Amelia J Eisch

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, United States

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Publications (97)660.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Addiction has been proposed to emerge from associations between the drug and the reward-associated contexts. This associative learning has a cellular correlate, as there are more cFos+ neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) after psychostimulant conditioned place preference (CPP) vs. saline controls. However, it is unknown whether morphine CPP leads to a similar DG activation, or whether DG activation is due to locomotion, handling, pharmacological effects, or - as data from contextual fear learning suggests - exposure to the drug-associated context. To explore this, we employed an unbiased, counterbalanced, and shortened CPP design that led to place preference and more DG cFos+ cells. Next, mice underwent morphine CPP but were then sequestered into the morphine-paired (conditioned stimulus+ [CS+]) or saline-paired (CS-) context on test day. Morphine-paired mice sequestered to CS+ had ∼30% more DG cFos+ cells than saline-paired mice. Furthermore, Bregma analysis revealed morphine-paired mice had more cFos+ cells in CS+ compared to CS- controls. Notably, there was no significant difference in DG cFos+ cell number after handling alone or after receiving morphine in home cage. Thus, retrieval of morphine-associated context is accompanied by activation of hippocampal DG granule cell neurons. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Hippocampus 11/2014; · 5.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Augmenting hippocampal neurogenesis represents a potential new strategy for treating depression. Here we test this possibility by comparing hippocampal neurogenesis in depression-prone ghrelin receptor (Ghsr)-null mice to that in wild-type littermates and by determining the antidepressant efficacy of the P7C3 class of neuroprotective compounds. Exposure of Ghsr-null mice to chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) elicits more severe depressive-like behavior than in CSDS-exposed wild-type littermates, and exposure of Ghsr-null mice to 60% caloric restriction fails to elicit antidepressant-like behavior. CSDS resulted in more severely reduced cell proliferation and survival in the ventral dentate gyrus (DG) subgranular zone of Ghsr-null mice than in that of wild-type littermates. Also, caloric restriction increased apoptosis of DG subgranular zone cells in Ghsr-null mice, although it had the opposite effect in wild-type littermates. Systemic treatment with P7C3 during CSDS increased survival of proliferating DG cells, which ultimately developed into mature (NeuN+) neurons. Notably, P7C3 exerted a potent antidepressant-like effect in Ghsr-null mice exposed to either CSDS or caloric restriction, while the more highly active analog P7C3-A20 also exerted an antidepressant-like effect in wild-type littermates. Focal ablation of hippocampal stem cells with radiation eliminated this antidepressant effect, further attributing the P7C3 class antidepressant effect to its neuroprotective properties and resultant augmentation of hippocampal neurogenesis. Finally, P7C3-A20 demonstrated greater proneurogenic efficacy than a wide spectrum of currently marketed antidepressant drugs. Taken together, our data confirm the role of aberrant hippocampal neurogenesis in the etiology of depression and suggest that the neuroprotective P7C3-compounds represent a novel strategy for treating patients with this disease.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 22 April 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.34.
    Molecular Psychiatry 04/2014; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Space missions necessitate physiological and psychological adaptations to environmental factors not present on Earth, some of which present significant risks for the central nervous system (CNS) of crewmembers. One CNS region of interest is the adult olfactory bulb (OB), as OB structure and function are sensitive to environmental- and experience-induced regulation. It is currently unknown how the OB is altered by spaceflight. In this study, we evaluated OB volume and neurogenesis in mice shortly after a 13-day flight on Space Shuttle Atlantis (Space Transport System [STS]-135) relative to 2 groups of control mice maintained on Earth. Mice housed on Earth in animal enclosure modules that mimicked the conditions onboard STS-135 ("AEM-Ground mice") had greater OB volume relative to mice maintained in standard housing on Earth ("Vivarium mice"), particularly in the granule (GCL) and glomerular (GL) cell layers. AEM-Ground mice also had more OB neuroblasts and fewer apoptotic cells relative to Vivarium mice. However, the AEM-induced increase in OB volume and neurogenesis was not seen in STS-135 mice ("AEM-Flight mice"), suggesting that spaceflight may have negated the positive effects of the AEM. In fact, when OB volume of AEM-Flight mice was considered, there was a greater density apoptotic cells relative to AEM-Ground mice. Our findings suggest that factors present during spaceflight have opposing effects on OB size and neurogenesis, and provide insight into potential strategies to preserve OB structure and function during future space missions.
