Xuesi M Shao

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Publications (23)110.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading progressive neurodegenerative disorder afflicting 35.6 million people worldwide. There is no therapeutic agent that can slow or stop the progression of AD. Human studies show that besides loss of cognition/learning ability, neuropsychological symptoms such as anxiety and seizures are seen as high as 70 and 17 % respectively in AD patients, suggesting dysfunction of GABAergic neurotransmission contributes to pathogenesis of AD. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) is a plant flavonoid and a positive allosteric modulator of GABAARs we developed recently (Shen et al. in J Neurosci 32(1):390-401, 2012 [1]). In this study, transgenic (TG2576) and Swedish transgenic (TG-SwDI) mice with AD-like pathology were treated with DHM (2 mg/kg) for 3 months. Behaviorally, DHM-treated mice show improved cognition, reduced anxiety level and seizure susceptibility. Pathologically, DHM has high efficacy to reduce amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in TG-SwDI brain. Further, patch-clamp recordings from dentate gyrus neurons in hippocampal slices from TG-SwDI mice showed reduced frequency and amplitude of GABAAR-mediated miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents, and decreased extrasynaptic tonic inhibitory current, while DHM restored these GABAAR-mediated currents in TG-SwDI. We found that gephyrin, a postsynaptic GABAAR anchor protein that regulates the formation and plasticity of GABAergic synapses, decreased in hippocampus and cortex in TG-SwDI. DHM treatment restored gephyrin levels. These results suggest that DHM treatment not only improves symptoms, but also reverses progressive neuropathology of mouse models of AD including reducing Aβ peptides, while restoring gephyrin levels, GABAergic transmission and functional synapses. Therefore DHM is a promising candidate medication for AD. We propose a novel target, gephyrin, for treatment of AD.
    Neurochemical Research 04/2014; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol exposure-induced changes in reinforcement mechanisms and motivational state are thought to contribute to the development of cravings and relapse during protracted withdrawal. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is a key structure of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system and plays an important role in mediating alcohol-seeking behaviors. Here we describe the long-lasting alterations of γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABAARs) of medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the NAcc after chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) treatment, a rat model of alcohol dependence. CIE treatment and withdrawal (>40 days) produced decreases in the ethanol and Ro 15-4513 potentiation of extrasynaptic GABAARs, which mediate the picrotoxin-sensitive tonic current (Itonic), while potentiation of synaptic receptors, which give rise to miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs), was increased. Diazepam sensitivity of both Itonic and mIPSCs was decreased by CIE treatment. The average magnitude of Itonic was unchanged, but mIPSC amplitude and frequency decreased, and mIPSC rise-time increased after CIE treatment. Rise-time histograms revealed decreased frequency of fast-rising mIPSCs after CIE treatment, consistent with possible decreases in somatic GABAergic synapses in MSNs from CIE rats. However, unbiased stereological analysis of NeuN-stained NAcc neurons did not detect any decreases in NAcc volume, neuronal numbers, or neuronal cell body volume. Western blot analysis of surface subunit levels revealed selective decreases in α1 and δ and increases in α4, α5 and γ2 GABAAR subunits after CIE treatment and withdrawal. Similar, but reversible, alterations occurred after a single ethanol dose (5g/kg). These data reveal CIE-induced long-lasting neuroadaptations in the NAcc GABAergic neurotransmission.