters reside harbors neurons projecting to the basal ganglia and/or the thalamus, thus suggesting that neurodegeneration of nigral neurons in Parkinson's disease might affect various extrastriatal basal ganglia structures and multiple thalamic nuclei.
Jones, Sarah E; Stanić, Davor; Dutschmann, Mathias
The respiratory pattern generator of mammals is anatomically organized in lateral respiratory columns (LRCs) within the brainstem. LRC compartments serve specific functions in respiratory pattern and rhythm generation. While the caudal medullary reticular formation (cMRF) has respiratory functions reportedly related to the mediation of expulsive respiratory reflexes, it remains unclear whether neurons of the cMRF functionally belong to the LRC. In the present study we specifically investigated the respiratory functions of the cMRF. Tract tracing shows that the cMRF has substantial connectivity with key compartments of the LRC, particularly the parafacial respiratory group and the Kölliker-Fuse nuclei. These neurons have a loose topography and are located in the ventral and dorsal cMRF. Systematic mapping of the cMRF with glutamate stimulation revealed potent respiratory modulation of the respiratory motor pattern from both dorsal and ventral injection sites. Pharmacological inhibition of the cMRF with the GABA-receptor agonist isoguvacine produced significant and robust changes to the baseline respiratory motor pattern (decreased laryngeal post-inspiratory and abdominal expiratory motor activity, delayed inspiratory off-switch and increased respiratory frequency) after dorsal cMRF injection, while ventral injections had no effect. The present data indicate that the ventral cMRF is not an integral part of the respiratory pattern generator and merely serves as a relay for sensory and/or higher command-related modulation of respiration. On the contrary, the dorsal aspect of the cMRF clearly has a functional role in respiratory pattern formation. These findings revive the largely abandoned concept of a dorsal respiratory group that contributes to the generation of the respiratory motor pattern.
Raivio, Noora; Miettinen, Pekka; Kiianmaa, Kalervo
We have shown recently that acute administration of ethanol modulates the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in several rat brain areas known to be involved in the development of addiction to ethanol and other drugs of abuse, suggesting that BDNF may be a factor contributing to the neuroadaptive changes set in motion by ethanol exposure. The purpose of the present study was to further clarify the role of BDNF in reinforcement from ethanol and in the development of addiction to ethanol by specifying the effect of acute administration of ethanol (1.5 or 3.0 g/kg i.p.) on the expression profile of BDNF mRNA in the ventral tegmental area and in the terminal areas of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway in the brain of alcohol-preferring AA and alcohol-avoiding ANA rats, selected for high and low voluntary ethanol intake, respectively. The level of BDNF mRNA expression was higher in the amygdala and ventral tegmental area of AA than in those of ANA rats, and there was a trend for a higher level in the nucleus accumbens. In the amygdala and hippocampus, a biphasic change in the BDNF mRNA levels was detected: the levels were decreased at 3 and 6h but increased above the basal levels at 24h. Furthermore, there was a difference between the AA and ANA lines in the effect of ethanol, the ANA rats showing an increase in BDNF mRNA levels while such a change was not seen in AA rats. These findings suggest that the innate levels of BDNF expression may play a role in the mediation of the reinforcing effects of ethanol and in the control of ethanol intake.
Stamatakis, Alice M.; Stuber, Garret D.
Lateral habenula (LHb) projections to the ventral midbrain, including the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) conveys negative reward-related information, but the behavioral ramifications of selective activation of this pathway remain unexplored. We found that exposure to aversive stimuli in mice increased LHb excitatory drive onto RMTg neurons. Further, optogenetic activation of this pathway promoted active, passive, and conditioned behavioral avoidance. These data demonstrate that activity of LHb efferents to the midbrain is aversive, but can also serve to negatively reinforce behavioral responding. PMID:22729176
Skofitsch, G.; Sills, M.A.; Jacobowitz, D.M.
Galanin (GAL) binding sites in coronal sections of the rat brain were demonstrated using autoradiographic methods. Scatchard analysis of /sup 125/I-GAL binding to slide-mounted tissue sections revealed saturable binding to a single class of receptors with a Kd of approximately 0.2 nM. /sup 125/I-GAL binding sites were demonstrated throughout the rat central nervous system. Dense binding was observed in the following areas: prefrontal cortex, the anterior nuclei of the olfactory bulb, several nuclei of the amygdaloid complex, the dorsal septal area, dorsal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the ventral pallidum, the internal medullary laminae of the thalamus, medial pretectal nucleus, nucleus of the medial optic tract, borderline area of the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus adjacent to the spinal trigeminal tract, the substantia gelatinosa and the superficial layers of the dorsal spinal cord. Moderate binding was observed in the piriform, periamygdaloid, entorhinal, insular cortex and the subiculum, the nucleus accumbens, medial forebrain bundle, anterior hypothalamic, ventromedial, dorsal premamillary, lateral and periventricular thalamic nuclei, the subzona incerta, Forel's field H1 and H2, periventricular gray matter, medial and superficial gray strata of the superior colliculus, dorsal parts of the central gray, peripeduncular area, the interpeduncular nucleus, substantia nigra zona compacta, ventral tegmental area, the dorsal and ventral parabrachial and parvocellular reticular nuclei. The preponderance of GAL-binding in somatosensory as well as in limbic areas suggests a possible involvement of GAL in a variety of brain functions.
Hu, Xiao Jing; Wang, Fu-Hua; Stenfors, Carina; Ogren, Sven Ove; Kehr, Jan
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the 5-HT(1B) receptor antagonist NAS-181 ((R)-(+)-2-(3-morpholinomethyl-2H-chromen-8-yl) oxymethyl-morpholine methanesulfonate) on cholinergic, glutamatergic and GABA-ergic neurotransmission in the rat brain in vivo. Extracellular levels of acetylcholine, glutamate and GABA were monitored by microdialysis in the frontal cortex (FC) and ventral hippocampus (VHipp) in separate groups of freely moving rats. NAS-181 (1, 5 or 10 mg/kg, s.c.) caused a dose-dependent increase in ACh levels, reaching the maximal values of 500% (FC) and 230% (VHipp) of controls at 80 min post-injection. On the contrary, NAS-181 injected at doses of 10 or 20 mg/kg s.c. had no effect on basal extracellular levels of Glu and GABA in these areas. The present data suggest that ACh neurotransmission in the FC and VHipp, the brain structures strongly implicated in cognitive function, is under tonic inhibitory control of 5-HT(1B) heteroreceptors localized at the cholinergic terminals in these areas.
Tu, Wenyu; Cook, Ashley; Scholl, Jamie L.; Mears, Mackenzie; Watt, Michael J.; Renner, Kenneth J.; Forster, Gina L.
Withdrawal from amphetamine is associated with increased anxiety and sensitivity to stressors which are thought to contribute to relapse. Rats undergoing amphetamine withdrawal fail to exhibit stress-induced increases in serotonin (5-HT) release in the ventral hippocampus and show heightened anxiety-like behaviors. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that reduced 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus is a causal mechanism in increasing anxiety-like behaviors during amphetamine withdrawal. First, we tested whether reducing 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus directly increases anxiety behavior. Male rats were bilaterally infused with 5,7-DHT into the ventral hippocampus, which produced a 83% decrease ventral hippocampus 5-HT content, and were tested on the elevated plus maze (EPM) for anxiety-like behavior. Reducing ventral hippocampus 5-HT levels decreased the time spent in the open arms of the maze, suggesting diminished ventral hippocampus 5-HT levels increases anxiety-like behavior. Next, we tested whether increasing 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus reverses anxiety behavior exhibited by rats undergoing amphetamine withdrawal. Rats were treated daily with either amphetamine (2.5 mg/kg, ip.) or saline for 2 weeks, and at 2 weeks withdrawal, were infused with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine (0.5 μM) bilaterally into the ventral hippocampus and tested for anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. Rats pre-treated with amphetamine exhibited increased anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. This effect was reversed by ventral hippocampus infusion of paroxetine. Our results suggest that 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus is critical for regulating anxiety behavior. Increasing 5-HT levels during withdrawal may be an effective strategy for reducing anxiety-induced drug relapse. PMID:25241066
Tu, W; Cook, A; Scholl, J L; Mears, M; Watt, M J; Renner, K J; Forster, G L
Withdrawal from amphetamine is associated with increased anxiety and sensitivity to stressors which are thought to contribute to relapse. Rats undergoing amphetamine withdrawal fail to exhibit stress-induced increases in serotonin (5-HT) release in the ventral hippocampus and show heightened anxiety-like behaviors. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that reducing 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus is a causal mechanism in increasing anxiety-like behaviors during amphetamine withdrawal. First, we tested whether reducing 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus directly increases anxiety behavior. Male rats were bilaterally infused with 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) into the ventral hippocampus, which produced a 83% decrease in ventral hippocampus 5-HT content, and were tested on the elevated plus maze (EPM) for anxiety-like behavior. Reducing ventral hippocampus 5-HT levels decreased the time spent in the open arms of the maze, suggesting that diminished ventral hippocampus 5-HT levels increases anxiety-like behavior. Next, we tested whether increasing 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus reverses anxiety behavior exhibited by rats undergoing amphetamine withdrawal. Rats were treated daily with either amphetamine (2.5-mg/kg, i.p.) or saline for 2weeks, and at 2weeks withdrawal, were infused with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine (0.5μM) bilaterally into the ventral hippocampus and tested for anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. Rats pre-treated with amphetamine exhibited increased anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. This effect was reversed by ventral hippocampus infusion of paroxetine. Our results suggest that 5-HT levels in the ventral hippocampus are critical for regulating anxiety behavior. Increasing 5-HT levels during withdrawal may be an effective strategy for reducing anxiety-induced drug relapse.
Mori, T; Iwase, Y; Saeki, T; Iwata, N; Murata, A; Masukawa, D; Suzuki, T
Typical abused drug-induced behavioral changes are ordinarily mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system and even the phenotypes of behavior are different from each other. However, the mechanisms that underlie the behavioral changes induced by these abused drugs have not yet been elucidated. The present study was designed to investigate the mechanisms that underlie how abused drugs induce distinct behavioral changes using neurochemical as well as behavioral techniques in rats. Methamphetamine (2mg/kg) more potently increased dopamine release from the striatum more than that from the nucleus accumbens. In contrast, the administration of morphine (10mg/kg) produced a significant increase in the release of dopamine from the nucleus accumbens, but not the striatum, which is accompanied by a decrease in the release of GABA in the ventral tegmental area. These findings indicate that morphine and methamphetamine differentially regulate dopaminergic systems to produce behavioral changes, even though both drugs have abuse potential through activation of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system.
Jiang, Bian; Roy, Roland R.; Poliakov, I. V.; Krasnov, I. B.; Edgerton, V. R.
Ventral horn cells of the lumbosacral enlargement of the spinal cord were studied focusing on the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity and cross-sectional area of the soma of ventral horn cells which were measured using a computer-aided image-processing system. The relationships between the soma size and SDH activities of lumber ventral horn cells after 14 days of spaceflight (Cosmos 2044) or of hindlimb suspension are considered. Three groups of rats under consideration include control, 14-day spaceflight, and 14-day hindlimb suspension. Data obtained indicate that, compared to the control group, the population distribution of SDH activities in the flight rats shifted toward higher activities, whereas in the suspended rats the distribution shifted toward lower activities. The interactive effects within individual cells showed that there was a higher percentage of small cells with high SDH activities in the flight than in the control or suspended rats. It is suggested that changes in ventral horn cells were due to factors other than simply the absence of weight support.
Wang, Zhuo; Myers, Kalisa G; Guo, Yumei; Ocampo, Marco A; Pang, Raina D; Jakowec, Michael W; Holschneider, Daniel P
Exercise training is widely used for neurorehabilitation of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about the functional reorganization of the injured brain after long-term aerobic exercise. We examined the effects of 4 weeks of forced running wheel exercise in a rat model of dopaminergic deafferentation (bilateral, dorsal striatal 6-hydroxydopamine lesions). One week after training, cerebral perfusion was mapped during treadmill walking or at rest using [(14)C]-iodoantipyrine autoradiography. Regional cerebral blood flow-related tissue radioactivity (rCBF) was analyzed in three-dimensionally reconstructed brains by statistical parametric mapping. In non-exercised rats, lesions resulted in persistent motor deficits. Compared to sham-lesioned rats, lesioned rats showed altered functional brain activation during walking, including: 1. hypoactivation of the striatum and motor cortex; 2. hyperactivation of non-lesioned areas in the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit; 3. functional recruitment of the red nucleus, superior colliculus and somatosensory cortex; 4. hyperactivation of the ventrolateral thalamus, cerebellar vermis and deep nuclei, suggesting recruitment of the cerebellar-thalamocortical circuit; 5. hyperactivation of limbic areas (amygdala, hippocampus, ventral striatum, septum, raphe, insula). These findings show remarkable similarities to imaging findings reported in PD patients. Exercise progressively improved motor deficits in lesioned rats, while increasing activation in dorsal striatum and rostral secondary motor cortex, attenuating a hyperemia of the zona incerta and eliciting a functional reorganization of regions participating in the cerebellar-thalamocortical circuit. Both lesions and exercise increased activation in mesolimbic areas (amygdala, hippocampus, ventral striatum, laterodorsal tegmental n., ventral pallidum), as well as in related paralimbic regions (septum, raphe, insula). Exercise, but not lesioning, resulted in decreases
Ishibashi, Masaru; Leonard, Christopher S; Kohlmeier, Kristi A
Identifying the neurological mechanisms underlying nicotine reinforcement is a healthcare imperative, if society is to effectively combat tobacco addiction. The majority of studies of the neurobiology of addiction have focused on dopamine (DA)-containing neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). However, recent data suggest that neurons of the laterodorsal tegmental (LDT) nucleus, which sends cholinergic, GABAergic, and glutamatergic-containing projections to DA-containing neurons of the VTA, are critical to gating normal functioning of this nucleus. The actions of nicotine on LDT neurons are unknown. We addressed this issue by examining the effects of nicotine on identified cholinergic and non-cholinergic LDT neurons using whole-cell patch clamp and Ca(2+)-imaging methods in brain slices from mice (P12-P45). Nicotine applied by puffer pipette or bath superfusion elicited membrane depolarization that often induced firing and TTX-resistant inward currents. Nicotine also enhanced sensitivity to injected current; and, baseline changes in intracellular calcium were elicited in the dendrites of some cholinergic LDT cells. In addition, activity-dependent calcium transients were increased, suggesting that nicotine exposure sufficient to induce firing may lead to enhancement of levels of intracellular calcium. Nicotine also had strong actions on glutamate and GABA-releasing presynaptic terminals, as it greatly increased the frequency of miniature EPSCs and IPSCs to both cholinergic and non-cholinergic neurons. Utilization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) subunit antagonists revealed that presynaptic, inhibitory terminals on cholinergic neurons were activated by receptors containing alpha 7, beta2, and non-alpha 7 subunits, whereas, presynaptic glutamatergic terminals were activated by nAChRs that comprised non-alpha 7 subunits. We also found that direct nicotinic actions on cholinergic LDT neurons were mediated by receptors containing alpha 7, beta2, and non
MacDonald, Penny A.; Monchi, Oury
Cognitive abnormalities are a feature of Parkinson's disease (PD). Unlike motor symptoms that are clearly improved by dopaminergic therapy, the effect of dopamine replacement on cognition seems paradoxical. Some cognitive functions are improved whereas others are unaltered or even hindered. Our aim was to understand the effect of dopamine replacement therapy on various aspects of cognition. Whereas dorsal striatum receives dopamine input from the substantia nigra (SN), ventral striatum is innervated by dopamine-producing cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). In PD, degeneration of SN is substantially greater than cell loss in VTA and hence dopamine-deficiency is significantly greater in dorsal compared to ventral striatum. We suggest that dopamine supplementation improves functions mediated by dorsal striatum and impairs, or heightens to a pathological degree, operations ascribed to ventral striatum. We consider the extant literature in light of this principle. We also survey the effect of dopamine replacement on functional neuroimaging in PD relating the findings to this framework. This paper highlights the fact that currently, titration of therapy in PD is geared to optimizing dorsal striatum-mediated motor symptoms, at the expense of ventral striatum operations. Increased awareness of contrasting effects of dopamine replacement on dorsal versus ventral striatum functions will lead clinicians to survey a broader range of symptoms in determining optimal therapy, taking into account both those aspects of cognition that will be helped versus those that will be hindered by dopaminergic treatment. PMID:21437185
Letchworth, S R; Daunais, J B; Hedgecock, A A; Porrino, L J
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered cocaine (10, 15 or 25 mg/kg) or vehicle, i.p., once daily for 8 consecutive days and killed 1 h after the last injection. Acute cocaine administration produced dose-dependent increases in spontaneous locomotor activity. These levels of activity were further enhanced by 8 days of chronic treatment, indicating the emergence of behavioral sensitization. Chronic cocaine administration resulted in dose-dependent decreases in the density of dopamine transporter (DAT) mRNA in both the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area as shown by in situ hybridization histochemistry. Changes in DAT binding sites were assessed using [3H]mazindol quantitative autoradiography. In contrast to the levels of mRNA, there were few changes in the number of [3H]mazindol binding sites. Although the density of binding sites was unaltered in most regions, [3H]mazindol binding was increased in the anterior nucleus accumbens. This study extends previous findings by demonstrating the dose-dependent nature of the changes in DAT mRNA that accompanies chronic cocaine administration. The levels of DAT binding sites within the dorsal and ventral striatum, however, were largely unchanged. This mismatch suggests that cocaine may differentially influence the gene expression of DAT in the ventral midbrain as compared to the density of DAT binding sites in the basal forebrain.
Van den Berg, C L; Kitchen, I; Gerrits, M A; Spruijt, B M; Van Ree, J M
The consequences of juvenile isolation and morphine treatment on general activity, social activity and endogenous opioid release during a social interaction test were investigated in the adult rat. Rats were either isolated or socially housed during weeks 4 and 5 of age and treated daily during this isolation period subcutaneously with either saline or morphine. Directly after a social interaction test at 10 weeks of age, rats were injected with [3H]-diprenorphine and subsequently prepared for in vivo autoradiography. The autoradiographic technique was used to visualise neuroanatomical changes in opioid receptor occupancy, probably reflecting changes in opioid peptide release, as a result of social activity. Juvenile isolation increased general activity during the social interaction test, an effect which was accompanied by a reduction of opioid receptor occupancy in many brain areas, suggesting an increased opioid peptide release as a consequence of socially-induced general activity. Morphine treatment in isolated rats caused an increase in adult social activity and enhanced opioid peptide release in some cortical regions and the ventral tegmental area as compared to saline treated rats. Both social activity and opioid receptor occupancy were unaffected by morphine treatment in non-isolated rats. The present study underscores the role of opioid systems in adult social behaviors as a consequence of juvenile isolation. The results suggest a relationship between social activity and opioid peptide release during social contact. Increased social activity seems to be accompanied by elevated opioid peptide release in distinct brain areas after morphine treatment during juvenile isolation.
Li, Tao; Shi, Tingting; Li, Xiaobo; Zeng, Shuilin; Yin, Lihong; Pu, Yuepu
This study aimed to observe the effect of intracerebrally injected nano-MnO2 on neurobehavior and the functions of dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes. Nano-MnO2, 6-OHDA, and saline (control) were injected in the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rat brains. The neurobehavior of rats was evaluated by Morris water maze test. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expressions in rat brain were detected by immunohistochemistry. Results showed that the escape latencies of nano-MnO2 treated rat increased significantly compared with control. The number of TH-positive cells decreased, GFAP- and iNOS-positive cells increased significantly in the lesion side of the rat brains compared with the contralateral area in nano-MnO2 group. The same tendencies were observed in nano-MnO2-injected rat brains compared with control. However, in the the positive control, 6-OHDA group, escape latencies increased, TH-positive cell number decreased significantly compared with nano-MnO2 group. The alteration of spatial learning abilities of rats induced by nano-MnO2 may be associated with dopaminergic neuronal dysfunction and astrocyte activation. PMID:25101772
Johnson, M L; Day, A E; Ho, C C; Walker, Q D; Francis, R; Kuhn, C M
Clinical studies show that men are more likely to develop disorders affecting midbrain dopaminergic pathways, such as drug addiction and Parkinson's disease (PD). Although a great deal of focus has been given to the role of oestrogen in the maintenance of midbrain dopaminergic pathways, little is known about how testosterone influences these pathways. In the present study, we used stereological analysis of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-IR) cell bodies to determine how testosterone influences the dopaminergic cell bodies of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA). Rats and mice were castrated at postnatal day (PN) 60, and these midbrain cell populations were counted on PN 90. One month after castration, TH-IR cell number had increased in the SNpc and VTA of rats and mice. Replacement with testosterone or the non-aromatisable analogue dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in castrated animals reduced TH-IR cell number in the SNpc and VTA in rats. In mice, the decrease of TH-IR cell number with testosterone or DHT replacement was observed only in the SNpc. The apparent increase in TH-IR neurone number after castration is not explained by an increase in TH expression because the number of nondopaminergic cells (TH-immunonegative, TH-IN) did not decrease proportionally after castration. TH-IN cell number did not change after castration or hormone replacement in rat or mouse SNpc or VTA. These findings suggest that testosterone may play a suppressive role in midbrain dopaminergic pathways.