    Journal of Applied Physiology 04/2014; · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43) is a presynaptic protein that plays key roles in axonal growth and guidance and in modulating synapse formation. Previous work has demonstrated that mice lacking one allele of this gene (GAP-43+/- mice) exhibit hippocampal structural abnormalities, impaired spatial learning and stress-induced behavioral withdrawal and anxiety, behaviors that are dependent on proper hippocampal circuitry and function. Given the correlation between hippocampal function, synaptic connectivity and neurogenesis, we tested if behaviorally naïve GAP-43+/- mice had alterations in either neurogenesis or synaptic connectivity in the hippocampus during early postnatal development and young adulthood, and following behavior testing in older adults. To test our hypothesis, we examined hippocampal cell proliferation (Ki67), number of immature neuroblasts (doublecortin, DCX) and mossy fiber volume (synaptoporin) in behaviorally naïve postnatal day 9 (P9) and P26, and behaviorally experienced 5- to 7-month-old GAP-43+/- and +/+ littermate mice. P9 GAP-43+/- mice had fewer Ki67+ and DCX+ cells compared to +/+ mice, particularly in the posterior dentate gyrus, and smaller mossy fiber volume in the same region. In young adulthood, however, male GAP-43+/- mice had more Ki67+ and DCX+ cells and greater mossy fiber volume in the posterior dentate gyrus relative to male +/+ mice. These increases were not seen in females. In 5- to 7-month-old GAP-43+/- mice (whose behaviors were the focus of our prior publication), there was no global change in the number of proliferating or immature neurons relative to +/+ mice. However, more detailed analysis revealed fewer proliferative DCX+ cells in the anterior dentate gyrus of male GAP-43+/- mice compared to male +/+ mice. This reduction was not observed in females. These results suggest that young GAP-43+/- mice have decreased hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic connectivity, but slightly older mice have greater hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic connectivity. In conjunction with our previous study, these findings suggest that GAP-43 is dynamically involved in early postnatal and adult hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic connectivity, possibly contributing to the GAP-43+/- behavioral phenotype. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Developmental Neuroscience 02/2014; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The high-LET HZE particles from galactic cosmic radiation pose tremendous health risks to astronauts, as they may incur sub-threshold brain injury or maladaptations that may lead to cognitive impairment. The health effects of HZE particles are difficult to predict and unfeasible to prevent. This underscores the importance of estimating radiation risks to the central nervous system as a whole as well as to specific brain regions like the hippocampus, which is central to learning and memory. Given that neurogenesis in the hippocampus has been linked to learning and memory, we investigated the response and recovery of neurogenesis and neural stem cells in the adult mouse hippocampal dentate gyrus after HZE particle exposure using two nestin transgenic reporter mouse lines to label and track radial glia stem cells (Nestin-GFP and Nestin-CreERT2/R26R:YFP mice, respectively). Mice were subjected to 56Fe particle exposure (0 or 1 Gy, at either 300 or 1000 MeV/n) and brains were harvested at early (24h), intermediate (7d), and/or long time points (2-3mo) post-irradiation. 56Fe particle exposure resulted in a robust increase in 53BP1+ foci at both the intermediate and long time points post-irradiation, suggesting long-term genomic instability in the brain. However, 56Fe particle exposure only produced a transient decrease in immature neuron number at the intermediate time point, with no significant decrease at the long time point post-irradiation. 56Fe particle exposure similarly produced a transient decrease in dividing progenitors, with fewer progenitors labeled at the early time point but equal number labeled at the intermediate time point, suggesting a recovery of neurogenesis. Notably, 56Fe particle exposure did not change the total number of nestin-expressing neural stem cells. These results highlight that despite the persistence of an index of genomic instability, 56Fe particle-induced deficits in adult hippocampal neurogenesis may be transient. These data support the regenerative capacity of the adult SGZ after HZE particle exposure and encourage additional inquiry into the relationship between radial glia stem cells and cognitive function after HZE particle exposure.
