Article

GABAA receptor subtype selectivity underlying selective anxiolytic effect of baicalin

Department of Biochemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Neuropharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.82). 09/2008; 55(7):1231-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.07.040
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ABSTRACT Baicalin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, was previously reported to induce anxiolytic-like effect devoid of sedation and myorelaxation in mice, acting through type A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A)) receptor benzodiazepine (BZ) site. The present study further expanded the behavioral pharmacology profile of baicalin and subtype selectivity was explored as a possible mechanism underlying its in vivo effects on mice. Baicalin was characterized using convulsion, memory, and motor function related animal tests; and its selectivity towards recombinant GABA(A) receptor subtypes expressed in HEK 293T cells was determined by radioligand binding assay and electrophysiological studies. In the picrotoxin-induced seizure, step-through passive avoidance and rotarod tests, the anticonvulsant, amnesic and motor incoordination effects commonly associated with classical BZs were not observed when baicalin was administered at effective anxiolytic doses, demonstrating a separation of the anticonvulsant, amnesic and motor incoordination effects from the anxiolytic-like effect. Although baicalin exhibited higher binding affinity for the alpha1-containing GABA(A) subtype compared with alpha2-, alpha3-, and alpha5-containing subtypes, this was not statistically significant. In contrast to the classical BZ diazepam, baicalin showed significant preference for alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes compared to alpha1- and alpha5-containing subtypes in whole-cell patch clamp studies (P < 0.01). Its subtype selectivity suggested that baicalin exerted its in vivo anxiolytic-like effect mainly through the alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes. Therefore, the present study revealed an underlying mechanism for the selective anxiolytic profile of baicalin, suggesting alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes were important drug targets for flavonoid-based anxiolytics.

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    • "Step-through avoidance and rotarod, tests used to detect the anticonvulsant, amnesic and motor coordination, other effects commonly associated to a benzodiazepine-like action, showed no significant effects. These results suggested a specific anxiolytic-like effect of baicalin that was attributed to an action on the GABA A receptors containing ␣2 and ␣3 subunits [13] [14]. So far, all in vivo studies performed with BA used systemic routes of administration (intraperitoneal or oral route) to investigate its central effects which does not allow one to exclude the effects of its metabolites, especially baicalin, since BA is widely biotransformed during its absorption process [15], although the molecule which potentially crosses the gastrointestinal tract and the blood–brain barrier was identified as BA itself in an in vitro assay [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Baicalein (BA), one of the main flavonoids obtained from the Chinese medicinal herb Scutellaria baicalensis, usually exerts several pharmacological effects. In the central nervous system (CNS), BA exerts a protective effect on neurons against several neuronal insults among other effects, but it is not clear if this effect is due to its metabolite, baicalin. The purpose of the present study was to assess the anxiolytic-like and related properties of BA following its central administration (i.c.v.) in mice. BA (0.02, 0.2pmol) exerted an anxiolytic-like effect at low doses, increasing the time spent in open arms and the head-dipping whereas reducing the stretched-attend postures in the elevated plus-maze. BA also increased the duration of ether-induced sleep without affecting the pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced convulsions. In addition, pretreatment with flumazenil (FMZ), PTZ, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and dl-p-chlorophenilalanine ethyl ester (PCPA) were conducted in order to investigate its mechanism of action. PTZ and DHEAS, but not FMZ or PCPA, antagonized the BA's anxiolytic-like effect. Taken together our results showed that BA, when directly injected into the CNS, promotes anxiolytic-like and sedative effects, pharmacological activities dependent on GABAergic non-benzodiazepine sites but not on the 5-HT system.