Surowka, Artur Dawid; Krygowska-Wajs, Anna; Ziomber, Agata; Thor, Piotr; Chrobak, Adrian Andrzej; Szczerbowska-Boruchowska, Magdalena
Recent immunohistochemical studies point to the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve as the point of departure of initial changes which are related to the gradual pathological developments in the dopaminergic system. In the light of current investigations, it is likely that biochemical changes within the peripheral nervous system may influence the physiology of the dopaminergic system, suggesting a putative role for it in the development of neurodegenerative disorders. By using Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy, coupled with statistical analysis, we examined the effect of chronic, unilateral electrical vagus nerve stimulation on changes in lipid composition and in protein secondary structure within dopamine-related brain structures in rats. It was found that the chronic vagal nerve stimulation strongly affects the chain length of fatty acids within the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, substantia nigra, striatum, dorsal motor nucleus of vagus and the motor cortex. In particular, the level of lipid unsaturation was found significantly increasing in the ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra and motor cortex as a result of vagal nerve stimulation. When it comes to changes in protein secondary structure, we could see that the mesolimbic, mesocortical and nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathways are particularly affected by vagus nerve stimulation. This is due to the co-occurrence of statistically significant changes in the content of non-ordered structure components, alpha helices, beta sheets, and the total area of Amide I. Macromolecular changes caused by peripheral vagus nerve stimulation may highlight a potential connection between the gastrointestinal system and the central nervous system in rat during the development of neurodegenerative disorders.
Freeman, Jeremy; Simoncelli, Eero P.
The human capacity to recognize complex visual patterns emerges in a sequence of brain areas known as the ventral stream, beginning with primary visual cortex (V1). We develop a population model for mid-ventral processing, in which non-linear combinations of V1 responses are averaged within receptive fields that grow with eccentricity. To test the model, we generate novel forms of visual metamers — stimuli that differ physically, but look the same. We develop a behavioral protocol that uses metameric stimuli to estimate the receptive field sizes in which the model features are represented. Because receptive field sizes change along the ventral stream, the behavioral results can identify the visual area corresponding to the representation. Measurements in human observers implicate V2, providing a new functional account of this area. The model explains deficits of peripheral vision known as “crowding”, and provides a quantitative framework for assessing the capabilities of everyday vision. PMID:21841776
Perez, Pablo D; Hall, Gabrielle; Zubcevic, Jasenka; Febo, Marcelo
Manganese enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) has been previously used to determine the effect of acute cocaine on calcium-dependent synaptic activity in male rats. However, there have been no MEMRI studies examining sex differences in the functional neural circuits affected by repeated cocaine. In the present study, we used MEMRI to investigate the effects of repeated cocaine on brain activation in female and male rats. Adult female and male rats were scanned at 4.7 Tesla three days after final treatment with saline, a single cocaine injection (15 mg kg(-1), i.p. × 1 day) or repeated cocaine injections (15 mg kg(-1), i.p. × 10 days). A day before imaging rats were provided with an i.p. injection of manganese chloride (70 mg kg(-1)). Cocaine produced effects on MEMRI activity that were dependent on sex. In females, we observed that a single cocaine injection reduced MEMRI activity in hippocampal CA3, ventral tegmental area (VTA), and median Raphé, whereas repeated cocaine increased MEMRI activity in dentate gyrus and interpeduncular nucleus. In males, repeated cocaine reduced MEMRI activity in VTA. Overall, it appeared that female rats showed a general trend towards increase MEMRI activity with single cocaine and reduced activity with repeated exposure, while male rats showed a trend towards opposite effects. Our results provide evidence for sex differences in the in vivo neural response to cocaine, which involves primarily hippocampal, amygdala and midbrain areas.
Lodge, D J; Lawrence, A J
The neuropeptide cholecystokinin has been implicated in the actions of a number of central processes including anxiety and reward. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to compare the density of CCK-A and -B receptors and the mRNA encoding preproCCK throughout the brains of an alcohol-preferring (Fawn Hooded) rat strain with that of a non-alcohol-preferring (Wistar Kyoto) strain of rat. Our study revealed significant differences with regard to the central CCK system of the FH compared to the WKY rat, including differences in CCK-A receptor binding throughout the dorsal medulla, and altered CCK-B binding density throughout the cerebral cortex and reticular nucleus of the thalamus. The most striking result, given the altered behavioural phenotype of the FH rat, was the 33% lower density of CCKmRNA measured throughout the ventral tegmental area of the FH rat when compared to the WKY. This study also reports on a protocol to utilise a novel radioligand, [125I]-D-Tyr-Gly-A-71378, for autoradiographic detection of CCK-A receptors throughout the rat brain. As previously reported, CCK-A receptors were located throughout the area postrema, interpeduncular nucleus and nucleus tractus solitarii; however, binding to CCK-A receptors was also visualised throughout the medial pre-optic area, the arcuate nucleus and the circumventricular regions of the ventral hypothalamus, regions known to contain CCK-A receptors but which were previously undetectable using autoradiography in rat brain.
Melis, Miriam; De Felice, Marta; Lecca, Salvatore; Fattore, Liana; Pistis, Marco
Addiction as a psychiatric disorder involves interaction of inherited predispositions and environmental factors. Similarly to humans, laboratory animals self-administer addictive drugs, whose appetitive properties result from activation and suppression of brain reward and aversive pathways, respectively. The ventral tegmental area (VTA) where dopamine (DA) cells are located is a key component of brain reward circuitry, whereas the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) critically regulates aversive behaviors. Reduced responses to either aversive intrinsic components of addictive drugs or to negative consequences of compulsive drug taking might contribute to vulnerability to addiction. In this regard, female Lister Hooded (LH) rats are more vulnerable than male counterparts to cannabinoid self-administration. We, therefore, took advantage of sex differences displayed by LH rats, and studied VTA DA neuronal properties to unveil functional differences. Electrophysiological properties of DA cells were examined performing either single cell extracellular recordings in anesthetized rats or whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in slices. In vivo, DA cell spontaneous activity was similar, though sex differences were observed in RMTg-induced inhibition of DA neurons. In vitro, DA cells showed similar intrinsic and synaptic properties. However, females displayed larger depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) than male LH rats. DSI, an endocannabinoid-mediated form of short term plasticity, was mediated by 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) activating type 1-cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. We found that sex-dependent differences in DSI magnitude were not ascribed to CB1 number and/or function, but rather to a tonic 2-AG signaling. We suggest that sex specific tonic 2-AG signaling might contribute to regulate responses to aversive intrinsic properties to cannabinoids, thus resulting in faster acquisition/initiation of cannabinoid taking and, eventually, in progression to
Castro-Hernández, Javier; Adlard, Paul A; Finkelstein, David I
The hippocampus has a significant association with memory, cognition and emotions. The dopaminergic projections from both the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra are thought to be involved in hippocampal activity. To date, however, few studies have investigated dopaminergic innervation in the hippocampus or the functional consequences of reduced dopamine in disease models. Further complicating this, the hippocampus exhibits anatomical and functional differentiation along its dorso-ventral axis. In this work we investigated the role of dopamine on hippocampal long term potentiation using D-amphetamine, which stimulates dopamine release, and also examined how a dopaminergic lesion affects the synaptic transmission across the anatomic subdivisions of the hippocampus. Our findings indicate that a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine induced dopaminergic lesion has time-dependent effects and impacts mainly on the ventral region of the hippocampus, consistent with the density of dopaminergic innervation. Treatment with a preferential D3 receptor agonist pramipexole partly restored normal synaptic transmission and Long-Term Potentiation. These data suggest a new mechanism to explain some of the actions of pramipexole in Parkinson´s disease.
Castro-Hernández, Javier; Adlard, Paul A.; Finkelstein, David I.
The hippocampus has a significant association with memory, cognition and emotions. The dopaminergic projections from both the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra are thought to be involved in hippocampal activity. To date, however, few studies have investigated dopaminergic innervation in the hippocampus or the functional consequences of reduced dopamine in disease models. Further complicating this, the hippocampus exhibits anatomical and functional differentiation along its dorso-ventral axis. In this work we investigated the role of dopamine on hippocampal long term potentiation using D-amphetamine, which stimulates dopamine release, and also examined how a dopaminergic lesion affects the synaptic transmission across the anatomic subdivisions of the hippocampus. Our findings indicate that a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine induced dopaminergic lesion has time-dependent effects and impacts mainly on the ventral region of the hippocampus, consistent with the density of dopaminergic innervation. Treatment with a preferential D3 receptor agonist pramipexole partly restored normal synaptic transmission and Long-Term Potentiation. These data suggest a new mechanism to explain some of the actions of pramipexole in Parkinson´s disease. PMID:28290500
Clifford, P. Shane; Rodriguez, Juan; Schul, Destri; Hughes, Samuel; Kniffin, Tracey; Hart, Nigel; Eitan, Shoshana; Wellman, Paul J.; Brunel, Luc; Fehrentz, Jean-Alain; Martinez, Jean
Systemic infusions of the orexigenic peptide ghrelin (GHR) increase dopamine levels within the nucleus accumbens and augment cocaine stimulated locomotion and conditioned place preference in rats; observations that suggest an important role for ghrelin and GHR receptors (GHR-Rs) in drug reinforcement. In the present studies, we examined the development of cocaine locomotor sensitization in rats sustaining either pharmacologic antagonism or genetic ablation of GHR-Rs. In a pharmacologic study, adult male rats were injected (i.p.) with either 0, 3 or 6 mg/kg JMV 2959 (a GHR-R1 receptor antagonist) and 20 minutes later with either vehicle or 10 mg/kg cocaine HCl on each of 7 consecutive days. Rats pretreated with JMV 2959 showed significantly attenuated cocaine-induced hyperlocomotion. In a second study, adult wild type (WT) or mutant rats sustaining ENU-induced knockout of GHR-R (GHR-R (−/−)) received daily injections (i.p) of vehicle (0.9% saline) or 10.0 mg/kg cocaine HCl for 14 successive days. GHR-R null rats treated repeatedly with cocaine showed diminished development of cocaine locomotor sensitization relative to WT rats treated with cocaine. To verify the lack of GHR-R function in the GHR-R (−/−) rats, a separate feeding experiment was conducted in which WT rats, but not GHR-R (−/−) rats, were noted to eat more after a systemic injection of 15 nmol ghrelin than after vehicle. These results suggest that GHR-R activity is required for the induction of locomotor sensitization to cocaine and complement an emerging literature implicating central GHR systems in drug reward. Ghrelin (GHR) is an orexigenic gut peptide that is transported across the blood brain barrier and interacts with GHR receptors (GHR-R) located on ventral tegmental dopamine neurons. PMID:21790898
Bendre, M; Comasco, E; Nylander, I; Nilsson, K W
Discordant associations between monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype and high alcohol drinking have been reported in human and non-human primates. Environmental influences likely moderate genetic susceptibility. The biological basis for this interplay remains elusive, and inconsistencies call for translational studies in which conditions can be controlled and brain tissue is accessible. The present study investigated whether early life stress and subsequent adult episodic alcohol consumption affect Maoa expression in stress- and reward-related brain regions in the rat. Outbred Wistar rats were exposed to rearing conditions associated with stress (prolonged maternal separation) or no stress during early life, and given free choice between alcohol and/or water in adulthood. Transcript levels of Maoa were assessed in the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens (NAc), medial prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, amygdala and dorsal striatum (DS). Blood was collected to assess corticosterone levels. After alcohol consumption, lower blood corticosterone and Maoa expression in the NAc and DS were found in rats exposed to early life stress compared with control rats. An interaction between early life stress and voluntary alcohol intake was found in the NAc. Alcohol intake before death correlated negatively with Maoa expression in DS in high alcohol-drinking rats exposed to early life stress. Maoa expression is sensitive to adulthood voluntary alcohol consumption in the presence of early life stress in outbred rats. These findings add knowledge of the molecular basis of the previously reported associations between early life stress, MAOA and susceptibility to alcohol misuse. PMID:26645625
Bendre, M; Comasco, E; Nylander, I; Nilsson, K W
Discordant associations between monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype and high alcohol drinking have been reported in human and non-human primates. Environmental influences likely moderate genetic susceptibility. The biological basis for this interplay remains elusive, and inconsistencies call for translational studies in which conditions can be controlled and brain tissue is accessible. The present study investigated whether early life stress and subsequent adult episodic alcohol consumption affect Maoa expression in stress- and reward-related brain regions in the rat. Outbred Wistar rats were exposed to rearing conditions associated with stress (prolonged maternal separation) or no stress during early life, and given free choice between alcohol and/or water in adulthood. Transcript levels of Maoa were assessed in the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens (NAc), medial prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, amygdala and dorsal striatum (DS). Blood was collected to assess corticosterone levels. After alcohol consumption, lower blood corticosterone and Maoa expression in the NAc and DS were found in rats exposed to early life stress compared with control rats. An interaction between early life stress and voluntary alcohol intake was found in the NAc. Alcohol intake before death correlated negatively with Maoa expression in DS in high alcohol-drinking rats exposed to early life stress. Maoa expression is sensitive to adulthood voluntary alcohol consumption in the presence of early life stress in outbred rats. These findings add knowledge of the molecular basis of the previously reported associations between early life stress, MAOA and susceptibility to alcohol misuse.
French, E D; Dillon, K; Wu, X
Extracellular recordings were used to determine the effects of cannabinoids on the activity of dopamine neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC). Systemic administration of the natural psychoactive cannabinoid delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC) and the synthetic cannabimimetic aminoalkylindole WIN 55,212-2 produced dose-dependent increases in firing rate and burst firing in both neuronal populations. These effects appear to be specific as the non-psychoactive cannabidiol and the inactive enantiomer WIN 55,212-3 failed to alter either parameter of neuronal excitability. Furthermore, dopamine neurons in the VTA were more sensitive than those in the SNC to the stimulatory actions of delta 9-THC. These results may provide a mechanism by which psychoactive cannabinoids increase extracellular dopamine levels in mesolimbic and striatal tissues, and thereby contribute to the reinforcing effects of marijuana.
Subcortical projections to the anterior thalamic nuclei were studied in the rat, with special reference to projections from the mammillary nuclei, by retrograde and anterograde transport of wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase. The medial mammillary nucleus (MM) projects predominantly ipsilaterally to the entire anterior thalamic nuclei, whereas the lateral mammillary nucleus projects bilaterally to the anterodorsal nucleus (AD) of the anterior thalamic nuclei. A topographic relationship was recognized between the MM and the anterior thalamic nuclei. The dorsal region of the pars mediana of the MM projects to the interanteromedial nucleus (IAM), whereas the ventral region projects to the rostral part of the anteromedial nucleus (AM). The dorsal and the ventral regions of the pars medialis project to the dorsomedial part of the AM at its caudal and rostral levels, respectively. The dorsomedial region of the pars lateralis projects to the ventral AM. The ventrolateral region of the pars lateralis projects to the ventral part of the anteroventral nucleus (AV) in such a manner that rostral cells project rostrally and caudal cells project caudally. The pars basalis projects predominantly ipsilaterally to the dorsolateral AV and bilaterally to the AD. The rostrolateral region of the pars posterior projects to the lateral AV, whereas the medial and the caudal regions of the pars posterior project to the dorsomedial AV. The rostrodorsal part of the nucleus reticularis thalami was found to project to the anterior thalamic nuclei; cells located rostrally in this part project to the IAM and AM, whereas cells located caudodorsally project to the AV and AD. The laterodorsal tegmental nucleus projects predominantly ipsilaterally to the AV, especially to its dorsolateral part. The present study demonstrates that subdivisions of the subcortical structures are connected to the subnuclei of the anterior thalamic nuclei, with a clear-cut topography arranged in
McMurray, M S; Williams, S K; Jarrett, T M; Cox, E T; Fay, E E; Overstreet, D H; Walker, C H; Johns, J M
Alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy is common, despite the known adverse effects of these drugs on fetal development. Though studies on the effects of each drug separately are published, little is known about the effect of concurrent use of alcohol and nicotine in humans or in preclinical models. In this report, we examined the impact of continuous gestational exposure to both ethanol via liquid diet and nicotine via an osmotic minipump on maternal behavior, offspring ethanol intake, and oxytocin levels in a rat model. Dams were tested for the onset of maternal behavior with litters of unexposed surrogate pups and then killed to examine oxytocin levels within specific brain regions. Drug-exposed offspring reared by surrogate dams were tested for ethanol intake at either adolescence or adulthood, and oxytocin levels were measured in relevant brain regions after behavioral tests. Dams exhibited minor deficits in maternal care, which were associated with lower oxytocin levels in both the ventral tegmental and medial preoptic areas compared to control dams. Prenatal exposure altered sex-specific ethanol intake, with differential effects at adolescence and adulthood. Oxytocin system changes were also apparent in the ventral tegmental and medial preoptic regions of drug-exposed adolescent and adult offspring. These results suggest that dam treatment with ethanol and nicotine can somewhat negatively affect the early rearing environment, and that prenatal exposure to both of these drugs results in drinking behavior differing from what would be expected from either drug alone. Oxytocin's possible involvement in the mediation of these effects is highlighted.
McMurray, M.S.; Williams, S.K.; Jarrett, T.M.; Cox, E.T.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Walker, C.H.; Johns, J.M.
Alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy is common, despite the known adverse effects of these drugs on fetal development. Though studies on the effects of each drug separately are published, little is known about the effect of concurrent use of alcohol and nicotine in humans or in preclinical models. In this report, we examined the impact of continuous gestational exposure to both ethanol via liquid diet and nicotine via an osmotic minipump on maternal behavior, offspring ethanol intake, and oxytocin levels in a rat model. Dams were tested for the onset of maternal behavior with litters of unexposed surrogate pups and then killed to examine oxytocin levels within specific brain regions. Drug-exposed offspring reared by surrogate dams were tested for ethanol intake at either adolescence or adulthood, and oxytocin levels were measured in relevant brain regions after behavioral tests. Dams exhibited minor deficits in maternal care, which were associated with lower oxytocin levels in both the ventral tegmental and medial preoptic areas compared to control dams. Prenatal exposure altered sex-specific ethanol intake, with differential effects at adolescence and adulthood. Oxytocin system changes were also apparent in the ventral tegmental and medial preoptic regions of drug-exposed adolescent and adult offspring. These results suggest that dam treatment with ethanol and nicotine can somewhat negatively affect the early rearing environment, and that prenatal exposure to both of these drugs results in drinking behavior differing from what would be expected from either drug alone. Oxytocin’s possible involvement in the mediation of these effects is highlighted. PMID:18664381
Robertson, G S; Jian, M
Alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission have profound effects on neuronal expression of the putative activity marker, Fos, in both the dorsal and ventral striatum. Stimulants such as D-amphetamine and cocaine increase Fos-like immunoreactivity by enhancing the activation of D1 dopamine receptors. In contrast, neuroleptics such as haloperidol and raclopride increase Fos-like immunoreactivity by blocking striatal D2 dopamine receptors. In the dorsal striatum, D1 receptor stimulation elevates Fos-like immunoreactivity predominantly in neurons projecting to the midbrain (substantia nigra), whereas D2 receptor antagonism enhances Fos-like immunoreactivity principally in neurons projecting to the pallidum (globus pallidus). These findings are consistent with the proposal that D1 receptors are located chiefly on striatonigral neurons, whereas D2 receptors reside mainly on striatopallidal neurons. Since the nucleus accumbens (largest component of the ventral striatum) also sends projections to the midbrain (ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra) and pallidum (ventral pallidum), the present study utilized retrograde tract-tracing techniques to determine if there was a similar segregation of D1 agonist- and D2 antagonist-induced Fos-like immunoreactivity in these accumbal projections. In addition, we examined whether these relationships were the same in the core and shell regions of the nucleus accumbens. Like the dorsal striatum, D1 agonists (D-amphetamine and CY 208-243), but not D2 antagonists (haloperidol and clozapine), increased Fos-like immunoreactivity in accumbal neurons projecting to the midbrain (ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra). Also like the dorsal striatum, D2 antagonist-induced Fos-like immunoreactivity was located preferentially in accumbal neurons projecting to the pallidum (ventral pallidum). However, unlike the dorsal striatum, where the vast majority of neurons which display D1 agonist-induced Fos-like immunoreactivity project to
Hannapel, Reilly C; Henderson, Yoko H; Nalloor, Rebecca; Vazdarjanova, Almira; Parent, Marise B
Evidence suggests that the memory of a recently ingested meal limits subsequent intake. Given that ventral hippocampal (vHC) neurons are involved in memory and energy intake, the present experiment tested the hypothesis that vHC neurons contribute to the formation of a memory of a meal and inhibit energy intake during the postprandial period. We tested (1) whether pharmacological inactivation of vHC neurons during the period following a sucrose meal, when the memory of the meal would be undergoing consolidation, accelerates the onset of the next sucrose meal and increases intake and (2) whether sucrose intake increases vHC expression of the synaptic plasticity marker activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc). Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to consume a 32% sucrose solution daily at the same time and location. On the experimental day, the rats were given intra-vHC infusions of the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol or vehicle after they finished their first sucrose meal. Compared to vehicle infusions, postmeal intra-vHC muscimol infusions decreased the latency to the next sucrose meal, increased the amount of sucrose consumed during that meal, increased the total number of sucrose meals and the total amount of sucrose ingested. In addition, rats that consumed sucrose had higher levels of Arc expression in both vHC CA1 and CA3 subfields than cage control rats. Collectively, these findings are the first to show that vHC neurons inhibit energy intake during the postprandial period and support the hypothesis that vHC neurons form a memory of a meal and inhibit subsequent intake. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Witten, Ilana B; Steinberg, Elizabeth E; Lee, Soo Yeun; Davidson, Thomas J; Zalocusky, Kelly A; Brodsky, Matthew; Yizhar, Ofer; Cho, Saemi L; Gong, Shiaoching; Ramakrishnan, Charu; Stuber, Garret D; Tye, Kay M; Janak, Patricia H; Deisseroth, Karl
Currently there is no general approach for achieving specific optogenetic control of genetically defined cell types in rats, which provide a powerful experimental system for numerous established neurophysiological and behavioral paradigms. To overcome this challenge we have generated genetically restricted recombinase-driver rat lines suitable for driving gene expression in specific cell types, expressing Cre recombinase under the control of large genomic regulatory regions (200-300 kb). Multiple tyrosine hydroxylase (Th)::Cre and choline acetyltransferase (Chat)::Cre lines were produced that exhibited specific opsin expression in targeted cell types. We additionally developed methods for utilizing optogenetic tools in freely moving rats and leveraged these technologies to clarify the causal relationship between dopamine (DA) neuron firing and positive reinforcement, observing that optical stimulation of DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of Th::Cre rats is sufficient to support vigorous intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). These studies complement existing targeting approaches by extending the generalizability of optogenetics to traditionally non-genetically-tractable but vital animal models.
Smith, Kyle S.; Tindell, Amy J.; Aldridge, J. Wayne; Berridge, Kent C.
In recent years the ventral pallidum has become a focus of great research interest as a mechanism of reward and incentive motivation. As a major output for limbic signals, the ventral pallidum was once associated primarily with motor functions rather than regarded as a reward structure in its own right. However, ample evidence now suggests that ventral pallidum function is a major mechanism of reward in the brain. We review data indicating that 1) an intact ventral pallidum is necessary for normal reward and motivation, 2) stimulated activation of ventral pallidum is sufficient to cause reward and motivation enhancements, and 3) activation patterns in ventral pallidum neurons specifically encode reward and motivation signals via phasic bursts of excitation to incentive and hedonic stimuli. We conclude that the ventral pallidum may serve as an important ‘limbic final common pathway’ for mesocorticolimbic processing of many rewards. PMID:18955088
Barr, Jeffrey L; Forster, Gina L; Unterwald, Ellen M
Dopaminergic neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens is important for various reward-related cognitive processes including reinforcement learning. Repeated cocaine enhances hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and phasic elevations of accumbal dopamine evoked by unconditioned stimuli are dependent on impulse flow from the ventral hippocampus. Therefore, sensitized hippocampal activity may be one mechanism by which drugs of abuse enhance limbic dopaminergic activity. In this study, in vivo microdialysis in freely moving adult male Sprague-Dawley rats was used to investigate the effect of repeated cocaine on ventral hippocampus-mediated dopaminergic transmission within the medial shell of the nucleus accumbens. Following seven daily injections of saline or cocaine (20 mg/kg, ip), unilateral infusion of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA, 0.5 μg) into the ventral hippocampus transiently increased both motoric activity and ipsilateral dopamine efflux in the medial shell of the nucleus accumbens, and this effect was greater in rats that received repeated cocaine compared to controls that received repeated saline. In addition, repeated cocaine altered NMDA receptor subunit expression in the ventral hippocampus, reducing the NR2A : NR2B subunit ratio. Together, these results suggest that repeated exposure to cocaine produces maladaptive ventral hippocampal-nucleus accumbens communication, in part through changes in glutamate receptor composition. A behaviorally sensitizing regimen of cocaine (20 mg/kg, ip 7 days) also sensitized ventral hippocampus (hipp)-mediated dopaminergic transmission within the nucleus accumbens (Nac) to NMDA stimulation (bolts). This was associated with reduced ventral hippocampal NR2A:NR2B subunit ratio, suggesting that repeated exposure to cocaine produces changes in hippocampal NMDA receptor composition that lead to enhanced ventral hippocampus-nucleus accumbens communication.
Dudek, Mateusz; Canals, Santiago; Sommer, Wolfgang H; Hyytiä, Petri
The nonselective opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone is now used for the treatment of alcoholism, yet naltrexone's central mechanism of action remains poorly understood. One line of evidence suggests that opioid antagonists regulate alcohol drinking through interaction with the mesolimbic dopamine system. Hence, our goal here was to examine the role of the nucleus accumbens connectivity in alcohol reinforcement and naltrexone's actions using manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI). Following long-term free-choice drinking of alcohol and water, AA (Alko Alcohol) rats received injections of MnCl2 into the nucleus accumbens for activity-dependent tracing of accumbal connections. Immediately after the accumbal injections, rats were imaged using MEMRI, and then allowed to drink either alcohol or water for the next 24h. Naltrexone was administered prior to the active dark period, and the second MEMRI was performed 24h after the first scan. Comparison of signal intensity at 1 and 24h after accumbal MnCl2 injections revealed an ipsilateral continuum through the ventral pallidum, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, globus pallidus, and lateral hypothalamus to the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. Activation was also seen in the rostral part of the insular cortex and regions of the prefrontal cortex. Alcohol drinking resulted in enhanced activation of these connections, whereas naltrexone suppressed alcohol-induced activity. These data support the involvement of the accumbal connections in alcohol reinforcement and mediation of naltrexone's suppressive effects on alcohol drinking through their deactivation.
Masilamoni, Gunasingh Jeyaraj; Groover, Olivia; Smith, Yoland
There is anatomical and functional evidence that ventral midbrain dopaminergic (DA) cell groups and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) receive noradrenergic innervation in rodents, but much less is known about these interactions in primates. Degeneration of NE neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC) and related brainstem NE cell groups is a well-established pathological feature of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the development of such pathology in animal models of PD has been inconsistent across species and laboratories. We recently demonstrated 30-40% neuronal loss in the LC, A5 and A6 NE cell groups of rhesus monkeys rendered parkinsonian by chronic administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). In this study, we used dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DβH) immunocytochemistry to assess the impact of this neuronal loss on the number of NE terminal-like varicosities in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC), ventral tegmental area (VTA), retrorubral field (RRF) and STN of MPTP-treated parkinsonian monkeys. Our findings reveal that the NE innervation of the ventral midbrain and STN of normal monkeys is heterogeneously distributed being far more extensive in the VTA, RRF and dorsal tier of the SNC than in the ventral SNC and STN. In parkinsonian monkeys, all regions underwent a significant (~50-70%) decrease in NE innervation. At the electron microscopic level, some DβH-positive terminals formed asymmetric axo-dendritic synapses in VTA and STN. These findings demonstrate that the VTA, RRF and SNCd are the main ventral midbrain targets of ascending NE inputs, and that these connections undergo a major break-down in chronically MPTP-treated parkinsonian monkeys. This severe degeneration of the ascending NE system may contribute to the pathophysiology of ventral midbrain and STN neurons in PD.
Lansink, Carien S.; Goltstein, Pieter M.; Lankelma, Jan V.; Joosten, Ruud N. J. M. A.; McNaughton, Bruce L.
Spontaneous “off-line” reactivation of neuronal activity patterns may contribute to the consolidation of memory traces. The ventral striatum exhibits reactivation and has been implicated in the processing of motivational information. It is unknown, however, whether reactivating neuronal ensembles specifically recapitulate information relating to rewards that were encountered during wakefulness. We demonstrate a prolonged reactivation in rat ventral striatum during quiet wakefulness and slow-wave but not rapid eye movement sleep. Reactivation of reward-related information processed in this structure was particularly prominent, and this was primarily attributable to spike trains temporally linked to reward sites. It was accounted for by small, strongly correlated subgroups in recorded cell assemblies and can thus be characterized as a sparse phenomenon. Our results indicate that reactivated memory traces may not only comprise feature- and context-specific information but also contain a value component. PMID:18562607
Glover, Elizabeth J.; McDougle, Molly J.; Siegel, Griffin S.; Jhou, Thomas C.; Chandler, L. Judson
Background While the rewarding effects of alcohol contribute significantly to its addictive potential, it is becoming increasingly appreciated that alcohol’s aversive properties also play an important role in the propensity to drink. Despite this, the neurobiological mechanism for alcohol’s aversive actions is not well understood. The rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) was recently characterized for its involvement in aversive signaling and has been shown to encode the aversive properties of cocaine, yet its involvement in alcohol’s aversive actions have not been elucidated. Methods Adult male and female Long-Evans rats underwent conditioned taste aversion (CTA) procedures where exposure to a novel saccharin solution was paired with i.p. administration of saline, lithium chloride (LiCl), or ethanol (EtOH). Control rats underwent the same paradigm except that drug and saccharin exposure were explicitly unpaired. Saccharin consumption was measured on test day in the absence of drug administration and rats were sacrificed 90–105 min following access to saccharin. Brains were subsequently harvested and processed for cFos immunohistochemistry. The number of cFos labeled neurons was counted in the RMTg and the lateral habenula (LHb) – a region that sends prominent glutamatergic input to the RMTg. Results In rats that received paired drug and saccharin exposure, EtOH and LiCl induced significant CTA compared to saline to a similar degree in males and females. Both EtOH- and LiCl-induced CTA significantly enhanced cFos expression in the RMTg and LHb but not the hippocampus. Similar to behavioral measures, no significant effect of sex on CTA-induced cFos expression was observed. cFos expression in both the RMTg and LHb was significantly correlated to CTA magnitude with greater cFos being associated with more pronounced CTA. In addition, cFos expression in the RMTg was positively correlated with LHb cFos. Conclusions These data suggest that the RMTg and LHb are
Rodríguez-Manzo, Gabriela; Canseco-Alba, Ana
GABAergic transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) exerts a tonic inhibitory influence on mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons' activity. Blockade of VTA GABAA receptors increases dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Increases in NAcc dopamine levels typically accompany sexual behavior display. Copulation to satiety is characterized by the instatement of a long lasting (72h) sexual behavior inhibition and the mesolimbic system appears to be involved in this phenomenon. GABAergic transmission in the VTA might play a role in the maintenance of this long lasting sexual inhibitory state. To test this hypothesis, in the present work we investigated the effect of GABAA receptor blockade in sexually exhausted males 24h after copulation to satiety, once the sexual inhibitory state is established, and compared it with its effect in sexually experienced rats. Results showed that low doses of systemically administered bicuculline induced sexual behavior expression in sexually exhausted rats, but lacked an effect on copulation of sexually experienced animals. Intra-VTA bilateral infusion of bicuculline did not modify sexual behavior of sexually experienced rats, but induced sexual behavior expression in all the sexually exhausted males. Hence, GABA plays a role in the control of sexual behavior expression at the VTA. The role played by GABAergic transmission in male sexual behavior expression of animals with distinct sexual behavior conditions is discussed.
Cao, Jun Ping; Wang, Hong Jun; Li, Li; Zhang, Su Ming
Prolonged exposure to opiates induces a constellation of neuroadaptations, especially in the mesolimbic dopamine system (MLDS), which leads to alteration in the function of motivational circuitry. The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) mediates cell-cell interactions and plays an important role in processes associated with neural plasticity. Moreover, it has been shown that NCAM were related to risk of alcoholism in human populations. Here, coimmunoprecipitation and western blotting were used to investigate whether morphine treatment induced alteration of the expression of NCAM or its signaling level in MLDS. The rats receiving escalating dose of morphine treatment were divided into three groups: morphine 1d, 3d and 5d group, which were injected subcutaneously with morphine hydrochloride for 1 day, 3 days and 5 days, respectively. Twelve hours after the last injection, animals were sacrificed and the tissues of ventral tegmental area (VTA), prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) were punched out to examine the expression of NCAM or its signaling level. The results showed that morphine treatment had no significant effect on the expression of NCAM, but downregulated the phosphorylation of NCAM-associated focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in the VTA and PFC of rats. In the NAc of rats, however, the expression of NCAM and its signaling were not altered significantly by morphine treatment. These results indicated that the downregulation of NCAM signaling in the VTA and PFC might be involved in the formation of morphine addiction.
László, Kristóf; Tóth, Krisztián; Kertes, Erika; Péczely, László; Lénárd, László
In the central nervous system neurotensin (NT) acts as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. It was shown that NT has positive reinforcing effects after its direct microinjection into the ventral tegmental area. The central nucleus of amygdala (CeA), part of the limbic system, plays an important role in learning, memory, regulation of feeding, anxiety and emotional behavior. By means of immunohistochemical and radioimmune methods it was shown that the amygdaloid body is relatively rich in NT immunoreactive elements and NT receptors. The aim of our study was to examine the possible effects of NT on reinforcement and anxiety in the CeA. In conditioned place preference test male Wistar rats were microinjected bilaterally with 100 or 250 ng NT in volume of 0.4 microl or 35 ng neurotensin receptor 1 (NTS1) antagonist SR 48692 alone, or NTS1 antagonist 15 min before 100 ng NT treatment. Hundred or 250 ng NT significantly increased the time rats spent in the treatment quadrant. Prior treatment with the non-peptide NTS1 antagonist blocked the effects of NT. Antagonist itself did not influence the reinforcing effect. In elevated plus maze test we did not find differences among the groups as far as the anxiety index (time spent on the open arms) was concerned. Our results suggest that in the rat ACE NT has positive reinforcing effects. We clarified that NTS1s are involved in this action. It was also shown that NT does not influence anxiety behavior.
Lansink, Carien S.; Jackson, Jadin; Lankelma, Jan V.; Ito, Rutsuko; Robbins, Trevor W.; Everitt, Barry J.; Pennartz, Cyriel M.A.
Forming place-reward associations critically depends on the integrity of the hippocampal-ventral striatal system. The ventral striatum receives a strong hippocampal input conveying spatial-contextual information, but it is unclear how this structure integrates this information to invigorate reward-directed behavior. Neuronal ensembles in rat hippocampus and ventral striatum were simultaneously recorded during a conditioning task in which navigation depended on path integration. In contrast to hippocampus, ventral striatal neurons showed low spatial selectivity, but rather coded behavioral task phases towards reaching goal sites. Outcome-predicting cues induced a remapping of firing patterns in the hippocampus, consistent with its role in episodic memory. Ventral striatum remapped in conjunction with the hippocampus, indicating that remapping can take place in multiple brain regions engaged in the same task. Subsets of ventral striatal neurons showed a “flip” from high activity when cue lights were illuminated to low activity in intertrial intervals, or vice versa. The cues induced an increase in spatial information transmission and sparsity in both structures. These effects were paralleled by an enhanced temporal specificity of ensemble coding and a more accurate reconstruction of the animal’s position from population firing patterns. Altogether, the results reveal strong differences in spatial processing between hippocampal area CA1 and ventral striatum, but indicate similarities in how discrete cues impact on this processing. PMID:22956836
Root, David H.; Melendez, Roberto I.; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Napier, T. Celeste
The ventral pallidum (VP) plays a critical role in the processing and execution of motivated behaviors. Yet this brain region is often overlooked in published discussions of the neurobiology of mental health (e.g., addiction, depression). This contributes to a gap in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of psychiatric disorders. This review is presented to help bridge the gap by providing a resource for current knowledge of VP anatomy, projection patterns and subregional circuits, and how this organization relates to the function of VP neurons and ultimately behavior. For example, ventromedial (VPvm) and dorsolateral (VPdl) VP subregions receive projections from nucleus accumbens shell and core, respectively. Inhibitory GABAergic neurons of the VPvm project to mediodorsal thalamus, lateral hypothalamus, and ventral tegmental area, and this VP subregion helps discriminate the appropriate conditions to acquire natural rewards or drugs of abuse, consume preferred foods, and perform working memory tasks. GABAergic neurons of the VPdl project to subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra pars reticulata, and this VP subregion is modulated by, and is necessary for, drug-seeking behavior. Additional circuits arise from nonGABAergic neuronal phenotypes that are likely to excite rather than inhibit their targets. These subregional and neuronal phenotypic circuits place the VP in a unique position to process motivationally-relevant stimuli and coherent adaptive behaviors. PMID:25857550
Pomrenze, Matthew B.; Millan, E. Zayra; Hopf, F. Woodward; Keiflin, Ronald; Maiya, Rajani; Blasio, Angelo; Dadgar, Jahan; Kharazia, Viktor; De Guglielmo, Giordano; Crawford, Elena; Janak, Patricia H.; George, Olivier; Rice, Kenner C.; Messing, Robert O.
Corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) is a 41 amino acid neuropeptide that coordinates adaptive responses to stress. CRF projections from neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) to the brainstem are of particular interest for their role in motivated behavior. To directly examine the anatomy and function of CRF neurons, we generated a BAC transgenic Crh-Cre rat in which bacterial Cre recombinase is expressed from the Crh promoter. Using Cre-dependent reporters, we found that Cre expressing neurons in these rats are immunoreactive for CRF and are clustered in the lateral CeA (CeL) and the oval nucleus of the BNST. We detected major projections from CeA CRF neurons to parabrachial nuclei and the locus coeruleus, dorsal and ventral BNST, and more minor projections to lateral portions of the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, and lateral hypothalamus. Optogenetic stimulation of CeA CRF neurons evoked GABA-ergic responses in 11% of non-CRF neurons in the medial CeA (CeM) and 44% of non-CRF neurons in the CeL. Chemogenetic stimulation of CeA CRF neurons induced Fos in a similar proportion of non-CRF CeM neurons but a smaller proportion of non-CRF CeL neurons. The CRF1 receptor antagonist R121919 reduced this Fos induction by two-thirds in these regions. These results indicate that CeL CRF neurons provide both local inhibitory GABA and excitatory CRF signals to other CeA neurons, and demonstrate the value of the Crh-Cre rat as a tool for studying circuit function and physiology of CRF neurons. PMID:26733798
Werling, Linda L.; Reed, Stephanie Collins; Wade, Dean; Izenwasser, Sari
A significant number of youths use cigarettes, and more than half of the youths who smoke daily also use illicit drugs. The focus of these studies is on how exposure to nicotine affects subsequent responses to both nicotine and cannabinoids in adolescents compared with adults. We have shown previously that chronic treatment with nicotine produces sensitization to its locomotor-activating effects in female and adult rats but not male adolescent rats. To better understand the effects of nicotine on adolescent and adult rats, rats were injected with nicotine or saline for 7 days and, on day 8, either challenged with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) or the cannabinoid agonist CP 55,940 and tested for locomotor activity, or the brains were removed for quantitative autoradiography studies of the cannabinoid1 receptor. A separate group of rats was treated with nicotine plus the cannabinoid antagonist AM 251 and then challenged with CP 55,940. In adolescent male rats, nicotine administration led to sensitization to the locomotor-decreasing effects of both Δ9-THC and CP 55,940, but in adult male rats, the response to either drug was unchanged compared to controls. The effect of nicotine on CP 55,940-mediated locomotor activity was blocked by co-administration of AM 251 with the nicotine. Further, cannabinoid receptor density was increased in the prelimbic prefrontal cortex, ventral tegmental area, and select regions of the hippocampus in adolescent male rats pretreated with nicotine compared to vehicle-treated controls. There were no significant changes in cannabinoid receptor binding, however, in any of the brain regions examined in adult males pretreated with nicotine. The prelimbic prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus have been shown previously to be involved in stimulant reinforcement; thus it is possible that these changes contribute to the unique behavioral effects of chronic nicotine and subsequent drug administration in adolescents compared with adults. PMID
Juárez, Jorge; Guerrero-Álvarez, Ángeles
Prenatal alcohol treatment (PA) produces a decrease in dopaminergic neuron activity in the ventral tegmental area, an alteration that is alleviated with methylphenidate treatment. Evidence exists that PA also produces hyperactivity, inattention and enhanced impulsivity, behavioral alterations that have been related to dopaminergic and noradrenergic functions. The purpose of this work was to study the effects of methylphenidate and atomoxetine on impulsivity and motor activity in preadolescent male rats prenatally exposed to alcohol. Pregnant Wistar rats were exposed to either alcohol or an isocaloric solution from Days 8 to 20 of gestation. Starting at 24 postnatal days, male offspring were tested for motor activity and trained in a delay-discounting task for impulsivity assessment before, and during, treatment with either 3 mg/kg i.p. of methylphenidate, 2 mg/kg i.p. of atomoxetine, or saline i.p. The group prenatally exposed to alcohol showed higher motor activity and more frequent choices of immediate, but small, rewards than the control group; a finding indicative of higher impulsivity. Atomoxetine reduced both motor activity and impulsivity. In contrast, methylphenidate had only a mild effect on impulsivity. Results suggest an important participation of noradrenergic transmission in cognitive impulsivity and hyperactivity in preadolescent rats with previous alterations in these behaviors. Dopaminergic participation in these behaviors is partially supported by the present findings on the basis of the effects of methylphenidate.
Johnson, M L; Ho, C C; Day, A E; Walker, Q D; Francis, R; Kuhn, C M
Previous findings in our laboratory and elsewhere have shown that ovariectomy of rats in adulthood attenuates cocaine-stimulated locomotor behaviour. Ovarian hormones enhance both cocaine-stimulated behaviour and increase dopamine overflow after psychomotor stimulants. The present study aimed to determine whether ovarian hormones have these effects in part by maintaining dopamine neurone number in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) and to investigate the roles of specific oestrogen receptors (ERs) in the maintenance of mesencephalic dopamine neurones. To accomplish this goal, we used unbiased stereological techniques to estimate the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-IR) cell bodies in midbrain regions of intact, ovariectomised and hormone-replaced female rats and mice. Animals received active or sham gonadectomy on postnatal day 60 and received vehicle, 17beta-oestradiol (E(2)) or selective ER agonists propyl-pyrazole-triol (PPT, ERalpha) or diarylpropionitrile (DPN, ERbeta) for 1 month post-surgery. In both rats and mice, ovariectomy reduced the number of TH-IR cells in the SNpc and VTA. Replacement with E(2), PPT or DPN prevented or attenuated the loss observed with ovariectomy in both rats and mice. An additional study using ER knockout mice revealed that adult female mice lacking ERalpha had fewer TH-IR cells in midbrain regions than wild-type mice, whereas mice lacking ERbeta had TH-IR cell counts comparable to wild-type. These findings suggest that, although both ER subtypes play a role in the maintenance of TH-IR cell number in the SNpc and VTA, ERalpha may play a more significant role.
Oleson, Erik B.; Beckert, Michael V.; Morra, Joshua T.; Lansink, Carien S.; Cachope, Roger; Abdullah, Rehab A.; Loriaux, Amy L.; Schetters, Dustin; Pattij, Tommy; Roitman, Mitchell F.; Lichtman, Aron H.; Cheer, Joseph F.
SUMMARY Transient increases in nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine concentration are observed when animals are presented with motivationally salient stimuli and are theorized to energize reward seeking. They arise from high frequency firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which also results in the release of endocannabinoids from dopamine cell bodies. In this context, endocannabinoids are thought to regulate reward seeking by modulating dopamine signaling, although a direct link has never been demonstrated. To test this, we pharmacologically manipulated endocannabinoid neurotransmission in the VTA while measuring transient changes in dopamine concentration in the NAc during reward seeking. Disrupting endocannabinoid signaling dramatically reduced, whereas augmenting levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2AG) increased, cue-evoked dopamine concentrations and reward seeking. These data suggest that 2AG in the VTA regulates reward seeking by sculpting ethologically relevant patterns of dopamine release during reward-directed behavior. PMID:22284189
Patapis, Paul; Zavras, Nick; Tzanetis, Panagiotis; Machairas, Anastasios
Background and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze the surgical technique, postoperative complications, and possible recurrence after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair (LVHR) in comparison with open ventral hernia repair (OVHR), based on the international literature. Database: A Medline search of the current English literature was performed using the terms laparoscopic ventral hernia repair and incisional hernia repair. Conclusions: LVHR is a safe alternative to the open method, with the main advantages being minimal postoperative pain, shorter recovery, and decreased wound and mesh infections. Incidental enterotomy can be avoided by using a meticulous technique and sharp dissection to avoid thermal injury. PMID:26273186
Abdellatif, Abbaoui; Omar, E L Hiba; Halima, Gamrani
Recently, studies have provided strong evidence indicating the involvement of trace elements in the physiopathology of psychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety. We aimed, through the present study, to describe the effect of acute exposure to Cu (10mg/kg BW) on anxiety state together with the serotoninergic and dopaminergic systems in rat by means of neurobehavioral tests (elevated plus maze, dark light box) and immunohistochemistry using anti-serotonin (5HT) and anti-tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Our data report that Cu enhanced 5HT innervation in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) together with a loss of TH expression within the ventral tegmental area (VTA), Substantia nigra compacta (SNc) and their subsequent outputs including the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) and striatum. In the elevated plus maze Cu significantly increased the time and the number of entries into the open arms, and raised the time spent in the Dark Box indicating a clear reduced anxiety state induced by Cu. The present data show for the first time a powerful neuro-modulatory potential of Cu in rat which involves primarily a dysfunction of 5HT and DA neurotransmissions.
Przegaliński, Edmund; Czepiel, Klaudia; Nowak, Ewa; Dlaboga, Daniel; Filip, Małgorzata
In the present study we examined the effect of prolonged treatment with cocaine (a sensitization and discrimination paradigm) on the expression of serotonin (5-HT)(1B) receptors in rat brain structures using a quantitative autoradiographic analysis. To estimate the distribution of 5-HT(1B) receptors in several brain coronal sections, we used [N-methyl-(3)H]GR 125743, a 5-HT(1B/1D) receptor antagonist, in the presence of ketanserin (a drug used to block 5-HT(1D) receptors). The binding of [N-methyl-(3)H]GR 125743 in the areas containing dopamine cell bodies (the ventral tegmental area, the substantia nigra) and terminals (the nucleus accumbens shell and core, but not in the caudate-putamen) and in the subiculum of the hippocampus was increased after withdrawal from repeated cocaine in both the discrimination and the sensitization paradigms, either being effective as confirmed by behavioral experiments. Neither acute cocaine injection nor the psychostimulant challenge following its repeated administration affected the binding of [N-methyl-(3)H]GR 125743 in the above brain areas. Our results indicate that withdrawal from chronic cocaine induces up-regulation of 5-HT(1B) receptors in a number of rat brain structures.
Sun, Min; Wang, Ke; Yu, Yan; Su, Wen-Ting; Jiang, Xin-Xin
Previous studies have identified the beneficial effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on motor behaviors in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the role and potential mechanisms of EA in PD-associated depression remain unclear. In the present study, a rat model of PD with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions in the medial forebrain bundle was treated using EA for 4 weeks. We found that 100 Hz EA improved several motor phenotypes. In addition, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemical analysis showed that EA had a minimal impact on the TH-positive profiles of the ipsilateral ventral tegmental area. Compared with the 6-OHDA group, long-term EA stimulation significantly increased sucrose solution consumption and decreased immobility time in the forced swim test. EA treatment did not alter dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the striatum and hippocampus. Noticeably, EA treatment reversed the 6-OHDA-induced abnormal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in the midbrain and hippocampus. These results demonstrate that EA at 100-Hz possesses the ability to improve depressive-like symptoms in PD rats, which is, at least in part, due to the distinct effect of EA on the mesostriatal and mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathways. Moreover, BDNF seems to participate in the effect of EA in PD. PMID:27525025
Shi, Weibo; Ma, Chunling; Qi, Qian; Liu, Lizhe; Bi, Haitao; Cong, Bin; Li, Yingmin
Mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons are heavily involved in the development of drug dependence. Thyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, plays an important role in the survival of dopaminergic neurons. Therefore, this study investigated TH changes in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra (SN), as well as the morphine effects on dopaminergic neurons induced by different durations of morphine dependence. Models of morphine dependence were established in rats, and paraffin-embedded sections, immunohistochemistry and western blotting were used to observe the changes in the expression of TH protein. Fluoro-Jade B staining was used to detect degeneration and necrosis, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end-labeling (TUNEL) detected the apoptosis of mesencephalic dopaminergic nerve cells. Immunohistochemistry and western blotting showed that the number of TH positive cells and the protein levels in the VTA and SN were significantly decreased in the rats with a long period of morphine dependency. With prolonged morphine exposure, the dopaminergic nerve cells in the VTA and SN showed degeneration and necrosis, while apoptotic cells were not observed. The number of VTA and SN dopaminergic nerve cells decreased with increasing periods of morphine dependence, which was most likely attributable to the degeneration and necrosis of nerve cells induced by morphine toxicity.
Vinish, Monika; Elnabawi, Ahmed; Milstein, Jean A; Burke, Jesse S; Kallevang, Jonathan K; Turek, Kevin C; Lansink, Carien S; Merchenthaler, Istvan; Bailey, Aileen M; Kolb, Bryan; Cheer, Joseph F; Frost, Douglas O
Antipsychotic drugs are increasingly used in children and adolescents to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders. However, little is known about the long-term effects of early life antipsychotic drug (APD) treatment. Most APDs are potent antagonists or partial agonists of dopamine (DA) D₂ receptors; atypical APDs also have multiple serotonergic activities. DA and serotonin regulate many neurodevelopmental processes. Thus, early life APD treatment can, potentially, perturb these processes, causing long-term behavioural and neurobiological sequelae. We treated adolescent, male rats with olanzapine (Ola) on post-natal days 28-49, under dosing conditions that approximate those employed therapeutically in humans. As adults, they exhibited enhanced conditioned place preference for amphetamine, as compared to vehicle-treated rats. In the nucleus accumbens core, DA D₁ receptor binding was reduced, D₂ binding was increased and DA release evoked by electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area was reduced. Thus, adolescent Ola treatment enduringly alters a key behavioural response to rewarding stimuli and modifies DAergic neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens. The persistence of these changes suggests that even limited periods of early life Ola treatment may induce enduring changes in other reward-related behaviours and in behavioural and neurobiological responses to therapeutic and illicit psychotropic drugs. These results underscore the importance of improved understanding of the enduring sequelae of paediatric APD treatment as a basis for weighing the benefits and risks of adolescent APD therapy, especially prophylactic treatment in high-risk, asymptomatic patients.
Francois, Jennifer; Grimm, Oliver; Schwarz, Adam J; Schweiger, Janina; Haller, Leila; Risterucci, Celine; Böhringer, Andreas; Zang, Zhenxiang; Tost, Heike; Gilmour, Gary; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andreas
Convergent evidence implicates regional neural responses to reward anticipation in the pathogenesis of several psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, where blunted ventral striatal responses to positive reward are observed in patients and at-risk populations. In vivo oxygen amperometry measurements in the ventral striatum in awake, behaving rats reveal reward-related tissue oxygen changes that closely parallel blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal changes observed in human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), suggesting that a cross-species approach targeting this mechanism might be feasible in psychopharmacology. The present study explored modulatory effects of acute, subanaesthetic doses of ketamine—a pharmacological model widely used in psychopharmacological research, both preclinically and clinically—on ventral striatum activity during performance of a reward anticipation task in both species, using fMRI in humans and in vivo oxygen amperometry in rats. In a region-of-interest analysis conducted following a cross-over placebo and ketamine study in human subjects, an attenuated ventral striatal response during reward anticipation was observed following ketamine relative to placebo during performance of a monetary incentive delay task. In rats, a comparable attenuation of ventral striatal signal was found after ketamine challenge, relative to vehicle, in response to a conditioned stimulus that predicted delivery of reward. This study provides the first data in both species demonstrating an attenuating effect of acute ketamine on reward-related ventral striatal (O2) and fMRI signals. These findings may help elucidate a deeper mechanistic understanding of the potential role of ketamine as a model for psychosis, show that cross-species pharmacological experiments targeting reward signaling are feasible, and suggest this phenotype as a promising translational biomarker for the development of novel compounds, assessment of disease status, and
Chan, Jiangping; Guan, Xin; Ni, Yiling; Luo, Lilu; Yang, Liqiang; Zhang, Pengyue; Zhang, Jichuan; Chen, Yanmei
The Lateral Habenula (LHb) plays an important role in emotion and cognition. Recent experiments suggest that LHb has functional interaction with the hippocampus and plays an important role in spatial learning. LHb is reciprocally connected with midbrain monoaminergic brain areas such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA). However, the role of dopamine type 1 receptor (D1R) in LHb in learning and memory is not clear yet. In the present study, D1R agonist or antagonist were administered bilaterally into the LHb in rats. We found that both D1R agonist and antagonist impaired the acquisition of contextual fear memory in rats. D1R agonist or antagonist also impaired long term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapses in freely moving rats and attenuated learning induced phosphorylation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid receptor (AMPAR) subunit 1 (GluA1) at Ser831 and Ser845 in hippocampus. Taken together, our results suggested that dysfunction of D1R in LHb affected the function of hippocampus.
Park, Jinwoo; Takmakov, Pavel; Wightman, R Mark
Brain norepinephrine and dopamine regulate a variety of critical behaviors such as stress, learning, memory, and drug addiction. In this study, we demonstrate differences in the regulation of in vivo neurotransmission for dopamine in the anterior nucleus accumbens (NAc) and norepinephrine in the ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST) of the anesthetized rat. Release of the two catecholamines was measured simultaneously using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at two different carbon-fiber microelectrodes, each implanted in the brain region of interest. Simultaneous dopamine and norepinephrine release was evoked by electrical stimulation of a region where the ventral noradrenergic bundle, the pathway of noradrenergic neurons, courses through the ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra, the origin of dopaminergic cell bodies. The release and uptake of norepinephrine in the vBNST were both significantly slower than for dopamine in the NAc. Pharmacological manipulations in the same animal demonstrated that the two catecholamines are differently regulated. The combination of a dopamine autoreceptor antagonist and amphetamine significantly increased basal extracellular dopamine whereas a norepinephrine autoreceptor antagonist and amphetamine did not change basal norepinephrine concentration. α-Methyl-p-tyrosine, a tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor, decreased electrically evoked dopamine release faster than norepinephrine. The dual-microelectrode fast-scan cyclic voltammetry technique along with anatomical and pharmacological evidence confirms that dopamine in the NAc and norepinephrine in the vBNST can be monitored selectively and simultaneously in the same animal. The high temporal and spatial resolution of the technique enabled us to examine differences in the dynamics of extracellular norepinephrine and dopamine concurrently in two different limbic structures.
Komorowski, RW; Garcia, CG; Wilson, A; Hattori, S; Howard, MW; Eichenbaum, H
Memories can be recalled at different levels of resolution, from a detailed rendition of specific events within a single experience to a broad generalization across multiple related experiences. Here we provide evidence that neural representations reflecting the specificity or generality of memories are differentially represented along the dorsal-ventral axis of the CA3 area of the rat hippocampus. In dorsal CA3, neurons rapidly associate the identity of events with specific locations whereas, in more ventrally located CA3 regions, neurons gradually accumulate information across extended training to form representations that generalize across related events within a spatial context and distinguish events across contexts. PMID:23637197
Upadhya, Manoj A; Shelkar, Gajanan P; Subhedar, Nishikant K; Kokare, Dadasaheb M
Parkinson's disease (PD) is an age-related disorder characterized by a progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra (SN). The neuropeptide cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is known to closely interact with the dopamine system and regulate psychomotor activity. We screened the effectiveness of CART in reversing the symptoms of PD in a rat model. PD like condition was induced by administering 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) directly in the SN of the right side. Fifteen days later, intraperitoneal (IP) treatment with apomorphine hydrochloride to these rats, resulted in contralateral rotations in the rotation test chamber suggesting induction of PD-like symptoms. This action of apomorphine was significantly attenuated by intracerebroventricular (ICV) treatment with CART and potentiated by CART antibody. IP treatment with levodopa also produced contralateral rotation in PD induced rats, and showed anti-Parkinson-like action. Prior treatment with CART via ICV route potentiated the anti-Parkinsonian effects of levodopa, while CART antibody produced opposite effects. CART treatment per se, to PD induced rats produced ipsilateral rotations, suggesting that the peptide may promote the endogenous release of dopamine from intact neurons. While CART-immunoreactivity in arcuate nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, striatum, substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area and locus coeruleus was reduced in the PD induced rats, levodopa treatment restored the expression of CART-immunoreactivity in these nuclei. These results suggest that endogenous CART might closely interact with the dopamine containing SN-striatal pathway which is known to profoundly influence the motor system. The study underscores the importance of CART as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of PD.
Frye, Cheryl A; Petralia, Sandra M; Rhodes, Madeline E; Stein, Benjamin
5alpha-pregnan-3alpha-ol-20-one (3alpha,5alpha-THP) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) mediates lordosis of rodents. If fluoxetine's effects on lordosis are mediated in part by midbrain 3alpha,5alpha-THP, then fluoxetine regimens that decrease and increase lordosis would be expected to respectively lower and elevate midbrain 3alpha,5-THP levels. Experiment 1: Ovariectomized (ovx) rats received estradiol benzoate (EB; 5 micro g, SC) at 0 and 24 h and fluoxetine (20 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle 30 min before sex testing and tissue collection. Other rats received fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle for 15 days followed by EB-priming and testing. Systemic acute or chronic fluoxetine significantly decreased lordosis and midbrain 3alpha,5alpha-THP levels compared to vehicle. Experiment 2: Ovx rats with unilateral cannula to the VTA were primed with EB (5 micro g; 0, 24 h) and/or progesterone (0 or 100 micro g; 44 h, SC). At 47.5 h, fluoxetine (3.6 mM) or vehicle was infused to the VTA. At 48 h, rats were tested. Administering fluoxetine to the VTA significantly increased lordosis and midbrain 3alpha,5alpha-THP levels compared to vehicle infusions. Experiment 3: Ovx EB-primed rats were tested prior to, and 30 min after, treatmemt with acute fluoxetine (20 mg/kg, IP). Rats were then infused with 3alpha,5alpha-THP (100 ng) or vehicle to the VTA and were retested. 3alpha,5alpha-THP, but not vehicle, to the VTA reversed acute fluoxetine's inhibitory effects on lordosis. Together, these data suggest fluoxetine may alter lordosis in part through actions of 3alpha-THP in the midbrain.
