Michela Tessari

GlaxoSmithKline plc., Londinium, England, Belgium

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Publications (20)107.91 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin (GHR) is an orexigenic gut peptide that interacts with brain ghrelin receptors (GHR-Rs) to promote food intake. Recent research suggests that GHR acts as a modulator of motivated behavior, suggesting a direct influence of GHR on brain reinforcement circuits. In the present studies, we investigated the role of GHR and GHR-Rs in brain reinforcement function. Pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging was used to spatially resolve the functional activation produced by systemic administration of an orexigenic GHR dose. The imaging data revealed a focal activation of a network of subcortical structures that comprise brain reinforcement circuits—ventral tegmental area, lateral hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens. We next analyzed whether brain reinforcement circuits require functional GHR-Rs. To this purpose, wild-type (WT) or mutant rats sustaining N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-induced knockout of GHR-Rs (GHR-R null rats) were implanted with stimulating electrodes aimed at the lateral hypothalamus, shaped to respond for intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and then tested using a rate-frequency procedure to examine ICSS response patterns. WT rats were readily shaped using stimulation intensities of 75 µA, whereas GHR-R null rats required 300 µA for ICSS shaping. No differences in rate-frequency curves were noted for WT rats at 75 µA and GHR-R null rats at 300 µA. When current intensity was lowered to 100 µA, GHR-R null rats did not respond for ICSS. Taken collectively, these data suggest that systemic GHR can activate mesolimbic dopaminergic areas, and highlight a facilitative role of GHR-Rs on the activity of brain reinforcement systems.
    Addiction Biology 10/2011; · 5.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is a 28-amino-acid polypeptide expressed in the stomach and hypothalamus that stimulates GH secretion, increases food intake (FI) and promotes body weight (BW) gain most likely via activation of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor type 1a (GHSR1a). GSK1614343 is a novel selective and potent GHSR antagonist with no partial agonist properties, recently characterized as GH secretion inhibitor by Sabbatini et al. [Chem Med Chem 2010;5:1450-1455]. In the present study, GSK1614343 (10 mg/kg) was not able to antagonize ghrelin-induced food consumption in rat, but unexpectedly stimulated FI and BW gain in both rats and dogs, a profile associated with decreased ghrelin plasma level. Interestingly, GSK1614343 selectively reduced the pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA levels in rat hypothalami chronically treated with the compound. To better understand the observed effects, we administered GSK1614343 (30 mg/kg) to Ghsr null mice and measured body mass components (fat, lean and free fluid) by using a NMR spectrometer. The increases of FI and BW were abolished in Ghsr null mice, while fat and lean masses increased in wild-type mice. Taken together, these results indicate that the orexigenic effect of GSK1614343 is mediated by GHSR1a and that the weight gain could be attributed to the increase of both adiposity and muscle mass, but not to fluid retention. The observed dissociation between effects on GH secretion and effects on FI/BW is inconsistent with a simple hormone-receptor model, suggesting unknown underlying regulations of the ghrelin system whose understanding require further investigation.
    Neuroendocrinology 07/2011; 94(2):158-68. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cocaine addiction is often modeled in experimental paradigms where rodents learn to self-administer (SA) the drug. However, the extent to which these models replicate the functional alterations observed in clinical neuroimaging studies of cocaine addiction remains unknown. We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess basal and evoked brain function in rats subjected to a prolonged, extended-access cocaine SA scheme. Specifically, we measured basal cerebral blood volume (bCBV), an established correlate of basal metabolism, and assessed the reactivity of the dopaminergic system by mapping the pharmacological MRI (phMRI) response evoked by the dopamine-releaser amphetamine. Cocaine-exposed subjects exhibited reduced bCBV in fronto-cortical areas, nucleus accumbens, ventral hippocampus, and thalamus. The cocaine group also showed an attenuated functional response to amphetamine in ventrostriatal areas, an effect that was significantly correlated with total cocaine intake. An inverse relationship between bCBV in the reticular thalamus and the frontal response elicited by amphetamine was found in control subjects but not in the cocaine group, suggesting that the inhibitory interplay within this attentional circuit may be compromised by the drug. Importantly, histopathological analysis did not reveal significant alterations of the microvascular bed in the brain of cocaine-exposed subjects, suggesting that the imaging findings cannot be merely ascribed to cocaine-induced vascular damage. These results document that chronic, extended-access cocaine SA in the rat produces focal fronto-cortical and striatal alterations that serve as plausible neurobiological substrate for the behavioral expression of compulsive drug intake in laboratory animals.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2011; 36(12):2431-40. · 6.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Orexins are neuro-modulatory peptides involved in the control of diverse physiological functions through interaction with two receptors, orexin-1 (OX1R) and orexin-2 (OX2R). Recent evidence in pre-clinical models points toward a putative dichotomic role of the two receptors, with OX2R predominantly involved in the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle and arousal, and the OX1R being more specifically involved in reward processing and motivated behaviour. However, the specific neural substrates underlying these distinct processes in the rat brain remain to be elucidated. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the rat to map the modulatory effect of selective OXR blockade on the functional response produced by D-amphetamine, a psychostimulant and arousing drug that stimulates orexigenic activity. OXR blockade was produced by GSK1059865 and JNJ1037049, two novel OX1R and OX2R antagonists with unprecedented selectivity at the counter receptor type. Both drugs inhibited the functional response to D-amphetamine albeit with distinct neuroanatomical patterns: GSK1059865 focally modulated functional responses in striatal terminals, whereas JNJ1037049 induced a widespread pattern of attenuation characterised by a prominent cortical involvement. At the same doses tested in the fMRI study, JNJ1037049 exhibited robust hypnotic properties, while GSK1059865 failed to display significant sleep-promoting effects, but significantly reduced drug-seeking behaviour in cocaine-induced conditioned place preference. Collectively, these findings highlight an essential contribution of the OX2R in modulating cortical activity and arousal, an effect that is consistent with the robust hypnotic effect exhibited by JNJ1037049. The subcortical and striatal pattern observed with GSK1059865 represent a possible neurofunctional correlate for the modulatory role of OX1R in controlling reward-processing and goal-oriented behaviours in the rat.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16406. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is preclinical evidence supporting the finding that the GABA(B) receptor orthosteric agonist, baclofen, has significant effects on eating behavior suggesting the potential therapeutic application of this compound for the treatment of eating related disorders. However, the wide clinical use of baclofen might be limited by the appearance of sedative and motor impairment effects. The identification of positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of GABA(B) receptors represents a novel therapeutic approach to reduce the centrally-mediated adverse effects typical of the GABA(B) receptor orthosteric agonist. In the present work, we report the in vitro profile of a novel chemical structure, 2-{1-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)-5-methylpyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-7-yl]-2-piperidinyl}ethanol (CMPPE) identified by screening the GSK compound collection. CMPPE potentiates GABA-stimulated [(35)S]GTPγS binding to membranes of human recombinant cell line and of rat brain cortex. GABA concentration-response curves (CRC) in the presence of fixed concentrations of CMPPE, in rat native tissue, revealed an increase of both the potency and maximal efficacy of GABA. A similar modulatory effect was observed in GABA(B) receptor-mediated activation of inwardly rectifying potassium channels in hippocampal neurons. CMPPE (30-100 mg/kg) and GS39783 (100 mg/kg) significantly decreased food consumption in rat without impairment on the animal locomotor activity. On the contrary, baclofen (2.5 mg/kg) decreased both food intake and motor performance. All together these findings confirm the role of GABA(B) system in controlling animal food intake and for the first time demonstrate that GABA(B) receptor PAMs may represent a novel pharmacological approach to treat eating disorders without unwanted sedative effects.
    Neuropharmacology 01/2011; 61(5-6):957-66. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of novel orally active mGluR5 antagonist GSK2210875 is described.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 11/2010; 20(24):7521-4. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel series of trans-8-aminomethyl-1-oxa-3-azaspiro[4.5]decan-2-one derivatives was identified with potent NPY Y5 antagonist activity. Optimization of the original lead furnished compounds 23p and 23u, which combine sub-nanomolar Y5 activity with metabolic stability, oral bioavailability, brain penetration and strong preclinical profile for development. Both compounds significantly inhibited the food intake induced by a Y5 selective agonist with minimal effective doses of 3mg/kg po.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 10/2010; 20(20):6103-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • ChemMedChem 09/2010; 5(9):1450-5. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term nicotine exposure changes neuronal acetylcholine nicotinic receptor (nAChR) subtype expression in the brains of smokers and experimental animals. The aim of this study was to investigate nicotine-induced changes in nAChR expression in two models commonly used to describe the effects of nicotine in animals: operant (two-lever presses) intravenous self-administration (SA) and passive subcutaneous nicotine administration via an osmotic minipump (MP). In the MP group, alpha4beta2 nAChRs were up-regulated in all brain regions, alpha6beta2* nAChRs were down-regulated in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and caudate-putamen, and alpha7 nAChRs were up-regulated in the caudal cerebral cortex (CCx); the up-regulation of alpha4beta2alpha5 nAChRs in the CCx was also suggested. In the SA group, alpha4beta2 up-regulation was lower and limited to the CCx and NAc; there were no detectable changes in alpha6beta2* or alpha7 nACRs. In the CCx of the MP rats, there was a close correlation between the increase in alpha4beta2 binding and alpha4 and beta2 subunit levels measured by means of Western blotting, demonstrating that the up-regulation was due to an increase in alpha4beta2 proteins. Western blotting also showed that the increase in the beta2 subunit exceeded that of the alpha4 subunit, suggesting that a change in alpha4beta2 stoichiometry may occur in vivo as has been shown in vitro. These results show that nicotine has an area-specific effect on receptor subtypes, regardless of its administration route, but the effect is quantitatively greater in the case of MP administration.
