William M U Daniels

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Port Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Publications (9)21.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In response to acute adversity, emotional signals shift the body into a state that permits rapid detection, identification, and appropriate response to a potential threat. The stress response involves the release of a variety of substances, including neurotransmitters, neurotrophic factors, hormones, and cytokines, that enable the body to deal with the challenges of daily life. The subsequent activation of various physiological systems can be both protective and damaging to the individual, depending on timing, intensity, and duration of the stressor. Successful recovery from stressful challenges during early life leads to strengthening of synaptic connections in health-promoting neural networks and reduced vulnerability to subsequent stressors that can be protective in later life. In contrast, chronic intense uncontrollable stress can be pathogenic and lead to disorders such as depression, anxiety, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and an increased toxic response to additional stressors such as traumatic brain injury and stroke. This review briefly explores the interaction between stress experienced at different stages of development and exercise later in life.
    Metabolic Brain Disease 01/2014; · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    Jacqueline Faure, Dan J Stein, William Daniels
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    ABSTRACT: The maternal separation (MS) paradigm is an animal model that has been successfully used to study the long term effects of child abuse and neglect. Experiments showed that animals subjected to trauma and stress early in life display behavioural, endocrinological and growth factor abnormalities at a later stage in life, results that mirrored clinical conditions. It is apparent that adverse events early in life may affect the development and maturation of the brain negatively. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the abnormal brain development occurring in separated animals would also enhance the development of a preference for psychostimulant drug usage. Rats were subjected to maternal deprivation and further exposed to methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) which primarily measures drug reward (ventral striatum) learning and memory. Apomorphine-induced locomotor activity was also assessed to investigate the effects of methamphetamine on the dorsal (primarily locomotor activity) striatal dopaminergic system. We found that four consecutive injections of methamphetamine resulted in CPP behaviour 24 h after the 4th injection. A further four injections yielded similar CPP results and this effect lasted for at least 7 days until the third CPP assessment. These animals also had decreased ACTH and corticosterone secretions, but the prolactin levels were increased. Prior exposure to maternal separation did not have any effect on the CPP test. The ACTH and corticosterone secretions were also similarly reduced. However maternal separation decreased the release of prolactin and this reduction was not evident in the separated group that received methamphetamine. There was no significant difference in the apomorphine-induced locomotor activity of normally reared animals whether they received methamphetamine or saline. Interestingly there was a significant difference in locomotor activity between the two groups of animals that were subjected to maternal deprivation. The separated animals that received methamphetamine displayed markedly reduced locomotor activity upon apomorphine administration when compared to those that were treated with saline. Taken together, we conclude that maternal deprivation differentially influences dorsal and ventral striatal regions implicating dopaminergic mechanisms.
    Metabolic Brain Disease 10/2009; 24(4):541-59. · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal stress has been associated with increased vulnerability to psychiatric disturbances including schizophrenia, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism. Elevated maternal circulating stress hormones alter development of neural circuits in the fetal brain and cause long-term changes in behaviour. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether mild prenatal stress increases the vulnerability of dopamine neurons in adulthood. A low dose of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA, 5 microg/4 microl saline) was unilaterally infused into the medial forebrain bundle of nerve fibres in the rat brain in order to create a partial lesion of dopamine neurons which was sufficient to cause subtle behavioural deficits associated with early onset of Parkinson's disease without complete destruction of dopamine neurons. Voluntary exercise appeared to have a neuroprotective effect resulting in an improvement in motor control and decreased asymmetry in the use of left and right forelimbs to explore a novel environment as well as decreased asymmetry of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells in the substantia nigra pars compacta and decreased dopamine cell loss in 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. Prenatal stress appeared to enhance the toxic effect of 6-OHDA possibly by reducing the compensatory adaptations to exercise.
    Metabolic Brain Disease 10/2009; 24(4):525-39. · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, simvastatin, is used for lowering elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. This translates into reduced cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality, while the drugs’ anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have earmarked it as a potential treatment strategy against various neurological conditions. Statins have been shown to protect neurons from degeneration in a number of animal models. Although no mechanism completely explains the multiple benefits exerted by statins, emerging evidence suggests that in some degenerative and brain injury models, mitochondrial impairment may play a contributive rate. However, there evidence lacks to support a directly influencing role for statins on mitochondria-related proteins and motor behavior. Mitochondrial dysfunction may increase oxygen free radical production, which in turn leaves cells susceptible to energy failure, apoptosis and related events the occurance of which could prove fatal. The potential link between simvastatin treatment and mitochondrial function would be supported if key mitochondrial proteins were altered by simvastatin exposure. Using mass spectroscopy (MS), we identified 24 mitochondrial proteins that differed significantly (P < 0.05) in relative abundancy as a result of simvastatin treatment. The identified proteins represented many facets of mitochondrial integrity, with the majority forming part of the electron transport chain machinery, which is necessary for energy production. In a follow-up study, we then addressed whether simvastatin is capable of altering sensorimotor function in a mitochondrial toxin-induced animal model. Rats were pre-treated with simvastatin for 14 days, followed by a single unihemispheric (substantia nigra; SN) injection of rotenone, a mitochondrial complex I (Co-I) inhibitor. Results showed that simvastatin improved motor performance in rotenone-infused rats. The data are consistent with the possibility that alteration of mitochondrial function may contribute to the beneficial effects associated with statin use.