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 04/2014; · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) can lead to a variety of behavioral and physiological disturbances later in life. Understanding how alcohol (ethanol, EtOH) affects fetal brain development is essential to guide the development of better therapeutics for FAE. One of EtOH's many pharmacological targets is the γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor (GABAAR), which plays a prominent role in early brain development. Acute EtOH potentiates inhibitory currents carried by certain GABAAR subtypes, whereas chronic EtOH leads to persistent alterations in GABAAR subunit composition, localization and function. We recently introduced a flavonoid compound, dihydromyricetin (DHM), which selectively antagonizes EtOH's intoxicating effects in vivo and in vitro at enhancing GABAAR function as a candidate for alcohol abuse pharmacotherapy. Here, we studied the effect of FAE on physiology, behavior and GABAAR function of early adolescent rats and tested the utility of DHM as a preventative treatment for FAE-induced disturbances. Gavage administration of EtOH (1.5, 2.5, or 5.0 g/kg) to rat dams on day 5, 8, 10, 12, and 15 of pregnancy dose-dependently reduced female/male offspring ratios (largely through decreased numbers of female offspring) and offspring body weights. FAE (2.5 g/kg) rats tested on postnatal days (P) 25-32 also exhibited increased anxiety and reduced pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced seizure threshold. Patch-clamp recordings from dentate gyrus granule cells (DGCs) in hippocampal slices from FAE (2.5 g/kg) rats at P25-35 revealed reduced sensitivity of GABAergic miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs) and tonic current (Itonic) to potentiation by zolpidem (0.3 μM). Interestingly, potentiation of mIPSCs by gaboxadol increased, while potentiation of Itonic decreased in DGCs from FAE rats. Co-administration of EtOH (1.5 or 2.5 g/kg) with DHM (1.0 mg/kg) in pregnant dams prevented all of the behavioral, physiological, and pharmacological alterations observed in FAE offspring. DHM administration alone in pregnant rats had no adverse effect on litter size, progeny weight, anxiety level, PTZ seizure threshold, or DGC GABAAR function. Our results indicate that FAE induces long-lasting alterations in physiology, behavior, and hippocampal GABAAR function and that these deficits are prevented by DHM co-treatment of EtOH-exposed dams. The absence of adverse side effects and the ability of DHM to prevent FAE consequences suggest that DHM is an attractive candidate for development as a treatment for prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
    Neurochemical Research 03/2014; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in SLC4A4, the gene encoding the electrogenic Na(+)-HCO3(-) cotransporter NBCe1 cause severe proximal renal tubular acidosis (pRTA), growth retardation, decreased IQ, eye and teeth abnormalities. Among the known NBCe1 mutations, the disease causing mechanism of the T485S (NBCe1-A numbering) mutation is intriguing because the substituted amino acid, serine, is structurally and chemically similar to threonine. In this study, we performed intracellular pH and whole cell patch-clamp measurements to investigate the base transport and electrogenic properties of NBCe1-A-T485S in mammalian HEK 293 cells. Our results demonstrated that Ser substitution of Thr485 decreased base transport by ~50%, and importantly, converted NBCe1-A from an electrogenic to an electroneutral transporter. Aqueous accessibility analysis using sulfhydryl reactive reagents indicated that Thr485 likely resides in an NBCe1-A ion interaction site. This critical location is also supported by the finding that G486R (a pRTA causing mutation) alters the position of Thr485 in NBCe1-A thereby impairing its transport function. By using NO3(-) as a surrogate ion for CO3(2-), our result indicated that NBCe1-A mediates electrogenic Na(+)-CO3(2-) cotransport when functioning with a 1:2 charge transport stoichiometry. In contrast, electroneutral NBCe1-T485S is unable to transport NO3(-) compatible with the hypothesis that it mediates Na(+)-HCO3(-) cotransport. In patients, NBCe1-A-T485S is predicted to transport Na(+)-HCO3(-) in the reverse direction from blood into proximal tubule cells thereby impairing transepithelial HCO3(-) absorption, possibly representing a new pathogenic mechanism for generating human pRTA.
