K N Gracy

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, United States

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Publications (18)68.49 Total impact

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    K N Gracy, L A Dankiewicz, G F Koob
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    ABSTRACT: Low doses of naloxone have been shown to affect the motivational aspects of opiate withdrawal in morphine-dependent rats. Conditioned place aversion to opiate withdrawal is one of the most sensitive of motivational indices of opiate withdrawal and is thought to be mediated by the basal forebrain. Expression of the transcription factor Fos is known to increase during opiate withdrawal, but its presence during low-dose antagonist-precipitated withdrawal has not previously been established. In order to determine if there is a relationship between withdrawal-induced neuronal activity and conditioned place aversion, immunocytochemical localization of Fos was examined in the basal forebrain of opiate-dependent animals receiving one of several doses of naloxone (0, 3.25, 7.5, 15, 30, or 1000 microg/kg). In separate groups of opiate-dependent animals, naloxone doses of 3.25 - 30 microg/kg were paired with a specific chamber in a single-pairing conditioned place aversion paradigm. Significant increases in both immunocytochemical detection of Fos and conditioned place aversion were seen at doses >/= 7.5 microg/kg. The shell of the nucleus accumbens and central nucleus of the amygdala were most sensitive to low doses, thus supporting the hypothesis that the extended amygdala plays a role in opiate-induced condition place aversion.
    Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2001; 24(2):152-60. · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nitration of protein tyrosine residues by nitric oxide (NO)-derived reactive species results in the production of stable nitrotyrosine (NT) moieties that are immunochemically detectable in many regions of normal brain and enriched in those areas containing constitutive nitric oxide synthase (cNOS). These include the caudate-putamen nucleus (CPN) and the globus pallidus, which receives major inhibitory input from the CPN. To determine the functional sites for NT production in these critical motor nuclei, we examined the electron microscopic immunocytochemical localization of NT and cNOS in rat brain. In the CPN, NT was localized to the somata and dendrites of cNOS-containing interneurons and spiny neurons, some of which received input from cNOS-labeled terminals. The NT immunoreactivity was most prevalent on outer mitochondrial membranes and nearby segments of the plasma membranes in dendrites and within asymmetric synapses on dendritic spines. In the CPN and globus pallidus, there was also a prominent labeling of NT in astrocytic processes, small axons, and tubulovesicles and/or synaptic vesicles in axon terminals. These terminals formed mainly asymmetric synapses in the CPN and inhibitory-type synapses in the globus pallidus where they often apposed cNOS-containing terminals that also formed asymmetric, excitatory-type synapses. Our results suggest that NT is generated by mechanisms requiring the dual actions of excitatory transmitters and NO derived either from interneurons in the CPN or from excitatory afferents in the globus pallidus. The findings also implicate NT in the physiological actions of NO within the striatal circuitry and, particularly, in striatopallidal neurons severely affected in Huntington's disease.
    Journal of Neuroscience 08/2000; 20(13):4798-808. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The clinical literature suggests that exposure to environmental stimuli previously associated with heroin availability may precipitate relapse. However, experimental studies elucidating the significance of learned associations between drug availability and reinstatement of heroin-seeking behavior in the rat are still scarce. To examine the role of environmental stimuli in reinstatement of heroin-seeking behavior, rats were trained to associate discriminative stimuli (DS+) with intravenous heroin availability vs. nonreward [i.e., availability of intravenous saline (DS-)]. The animals then were subjected to extinction training during which the discriminative stimuli were not presented, and lever pressing did not result in drug or saline infusion. The resistance to extinction varied greatly among animals (2.5-11.4 weeks). When the discriminative stimuli were reintroduced, the DS+ reinstated responding while the DS- did not. The average number of responses for heroin during the reinstatement trial (12.8) paralleled the average responding for heroin during discrimination training (12.6), suggesting that the associations between environmental stimuli and drug availability are long-lasting and powerful motivators of drug-seeking behavior.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 04/2000; 65(3):489-94. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent anatomical evidence suggests that the shell of the nucleus accumbens, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and the central nucleus of the amygdala, together referred to as the extended amygdala, may play a role in opiate dependence. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the shell of the nucleus accumbens have a moderately high density of opiate receptors, which allows for manipulation of opiate neurotransmission with receptor antagonists. The goal of this study was to determine the role these regions play in opiate reinforcement, and whether dependence alters the reinforcing effects of opiates by examining the effect of local administration of the opiate receptor antagonist methylnaloxonium on heroin self-administration in dependent and nondependent rats. Previous studies revealed that blockade of the reinforcing effects of opiates with systemic administration of opiate receptor antagonists results in an increase in heroin self-administration in nondependent rats, and a greater increase in dependent rats. In the present study, methylnaloxonium dose-dependently suppressed heroin intake when injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and shell of the nucleus accumbens of dependent rats, and had no effect in nondependent rats. These results demonstrate that opiate receptors in parts of the extended amygdala may be responsible for the reinforcing effects of opiates in dependent animals and suggest that activity in this system may be recruited during the development of dependence.