    Molecular pharmacology 05/2010; 78(2):287-96. · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was undertaken to develop an animal model exploiting food cue-induced increased motivation to obtain food under operant self-administration conditions. To demonstrate the predictive validity of the model, rimonabant, fluoxetine, sibutramine and topiramate, administered 1 hour before the experiment, were tested. For 5 days, female Wistar rats were trained to self-administer standard 45 mg food pellets in one daily session (30 minutes) under FR1 (fixed ratio 1) schedule of reinforcement. Rats were then trained to an FR3 schedule and finally divided into two groups. The first group (control) was subjected to a standard 30 minutes FR3 food self-administration session. The second group was exposed to five presentations of levers and light for 10 seconds each (every 3 minutes in 15 minutes total). At the completion of this pre-session phase, a normal 30-minute session (as in the control group) started. Results showed that pre-exposure to environmental stimuli associated to food deliveries increased response for food when the session started. Corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone plasma levels, measured after the 15-minute pre-exposure, were also significantly increased. No changes were observed for the other measured hormones (growth hormone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, insulin, amylin, gastric inhibitor polypeptide, ghrelin, leptin, peptide YY and pancreatic polypeptide). Rimonabant, sibutramine and fluoxetine significantly reduced food intake in both animals pre-exposed and in those not pre-exposed to food-associated cues. Topiramate selectively reduced feeding only in pre-exposed rats. The present study describes the development of a new animal model to investigate cue-induced increased motivation to obtain food. This model shows face and predictive validity, thus, supporting its usefulness in the investigation of new potential treatments of binge-related eating disorders. In addition, the present findings confirm that topiramate may represent an important pharmacotherapeutic approach to binge-related eating.
    Addiction Biology 09/2009; 14(4):397 - 407. · 5.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine dependence is known to induce long-term neural adaptations in brain. The purpose of this study was to verify whether specific protein patterns related to nicotine self-administration states could also be detected in a peripheral tissue. A serum proteomic analysis was performed by 2-DE on samples taken at six time points: N, naïve; P, priming; S, self-administration; W, withdrawal; E, extinction; R, relapse. After image analysis, spot volume values were submitted to a principal component analysis and relevant comparisons were selected. In N versus S; S versus W; E versus R; S versus R and S versus E comparisons a clear separation between groups could be observed, suggesting that each self-administration state correlates with a specific protein expression pattern. Partial least squares discriminant analysis was adopted to rank proteins by the contribution to the overall separation. A number of spots were identified; among them, C reactive protein and haemopexin displayed a significant reduction after nicotine administration; two haemopexin isoforms were decreased in the S state and antithrombin III was increased in the E phase. This study showed that specific protein patterns related to the nicotine self-administration states exist in serum. Further development of this approach may provide biomarkers to assess dependence states of drug-taking individuals.
    Electrophoresis 05/2008; 29(7):1525-33. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin is a brain-gut peptide with growth hormone-releasing and appetite-inducing activities. A growing body of evidence suggests that ghrelin may affect the central reward system and modulate the activity of the mesolimbic system. Recent clinical studies also showed a significant positive correlation between plasma ghrelin levels and craving in alcoholics. Accordingly, the present study investigated the potential role of serum ghrelin levels in the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behaviour triggered by cocaine-associated cues. In addition, serum corticosterone levels were determined in the light of evidence suggesting that corticosterone plays a modulatory role in cocaine-seeking behaviour. Male Lister Hooded rats under a restricted diet regime were first trained to intravenously self-administer cocaine under a fixed ratio-1 schedule of reinforcement. Conditioned stimuli (CS: tone and cue-light on for 5 seconds) were presented contingently with cocaine delivery. Once a stable baseline of cocaine self-administration was observed, lever presses were extinguished to less than 30% of baseline rates by removing both cocaine and CS. Reinstatement of responding was then induced by re-exposure to cocaine-associated CS. Blood samples for the enzyme immunoassay determination of serum ghrelin and the radioimmunoassay determination of serum corticosterone levels were collected 30 minutes before the beginning of reinstatement sessions. Rats significantly reinstated their responding when exposed to CS. A positive and significant correlation was observed between ghrelin levels (r = 0.64; P < 0.05), but not corticosterone (r = 0.37; NS), and the increased active lever presses only in animals exposed to CS. These findings suggest a potential role of ghrelin in the modulation of cue-triggered reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behaviour.