Sakashita, Yuichi; Abe, Kenji; Katagiri, Nobuyuki; Kambe, Toshie; Saitoh, Toshiaki; Utsunomiya, Iku; Horiguchi, Yoshie; Taguchi, Kyoji
Psilocin (3-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl]-1H-indol-4-ol) is a hallucinogenic component of the Mexican mushroom Psilocybe mexicana and a skeletal serotonin (5-HT) analogue. Psilocin is the active metabolite of psilocybin (3-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl]-1H-indol-4-yl dihydrogen phosphate). In the present study, we examined the effects of systemically administered psilocin on extracellular dopamine and 5-HT concentrations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens, and medial prefrontal cortex of the dopaminergic pathway in awake rats using in vivo microdialysis. Intraperitoneal administration of psilocin (5, 10 mg/kg) significantly increased extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. Psilocin did not affect the extracellular 5-HT level in the nucleus accumbens. Conversely, systemic administration of psilocin (10 mg/kg) significantly increased extracellular 5-HT levels in the medial prefrontal cortex of rats, but dopamine was decreased in this region. However, neither extracellular dopamine nor 5-HT levels in the VTA were altered by administration of psilocin. Behaviorally, psilocin significantly increased the number of head twitches. Thus, psilocin affects the dopaminergic system in the nucleus accumbens. In the serotonergic system, psilocin contribute to a crucial effect in the medial prefrontal cortex. The present data suggest that psilocin increased both the extracellular dopamine and 5-HT concentrations in the mesoaccumbens and/or mesocortical pathway.
Natividad, Luis A.; Buczynski, Matthew W.; Parsons, Loren H.; Torres, Oscar; O'Dell, Laura E.
Adolescent smokers report enhanced positive responses to tobacco and fewer negative effects of withdrawal from this drug than adults, and this is believed to propel higher tobacco use during adolescence. Differential dopaminergic responses to nicotine are thought to underlie these age-related effects, since adolescent rats experience lower withdrawal-related deficits in nucleus accumbens (NAcc) dopamine versus adults. This study examined whether age differences in NAcc dopamine during withdrawal are mediated by excitatory or inhibitory transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine cell body region. In vivo microdialysis was used to monitor extracellular levels of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the VTA of adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. In adults, nicotine withdrawal produced decreases in VTA glutamate levels (44% decrease) and increases in VTA GABA levels (38% increase). In contrast, adolescents did not exhibit changes in either of these measures. Naïve controls of both ages did not display changes in NAcc dopamine, VTA glutamate or VTA GABA following mecamylamine. These results indicate that adolescents display resistance to withdrawal-related neurochemical processes that inhibit mesolimbic dopamine function in adults experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Our findings provide a potential mechanism involving VTA amino acid neurotransmission that modulates age differences during withdrawal. PMID:22905672
Natividad, Luis A; Buczynski, Matthew W; Parsons, Loren H; Torres, Oscar V; O'Dell, Laura E
Adolescent smokers report enhanced positive responses to tobacco and fewer negative effects of withdrawal from this drug than adults, and this is believed to propel higher tobacco use during adolescence. Differential dopaminergic responses to nicotine are thought to underlie these age-related effects, as adolescent rats experience lower withdrawal-related deficits in nucleus accumbens (NAcc) dopamine versus adults. This study examined whether age differences in NAcc dopamine during withdrawal are mediated by excitatory or inhibitory transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine cell body region. In vivo microdialysis was used to monitor extracellular levels of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the VTA of adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. In adults, nicotine withdrawal produced decreases in VTA glutamate levels (44% decrease) and increases in VTA GABA levels (38% increase). In contrast, adolescents did not exhibit changes in either of these measures. Naïve controls of both ages did not display changes in NAcc dopamine, VTA glutamate, or VTA GABA following mecamylamine. These results indicate that adolescents display resistance to withdrawal-related neurochemical processes that inhibit mesolimbic dopamine function in adults experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Our findings provide a potential mechanism involving VTA amino acid neurotransmission that modulates age differences during withdrawal.
Ciudad-Roberts, Andrés; Camarasa, Jorge; Pubill, David; Escubedo, Elena
Previous studies indicate that 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) can induce a heteromeric nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR, mainly of α4β2 subtype) up-regulation. In this study we treated male Sprague-Dawley rats twice-daily for 10 days with either saline or MDMA (7 mg/kg) and sacrificed them the day after to perform [(125)I]Epibatidine binding autoradiograms on serial coronal slices. MDMA induced significant increases in nAChR density in the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercle, anterior caudate-putamen, somatosensory, motor, auditory and retrosplenial cortex, laterodorsal thalamus nuclei, amygdala, postsubiculum and pontine nuclei. These increases ranged from 3% (retrosplenial cortex) to 30 and 34% (amygdala and substantia nigra). No increased α4 subunit immunoreactivity was found in up-regulated areas compared with saline-treated rats, suggesting a post-translational mechanism as occurs with nicotine. The heteromeric nAChR up-regulation in certain areas could account, at least in part, for the reinforcing, sensitizing and psychiatric disorders observed after long-term consumption of MDMA.
LIU, W.; CREWS, F. T.
The brain continues to develop through adolescence when excessive alcohol consumption is prevalent in humans. We hypothesized that binge drinking doses of ethanol during adolescence will cause changes in brain ethanol responses that persist into adulthood. To test this hypothesis Wistar rats were treated with an adolescent intermittent ethanol (AIE; 5 g/kg, i.g. 2 days on–2 days off; P25–P54) model of underage drinking followed by 25 days of abstinence during maturation to young adulthood (P80). Using markers of neuronal activation c-Fos, EGR1, and phophorylated extracellar signal regulated kinase (pERK1/2), adult responses to a moderate and binge drinking ethanol challenge, e.g., 2 or 4 g/kg, were determined. Adult rats showed dose dependent increases in neuronal activation markers in multiple brain regions during ethanol challenge. Brain regional responses correlated are consistent with anatomical connections. AIE led to marked decreases in adult ethanol PFC (prefrontal cortex) and blunted responses in the amygdala. Binge drinking doses led to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) activation that correlated with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) activation. In contrast to other brain regions, AIE enhanced the adult NAc response to binge drinking doses. These studies suggest that adolescent alcohol exposure causes long-lasting changes in brain responses to alcohol that persist into adulthood. PMID:25727639
Liu, W; Crews, F T
The brain continues to develop through adolescence when excessive alcohol consumption is prevalent in humans. We hypothesized that binge drinking doses of ethanol during adolescence will cause changes in brain ethanol responses that persist into adulthood. To test this hypothesis Wistar rats were treated with an adolescent intermittent ethanol (AIE; 5 g/kg, i.g. 2 days on-2 days off; P25-P54) model of underage drinking followed by 25 days of abstinence during maturation to young adulthood (P80). Using markers of neuronal activation c-Fos, EGR1, and phophorylated extracellar signal regulated kinase (pERK1/2), adult responses to a moderate and binge drinking ethanol challenge, e.g., 2 or 4 g/kg, were determined. Adult rats showed dose dependent increases in neuronal activation markers in multiple brain regions during ethanol challenge. Brain regional responses correlated are consistent with anatomical connections. AIE led to marked decreases in adult ethanol PFC (prefrontal cortex) and blunted responses in the amygdala. Binge drinking doses led to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) activation that correlated with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) activation. In contrast to other brain regions, AIE enhanced the adult NAc response to binge drinking doses. These studies suggest that adolescent alcohol exposure causes long-lasting changes in brain responses to alcohol that persist into adulthood.
Roversi, Karine; Pase, Camila Simonetti; Roversi, Katiane; Vey, Luciana Taschetto; Dias, Verônica Tironi; Metz, Vinícia Garzella; Burger, Marilise Escobar
The abuse of morphine has risen considerably in recent years, mainly due to the increase of its prescription in clinical medicine. Also, increased consumption of processed foods, rich in trans fatty acids (TFA), has caused concerns about human health. Thus, the aim of our study was to determine whether trans fat consumption in the perinatal period may affect preference for morphine in adolescent female and male rats. Dams were orally supplemented with water (C-control) or hydrogenated vegetable fat (HVF-rich in TFA) during gestation and lactation periods. On post-natal day 43, pups were exposed to morphine (4mg/kg i.p., for 4 days) and assessed in the conditioned place preference paradigm. Anxiety-like symptoms were assessed, and oxidative status of the brain was estimated by reactive species (RS) generation. Female rats with HVF supplementation showed increased morphine preference and less anxiety-like symptoms. Additionally, both male and female rats from HVF-supplementation showed increased RS generation in the ventral tegmental area, whose level was similar in morphine-conditioned female rats. RS generation was increased in the hippocampus of morphine-conditioned female rats, regardless of the supplementation of their dams. We may infer that gender is a predictive factor to opioid preference, since adolescent female rats showed more susceptibility to addiction than males. Furthermore, trans fat consumption across the perinatal period is able to modify parameters of opioid preference in female rats, possibly due to TFA incorporation in phospholipid membranes, modifying the endogenous opioid system and the oxidative status in brain areas related to drug addiction.
Wellman, Paul J.; Clifford, P. Shane; Rodriguez, Juan A; Hughes, Samuel; Di Francesco, Carla; Melotto, Sergio; Tessari, Michela; Corsi, Mauro; Bifone, Angelo; Gozzi, Alessandro
Ghrelin (GHR) is an orexigenic gut peptide that interacts with brain ghrelin receptors (GHR-Rs) to promote food intake. Recent research suggests that GHR acts as a modulator of motivated behavior, suggesting a direct influence of GHR on brain reinforcement circuits. In the present studies, we investigated the role of GHR and GHR-Rs in brain reinforcement function. Pharmacological Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to spatially-resolve the functional activation produced by systemic administration of an orexigenic GHR dose. The imaging data revealed a focal activation of a network of subcortical structures that comprise brain reinforcement circuits – ventral tegmental area, lateral hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens. We next analyzed whether brain reinforcement circuits require functional GHR-Rs. To this purpose, wild type (WT) or mutant rats sustaining ENU-induced knockout of GHR-Rs (GHR-R null rats) were implanted with stimulating electrodes aimed at the lateral hypothalamus, shaped to respond for intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and then tested using a rate-frequency procedure to examine ICSS response patterns. WT rats were readily shaped using stimulation intensities of 75 uA, whereas GHR-R null rats required 300 uA for ICSS shaping. No differences in rate-frequency curves were noted for WT rats at 75 uA and GHR-R null rats at 300 uA. When current intensity was lowered to 100 uA, GHR-R null rats did not respond for ICSS. Taken collectively, these data suggest that systemic GHR can activate mesolimbic dopaminergic areas, and highlight a facilitative role of GHR-Rs on the activity of brain reinforcement systems. PMID:22017465
Temereva, Elena N
The nervous system organization is considered a phylogenetically important character among metazoans. The phylum Phoronida is included in a supraphyletic taxon known as Lophotrochozoa. Many lophotrochozoans possess a metameric ventral nerve cord as adults or larvae. Phoronids do not exhibit external metamery either as larvae or as adults. The current study describes the ventral nerve cord in the young larva of Phoronopsis harmeri. This structure is apparent both in the serotonergic and FMRF-amidergic nervous system in young larvae. The ventral nerve cord extends from the mouth to the tentacular ridge. Both serotonergic and FMRF-amidergic components consist of two ventrolateral nerves, each with several unipolar neurons. The ventrolateral nerves connect to each other by means of thin repetitive transversal nerves ("commissures"). The abundance of neurons and nerves in the epidermis of the oral field of actinotrocha larva likely reflects the importance of this area in collection of food particles. The ventral nerve cords of the actinotrocha and the metatrochophore differ in their positions with respect to ciliated bands: the cord is located between the preoral and postoral ciliated bands in the actinotrocha but between the postoral ciliated band and telotroch in the metatrochophore. The presence of the ventral nerve cord, which contains repetitive elements (neurons and "commissures"), in the early development of P. harmeri may recapitulate some stages of nervous system development during phoronid phylogeny. The larval nervous system does not contain nervous centers under the tentacular ridge that can correlate with the catastrophic metamorphosis and unique body plan of phoronids.
The mesolimbic system participates in the naltrexone-induced reversal of sexual exhaustion: opposite effects of intra-VTA naltrexone administration on copulation of sexually experienced and sexually exhausted male rats.
Garduño-Gutiérrez, René; León-Olea, Martha; Rodríguez-Manzo, Gabriela
Male rats allowed to copulate until reaching sexual exhaustion exhibit a long-lasting sexual behavior inhibition (around 72 h) that can be reversed by systemic opioid receptor antagonist administration. Copulation activates the mesolimbic dopaminergic system (MLS) and promotes endogenous opioid release. In addition, endogenous opioids, acting at the ventral tegmental area (VTA), modulate the activity of the MLS. We hypothesized that endogenous opioids participate in the sexual exhaustion phenomenon by interacting with VTA opioid receptors and consequently, its reversal by opioid antagonists could be exerted at those receptors. In this study we determined the effects of intra-VTA infusion of different doses of the non-specific opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (0.1-1.0 μg/rat) on the already established sexual behavior inhibition of sexually exhausted male rats. To elucidate the possible involvement of VTA δ-opioid receptors in the naltrexone-mediated reversal of sexual exhaustion, the effects of different doses of the selective δ-opioid receptor antagonist, naltrindole (0.03-1.0 μg/rat) were also tested. Results showed that intra-VTA injection of 0.3 μg naltrexone reversed the sexual inhibition of sexually exhausted rats, evidenced by an increased percentage of animals capable of showing two successive ejaculations. Intra-VTA infused naltrindole did not reverse sexual exhaustion at any dose. It is concluded that the MLS is involved in the reversal of sexual exhaustion induced by systemic naltrexone, and that μ-, but not δ-opioid receptors participate in this effect. Intra-VTA naltrexone infusion to sexually experienced male rats had an inhibitory effect on sexual activity. The opposite effects of intra-VTA naltrexone on male rat sexual behavior expression of sexually experienced and sexually exhausted rats is discussed.
Greenberg, Anastasia; Ward-Flanagan, Rachel; Dickson, Clayton T; Treit, Dallas
Although hippocampal function is typically described in terms of memory, recent evidence suggests a differentiation along its dorsal/ventral axis, with dorsal regions serving memory and ventral regions serving emotion. While long-term memory is thought to be dependent on de novo protein synthesis because it is blocked by translational inhibitors such as anisomycin (ANI), online (moment-to-moment) functions of the hippocampus (such as unconditioned emotional responding) should not be sensitive to such manipulations since they are unlikely to involve neuroplasticity. However, ANI has recently been shown to suppress neural activity which suggests (1) that protein synthesis is critical for neural function and (2) that paradigms using ANI are confounded by its inactivating effects. We tested this idea using a neurobehavioral assay which compared the influence of intrahippocampal infusions of ANI at dorsal and ventral sites on unconditioned emotional behavior of rats. We show that ANI infusions in ventral, but not dorsal, hippocampus produced a suppression of anxiety-related responses in two well-established rodent tests: the elevated plus maze and shock-probe burying tests. These results are similar to those previously observed when ventral hippocampal activity is directly suppressed (e.g., by using sodium channel blockers). The present study offers compelling behavioral evidence for the proposal that ANI adversely affects ongoing neural function and therefore its influence is not simply limited to impairing the consolidation of long-term memories
Subramaniam, Mahalakshmi; Kern, Beatrice; Vogel, Simone; Klose, Verena; Schneider, Gaby; Roeper, Jochen
The impairment of protein degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is present in sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), and might play a key role in selective degeneration of vulnerable dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SN). Further evidence for a causal role of dysfunctional UPS in familial PD comes from mutations in parkin, which results in a loss of function of an E3-ubiquitin-ligase. In a mouse model, genetic inactivation of an essential component of the 26S proteasome lead to widespread neuronal degeneration including DA midbrain neurons and the formation of alpha-synuclein-positive inclusion bodies, another hallmark of PD. Studies using pharmacological UPS inhibition in vivo had more mixed results, varying from extensive degeneration to no loss of DA SN neurons. However, it is currently unknown whether UPS impairment will affect the neurophysiological functions of DA midbrain neurons. To answer this question, we infused a selective proteasome inhibitor into the ventral midbrain in vivo and recorded single DA midbrain neurons 2 weeks after the proteasome challenge. We found a selective increase in the mean in vivo firing frequencies of identified DA SN neurons in anesthetized mice, while those in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) were unaffected. Our results demonstrate that a single-hit UPS inhibition is sufficient to induce a stable and selective hyperexcitability phenotype in surviving DA SN neurons in vivo. This might imply that UPS dysfunction sensitizes DA SN neurons by enhancing 'stressful pacemaking'.
Yetnikoff, Leora; Lavezzi, Heather N.; Reichard, Rhett A.; Zahm, Daniel S.
This review covers the intrinsic organization and afferent and efferent connections of the midbrain dopaminergic complex, comprising the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area and retrorubral field, which house, respectively, the A9, A10 and A8 groups of nigrostriatal, mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic neurons. In addition, A10dc (dorsal, caudal) and A10rv (rostroventral) extensions into, respectively, the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray and supramammillary nucleus are discussed. Associated intrinsic and extrinsic connections of the midbrain dopaminergic complex that utilize gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate and neuropeptides and various co-expressed combinations of these compounds are considered in conjunction with the dopamine-containing systems. A framework is provided for understanding the organization of masssive afferent systems descending and ascending to the midbrain dopaminergic complex from the telencephalon and brainstem, respectively. Within the context of this framework, the basal ganglia direct and indirect output pathways are treated in some detail. Findings from rodent brain are briefly compared with those from primates, including human. Recent literature is emphasized, including traditional experimental neuroanatomical and modern gene transfer and optogenetic studies. An attempt was made to provide sufficient background and cite a representative sampling of earlier primary papers and reviews so that people new to the field may find this to be a relatively comprehensive treatment of the subject. PMID:24735820
Tindell, Amy J; Berridge, Kent C; Zhang, Jun; Peciña, Susana; Aldridge, J Wayne
Neurons in ventral pallidum fire to reward and its predictive cues. We tested mesolimbic activation effects on neural reward coding. Rats learned that a Pavlovian conditioned stimulus (CS+1 tone) predicted a second conditioned stimulus (CS+2 feeder click) followed by an unconditioned stimulus (UCS sucrose reward). Some rats were sensitized to amphetamine after training. Electrophysiological activity of ventral pallidal neurons to stimuli was later recorded under the influence of vehicle or acute amphetamine injection. Both sensitization and acute amphetamine increased ventral pallidum firing at CS+2 (population code and rate code). There were no changes at CS+1 and minimal changes to UCS. With a new 'Profile Analysis', we show that mesolimbic activation by sensitization/amphetamine incrementally shifted neuronal firing profiles away from prediction signal coding (maximal at CS+1) and toward incentive coding (maximal at CS+2), without changing hedonic impact coding (maximal at UCS). This pattern suggests mesolimbic activation specifically amplifies a motivational transform of CS+ predictive information into incentive salience coded by ventral pallidal neurons. Our results support incentive-sensitization predictions and suggest why cues temporally proximal to drug presentation may precipitate cue-triggered relapse in human addicts.
Bruijnzeel, Adrie W.; Qi, Xiaoli; Corrie, Lu W.
Leptin is an adiposity hormone that plays an important role in regulating food intake and energy homeostasis. This study investigated the effects of a high-fat (HF) and a low-fat, high-carbohydrate/sugar (LF) diet on leptin sensitivity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in rats. The animals were exposed to a HF or LF diet for 16 weeks. Then the effects of intra-VTA leptin (150 and 500 ng/side, unilateral dose) on food intake and body weights were investigated while the animals were maintained on the HF or LF diet. Long-term exposure to the HF or LF diet led to similar body weight gain in these groups. The HF-fed animals consumed a smaller amount of food by weight than the LF-fed animals but both groups consumed the same amount of calories. The bilateral administration of leptin into the VTA decreased food intake (72 h) and body weights (48 h) to a similar degree in the HF and LF-fed animals. When the HF-fed animals were ranked by body weight gain it was shown that the diet-induced obese rats (HF-fed DIO, upper quartile for weight gain) were less sensitive to the effects of leptin on food intake and body weights than the diet-resistant rats (HF-fed DR, lower quartile for weight gain). A control experiment with fluorescent Cy3-labeled leptin showed that leptin did not spread beyond the borders of the VTA. This study indicates that leptin sensitivity in the VTA is the same in animals that are exposed to a HF or LF diet. However, HF-fed DIO rats are less sensitive to the effects of leptin in the VTA than HF-fed DR rats. Leptin resistance in the VTA might contribute to overeating and weight gain when exposed to a HF diet. PMID:23107643
Grieb, Benjamin; von Nicolai, Constantin; Engler, Gerhard; Sharott, Andrew; Papageorgiou, Ismini; Hamel, Wolfgang; Engel, Andreas K.; Moll, Christian K.
