[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prenatal alcohol exposure has been linked to impairment in cerebellar structure and function, including eyeblink conditioning. The deep cerebellar nuclei, which play a critical role in cerebellar-mediated learning, receive extensive inputs from brain stem and cerebellar cortex and provide the point of origin for most of the output fibers to other regions of the brain. We used in vivo (1) H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to examine effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on neurochemistry in this important cerebellar region.
MRS data from the deep cerebellar nuclei were acquired from 37 children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and 17 non- or minimally exposed controls from the Cape Coloured (mixed ancestry) community in Cape Town, South Africa.
Increased maternal alcohol consumption around time of conception was associated with lower N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) levels in the deep nuclei (r = -0.33, p < 0.05). Higher levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy were related to lower levels of the choline-containing metabolites (r = -0.37, p < 0.01), glycerophosphocholine plus phosphocholine (Cho). Alcohol consumption levels both at conception (r = 0.35, p < 0.01) and during pregnancy (r = 0.38, p < 0.01) were related to higher levels of glutamate plus glutamine (Glx). All these effects continued to be significant after controlling for potential confounders.
The lower NAA levels seen in relation to prenatal alcohol exposure may reflect impaired neuronal integrity in the deep cerebellar nuclei. Our finding of lower Cho points to disrupted Cho metabolism of membrane phospholipids, reflecting altered neuropil development with potentially reduced content of dendrites and synapses. The alcohol-related alterations in Glx may suggest a disruption of the glutamate-glutamine cycling involved in glutamatergic excitatory neurotransmission.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 03/2014; · 3.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that selective M4 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) activators may offer a novel strategy for the treatment of psychosis. However, previous efforts to develop selective M4 activators were unsuccessful due to the lack of M4 mAChR subtype specificity and off-target muscarinic adverse effects. We recently developed VU0152100, a highly selective M4 positive allosteric modulator (PAM) that exerts central effects after systemic administration. We now report that VU0152100 dose-dependently reverses amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion in rats and wildtype mice, but not in M4 KO mice. VU0152100 also blocks amphetamine-induced disruption of the acquisition of contextual fear conditioning and prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex. These effects were observed at doses that do not produce catalepsy or peripheral adverse effects associated with non-selective mAChR agonists. To further understand the effects of selective potentiation of M4 on region-specific brain activation, VU0152100 alone and in combination with amphetamine were evaluated using pharmacologic MRI. Key neural substrates of M4-mediated modulation of the amphetamine response included the nucleus accumbens, caudate-putamen, hippocampus, and medial thalamus. Functional connectivity analysis of phMRI data, specifically assessing correlations in activation between regions, revealed several brain networks involved in the M4 modulation of amphetamine-induced brain activation, including the nucleus accumbens and retrosplenial cortex with motor cortex, hippocampus, and medial thalamus. Using in vivo microdialysis, we found that VU0152100 reversed amphetamine-induced increases in extracellular dopamine levels in nucleus accumbens and caudate-putamen. The present data are consistent with an antipsychotic drug-like profile of activity for VU0152100. Taken together, these data support the development of selective M4 PAMs as a new approach to the treatment of psychosis and cognitive impairments associated with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 20 January 2014. doi:10.1038/npp.2014.2.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 01/2014; · 8.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Independent component analysis (ICA) has been successfully utilized for analysis of functional MRI (fMRI) data for task related as well as resting state studies. Although it holds the promise of becoming an unbiased data-driven analysis technique, a few choices have to be made prior to performing ICA, selection of a method for determining the number of independent components (nIC) being one of them. Choice of nIC has been shown to influence the ICA maps, and various approaches (mostly relying on information theoretic criteria) have been proposed and implemented in commonly used ICA analysis packages, such as MELODIC and GIFT. However, there has been no consensus on the optimal method for nIC selection, and many studies utilize arbitrarily chosen values for nIC. Accurate and reliable determination of true nIC is especially important in the setting where the signals of interest contribute only a small fraction of the total variance, i.e. very low contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and/or very focal response. In this study, we evaluate the performance of different model order selection criteria and demonstrate that the model order selected based upon bootstrap stability of principal components yields more reliable and accurate estimates of model order. We then demonstrate the utility of this fully data-driven approach to detect weak and focal stimulus-driven responses in real data. Finally, we compare the performance of different multi-run ICA approaches using pseudo-real data.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94943. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Improved understanding of how depot-specific adipose tissue mass predisposes to obesity-related comorbidities could yield new insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity as well as metabolic benefits of weight loss. We hypothesized that three-dimensional (3D) contiguous "fat-water" MR imaging (FWMRI) covering the majority of a whole-body field of view (FOV) acquired at 3 Tesla (3T) and coupled with automated segmentation and quantification of amount, type, and distribution of adipose and lean soft tissue would show great promise in body composition methodology. DESIGN AND METHODS: Precision of adipose and lean soft tissue measurements in body and trunk regions were assessed for 3T FWMRI and compared to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Anthropometric, FWMRI, and DXA measurements were obtained in 12 women with BMI 30-39.9 kg/m(2) . RESULTS: Test-retest results found coefficients of variation (CV) for FWMRI that were all under 3%: gross body adipose tissue (GBAT) 0.80%, total trunk adipose tissue (TTAT) 2.08%, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) 2.62%, subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) 2.11%, gross body lean soft tissue (GBLST) 0.60%, and total trunk lean soft tissue (TTLST) 2.43%. Concordance correlation coefficients between FWMRI and DXA were 0.978, 0.802, 0.629, and 0.400 for GBAT, TTAT, GBLST, and TTLST, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: While Bland-Altman plots demonstrated agreement between FWMRI and DXA for GBAT and TTAT, a negative bias existed for GBLST and TTLST measurements. Differences may be explained by the FWMRI FOV length and potential for DXA to overestimate lean soft tissue. While more development is necessary, the described 3T FWMRI method combined with fully-automated segmentation is fast (<30-min total scan and post-processing time), noninvasive, repeatable, and cost-effective.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography provides noninvasive measures of structural cortico-cortical connectivity of the brain. However, the agreement between DTI-tractography-based measures and histological 'ground truth' has not been quantified. In this study, we reconstructed the 3D density distribution maps (DDM) of fibers labeled with an anatomical tracer, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA), as well as DTI tractography-derived streamlines connecting the primary motor (M1) cortex to other cortical regions in the squirrel monkey brain. We evaluated the agreement in M1-cortical connectivity between the fibers labeled in the brain tissue and DTI streamlines on a regional and voxel-by-voxel basis. We found that DTI tractography is capable of providing inter-regional connectivity comparable to the neuroanatomical connectivity, but is less reliable measuring voxel-to-voxel variations within regions.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e75065. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Fetal alcohol-related growth restriction persists through infancy, but its impact later in life is less clear. Animal studies have demonstrated important roles for maternal nutrition in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, but the impact of prenatal maternal body composition has not been studied in humans. This study examined the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on longitudinal growth from birth through young adulthood and the degree to which maternal weight and body mass index (BMI) moderate these effects. METHODS: Nearly 480 mothers were recruited at their first prenatal clinic visit to overrepresent moderate-to-heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy, including a 5% random sample of low-level drinkers and abstainers. They were interviewed at every prenatal visit about their alcohol consumption using a timeline follow-back approach. Their children were examined for weight, length/height, and head circumference at birth, 6.5 and 13 months, and 7.5, 14, and 19 years. RESULTS: In multiple regression models with repeated measures (adjusted for confounders), prenatal alcohol exposure was associated with longitudinal reductions in weight, height, and weight-for-length/BMI that were largely determined at birth. At low-to-moderate levels of exposure, these effects were more severe in infancy than in later childhood. By contrast, effects persisted among children whose mothers drank at least monthly and among those born to women with alcohol abuse and/or dependence who had consumed ≥ 4 drinks/occasion. In addition, effects on weight, height, and head circumference were markedly stronger among children born to mothers with lower prepregnancy weight. CONCLUSIONS: These findings confirm prior studies demonstrating alcohol-related reductions in weight, height, weight-for-height/BMI, and head circumference that persist through young adulthood. Stronger effects were seen among children born to mothers with smaller prepregnancy weight, which may have been because of attainment of higher blood alcohol concentrations in smaller mothers for a given amount of alcohol intake or to increased vulnerability in infants born to women with poorer nutrition.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 09/2012; · 3.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Many children with heavy exposure to alcohol in utero display characteristic alterations in brain size and structure. However, the long-term effects of low-to-moderate alcohol exposure on these outcomes are unknown. METHODS: Using voxel-based morphometry and region-of-interest analyses, we examined the influence of lower doses of alcohol on gray and white matter composition in a prospectively recruited, homogeneous, well-characterized cohort of alcohol-exposed (n = 11, age 19.5 ± 0.3 years) and control (n = 9, age 19.6 ± 0.5 years) young adults. A large proportion of the exposed individuals were born to mothers whose alcohol consumption during pregnancy was in the low-to-moderate range. RESULTS: There were no differences in total brain volume or total gray or white matter volume between the exposed and control groups. However, gray matter volume was reduced in alcohol-exposed individuals in several areas previously reported to be affected by high levels of exposure, including the left cingulate gyrus, bilateral middle frontal gyri, right middle temporal gyrus, and right caudate nucleus. Notably, this gray matter loss was dose dependent, with higher exposure producing more substantial losses. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that even at low doses, alcohol exposure during pregnancy impacts brain development and that these effects persist into young adulthood.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 05/2012; · 3.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) is a major target for abused drugs and a key regulator of extracellular DA. A rapidly growing literature implicates insulin as an important regulator of DAT function. We showed previously that amphetamine (AMPH)-evoked DA release is markedly impaired in rats depleted of insulin with the diabetogenic agent streptozotocin (STZ). Similarly, functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments revealed that the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal following acute AMPH administration in STZ-treated rats is reduced. Here, we report that these deficits are restored by repeated, systemic administration of AMPH (1.78 mg/kg, every other day for 8 d). AMPH stimulates DA D(2) receptors indirectly by increasing extracellular DA. Supporting a role for D(2) receptors in mediating this "rescue," the effect was completely blocked by pre-treatment of STZ-treated rats with the D(2) receptor antagonist raclopride before systemic AMPH. D(2) receptors regulate DAT cell surface expression through ERK1/2 signaling. In ex vivo striatal preparations, repeated AMPH injections increased immunoreactivity of phosphorylated ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2) in STZ-treated but not control rats. These data suggest that repeated exposure to AMPH can rescue, by activating D(2) receptors and p-ERK signaling, deficits in DAT function that result from hypoinsulinemia. Our data confirm the idea that disorders influencing insulin levels and/or signaling, such as diabetes and anorexia, can degrade DAT function and that insulin-independent pathways are present that may be exploited as potential therapeutic targets to restore normal DAT function.
Journal of Neuroscience 02/2012; 32(8):2637-47. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at high magnetic field strength can suffer from serious degradation of image quality because of motion and physiological noise, as well as spatial distortions and signal losses due to susceptibility effects. Overcoming such limitations is essential for sensitive detection and reliable interpretation of fMRI data. These issues are particularly problematic in studies of awake animals. As part of our initial efforts to study functional brain activations in awake, behaving monkeys using fMRI at 4.7 T, we have developed acquisition and analysis procedures to improve image quality with encouraging results. We evaluated the influence of two main variables on image quality. First, we show how important the level of behavioral training is for obtaining good data stability and high temporal signal-to-noise ratios. In initial sessions, our typical scan session lasted 1.5 h, partitioned into short (<10 min) runs. During reward periods and breaks between runs, the monkey exhibited movements resulting in considerable image misregistrations. After a few months of extensive behavioral training, we were able to increase the length of individual runs and the total length of each session. The monkey learned to wait until the end of a block for fluid reward, resulting in longer periods of continuous acquisition. Each additional 60 training sessions extended the duration of each session by 60 min, culminating, after about 140 training sessions, in sessions that last about 4 h. As a result, the average translational movement decreased from over 500 μm to less than 80 μm, a displacement close to that observed in anesthetized monkeys scanned in a 7-T horizontal scanner. Another major source of distortion at high fields arises from susceptibility variations. To reduce such artifacts, we used segmented gradient-echo echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequences. Increasing the number of segments significantly decreased susceptibility artifacts and image distortion. Comparisons of images from functional runs using four segments with those using a single-shot EPI sequence revealed a roughly twofold improvement in functional signal-to-noise-ratio and 50% decrease in distortion. These methods enabled reliable detection of neural activation and permitted blood-oxygenation-level-dependent-based mapping of early visual areas in monkeys using a volume coil. In summary, both extensive behavioral training of monkeys and application of segmented gradient-echo EPI sequence improved signal-to-noise ratio and image quality. Understanding the effects these factors have is important for the application of high field imaging methods to the detection of submillimeter functional structures in the awake monkey brain.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 11/2011; 30(1):36-47. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate anatomic co-registration is a prerequisite for identifying structural and functional changes in longitudinal studies of brain plasticity. Current MRI methods permit collection of brain images across multiple scales, ranging from whole brain at relatively low resolution (≥1 mm), to local brain areas at the level of cortical layers and columns (∼100 μm) in the same session, allowing detection of subtle structural changes on a similar spatial scale. To measure these changes reliably, high resolution structural and functional images of local brain regions must be registered accurately across imaging sessions. The present study describes a robust fully automated strategy for the registration of high resolution structural images of brain sub-volumes to lower resolution whole brain images collected within a session, and the registration of partially overlapping high resolution MRI sub-volumes ("slabs") across imaging sessions. In high field (9.4 T) reduced field-of-view high resolution structural imaging studies using a surface coil in an anesthetized non-human primate model, this fully automated coregistration pipeline was robust in the face of significant inhomogeneities in image intensity and tissue contrast arising from the spatially inhomogeneous transmit and receive properties of the surface coil, achieving a registration accuracy of 30±15 μm between sessions.
