[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in synaptic plasticity required for memory formation are dynamically regulated through opposing excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmissions. To explore the potential contribution of NF-kappaB/Rel to these processes, we generated transgenic mice conditionally expressing a potent NF-kappaB/Rel inhibitor termed IkappaBalpha superrepressor (IkappaBalpha-SR). Using the prion promoter-enhancer, IkappaBalpha-SR is robustly expressed in inhibitory GABAergic interneurons and, at lower levels, in excitatory neurons but not in glia. This neuronal pattern of IkappaBalpha-SR expression leads to decreased expression of glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65), the enzyme required for synthesis of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in GABAergic interneurons. IkappaBalpha-SR expression also results in diminished basal GluR1 levels and impaired synaptic strength (input/output function), both of which are fully restored following activity-based task learning. Consistent with diminished GAD65-derived inhibitory tone and enhanced excitatory firing, IkappaBalpha-SR+ mice exhibit increased late-phase long-term potentiation, hyperactivity, seizures, increased exploratory activity, and enhanced spatial learning and memory. IkappaBalpha-SR+ neurons also express higher levels of the activity-regulated, cytoskeleton-associated (Arc) protein, consistent with neuronal hyperexcitability. These findings suggest that NF-kappaB/Rel transcription factors act as pivotal regulators of activity-dependent inhibitory and excitatory neuronal function regulating synaptic plasticity and memory.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 11/2006; 26(19):7283-98. · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During treatment of brain tumors, some head and neck tumors, and other diseases, like arteriovenous malformations, the normal brain is exposed to ionizing radiation. While high radiation doses can cause severe tissue destruction, lower doses can induce cognitive impairments without signs of overt tissue damage. The underlying pathogenesis of these impairments is not well understood but may involve the neural precursor cells in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. To assess the effects of radiation on cognitive function, 2-month-old mice received either sham treatment (controls) or localized X irradiation (10 Gy) to the hippocampus/cortex and were tested behaviorally 3 months later. Compared to controls, X-irradiated mice showed hippocampal-dependent spatial learning and memory impairments in the Barnes maze but not the Morris water maze. No nonspatial learning and memory impairments were detected. The cognitive impairments were associated with reductions in proliferating Ki-67-positive cells and Doublecortin-positive immature neurons in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus. This study shows significant cognitive impairments after a modest dose of radiation and demonstrates that the Barnes maze is particularly sensitive for the detection of radiation-induced cognitive deficits in young adult mice. The significant loss of proliferating SGZ cells and their progeny suggests a contributory role of reduced neurogenesis in the pathogenesis of radiation-induced cognitive impairments.
Radiation Research 08/2004; 162(1):39-47. · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compared with apolipoprotein (apo) E2 and E3, apoE4 increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but it remains unknown how apoE4 affects neuronal function. ApoE4 interacts with female gender, further increasing the risk of AD and decreasing treatment response. Female mice are also more susceptible to apoE4-induced impairments of spatial learning and memory than male mice. To assess the role of sex steroids in this process, we studied mice deficient in mouse apoE (Apoe(-/-)) and expressing human apoE4 or apoE3 in the brain at comparable levels. Even brief periods of androgen treatment improved the memory deficits of female apoE4 mice. Female apoE3 mice had no memory deficits and did not benefit from the treatment. ApoE4 male mice, which performed normally in a water-maze test at baseline, developed prominent deficits in spatial learning and memory after blockade of androgen receptors (ARs), whereas apoE3 male mice did not. Untreated apoE4 mice had significantly lower cytosolic AR levels in the neocortex than wild-type, Apoe(-/-), and apoE3 mice. Improved memory in androgen-treated female apoE4 mice was associated with increased cytosolic AR levels. Our findings suggest that apoE4 contributes to cognitive decline by reducing AR levels in the brain, and that stimulating AR-dependent pathways can reverse apoE4-induced cognitive deficits.
Journal of Neuroscience 07/2002; 22(12):5204-9. · 6.75 Impact Factor