Poverty of spontaneous movement, slowed execution and reduced amplitudes of movement (akinesia, brady- and hypokinesia) are cardinal motor manifestations of Parkinson's disease that can be modeled in experimental animals by brain lesions affecting midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Most behavioral investigations in experimental parkinsonism have employed short-term observation windows to assess motor impairments. We postulated that an analysis of longer-term free exploratory behavior could provide further insights into the complex fine structure of altered locomotor activity in parkinsonian animals. To this end, we video-monitored 23 h of free locomotor behavior and extracted several behavioral measures before and after the expression of a severe parkinsonian phenotype following bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the rat dopaminergic substantia nigra. Unbiased stereological cell counting verified the degree of midbrain tyrosine hydroxylase positive cell loss in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. In line with previous reports, overall covered distance and maximal motion speed of lesioned animals were found to be significantly reduced compared to controls. Before lesion surgery, exploratory rat behavior exhibited a bimodal distribution of maximal speed values obtained for single movement episodes, corresponding to a “first” and “second gear” of motion. 6-OHDA injections significantly reduced the incidence of second gear motion episodes and also resulted in an abnormal prolongation of these fast motion events. Likewise, the spatial spread of such episodes was increased in 6-OHDA rats. The increase in curvature of motion tracks was increased in both lesioned and control animals. We conclude that the discrimination of distinct modes of motion by statistical decomposition of longer-term spontaneous locomotion provides useful insights into the fine structure of fluctuating motor functions in a rat analog of Parkinson's disease. PMID:24348346
Gozzi, Alessandro; Agosta, Federica; Massi, Maurizio; Ciccocioppo, Roberto; Bifone, Angelo
Alcohol abuse is associated with long-term reductions in fronto-cortical volume and limbic metabolism. However, an unanswered question in alcohol research is whether these alterations are the sole consequence of chronic alcohol use, or contain heritable contributions reflecting biological propensity toward ethanol addiction. Animal models of genetic predisposition to alcohol dependence can be used to investigate the role of inborn brain abnormalities in the aetiology of alcoholism. Here we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in e Marchigian Sardinian (msP) alcohol-preferring rats to assess the presence of inherited structural or functional brain alterations. Alcohol-naïve msP (N=22) and control rats (N=26) were subjected to basal cerebral blood volume (bCBV) mapping followed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of gray matter and tract-based spatial statistics mapping of white matter fractional anisotropy. msP rats exhibited significantly reduced bCBV, an established marker of resting brain function, in focal cortico-limbic and thalamic areas, together with reduced gray matter volume in the thalamus, ventral tegmental area, insular and cingulate cortex. No statistically significant differences in fractional anisotropy were observed between groups. These findings highlight the presence of inborn gray matter and metabolic abnormalities in alcohol-naïve msP rats, the localization and sign of which are remarkably similar to those mapped in abstinent alcoholics and subjects at high risk for alcohol dependence. Collectively, these results point for a significant role of heritable neurofunctional brain alterations in biological propensity toward ethanol addiction, and support the translational use of advanced imaging methods to describe the circuital determinants of vulnerability to drug addiction. PMID:23261637
De Santis, Michael; Lian, Jiamei; Huang, Xu-Feng; Deng, Chao
Prescription of antipsychotic drugs (APDs) to children has substantially increased in recent years. Whilst current investigations into potential long-term effects have uncovered some alterations to adult behaviours, further investigations into potential changes to neurotransmitter systems are required. The current study investigated potential long-term changes to the adult dopamine (DA) system following aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone treatment in female and male juvenile rats. Levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), phosphorylated-TH (p-TH), dopamine active transporter (DAT), and D₁ and D₂ receptors were measured via Western blot and/or receptor autoradiography. Aripiprazole decreased TH and D₁ receptor levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and p-TH levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of females, whilst TH levels decreased in the PFC of males. Olanzapine decreased PFC p-TH levels and increased D₂ receptor expression in the PFC and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in females only. Additionally, risperidone treatment increased D₁ receptor levels in the hippocampus of females, whilst, in males, p-TH levels increased in the PFC and hippocampus, D₁ receptor expression decreased in the NAc, and DAT levels decreased in the caudate putamen (CPu), and elevated in the VTA. These results suggest that early treatment with various APDs can cause different long-term alterations in the adult brain, across both treatment groups and genders.
De Santis, Michael; Lian, Jiamei; Huang, Xu-Feng; Deng, Chao
Prescription of antipsychotic drugs (APDs) to children has substantially increased in recent years. Whilst current investigations into potential long-term effects have uncovered some alterations to adult behaviours, further investigations into potential changes to neurotransmitter systems are required. The current study investigated potential long-term changes to the adult dopamine (DA) system following aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone treatment in female and male juvenile rats. Levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), phosphorylated-TH (p-TH), dopamine active transporter (DAT), and D1 and D2 receptors were measured via Western blot and/or receptor autoradiography. Aripiprazole decreased TH and D1 receptor levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and p-TH levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of females, whilst TH levels decreased in the PFC of males. Olanzapine decreased PFC p-TH levels and increased D2 receptor expression in the PFC and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in females only. Additionally, risperidone treatment increased D1 receptor levels in the hippocampus of females, whilst, in males, p-TH levels increased in the PFC and hippocampus, D1 receptor expression decreased in the NAc, and DAT levels decreased in the caudate putamen (CPu), and elevated in the VTA. These results suggest that early treatment with various APDs can cause different long-term alterations in the adult brain, across both treatment groups and genders. PMID:27879654
Chen, Chunxia; Nong, Zhihuan; Huang, Jiangchun; Chen, Zhaoni; Zhang, Shijun; Jiao, Yang; Chen, Xiaoyu; Huang, Renbin
Yulangsan polysaccharide (YLSP) has been utilized as a phytomedicine to managing nervous dysfunction in China. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the potential YLSP-mediated detoxification role against morphine dependence in rats. The results indicated that the morphine dependence model significantly increased withdrawal symptoms, levels of NO and NOS (P<0.05). Furthermore, monoaminergic neurotransmitters, including DA and NE, were detected at elevated levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), hippocampus (HIP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC), respectively, while the level of DA was decreased and NE was increased in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Conversely, YLSP administration significantly reversed naloxone-induced withdrawal symptoms, expression of brain NO and NOS, and monoaminergic neurotransmitters (P<0.05). Interestingly, YLSP shows an even more effective trend in attenuating withdrawal symptoms than does clonidine, although without a significant difference. These findings indicate that YLSP attenuation of the naloxone-induced withdrawal symptoms of morphine dependence may be mediated by regulation of the NO pathway and modulation of monoaminergic neurotransmitters.
Rodrigo, J; Suburo, A M; Bentura, M L; Fernández, T; Nakade, S; Mikoshiba, K; Martínez-Murillo, R; Polak, J M
The distribution of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor protein, P400, was investigated in adult rat brain by immunocytochemistry with the monoclonal antibody 4C11 raised against mouse cerebellar inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor protein. Immunoreactive neuronal cell bodies were detected in the cerebral cortex, the claustrum, the endopiriform nucleus, the corpus callosum, the anterior olfactory nuclei, the olfactory tubercle, the nucleus accumbens, the lateral septum, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the hippocampal formation, the dentate gyrus, the caudate-putamen, the fundus striatum, the amygdaloid complex, the thalamus, the caudolateral part of the hypothalamus, the supramammillary nuclei, the substantia nigra, the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, the ventrotegmental area, the Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, the dorsal cochlear nucleus, the subnucleus oralis and caudalis of trigeminal nerve, and the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Immunoreactive fibres were found in the medial forebrain bundle, the globus pallidus, the stria terminalis, the pyramidal tract, the spinal tract of trigeminal nerve, and the ventral horn of spinal cord. Nerve fibres forming a dense plexus ending in terminal-like boutons were detected in relation to nonimmunoreactive neurons of the dentate, interpositus, and fastigial nuclei of the cerebellum and around neurons of the vestibular nuclei. This receptor protein binds a specific second messenger, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, which produces a mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ and a modulation of transmitter release.
Scatton, B.; Dubois, A.; Dubocovich, M.L.; Zahniser, N.R.; Fage, D.
The distribution of /sup 3/H-nomifensine binding sites in the rat brain has been studied by quantitative autoradiography. The binding of /sup 3/H-nomifensine to caudate putamen sections was saturable, specific, of a highly affinity (Kd = 56 nM) and sodium-dependent. The dopamine uptake inhibitors benztropine, nomifensine, cocaine, bupropion and amfonelic acid were the most potent competitors of /sup 3/H-nomifensine binding to striatal sections. The highest levels of (benztropine-displaceable) /sup 3/H-nomifensine binding sites were found in the caudate-putamen, the olfactory tubercle and the nucleus accumbens. 6-Hydroxy-dopamine-induced lesion of the ascending dopaminergic bundle resulted in a marked decrease in the /sup 3/H-ligand binding in these areas. Moderately high concentrations of the /sup 3/H-ligand were observed in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the anteroventral thalamic nucleus, the cingulate cortex, the lateral septum, the hippocampus, the amygdala, the zona incerta and some hypothalamic nuclei. There were low levels of binding sites in the habenula, the dorsolateral geniculate body, the substantia nigra, the ventral tegmental area and the periaqueductal gray matter. These autoradiographic data are consistent with the hypothesis that /sup 3/H-nomifensine binds primarily to the presynaptic uptake site for dopamine but also labels the norepinephrine uptake site. 33 references, 2 figures, 1 table.
Korotkova, T M; Klyuch, B P; Ponomarenko, A A; Lin, J S; Haas, H L; Sergeeva, O A
Modafinil is a well-tolerated medication for excessive sleepiness, attention-deficit disorder, cocaine dependence and as an adjunct to antidepressants with low propensity for abuse. We investigated the modafinil action on identified dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra (SN) of rat brain slices. Modafinil (20 microM) inhibited the firing of dopaminergic, but not GABAergic neurons. This inhibition was maintained in the presence of tetrodotoxin and was accompanied by hyperpolarization. Sulpiride (10 microM), a D2-receptor antagonist, but not prazosine (20 microM, an alpha1-adrenoreceptor blocker) abolished the modafinil action. Inhibition of dopamine reuptake with a low dose of nomifensine (1 microM) reduced the firing of DA neurons in a sulpiride-dependent manner and blunted the effect of modafinil. On acutely isolated neurons, modafinil evoked D2-receptor-mediated outward currents in tyrosine-hydroxylase positive cells, identified by single-cell RT-PCR, which reversed polarity near the K(+) equilibrium potential and were unchanged in the presence of nomifensine. Thus modafinil directly inhibits DA neurons through D2 receptors.
Christensen, M H; Nielsen, M L; Kohlmeier, K A
Prenatal nicotine exposure (PNE) is a risk factor for developing an addiction to nicotine at a later stage in life. Understanding the neurobiological changes in reward related circuitry induced by exposure to nicotine prenatally is vital if we are to combat the heightened addiction liability in these vulnerable individuals. The laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT), which is comprised of cholinergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons, is importantly involved in reward mediation via demonstrated excitatory projections to dopamine-containing ventral tegmental neurons. PNE could lead to alterations in LDT neurons that would be expected to alter responses to later-life nicotine exposure. To examine this issue, we monitored nicotine-induced responses of LDT neurons in brain slices of PNE and drug naive mice using calcium imaging and whole-cell patch clamping. Nicotine was found to induce rises in calcium in a smaller proportion of LDT cells in PNE mice aged 7-15 days and smaller rises in calcium in PNE animals from postnatal ages 11-21 days when compared with age-matched control animals. While inward currents induced by nicotine were not found to be different, nicotine did induce larger amplitude excitatory postsynaptic currents in PNE animals in the oldest age group when compared with amplitudes induced in similar-aged control animals. Immunohistochemically identified cholinergic LDT cells from PNE animals exhibited slower spike rise and decay slopes, which likely contributed to the wider action potential observed. Further, PNE was associated with a more negative action potential afterhyperpolarization in cholinergic cells. Interestingly, the changes found in these parameters in animals exposed prenatally to nicotine were age related, in that they were not apparent in animals from the oldest age group examined. Taken together, our data suggest that PNE induces changes in cholinergic LDT cells that would be expected to alter cellular excitability. As the changes are
Shearman, E; Fallon, S; Sershen, H; Lajtha, A
A number of studies in various species including man indicated a greater risk of drug preference and addictive behavior in young as compared to adults. Such age dependent preference was also found with nicotine. To examine possible mechanisms for this difference in our continuing study of reward mechanisms, we compared nicotine-induced neurotransmitter changes in the brain regions of adult and young Sprague-Dawley rats, assaying the transmitters via microdialysis in conscious freely moving animals. In general, nicotine-induced changes were significantly less in the regions measured in the young. Nicotine-induced effects on dopamine in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus (VH), prefrontal and medial temporal cortex, and superior cerebral peduncle were lower in the young than in adult, the same in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and lateral septal nucleus (LS), and somewhat higher in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAccS). Norepinephrine levels in the young were lower in all areas except in the VH where they were the same, and serotonin levels were lower except in the VTA and LS where they remained the same, and higher in the NAccS. Age-dependent differences in the metabolites measured were more mixed. We conclude that the greater nicotine preference in young is not paralleled by a greater effect of nicotine on the release of monoamines at least in most of the brain areas assayed. Thus, increases of nicotine reward are not likely due to increases of monoamines in reward and cognitive areas. The small increase of dopamine (DA) and more significant increase of serotonin (5-HT) only in the NAccS are of significance, and would indicate a more significant role of 5-HT than of DA at least in the age difference in nicotine preference. Developmental changes in receptor composition and distribution involving several transmitter systems and other components such as neuropeptides are also likely to play a role.
Cassell, M D; Gray, T S; Kiss, J Z
The organization of neurons in the rat central nucleus of the amygdala (CNA) has been examined by using Nissl stain and immunocytochemical and retrograde tracing techniques. Four main subdivisions were identified on the basis of quantitative analyses of Nissl-stained material: medial (CM), lateral (CL), lateral capsular (CLC), and ventral (CV). An intermediate subdivision (CI), previously described by McDonald ('82), was apparent only in animals that had HRP-WGA injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Large populations of neurotensin-, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-, and enkephalin-immunoreactive neurons were present within the lateral divisions (mainly CL), although they were also seen within CM. Somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons were distributed mainly within CL and CM. Within CL, neurotensin- and enkephalin-immunoreactive neurons were more numerous laterally whereas CRF- and somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons were more numerous medially. Substance P-immunoreactive neurons were almost exclusively confined to CM. Only a few cholecystokinin- and vasoactive-polypeptide-immunoreactive neurons were seen in the CNA, and they were observed within CL, CV, and CM. The majority of neurons projecting to the dorsal medulla, hypothalamus, and ventral tegmental area were located within CM, although a significant number of cells were also seen within CL. Efferent projections to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis were found to arise from neurons located within all subdivisions of the CNA. Thus, the distributional patterns of peptidergic and efferent neurons were not confined to individual cytoarchitectonically- defined subdivisions of the CNA. Rather, the results suggest overlapping medial to the lateral trends. Comparisons with the results of previous studies indicate that peptidergic and afferent terminal distribution patterns are more restricted to individual cytoarchitectonically defined subregions of the CNA. These observations suggest that the
Olucha-Bordonau, Francisco E; Otero-García, Marcos; Sánchez-Pérez, Ana M; Núñez, Angel; Ma, Sherie; Gundlach, Andrew L
Neural tracing studies have revealed that the rat medial and lateral septum are targeted by ascending projections from the nucleus incertus, a population of tegmental GABA neurons. These neurons express the relaxin-family peptide, relaxin-3, and pharmacological modulation of relaxin-3 receptors in medial septum alters hippocampal theta rhythm and spatial memory. In an effort to better understand the basis of these interactions, we have characterized the distribution of relaxin-3 fibers/terminals in relation to different septal neuron populations identified using established protein markers. Dense relaxin-3 fiber plexuses were observed in regions of medial septum containing hippocampal-projecting choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)-, and parvalbumin (PV)-positive neurons. In lateral septum (LS), relaxin-3 fibers were concentrated in the ventrolateral nucleus of rostral LS and the ventral nucleus of caudal LS, with sparse labeling in the dorsolateral and medial nuclei of rostral LS, dorsal nucleus of caudal LS, and ventral portion nuclei. Relaxin-3 fibers were also observed in the septofimbrial and triangular septal nuclei. In the medial septum, we observed relaxin-3-immunoreactive contacts with ChAT-, PV-, and glutamate decarboxylase-67-positive neurons that projected to hippocampus, and contacts between relaxin-3 terminals and calbindin- and calretinin-positive neurons. Relaxin-3 colocalized with synaptophysin in nerve terminals in all septal areas, and ultrastructural analysis revealed these terminals were symmetrical and contacted spines, somata, dendritic shafts, and occasionally other axonal terminals. These data predict that this GABA/peptidergic projection modulates septohippocampal activity and hippocampal theta rhythm related to exploratory navigation, defensive and ingestive behaviors, and responses to neurogenic stressors.
Tsurugizawa, T; Uematsu, A; Uneyama, H; Torii, K
The brain's response to ethanol intake has been extensively investigated using electrophysiological recordings, brain lesion techniques, and c-Fos immunoreactivity. However, few studies have investigated this phenomenon using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In the present study, we used fMRI to investigate the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal response to an intragastric (IG) load of ethanol in conscious, ethanol-naive rats. An intragastrically infused 10% ethanol solution induced a significant decrease in the intensity of the BOLD signal in several regions of the brain, including the bilateral amygdala (AMG), nucleus accumbens (NAc), hippocampus, ventral pallidum, insular cortex, and cingulate cortex, and an increase in the BOLD signal in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and hypothalamic regions. Treatment with bicuculline, which is an antagonist of the gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptor, increased the BOLD signal intensity in the regions that had shown decreases in the BOLD signal after the IG infusion of 10% ethanol solution, but it did not affect the BOLD signal increase in the hypothalamus. Treatment with SCH39166, which is an antagonist of D1-like receptors, eliminated the increase in the BOLD signal intensity in the hypothalamic areas but did not affect the BOLD signal decrease following the 10% ethanol infusion. These results indicate that an IG load of ethanol caused both a GABA(A) receptor-mediated BOLD decrease in the limbic system and the cortex and a D1-like receptor-mediated BOLD increase in the hypothalamic regions in ethanol-naive rats.
Hooks, M S; Kalivas, P W
When exposed to an environment for the first time, rats express greater behavioral activation than rats which were previously habituated to that environment. The circuit containing the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum is required for the expression of locomotor activity elicited by amphetamine-like psychostimulants. It was hypothesized that this circuit is necessary for the expression of novelty-induced motor activity. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the projection from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens, while GABA is contained in the projections from the nucleus accumbens to the ventral pallidum and from the ventral pallidum back to the ventral tegmental area. Prior to exposing rats to a novel or habituated environment, they received a microinjection of either saline vehicle or one of the following drugs: fluphenazine (dopamine antagonist) into the nucleus accumbens, muscimol (GABAA agonist) into the ventral pallidum, or baclofen GABAB agonist) into the ventral tegmental area. Each of these pretreatments prevented novelty-induced motor activation without suppressing the activity of habituated animals. In contrast, when these microinjections were made into adjacent motor nuclei of the basal ganglia, including fluphenazine into the striatum, muscimol into the globus pallidus and baclofen into the substantia nigra, they were ineffective in blocking novelty-induced motor activity. These data indicate that the integrity of the circuit that contains the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum is required for the manifestation of novelty-induced motor activity.
Pehek, E.A.; Hernan, A.E.
