Neuroscience (NEUROSCIENCE )

Publisher: International Brain Research Organization, Elsevier


Neuroscience publishes papers describing the results of original research on any aspect of the scientific study of the nervous system. Any paper, however short, will be considered for publication provided that it reports significant, new and carefully confirmed findings with full experimental details. For Instructions to Authors click on "Guide to Authors" in the left-hand column.

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Oral contraceptives (OCs) affect mood in some women and may have more subtle effects on emotional information processing in many more users. Female carriers of mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) haplotype 2 have been shown to be more optimistic and less vulnerable to depression. Aim: To investigate the effects of oral contraceptives on emotional information processing and a possible moderating effect of MR haplotype. Methods: Cross-­‐sectional study in 85 healthy premenopausal women of West-­‐European descent. Results: We found significant main effects of oral contraceptives on facial expression recognition, emotional memory and decision-­‐making. Furthermore, carriers of MR haplotype 1 or 3 were sensitive to the impact of OCs on the recognition of sad and fearful faces and on emotional memory, whereas MR haplotype 2 carriers were not. The effects of OCs on recognition of anger and on risky decision making were not moderated by MR haplotype. Limitations: Different compounds of OCs were included. No hormonal measures were taken. Most naturally cycling participants were assessed in the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Conclusions: Carriers of MR haplotype 2 may be less sensitive to depressogenic side­‐effects of OCs.
    Neuroscience 12/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: The possible involvement of the PI3K/AKT/BDNF/VGF signaling in rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects of antidepressants has been explored progressively by more studies. However, whether this signaling participates in the antidepressant-like effects of acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) has not been examined. Herein, we assessed the antidepressant-like effects of ALC using the forced swimming test (FST). Our results demonstrated the dose–effect relationship of acute administration of ALC (5, 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) and showed that it dose-dependently decreased the immobility time on FST of mice. In addition, ALC (100 mg/kg, i.p.) also reversed depressive-like behavior and the down-regulation of phosphorylated AKT (pAKT), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neuropeptide VGF in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of mice induced by chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) paradigm. Further, intra-cerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusions of LY294002 (10 nmol/side), a specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, significantly prevented the antidepressant-like effect of ALC (100 mg/kg, i.p.). In conclusion, our results demonstrated that ALC exerts rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects that might be mediated by the PI3K/AKT/BDNF/VGF signaling pathway.
    Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Dorsal vagal complex (DVC) AMPK regulation of food intake in the estradiol-treated ovariectomized (OVX) female rat is energy state-dependent. Here, RT-PCR array technology was used to identify estradiol-sensitive AMPK-regulated DVC signal transduction pathways that exhibit differential reactivity to sensor activation during energy balance versus imbalance. The AMP mimetic AICAR correspondingly reduced or stimulated cDVC phosphoAMPK (pAMPK) and estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) proteins in full-fed (F) versus 12 hr food-deprived (D) estradiol-treated ovariectomized (OVX) rats, but elevated ER-alpha (ERα) in F only. Estradiol suppressed DVC ERβ protein and hypoxia, NFκB, STAT3, STAT6, and Hedgehog signaling pathway marker genes against oil-implanted OVX controls. F + (A)ICAR and D + (S)aline groups each exhibited further inhibition of NFκB, STAT3, and Hedgehog pathway genes, and diminished PPAR, Notch, and STAT5 transcripts versus F+S. Conversely, genes in these six pathways were up-regulated by AICAR treatment of D. Results show that in this animal model, acute AMP augmentation or feeding cessation each inhibit both pAMPK and ERβ expression, but in combination increase these protein profiles. pAMPK protein and DVC TNF (NFκB), SOCS3 (JAK/STAT), WNT6 (Hedgehog), and FABP1 (PPAR) mRNAs were down- or upregulated in parallel by AICAR in F versus D states, respectively. Further research is needed to determine the impact of ERβ on opposing directionality of these responses, and to characterize the role of the aforementioned signaling pathways in hyperphagic responses in the female to AICAR-induced DVC AMPK activation during acute interruption of feeding.
    Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Protease activated receptors (PARs) populate neurons and astrocytes in the brain. The serine protease thrombin, which activates PAR-1 during the first hours after stroke, appears to be associated with the cytotoxicity. Thrombin antagonists and PAR-1 inhibitors have been correlated with reduced cell death and behavioral protection after stroke, but no data yet supports a mechanistic link between PAR-1 action and benefit. We sought to establish the essential role of PAR-1 in mediating ischemic damage. Using a short hairpin mRNA packaged with green fluorescent protein in a lentivirus vector, we knocked downPAR-1 in the medial caudate nucleus prior to rat middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and in rat neurons prior to oxygen-glucose deprivation. We also compared aged PAR-1 knockout mice with aged PAR-3, PAR-4 mice and young wild-type mice in a standard MCAo model. Silencing PAR-1 significantly reduced neurological deficits, reduced endothelial barrier leakage, and decreased neuronal degeneration in vivo during MCAo. PAR-1 knock-down in the ischemic medial caudate allowed cells to survive the ischemic injury; infected cells were negative for TUNEL and c-Fos injury markers. Primary cultured neurons infected with PAR-1 shRNA showed increased neuroprotection during hypoxic/aglycemic conditions with or without added thrombin. The aged PAR-1 knockout mice showed decreased infarction and vascular disruption compared to aged controls or young wild types. We demonstrated an essential role for PAR-1 during ischemia. Silencing or removing PAR-1 significantly protected neurons and astrocytes. Further development of agents that act at PAR-1or its downstream pathways could yield powerful stroke therapy.
    Neuroscience 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Over leg muscles, 3 motor responses (MR) can commonly be elicited, namely short latency reflex (SLR), medium latency reflex (MLR), and long latency reflex (LLR). The MLR is less well understood than SLR and LLR. As the response to subsequent stimuli may be used to characterize central influences of an MR, we were interested, whether the MLR differs from SLR and LLR with respect to its habituation and facilitation behaviour. MR were examined over the anterior tibial (TA) muscle at different contraction levels after electrical single or train stimuli (time intervals of 3 ms) over the ipsilateral sural nerve. Furthermore, MR were selectively averaged after each of 4 subsequent stimuli (1 Hz, 0.4 Hz, trains-of-3). After single stimuli, the peak latency values were 46.2±2.3ms, 88.0±5.8ms (MLR), and 131.7±22.2ms (LLR). All 3 MR gained similarly strong and significantly in amplitude when up to 10 kg of weight was loaded compared with no weight load. After train stimuli, the LLR but not SLR and MLR gained significantly in amplitude as compared with single stimuli. Different to SLR and LLR, the MLR showed significant habituation behaviour at a stimulus repetition rate of 1Hz but not of 0.4Hz. Thus, inhibitory interneurons seem to be involved in the MLR pathway.
    Neuroscience 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence from the animal literature suggests that post-training glucocorticoids interact with noradrenergic activation at acquisition to enhance memory consolidation for emotional stimuli. While there is evidence that glucocorticoids enhance memory for emotional material in humans, the extent to which this depends on noradrenergic activation at encoding has not been explored. In this study, 20mg hydrocortisone was administered to healthy young women (18-35 yrs old) in a double-blind fashion 10 minutes prior to viewing a series of emotional and neutral images. Saliva samples were taken at baseline, 10 minutes after drug or placebo administration, immediately after viewing the images, 10, 20, and 30 minutes after viewing the images. Participants returned one week later for a surprise recall test. Results suggest that, hydrocortisone administration resulted in emotional memory enhancement only in participants who displayed an increase in endogenous noradrenergic activation, measured via salivary alpha-amylase at encoding. These results support findings in the animal literature that glucocorticoid-induced memory enhancement relies on noradrenergic activation at encoding in women.