    Brain Research 02/2000; 854(1-2):85-92. · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • H Wang, K N Gracy, V M Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: The patch compartments of the caudate-putamen nucleus (CPN) are enriched in mu-opioid receptors (MORs) and have been recently implicated in reward-related behaviors. This function has been established more clearly in the nucleus accumbens, where physiological and anatomical studies show reward-associated interactions involving MORs and N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs). We examined the immunolabeling for MOR and NMDAR subunit NR1 in patches of the rat CPN to determine the potential relevance of dual activation of the respective receptors. Electron microscopy showed the presence of MOR and/or NR1 immunoreactivity (IR) in many perikarya, dendrites, and spines and in morphologically heterogeneous axon terminals. In each 1,000-microm(2) area, the dually labeled dendrites and spines constituted 65% (37/57) and 37% (9/25) of the total NR1-labeled and 34% (37/109) and 13% (9/71) of the total MOR-labeled dendritic profiles. Dually labeled spines received asymmetric excitatory-type synapses from terminals, which were generally unlabeled, but also occasionally contained MOR and/or NR1. The asymmetric synapses comprised the majority (81%) of the total 263 synaptic contacts between MOR- and NR1-labeled neuronal profiles. In dendrites and spines, MOR-IR was localized mainly along nonsynaptic plasma membranes, whereas NR1-IR was more often associated with asymmetric postsynaptic densities and cytoplasmic organelles. In contrast to dendrites, 6% (1.3/22) of NR1-IR and 4% (1.3/33) of MOR-IR axon terminals were dually labeled in each 1,000-microm(2) area. Most singly or dually labeled terminals formed asymmetric synapses with MOR- or NR1-labeled spines. Our results suggest that opioids acting through MOR and excitatory neurotransmitters through NMDAR dually regulate the output of single spiny neurons and some of their excitatory afferents in the CPN.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 10/1999; 412(1):132-46. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Hong Wang, K. Noelle Gracy, Virginia M. Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: The patch compartments of the caudate-putamen nucleus (CPN) are enriched in μ-opioid receptors (MORs) and have been recently implicated in reward-related behaviors. This function has been established more clearly in the nucleus accumbens, where physiological and anatomical studies show reward-associated interactions involving MORs and N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs). We examined the immunolabeling for MOR and NMDAR subunit NR1 in patches of the rat CPN to determine the potential relevance of dual activation of the respective receptors. Electron microscopy showed the presence of MOR and/or NR1 immunoreactivity (IR) in many perikarya, dendrites, and spines and in morphologically heterogeneous axon terminals. In each 1,000-μm2 area, the dually labeled dendrites and spines constituted 65% (37/57) and 37% (9/25) of the total NR1-labeled and 34% (37/109) and 13% (9/71) of the total MOR-labeled dendritic profiles. Dually labeled spines received asymmetric excitatory-type synapses from terminals, which were generally unlabeled, but also occasionally contained MOR and/or NR1. The asymmetric synapses comprised the majority (81%) of the total 263 synaptic contacts between MOR- and NR1-labeled neuronal profiles. In dendrites and spines, MOR-IR was localized mainly along nonsynaptic plasma membranes, whereas NR1-IR was more often associated with asymmetric postsynaptic densities and cytoplasmic organelles. In contrast to dendrites, 6% (1.3/22) of NR1-IR and 4% (1.3/33) of MOR-IR axon terminals were dually labeled in each 1,000-μm2 area. Most singly or dually labeled terminals formed asymmetric synapses with MOR- or NR1-labeled spines. Our results suggest that opioids acting through MOR and excitatory neurotransmitters through NMDAR dually regulate the output of single spiny neurons and some of their excitatory afferents in the CPN. J. Comp. Neurol. 412:132–146, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 09/1999; 412(1):132 - 146. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Entry of calcium through N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptors in the caudate-putamen nucleus is essential for normal motor activity, but can produce cytotoxicity with continued stimulation and subsequent release of intracellular calcium. To determine potential functional sites for N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activation in this region, we examined the ultrastructural localization of the R1 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR1) in rat brain. In addition, we comparatively examined the localization of NMDAR1 and sorcin, a 22,000 mol. wt calcium binding protein present in certain striatal neurons and involved in calcium-induced calcium release. NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity was seen at synaptic and non-synaptic sites on neuronal plasma membranes. Of 1514 NMDAR1-labeled profiles, 62% were dendrites and dendritic spines and the remainder were mainly unmyelinated axons and axon terminals. Sorcin-like immunoreactivity was present in 39% of the profiles that contained NMDAR1 labeling, most (533/595) of which were dendrites and dendritic spines. Of 1807 sorcin-labeled profiles, 42% were identified, however, as small processes including spine necks and unmyelinated axons or axon terminals. These profiles also occasionally contained NMDAR1 or showed synaptic or appositional contacts with other NMDAR1-immunoreactive neurons. The results of this study suggest that in the caudate-putamen nucleus, activation of NMDA receptors permits calcium influx at plasmalemmal sites mainly on dendrites where sorcin may play a role in calcium-induced calcium release. The presence of sorcin in some, but not all NMDA-containing neurons in the caudate-putamen nucleus has potential implications for the known differential vulnerability of certain striatal neurons to excitotoxins.
    Neuroscience 05/1999; 90(1):107-17. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Entry of calcium through N-methyl-d-aspartate-type glutamate receptors in the caudate–putamen nucleus is essential for normal motor activity, but can produce cytotoxicity with continued stimulation and subsequent release of intracellular calcium. To determine potential functional sites for N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor activation in this region, we examined the ultrastructural localization of the R1 subunit of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR1) in rat brain. In addition, we comparatively examined the localization of NMDAR1 and sorcin, a 22,000 mol. wt calcium binding protein present in certain striatal neurons and involved in calcium-induced calcium release. NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity was seen at synaptic and non-synaptic sites on neuronal plasma membranes. Of 1 514 NMDAR1-labeled profiles, 62% were dendrites and dendritic spines and the remainder were mainly unmyelinated axons and axon terminals. Sorcin-like immunoreactivity was present in 39% of the profiles that contained NMDAR1 labeling, most (533/595) of which were dendrites and dendritic spines. Of 1 807 sorcin-labeled profiles, 42% were identified, however, as small processes including spine necks and unmyelinated axons or axon terminals. These profiles also occasionally contained NMDAR1 or showed synaptic or appositional contacts with other NMDAR1-immunoreactive neurons.The results of this study suggest that in the caudate–putamen nucleus, activation of NMDA receptors permits calcium influx at plasmalemmal sites mainly on dendrites where sorcin may play a role in calcium-induced calcium release. The presence of sorcin in some, but not all NMDA-containing neurons in the caudate–putamen nucleus has potential implications for the known differential vulnerability of certain striatal neurons to excitotoxins.
    Neuroscience 02/1999; · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • K.Noelle Gracy, Virginia M. Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO), the diffusible gas formed by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) has been implicated in the enhanced locomotor activity attributed mainly to increased dopamine release in the shell of the nucleus accumbens (Acb). Furthermore, the release of both NO and dopamine are known to be altered by agonists of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors in this region. We examined the cellular sites of NO synthesis and the sites of potential relevancy for functional associations between neurons containing NOS and the NMDA receptor in the shell of the Acb. This was achieved by dual ultrastructural immunogold and immunoperoxidase labeling of antisera raised against the brain form of NOS and the NMDARI subunit of the NMDA receptor in this region of rat brain. NOS-like immunoreactivity (NOS-LI) was seen throughout the cytoplasm of isolated medium-large somata, aspiny dendrites and axon terminals. In 217 NOS-labeled profiles, NMDARI-like immunoreactivity (NMDARI-LI) was colocalized in 17% of somata and dendrites. Additionally, 35% of NOS-labeled dendrites apposed glial processes containing NMDARI-LI, and 29% apposed axon terminals containing NMDARI-LI. NOS-labeled terminals more rarely colocalized NMDARI or apposed NMDARI-labeled glial processes or dendrites. These results provide anatomical evidence that, in the shell of the Acb, NMDA receptors are localized so as to directly modulate the output of neurons producing NO as well as to influence other neurons and glia having the greatest access to the released gas.