    AJP Cell Physiology 05/2013; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Nicotine is a heavily used addictive drug acquired through smoking tobacco. Nicotine in cigarette smoke is deposited and absorbed in the lungs, which results in a rapidly peaked slowly declining arterial concentration. This pattern plays an important role in initiation of nicotine addiction. METHODS: A method and device were developed for delivering nicotine to rodents with lung alveolar region-targeted aerosol technology. The dose of delivery can be controlled by the nicotine aerosol concentration and duration of exposure. RESULTS: Our data showed that, in the breathing zone of the nose-only exposure chamber, the aerosol droplet size distribution was within the respirable diameter range. Rats were exposed to nicotine aerosol for 2min. The arterial blood nicotine concentration reached 43.2±15.7ng/ml (mean ± SD) within 1-4min and declined over the next 20min, closely resembling the magnitude and early pharmacokinetics of a human smoking a cigarette. The acute inhalation toxicity of nicotine: LC(50) = 2.3mg/L was determined; it was affected by pH, suggesting that acidification decreases nicotine absorption and/or bioavailability. CONCLUSIONS: A noninvasive method and toolkit were developed for delivering nicotine to rodents that enable rapid delivery of a controllable amount of nicotine into the systemic circulation and brain-inducing dose-dependent pharmacological effects, even a lethal dose. Aerosol inhalation can produce nicotine kinetics in both arterial and venous blood resembling human smoking. This method can be applied to studies of the effects of chronic intermittent nicotine exposure, nicotine addiction, toxicology, tobacco-related diseases, teratogenicity, and for discovery of pharmacological therapeutics.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 12/2012; · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The patch clamp technique is widely used for recording the activity of ion channels in single cells and lipid bilayers. Most platforms utilize borosilicate glass configured as a pipette, however more recently planar patch clamp chips have been developed that require less technical expertise. Planar patch clamp chips in systems like the Nanion Port-a-Patch are useful in that they allow more rapid throughput in drug screening studies. This technique also has the ability to perform rapid solution changes from the intracellular side. A current drawback with the planar patch clamp chips is the need to utilize a separate chip for each experiment. This increases the cost of each experiment and is due to the fact that the ∼1μm aperture used for cell attachment is thought to retain cellular debris thereby preventing subsequent cell attachment and formation of GΩ seals. In the present study we have for the first time solved the technical problem of developing a simple protocol for re-use of Nanion planar patch clamp chips. The re-use methodology is demonstrated in whole cell patch clamp studies of HEK-293 cells expressing the electrogenic sodium bicarbonate cotransporter NBCe1-A in protocols involving external and internal solution changes, and CHO-K1 cells with incorporated gramicidin channels.
    Journal of neuroscience methods 05/2012; 208(2):205-10. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) constitute the most common form of substance abuse. The development of AUDs involves repeated alcohol use leading to tolerance, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and physical and psychological dependence, with loss of ability to control excessive drinking. Currently there is no effective therapeutic agent for AUDs without major side effects. Dihydromyricetin (DHM; 1 mg/kg, i.p. injection), a flavonoid component of herbal medicines, counteracted acute alcohol (EtOH) intoxication, and also withdrawal signs in rats including tolerance, increased anxiety, and seizure susceptibility; DHM greatly reduced EtOH consumption in an intermittent voluntary EtOH intake paradigm in rats. GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are major targets of acute and chronic EtOH actions on the brain. At the cellular levels, DHM (1 μM) antagonized both acute EtOH-induced potentiation of GABA(A)Rs and EtOH exposure/withdrawal-induced GABA(A)R plasticity, including alterations in responsiveness of extrasynaptic and postsynaptic GABA(A)Rs to acute EtOH and, most importantly, increases in GABA(A)R α4 subunit expression in hippocampus and cultured neurons. DHM anti-alcohol effects on both behavior and CNS neurons were antagonized by flumazenil (10 mg/kg in vivo; 10 μM in vitro), the benzodiazepine (BZ) antagonist. DHM competitively inhibited BZ-site [(3)H]flunitrazepam binding (IC(50), 4.36 μM), suggesting DHM interaction with EtOH involves the BZ sites on GABA(A)Rs. In summary, we determined DHM anti-alcoholic effects on animal models and determined a major molecular target and cellular mechanism of DHM for counteracting alcohol intoxication and dependence. We demonstrated pharmacological properties of DHM consistent with those expected to underlie successful medical treatment of AUDs; therefore DHM is a therapeutic candidate.