    Neuroscience 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic sleep restriction (CSR) has various negative consequences on cognitive performance and health. Using a rat model of CSR that uses alternating cycles of 3 h of sleep deprivation (using slowly rotating activity wheels) and 1 h of sleep opportunity continuously for 4 days ('3/1' protocol), we previously observed not only homeostatic but also allostatic (adaptive) sleep responses to CSR. In particular, non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) EEG delta power, an index of sleep intensity, increased initially and then gradually declined during CSR, with no rebound during a 2 day recovery period. To study underlying mechanisms of these allostatic responses, we examined the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is known to regulate NREMS EEG delta activity, during the same CSR protocol. Mature BDNF protein levels were measured in the frontal cortex and basal forebrain, two brain regions involved in sleep and EEG regulation, and the hippocampus, using Western blot analysis. Adult male Wistar rats were housed in motorized activity wheels, and underwent the 3/1 CSR protocol for 27 h, for 99 h, or for 99 h followed by 24 h of recovery. Additional rats were housed in either locked wheels (locked wheel controls) or unlocked wheels that rats could rotate freely (wheel-running controls). BDNF levels did not differ between wheel-running and locked wheel controls. BDNF levels were increased, compared to the control levels, in all 3 brain regions after 27 h, and were increased less strongly after 99 h, of CSR. After 24 h of recovery, BDNF levels were at the control levels. This time course of BDNF levels parallels the previously reported changes in NREMS delta power during the same CSR protocol. Changes in BDNF protein levels in the cortex and basal forebrain may be part of the molecular mechanisms underlying allostatic sleep responses to CSR.
    Neuroscience 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is a neuropeptide that plays neuroprotective roles in cerebral ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury in animal models or oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) in cultured neurons. Recent data suggest that intranasal CART treatment facilitates neuroregeneration in stroke brain. However, little is known about the effects of post-treatment with CART during the neuronal recovery after OGD and reoxyenation in cultured primary cortical neurons. The present study was to investigate the role of CART treated after OGD injury in neurons. Primary mouse cortical neurons were subjected to OGD and then treated with CART. Our data shows that post-treatment with CART reduced the neuronal apoptosis caused by OGD injury. In addition, CART repaired OGD-impaired cortical neurons by increasing the expression of GAP43, which promotes neurite outgrowth. This effect depends on pleiotrophin (PTN) as siRNA-mediated PTN knockdown totally abolished the increase in CART-stimulated GAP43 protein levels. In summary, our findings demonstrate that CART repairs the neuronal injury after OGD by facilitating neurite outgrowth through PTN-dependent pathway. The role for CART in neurite outgrowth makes it a new potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
    Neuroscience 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) is a type I transmembrane protein reported to have neuroprotective effects in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We investigated whether GPNMB is also neuroprotective against brain ischemia reperfusion injury. Focal ischemia/reperfusion injury was induced via filament middle cerebral artery occlusion for 2 h, followed by reperfusion upon withdrawal of the filament. We assessed the neuroprotective effects of GPNMB using transgenic (Tg) mice which over expressing GPNMB or recombinant GPNMB which has the sequence of human extracellular GPNMB. The results showed that GPNMB was up-regulated after ischemia reperfusion injury, and that genomic over-expression of GPNMB significantly ameliorated infarct volume. Next, we investigated the protective mechanisms of GPNMB via western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Phosphorylation of Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), and protein kinase B (Akt), were increased in the GPNMB Tg group according to western blotting data. Immunohistochemistry analysis showed that GPNMB was expressed not only in neurons, but also in astrocytes, produced labelling patterns similar to that in human brain ischemia. Furthermore, recombinant GPNMB also decreased the infarction volume. These results indicate that GPNMB protected neurons against ischemia reperfusion injury, and phosphor-Akt and phosphor-ERK might be a part of the protective mechanisms, and that the neuroprotective effect of GPNMB was seemingly induced by the extracellular sequence of GPNMB. In conclusion, these findings indicate that GPNMB has neuroprotective effects against ischemia reperfusion injury, via phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt, suggesting that GPNMB may be a therapeutic target for ischemia reperfusion injuries.
    Neuroscience 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The CNS white matter makes up half of the human brain, and with advances in human imaging it is increasingly becoming clear that changes in the white matter play a major role in shaping human behaviour and learning. However, the mechanisms underlying these white matter changes remain poorly understood. Within this special issue of Neuroscience on white matter, recent advances in our knowledge of the function of white matter, from the molecular level to human imaging, are reviewed. Collaboration between fields is essential to understand the function of the white matter, but due to differences in methods and field specific 'language', communication is often hindered. In this review, we try to address this hindrance by introducing the methods and providing a basic background to myelin biology and human imaging as a prelude to the other reviews within this special issue.