    Life sciences and space research 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous transcriptional regulators of neurogenesis have been identified in the developing and adult brain, but how neurogenic fate is programmed at the epigenetic level remains poorly defined. Here, we report that the transcription factor Pax6 directly interacts with the Brg1-containing BAF complex in adult neural progenitors. Deletion of either Brg1 or Pax6 in the subependymal zone (SEZ) causes the progeny of adult neural stem cells to convert to the ependymal lineage within the SEZ while migrating neuroblasts convert to different glial lineages en route to or in the olfactory bulb (OB). Genome-wide analyses reveal that the majority of genes downregulated in the Brg1 null SEZ and OB contain Pax6 binding sites and are also downregulated in Pax6 null SEZ and OB. Downstream of the Pax6-BAF complex, we find that Sox11, Nfib, and Pou3f4 form a transcriptional cross-regulatory network that drives neurogenesis and can convert postnatal glia into neurons. Taken together, elements of our work identify a tripartite effector network activated by Pax6-BAF that programs neuronal fate.
    Cell stem cell 08/2013; · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radial glia-like cells (RGCs) are the hypothesized source of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. However, the current model of hippocampal neurogenesis does not fully incorporate the in vivo heterogeneity of RGCs. In order to better understand the contribution of different RGC subtypes to adult hippocampal neurogenesis, we employed widely-used transgenic lines (Nestin-CreER(T2) and GLAST::CreER(T2) mice) to explore how RGCs contribute to neurogenesis under basal conditions and after stimulation and depletion of neural progenitor cells. We first used these inducible fate-tracking transgenic lines to define the similarities and differences in the contribution of nestin- and GLAST-lineage cells to basal long-term hippocampal neurogenesis. We then explored the ability of nestin- and GLAST-lineage RGCs to contribute to neurogenesis, after experimental manipulations that either ablate neurogenesis (i.c.v. application of the anti-mitotic AraC, cytosine-β-D-arabinofuranoside) or stimulate neurogenesis (wheel running). Interestingly, in both ablation and stimulation experiments, labeled RGCs in GLAST::CreER(T2) mice appear to contribute to neurogenesis, whereas RGCs in Nestin-CreER(T2) mice do not. Finally, using NestinGFP reporter mice, we expanded on previous research by showing that not all RGCs in the adult dentate gyrus subgranular zone express nestin, and therefore RGCs are antigenically heterogeneous. These findings are important for the field, as they allow appropriately conservative interpretation of existing and future data that emerge from these inducible transgenic lines. These findings also raise important questions about the differences between transgenic driver lines, the heterogeneity of RGCs, and the potential differences in progenitor cell behavior between transgenic lines. As these findings highlight the possible differences in the contribution of nestin and GLAST lineage cells to long-term neurogenesis in vivo, they indicate that the current models of hippocampal neurogenesis should be modified to include RGC lineage heterogeneity. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Hippocampus 04/2013; · 5.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The early postnatal period is a unique time of brain development, as diminishing amounts of neurogenesis coexist with waves of gliogenesis. Understanding the molecular regulation of early postnatal gliogenesis may provide clues to normal and pathological embryonic brain ontogeny, particularly in regards to the development of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Cyclin dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) contributes to neuronal migration and cell cycle control during embryogenesis, and to the differentiation of neurons and oligodendrocytes during adulthood. However, Cdk5's function in the postnatal period and within discrete progenitor lineages is unknown. Therefore, we selectively removed Cdk5 from nestin-expressing cells and their progeny by giving transgenic mice (nestin-CreERT2/R26R-YFP/CDK5(flox/flox) [iCdk5] and nestin-CreERT2/R26R-YFP/CDK5(wt/wt) [WT]) tamoxifen during postnatal (P) days P2-P 4 or P7-P 9, and quantified and phenotyped recombined (YFP+) cells at P14 and P21. When Cdk5 gene deletion was induced in nestin-expressing cells and their progeny during the wave of cortical and hippocampal gliogenesis (P2-P4), significantly fewer YFP+ cells were evident in the cortex, corpus callosum, and hippocampus. Phenotypic analysis revealed the cortical decrease was due to fewer YFP+ astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, with a slightly earlier influence seen in oligodendrocytes vs. astrocytes. This effect on cortical gliogenesis was accompanied by a decrease in YFP+ proliferative cells, but not increased cell death. The role of Cdk5 in gliogenesis appeared specific to the early postnatal period, as induction of recombination at a later postnatal period (P7-P9) resulted in no change YFP+ cell number in the cortex or hippocampus. Thus, glial cells that originate from nestin-expressing cells and their progeny require Cdk5 for proper development during the early postnatal period.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72819. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Amelia J Eisch, David Petrik
