Life without neuropeptide Y.
ABSTRACT Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a 36 amino acid neuromodulator that is secreted by neurons throughout the peripheral and central nervous system, has been implicated in the control of many physiological processes. We have begun to examine its role in regulation of appetite, behavior, and excitotoxicity by examining mice that are unable to produce NPY as a consequence of gene inactivation. These mutant mice are remarkably normal when reared under standard vivarium conditions. Despite considerable evidence that NPY plays a central role in stimulating appetite, NPY-deficient mice eat normally, grow normally, and refeed after a fast normally. Furthermore, all of their endocrine responses to fasting are normal. The response of NPY-null mice to diet-induced obesity, chemically induced obesity (monosodium glutamate and gold thioglucose), and genetic-based obesity (lethal yellow agouti, Ay; uncoupling protein-diphtheria toxin transgenics, UCP-DT) were all normal. However, NPY deficiency does partially ameliorate the obesity and all of the adverse endocrine effects of leptin deficiency in ob/ob mice. NPY-null mice as well as mice deficient in both NPY and leptin are more sensitive to leptin, suggesting that NPY may normally have a tonic inhibitory action on leptin-mediated satiety signals. NPY-null mice display the normal voracious feeding response to injected NPY. Thus, the only condition where we have observed a role for NPY in body-weight regulation is in the context of complete leptin deficiency--where absence of NPY is beneficial. The activity and general behavior of NPY-null mice are normal. They appear to have normal spatial and contextual learning ability; however, they manifest more anxiety under some conditions. NPY-null mice occasionally display spontaneous, seizure-like events. They also are less able to terminate seizures induced by GABA receptor antagonists or glutamate receptor agonists. These observations are consistent with previous data suggesting that NPY plays an important role in dampening excitotoxicity.
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ABSTRACT: The hypothalamus integrates information required for the production of a variety of innate behaviors such as feeding, mating, aggression, and predator avoidance. Despite an extensive knowledge of hypothalamic function, how embryonic genetic programs specify circuits that regulate these behaviors remains unknown. Here, we find that in the hypothalamus the developmentally regulated homeodomain-containing transcription factor Dbx1 is required for the generation of specific subclasses of neurons within the lateral hypothalamic area/zona incerta (LH) and the arcuate (Arc) nucleus. Consistent with this specific developmental role, Dbx1 hypothalamic-specific conditional-knockout mice display attenuated responses to predator odor and feeding stressors but do not display deficits in other innate behaviors such as mating or conspecific aggression. Thus, activity of a single developmentally regulated gene, Dbx1, is a shared requirement for the specification of hypothalamic nuclei governing a subset of innate behaviors. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Neuron 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.022 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Acetaldehyde (ACD), the first alcohol metabolite, plays a pivotal role in the rewarding, motivational, and addictive properties of the parental compound. Many studies have investigated the role of ACD in mediating neurochemical and behavioral effects induced by alcohol administration, but very little is known about the modulation of neuropeptide systems following ACD intoxication and withdrawal. Indeed, the neuropeptide Y (NPY) system is altered during alcohol withdrawal in key regions for cerebrocortical excitability and neuroplasticity. The primary goal of this research was to investigate the effects of ACD intoxication and withdrawal by recording rat behavior and by measuring NPY immunoreactivity in hippocampus and NAcc, two brain regions mainly involved in processes which encompass neuroplasticity in alcohol dependence. Furthermore, on the basis of the involvement of endocannabinoidergic system in alcohol and ACD reinforcing effects, the role of the selective CB1 receptor antagonist AM281 in modulating NPY expression during withdrawal was assessed. Our results indicate that (i) ACD intoxication induced a reduction in NPY expression in hippocampus and NAcc; (ii) symptoms of physical dependence, similar to alcohol's, were scored at 12 h from the last administration of ACD; and (iii) NPY levels increased in early and prolonged acute withdrawal in both brain regions examined. The administration of AM281 was able to blunt signs of ACD-induced physical dependence, to modulate NPY levels, and to further increase NPY expression during ACD withdrawal both in hippocampus and NAcc. In conclusion, the present study shows that complex plastic changes take place in NPY system during ACD intoxication and subsequent withdrawal in rat hippocampal formation and NAcc. The pharmacological inhibition of CB1 signaling could counteract the neurochemical imbalance associated with ACD, and alcohol withdrawal, likely boosting the setting up of homeostatic functional recovery.Frontiers in Psychiatry 10/2014; 5:138. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00138
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ABSTRACT: Considerable advances have been made toward understanding the molecular signaling events that underlie memory acquisition and consolidation. In contrast, less is known about memory retrieval, despite its necessity for utilizing learned information. This review focuses on neuromodulatory and intracellular signaling events that underlie memory retrieval mediated by the hippocampus, for which the most information is currently available. Among neuromodulators, adrenergic signaling is required for the retrieval of various types of hippocampus-dependent memory. Although they contribute to acquisition and/or consolidation, cholinergic and dopaminergic signaling are generally not required for retrieval. Interestingly, while not required for retrieval, serotonergic and opioid signaling may actually constrain memory retrieval. Roles for histamine and non-opioid neuropeptides are currently unclear but possible. A critical effector of adrenergic signaling in retrieval is reduction of the slow afterhyperpolarization mediated by β1 receptors, cyclic AMP, protein kinase A, Epac and possibly ERK. In contrast, stress and glucocorticoids impair retrieval by decreasing cyclic AMP, mediated in part by the activation of β2 -adrenergic receptors. Clinically, alterations in neuromodulatory signaling and in memory retrieval occur in Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and recent evidence has begun to link changes in neuromodulatory signaling with effects on memory retrieval. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Hippocampus 04/2015; 25(4). DOI:10.1002/hipo.22394 · 4.30 Impact Factor