Journal of neuroscience methods 09/2011; 202(1):99-108. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynamic slice-wise shimming improves B0 field homogeneity by updating shim coil currents for every slice in a multislice acquisition, producing better field homogeneity over a volume than can be obtained by a single static global shim. The first aim of this work was to evaluate the performance of slice-wise field-map-based second-order dynamic shimming in a human high-field 7 T clinical scanner vis-à-vis image based second order static global shimming. Another goal was to characterize eddy currents induced by second and third order shim switching. A final aim was to compare global and dynamic shimming through shim orders to elucidate the relative benefits of going to higher orders and to dynamic shim updating from a static shimming regime. An external hardware module was used to store and dynamically update slice-optimized shim values during multislice data acquisition. High-bandwidth multislice gradient echo scans with B0 field mapping and low-bandwidth single-shot echo planar scans were performed on phantoms and humans using second-order dynamic and static global shims. For the measurement of second and third order shim induced eddy currents, step response temporal phase changes of individual shims were measured and fit to shim harmonics spatially and to multiexponential decay functions temporally. Finally, an order-wise field-map-based comparison was performed with first, second and third order global static shimming, first and second order dynamic shimming, as well as combined second or third order global and first order dynamic shim. Dynamic shimming considerably improved B0 homogeneity compared to static global shimming both in phantoms and in human subjects, reducing image distortion and signal dropout. The unshielded second and third order shims generated strong B0 and self and cross-term eddy fields, with multiple time constants ranging from milliseconds to seconds. Field homogeneity improved with increasing order of shim, with dynamic shimming performing better than global shimming. Hybrid global and dynamic shimming approach yielded field homogeneity better than global static shims but worse than dynamic shims.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 03/2011; 29(4):483-96. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Across species, the brain evolved to respond to natural rewards such as food and sex. These physiological responses are important for survival, reproduction and evolutionary processes. It is no surprise, therefore, that many of the neural circuits and signaling pathways supporting reward processes are conserved from Caenorhabditis elegans to Drosophilae, to rats, monkeys and humans. The central role of dopamine (DA) in encoding reward and in attaching salience to external environmental cues is well recognized. Less widely recognized is the role of reporters of the "internal environment", particularly insulin, in the modulation of reward. Insulin has traditionally been considered an important signaling molecule in regulating energy homeostasis and feeding behavior rather than a major component of neural reward circuits. However, research over recent decades has revealed that DA and insulin systems do not operate in isolation from each other, but instead, work together to orchestrate both the motivation to engage in consummatory behavior and to calibrate the associated level of reward. Insulin signaling has been found to regulate DA neurotransmission and to affect the ability of drugs that target the DA system to exert their neurochemical and behavioral effects. Given that many abused drugs target the DA system, the elucidation of how dopaminergic, as well as other brain reward systems, are regulated by insulin will create opportunities to develop therapies for drug and potentially food addiction. Moreover, a more complete understanding of the relationship between DA neurotransmission and insulin may help to uncover etiological bases for "food addiction" and the growing epidemic of obesity. This review focuses on the role of insulin signaling in regulating DA homeostasis and DA signaling, and the potential impact of impaired insulin signaling in obesity and psychostimulant abuse.