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    ABSTRACT: Adult-generated hippocampal neurons are required for mood control and antidepressant efficacy, raising hopes that someday we can harness the power of new neurons to treat mood disorders such as depression. However, conflicting findings from preclinical research--involving stress, depression, and neurogenesis--highlight the complexity of considering neurogenesis as a road to remission from depression. To reconcile differences in the literature, we introduce the "neurogenic interactome," a platform from which to consider the diverse and dynamic factors regulating neurogenesis. We propose consideration of the varying perspectives--system, region, and local regulation of neurogenesis--offered by the interactome and exchange of ideas between the fields of learning and memory and mood disorder research to clarify the role of neurogenesis in the etiology and treatment of depression.
    Science 10/2012; 338(6103):72-5. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is thought to be essential for learning and memory, and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several disorders. Although recent studies have identified key factors regulating neuroprogenitor proliferation in the adult hippocampus, the mechanisms that control the migration and integration of adult-born neurons into circuits are largely unknown. Reelin is an extracellular matrix protein that is vital for neuronal development. Activation of the Reelin cascade leads to phosphorylation of Disabled-1, an adaptor protein required for Reelin signaling. Here we used transgenic mouse and retroviral reporters along with Reelin signaling gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies to show that the Reelin pathway regulates migration and dendritic development of adult-generated hippocampal neurons. Whereas overexpression of Reelin accelerated dendritic maturation, inactivation of the Reelin signaling pathway specifically in adult neuroprogenitor cells resulted in aberrant migration, decreased dendrite development, formation of ectopic dendrites in the hilus, and the establishment of aberrant circuits. Our findings support a cell-autonomous and critical role for the Reelin pathway in regulating dendritic development and the integration of adult-generated granule cells and point to this pathway as a key regulator of adult neurogenesis. Moreover, our data reveal a novel role of the Reelin cascade in adult brain function with potential implications for the pathogenesis of several neurological and psychiatric disorders.
    Journal of Neuroscience 08/2012; 32(35):12051-65. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adult neurogenesis occurs throughout life in the mammalian hippocampus and is essential for memory and mood control. There is significant interest in identifying ways to promote neurogenesis and ensure maintenance of these hippocampal functions. Previous work with a synthetic small molecule, isoxazole 9 (Isx-9), highlighted its neuronal-differentiating properties in vitro. However, the ability of Isx-9 to drive neurogenesis in vivo or improve hippocampal function was unknown. Here we show that Isx-9 promotes neurogenesis in vivo, enhancing the proliferation and differentiation of hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) neuroblasts, and the dendritic arborization of adult-generated dentate gyrus neurons. Isx-9 also improves hippocampal function, enhancing memory in the Morris water maze. Notably, Isx-9 enhances neurogenesis and memory without detectable increases in cellular or animal activity or vascularization. Molecular exploration of Isx-9-induced regulation of neurogenesis (via FACS and microarray of SGZ stem and progenitor cells) suggested the involvement of the myocyte-enhancer family of proteins (Mef2). Indeed, transgenic-mediated inducible knockout of all brain-enriched Mef2 isoforms (Mef2a/c/d) specifically from neural stem cells and their progeny confirmed Mef2's requirement for Isx-9-induced increase in hippocampal neurogenesis. Thus, Isx-9 enhances hippocampal neurogenesis and memory in vivo, and its effects are reliant on Mef2, revealing a novel cell-intrinsic molecular pathway regulating adult neurogenesis.