Modulation of dopamine (DA) released by serotonin-2 (5-HT2) receptors has been implicated in the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs. The mesocortical DA system has been implicated particularly in the cognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia. Agonism at 5-HT2A receptors in the prefrontal cortex is associated with increases in cortical DA release. Evidence indicates that 5-HT2A receptors in the cortex regulate mesocortical DA release through stimulation of a “long-loop” feedback system from the PFC to the VTA and back. However, a causal role for VTA glutamate in the 5-HT2-induced increases in PFC DA has not been established. The present study does so by measuring 5-HT2 agonist-induced DA release in the cortex after infusions of glutamate antagonists into the VTA. Infusions of a combination of a NMDA (AP-5: 2-amino-5-phosphopentanoic acid) and an AMPA/kainate (CNQX: 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione) receptor antagonist into the VTA blocked the increases in cortical DA produced by administration of the 5-HT2 agonist DOI [(±)-2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine] (2.5 mg/kg s.c.). These results demonstrate that stimulation of glutamate receptors in the VTA is necessary for 5-HT2 agonist-induced increases in cortical DA. PMID:25637799
Grace, Kevin P; Liu, Hattie; Horner, Richard L
Serotonin type 1A (5-HT(1A)) receptor-responsive neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTn) become maximally active immediately before and during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. A prevailing model of REM sleep generation indicates that activation of such neurons contributes significantly to the generation of REM sleep, and if correct then inactivation of such neurons ought to suppress REM sleep. We test this hypothesis using bilateral microperfusion of the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT, 10 μm) into the PPTn; this tool has been shown to selectively silence REM sleep-active PPTn neurons while the activity of wake/REM sleep-active PPTn neurons is unaffected. Contrary to the prevailing model, bilateral microperfusion of 8-OH-DPAT into the PPTn (n = 23 rats) significantly increased REM sleep both as a percentage of the total recording time and sleep time, compared with both within-animal vehicle controls and between-animal time-controls. This increased REM sleep resulted from an increased frequency of REM sleep bouts but not their duration, indicating an effect on mechanisms of REM sleep initiation but not maintenance. Furthermore, an increased proportion of the REM sleep bouts stemmed from periods of low REM sleep drive quantified electrographically. Targeted suppression of 5-HT(1A) receptor-responsive PPTn neurons also increased respiratory rate and respiratory-related genioglossus activity, and increased the frequency and amplitude of the sporadic genioglossus activations occurring during REM sleep. These data indicate that 5-HT(1A) receptor-responsive PPTn neurons normally function to restrain REM sleep by elevating the drive threshold for REM sleep induction, and restrain the expression of respiratory rate and motor activities.
Ferretti, Valentina; Roullet, Pascal; Sargolini, Francesca; Rinaldi, Arianna; Perri, Valentina; Del Fabbro, Martina; Costantini, Vivian J A; Annese, Valentina; Scesa, Gianluigi; De Stefano, Maria Egle; Oliverio, Alberto; Mele, Andrea
Spatial memory formation is a dynamic process requiring a series of cellular and molecular steps, such as gene expression and protein translation, leading to morphological changes that have been envisaged as the structural bases for the engram. Despite the role suggested for medial temporal lobe plasticity in spatial memory, recent behavioral observations implicate specific components of the striatal complex in spatial information processing. However, the potential occurrence of neural plasticity within this structure after spatial learning has never been investigated. In this study we demonstrate that blockade of cAMP response element binding protein-induced transcription or inhibition of protein synthesis or extracellular proteolytic activity in the ventral striatum impairs long-term spatial memory. These findings demonstrate that, in the ventral striatum, similarly to what happens in the hippocampus, several key molecular events crucial for the expression of neural plasticity are required in the early stages of spatial memory formation.
Ferretti, Valentina; Roullet, Pascal; Sargolini, Francesca; Rinaldi, Arianna; Perri, Valentina; Del Fabbro, Martina; Costantini, Vivian J. A.; Annese, Valentina; Scesa, Gianluigi; De Stefano, Maria Egle; Oliverio, Alberto; Mele, Andrea
Spatial memory formation is a dynamic process requiring a series of cellular and molecular steps, such as gene expression and protein translation, leading to morphological changes that have been envisaged as the structural bases for the engram. Despite the role suggested for medial temporal lobe plasticity in spatial memory, recent behavioral observations implicate specific components of the striatal complex in spatial information processing. However, the potential occurrence of neural plasticity within this structure after spatial learning has never been investigated. In this study we demonstrate that blockade of cAMP response element binding protein–induced transcription or inhibition of protein synthesis or extracellular proteolytic activity in the ventral striatum impairs long-term spatial memory. These findings demonstrate that, in the ventral striatum, similarly to what happens in the hippocampus, several key molecular events crucial for the expression of neural plasticity are required in the early stages of spatial memory formation. PMID:20351272
Natividad, Luis A; Tejeda, Hugo A; Torres, Oscar V; O'Dell, Laura E
The behavioral effects of nicotine withdrawal are lower in adolescent versus adult rats. However, the neurochemical mechanisms that mediate these developmental differences are unknown. Previous studies have shown that extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) are reduced in adult rats experiencing withdrawal. This study compared dopamine levels in the NAcc of male adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Animals were prepared with subcutaneous pumps that delivered an equivalent nicotine dose in these age groups. Following 13 days of nicotine exposure, rats were implanted unilaterally with microdialysis probes into the NAcc and ipsilateral ventral tegmental area (VTA). The next day, dialysate levels were collected following systemic administration of the nicotinic-receptor antagonist mecamylamine to precipitate withdrawal. Mecamylamine produced an average % decrease in NAcc dopamine that was lower in adolescents (20%) versus adults (44%). Similar developmental differences were observed with the dopaminergic (DOPAC and HVA) but not serotonergic (5-HIAA) metabolites. A follow-up study compared NAcc dopamine in adolescent and adult rats receiving intra-VTA administration of bicuculline, which reduces gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition of dopamine transmission. The results revealed that blockade of GABA(A) receptors in the VTA produced a two-fold increase in NAcc dopamine of adults but not adolescents. These results provide a potential mechanism involving dopamine that mediates developmental differences in nicotine withdrawal. Specifically, they suggest that GABA systems are underdeveloped during adolescence and this reduced inhibition of dopamine neurons in the VTA may lead to reduced decreases in NAcc dopamine of young animals experiencing withdrawal.
Natividad, Luis A.; Tejeda, Hugo A.; Torres, Oscar V.; O’Dell, Laura E.
The behavioral effects of nicotine withdrawal are lower in adolescent versus adult rats. However, the neurochemical mechanisms that mediate these developmental differences are unknown. Previous studies have shown that extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) are reduced in adult rats experiencing withdrawal. This study compared dopamine levels in the NAcc of male adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Animals were prepared with subcutaneous pumps that delivered an equivalent nicotine dose in these age groups. Following 13 days of nicotine exposure, rats were implanted unilaterally with microdialysis probes into the NAcc and ipsilateral ventral tegmental area (VTA). The next day, dialysate levels were collected following systemic administration of the nicotinic-receptor antagonist mecamylamine to precipitate withdrawal. Mecamylamine produced an average % decrease in NAcc dopamine that was lower in adolescents (20%) versus adults (44%). Similar developmental differences were observed with the dopaminergic (DOPAC and HVA) but not serotonergic (5-HIAA) metabolites. A follow up study compared NAcc dopamine in adolescent and adult rats receiving intra-VTA administration of bicuculline, which reduces gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition of dopamine transmission. The results revealed that blockade of GABAA receptors in the VTA produced a 2-fold increase in NAcc dopamine of adults but not adolescents. These results provide a potential mechanism involving dopamine that mediates developmental differences in nicotine withdrawal. Specifically, they suggest that GABA systems are underdeveloped during adolescence and this reduced inhibition of dopamine neurons in the VTA may lead to reduced decreases in NAcc dopamine of young animals experiencing withdrawal. PMID:19771590
Scherma, Maria; Dessì, Christian; Muntoni, Anna Lisa; Lecca, Salvatore; Satta, Valentina; Luchicchi, Antonio; Pistis, Marco; Panlilio, Leigh V; Fattore, Liana; Goldberg, Steven R; Fratta, Walter; Fadda, Paola
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, and use is typically initiated during adolescence. The endocannabinoid system has an important role in formation of the nervous system, from very early development through adolescence. Cannabis exposure during this vulnerable period might lead to neurobiological changes that affect adult brain functions and increase the risk of cannabis use disorder. The aim of this study was to investigate whether exposure to Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in adolescent rats might enhance reinforcing effects of cannabinoids in adulthood. Male adolescent rats were treated with increasing doses of THC (or its vehicle) twice/day for 11 consecutive days (PND 45-55). When the animals reached adulthood, they were tested by allowing them to intravenously self-administer the cannabinoid CB1-receptor agonist WIN55,212-2. In a separate set of animals given the same THC (or vehicle) treatment regimen, electrophysiological and neurochemical experiments were performed to assess possible modifications of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, which is critically involved in cannabinoid-induced reward. Behavioral data showed that acquisition of WIN55,212-2 self-administration was enhanced in THC-exposed rats relative to vehicle-exposed controls. Neurophysiological data showed that THC-exposed rats displayed a reduced capacity for WIN55,212-2 to stimulate firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area and to increase dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens shell. These findings-that early, passive exposure to THC can produce lasting alterations of the reward system of the brain and subsequently increase cannabinoid self-administration in adulthood-suggest a mechanism by which adolescent cannabis exposure could increase the risk of subsequent cannabis dependence in humans.
Pallarés, M E; Adrover, E; Imsen, M; González, D; Fabre, B; Mesch, V; Baier, C J; Antonelli, M C
We have previously demonstrated that male rats exposed to stress during the last week of gestation present age-specific impairments of brain development. Since the organization of the fetal developing brain is subject to androgen exposure and prenatal stress was reported to disrupt perinatal testosterone surges, the aim of this research was to explore whether abnormal androgen concentrations during late gestation affects the morphology of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus (HPC) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), three major areas that were shown to be affected by prenatal stress in our previous studies. We administered 10-mg/kg/day of the androgen receptor antagonist flutamide (4'nitro-3'-trifluoromethylsobutyranilide) or vehicle injections to pregnant rats from days 15-21 of gestation. The antiandrogenic effects of flutamide were confirmed by the analysis of androgen-dependent developmental markers: flutamide-exposed rats showed reduced anogenital distance, delay in the completion of testis descent, hypospadias, cryptorchidism and atrophied seminal vesicles. Brain morphological studies revealed that prenatal flutamide decreased the number of MAP2 (a microtubule-associated protein type 2, present almost exclusively in dendrites) immunoreactive neuronal processes in all evaluated brain areas, both in prepubertal and adult offspring, suggesting that prenatal androgen disruption induces long-term reductions of the dendritic arborization of several brain structures, affecting the normal connectivity between areas. Moreover, the number of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunopositive neurons in the VTA of prepubertal offspring was reduced in flutamide rats but reach normal values at adulthood. Our results demonstrate that the effects of prenatal flutamide on the offspring brain morphology resemble several prenatal stress effects suggesting that the mechanism of action of prenatal stress might be related to the impairment of the organizational role of androgens on brain
Neumann, Anne; Hoey, Robert F; Daigler, Lindsey B; Thompson, Alexis C; Kristal, Mark B
Previous research has shown that injection of morphine into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) facilitates the onset of maternal behavior in virgin female rats, and injection of the opioid antagonist naltrexone into the VTA disrupts the onset of maternal behavior in parturient rats. Placentophagia -- ingestion of placenta and amniotic fluid, usually at parturition -- modifies central opioid processes. Ingestion of the active substance in placenta and amniotic fluid, Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF), enhances the hypoalgesic effect of centrally administered morphine, and more specifically, enhances delta- and kappa-opioid-receptor-mediated hypoalgesia and attenuates mu-opioid-receptor-mediated hypoalgesia. POEF (in placenta or amniotic fluid) ingestion does not, by itself, produce hypoalgesia. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that ingestion of amniotic fluid enhances the facilitative effect of opioid activity (unilateral morphine injection) in the VTA on the rate of onset of maternal behavior. Virgin female Long-Evans rats were given one intra-VTA injection of morphine sulfate (0.0, 0.01, or 0.03 microg, in saline) and an orogastric infusion of 0.25 ml amniotic fluid or saline once each day of the first three days of the 10-day testing period. Subjects were continuously exposed to foster pups that were replaced every 12 h; replacement of pups was followed by a 15-min observation period. Maternal behavior latency was determined by the first of two consecutive tests wherein the subject displayed pup retrieval, pup licking in the nest, and crouching over all foster pups, during the 15-min observation. We confirmed the previous finding that the VTA injection, alone, of 0.03 microg morphine shortened the latency to show maternal behavior and that 0.0 microg and 0.01 microg morphine did not. Ingestion of amniotic fluid (and therefore POEF) facilitated the onset of maternal behavior in rats receiving an intra-VTA microinjection of an otherwise
Ballaz, Santiago J.; Akil, Huda; Watson, Stanley J.
Cholecystokinin (CCK) and its receptor CCK-2R have been shown to promote emotional responsivity and behavioral sensitization to psychostimulants in the rat. An animal model has been developed based on locomotor response to a novel inescapable environment. Animals exhibiting consistent differences in locomotor response to novelty have been termed as High and Low Responder rats (HR and LR respectively). This paradigm is deemed to model sensation-seeking, a personality trait closely associated with substance abuse. The present study provides genetic and pharmacological evidence that the CCK-ergic system modulates this behavior. Distinctive patterns of CCK-related gene expression in HR and LR animals occurred beyond the mesolimbic pathways. CCK gene expression was higher in hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex, but lower in the ventral tegmental area of HR relative to LR rats. Levels of CCK-2R mRNA were more elevated in LR animals in some areas of the forebrain such as the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and hippocampus. Additionally, CCK-2R blockade with the antagonist LY225.910 (0.5 mg/Kg) removed phenotype differences in sustained exploration of novel stimuli (i.e., a novel-object) in HR and LR rats exposed to an enriched open-field test series. Finally, CCK-2R blockade also altered M2 and 5-HT7 receptor gene expression in the mediodorsal thalamus (a strategic structure for corticothalamic trafficking) in a phenotype-dependent manner. Taken together, the findings reported here suggest that distinct CCK-ergic function may contribute to promoting individual differences in novelty-seeking behavior. PMID:18410964
Saur, Dorothee; Kreher, Björn W.; Schnell, Susanne; Kümmerer, Dorothee; Kellmeyer, Philipp; Vry, Magnus-Sebastian; Umarova, Roza; Musso, Mariacristina; Glauche, Volkmar; Abel, Stefanie; Huber, Walter; Rijntjes, Michel; Hennig, Jürgen; Weiller, Cornelius
Built on an analogy between the visual and auditory systems, the following dual stream model for language processing was suggested recently: a dorsal stream is involved in mapping sound to articulation, and a ventral stream in mapping sound to meaning. The goal of the study presented here was to test the neuroanatomical basis of this model. Combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a novel diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based tractography method we were able to identify the most probable anatomical pathways connecting brain regions activated during two prototypical language tasks. Sublexical repetition of speech is subserved by a dorsal pathway, connecting the superior temporal lobe and premotor cortices in the frontal lobe via the arcuate and superior longitudinal fascicle. In contrast, higher-level language comprehension is mediated by a ventral pathway connecting the middle temporal lobe and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex via the extreme capsule. Thus, according to our findings, the function of the dorsal route, traditionally considered to be the major language pathway, is mainly restricted to sensory-motor mapping of sound to articulation, whereas linguistic processing of sound to meaning requires temporofrontal interaction transmitted via the ventral route. PMID:19004769
De Souza, E.B.; Kuyatt, B.L.
Paroxetine is a potent and selective inhibitor of serotonin uptake into neurons. Serotonin uptake sites have been identified, localized, and quantified in rat brain by autoradiography with 3H-paroxetine; 3H-paroxetine binding in slide-mounted sections of rat forebrain was of high affinity (KD = 10 pM) and the inhibition affinity constant (Ki) values of various drugs in competing 3H-paroxetine binding significantly correlated with their reported potencies in inhibiting synaptosomal serotonin uptake. Serotonin uptake sites labeled by 3H-paroxetine were highly concentrated in the dorsal and median raphe nuclei, central gray, superficial layer of the superior colliculus, lateral septal nucleus, paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, and the islands of Calleja. High concentrations of 3H-paroxetine binding sites were found in brainstem areas containing dopamine (substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area) and norepinephrine (locus coeruleus) cell bodies. Moderate concentrations of 3H-paroxetine binding sites were present in laminae I and IV of the frontal parietal cortex, primary olfactory cortex, olfactory tubercle, regions of the basal ganglia, septum, amygdala, thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and some brainstem areas including the interpeduncular, trigeminal, and parabrachial nuclei. Lower densities of 3H-paroxetine binding sites were found in other regions of the neocortex and very low to nonsignificant levels of binding were present in white matter tracts and in the cerebellum. Lesioning of serotonin neurons with 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine caused large decreases in 3H-paroxetine binding. The autoradiographic distribution of 3H-paroxetine binding sites in rat brain corresponds extremely well to the distribution of serotonin terminals and cell bodies as well as with the pharmacological sites of action of serotonin.
Lim, L W; Prickaerts, J; Huguet, G; Kadar, E; Hartung, H; Sharp, T; Temel, Y
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising therapy for patients with refractory depression. However, key questions remain with regard to which brain target(s) should be used for stimulation, and which mechanisms underlie the therapeutic effects. Here, we investigated the effect of DBS, with low- and high-frequency stimulation (LFS, HFS), in different brain regions (ventromedial prefrontal cortex, vmPFC; cingulate cortex, Cg; nucleus accumbens (NAc) core or shell; lateral habenula, LHb; and ventral tegmental area) on a variety of depressive-like behaviors using rat models. In the naive animal study, we found that HFS of the Cg, vmPFC, NAc core and LHb reduced anxiety levels and increased motivation for food. In the chronic unpredictable stress model, there was a robust depressive-like behavioral phenotype. Moreover, vmPFC HFS, in a comparison of all stimulated targets, produced the most profound antidepressant effects with enhanced hedonia, reduced anxiety and decreased forced-swim immobility. In the following set of electrophysiological and histochemical experiments designed to unravel some of the underlying mechanisms, we found that vmPFC HFS evoked a specific modulation of the serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), which have long been linked to mood. Finally, using a neuronal mapping approach by means of c-Fos expression, we found that vmPFC HFS modulated a brain circuit linked to the DRN and known to be involved in affect. In conclusion, HFS of the vmPFC produced the most potent antidepressant effects in naive rats and rats subjected to stress by mechanisms also including the DRN. PMID:25826110
Paredes-Ramos, P; McCarthy, M M; Bowers, J M; Miquel, M; Manzo, J; Coria-Avila, G A
We have previously shown that reward experienced during social play at juvenile age can be paired with artificial odors, and later in adulthood facilitate olfactory conditioned partner preferences (PP) in female rats. Herein, we examined the expression of FOS immunoreactivity (FOS-IR) following exposure to the odor paired with juvenile play (CS+). Starting at day P31 females received daily 30-min periods of social play with lemon-scented (paired group) or unscented females (unpaired group). At day P42, they were tested for play-PP with two juvenile males, one bearing the CS+ (lemon) and one bearing a novel odor (almond). Females were ovariectomized, hormone-primed and at day P55 tested for sexual-PP between two adult stud males scented with lemon or almond. In both tests, females from the paired group displayed conditioned PP (play or sexual) toward males bearing the CS+. In the present experiments females were exposed at day P59 to the CS+ during 60 min and their brains processed for FOS-IR. One group of female rats (Play+Sex) underwent play-PP and sexual-PP, whereas a second group of females (Play-only) underwent exclusively play-PP but not sexual-PP. Results showed that in the Play-only experiment exposure to the CS+ induced more FOS-IR in the medial prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, dorsal striatum, and ventral tegmental area as compared to females from the unpaired group. In the Play+Sex experiment, more FOS-IR was observed in the piriform cortex, dorsal striatum, lateral septum, nucleus accumbens shell, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and medial amygdala as compared to females from the unpaired group. Taken together, these results indicate mesocorticolimbic brain areas direct the expectation and/or choice of conditioned partners in female rats. In addition, transferring the meaning of play to sex preference requires different brain areas.
Marked differences in the number and type of synapses innervating the somata and primary dendrites of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, striatal cholinergic interneurons, and striatal spiny projection neurons in the rat.
