[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to nerve agents induces intense seizures (status epilepticus, SE), which cause brain damage or death. Identification of the brain regions that are critical for seizure initiation after nerve agent exposure, along with knowledge of the physiology of these regions, can facilitate the development of pretreatments and treatments that will successfully prevent or limit the development of seizures and brain damage. It is well-established that seizure initiation is due to excessive cholinergic activity triggered by the nerve agent-induced irreversible inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Therefore, the reason that when animals are exposed to lethal doses of a nerve agent, a small proportion of these animals do not develop seizures, may have to do with failure of the nerve agent to inhibit AChE in brain areas that play a key role in seizure initiation and propagation. In the present study, we compared AChE activity in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), hippocampus, and piriform cortex of rats that developed SE (SE rats) after administration of the nerve agent soman (154μg/kg) to AChE activity in these brain regions of rats that received the same dose of soman but did not develop SE (no-SE rats). The levels of AChE activity were measured at the onset of SE in SE rats, 30min after soman administration in no-SE rats, as well as in controls which received saline in place of soman. In the control group, AChE activity was significantly higher in the BLA compared to the hippocampus and piriform cortex. Compared to controls, AChE activity was dramatically lower in the hippocampus and the piriform cortex of both the SE rats and the no-SE rats, but AChE activity in the BLA was reduced only in the SE rats. Consistent with the notion that soman-induced neuropathology is due to intense seizures, rather than due to a direct neurotoxic effect of soman, no-SE rats did not present any neuronal loss or degeneration, 7 days after exposure. The results suggest that inhibition of AChE activity in the BLA is necessary for the generation of seizures after nerve agent exposure, and provide strong support to the view that the amygdala is a key brain region for the induction of seizures by nerve agents.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kainate receptors containing the GluK1 subunit (GluK1Rs; previously known as GluR5 kainate receptors) are concentrated in certain brain regions, where they play a prominent role in the regulation of neuronal excitability, by modulating GABAergic and/or glutamatergic synaptic transmission. In the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA), which plays a central role in anxiety as well as in seizure generation, GluK1Rs modulate GABAergic inhibition via postsynaptic and presynaptic mechanisms. However, the role of these receptors in the regulation of glutamate release, and the net effect of their activation on the excitability of the BLA network are not well understood. Here, we show that in amygdala slices from 35- to 50-day-old rats, the GluK1 agonist (RS)-2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-tert-butylisoxazol-4-yl) propanoic acid (ATPA) (300 nM) increased the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) and miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs) recorded from BLA principal neurons, and decreased the rate of failures of evoked EPSCs. The GluK1 antagonist (S)-1-(2-amino-2-carboxyethyl)-3-(2-carboxybenzyl) pyrimidine-2,4-dione (UBP302) (25 or 30 μM) decreased the frequency of mEPSCs, reduced evoked field potentials, and increased the "paired-pulse ratio" of the field potential amplitudes. Taken together, these results suggest that GluK1Rs in the rat BLA are present on presynaptic terminals of principal neurons, where they mediate facilitation of glutamate release. In vivo bilateral microinjections of ATPA (250 pmol) into the rat BLA increased anxiety-like behavior in the open field test, while 2 nmol ATPA induced seizures. Similar intra-BLA injections of UBP302 (20 nmol) had anxiolytic effects in the open field and the acoustic startle response tests, without affecting pre-pulse inhibition. These results suggest that although GluK1Rs in the rat BLA facilitate both GABA and glutamate release, the facilitation of glutamate release prevails, and these receptors can have an anxiogenic and seizurogenic net function. Presynaptic facilitation of glutamate release may, in part, underlie the hyperexcitability-promoting effects of GluK1R activation in the rat BLA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of injury-related death and disability worldwide. Effective treatment for TBI is limited and many TBI patients suffer from neuropsychiatric sequelae. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the neuronal damage and impairment of mental abilities following TBI are largely unknown. Here we used the next generation sequencing platform to delineate miRNA transcriptome changes in the hippocampus at 24 hours and 7 days following TBI in the rat controlled cortical impact injury (CCI) model, and developed a bioinformatic analysis to identify cellular activities that are regulated by miRNAs differentially expressed in the CCI brains. The results of our study indicate that distinct sets of miRNAs are regulated at different post-traumatic times, and suggest that multiple miRNA species cooperatively regulate cellular pathways for the pathological changes and management of brain injury. The distinctive miRNAs expression profiles at different post-CCI times may be used as molecular signatures to assess TBI progression. In addition to known pathophysiological changes, our study identifies many other cellular pathways that are subjected to modification by differentially expressed miRNAs in TBI brains. These pathways can potentially be targeted for development of novel TBI treatment.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39357. · 3.73 Impact Factor