    Behavioural brain research 03/2011; 221(1):75-82. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.02.038 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most frequent childhood-onset, chronic and lifelong neurodevelopmental diseases, affects 5 - 10% of school – aged children and adolescents, and 4% of adults. The classified basic symptoms are - according to the diagnostic system DSM-VI - inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Also daily life of patients is impaired by learning problems, relationship crises, conflicts with authority and unemployment, but also comorbidities like sleep - and eating problems, mood - and anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse disorders are frequently observed. Although several twin and family studies have suggested heritability of ADHD, the likely involvement of multiple genes and environmental factors has hampered the elucidation of its etiology and pathogenesis. Due to the successful medication of ADHD with dopaminergic drugs like methylphenidate, up to now, the search for candidate genes has mainly focused on the dopaminergic and - because of strong interactions - the serotonergic system, including the already analyzed candidate genes DAT1, DRD4 and 5, DBH or 5-HTTLPR. Recently, DNA copy number changes have been implicated in the development of a number of neurodevelopmental diseases and the analysis of chromosomal gains and losses by Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (Array CGH) has turned out a successful strategy to identify disease associated genes. Here we present the first systematic screen for chromosomal imbalances in ADHD using sub-megabase resolution Array CGH. To detect micro-deletions and -duplications which may play a role in the pathogenesis of ADHD, we carried out a genome-wide screen for copy number variations (CNVs) in a cohort of 99 children and adolescents with severe ADHD. Using high-resolution aCGH, a total of 17 potentially syndrome-associated CNVs were identified. The aberrations comprise four deletions and 13 duplications with approximate sizes ranging from 110 kb to 3 Mb. Two CNVs occurred de novo and nine were inherited from a parent with ADHD, whereas five are transmitted by an unaffected parent. Candidates include genes expressing acetylcholine-metabolising butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE), contained in a de novo chromosome 3q26.1 deletion, and a brain-specific pleckstrin homology domain-containing protein (PLEKHB1), with an established function in primary sensory neurons, in two siblings carrying a 11q13.4 duplication inherited from their affected mother. Other genes potentially influencing ADHD-related psychopathology and involved in aberrations inherited from affected parents are the genes for the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase 1 alpha subcomplex assembly factor 2 (NDUFAF2), the brain-specific phosphodiesterase 4D isoform 6 (PDE4D6), and the neuronal glucose transporter 3 (SLC2A3). The gene encoding neuropeptide Y (NPY) was included in a ~3 Mb duplication on chromosome 7p15.2-15.3, and investigation of additional family members showed a nominally significant association of this 7p15 duplication with increased NPY plasma concentrations (empirical FBAT, p = 0.023). Lower activation of the left ventral striatum and left posterior insula during anticipation of large rewards or losses elicited by fMRI links gene dose-dependent increases in NPY to reward and emotion processing in duplication carriers. Additionally, further candidate genes were examined via Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). This method enables the analysis of SNPs directly from human genomic DNA without the need for initial target amplification by PCR. All these findings implicate CNVs of behavior-related genes in the pathogenesis of ADHD and are consistent with the notion that both frequent and rare variants influence the development of this common multifactorial syndrome. The second part of this work concentrates on MLC1, a gene associated with Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts, located on chromosome 22q13.33. To get more insight in the disease itself, a targeting vector for a conditional knockout mouse was constructed using homologous recombination. Furthermore, MLC1 has been suggested as a risk gene for schizophrenia, especially the periodic catatonia subtype. An initially identified missense mutation was found to be extremely rare in other patient cohorts; however, a recent report again argued for an association of two intronic MLC1 SNPs with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A case-control study of these polymorphisms as well as SNPs in the transcriptional control region of MLC1 was conducted in 212 chronic schizophrenic patients, 56 of which suffered from periodic catatonia, 106 bipolar patients, and 284 controls. Both intronic and promoter polymorphisms were specifically and significantly associated with periodic catatonia but not schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in general. A haplotype constructed from all polymorphisms was also associated with periodic catatonia. The MLC1 variation is associated with periodic catatonia; whether it constitutes a susceptibility or a modifier gene has to be determined. Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit/Hyperaktivitätssyndrom (ADHS) ist eine bereits im Kindesalter beginnende, chronische und lebenslängliche psychische Krankheit, die zu 5 - 10% Kinder und Jugendliche sowie zu 4% Erwachsene betrifft. Die klassifizierten Grundsyndrome sind laut dem diagnostischen System DSM-IV Unaufmerksamkeit, Impulsivität und Hyperaktivität. Auch der Alltag der Patienten ist aufgrund von Lernschwierigkeiten, Konflikten in der Beziehung, Autoritätsproblemen und Arbeitslosigkeit beeinträchtigt. Zudem werden häufig Komorbiditäten wie Schlaf- und Essprobleme, Stimmungs- und Angsterkrankungen, Depressionen sowie Alkohol- und Drogenmissbrauch beobachtet. Obwohl Zwillings- und Familienstudien auf die Vererbbarkeit von ADHS hinweisen, erschweren mehrere Gene und Umweltfaktoren die Aufklärung der Ätiologie und Pathogenese. Aufgrund der erfolgreichen Behandlung von ADHS mit dopaminergen Medikamenten wie Methylphenidat liegt der Fokus bei der Suche nach neuen Kandidatengenen hauptsächlich beim dopaminergen und, aufgrund der starken Interaktionen, beim serotonergen System, einschließlich der bereits analysierten Gene DAT1, DRD4 und 5, DBH oder 5-HTTLPR. Copy Number Changes sind in die Entstehung einer Vielzahl von Krankheiten mit einer Störung der Entwicklung des zentralen Nervensystems impliziert. Die Analyse von chromosomalen Deletionen oder Duplikationen durch Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (Array CGH) hat sich als eine erfolgreiche Strategie herausgestellt, um krankheitsassoziierte Gene zu identifizieren. Diese Arbeit ist der erste systematische Screen für den Nachweis von chromosomalem Ungleichgewicht bei ADHS mit Hilfe von Array CGH. Um Mikrodeletionen und -duplikationen zu entdecken, die in der Pathogenese von ADHS eine Rolle spielen könnten, haben wir einen genomweiten Screen für Copy Number Variations (CNVs) an einer Gruppe mit 99 an ADHS erkrankten Kindern und Jugendlichen durchgeführt. Durch Hochauflösungs-Array CGH wurden insgesamt 17 potentielle Syndrom assoziierte CNVs identifiziert. Diese Aberrationen beinhalten vier Deletionen und 13 Duplikationen mit einer Größe von etwa 100 kb bis zu 3 Mb. Zwei CNVs sind de novo, neun wurden von einem ebenfalls an ADHS erkrankten Elternteil vererbt und fünf von einem nicht betroffenen Elter übertragen. Kandidatengene sind u. a. die Acetylcholin metabolisierende Butyrylcholonesterase (BCHE), welche de novo in einer Deletion auf Chromosom 3q26.1 auftritt, und das Gehirn spezifische Pleckstrin homology domain-containing Protein (PLEKHB1) mit einer bekannten Funktion in den primären sensorische Neuronen, welches von der an ADHS erkrankten Mutter an zwei Geschwister in einer 11q13.4 Duplikation vererbt wurde. Weitere Gene, die möglicherweise die Psychopathologie von ADHS beeinflussen und von einem betroffenen Elternteil in einer Aberration vererbt wurden, sind die Gene für die mitrochondriale NADH Dehydrogenase 1 Alpha Subcomplex Assembly Factor 2 (NDUFAF2), die Gehirn spezifische Phosphodiesterase 4D Isoform 6 (PDE4D6) und der neuronale Glukosetransporter 2 (SLC2A3). Das Gen, welches Neuropeptid Y (NPY) codiert, wurde in einer ~3 Mb großen Duplikation auf Chromosom 7p15.2-15.3 gefunden. Eine Untersuchung zusätzlicher Familienmitglieder zeigte eine nominell signifikante Assoziation dieser 7q15 Duplikation mit einer gesteigerten NPY Plasmakonzentration (empirischer FBAT, p = 0.023). Zusätzlich wurden weitere Kandidatengene durch Matrix-unterstützte Laser-Desorption/Ionisation-Massenspektrometrie (MALDI-TOF MS) untersucht. Diese Methode ermöglicht die Analyse von SNPs direkt von der humanen genomischen DNS ohne vorherige Target Amplifikation durch PCR. All diese Ergebnisse schließen CNVs von verhaltensverbundenen Genen in die Pathogenese von ADHS mit ein und stimmen außerdem mit der These überein, dass sowohl häufige wie auch seltene Variationen die Entwicklung dieses häufig auftretenden, multifaktoriellen Syndroms beeinflussen. Der zweite Teil dieser Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit dem Gen MLC1, das mit „Megalenzephaler Leukoenzephalopathie mit subkortikalen Cysten“ assoziiert und auf Chromosom 22q13.33 lokalisiert ist. Um mehr Einblick in diese Krankheit zu erlangen wurde ein spezieller Zielvektor für eine konditionale Knockout Maus durch homologe Rekombination erstellt. Zusätzlich wird angenommen, dass MLC1 ein Risikogen für Schizophrenie sein könnte, v. a. für den periodisch katatonischen Subtyp. Eine früher identifizierte Missense Mutation wurde extrem selten in anderen Patientenkohorten gefunden. Ein kürzlich veröffentlichter Bericht hingegen plädiert für eine Assoziation von zwei intronischen MLC1 SNPs mit Schizophrenie und manisch-depressiver Erkrankung. Eine Fall-Kontroll-Studie über diese Polymorphismen sowie über die SNPs der transkriptionalen Kontroll-Region von MLC1 wurde an 212 chronischen Schizophrenie-Patienten durchgeführt, von denen 56 an periodischer Katatonie leiden und 106 manisch-depressiv waren, sowie an 284 Kontrollen. Sowohl die intronischen Polymorphismen als auch die der Promotorregion waren spezifisch und signifikant mit periodischer Katatonie assoziiert, allerdings nicht mit Schizophrenie oder manisch-depressiver Erkrankung im Allgemeinen. Ein Haplotyp aus allen Polymorphismen konnte ebenfalls mit periodischer Katatonie assoziiert werden. Diese MLC1 Variation scheint somit mit periodischer Katatonie verknüpft zu sein. Ob es ein Suszeptibilitäts- oder ein Modifikatorgen darstellt, muss allerdings noch genauer bestimmt werden.
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