    The FASEB Journal 04/2012; 26(8):3148-62. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is useful in a variety of clinical settings, including in maintenance therapy of heroin dependence and as an analgesic. However, methadone can have negative effects on cognition in humans and in rodents. The mechanisms underlying methadone-induced disruption in cognition are unknown. One possibility is that methadone disrupts adult hippocampal neurogenesis, a form of hippocampal plasticity involved in cognition that is disrupted by other opiates, like morphine. The goal of this study was to determine if methadone alters key parameters of hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult rat. Four groups of male rats were injected with saline (Saline, n=11) or methadone (Escalating, Short Term, Acute, n=10-11/group) over the course of three weeks. Weight gain, locomotor activity, and neurogenesis data were collected. Consistent with prior results, Escalating rats had slower weight gain (-4% vs. Saline). Also consistent with prior results, methadone did not alter locomotor activity over the course of a 90 min test. However, closer analysis revealed that methadone - irrespective of the dose or duration - led to a decrease in locomotor activity (-11 to -20% vs. saline) when examined during the first 5 min of the locomotor test. Surprisingly, methadone did not alter any of three quantified parameters relevant to adult hippocampal neurogenesis (number of Ki67-, doublecortin-, or BrdU-immunoreactive cells [BrdU given prior to saline/methadone exposure]). These results suggest that - unlike other opiates such as morphine - experimenter-delivered methadone does not alter hippocampal plasticity by decreasing the number of adult-generated neurons.
    Neuroscience Letters 04/2012; 516(1):99-104. · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • Irene Masiulis, Sanghee Yun, Amelia J Eisch
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    ABSTRACT: Adult neurogenesis is a unique form of plasticity found in the hippocampus, a brain region key to learning and memory formation. While many external stimuli are known to modulate the generation of new neurons in the hippocampus, little is known about the local circuitry mechanisms that regulate the process of adult neurogenesis. The neurogenic niche in the hippocampus is highly complex and consists of a heterogeneous population of cells including interneurons. Because interneurons are already highly integrated into the hippocampal circuitry, they are in a prime position to influence the proliferation, survival, and maturation of adult-generated cells in the dentate gyrus. Here, we review the current state of our understanding on the interplay between interneurons and adult hippocampal neurogenesis. We focus on activity- and signaling-dependent mechanisms, as well as research on human diseases that could provide better insight into how interneurons in general might add to our comprehension of the regulation and function of adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
    Molecular Neurobiology 09/2011; 44(3):287-302. · 5.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Agricultural and household organophosphorus (OP) pesticides inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AchE), resulting in increased acetylcholine (Ach) in the central nervous system. In adults, acute and prolonged exposure to high doses of AchE inhibitors causes severe, clinically apparent symptoms, followed by lasting memory impairments and cognitive dysfunction. The neurotoxicity of repeated environmental exposure to lower, subclinical doses of OP pesticides in adults is not as well studied. However, repeated exposure to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as chlorpyrifos (CPF), pyridostigmine, and sarin nerve agent, has been epidemiologically linked to delayed onset symptoms in Gulf War Illness and may be relevant to environmental exposure in farm workers among others. We treated adult mice with a subclinical dose (5 mg/kg) of CPF for 5 consecutive days and investigated hippocampal synaptic transmission and spine density early (2-7 days) and late (3 months) after CPF administration. No signs of cholinergic toxicity were observed at any time during or after treatment. At 2-7 days after the last injection, we found increased synaptic transmission in the CA3-CA1 region of the hippocampus of CPF-treated mice compared with controls. In contrast, at 3 months after CPF administration, we observed a 50% reduction in synaptic transmission likely due to a corresponding 50% decrease in CA1 pyramidal neuron synaptic spine density. This study is the first to identify a biphasic progression of synaptic abnormalities following repeated OP exposure and suggests that even in the absence of acute cholinergic toxicity, repeated exposure to CPF causes delayed persistent damage to the adult brain in vivo.
