[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hierarchical hormonal cascade along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis orchestrates bodily responses to stress. Although corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), produced by parvocellular neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and released into the portal circulation at the median eminence, is known to prime downstream hormone release, the molecular mechanism regulating phasic CRH release remains poorly understood. Here, we find a cohort of parvocellular cells interspersed with magnocellular PVN neurons expressing secretagogin. Single-cell transcriptome analysis combined with protein interactome profiling identifies secretagogin neurons as a distinct CRH-releasing neuron population reliant on secretagogin's Ca2+ sensor properties and protein interactions with the vesicular traffic and exocytosis release machineries to liberate this key hypothalamic releasing hormone. Pharmacological tools combined with RNA interference demonstrate that secretagogin's loss of function occludes adrenocorticotropic hormone release from the pituitary and lowers peripheral corticosterone levels in response to acute stress. Cumulatively, these data define a novel secretagogin neuronal locus and molecular axis underpinning stress responsiveness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Local environmental cues are indispensable for axonal growth and guidance during brain circuit formation. Here, we combine genetic and pharmacological tools, as well as systems neuroanatomy in human fetuses and mouse models, to study the role of endocannabinoid and Slit/Robo signalling in axonal growth. We show that excess 2-arachidonoylglycerol, an endocannabinoid affecting directional axonal growth, triggers corpus callosum enlargement due to the errant CB1 cannabinoid receptor-containing corticofugal axon spreading. This phenotype mechanistically relies on the premature differentiation and end-feet proliferation of CB2R-expressing oligodendrocytes. We further show the dependence of both axonal Robo1 positioning and oligodendroglial Slit2 production on cell-type-specific cannabinoid receptor activation. Accordingly, Robo1 and/or Slit2 manipulation limits endocannabinoid modulation of axon guidance. We conclude that endocannabinoids can configure focal Slit2/Robo1 signalling to modulate directional axonal growth, which may provide a basis for understanding impaired brain wiring associated with metabolic deficits and prenatal drug exposure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children exposed in utero to cannabis present permanent neurobehavioral and cognitive impairments. Psychoactive constituents from Cannabis spp., particularly Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), bind to cannabinoid receptors in the fetal brain. However, it is unknown whether THC can trigger a cannabinoid receptor-driven molecular cascade to disrupt neuronal specification. Here, we show that repeated THC exposure disrupts endocannabinoid signaling, particularly the temporal dynamics of CB1 cannabinoid receptor, to rewire the fetal cortical circuitry. By interrogating the THC-sensitive neuronal proteome we identify Superior Cervical Ganglion 10 (SCG10)/stathmin-2, a microtubule-binding protein in axons, as a substrate of altered neuronal connectivity. We find SCG10 mRNA and protein reduced in the hippocampus of midgestational human cannabis-exposed fetuses, defining SCG10 as the first cannabis-driven molecular effector in the developing cerebrum. CB1 cannabinoid receptor activation recruits c-Jun N-terminal kinases to phosphorylate SCG10, promoting its rapid degradation in situ in motile axons and microtubule stabilization. Thus, THC enables ectopic formation of filopodia and alters axon morphology. These data highlight the maintenance of cytoskeletal dynamics as a molecular target for cannabis, whose imbalance can limit the computational power of neuronal circuitries in affected offspring.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endocannabinoids are small signaling lipids, with 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) implicated in modulating axonal growth and synaptic plasticity. The concept of short-range extracellular signaling by endocannabinoids is supported by the lack of trans-synaptic 2-AG signaling in mice lacking sn-1-diacylglycerol lipases (DAGLs), synthesizing 2-AG. Nevertheless, how far endocannabinoids can spread extracellularly to evoke physiological responses at CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) remains poorly understood. Here, we first show that cholinergic innervation of CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampus is sensitive to the genetic disruption of 2-AG signaling in DAGLα null mice. Next, we exploit a hybrid COS-7-cholinergic neuron co-culture system to demonstrate that heterologous DAGLα overexpression spherically excludes cholinergic growth cones from 2-AG-rich extracellular environments, and minimizes cell-cell contact in vitro. CB1R-mediated exclusion responses lasted 3 days, indicating sustained spherical 2-AG availability. Overall, these data suggest that extracellular 2-AG concentrations can be sufficient to activate CB1Rs along discrete spherical boundaries to modulate neuronal responsiveness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular matrix (ECM) forms an active interface around neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). Whilst the components, chemical heterogeneity and cellular recruitment of this intercellular assembly in various parts of the brain have been discussed in detail, the spinal cord received limited attention in this context. This is in sharp contrast to its clinical relevance since the overall role of ECM especially that of its chondroitin sulphate-based proteoglycan components (CSPGs) was repeatedly addressed in neuropathology, regeneration, CNS repair and therapy models. Based on two post-mortem human specimen, this study gives the first and detailed description of