Sizemore, Rachel J; Zhang, Rong; Lin, Naili; Goddard, Liping; Wastney, Timothy; Parr-Brownlie, Louise C; Reynolds, John N J; Oorschot, Dorothy E
Elucidating the link between cellular activity and goal-directed behavior requires a fuller understanding of the mechanisms underlying burst firing in midbrain dopaminergic neurons and those that suppress activity during aversive or non-rewarding events. We have characterized the afferent synaptic connections onto these neurons in the rat substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), and compared these findings with cholinergic interneurons and spiny projection neurons in the striatum. We found that the average absolute number of synapses was three to three and one-half times greater onto the somata of dorsal striatal spiny projection neurons than onto the somata of dopaminergic neurons in the SNpc or dorsal striatal cholinergic interneurons. A similar comparison between populations of dopamine neurons revealed a two times greater number of somatic synapses on VTA dopaminergic neurons than SNpc dopaminergic neurons. The percentage of symmetrical, presumably inhibitory, synaptic inputs on somata was significantly higher on spiny projection neurons and cholinergic interneurons compared with SNpc dopaminergic neurons. Synaptic data on the primary dendrites yielded similar significant differences for the percentage of symmetrical synapses for VTA dopaminergic vs. striatal neurons. No differences in the absolute number or type of somatic synapses were evident for dopaminergic neurons in the SNpc of Wistar vs. Sprague-Dawley rat strains. These data from identified neurons are pivotal for interpreting their electrophysiological responses to afferent activity and for generating realistic computer models of neuronal networks of striatal and midbrain dopaminergic function.
French, E D
Behavioral, biochemical and recent electrophysiological data have increasingly implicated the involvement of dopamine in the central actions of cannabinoid compounds. However, the site and mechanism by which cannabinoids stimulate dopamine systems has been somewhat controversial. Central opioid systems have also been suggested to play a role in some cannabinoid-induced behaviors as evidenced by their attenuation in the presence of the opioid antagonist naloxone. However, recent studies using the cannabinoid receptor-selective antagonist SR141716A suggest that the central actions of psychoactive cannabinoids are mediated principally through activation of CB1 receptors. Using single cell electrophysiological recordings in the rat we assessed the effects of both SR141716A and naloxone on delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-induced activation of ventral tegmental dopamine neurons. While dopamine cell firing was dose-dependently increased following cumulative dosing with delta9-THC it was partially or completely inhibited following pretreatment with 0.5 and 2 mg/kg SR141716A, respectively. However, 1 and 10 mg/kg naloxone failed to alter the response to delta9-THC. These data provide the first evidence that delta9-THC-induced changes in mesolimbic dopamine neuronal activity are mediated by the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, but a causal link for the involvement of opioid systems could not be established.
Fritz, Michael; El Rawas, Rana; Salti, Ahmad; Klement, Sabine; Bardo, Michael T; Kemmler, Georg; Dechant, Georg; Saria, Alois; Zernig, Gerald
Little is known how social interaction, if offered as an alternative to drug consumption, affects neural circuits involved in drug reinforcement and substance dependence. Conditioned place preference (CPP) for cocaine (15 mg/kg i.p.) or social interaction (15 minutes) as an alternative stimulus was investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Four social interaction episodes with a male adult conspecific completely reversed cocaine CPP and were even able to prevent reacquisition of cocaine CPP. Social interaction also reversed cocaine CPP-induced expression of the immediate-early gene zif268 in the nucleus accumbens shell, the central and basolateral amygdala and the ventral tegmental area. These findings suggest that social interaction, if offered in a context that is clearly distinct from the previously drug-associated ones, may profoundly decrease the incentive salience of drug-associated contextual stimuli. The novel experimental design facilitates the neurobiological investigation of this phenomenon which may be beneficial for human drug users in treatment.
Ye, Qing; Yuan, Xiao-Lei; He, Jing; Zhou, Jie; Yuan, Can-Xing; Yang, Xu-Ming
Levodopa is the gold-standard treatment for Parkinson's disease. However, although it alleviates the clinical symptoms, it cannot delay the progressive apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons or prevent motor complications in the long term. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Shudipingchan granule on neuronal apoptosis in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, established by injecting 6-hydroxydopamine into the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area. We then administered levodopa (20 mg/kg intraperitoneally, twice daily) with or without Shudipingchan granule (7.5 mL/kg intragastrically, twice daily), for 4 weeks. The long-term use of levodopa accelerated apoptosis of nigral cells and worsened behavioral symptoms by activating the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway and downstream apoptotic factors. However, administration of Shudipingchan granule with levodopa reduced expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and Bax, increased tyrosine hydroxylase and Bcl-2, reduced apoptosis in the substantia nigra, and markedly improved dyskinesia. These findings suggest that Shudipingchan granule suppresses neuronal apoptosis by inhibiting the hyperphosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and downregulating expression of anti-apoptotic genes. Shudipingchan granule, used in combination with levodopa, can effectively reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Ye, Qing; Yuan, Xiao-lei; He, Jing; Zhou, Jie; Yuan, Can-xing; Yang, Xu-ming
Levodopa is the gold-standard treatment for Parkinson's disease. However, although it alleviates the clinical symptoms, it cannot delay the progressive apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons or prevent motor complications in the long term. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Shudipingchan granule on neuronal apoptosis in a rat model of Parkinson's disease, established by injecting 6-hydroxydopamine into the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area. We then administered levodopa (20 mg/kg intraperitoneally, twice daily) with or without Shudipingchan granule (7.5 mL/kg intragastrically, twice daily), for 4 weeks. The long-term use of levodopa accelerated apoptosis of nigral cells and worsened behavioral symptoms by activating the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway and downstream apoptotic factors. However, administration of Shudipingchan granule with levodopa reduced expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and Bax, increased tyrosine hydroxylase and Bcl-2, reduced apoptosis in the substantia nigra, and markedly improved dyskinesia. These findings suggest that Shudipingchan granule suppresses neuronal apoptosis by inhibiting the hyperphosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and downregulating expression of anti-apoptotic genes. Shudipingchan granule, used in combination with levodopa, can effectively reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. PMID:27904494
Kim, Jae; Connelly, Krista L; Unterwald, Ellen M; Rawls, Scott M
Plasma levels of the chemokine CXCL12 are elevated in mice following acute cocaine exposure and decreased in human cocaine abusers during withdrawal. CXCL12 is also one of the few chemokines located in the brain and can modulate dopamine transmission through activation of its receptor CXCR4. To assess a role for the CXCL12/CXCR4 system in behavioral effects of cocaine, we tested the hypothesis that AMD 3100 (Plerixafor), a CXCR4 antagonist, would inhibit conditioned place preference (CPP) and locomotor activation produced by cocaine. Rats injected with cocaine (10mg/kg) displayed CPP relative to saline-injected controls following 4 conditioning sessions. AMD 3100 (1, 2.5, 5mg/kg) administered prior to cocaine conditioning reduced development of cocaine CPP. AMD 3100 (5mg/kg) also inhibited expression of cocaine-induced CPP in a paradigm in which it was injected once (following cocaine conditioning and just prior to CPP testing). In addition, AMD 3100 (5, 10mg/kg) pretreatment reduced locomotor activation produced by an acute cocaine injection (15mg/kg) but did not affect basal locomotor activity relative to saline-injected controls. Repeated cocaine exposure produced a significant increase (1.49-fold) in CXCL12 mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Our results suggest that the CXCL12/CXCR4 system in the brain reward circuit is impacted by cocaine exposure and influences behavioral effects related to the abuse liability of cocaine.
Iwasaki, Y; Kinoshita, M; Ikeda, K; Shiojima, T
This experiment was undertaken in order to study the probable trophic effect of ceruletide and LH-RH on cultured ventral spinal cord. The ventral spinal cord from 13-14-gestational day rat embryos were explanted, following a conventional culturing method. Explants in the culture medium were fed ceruletide and LH-RH at different concentrations. An equal volume of PBS was administered to the control explants. For quantitative analysis of the trophic effect of ceruletide and LH-RH, a numerical score from 0 to 4 was determined at the 7th culture day, based on the length and extension of neurite growth estimated. The presence of ceruletide, the neuritic extension of ventral spinal cord exceeds control values 3.5-6.3 times. The growth zone of the spinal cord explants increases in the ceruletide treated culture, LH-RH treated culture, on the other hand, had no promoting effect on neurite growth. The possible mechanism of trophic effect of ceruletide on cultured ventral spinal cord was briefly discussed. These experimental observation have important implications regarding to potential therapeutic effects of ceruletide n amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Zahm, Daniel S.; Schwartz, Zachary M.; Lavezzi, Heather N.; Yetnikoff, Leora; Parsley, Kenneth P.
Ambulatory locomotion in the rodent is robustly activated by unilateral infusions into the basal forebrain of type A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptor antagonists, such as bicuculline and picrotoxin. The present study was carried out to better localize the neuroanatomical substrate(s) underlying this effect. To accomplish this, differences in total locomotion accumulated during a 20 minute test period following bicuculline versus saline infusions in male Sprague-Dawley rats were calculated, rank ordered and mapped on a diagram of basal forebrain transposed from immunoprocessed sections. The most robust locomotor activation was elicited by bicuculline infusions clustered in rostral parts of the preoptic area. Unilateral infusions of bicuculline into the ventral pallidum produced an unanticipatedly diminutive activation of locomotion, which led us to evaluate bilateral ventral pallidal infusions, and these also produced only a small activation of locomotion, and, interestingly, a non-significant trend toward suppression of rearing. Subjects with bicuculline infused bilaterally into the ventral pallidum also exhibited persistent bouts of abnormal movements. Bicuculline infused unilaterally into other forebrain structures, including the bed nucleus of stria terminalis, caudate-putamen, globus pallidus, sublenticular extended amygdala and sublenticular substantia innominata, did not produce significant locomotor activation. Our data identify the rostral preoptic area as the main substrate for the locomotor activating effects of basal forebrain bicuculline infusions. In contrast, slight activation of locomotion and no effect on rearing accompanied unilateral and bilateral ventral pallidal infusions. Implications of these findings for forebrain processing of reward are discussed. PMID:23423460
Song, Guohua; Nesil, Tanseli; Cao, Junran; Yang, Zhongli; Chang, Sulie L; Li, Ming D
Oxidative stress plays an important role in the progression of HIV-1 infection. Nicotine can either protect neurons from neurodegeneration or induce oxidative stress, depending on its dose and degree of oxidative stress impairment. However, the relationship between nicotine and oxidative stress in the HIV-1-infected individuals remains largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of nicotine on expression of genes related to the glutathione (GSH)-centered antioxidant system and oxidative stress in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) of HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) and F344 control rats. Adult HIV-1Tg and F344 rats received nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, base, s.c.) or saline injections once per day for 27 days. At the end of treatment, various brain regions including the NAc and VTA were collected from each rat. Following total RNA extraction and complementary DNA (cDNA) synthesis of each sample, quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) analysis was performed for 43 oxidative-stress-related genes. Compared with F344 control rats, HIV-1Tg rats showed a significant downregulation of genes involved in ATPase and cyctochrome oxidase at the messenger RNA (mRNA) level in both regions. Further, we found a significant downregulation of Gstm5 in the NAc and upregulation of Cox1, Cox3, and Gsta6 in the VTA of HIV-1Tg rats. HIV-1Tg rats showed brain-region-specific responses to chronic nicotine treatment. This response resulted in a change in the expression of genes involved in antioxidant mechanisms including the downregulation of genes such as Atp5h, Calml1, Gpx7, Gstm5, Gsr, and Gsta6 and upregulation of Sod1 in the NAc, as well as downregulation of genes like Cox5a, Gpx4, Gpx6, Gpx7, Gstm5, and Sod1 in the VTA of HIV-1Tg rats. Together, we conclude that chronic nicotine treatment has a dual effect on the antioxidant defense system and oxidative-stress-induced apoptosis signaling in HIV-1Tg rats. These findings suggest that
Esclassan, Frederic; Coutureau, Etienne; Di Scala, Georges; Marchand, Alain R
Trace conditioning relies on the maintained representation of a stimulus across a trace interval, and may involve a persistent trace of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and/or a contribution of contextual conditioning. The role of hippocampal structures in these two types of conditioning was studied by means of pretraining lesions and reversible inactivation of the hippocampus in rats. Similar levels of conditioning to a tone CS and to the context were obtained with a trace interval of 30 s. Neurotoxic lesions of the whole hippocampus or reversible muscimol inactivation of the ventral hippocampus impaired both contextual and tone freezing in both trace- and delay-conditioned rats. Dorsal hippocampal injections impaired contextual freezing and trace conditioning, but not delay conditioning. No dissociation between trace and contextual conditioning was observed under any of these conditions. Altogether, these data indicate that the ventral and dorsal parts of the hippocampus compute different aspects of trace conditioning, with the ventral hippocampus being involved in fear and anxiety processes, and the dorsal hippocampus in the temporal and contextual aspects of event representation.
Briguglio, Marilena; Pinelli, Lorenzo; Giordano, Lucio; Ferraris, Alessandro; Germanò, Eva; Micheletti, Serena; Severino, Mariasavina; Bernardini, Laura; Loddo, Sara; Tortorella, Gaetano; Ormitti, Francesca; Gasparotti, Roberto; Rossi, Andrea; Valente, Enza Maria
Pontine Tegmental Cap Dysplasia (PTCD) is a recently described, rare disorder characterized by a peculiar cerebellar and brainstem malformation. Nineteen patients have been reported to date, of which only one in the adolescent age, and data on the clinical, cognitive and behavioural outcome of this syndrome are scarce. Here we describe three adolescent patients with PTCD. All presented bilateral deafness and multiple cranial neuropathies, variably associated with skeletal, cardiac and gastro-intestinal malformations. Feeding and swallowing difficulties, that are often causative of recurrent aspiration pneumonias and death in the first years of life, completely resolved with age in all three patients. Neuropsychological assessment showed borderline to moderate cognitive impairment, with delay in adaptive functioning, visual-spatial and language deficits. Two of three patients also showed mild behavioural problems, although their overall socialization abilities were well preserved. Cochlear implantation in two patients significantly improved their relational and learning abilities. Fibre tractography confirmed the abnormal bundle of transversely oriented fibres forming the typical pontine "tegmental cap" and absence of decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncles, supporting the hypothesis that PTCD results from abnormal axonal guidance and/or migration.These data indicate that PTCD may have a favourable long-term outcome, with borderline cognitive deficit or even normal cognition and partially preserved speech.
Pontine Tegmental Cap Dysplasia (PTCD) is a recently described, rare disorder characterized by a peculiar cerebellar and brainstem malformation. Nineteen patients have been reported to date, of which only one in the adolescent age, and data on the clinical, cognitive and behavioural outcome of this syndrome are scarce. Here we describe three adolescent patients with PTCD. All presented bilateral deafness and multiple cranial neuropathies, variably associated with skeletal, cardiac and gastro-intestinal malformations. Feeding and swallowing difficulties, that are often causative of recurrent aspiration pneumonias and death in the first years of life, completely resolved with age in all three patients. Neuropsychological assessment showed borderline to moderate cognitive impairment, with delay in adaptive functioning, visual-spatial and language deficits. Two of three patients also showed mild behavioural problems, although their overall socialization abilities were well preserved. Cochlear implantation in two patients significantly improved their relational and learning abilities. Fibre tractography confirmed the abnormal bundle of transversely oriented fibres forming the typical pontine "tegmental cap" and absence of decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncles, supporting the hypothesis that PTCD results from abnormal axonal guidance and/or migration. These data indicate that PTCD may have a favourable long-term outcome, with borderline cognitive deficit or even normal cognition and partially preserved speech. PMID:21651769
Quattrocchi, Carlo Cosimo; Fariello, Giuseppe; Longo, Daniela
Lesions of the brainstem have been reported in the clinical scenarios of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), although the prevalence of these lesions is probably underestimated. Neuropathologic studies have demonstrated brainstem involvement in severely asphyxiated infants as an indicator of poor outcome. Among survivors to HIE, the most frequent clinical complaints that may be predicted by brainstem lesions include feeding problems, speech, language and communication problems and visual impairments. Clinical series, including vascular and metabolic etiologies, have found selective involvement of the brainstem with the demonstration of symmetric bilateral columnar lesions of the tegmentum. The role of brainstem lesions in HIE is currently a matter of debate, especially when tegmental lesions are present in the absence of supra-tentorial lesions. Differential diagnosis of tegmental lesions in neonates and infants include congenital metabolic syndromes and drug-related processes. Brainstem injury with the presence of supratentorial lesions is a predictor of poor outcome and high rates of mortality and morbidity. Further investigation will be conducted to identify specific sites of the brainstem that are vulnerable to hypoxic-ischemic and toxic-metabolic insults. PMID:26981220
Ding, Zheng-Ming; Rodd, Zachary A; Engleman, Eric A; Bailey, Jason A; Lahiri, Debomoy K; McBride, William J
The present study determined the effects of voluntary ethanol drinking and deprivation on basal extracellular glutamate concentrations and clearance in the mesolimbic system and tested the hypothesis that chronic ethanol drinking would persistently increase basal glutamate neurotransmission. Three groups of alcohol-preferring (P) rats were used: 'water group (WG),' 'ethanol maintenance group (MG; 24-hour free choice water versus 15% ethanol)' and 'ethanol deprivation group (DG; 2 weeks of deprivation).' Quantitative microdialysis and Western blots were conducted to measure basal extracellular glutamate concentrations, clearance and proteins associated with glutamate clearance. Chronic alcohol drinking produced a 70-100% increase of basal extracellular glutamate concentrations in the posterior ventral tegmental area (4.0 versus 7.0 μM) and nucleus accumbens shell (3.0 versus 6.0 μM). Glutamate clearances were reduced by 30-40% in both regions of MG rats compared with WG rats. In addition, Western blots revealed a 40-45% decrease of excitatory amino transporter 1 (EAAT1) protein, but no significant changes in the levels of EAAT2 or cystine-glutamate antiporter in these regions of MG versus WG rats. The enhanced glutamate concentrations returned to control levels, accompanied by a recovery of glutamate clearance following deprivation. These results indicated that chronic alcohol drinking enhanced extracellular glutamate concentrations in the mesolimbic system, as a result, in part, of reduced clearance, suggesting that enhanced glutamate neurotransmission may contribute to the maintenance of alcohol drinking. However, because the increased glutamate levels returned to normal after deprivation, elevated glutamate neurotransmission may not contribute to the initiation of relapse drinking.
Zurawek, Dariusz; Kusmider, Maciej; Faron-Gorecka, Agata; Gruca, Piotr; Pabian, Paulina; Solich, Joanna; Kolasa, Magdalena; Papp, Mariusz; Dziedzicka-Wasylewska, Marta
Prolonged stress perturbs physiological balance of a subject and thus can lead to depression. Nevertheless, some individuals are more resilient to stress than the others. Defining molecular factors underlying resilience to stress may contribute to the development of a new antidepressant strategy based on the restoration of resilient phenotype in depressed subjects. We used chronic mild stress (CMS) paradigm-well-characterized animal model of depression which caused in rats behavioral deficits (anhedonia) manifested by decreased consumption of sucrose solution. CMS also generated a proportion of resilient rats which did not alter sucrose consumption despite being stressed. Recently, regulation of a gene expression associated with microRNA (miRNA) is considered as an important factor modulating biochemical response to stress. Based on our previous work and literature survey, we investigated changes in the expression level of seven miRNAs (i.e., miR-18a-5p, miR-34a-5p, miR-135a-5p, miR-195-5p, miR-320-3p, miR-674-3p, miR-872-5p) in mesocortical circuit-crucially involved in stress response in order to find differences between susceptible and resilient phenotype. Bioinformatic analysis showed that all miRNAs of interest potentially target serotonin transporter (SERT). Chronic stress caused global increase in the expression of the abovementioned miRNAs in ventral tegmental area (VTA) of stressed rats followed by parallel decrease in miRNA expression in prefrontal cortex (PCx). This effect was more profound in resilient than anhedonic animals. Moreover, we observed decreased level of SERT in VTA of resilient rats. Our findings show that mesocortical circuit is involved in the response to stress and this phenomenon is more efficient in resilient animals.
Dunn, A J; Hurd, R W
Intracerebroventricular but not parenteral application of ACTH has been shown to elicit excessive grooming behavior in rats and mice. This behavior is elicited by administration of ACTH into the lateral, third, or fourth ventricles. Plugging of the cerebral aqueduct with cold cream fails to prevent grooming in response to lateral ventricle injection of ACTH. However, cold cream plugs in the third ventricle can prevent the subsequent induction of grooming behavior by lateral ventricle injection of ACTH, but only when the plugs are located in the anterior ventral third ventricle in the region of the organum vasculosum laminae terminalis (OVLT) and median eminence. These data suggest the anterior ventral third ventricle as the periventricular site of action of ACTH in eliciting excessive grooming, although it is possible that peptides taken up in this area are transported to other regions to elicit the behavioral response.