    Brain research 07/1998; · 2.46 Impact Factor
  • K. Noelle Gracy, Virginia M Pickel
    Brain Research 06/1998; 796(1):332-332. · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • Food Policy 10/1997; 22(5). · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid treatment of NT-era2/cl.D1 (NT2) cells, a human teratocarcinoma cell line, yields 95% pure cultures of terminally differentiated neuronal cells. Concomitant with their terminal differentiation into neurons, NT2 cells are induced by retinoic acid to express neuronal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channels, which are fully functional. We determined the effects of retinoic acid-induced differentiation of NT2 cells on the levels of N-methyl-D-aspartate, delta opioid and mu opioid receptor messenger RNAs. RNA levels were measured using quantitative solution hybridization assays. The riboprobes were complementary to major portions of the coding regions of the N-methyl-D-aspartate, delta opioid and mu opioid receptor complementary DNAs. After four weeks of exposure to 10 microM retinoic acid, followed by four weeks of treatment with mitotic inhibitors (1 microM of cytosine arabinoside, 10 microM of fluorodeoxyuridine and 10 microM of uridine) the levels of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor messenger RNA in differentiated NT2-N cells increased 10-fold, delta opioid receptor messenger RNA increased three-fold, and mu opioid receptor messenger RNA increased four-fold. Northern blot analysis revealed two transcripts for the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor messenger RNA (4.2 and 4.4 kb) and two transcripts for delta opioid receptor messenger RNA (7.0 and 11.0 kb). To determine whether the increases in messenger RNAs were accompanied by an increased synthesis of the respective proteins, we examined the immunoperoxidase localization of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor and delta opioid receptor antisera. N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor-like immunoreactivity was seen within the cell bodies as well as on the processes of the retinoic acid-differentiated cells. Although delta opioid receptor-like immunoreactivity was detected within the soma of isolated cells prior to retinoic acid treatment, the apparent number of these labelled cells and their ramified processes were markedly enhanced following retinoic acid differentiation. These results demonstrate parallels between the inducible expression of the N-methyl-D-aspartate and opioid receptor messenger RNAs and proteins during the acquisition of the fully differentiated neuronal phenotype in cultured NT2 cells. Retinoic acid-differentiated NT2 cells express increased levels for the N-methyl-D-aspartate, delta opioid and mu opioid receptor messenger RNAs, providing the opportunity to study the interactions among these receptor systems in human terminally differentiated neuronal cells in culture.
    Neuroscience 09/1997; 79(3):855-62. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    K N Gracy, A L Svingos, V M Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of NMDA antagonists in modulating the motor and motivational effects of opiates is attributed, in part, to functional associations involving NMDA receptors and micro-opioid receptors (MORs) in the shell of the nucleus accumbens (Acb). To determine the subcellular sites for potential functional interactions between opiate ligands and NMDA receptors in this region, we examined the ultrastructural localization of antipeptide antisera against MOR and the R1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in the Acb shell of the adult rat brain. MOR-like immunoreactivity (MOR-LI) was seen primarily in dendrites, whereas NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity (NMDAR1-LI) was detected more often in axon terminals forming asymmetric synapses. In these profiles, MOR labeling was localized mainly to extrasynaptic plasma membranes, whereas NMDAR1-LI was associated with both synaptic and extrasynaptic sites. Of 307 MOR-labeled processes, 17.9% of the dendrites and 9.4% of the axon terminals also contained NMDAR1-LI. In addition, 24.7% of the dendrites containing only MOR-LI were apposed to NMDAR1-labeled axons or terminals. We conclude that in the shell of the Acb, the output of single neurons can be dually modulated by (1) activation of MOR and NMDA receptors in the same dendrites or (2) combined activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors in afferents contacting dendrites containing MOR. In addition, the colocalization of MOR and NMDAR1 in certain axon terminals in the Acb suggests their dual involvement in the presynaptic release of neurotransmitters in this region.