    Journal of Neuroscience 01/2012; 32(1):390-401. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of two markers of neurons in the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC), the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) and somatostatin (Sst) peptide, has been of great utility in understanding the essential role of the pre-BötC in breathing. Recently, the transcription factor dbx1 was identified as a critical, but transient, determinant of glutamatergic pre-BötC neurons. Here, to identify additional markers, we constructed and screened a single-cell subtractive cDNA library from pre-BötC inspiratory neurons. We identified the glycoprotein reelin as a potentially useful marker, because it is expressed in distinct populations of pre-BötC and inspiratory bulbospinal ventral respiratory group (ibsVRG) neurons. Reelin ibsVRG neurons were larger (27.1 ± 3.8 μm in diameter) and located more caudally (>12.8 mm caudal to Bregma) than reelin pre-BötC neurons (15.5 ± 2.4 μm in diameter, <12.8 mm rostral to Bregma). Pre-BötC reelin neurons coexpress NK1R and Sst. Reelin neurons were also found in the parahypoglossal and dorsal parafacial regions, pontine respiratory group, and ventromedial medulla. Reelin-deficient (Reeler) mice exhibited impaired respones to hypoxia compared with littermate controls. We suggest that reelin is a useful molecular marker for pre-BötC neurons in adult rodents and may play a functional role in pre-BötC microcircuits.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 08/2011; 520(3):606-19. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The choroid plexus lining the four ventricles in the brain is where the majority of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced. The secretory function of the choroid plexus is mediated by specific transport systems that allow the directional flux of nutrients and ions into the CSF and the removal of toxins. Normal CSF dynamics and chemistry ensure that the environment for neural function is optimal. Here, we report that targeted disruption of the Slc4a5 gene encoding the electrogenic sodium bicarbonate cotransporter NBCe2 results in significant remodeling of choroid plexus epithelial cells, including abnormal mitochondrial distribution, cytoskeletal protein expression, and ion transporter polarity. These changes are accompanied by very significant abnormalities in intracerebral ventricle volume, intracranial pressure, and CSF electrolyte levels. The Slc4a5(-/-) mice are significantly more resistant to induction of seizure behavior than wild-type controls. In the retina of Slc4a5(-/-) mice, loss of photoreceptors, ganglion cells, and retinal detachment results in visual impairment assessed by abnormal electroretinogram waveforms. Our findings are the first demonstration of the fundamental importance of NBCe2 in the biology of the nervous system.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(37):32563-74. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Xuesi M Shao, Jack L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are expressed in brainstem and spinal cord regions involved in the control of breathing. These receptors mediate central cholinergic regulation of respiration and effects of the exogenous ligand nicotine on respiratory pattern. Activation of alpha4* nAChRs in the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC), an essential site for normal respiratory rhythm generation in mammals, modulates excitatory glutamatergic neurotransmission and depolarizes preBötC inspiratory neurons, leading to increases in respiratory frequency. nAChRs are also present in motor nuclei innervating respiratory muscles. Activation of post- and/or extra-synaptic alpha4* nAChRs on hypoglossal (XII) motoneurons depolarizes these neurons, potentiating tonic and respiratory-related rhythmic activity. As perinatal nicotine exposure may contribute to the pathogenesis of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), we discuss the effects of perinatal nicotine exposure on development of the cholinergic and other neurotransmitter systems involved in control of breathing. Advances in understanding of the mechanisms underlying central cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of respiration provide a pharmacological basis for exploiting nAChRs as therapeutic targets for neurological disorders related to neural control of breathing such as sleep apnea and SIDS.
    Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 07/2009; 30(6):761-70. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Delineating neurons that underlie complex behaviors is of fundamental interest. Using adeno-associated virus 2, we expressed the Drosophila allatostatin receptor in somatostatin (Sst)-expressing neurons in the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC). Rapid silencing of these neurons in awake rats induced a persistent apnea without any respiratory movements to rescue their breathing. We hypothesize that breathing requires preBötC Sst neurons and that their sudden depression can lead to serious, even fatal, respiratory failure.