    Neuroscience 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) constitutes a large component of the hypothalamus, and has been implicated in several aspects of motivated behaviour. The LHA is of particular relevance to behavioural state control and the maintenance of arousal. Due to the cellular heterogeneity of this region, however, only some subpopulations of LHA cells have been properly anatomically characterized. Here, we have focused on cells expressing thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), a peptide found in the LHA that has been implicated as a promoter of arousal. Immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization were used to map the LHA TRH population in the rat, and cells were observed to form a large ventral cluster that extended throughout almost the entire rostro-caudal axis of the hypothalamus. Almost no examples of coexistence were seen when sections were double-stained for TRH and markers of other LHA populations, including the peptides hypocretin/orexin, melanin-concentrating hormone and neurotensin. In the juxtaparaventricular area, however, a discrete group of TRH-immunoreactive cells were also stained with antisera against enkephalin and urocortin 3. Innervation from the metabolically sensitive hypothalamic arcuate nucleus was investigated by double-staining for peptide markers of the two centrally projecting groups of arcuate neurons, agouti gene-related peptide and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, respectively; both populations of terminals were observed forming close appositions on TRH cells in the LHA. The present study indicates that TRH-expressing cells form a unique population in the LHA that may serve as a link between metabolic signals and the generation of arousal.
    Neuroscience 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Human obesity is associated with increased leptin levels and pain, but the specific brain regions and neurochemical mechanisms underlying this association remain poorly understood. This study used adult male C57BL/6J (B6, n = 14) mice and leptin-deficient, obese B6.Cg-Lep(ob)/J (obese, n = 10) mice to evaluate the hypothesis that nociception is altered by systemic leptin levels and by adenosine A1 receptors in the pontine reticular formation. Nociception was quantified as paw withdrawal latency (PWL) in s after onset of a thermal stimulus. PWL wasconverted topercent maximum possible effect (%MPE). After obtaining baseline PWL measures, the pontine reticular formation was microinjected with saline (control), three concentrations of the adenosine A1 receptor agonist N(6)-p-sulfophenyladenosine (SPA), or super-active mouse leptin receptor antagonist (SMLA) followed by SPA 15 min later, and PWL was again quantified. In obese, leptin-deficient mice, nociception was quantified before and during leptin replacement via subcutaneous osmotic pumps. SPA was administered into the pontine reticular formation of leptin-replaced mice and PWL testing was repeated. During baseline (before vehicle or SPA administration), PWL was significantly (p = 0.0013) lower in leptin-replaced obese mice than in B6 mice. Microinjecting SPA into the pontine reticular formation of B6 mice caused a significant (p = 0.0003) concentration-dependent increase in%MPE. SPA also significantly (p < 0.05) increased%MPE in B6 mice and in leptin-replaced obese mice, but not in leptin-deficient obese mice. Microinjection of the mouse super-active leptin antagonist (SMLA) into the pontine reticular formation before SPA did not alter PWL. The results show for the first time that pontine reticular formation administration of the adenosine A1 receptor agonist SPA produced antinociception only in the presence of systemic leptin. The concentration-response data support the interpretation that adenosine A1 receptors localized to the pontine reticular formation significantly alter nociception.
    Neuroscience 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have shown significant results in the interaction between the functions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and serotonin (5-HT) in mood disorders, such as major depressive disorder. The latest research has provided convincing evidence that gene transcription of these molecules is a target for epigenetic changes, triggered by stressful stimuli that starts in early childhood and continues throughout life, which are subsequently translated into structural and functional phenotypes culminating in depressive disorders. The short variants of 5-HTTLPR and BDNF-Met are seen as forms which are predisposed to epigenetic aberrations, which leads individuals to a susceptibility to environmental adversities, especially when subjected to stress in early life. Moreover, the polymorphic variants also feature epistatic interactions in directing the functional mechanisms elicited by stress and underlying the onset of depressive disorders. Also emphasized are works which show some mediators between stress and epigenetic changes of the 5-HTT and BDNF genes, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), which is a cellular transcription factor. Both the HPA axis and CREB are also involved in epistatic interactions between polymorphic variants of 5-HTTLPR and Val66Met. This review highlights some research studying changes in the epigenetic patterns intrinsic to genes of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) and BDNF, which are related to lifelong environmental adversities, which in turn increases the risks of developing major depressive disorder.
    Neuroscience 06/2014;