major ECM components of the human spinal cord. Immunohistochemical investigations were restricted to the systematic mapping of aggrecan, brevican, proteoglycan link-protein as well as tenascin-R and hyaluronan containing matrices in the whole cranio-caudal dimension of the human spinal cord. Other proteoglycans like versican, neurocan and NG2 were exemplarily investigated in restricted areas. We show the overall presence of tenascin-R and hyaluronan in both white and grey matters whereas aggrecan, proteoglycan link-protein and brevican were restricted to the grey matter. In the grey matter, the ECM formed aggrecan-based perineuronal nets in the ventral and lateral horns but established single perisynaptic assemblies, axonal coats (ACs), containing link-protein and brevican in all regions except of the Lissauer's zone. Intersegmental differences were reflected in the appearance of segment-specific nuclei but not in overall matrix distribution pattern or chemical heterogeneity. Perineuronal nets were typically associated with long-range projection neurons including cholinergic ventral horn motoneurons or dorsal spinocerebellar tract neurons of the Clarke-Stilling nuclei. Multiple immunolabelling revealed that nociceptive afferents were devoid of individual matrix assemblies unlike glycinergic or GABAergic synapses. The detailed description of ECM distribution in the human spinal cord shall support clinical approaches in injury and regenerative therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endocannabinoid, particularly 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), signaling has recently emerged as a molecular determinant of neuronal migration and synapse formation during cortical development. However, the cell type specificity and molecular regulation of spatially and temporally confined morphogenic 2-AG signals remain unexplored. Here, we demonstrate that genetic and pharmacological manipulation of CB(1) cannabinoid receptors permanently alters cholinergic projection neuron identity and hippocampal innervation. We show that nerve growth factor (NGF), implicated in the morphogenesis and survival of cholinergic projection neurons, dose-dependently and coordinately regulates the molecular machinery for 2-AG signaling via tropomyosine kinase A receptors in vitro. In doing so, NGF limits the sorting of monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), rate limiting 2-AG bioavailability, to proximal neurites, allowing cell-autonomous 2-AG signaling at CB(1) cannabinoid receptors to persist at atypical locations to induce superfluous neurite extension. We find that NGF controls MGL degradation in vitro and in vivo and identify the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein (BRCA1) as a candidate facilitating MGL's elimination from motile neurite segments, including growth cones. BRCA1 inactivation by cisplatin or genetically can rescue and reposition MGL, arresting NGF-induced growth responses. These data indicate that NGF can orchestrate endocannabinoid signaling to promote cholinergic differentiation and implicate BRCA1 in determining neuronal morphology.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Perineuronal matrix is an extracellular protein scaffold to shape neuronal responsiveness and survival. Whilst perineuronal nets engulf the somatodendritic axis of neurons, axonal coats are focal extracellular protein aggregates surrounding individual synapses. Here, we addressed the chemical identity and subcellular localization of both perineuronal and perisynaptic matrices in the human hippocampus, whose neuronal circuitry is progressively compromised in Alzheimer's disease. We hypothesized that (1) the cellular expression sites of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan-containing extracellular matrix associate with specific neuronal identities, reflecting network dynamics, and (2) the regional distribution and molecular composition of axonal coats must withstand Alzheimer's disease-related modifications to protect functional synapses. We show by epitope-specific antibodies that the perineuronal protomap of the human hippocampus is distinct from other mammals since pyramidal cells but not calretinin(+) and calbindin(+) interneurons, neurochemically classified as novel neuronal subtypes, lack perineuronal nets. We find that cartilage link protein-1 and brevican-containing matrices form isolated perisynaptic coats, engulfing both inhibitory and excitatory terminals in the dentate gyrus and entorhinal cortex. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that presynaptic neurons contribute components of perisynaptic coats via axonal transport. We demonstrate, by combining biochemical profiling and neuroanatomy in Alzheimer's patients and transgenic (APdE9) mice, the preserved turnover and distribution of axonal coats around functional synapses along dendrite segments containing hyperphosphorylated tau and in amyloid-β-laden hippocampal microdomains. We conclude that the presynapse-driven formation of axonal coats is a candidate mechanism to maintain synapse integrity under neurodegenerative conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expanding the repertoire of molecularly diverse neurons in the human nervous system is paramount to characterizing the neuronal networks that underpin sensory processing. Defining neuronal identities is particularly timely in the human olfactory system, whose structural differences from nonprimate macrosmatic species have recently gained momentum. Here, we identify clusters of bipolar neurons in a previously unknown outer "shell" domain of the human olfactory tract, which express secretagogin, a cytosolic Ca(2+) binding protein. These "shell" neurons are wired into the olfactory circuitry because they can receive mixed synaptic inputs. Unexpectedly, secretagogin is often coexpressed with polysialylated-neural cell adhesion molecule, β-III-tubulin, and calretinin, suggesting that these neurons represent a cell pool that might have escaped terminal differentiation into the olfactory circuitry. We hypothesized that secretagogin-containing "shell" cells may be eliminated from the olfactory axis under neurodegenerative conditions. Indeed, the density, but not the morphological or neurochemical integrity, of secretagogin-positive neurons selectively decreases in the olfactory tract in Alzheimer's disease. In conclusion, secretagogin identifies a previously undescribed cell pool whose cytoarchitectonic arrangements and synaptic connectivity are poised to modulate olfactory processing in humans.