    Nature Neuroscience 06/2008; 11(5):538-40. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine and nicotine can modulate respiratory patterns by acting on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the preBötzinger complex (preBötC). To further explore the molecular composition of these nAChRs, we studied a knock-in mouse strain with a leucine-to-alanine mutation in the M2 pore-lining region (L9'A) of the nAChR alpha4 subunit; this mutation renders alpha4-containing receptors hypersensitive to agonists. We recorded respiratory-related rhythmic motor activity from hypoglossal nerve (XIIn) and patch-clamped preBötC inspiratory neurons in an in vitro medullary slice preparation from neonatal mice. Nicotine affected respiratory rhythm at concentrations approximately 100-fold lower in the homozygous L9'A knock-in mice compared with wild-type mice. Bath application of 5 nm nicotine increased the excitability of preBötC inspiratory neurons, increased respiratory frequency, and induced tonic/seizure-like activities in XIIn in L9'A mice, effects similar to those induced by 1 microM nicotine in wild-type mice. In L9'A mice, microinjection of low nanomolar concentrations of nicotine into the preBötC increased respiratory frequency, whereas injection into the ipsilateral hypoglossal (XII) nucleus induced tonic/seizure-like activity. The alpha4*-selective nAChR antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine produced opposite effects and blocked the nicotinic responses. These data, showing that nAChRs in the preBötC and XII nucleus in L9'A mice are hypersensitive to nicotine and endogenous ACh, suggest that functional alpha4* nAChRs are present in the preBötC. They mediate cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of the excitability of preBötC inspiratory neurons and of respiratory rhythm. Furthermore, functional alpha4* nAChRs are present in XII nucleus and mediate cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of tonic activity in XIIn.
    Journal of Neuroscience 02/2008; 28(2):519-28. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    Xuesi M Shao, Jack L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is widely used to determine neurotransmitter concentrations in the central nervous system (CNS). Finding the optimal methods to sample from CNS tissue poses a challenge for neuroscientists. Here, we describe a method that allows assay of neurotransmitters (or other chemicals) in small regions (down to 180mum in diameter) in in vitro preparations concurrently with electrophysiological recordings. The efficiency for measuring small amounts of chemicals is enhanced by a sample collecting pipette with filter paper at the tip that makes close contact with the target region in CNS tissue. With a wire plunger in the calibrated pipette controlled by a microsyringe pump, there is virtually no dead volume. Samples in a volume of 10muL (taken, e.g., at 2muL/min over 5min) can be injected into a HPLC machine with microbore columns. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this method by measuring acetylcholine (ACh) in the ventral horn and its surrounding areas of the spinal cord in en bloc brainstem-spinal cord preparations. In control conditions, endogenous ACh levels in these regions were detectable. Application of neostigmine (an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterases (AChEs)) increased ACh concentrations, and at the same time, induced tonic/seizure-like activity in efferent motor output recorded from cervical ventral nerve roots. Higher ACh concentrations in the ventral horn were differentiated from nearby regions: the lateral and midline aspects of the ventral spinal cord. In addition, ACh in the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC) and the hypoglossal nucleus in medullary slice preparations can also be measured. Our results indicate that the method proposed in this study can be used to measure neurotransmitters in small and localized CNS regions. Correlation between changes in neurotransmitters in target regions and the neuronal activities can be revealed in vitro. Our data also suggest that there is endogenous ACh release in spinal ventral motor columns at fourth cervical (C4) level that regulates the respiratory-related motor activity.
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods 04/2007; 160(2):256-63. · 2.11 Impact Factor
  • Xuesi M Shao, Jack L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: Maintaining a stable electrode potential is critical for patch-clamp measurements. The electrode potential of conventional patch electrode-holder assembly, where an Ag/AgCl wire is in direct contact with the patch pipette filling solution, is subject to drift if the pipette solution contains a low concentration of chloride ions (Cl-). We developed an agar bridge of 3 M KCl filled in a polyimide microtubing which forms an electrical connection between an Ag/AgCl wire and the pipette solution. We examined the offset potentials of the micro-agar salt bridge electrode assembly in parallel with a conventional electrode assembly in generic recording conditions (the pipette solution contained 5 mM NaCl). The junction potential between the Ag/AgCl wire and the pipette filling solution in the conventional electrode contributed to most of the offset potential drift observed during the course of 30 min recordings. The drift was up to 27.3 mV after several changes of the glass pipette. In contrast, the micro-agar salt bridge stabilized the electrode potential within typically 2 mV without affecting the patch electrode resistance, capacitance or noise level. Numerical simulations showed that Cl- diffusion from the agar bridge to the tip caused a negligible 0.4 microM Cl- concentration change at the pipette tip within 30 min. This method is easy to implement and provides long-term recording stability. The micro-agar salt bridge can fit in most commercial patch electrode holders and can be conveniently maintained.
