ABSTRACT: Food restriction is known to enhance learning and motivation. The neural mechanisms underlying these responses likely involve alterations in gene expression in brain regions mediating the motivation to feed.
Analysis of gene expression profiles in male C57BL/6J mice using whole-genome microarrays was completed in the medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, and the hypothalamus following a 5-day food restriction. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to validate these findings and determine the time course of expression changes. Plasma levels of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Expression changes were measured in adrenalectomized animals that underwent food restriction, as well as in animals receiving daily injections of CORT. Progressive ratio responding for food, a measure of motivated behavior, was assessed after CORT treatment in restricted and fed animals.
Brief food restriction results in an upregulation of peripheral stress responsive genes in the mammalian brain. Time-course analysis demonstrated rapid and persistent expression changes in all four brain regions under study. Administration of CORT to nonrestricted animals was sufficient to induce a subset of the genes, and alterations in gene expression after food restriction were dependent on intact adrenal glands. CORT can increase the motivation to work for food only in the restricted state.
These data demonstrate a central role for CORT in mediating both molecular and behavioral responses to food restriction. The stress hormone-induced alterations in gene expression described here may be relevant for both adaptive and pathological responses to stress.
Biological psychiatry 08/2011; 71(4):358-65. · 8.93 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Orexin (hypocretin) signaling is implicated in drug addiction and reward, but its role in feeding and food-motivated behavior remains unclear.
We investigated orexin's contribution to food-reinforced instrumental responding using an orexin 1 receptor (Ox1r) antagonist, orexin -/- (OKO) and littermate wildtype (WT) mice, and RNAi-mediated knockdown of orexin. C57BL/6J (n = 76) and OKO (n = 39) mice were trained to nose poke for food under a variable ratio schedule of reinforcement. After responding stabilized, a progressive ratio schedule was initiated to evaluate motivation to obtain food reinforcement.
Blockade of Ox1r in C57BL/6J mice impaired performance under both the variable ratio and progressive ratio schedules of reinforcement, indicating impaired motivational processes. In contrast, OKO mice initially demonstrated a delay in acquisition but eventually achieved levels of responding similar to those observed in WT animals. Moreover, OKO mice did not differ from WT mice under a progressive ratio schedule, indicating delayed learning processes but no motivational impairments. Considering the differences between pharmacologic blockade of Ox1r and the OKO mice, animals with RNAi mediated knockdown of orexin were then generated and analyzed to eliminate possible developmental effects of missing orexin. Orexin gene knockdown in the lateral hypothalamus in C57BL/6J mice resulted in blunted performance under both the variable ratio and progressive ratio schedules, resembling data obtained following Ox1r antagonism.
The behavior seen in OKO mice likely reflects developmental compensation often seen in mutant animals. These data suggest that activation of the Ox1r is a necessary component of food-reinforced responding, motivation, or both in normal mice.
Biological psychiatry 02/2010; 67(8):753-60. · 8.93 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Memory B cells play essential roles in the maintenance of long-term immunity and may be important in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease, but how these cells are distinguished from their naive precursors is poorly understood. To address this, it would be important to understand how gene expression differs between memory and naive B cells to elucidate memory-specific functions. Using model systems that help overcome the lack of murine memory-specific markers and the low frequency of Ag-specific memory and naive cells, we undertook a global comparison of gene expression between memory B cells and their naive precursors. We identified genes with differential expression and confirmed the differential expression of many of these by quantitative RT-PCR and of some of these at the protein level. Our initial analysis revealed differential expression patterns of genes that regulate signaling. Memory B cells have increased expression of genes important in regulating adenosine signaling and in modulating cAMP responses. Furthermore, memory B cells up-regulate receptors that are essential for embryonic stem cell self-renewal. We further demonstrate that one of these, leukemia inhibitory factor receptor, can initiate functional signaling in memory B cells whereas it does not in naive B cells. Thus, memory and naive B cells are intrinsically wired to signal differently from one another and express a functional signaling pathway that is known to maintain stem cells in other lineages.
The Journal of Immunology 08/2008; 181(1):27-38. · 5.79 Impact Factor