Maria Angélica de Souza Silva

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (5)17.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Excitation of the mesocorticolimbic pathway, originating from dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), may be important for the development of exaggerated fear responding. Among the forebrain regions innervated by this pathway, the amygdala is an essential component of the neural circuitry of conditioned fear. The functional role of the dopaminergic pathway connecting the VTA to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in fear and anxiety has received little attention. In vivo microdialysis was performed to measure dopamine levels in the BLA of Wistar rats that received the dopamine D(2) agonist quinpirole (1 μg/0.2 μl) into the VTA and were subjected to a fear conditioning test using a light as the conditioned stimulus (CS). The effects of intra-BLA injections of the D(1) antagonist SCH 23390 (1 and 2 μg/0.2 μl) and D(2) antagonist sulpiride (1 and 2 μg/0.2 μl) on fear-potentiated startle (FPS) to a light-CS were also assessed. Locomotor performance was evaluated by use of open-field and rotarod tests. Freezing and increased dopamine levels in the BLA in response to the CS were both inhibited by intra-VTA quinpirole. Whereas intra-BLA SCH 23390 did not affect FPS, intra-BLA sulpiride (2 μg) inhibited FPS. Sulpiride's ability to decrease FPS cannot be attributed to nonspecific effects because this drug did not affect motor performance. These findings indicate that the dopamine D(2) receptor pathway connecting the ventral tegmental area and the basolateral amygdala modulates fear and anxiety and may be a novel pharmacological target for the treatment of anxiety.
    Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 10/2010; 95(1):37-45. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, it has been shown that human unrestricted somatic stem cells (USSCs) from umbilical cord blood represent pluripotent, neonatal, nonhematopoietic stem cells with the potential to differentiate into the neural lineage. However, molecular and functional characterization of the neural phenotype and evaluation of the degree of maturity of the resulting cells are still lacking. In this study, we addressed the question of neuronal differentiation and maturation induced by a defined composition of growth and differentiation factors (XXL medium). We demonstrated the expression of different neuronal markers and their enrichment in USSC cultures during XXL medium incubation. Furthermore, we showed enrichment of USSCs expressing tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), an enzyme specific for dopaminergic neurons and other catecholamine-producing neurons, accompanied by induction of Nurr1, a factor regulating dopaminergic neurogenesis. The functionality of USSCs has been analyzed by patch-clamp recordings and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Voltage-gated sodium-channels could be identified in laminin-predifferentiated USSCs. In addition, HPLC analysis revealed synthesis and release of the neurotransmitter dopamine by USSC-derived cells, thus correlating well with the detection of TH transcripts and protein. This study provides novel insight into the potential of unrestricted somatic stem cells from human umbilical cord blood to acquire a neuronal phenotype and function.
    Stem Cells and Development 05/2008; 17(2):221-32. · 4.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Consistent evidence has shown that dopamine release in the prefrontal cortex is increased by electrical stimulation of the inferior colliculus (IC) as unconditioned stimulus. Recent reports have also demonstrated that inactivation of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) with muscimol enhances the behavioural consequences of the aversive stimulation of the IC and reduces the dopamine release in the prefrontal cortex. Moreover, neurotoxic lesions of the BLA enhance whereas those of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) reduce the aversiveness of the electrical stimulation of the IC. Based on these findings the present study examined the effects of the electrical stimulation of the IC on the extracellular levels of serotonin and dopamine in the BLA and CeA. To this end, rats implanted with a stimulation electrode in the IC also bore a microdialysis probe in the BLA or CeA for determination of the release of dopamine and serotonin. IC electrical stimulation at the freezing and escape thresholds increased the levels of serotonin ( approximately 70%) and dopamine ( approximately 60%) in the BLA related to the basal values. Similarly, the metabolites DOPAC and 5-HIAA increased in a parallel fashion in BLA. No significant changes could be detected in these biogenic amines and metabolites in CeA following IC aversive stimulation. These findings point to a differential role of serotonergic and dopaminergic mechanisms of the BLA and CeA in the setting up of adaptive responses to fear states generated at the inferior colliculus level.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 03/2005; 21(4):1131-8. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We reported previously that the glycosaminoglycan heparin (HP) has the facility to improve learning in adult rodents when administered into the nucleus basalis of the ventral pallidum. Here we gauged the effects of chronic intraventricular infusion of HP (20 ng per day over 28 days) in 26-month-old rats in terms of Morris water maze performance, habituation to a novel open field, retention of a step-through inhibitory avoidance task and changes in forebrain acetylcholine (ACh) levels. Control groups included vehicle-infused old and adult (3-month-old) rats. The chronic infusion of HP did not significantly influence the performance of the old animals in any of the learning and memory tasks employed. HP only slightly facilitated the retention of the inhibitory avoidance task and the rate of habituation in the open-field paradigm. In the water maze, the glycosaminoglycan did not counteract the navigation deficits observed for aged controls and even impaired performance during the initial place-learning trials. After behavioural testing, tissue levels of ACh were determined in frontal cortex, ventral striatum, neostriatum and hippocampus without detecting any obvious neurochemical differences between groups. The current results, together with our previous work, indicate that HP differentially affects learning and memory parameters in adult and aged rats. Thus, whereas the glycosaminoglycan proved effective in facilitating mnemonic functions in normal adult animals, no such a clear-cut beneficial effect was observed in behaviourally impaired old rats.
    Behavioural Brain Research 01/2004; 147(1-2):115-23. · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • Marcus L Brandão, Ana Cristina Troncoso, Maria Angélica de Souza Silva, Joseph P Huston
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    ABSTRACT: The medial hypothalamus, amygdala, and dorsal periaqueductal gray constitute the main neural substrates for the integration of aversive states in the brain. More recently, some regions of the mesencephalon, such as the superior and inferior colliculi have also been proposed as part of this system. In fact, fear-like behaviors often result when these sites are electrically or chemically stimulated. Both the behavioral and autonomic consequences of electrical stimulation of the mesencephalic tectum have been shown to be attenuated by minor tranquilizers, probably through enhancement of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated neurotransmission, which exerts a tonic inhibitory control on the neural circuits responsible for the so-called defense behavior repertoire. Besides GABA, also 5-hydroxy tryptamine serotonin (5-HT), opioids, neuropeptides, histaminergic and excitatory amino acids have all been implicated in the regulation of anxiety-related behaviors induced by stimulation of midbrain tectum. Efforts have been made to characterize how these neurotransmitters interact with each other in the organization of these reactions to aversive stimulation. In this review, we summarize the evidence linking the brain's defense response systems to the concept of fear-anxiety. Furthermore, a case is made for the consideration of the relevance of this body of data to the search for the physiological underpinnings of depression and its consequences.
    European Journal of Pharmacology 03/2003; 463(1-3):225-33. · 2.59 Impact Factor