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods 02/2007; 159(1):108-15. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calcium influx is crucial for T cell activation and differentiation. The detailed regulation of this process remains unclear. We report here that golli protein, an alternatively spliced product of the myelin basic protein gene, plays a critical role in regulating calcium influx in T cells. Golli-deficient T cells were hyperproliferative and showed enhanced calcium entry upon T cell receptor stimulation. We further found that golli regulates calcium influx in T cells through the inhibition of the store depletion-induced calcium influx. Mutation of the myristoylation site on golli disrupted its association with the plasma membrane and reversed its inhibitory action on Ca2+ influx, indicating that membrane association of golli was essential for its inhibitory action. These results indicate that golli functions in a unique way to regulate T cell activation through a mechanism involving the modulation of the calcium homeostasis.
    Immunity 07/2006; 24(6):717-27. · 19.80 Impact Factor
  • X M Shao, J L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated whether there is endogenous acetylcholine (ACh) release in the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC), a medullary region hypothesized to contain neurons generating respiratory rhythm, and how endogenous ACh modulates preBötCneuronal function and regulates respiratory pattern. Using a medullary slice preparation from neonatal rat, we recorded spontaneous respiratory-related rhythm from the hypoglossal nerve roots (XIIn) and patch-clamped preBötC inspiratory neurons. Unilateral microinjection of physostigmine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, into the preBötC increased the frequency of respiratory-related rhythmic activity from XIIn to 116+/-13% (mean+/-S.D.) of control. Ipsilateral physostigmine injection into the hypoglossal nucleus (XII nucleus) induced tonic activity, increased the amplitude and duration of the integrated inspiratory bursts of XIIn to 122+/-17% and 117+/-22% of control respectively; but did not alter frequency. In preBötC inspiratory neurons, bath application of physostigmine (10 microM) induced an inward current of 6.3+/-10.6 pA, increased the membrane noise, decreased the amplitude of phasic inspiratory drive current to 79+/-16% of control, increased the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents to 163+/-103% and decreased the whole cell input resistance to 73+/-22% of control without affecting the threshold for generation of action potentials. Bath application of physostigmine concurrently induced tonic activity, increased the frequency, amplitude and duration of inspiratory bursts of XIIn motor output. Bath application of 4-diphenylacetoxy-N-methylpiperidine methiodide (4-DAMP, 2 microM), a M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) selective antagonist, increased the input resistance of preBötC inspiratory neurons to 116+/-9% of control and blocked all of the effects of physostigmine except for the increase in respiratory frequency. Dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DH-beta-E; 0.2 microM), an alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor (nAChR) selective antagonist, blocked all the effects of physostigmine except for the increase in inspiratory burst amplitude. In the presence of both 4-DAMP and DH-beta-E, physostigmine induced opposite effects, i.e. a decrease in frequency and amplitude of XIIn rhythmic activity. These results suggest that there is cholinergic neurotransmission in the preBötC which regulates respiratory frequency, and in XII nucleus which regulates tonic activity, and the amplitude and duration of inspiratory bursts of XIIn in neonatal rats. Physiologically relevant levels of ACh release, via mAChRs antagonized by 4-DAMP and nAChRs antagonized by DH-beta-E, modulate the excitability of inspiratory neurons and excitatory neurotransmission in the preBötC, consequently regulating respiratory rhythm.