    Addiction Biology 03/2007; 12(1):22-9. · 5.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to gain information about the effect triggered at the molecular level by nicotine, its neuroimmunomodulatory properties and its impact on the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, peripheral blood serum and leukocytes of rat submitted to passive nicotine administration were subjected to proteomic investigation. Serum, polymorphonuclear (PMN) and mononuclear (MN) leukocytes from chronically treated animals and from control animals were analysed by a two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis/mass spectrometry approach to detect differentially expressed proteins. The nicotine regimen selected is known to have a stimulatory effect on locomotor activity and to produce a sensitisation of the mesolimbic dopamine system mechanism involved in addiction development. After 2-D gel analysis and matching, 36 spots in serum, seven in PMN and five in MN were found to display a statistical difference in their expression and were subjected to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry peptide fingerprinting for protein identification. Fifteen different proteins were identified. The results indicate an overall impact of nicotine on proteins involved in a variety of cellular and metabolic pathways, including acute phase response (suggesting the effect on inflammatory cascades and more in general on the immune system), oxidative stress metabolism and assembly and regulation of cytoskeleton. In particular, the observed changes imply a general reduction in the inflammatory response with a concomitant increased unbalance of the oxidative stress metabolism in the periphery and point to a number of potential noninvasive markers for the central nervous system (CNS) and non-CNS mediated activities of nicotine.
    PROTEOMICS 05/2005; 5(5):1382-94. · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies in metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGlu5 receptor) deficient mice have indicated the importance of this receptor in the self-administration of cocaine and locomotor sensitisation to this stimulant. Both ionotropic and metabotropic receptors have been implicated in drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviours, but the specific role of each subtype of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu receptors) is still unknown. In the present series of experiments we further investigated the role of mGlu5 receptors on nicotine, cocaine- and food-taking behaviour. We also investigated the effects of the mGlu5 receptor antagonist MPEP (2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine) on the acute locomotor activating effects of nicotine, the expression of sensitisation to its repeated, intermittent administration, and nicotine-triggered relapse to nicotine-seeking behaviour. The results indicate that MPEP treatment reduced nicotine-induced drug-seeking behaviour in a model of nicotine-triggered relapse to nicotine seeking. Furthermore, MPEP decreased both nicotine and cocaine self-administration without affecting food self-administration under similar schedules of reinforcement. Finally, MPEP reduced both the acute locomotor stimulant effects of nicotine as well as the expression of behavioural sensitisation to its repeated administration. Although the intravenous administration of MPEP at 1 and 10 mg/kg transiently reduced spontaneous locomotor activity during the first 25 min post-administration, we also demonstrated that performance on the accelerating rotarod was not affected when MPEP was given 5 and 30 min prior to the test. Altogether, the present findings strengthen the hypothesis that selective antagonism at mGlu5 receptors may be a new potential pharmacotherapeutic approach for the treatment of drug dependence and addiction.
    European Journal of Pharmacology 10/2004; 499(1-2):121-33. · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Diana Amantea, Michela Tessari, Norman G Bowery
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of repeated administration of nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, daily, s.c., for 14 days) on GABAB receptor density, affinity and G-protein coupling was investigated in the mesocorticolimbic system of the rat brain. Baclofen-stimulated [35S]GTPgammaS binding autoradiography revealed that the level of G-protein coupling to GABAB receptors was significantly reduced in the medial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens of nicotine-treated rats as compared to vehicle-injected controls. By contrast, GABAB receptor density and affinity, as revealed by [3H]GABA saturation binding autoradiography, were not altered by the nicotine exposure in any of the regions examined. Reduced G-protein coupling to the GABAB receptor may result in disinhibition of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic neurones, which would contribute to the development of sensitised dopaminergic responses to repeated administration of nicotine.