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynamic B(0) shimming (DS) can produce better field homogeneity than static global shimming by dynamically updating slicewise shim values in a multislice acquisition. The performance of DS however is limited by eddy current fields produced by the switching of 2nd and 3rd order unshielded shims. In this work, we present a novel method of eddy field compensation (EFC) applied to higher order shim induced eddy current fields in multislice DS. This method does not require shim shielding, extra hardware for eddy current compensation or subject specific prescanning. The interactions between shim harmonics are modeled assuming steady state of the medium and long time constant, cross and self term eddy fields in a DS experiment and 'correction factors' characterizing the entire set of shim interactions are derived. The correction factors for a given time between shim switches are shown to be invariable with object scanned, shim switching pattern and actual shim values, allowing for their generalized prospective use. Phantom and human head, 2nd and 3rd order DS experiments performed without any hardware eddy current compensation using the technique show large reductions in field gradients and offsets leading to significant improvements in image quality. This method holds promise as an alternative to expensive hardware based eddy current compensation required in 2nd and 3rd order DS.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance 03/2011; 210(2):218-27. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We consider the task of computing shape statistics and classification of 3D anatomical structures (as continuous, parameterized surfaces). This requires a Riemannian metric that allows re-parameterizations of surfaces by isometries, and computations of geodesics. This allows computing Karcher means and covariances of surfaces, which involves optimal re-parameterizations of surfaces and results in a superior alignment of geometric features across surfaces. The resulting means and covariances are better representatives of the original data and lead to parsimonious shape models. These two moments specify a normal probability model on shape classes, which are used for classifying test shapes into control and disease groups. We demonstrate the success of this model through improved random sampling and a higher classification performance. We study brain structures and present classification results for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Using the mean and covariance structure of the data, we are able to attain an 88% classification rate.
Information processing in medical imaging: proceedings of the ... conference 01/2011; 22:147-58.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Models of addiction include abnormalities in parts of the brain involving executive function/inhibitory control. Although previous studies have reported evidence of structural abnormalities in cocaine-dependent individuals, none have specifically targeted the homeless. The present preliminary study investigated brain structure in such an understudied group, homeless, crack-cocaine-dependent African American men (n = 9), comparing it to that in healthy controls (n = 8). Structural data were analyzed using voxel based morphometry (VBM) and a regions of interest (ROI) analysis. Homeless cocaine-dependent individuals had smaller gray matter volume in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, the cerebellum, insula, and superior temporal gyrus. Most of these areas subserve executive function or inhibitory control. These results are similar to those found in most previous studies of non-homeless cocaine-dependent individuals. Reduced gray matter in executive function/inhibitory control regions of the brain in cocaine-dependent individuals may be a preexisting risk factor for the development of addiction and/or a consequence of drug abuse.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal required for normal homeostasis. Humans chronically exposed to high Mn levels, however, may exhibit psychomotor signs secondary to increased brain Mn. As Mn and iron (Fe) share several cellular membrane transporters, decreased Fe levels resulting from Fe deficiency or anemia lead to increased brain Mn deposition. Conversely, decreased Mn levels are associated with abnormal brain Fe accumulation. To reduce potential Mn toxicity resulting from brain Mn accumulation, we proposed that increased dietary Fe would attenuate brain Mn deposition. To test this hypothesis, three groups of Sprague-Dawley rats were injected weekly (14 weeks) with Mn (3 mg/kg) and fed normal Fe (TX), Fe-supplemented (FeS), or Fe-deficient (FeD) chow. Control (CN) rats received normal dietary Fe and saline injections. Using magnetic resonance imaging, rats were imaged biweekly for 14 weeks to qualitatively monitor brain Mn and Fe accumulation. Both FeS and FeD had greater brain Mn deposition than TX rats. By week 3, R(1) values, which correlate with Mn deposition, were statistically significantly increased (p < 0.05) in brain stem, cerebellum, cortex, midbrain, and striatum compared with CN or TX animals. By week 14, R(1) values for all brain regions in FeS and FeD animals were statistically significantly increased (p < 0.05). By the end of the study, similar results were obtained for R(2) values, a marker of Fe accumulation. These data suggest that Fe supplementation does not effectively protect and may even exacerbate brain Mn accumulation in mammals subchronically exposed to Mn.