    Neuroscience 02/2005; 130(4):1069-81. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    Xuesi M Shao, Qing Ge, Jack L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: We hypothesize that phosphorylation of AMPA receptors or associated synaptic proteins modulates the excitability of respiratory neurons in the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC), affecting respiratory rhythm. Using neonatal rat medullary slices that spontaneously generate respiratory rhythm, we examined the role of the cAMP-PKA pathway (PKA: cAMP-dependent protein kinase) in modulating glutamatergic synaptic transmission, the excitability of inspiratory neurons in the preBötC and respiratory rhythm. Microinjection of forskolin, an activator of adenylate cyclase, into the preBötC with or without the phosphodiesterase inhibitor 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX), decreased the period (increased the frequency) of respiratory-related rhythmic motor output in the hypoglossal nerve (XIIn) to 84 % (without IBMX) and to 72 % (with IBMX) of the pre-injection baseline. In the presence of MK-801, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, microinjection of forskolin plus IBMX decreased the period to 66 % of baseline levels. Microinjection of Rp-adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphothioate (Rp-cAMPS), a PKA inhibitor, increased the period to 145 % of baseline levels. Concurrent microinjection of Rp-cAMPS and forskolin had no effect on the period. Bath application of 7beta-deacetyl-7beta-[gamma-(morpholino)butyryl]-forskolin hydrochloride (7Db-forskolin, a water-soluble derivative of forskolin): (1) decreased the period to 67 % of baseline levels without affecting the amplitude of integrated XIIn inspiratory discharge, (2) induced a tonic inward current of 29 pA and enhanced inspiratory drive current (the amplitude increased to 183 % and the integral increased to 184 % of baseline) in voltage-clamped (holding potential = -60 mV) preBötC inspiratory neurons and (3) increased the frequency to 195 % and amplitude to 118 % of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) during expiratory periods. Dideoxy-forskolin did not have these effects. Intracellular perfusion with the catalytic subunit of PKA (cPKA) into preBötC inspiratory neurons progressively enhanced inspiratory drive currents and, in the presence of TTX, increased the inward currents induced by local ejection of AMPA; the latter currents were blocked by 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-6-nitro-2,3-dioxo-benzo[f]quinoxaline-7-sulphonamide (NBQX, an AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist). The effects of cPKA were blocked by co-application of PKA inhibitor (6-22) amide (PKI). These results suggest that phosphorylation of postsynaptic AMPA receptors through the cAMP-PKA pathway modulates both tonic and phasic excitatory amino acid synaptic transmission and excitability of inspiratory neurons in the preBötC and, therefore, regulates respiratory rhythm. Moreover, the basal level of endogenous PKA activity appears to be a determinant of resting respiratory frequency.
    The Journal of Physiology 04/2003; 547(Pt 2):543-53. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Xuesi M Shao, Jack L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine regulates respiratory pattern by modulating excitatory neurotransmission affecting inspiratory neurons within the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC). The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes mediating these effects are unknown. Using a medullary slice preparation from neonatal rat, we recorded spontaneous respiratory-related rhythm from the hypoglossal nerve (XIIn) and patch-clamped inspiratory neurons in the preBötC simultaneously. The alpha7 nAChR antagonists alpha-bungarotoxin or methyllycaconitine (MLA) had little effect on the actions of low concentrations of nicotine (0.5 microM), which included an increase in respiratory frequency; a decrease in amplitude of XIIn inspiratory bursts; a tonic inward current associated with an increase in membrane noise; an increase in the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs), and; a decrease in the amplitude of inspiratory drive current in voltage-clamped preBötC inspiratory neurons. These nicotinic actions were completely reversed by dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DH-beta-E) or hexamethonium and reduced by D-tubocurarine. Comparable concentrations of RJR-2403 (0.5-1 microM), an agonist selective for alpha4beta2 nAChRs, increased respiratory frequency to 186% and decreased the amplitude of XIIn inspiratory bursts to 83% of baseline. In voltage-clamped preBötC inspiratory (including pacemaker) neurons, RJR-2403 induced a tonic inward current of -15.2 pA associated with an increase in membrane noise, increased the frequency to 157% and amplitude to 106% of spontaneous EPSCs, and decreased the amplitude of inspiratory drive current