    Toxicological Sciences 09/2011; 125(1):196-208. · 4.33 Impact Factor
  • David Petrik, Diane C Lagace, Amelia J Eisch
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    ABSTRACT: Hypotheses are scaffoldings erected in front of a building and then dismantled when the building is finished. They are indispensable for the workman; but you mustn't mistake the scaffolding for the building. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The neurogenesis hypothesis of affective disorders - in its simplest form - postulates that the generation of neurons in the postnatal hippocampal dentate gyrus is involved in the etiology and treatment efficacy of major depressive disorder (MDD). The hypothesis was established in the 1990s but was built on a broad foundation of earlier research on the hippocampus, serotonin and MDD. It has gone through several growth phases fueled by discoveries both correlative and causative in nature. Recently, the hypothesis has also been broadened to also include potential relevance for anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As any hypothesis should be, it has been tested and challenged, sometimes vigorously. Here we review the current standing of the neurogenesis hypothesis of affective and anxiety disorders, noting in particular how a central postulate - that decreased neurogenesis results in depression or anxiety - has, in general, been rejected. We also review the controversies on whether treatments for these disorders, like antidepressants, rely on intact neurogenesis for their efficacy, and the existence of neurogenesis-dependent and -independent effects of antidepressants. In addition, we review the implications that the hypothesis has for the response to stress, PTSD, and the neurobiology of resilience, and highlight our own work showing that adult-generated neurons are functionally important for the behavioral response to social stress. We conclude by emphasizing how advancements in transgenic mouse technology, rodent behavioral analyses, and our understanding of the neurogenesis process will allow us to refine our conclusions and perform ever more specific experiments. Such scrutiny is critical, since if we "mistake the scaffolding for the building" we could overlook opportunities for translational impact in the clinic. This article is part of a special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.
    Neuropharmacology 09/2011; 62(1):21-34. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic cocaine use produces numerous biological changes in brain, but relatively few are functionally associated with cocaine reinforcement. Here we show that daily intravenous cocaine self-administration, but not passive cocaine administration, induces dynamic upregulation of the AMPA glutamate receptor subunits GluR1 and GluR2 in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rats. Increases in GluR1 protein and GluR1(S845) phosphorylation are associated with increased GluR1 mRNA in self-administering animals, whereas increased GluR2 protein levels occurred despite substantial decreases in GluR2 mRNA. We investigated the functional significance of GluR1 upregulation in the VTA on cocaine self-administration using localized viral-mediated gene transfer. Overexpression of GluR1(WT) in rat VTA primarily infected dopamine neurons (75%) and increased AMPA receptor-mediated membrane rectification in these neurons with AMPA application. Similar GluR1(WT) overexpression potentiated locomotor responses to intra-VTA AMPA, but not NMDA, infusions. In cocaine self-administering animals, overexpression of GluR1(WT) in the VTA markedly increased the motivation for cocaine injections on a progressive ratio schedule of cocaine reinforcement. In contrast, overexpression of protein kinase A-resistant GluR1(S845A) in the VTA reduced peak rates of cocaine self-administration on a fixed ratio reinforcement schedule. Neither viral vector altered sucrose self-administration, and overexpression of GluR1(WT) or GluR1(S845A) in the adjacent substantia nigra had no effect on cocaine self-administration. Together, these results suggest that dynamic regulation of AMPA receptors in the VTA during cocaine self-administration contributes to cocaine addiction by acting to facilitate subsequent cocaine use.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2011; 31(21):7927-37. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch pathway is often regarded as a developmental pathway, but components of Notch signalling are expressed and active in the adult brain. With the advent of more sophisticated genetic manipulations, evidence has emerged that suggests both conserved and novel roles for Notch signalling in the adult brain. Not surprisingly, Notch is a key regulator of adult neural stem cells, but it is increasingly clear that Notch signalling also has roles in the regulation of migration, morphology, synaptic plasticity and survival of immature and mature neurons. Understanding the many functions of Notch signalling in the adult brain, and its dysfunction in neurodegenerative disease and malignancy, is crucial to the development of new therapeutics that are centred around this pathway.