    Journal of Neuroscience 07/1997; 17(12):4839-48. · 6.91 Impact Factor
  • K N Gracy, V M Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO), the diffusible gas formed by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) has been implicated in the enhanced locomotor activity attributed mainly to increased dopamine release in the shell of the nucleus accumbens (Acb). Furthermore, the release of both NO and dopamine are known to be altered by agonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors in this region. We examined the cellular sites of NO synthesis and the sites of potential relevancy for functional associations between neurons containing NOS and the NMDA receptor in the shell of the Acb. This was achieved by dual ultrastructural immunogold and immunoperoxidase labeling of antisera raised against the brain form of NOS and the NMDAR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in this region of rat brain. NOS-like immunoreactivity (NOS-LI) was seen throughout the cytoplasm of isolated medium-large somata, aspiny dendrites and axon terminals. In 217 NOS-labeled profiles, NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity (NMDAR1-LI) was colocalized in 17% of somata and dendrites. Additionally, 35% of NOS-labeled dendrites apposed glial processes containing NMDAR1-LI, and 29% apposed axon terminals containing NMDARI-LI. NOS-labeled terminals more rarely colocalized NMDAR1 or apposed NMDAR1-labeled glial processes or dendrites. These results provide anatomical evidence that, in the shell of the Acb, NMDA receptors are localized so as to directly modulate the output of neurons producing NO as well as to influence other neurons and glia having the greatest access to the released gas.
    Brain Research 03/1997; 747(2):259-72. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: NG108-15 neuroblastoma cells differentiated with 0.1 M of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) were processed for immunohistochemical analysis using polyclonal antisera against the delta opioid receptor (DOR) and the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor (NMDAR1) to determine the cellular sites for possible functional associations between DOR and NMDAR1 receptors. In this study, 6 days of RA treatment resulted in prominent morphological differentiation characterized by the appearance of numerous axon- and dendrite-like processes and formation of networks between the cell clusters. An immunocytochemical approach allowed the demonstration of antibody concentration-dependent differences, not evident in ligand binding studies, in the distribution of DOR and NMDA receptor protein between cell soma and processes. RA-differentiated cultures showed positive DOR-like immunostaining (DOR-LI) throughout the cell bodies as well as on the newly acquired processes. In contrast, NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity (NMDAR1-LI) in the RA-treated cells was detected in the cell soma and processes only with the higher concentration of the antiserum. With the lower concentration of the antibody the NMDAR1-LI was not detected in the processes and was limited to a punctuate subcellular distribution in the soma. The DOR-LI pattern of distribution in NG108-15 cells differentiated with RA appeared to be consistent with the DOR-LI detected in the CNS. The NMDAR1-LI distribution in these cells is similar to brain tissue with respect to its presence on the newly acquired processes. However, it differed from brain in that a much higher abundance of NMDAR1 receptors was observed in the cell soma. This differential distribution of DOR and NMDAR1 receptors in the RA-treated NG108-15 cells could provide a basis for future studies of drug-induced changes in these two receptors.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 02/1997; 47(1):83-9. · 2.97 Impact Factor
  • K N Gracy, V M Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors in the shell region of the nucleus accumbens (ACB) have been implicated in the modulation of dopamine release and in amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. We used electron microscopic immunocyto-chemistry to determine the anatomical sites for NMDA-mediated effects of glutamate and for their potential interactions with dopaminergic afferents identified by the presence of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in this region of the rat brain. Immunogold and immunoperoxidase methods were used to localize antisera against the R1 subunit of the NMDA receptor (NMDAR1) alone or combined with TH. In single labeling experiments, approximately half of the NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity (NMDAR1-LI) was localized to extrasynaptic plasma membranes of neuronal processes, many (92 out of 215) of which were dendrites, and only 33 out of 215 were unmyelinated axons or terminals. Surprisingly, the neuronal labeling of NMDAR1 was almost equaled by that seen in astrocytic processes (88 out of 215). Dual labeling for TH and NMDAR1 was rarely observed and was only seen in axons. However, in favorable planes of section, NMDAR1 was noted along intervaricose segments of axons in which TH was more readily seen in the varicosity. This differential intra-axonal distribution suggests an underestimation of dual labeling in single coronal sections through unmyelinated axons and terminals. The TH-immunoreactive terminals were more often seen apposed to NMDA-immunoreactive astrocytic processes and dendrites. These results provide the first ultrastructural evidence for presynaptic modulation of dopamine release by NMDA receptors in the shell of the nucleus accumbens. They also indicate that NMDA receptors modulate postsynaptic neurons receiving input from the dopaminergic afferents and suggest a previously unsuspected functional association involving glial NMDA receptors and dopaminergic afferents in this brain region.