to 80% of baseline. MLA had little effect on RJR-2403 actions, while DH-beta-E completely reversed them. These results suggest that the predominant subtype of nAChRs in preBötC in neonatal rats that mediates the modulation of respiratory pattern by low concentrations of nicotine is an alpha4beta2 combination and not an alpha7 subunit homomer. We do not exclude the possibility that co-assembly of alpha4beta2 with other subunits or other nAChR subtypes are also expressed in preBötC neurons. The parallel changes in the cellular and systems level responses induced by different nicotinic agonists and antagonists support the idea that modulation of excitatory neurotransmission affecting preBötC inspiratory neurons is a mechanism underlying the cholinergic regulation of respiratory pattern (). This study provides a useful model system for evaluating potential therapeutic cholinergic agents for their respiratory effects and side effects.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 11/2002; 88(4):1851-8. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Muscarinic receptors mediate the postsynaptic excitatory effects of acetylcholine (ACh) on inspiratory neurons in the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC), the hypothesized site for respiratory rhythm generation. Because pharmacological tools for identifying the subtypes of the muscarinic receptors that underlie these effects are limited, we probed for mRNA for these receptors in the pre-BötC. We used RT-PCR to determine the expression of muscarinic receptor subtypes in tissue punches of the pre-BötC taken from rat medullary slices. Cholinergic receptor subtype M(2) and M(3) mRNAs were observed in the first round of PCR amplification. All five subtypes, M(1)-M(5), were observed in the second round of amplification. Our results suggest that the majority of muscarinic receptor subtypes in the pre-BötC are M(2) and M(3), with minor expression of M(1), M(4), and M(5).
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 01/2002; 281(6):L1420-4. · 3.52 Impact Factor
  • X M Shao, J L Feldman
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    ABSTRACT: Cholinergic neurotransmission plays a role in regulation of respiratory pattern. Nicotine from cigarette smoke affects respiration and is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-disordered breathing. The cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying this regulation are not understood. Using a medullary slice preparation from neonatal rat that contains the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC), the hypothesized site for respiratory rhythm generation, and generates respiratory-related rhythm in vitro, we examined the effects of nicotine on excitatory neurotransmission affecting inspiratory neurons in preBötC and on the respiratory-related motor activity from hypoglossal nerve (XIIn). Microinjection of nicotine into preBötC increased respiratory frequency and decreased the amplitude of inspiratory bursts, whereas when injected into XII nucleus induced a tonic activity and an increase in amplitude but not in frequency of inspiratory bursts from XIIn. Bath application of nicotine (0.2--0.5 microM, approximately the arterial blood nicotine concentration immediately after smoking a cigarette) increased respiratory frequency up to 280% of control in a concentration-dependent manner. Nicotine decreased the amplitude to 82% and increased the duration to 124% of XIIn inspiratory bursts. In voltage-clamped preBötC inspiratory neurons (including neurons with pacemaker properties), nicotine induced a tonic inward current of -19.4 +/- 13.4 pA associated with an increase in baseline noise. Spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) present during the expiratory period increased in frequency to 176% and in amplitude to 117% of control values; the phasic inspiratory drive inward currents decreased in amplitude to 66% and in duration to 89% of control values. The effects of nicotine were blocked by mecamylamine (Meca). The inspiratory drive current and sEPSCs were completely eliminated by 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) in the presence or absence of nicotine. In the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX), low concentrations of nicotine did not induce any tonic current or any increase in baseline noise, nor affect the input resistance in inspiratory neurons. In this study, we demonstrated that nicotine increased respiratory frequency and regulated respiratory pattern by modulating the excitatory neurotransmission in preBötC. Activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) enhanced the tonic excitatory synaptic input to inspiratory neurons including pacemaker neurons and at the same time, inhibited the phasic excitatory coupling between these neurons. These mechanisms may account for the cholinergic regulation of respiratory frequency and pattern.
    Journal of Neurophysiology 07/2001; 85(6):2461-7. · 3.30 Impact Factor