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2012; 109(16):6259-64. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibitory (GABAergic) interneurons entrain assemblies of excitatory principal neurons to orchestrate information processing in the hippocampus. Disrupting the dynamic recruitment as well as the temporally precise activity of interneurons in hippocampal circuitries can manifest in epileptiform seizures, and impact specific behavioral traits. Despite the importance of GABAergic interneurons during information encoding in the brain, experimental tools to selectively manipulate GABAergic neurotransmission are limited. Here, we report the selective elimination of GABAergic interneurons by a ribosome inactivation approach through delivery of saporin-conjugated anti-vesicular GABA transporter antibodies (SAVAs) in vitro as well as in the mouse and rat hippocampus in vivo. We demonstrate the selective loss of GABAergic--but not glutamatergic--synapses, reduced GABA release, and a shift in excitation/inhibition balance in mixed cultures of hippocampal neurons exposed to SAVAs. We also show the focal and indiscriminate loss of calbindin(+), calretinin(+), parvalbumin/system A transporter 1(+), somatostatin(+), vesicular glutamate transporter 3 (VGLUT3)/cholecystokinin/CB(1) cannabinoid receptor(+) and neuropeptide Y(+) local-circuit interneurons upon SAVA microlesions to the CA1 subfield of the rodent hippocampus, with interneuron debris phagocytosed by infiltrating microglia. SAVA microlesions did not affect VGLUT1(+) excitatory afferents. Yet SAVA-induced rearrangement of the hippocampal circuitry triggered network hyperexcitability associated with the progressive loss of CA1 pyramidal cells and the dispersion of dentate granule cells. Overall, our data identify SAVAs as an effective tool to eliminate GABAergic neurons from neuronal circuits underpinning high-order behaviors and cognition, and whose manipulation can recapitulate pathogenic cascades of epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric illnesses.
Journal of Neuroscience 02/2012; 32(6):1989-2001. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Effective control of the Ca(2+) homeostasis in any living cell is paramount to coordinate some of the most essential physiological processes, including cell division, morphological differentiation, and intercellular communication. Therefore, effective homeostatic mechanisms have evolved to maintain the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration at physiologically adequate levels, as well as to regulate the spatial and temporal dynamics of Ca(2+)signaling at subcellular resolution. Members of the superfamily of EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins are effective to either attenuate intracellular Ca(2+) transients as stochiometric buffers or function as Ca(2+) sensors whose conformational change upon Ca(2+) binding triggers protein-protein interactions, leading to cell state-specific intracellular signaling events. In the central nervous system, some EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins are restricted to specific subtypes of neurons or glia, with their expression under developmental and/or metabolic control. Therefore, Ca(2+)-binding proteins are widely used as molecular markers of cell identity whilst also predicting excitability and neurotransmitter release profiles in response to electrical stimuli. Secretagogin is a novel member of the group of EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins whose expression precedes that of many other Ca(2+)-binding proteins in postmitotic, migratory neurons in the embryonic nervous system. Secretagogin expression persists during neurogenesis in the adult brain, yet becomes confined to regionalized subsets of differentiated neurons in the adult central and peripheral nervous and neuroendocrine systems. Secretagogin may be implicated in the control of neuronal turnover and differentiation, particularly since it is re-expressed in neoplastic brain and endocrine tumors and modulates cell proliferation in vitro. Alternatively, and since secretagogin can bind to SNARE proteins, it might function as a Ca(2+) sensor/coincidence detector modulating vesicular exocytosis of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides or hormones. Thus, secretagogin emerges as a functionally multifaceted Ca(2+)-binding protein whose molecular characterization can unravel a new and fundamental dimension of Ca(2+)signaling under physiological and disease conditions in the nervous system and beyond.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes the investigation of morphological variations among two sets of neuronal cells, namely a control group of wild type mouse cells and a group of cells of a transgenic line. Special attention is given to singular points in the neuronal structure, namely the branching points and extremities of the dendritic processes. The characterization of the spatial distribution of such points is obtained by using a recently reported morphological technique based on forced percolation and window-size compensation, which is particularly suited to the analysis of scattered points, presenting several coexisting densities. Different dispersions were identified in our statistical analysis, suggesting that the transgenic line of neurons is characterized by a more pronounced morphological variation. A classification scheme based on a canonical discriminant function was also considered in order to identify the morphological differences.