    Neuroscience Letters 02/2004; 355(3):161-4. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drugs of abuse, including, nicotine have been shown to enhance brain reward functions in the mesocortico-limbic dopamine (DA) system in general, and the nucleus accumbens in particular. The latter occupies a prominent position in the ventral striatum and expresses a high density of DA D(3) receptors. As such, the present study aimed at investigating the effect of the selective D(3) receptor antagonist SB-277011-A on both the stable maintenance of intravenous nicotine self-administration and nicotine-triggered relapse to nicotine-seeking behavior in the rat. SB-277011-A (3-10 mg/kg i.p.) significantly reduced reinstatement of nicotine-seeking behavior without affecting nicotine self-administration per se. These results suggest that DA D(3) receptors are involved in the reinstatement of nicotine-seeking behavior independently of any interaction with the primary reinforcing effects of nicotine itself. These findings point toward the potential use of selective DA D(3) receptor antagonists for the pharmacotherapeutic management of relapse to drug-seeking behaviors.
    Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2003; 28(7):1272-80. · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well established that exposure of experimental animals to nicotine results in upregulation of the alpha4beta2-subtype of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The aim of this study was to determine the effect of nicotine on the levels of alpha7-nAChRs in rat brain, for which only partial information is available. Rats were infused with nicotine (3 mg/kg/day) or saline for 2 weeks and their brains processed for receptor autoradiography with [3H]methyllycaconitine (MLA), a radioligand with nanomolar affinity for alpha7-nAChRs. In control rats binding was high in hippocampus, intermediate in cerebral cortex and hypothalamus, and low in striatum, thalamus and cerebellum. There was high correlation between the distribution of [3H]MLA binding sites and alpha7 subunit mRNA (r = 0.816). With respect to saline-treated controls, nicotine-treated rats presented higher [3H]nicotine binding in 11 out of 15 brain regions analysed (average increase 46 +/- 6%). In contrast, only four regions showed greater [3H]MLA binding, among which the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and cingulate cortex (mean increase 32 +/- 3%). No changes in alpha7 mRNA levels were observed after nicotine treatment. Similarly, there was no variation of alpha6 subunit transcript in the VTA, a region which may contain MLA-sensitive (non-alpha7)-alpha6*-nAChRs (Klink et al., 2001). In conclusion, nicotine increased [3H]MLA binding, although to a smaller extent and in a more restricted regional pattern than [3H]nicotine. The enhancement of binding was not paralleled by a significant change of alpha7 and alpha6 subunit transcription. Finally, the present results provide the first anatomical description of the distribution of [3H]MLA binding sites in rat brain.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 12/2002; 16(9):1633-46. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this article we study the relationship between the expression pattern of two recently identified isoforms of the 25-kD synaptosomal-associated protein (SNAP-25a and SNAP-25b) and the morphological changes inherent to neuronal plasticity during development and kainic acid treatment. SNAP-25 has been involved in vescicle fusion in the nerve terminal, and most likely participates in different membrane fusion-related processes, such as those involved in neurotransmitter release and axonal growth. In the adult brain, SNAP-25b expression exceeded SNAP-25a in distribution and intensity, being present in most brain structures. Moderate or high levels of SNAP-25a hybridization signal were found in neurons of the olfactory bulb, the layer Va of the frontal and parietal cortices, the piriform cortex, the subiculum and the hippocampal CA4 field, the substantia nigra/pars compacta, and the pineal gland, partially overlapping SNAP-25b mRNA distribution. In restricted regions of cerebral cortex, thalamus, mammillary bodies, substantia nigra, and pineal glands the two isoforms were distributed in reciprocal fashion. During development SNAP-25a mRNA was the predominant isoform, whereas SNAP-25b expression increased postnatally. The early expression of SNAP-25a in the embryo and the decrease after P21 is suggestive of a potential involvement of this isoform in axonal growth and/or synaptogenesis. This conclusion is indirectly supported by the observation that SNAP-25a mRNA, but not SNAP-25b mRNA, was upregulated in the granule cells of the adult dentate gyrus 48 hours after kainate-induced neurotoxic damage of the hippocampal CA3-CA4 regions. Increase of SNAP-25 immunoreactivity was observed as early as 4 days after kainate injection within the mossy fiber terminals of the CA3 region, and in the newly formed mossy fiber aberrant terminals of the supragranular layer. These data suggest an isoform-specific role of SNAP-25 in neural plasticity. © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/1998; 367(2):177 - 193. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regional brain activation was assessed by mapping of Fos-related protein expression in rats trained to self-administration of intravenous nicotine and cocaine. Both drugs produced specific overlapping patterns of activation in the shell and the core of the nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex, and medial caudate areas, but not in the amygdala. Thus, the reinforcing properties of cocaine and nicotine map on selected structures of the terminal fields of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system, supporting the idea that common substrates for these addictive drugs exist.
    Science 02/1997; 275(5296):83-6. · 31.03 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Comparative Neurology - J COMP NEUROL. 01/1996; 367(2):177-193.