    Brain Research 12/1996; 739(1-2):169-81. · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • K N Gracy, V M Pickel
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    ABSTRACT: The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptor in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) has been implicated in activity-dependent plasticity important for cortically evoked acquisition of fear-potentiated startle response. We examined the ultrastructural immunoperoxidase labeling of the R1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in the BLA of adult rats to determine the potential cellular and subcellular sites mediating the effects generated by NMDA activation. The localization was compared with that seen in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), the major efferent pathway from the central nucleus of the amygdala, which has a more pronounced involvement in autonomic function. Electron microscopy established that in the BLA, 68.4% (n = 177) of the profiles showing NMDAR1-like immunoreactivity (NMDAR1-LI) were dendrites, and 19.8% were distal tips of astrocytic processes. In contrast, profiles containing NMDAR1-LI (n = 262) in the BNST were more equally distributed between dendrites (37.4%) and axons (38.2%). The subcellular localization of NMDAR1 immunoreactivity was, however, similar in both regions. Our findings provide the first ultrastructural evidence that glutamate may prominently act through NMDAR1 receptors to elicit postsynaptic actions on intrinsic neurons in the BLA and BNST. The results also indicate that, in the BLA, the NMDAR1 receptor plays an important role in astrocytic function, whereas the receptor is more preferentially a presynaptic modulator in axons which terminate in or pass through the BNST.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/1995; 362(1):71-85. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The endogenous opioid peptide dynorphin is enriched in neurons in the nucleus accumbens, for which coexistence and synaptic interactions with substance P have been postulated. We examined the immunogold-silver localization of dynorphin and immunoperoxidase labeling for substance P in single coronal sections through the core subregion of the nucleus accumbens of acrolein-fixed rat brain tissue. Dynorphin-immunoreactive somata were more prevalent than substance P-containing neurons throughout the region sampled for ultrastructural analysis. Dynorphin-labeled cells were spherical, contained unindented nuclei, and were closely apposed to other somata and dendrites, some of which also contained dynorphin immunoreactivity. The appositions were characterized by the absence of glial processes and contiguous contacts between the plasma membranes. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum and coated vesicles could also be identified in the cytoplasms on either side of the somatic or dendritic appositions. The dynorphin somata and dendrites received synaptic input from numerous unlabeled as well as dynorphin- and/or substance P-labeled axon terminals. Both types of terminals were morphologically similar in their content of small and large dense core vesicles and their formation of mainly symmetric synaptic specializations. In addition to dynorphin-immunoreactive targets, numerous dynorphin- and substance P-labeled terminals also formed synapses with unlabeled somata and dendrites. In some cases, terminals separately labeled for dynorphin and substance P converged on common targets with or without detectable dynorphin immunoreactivity. Terminals colocalizing both peptides were also found to synapse on unlabeled or dynorphin-labeled somata and dendrites. Additionally, presynaptic interactions were suggested by close appositions between dynorphin- and/or substance P-labeled terminals and other terminals that were unlabeled, dynorphin labeled, or substance P labeled. These results provide morphological data suggesting nonsynaptic communication between dynorphin-immunoreactive neurons and other neurons possibly mediated through receptive sites or second messengers associated with smooth endoplasmic reticulum in the nucleus accumbens. They also indicate that, in this region, 1) the activity of dynorphin neurons may be dependent on activation of autoreceptors for dynorphin as well as substance P and 2) additional neurons lacking dynorphin immunoreactivity are most likely inhibited (symmetric junctions) by terminals containing either one or both peptides. The findings may have implications for motor and analgesic responses to aversive tonic pain transmitted through dynorphin and substance P pathways within the nucleus accumbens.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 02/1995; 351(1):117-33. · 3.66 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

603 Citations
68.49 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2001
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
      La Jolla, CA, United States
  • 1995–2000
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Neurology and Neuroscience
      Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 1999
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • Division of Neurobiology
      New York City, New York, United States