    Journal of Neural Transmission 09/2009; · 3.05 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, simvastatin, is used for lowering elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. This translates into reduced cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality, while the drugs' anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have earmarked it as a potential treatment strategy against various neurological conditions. Statins have been shown to protect neurons from degeneration in a number of animal models. Although no mechanism completely explains the multiple benefits exerted by statins, emerging evidence suggests that in some degenerative and brain injury models, mitochondrial impairment may play a contributive rate. However, [corrected] evidence lacks to support a directly influencing role for statins on mitochondria-related proteins and motor behavior. Mitochondrial dysfunction may increase oxygen free radical production, which in turn leaves cells susceptible to energy failure, apoptosis and related events [corrected] which could prove fatal. The potential link between simvastatin treatment and mitochondrial function would be supported if key mitochondrial proteins were altered by simvastatin exposure. Using mass spectroscopy (MS), we identified 24 mitochondrial proteins that differed significantly (P < 0.05) in relative abundancy as a result of simvastatin treatment. The identified proteins represented many facets of mitochondrial integrity, with the majority forming part of the electron transport chain machinery, which is necessary for energy production. In a follow-up study, we then addressed whether simvastatin is capable of altering sensorimotor function in a mitochondrial toxin-induced animal model. Rats were pre-treated with simvastatin for 14 days, followed by a single unihemispheric (substantia nigra; SN) injection of rotenone, a mitochondrial complex I (Co-I) inhibitor. Results showed that simvastatin improved motor performance in rotenone-infused rats. The data are consistent with the possibility that alteration of mitochondrial function may contribute to the beneficial effects associated with statin use.
    Journal of Neural Transmission 07/2009; 116(7):791-806. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    Ilse S Pienaar, William M U Daniels, Jürgen Götz
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the vast number of studies on Parkinson's disease (PD), its effective diagnosis and treatment remains unsatisfactory. Hence, the relentless search for an optimal cure continues. The emergence of neuroproteomics, with its sophisticated techniques and non-biased ability to quantify proteins, provides a methodology with which to study the changes in neurons that are associated with neurodegeneration. Neuroproteomics is an emerging tool to establish disease-associated protein profiles, while also generating a greater understanding as to how these proteins interact and undergo post-translational modifications. Furthermore, due to the advances made in bioinformatics, insight is created concerning their functional characteristics. In this review, we first summarize the most prominent proteomics techniques and then discuss the major advances in the fast-growing field of neuroproteomics in PD. Ultimately, it is hoped that the application of this technology will lead towards a presymptomatic diagnosis of PD, and the identification of risk factors and new therapeutic targets at which pharmacological intervention can be aimed.
    Journal of Neural Transmission 10/2008; 115(10):1413-30. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Children that are abused have an increased risk for developing psychiatric disorders later in life, because of the negative effects of stress on the developing brain. We used a maternal separation model in rats to see how neurotrophins, stress hormones, behavior and the anti-oxidant potential of serum are affected. Rat pups were separated from their mothers for 3h/day on days 2-14. Maternal separation caused changes in levels of NGF and NT-3 in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus, increased basal corticosterone levels and decreased ACTH levels after acute restraint stress. The anti-oxidant potential of the rat serum was significantly lower in the maternal separation group. Depressive-like behavior, measured during a forced swim test, was seen in maternally separated rats after additional chronic stress during adulthood. Maternal separation caused downregulation of neurotrophins in the ventral hippocampus, possibly as an effect of high corticosterone levels, but compensatory mechanisms against cell death may be involved as neurotrophin levels increased in the dorsal hippocampus. Decreased anti-oxidant potential of serum could have been an effect of downregulated neurotrophin levels.
    Neuroscience Research 06/2008; 61(1):106-12. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, the fluidity of cell membranes generally decreases with age. Unexpectedly, several laboratories have found increased fluidity of platelet membranes (mainly endoplasmic reticulum) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared with controls. In the present study, free radical induced lipid peroxidation was found to increase the fluidity of platelet membranes. Hydroxyl radicals were generated in the presence of Fe2+ and EDTA at low concentrations of ascorbate. It is hypothesised that platelet membranes are unable to restore their microviscosity by incorporating cholesterol. There may be a link between the result obtained in this study, the recently discovered decreased cholesterol content of affected AD neuronal membranes, and the increased frequency of [epsilon]4 apolipoprotein E (a cholesterol carrier) found in AD patients. (C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.
    Neuroreport 10/1994; 5(17). · 1.40 Impact Factor
  • Neuroreport 01/1994; 5(17):2221-2224. · 1.40 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

127 Citations
21.17 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • University of KwaZulu-Natal
      Port Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • 2009
    • University of Oxford
      • Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
      Oxford, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2009
    • Stellenbosch University
      • • Department of Biomedical Sciences
      • • Division of Medical Physiology
      Stellenbosch, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa