Jerome D Swinny

University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (27)133.06 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a neuromuscular disease that arises from mutations in the dystrophin-encoding gene. Apart from muscle pathology, cognitive impairment, primarily of developmental origin, is also a significant component of the disorder. Convergent lines of evidence point to an important role for dystrophin in regulating the molecular machinery of central synapses. The clustering of neurotransmitter receptors at inhibitory synapses, thus impacting on synaptic transmission, is of particular significance. However, less is known about the role of dystrophin in influencing the precise expression patterns of proteins located within the pre- and postsynaptic elements of inhibitory synapses. To this end, we exploited molecular markers of inhibitory synapses, interneurons and dystrophin-deficient mouse models to explore the role of dystrophin in determining the stereotypical patterning of inhibitory connectivity within the cellular networks of the hippocampus CA1 region. In tissue from wild-type (WT) mice, immunoreactivity of neuroligin2 (NL2), an adhesion molecule expressed exclusively in postsynaptic elements of inhibitory synapses, and the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT), a marker of GABAergic presynaptic elements, were predictably enriched in strata pyramidale and lacunosum moleculare. In acute contrast, NL2 and VGAT immunoreactivity was relatively evenly distributed across all CA1 layers in dystrophin-deficient mice. Similar changes were evident with the cannabinoid receptor 1, vesicular glutamate transporter 3, parvalbumin, somatostatin and the GABAA receptor alpha1 subunit. The data show that in the absence of dystrophin, there is a rearrangement of the molecular machinery, which underlies the precise spatio-temporal pattern of GABAergic synaptic transmission within the CA1 sub-field of the hippocampus.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108364. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enteric nervous system (ENS) provides the intrinsic neural control of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and regulates virtually all GI functions. Altered neuronal activity within the ENS underlies various GI disorders with stress being a key contributing factor. Thus, elucidating the expression and function of the neurotransmitter systems, which determine neuronal excitability within the ENS, such as the GABA-GABAA receptor (GABAAR) system, could reveal novel therapeutic targets for such GI disorders. Molecular and functionally diverse GABAARs modulate rapid GABAergic-mediated regulation of neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. However, the cellular and subcellular GABAAR subunit expression patterns within neurochemically defined cellular circuits of the mouse ENS, together with the functional contribution of GABAAR subtypes to GI contractility remains to be determined. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that immunoreactivity for the GABAAR gamma (γ) 2 and alphas (α) 1, 2, 3 subunits was located on somatodendritic surfaces of neurochemically distinct myenteric plexus neurons, while being on axonal compartments of submucosal plexus neurons. In contrast, immunoreactivity for the α4-5 subunits was only detected in myenteric plexus neurons. Furthermore, α-γ2 subunit immunoreactivity was located on non-neuronal interstitial cells of Cajal. In organ bath studies, GABAAR subtype-specific ligands had contrasting effects on the force and frequency of spontaneous colonic longitudinal smooth muscle contractions. Finally, enhancement of γ2-GABAAR function with alprazolam reversed the stress-induced increase in the force of spontaneous colonic contractions. The study demonstrates the molecular and functional diversity of the GABAAR system within the mouse colon providing a framework for developing GABAAR-based therapeutics in GI disorders.
    Journal of Neuroscience 07/2014; 34(31):10361-10378. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) provides the major source of serotonin to the central nervous system (CNS) and modulates diverse neural functions including mood. Furthermore, DRN cellular networks are engaged in the stress-response at the CNS level allowing for adaptive behavioural responses, whilst stress-induced dysregulation of DRN and serotonin release is implicated in psychiatric disorders. Therefore, identifying the molecules regulating DRN activity is fundamental to understand DRN function in health and disease. GABAA receptors (GABAARs) allow for brain region, cell type and subcellular domain-specific GABA-mediated inhibitory currents and are thus key regulators of neuronal activity. Yet, the GABAAR subtypes expressed within the neurochemically diverse cell types of the mouse DRN are poorly described. In this study, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy revealed that all serotonergic neurons expressed immunoreactivity for the GABAAR alpha2 and 3 subunits, although the respective signals were co-localised to varying degrees with inhibitory synaptic marker proteins. Only a topographically located sub-population of serotonergic neurons exhibited GABAAR alpha1 subunit immunoreactivity. However, all GABAergic as well as non-GABAergic, non-serotonergic neurons within the DRN expressed GABAAR alpha1 subunit immunoreactivity. Intriguingly, immunoreactivity for the GABAAR gamma2 subunit was enriched on GABAergic rather than serotonergic neurons. Finally, repeated restraint stress increased the expression of the GABAAR alpha3 subunit at the mRNA and protein level. The study demonstrates the identity and location of distinct GABAAR subunits within the cellular networks of the mouse DRN and that stress impacts on the expression levels of particular subunits at the gene and protein level.
    Brain Structure and Function 06/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity by stress is a fundamental survival mechanism and HPA-dysfunction is implicated in psychiatric disorders. Adverse early life experiences, e.g. poor maternal care, negatively influence brain development and programs an abnormal stress response by encoding long-lasting molecular changes, which may extend to the next generation. How HPA-dysfunction leads to the development of affective disorders is complex, but may involve GABAA receptors (GABAARs), as they curtail stress-induced HPA axis activation. Of particular interest are endogenous neurosteroids that potently modulate the function of GABAARs and exhibit stress-protective properties. Importantly, neurosteroid levels rise rapidly during acute stress, are perturbed in chronic stress and are implicated in the behavioral changes associated with early-life adversity. We will appraise how GABAAR-active neurosteroids may impact on HPA axis development and the orchestration of the stress-evoked response. The significance of these actions will be discussed in the context of stress-associated mood disorders.
    Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 06/2014; · 7.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The locus coeruleus (LC) nucleus modulates adaptive behavioral responses to stress and dysregulation of LC neuronal activity is implicated in stress-induced mental illnesses. The LC is composed primarily of noradrenergic neurons together with various glial populations. A neuroglia cell-type largely unexplored within the LC is the NG2 cell. NG2 cells serve primarily as oligodendrocyte precursor cells throughout the brain. However, some NG2 cells are in synaptic contact with neurons suggesting a role in information processing. The aim of this study was to neurochemically and anatomically characterize NG2 cells within the rat LC. Furthermore, since NG2 cells have been shown to proliferate in response to traumatic brain injury, we investigated whether such NG2 cells plasticity also occurs in response to emotive insults such as stress. Immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy revealed that NG2 cells were enriched within the pontine region occupied by the LC. Close inspection revealed that a sub-population of NG2 cells were located within unique indentations of LC noradrenergic somata and were immunoreactive for the neuronal marker NeuN whilst NG2 cell processes formed close appositions with clusters immunoreactive for the inhibitory synaptic marker proteins gephyrin and the GABA-A receptor alpha3-subunit, on noradrenergic dendrites. In addition, LC NG2 cell processes were decorated with vesicular glutamate transporter 2 immunoreactive puncta. Finally, 10 days of repeated restraint stress significantly increased the density of NG2 cells within the LC. The study demonstrates that NG2 IR cells are integral components of the LC cellular network and they exhibit plasticity as a result of emotive challenges.
    Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 05/2014; 8:31. · 4.18 Impact Factor
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology 03/2014; 24:S119. · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Within the nucleus accumbens (NAc), synaptic GABAA receptors (GABAARs) mediate phasic inhibition of medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and influence behavioral responses to cocaine. We demonstrate that both dopamine D1- and D2-receptor-expressing MSNs (D-MSNs) additionally harbor extrasynaptic GABAARs incorporating α4, β, and δ subunits that mediate tonic inhibition, thereby influencing neuronal excitability. Both the selective δ-GABAAR agonist THIP and DS2, a selective positive allosteric modulator, greatly increased the tonic current of all MSNs from wild-type (WT), but not from δ(-/-) or α4(-/-) mice. Coupling dopamine and tonic inhibition, the acute activation of D1 receptors (by a selective agonist or indirectly by amphetamine) greatly enhanced tonic inhibition in D1-MSNs but not D2-MSNs. In contrast, prolonged D2 receptor activation modestly reduced the tonic conductance of D2-MSNs. Behaviorally, WT and constitutive α4(-/-) mice did not differ in their expression of cocaine-conditioned place preference (CPP). Importantly, however, mice with the α4 deletion specific to D1-expressing neurons (α4(D1-/-)) showed increased CPP. Furthermore, THIP administered systemically or directly into the NAc of WT, but not α4(-/-) or α4(D1-/-) mice, blocked cocaine enhancement of CPP. In comparison, α4(D2-/-) mice exhibited normal CPP, but no cocaine enhancement. In conclusion, dopamine modulation of GABAergic tonic inhibition of D1- and D2-MSNs provides an intrinsic mechanism to differentially affect their excitability in response to psychostimulants and thereby influence their ability to potentiate conditioned reward. Therefore, α4βδ GABAARs may represent a viable target for the development of novel therapeutics to better understand and influence addictive behaviors.
    Journal of Neuroscience 01/2014; 34(3):823-38. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adverse early-life experiences, such as poor maternal care, program an abnormal stress response that may involve an altered balance between excitatory and inhibitory signals. Here, we explored how early-life stress (ELS) affects excitatory and inhibitory transmission in corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF)-expressing dorsal-medial (mpd) neurons of the neonatal mouse hypothalamus. We report that ELS associates with enhanced excitatory glutamatergic transmission that is manifested as an increased frequency of synaptic events and increased extrasynaptic conductance, with the latter associated with dysfunctional astrocytic regulation of glutamate levels. The neurosteroid 5α-pregnan-3α-ol-20-one (5α3α-THPROG) is an endogenous, positive modulator of GABAA receptors (GABAARs) that is abundant during brain development and rises rapidly during acute stress, thereby enhancing inhibition to curtail stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. In control mpd neurons, 5α3α-THPROG potently suppressed neuronal discharge, but this action was greatly compromised by prior ELS exposure. This neurosteroid insensitivity did not primarily result from perturbations of GABAergic inhibition, but rather arose functionally from the increased excitatory drive onto mpd neurons. Previous reports indicated that mice (dams) lacking the GABAAR δ subunit (δ(0/0)) exhibit altered maternal behavior. Intriguingly, δ(0/0) offspring showed some hallmarks of abnormal maternal care that were further exacerbated by ELS. Moreover, in common with ELS, mpd neurons of δ(0/0) pups exhibited increased synaptic and extrasynaptic glutamatergic transmission and consequently a blunted neurosteroid suppression of neuronal firing. This study reveals that increased synaptic and tonic glutamatergic transmission may be a common maladaptation to ELS, leading to enhanced excitation of CRF-releasing neurons, and identifies neurosteroids as putative early regulators of the stress neurocircuitry.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2013; 33(50):19534-19554. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol abuse is a significant medical and social problem. Several neurotransmitter systems are implicated in ethanol's actions, with certain receptors and ion channels emerging as putative targets. The dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus is associated with the behavioural actions of alcohol, but ethanol actions on these neurons are not well understood. Here, using immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology we characterise DR inhibitory transmission and its sensitivity to ethanol. DR neurons exhibit inhibitory 'phasic' postsynaptic currents mediated primarily by synaptic GABAA receptors (GABAAR) and to a lesser extent by synaptic glycine receptors (GlyR). In addition to such phasic transmission mediated by the vesicular release of neurotransmitter, the activity of certain neurons may be governed by a 'tonic' conductance resulting from ambient GABA activating extrasynaptic GABAARs. However, for DR neurons extrasynaptic GABAARs exert only a limited influence. By contrast, we report that unusually the GlyR antagonist strychnine reveals a large tonic conductance mediated by extrasynaptic GlyRs, which dominates DR inhibition. In agreement, for DR neurons strychnine increases their input resistance, induces membrane depolarization and consequently augments their excitability. Importantly, this glycinergic conductance is greatly enhanced in a strychnine-sensitive fashion, by behaviourally-relevant ethanol concentrations, by drugs used for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal and by taurine, an ingredient of certain 'energy drinks' often imbibed with ethanol. These findings identify extrasynaptic GlyRs as critical regulators of DR excitability and a novel molecular target for ethanol.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 22 November 2013. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.326.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 11/2013; · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays a key role in maintaining brain functionality. Although mammalian BBB is formed by endothelial cells, its function requires interactions between endotheliocytes and glia. To understand the molecular mechanisms involved in these interactions is currently a major challenge. We show here that α-dystrobrevin (α-DB), a protein contributing to dystrophin-associated protein (DAP) scaffolds in astrocytic endfeet is essential for the formation and functioning of BBB. Absence of α-DB in null brains resulted in abnormal brain capillary permeability, progressively escalating brain edema and damage of the neurovascular unit. Analyses in situ and in 2D and 3D in vitro models of BBB containing α-DB-null astrocytes demonstrated these abnormalities to be associated with loss of aquaporin-4 water and Kir4.1 potassium channels from glial endfeet, formation of intracellular vacuoles in α-DB-null astrocytes and defects of the astrocyte-endothelial interactions. These caused deregulation of tight-junction proteins in the endothelia. Importantly, α-DB but not dystrophins showed continuous expression throughout development in BBB models. Thus, α-DB emerges as a central organizer of DAP in glial endfeet and a rare example of a glial protein with a role in maintaining BBB function. Its abnormalities might therefore lead to BBB dysfunction.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2012; · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dendritic spines are important sites of excitatory neurotransmission in the brain with their function determined by their structure and molecular content. Alterations in spine number, morphology and receptor content are a hallmark of many psychiatric disorders, most notably those because of stress. We investigated the role of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) stress peptides on the plasticity of spines in the cerebellum, a structure implicated in a host of mental illnesses, particularly of a developmental origin. We used organotypic slice cultures of the cerebellum and restraint stress in behaving animals to determine whether CRF in vitro and stress in vivo affects Purkinje cell (PC) spine density. Application of CRF and urocortin (UCN) to cerebellar slice cultures increased the density of spines on PC signaling via CRF receptors (CRF-Rs) 1 and 2 and RhoA downregulation, although the structural phenotypes of the induced spines varied, suggesting that CRF-Rs differentially induce the outgrowth of functionally distinct populations of spines. Furthermore, CRF and UCN exert a trophic effect on the surface contact between synaptic elements by increasing active zones and postsynaptic densities and facilitating the alignment of pre- and post-synaptic membranes of synapses on PCs. In addition, 1 h of restraint stress significantly increased PC spine density compared with those animals that were only handled. This study provides unprecedented resolution of CRF pathways that regulate the structural machinery essential for synaptic transmission and provides a basis for understanding stress-induced mental illnesses.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 1 May 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.43.
    Molecular Psychiatry 05/2012; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the behavioral significance of fast synaptic inhibition by αβγ2-type GABA(A) receptors on parvalbumin (Pv) cells. The GABA(A) receptor γ2 subunit gene was selectively inactivated in Pv-positive neurons by Cre/loxP recombination. The resulting Pv-Δγ2 mice were relatively healthy in the first postnatal weeks; but then as Cre started to be expressed, the mice progressively developed wide-ranging phenotypic alterations including low body weight, motor deficits and tremor, decreased anxiety levels, decreased pain sensitivity and deficient prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex and impaired spatial learning. Nevertheless, the deletion was not lethal, and mice did not show increased mortality even after one year. Autoradiography with t-butylbicyclophosphoro[(35)S]thionate suggested an increased amount of GABA(A) receptors with only α and β subunits in central nervous system regions that contained high levels of parvalbumin neurons. Using BAC-transgenesis, we reduced some of the Pv-Δγ2 phenotype by selectively re-expressing the wild-type γ2 subunit back into some Pv cells (reticular thalamic neurons and cerebellar Pv-positive neurons). This produced less severe impairments of motor skills and spatial learning compared with Pv-Δγ2 mice, but all other deficits remained. Our results reveal the widespread significance of fast GABAergic inhibition onto Pv-positive neurons for diverse behavioral modalities, such as motor coordination, sensorimotor integration, emotional behavior and nociception.
    PLoS ONE 09/2011; 6(9):e24159. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The locus coeruleus (LC) provides the major source of noradrenaline to the central nervous system and is modulated by neurochemically diverse afferents. LC function is central to arousal, memory, cognition and the stress response, with dysfunction of the LC-noradrenergic axis implicated in debilitating psychiatric disorders. The precise targeting of neurotransmitter receptors within the LC is essential for processing the information contained in diverse afferents and thus LC output. The inhibitory modulation of LC neurons is thought to be effected mainly through GABA-A receptors (GABA(A)Rs). Diverse GABA(A)Rs are pentameric complexes assembled from a repertoire of subunits resulting in substantial diversity in their molecular, functional and pharmacological properties throughout the brain. The precise location of distinct GABA(A) R subunits in subregions of the LC, and the neurochemical identity of the cells that express them, remains to be determined. Here, we show that the GABA(A)R alpha1 subunit is expressed exclusively in neurochemically and morphologically diverse non-noradrenergic cell types within the LC, which may innervate the principal noradrenergic cells. Thus, the GABA(A)R alpha1 subunit could provide a neurochemical signature for a pool of local circuit interneurons in the LC. In contrast, non-overlapping GABA(A)R alpha2 and alpha3 subunit-immunoreactive puncta were enriched on noradrenergic dendrites and, to a lesser extent, on somata. The study reveals a cell-type- and domain-specific expression pattern of distinct GABA(A)R subunits in the LC. These data will serve as a template for understanding inhibitory modulation of this region and facilitate more directed pharmacological strategies for disorders arising from the impairment of LC function.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 06/2011; 34(2):250-62. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As a central integrator of basal ganglia function, the external segment of the globus pallidus (GP) plays a critical role in the control of voluntary movement. The GP is composed of a network of inhibitory GABA-containing projection neurons which receive GABAergic input from axons of the striatum (Str) and local collaterals of GP neurons. Here, using electrophysiological techniques and immunofluorescent labeling we have investigated the differential cellular distribution of α1, α2 and α3 GABA(A) receptor subunits in relation to striatopallidal (Str-GP) and pallidopallidal (GP-GP) synapses. Electrophysiological investigations showed that zolpidem (100 nm; selective for the α1 subunit) increased the amplitude and the decay time of both Str-GP and GP-GP IPSCs, indicating the presence of the α1 subunits at both synapses. However, the application of drugs selective for the α2, α3 and α5 subunits (zolpidem at 400 nm, L-838,417 and TP003) revealed differential effects on amplitude and decay time of IPSCs, suggesting the nonuniform distribution of non-α1 subunits. Immunofluorescence revealed widespread distribution of the α1 subunit at both soma and dendrites, while double- and triple-immunofluorescent labeling for parvalbumin, enkephalin, gephyrin and the γ2 subunit indicated strong immunoreactivity for GABA(A) α3 subunits in perisomatic synapses, a region mainly targeted by local axon collaterals. In contrast, immunoreactivity for synaptic GABA(A) α2 subunits was observed in dendritic compartments where striatal synapses are preferentially located. Due to the kinetic properties which each GABA(A) α subunit confers, this distribution is likely to contribute differentially to both physiological and pathological patterns of activity.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 03/2011; 33(5):868-78. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells, which receive γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic input from at least 18 types of presynaptic neuron, express 14 subunits of the pentameric GABA(A) receptor. The relative contribution of any subunit to synaptic and extrasynaptic receptors influences the dynamics of GABA and drug actions. Synaptic receptors mediate phasic GABA-evoked conductance and extrasynaptic receptors contribute to a tonic conductance. We used freeze-fracture replica-immunogold labelling, a sensitive quantitative immunocytochemical method, to detect synaptic and extrasynaptic pools of the alpha1, alpha2 and beta3 subunits. Antibodies to the cytoplasmic loop of the subunits showed immunogold particles concentrated on distinct clusters of intramembrane particles (IMPs) on the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane on the somata, dendrites and axon initial segments, with an abrupt decrease in labelling at the edge of the IMP cluster. Neuroligin-2, a GABAergic synapse-specific adhesion molecule, co-labels all beta3 subunit-rich IMP clusters, therefore we considered them synapses. Double-labelling for two subunits showed that virtually all somatic synapses contain the alpha1, alpha2 and beta3 subunits. The extrasynaptic plasma membrane of the somata, dendrites and dendritic spines showed low-density immunolabelling. Synaptic labelling densities on somata for the alpha1, alpha2 and beta3 subunits were 78-132, 94 and 79 times higher than on the extrasynaptic membranes, respectively. As GABAergic synapses occupy 0.72% of the soma surface, the fraction of synaptic labelling was 33-48 (alpha1), 40 (alpha2) and 36 (beta3)% of the total somatic surface immunolabelling. Assuming similar antibody access to all receptors, about 60% of these subunits are in extrasynaptic receptors.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 11/2010; 32(11):1868-88. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early life events influence vulnerability to psychiatric illness. This has been modelled in rats and it has been demonstrated that different durations of maternal separation shape adult endocrine and behavioural stress reactivity. One system through which maternal separation may act is the locus coeruleus (LC)-norepinephrine system that regulates emotional arousal. Here we demonstrate that different durations of maternal separation have distinct effects on LC physiology and dendritic morphology. Rat pups were separated from the dam for 15 min/d (HMS-15) or 180 min/d (HMS-180) from post-natal days 2-14. Others were either undisturbed (HMS-0) or were vendor-purchased controls. LC characteristics were compared at age 22-35 d using whole-cell recordings in vitro. Cells were filled with biocytin for morphological analysis. LC neurons of HMS-180 rats were tonically activated compared to HMS-15 and control rats, with firing rates that were 2-fold higher than these groups. Corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) application did not further activate LC neurons of HMS-180 rats but increased LC firing rate in HMS-0 and control rats. LC neurons of HMS-15 rats were resistant to excitation by CRF. Maternal separation also affected LC dendritic morphology. LC dendrites of HMS-15 rats exhibited less branching and decreased total dendritic length, an effect that could decrease the probability of contacting limbic afferents that terminate in the pericoerulear region. This effect may provide a structural basis for an attenuated magnitude of emotional arousal. Together, these results demonstrate long-term consequences of early life events on the LC-norepinephrine system that may shape adult behaviour.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 09/2009; 13(4):515-25. · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In mammals, identifying the contribution of specific neurons or networks to behavior is a key challenge. Here we describe an approach that facilitates this process by enabling the rapid modulation of synaptic inhibition in defined cell populations. Binding of zolpidem, a systemically active allosteric modulator that enhances the function of the GABAA receptor, requires a phenylalanine residue (Phe77) in the gamma2 subunit. Mice in which this residue is changed to isoleucine are insensitive to zolpidem. By Cre recombinase-induced swapping of the gamma2 subunit (that is, exchanging Ile77 for Phe77), zolpidem sensitivity can be restored to GABAA receptors in chosen cell types. We demonstrate the power of this method in the cerebellum, where zolpidem rapidly induces significant motor deficits when Purkinje cells are made uniquely sensitive to its action. This combined molecular and pharmacological technique has demonstrable advantages over targeted cell ablation and will be invaluable for investigating many neuronal circuits.
    Nature Neuroscience 08/2007; 10(7):923-9. · 14.98 Impact Factor
  • Jerome D Swinny, Rita J Valentino
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive aspects of the acute stress response are partly mediated through activation of the locus coeruleus (LC)-norepinephrine (NE) system via corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Apart from mediating the acute responses to stress, CRF can mediate the long-term impact of stress on the brain through its potent modulation of neuronal morphology. Importantly, the cellular pathways engaged by stress in general, and CRF in particular, in remodeling neuronal structure are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that apart from its well-established acute effects on LC neuronal activity, CRF also stimulates growth and arborization of LC neuronal processes. By contrast, urocortin 2 (UCN 2), a related peptide, inhibits outgrowth of such processes. These opposing effects are transduced by a common receptor (CRF(1)) but distinct intracellular signaling pathways. The structural effects of CRF required protein kinase A and mitogen-activated protein kinase, as well as Rac1, a member of the Rho family of GTPases that regulates the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. By contrast, the effects of UCN II were mediated by the protein kinase C and RhoA pathways. This is the first study to link stress-related substrates to molecular mediators of actin cytoskeletal remodeling in the LC. We propose a model of dynamic LC neuronal plasticity that is reciprocally controlled by CRF and UCN II, eventually determining actin rearrangement by Rho-specific pathways. By regulating the extension of processes into pericoerulear regions where limbic afferents terminate, these peptides may determine the degree to which the LC-NE system is influenced by limbic structures that mediate emotional expression.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 12/2006; 24(9):2481-90. · 3.67 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

302 Citations
133.06 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2014
    • University of Portsmouth
      • • Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences
      • • School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
      Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • University of Dundee
      • Division of Neuroscience
      Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2002–2012
    • University of Groningen
      • • Department of Cell Biology
      • • Research School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN)
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2007–2010
    • University of Oxford
      • MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit
      Oxford, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2005–2009
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States