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience 05/2011; 12(5):269-83. · 31.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deficiency in fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) results in fragile X syndrome (FXS), an inherited form of intellectual disability. Despite extensive research, it is unclear how FMRP deficiency contributes to the cognitive deficits in FXS. Fmrp-null mice show reduced adult hippocampal neurogenesis. As Fmrp is also enriched in mature neurons, we investigated the function of Fmrp expression in neural stem and progenitor cells (aNSCs) and its role in adult neurogenesis. Here we show that ablation of Fmrp in aNSCs by inducible gene recombination leads to reduced hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo, as well as markedly impairing hippocampus-dependent learning in mice. Conversely, restoration of Fmrp expression specifically in aNSCs rescues these learning deficits in Fmrp-deficient mice. These data suggest that defective adult neurogenesis may contribute to the learning impairment seen in FXS, and these learning deficits can be rectified by delayed restoration of Fmrp specifically in aNSCs.
    Nature medicine 05/2011; 17(5):559-65. · 27.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pharmacology of traumatic memory extinction has not been fully characterized despite its potential as a therapeutic target for established, acquired anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here we examine the role of endogenous glucocorticoids in traumatic memory extinction. Male C57BL/6J mice were injected with corticosterone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) or metyrapone (50 mg/kg, s.c.) during re-activation of a contextual fear memory, and compared to vehicle groups (N=10-12 per group). To ensure that metyrapone was blocking corticosterone synthesis, we measured corticosterone levels following re-activation of a fear memory in metyrapone- and vehicle-treated animals. Corticosterone administration following extinction trials caused a long-lasting inhibition of the original fear memory trace. In contrast, blockade of corticosteroid synthesis with metyrapone prior to extinction trials enhanced retrieval and prevented extinction of context-dependent fear responses in mice. Further behavioral analysis suggested that the metyrapone enhancement of retrieval and prevention of extinction were not due to non-specific alterations in locomotor or anxiety-like behavior. In addition, the inhibition of extinction by metyrapone was rescued by exogenous administration of corticosterone following extinction trials. Finally, we confirmed that the rise in corticosterone during re-activation of a contextual fear memory was blocked by metyrapone. We demonstrate that extinction of a classical contextual fear memory is dependent on endogenous glucocorticoid synthesis during re-activation of a fear memory. Our data suggest that decreased glucocorticoids during fear memory re-activation may contribute to the inability to extinguish a fear memory, thus contributing to one of the core symptoms of PTSD.
    Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 02/2011; 95(4):453-60. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ascl1 (Mash1) is a bHLH transcription factor essential for neural differentiation during embryogenesis but its role in adult neurogenesis is less clear. Here we show that in the adult brain Ascl1 is dynamically expressed during neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus subgranular zone (SGZ) and more rostral subventricular zone (SVZ). Specifically, we find Ascl1 levels low in SGZ Type-1 cells and SVZ B cells but increasing as the cells transition to intermediate progenitor stages. In vivo genetic lineage tracing with a tamoxifen (TAM) inducible Ascl1CreERT2 knock-in mouse strain shows that Ascl1 lineage cells continuously generate new neurons over extended periods of time. There is a regionally-specific difference in neuron generation, with mice given TAM at postnatal day 50 showing new dentate gyrus neurons through 30 days post-TAM, but showing new olfactory bulb neurons even 180 days post-TAM. These results show that Ascl1 is not restricted to transit amplifying populations but is also found in a subset of neural stem cells with long-term neurogenic potential in the adult brain.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e18472. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
660.67 Total Impact Points


  • 2001–2014
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Dallas, Texas, United States
  • 2010
    • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
      • Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
      Manhattan, New York, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • University of Texas at Dallas
      Richardson, Texas, United States
  • 2005
    • Swansea University
      Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 1999–2005
    • Yale University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      New Haven, CT, United States
  • 2000
    • Yale-New Haven Hospital
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 1993–1999
    • University of California, Irvine
      • Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
      Irvine, CA, United States