International Journal of Modern Physics C 11/2011; 16(04). · 0.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extracellular matrix surrounds different neuronal compartments in the mature nervous system. In a variety of vertebrates, most brain regions are loaded with a distinct type of extracellular matrix around the somatodendritic part of neurons, termed perineuronal nets. The present study reports that chondrotin sulfate proteoglycan-based matrix is structured differently in the human lateral geniculate body. Using various chondrotin sulfate proteoglycan-based extracellular matrix antibodies, we show that perisomatic matrix labeling is rather weak or absent, whereas dendrites are contacted by axonal coats appearing as small, oval structures. Confocal laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy demonstrated that these typical structures are associated with synaptic loci on dendrites. Using multiple labelings, we show that different chondrotin sulfate proteoglycan components of the extracellular matrix do not associate exclusively with neuronal structures but possibly associate with glial structures as well. Finally, we confirm and extend previous findings in primates that intensity differences of various extracellular matrix markers between magno- and parvocellular layers reflect functional segregation between these layers in the human lateral geniculate body.
Journal of Neuroscience Research 09/2011; 90(2):376-87. · 2.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retrograde messengers adjust the precise timing of neurotransmitter release from the presynapse, thus modulating synaptic efficacy and neuronal activity. 2-Arachidonoyl glycerol, an endocannabinoid, is one such messenger produced in the postsynapse that inhibits neurotransmitter release upon activating presynaptic CB(1) cannabinoid receptors. Cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease is due to synaptic failure in hippocampal neuronal networks. We hypothesized that errant retrograde 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signalling impairs synaptic neurotransmission in Alzheimer's disease. Comparative protein profiling and quantitative morphometry showed that overall CB(1) cannabinoid receptor protein levels in the hippocampi of patients with Alzheimer's disease remain unchanged relative to age-matched controls, and CB(1) cannabinoid receptor-positive presynapses engulf amyloid-β-containing senile plaques. Hippocampal protein concentrations for the sn-1-diacylglycerol lipase α and β isoforms, synthesizing 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, significantly increased in definite Alzheimer's (Braak stage VI), with ectopic sn-1-diacylglycerol lipase β expression found in microglia accumulating near senile plaques and apposing CB(1) cannabinoid receptor-positive presynapses. We found that microglia, expressing two 2-arachidonoyl glycerol-degrading enzymes, serine hydrolase α/β-hydrolase domain-containing 6 and monoacylglycerol lipase, begin to surround senile plaques in probable Alzheimer's disease (Braak stage III). However, Alzheimer's pathology differentially impacts serine hydrolase α/β-hydrolase domain-containing 6 and monoacylglycerol lipase in hippocampal neurons: serine hydrolase α/β-hydrolase domain-containing 6 expression ceases in neurofibrillary tangle-bearing pyramidal cells. In contrast, pyramidal cells containing hyperphosphorylated tau retain monoacylglycerol lipase expression, although at levels significantly lower than in neurons lacking neurofibrillary pathology. Here, monoacylglycerol lipase accumulates in CB(1) cannabinoid receptor-positive presynapses. Subcellular fractionation revealed impaired monoacylglycerol lipase recruitment to biological membranes in post-mortem Alzheimer's tissues, suggesting that disease progression slows the termination of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signalling. We have experimentally confirmed that altered 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signalling could contribute to synapse silencing in Alzheimer's disease by demonstrating significantly prolonged depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition when superfusing mouse hippocampi with amyloid-β. We propose that the temporal dynamics and cellular specificity of molecular rearrangements impairing 2-arachidonoyl glycerol availability and actions may differ from those of anandamide. Thus, enhanced endocannabinoid signalling, particularly around senile plaques, can exacerbate synaptic failure in Alzheimer's disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The amyloid precursor protein is essential for proper neuronal function but an imbalance in processing or metabolism or its overexpression lead to severe malfunction of the brain. The present study focused on dendritic morphology of hippocampal neurons in mice overexpressing the wild-type human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP). In addition, we examined whether enhanced physical activity may affect hAPP-related morphological changes. Overexpression of hAPP resulted in significant enlargement of dendrites, especially within the basal dendritic field but had no effect on spine density. Enhanced physical activity only moderately potentiated hAPP induced changes in dendritic size. Physical activity dependent increases in spine density were, however, augmented by hAPP overexpression. The results suggest that enhanced levels of wild-type hAPP do not result in degenerative changes of neuronal morphology, but rather promote dendritic growth.
International journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience 04/2011; 29(2):107-14. · 2.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular matrix molecules take part in functional isolation and stabilization of neuronal compartments but form a vivid interface between neuronal elements at the same time. Previous studies have shown that the accumulation of extracellular matrix, especially its typical phenotypic form, termed perineuronal nets, correlates not only with the functional properties of the single neuron but also with the functional properties of the whole brain area. In contrast to recent advances in investigating neocortex, the present study mapped the occurrence and phenotypic appearance of aggrecan-based matrix accumulation throughout the rat thalamus. Results showed that divisions of thalamus that relay information to cortical fields known rather for their plastic properties exibit a poor matrix immunoreactivity, whereas matrix accumulation is more enhanced in nuclei connected to primary cortical regions. In addition to perineuronal nets, extracellular matrix condensed in another peculiar form, in 2-5-μm, large, round or oval structures, as described by Brückner et al. ([ 2008] Neuroscience 151:489-504) as axonal coats (ACs). Multiple labelling experiments showed that specific excitatory afferents were not ensheathed with these structures. At the same time, inhibitory endings were occasionally enwrapped in ACs. Electron microscopic analysis showed that aggrecan-immunoreactive profiles were present mostly around inhibitory terminals but also in all neuronal compartments. We suggest that aggrecan-based extracellular matrix is formed by both pre- and postsynaptic elements and is preferably associated with inhibitory terminals in the extracellular space.
Journal of Neuroscience Research 11/2010; 88(15):3257-66. · 2.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracellular matrix components consisting of large aggregating chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans accumulate around neuronal perikarya to establish perineuronal nets. These perineuronal nets surround subpopulations of neurons in many vertebrates including man. In chickens, perineuronal nets show very fast matrix maturation after hatching which is probably due to the rapid establishment of neuronal morphology and immediate functional and behavioural performance of the animals. In mammals, maturation of extracellular matrix including perineuronal nets largely depends upon specific afferent activation. The present study shows that extracellular matrix maturation in mesencephalic, diencephalic and telencephalic visual centers of chicks tectofugal system is not principally determined by light activation. Perineuronal nets show an equally developed phenotypic character on monocularly light deprived animals in all investigated brain regions. Results suggest that establishment of extracellular matrix and perineuronal nets are largely activity-independent in the investigated precocial bird.
Journal of chemical neuroanatomy 11/2010; 40(3):243-7. · 1.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In addition to synaptic remodeling, formation of new neurons is increasingly acknowledged as an important cue for plastic changes in the central nervous system. Whereas all vertebrates retain a moderate neuroproliferative capacity, phylogenetically younger mammals become dramatically impaired in this potential during aging. The present study shows that the lesser hedgehog tenrec, an insectivore with a low encephalization index, preserves its neurogenic potential surprisingly well during aging. This was shown by quantitative analysis of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) immunolabeling in the olfactory bulb, paleo-, archi-, and neocortices from 2- to 7-year-old animals. In addition to these newly born cells, a large number of previously formed immature neurons are present throughout adulthood as shown by doublecortin (DCX) immunostaining in various forebrain regions including archicortex, paleocortex, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala. Several ventricle-associated cells in olfactory bulb and hippocampus were double-labeled by BrdU and DCX immunoreactivity. However, most DCX cells in the paleocortex can be considered as persisting immature neurons that obviously do not enter a differentiation program since double fluorescence labeling does not reveal their co-occurrence with numerous neuronal markers, whereas only a small portion coexpresses the pan-neuronal marker HuC/D. Finally, the present study reveals tenrecs as suitable laboratory animals to study age-dependent brain alterations (e.g., of neurogenesis) or slow degenerative processes, particularly due to the at least doubled longevity of tenrecs in comparison to mice and rats.
Brain research 03/2010; 1330:9-19. · 2.46 Impact Factor