Previous work in our laboratory demonstrated the utility of synthetic combinations of two naturally occurring, biologically active compounds. In particular, we combined two known anti-oxidant compounds, lipoic acid and apocynin, covalently linked via an ester bond (named UPEI-100). In an animal model of ischemia-reperfusion injury (tMCAO), UPEI-100 was shown to produce equivalent neuroprotection compared to each parent compound, but at a 100-fold lower dose. However, it was determined that UPEI-100 was undetectable in any tissue samples almost immediately following intravenous injection. Therefore, the present investigation was done to determine if biological stability of UPEI-100 could be improved by replacing the ester bond with a more bio cleavage-resistant bond, an ether bond (named UPEI-104). We then compared the stability of UPEI-104 to the original parent compound UPEI-100 in human plasma as well as liver microsomes. Our results demonstrated that both UPEI-100 and UPEI-104 could be detected in human plasma for over 120 min; however, only UPEI-104 was detectable for an average of 7 min following incubation with human liver microsomes. This increased stability did not affect the biological activity of UPEI-104 as measured using our tMCAO model. Our results suggest that combining compounds using an ether bond can improve stability while maintaining biological activity.
Sleep has beneficial effects on brain function and learning, which are reflected in plastic changes in the cortex. Early childhood is a time of rapid maturation in fundamental skills-e.g., language, cognitive control, working memory-that are predictive of future functioning. Little is currently known about the interactions between sleep and brain maturation during this developmental period. We propose coherent electroencephalogram (EEG) activity during sleep may provide unique insight into maturational processes of functional brain connectivity. Longitudinal sleep EEG assessments were performed in eight healthy subjects at ages 2, 3 and 5 years. Sleep EEG coherence increased across development in a region- and frequency-specific manner. Moreover, although connectivity primarily decreased intra-hemispherically across a night of sleep, an inter-hemispheric overnight increase occurred in the frequency range of slow waves (0.8-2 Hz), theta (4.8-7.8 Hz) and sleep spindles (10-14 Hz), with connectivity changes of up to 20% across a night of sleep. These findings indicate sleep EEG coherence reflects processes of brain maturation-i.e., programmed unfolding of neuronal networks-and moreover, sleep-related alterations of brain connectivity during the sensitive maturational window of early childhood.
Sleep changes were studied in mice (n = 59) from early adolescence to adulthood (postnatal days P19-111). REM sleep declined steeply in early adolescence, while total sleep remained constant and NREM sleep increased slightly. Four hours of sleep deprivation starting at light onset were performed from ages P26 through adulthood (>P60). Following this acute sleep deprivation all mice slept longer and with more consolidated sleep bouts, while NREM slow wave activity (SWA) showed high interindividual variability in the younger groups, and increased consistently only after P42. Three parameters together explained up to 67% of the variance in SWA rebound in frontal cortex, including weight-adjusted age and increase in alpha power during sleep deprivation, both of which positively correlated with the SWA response. The third, and strongest predictor was the SWA decline during the light phase in baseline: mice with high peak SWA at light onset, resulting in a large SWA decline, were more likely to show no SWA rebound after sleep deprivation, a result that was also confirmed in parietal cortex. During baseline, however, SWA showed the same homeostatic changes in adolescents and adults, declining in the course of sleep and increasing across periods of spontaneous wake. Thus, we hypothesize that, in young adolescent mice, a ceiling effect and not the immaturity of the cellular mechanisms underlying sleep homeostasis may prevent the SWA rebound when wake is extended beyond its physiological duration.
Although data from both animals and humans suggests that adult cocaine use can have long term effects on behavior, it is unknown if prior cocaine use affects future maternal behavior in nulliparous females. In the current study, cocaine or saline was administered to adult female rats for 10 days, the animals were withdrawn from cocaine for 7 days, and the females were then exposed to donor pups to induce the expression of maternal behavior. Nulliparous females sensitized to cocaine were more likely to retrieve pups, spent more time caring for the pups, and were more likely to express full maternal behavior on day 8 of pup exposure. The fMRI data revealed significant effects of pup exposure in the hippocampal CA1 region, and effects of cocaine in the anterior thalamus and periaqueductal gray. Prior adult cocaine use may have lasting effects on offspring care, and this effect is not dependent on pup mediated effects or the endocrine changes of gestation and lactation. The present findings provide support for the hypothesis that maternal motivation to exhibit maternal behavior is enhanced by prior cocaine sensitization, possibly due to cross sensitization between cocaine and the natural reward of maternal behavior.
Transient global cerebral ischemia causes delayed neuronal death in the hippocampal CA1 region. It also induces an up regulation of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), which generates several metabolites of arachidonic acid, known as prostanoids, including Prostaglandin I2 (PGI2). The present study investigated whether the PGI2 IP receptor plays an important role in brain injury after global cerebral ischemia in aged mice. Adult young (2-3 months) and aged (12-15 months) male C57Bl/6 wild-type (WT) or IP receptor knockout (IP KO) mice underwent a 12 min bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO) or a sham surgery. Behavior tests (neurologic deficit and T-maze) were performed 3 and 7 days after BCCAO. After seven days of reperfusion, the numbers of cells positive for markers of neurons, astrocytes, microglia, myeloperoxidase (MPO) and phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB) were evaluated immunohistochemically. Interestingly, in young and aged IP KO ischemic mice, there was a significant increase (p < 0.01) in cognitive deficit, hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron death, microglia and MPO activation, while p-CREB was reduced as compared to their corresponding WT controls. These data suggest that following ischemia, IP receptor deletion contributes to memory and cognitive deficits regulated by the CREB pathway and that treatment with IP receptor agonists could be a useful target to prevent harmful consequences.
Anesthetic and anti-epileptic drugs used in pediatric and obstetric medicine and several drugs, including alcohol, that are abused by pregnant women, trigger widespread neuroapoptosis in the developing brain of several animal species, including non-human primates. Caffeine (CAF) is often administered to premature infants to stimulate respiration, and these infants are also exposed simultaneously to anesthetic drugs for procedural sedation and/or surgical procedures. Pregnant women who abuse alcohol or other apoptogenic drugs also may heavily consume CAF. We administered CAF to infant mice alone or in combination with alcohol, phencyclidine, diazepam, midazolam, ketamine, or isoflurane, which are drugs of abuse and/or drugs frequently used in pediatric medicine, and found that CAF weakly triggers neuroapoptosis by itself and markedly potentiates the neuroapoptogenic action of each of these other drugs. Exposure of infant mice to CAF + phencyclidine resulted in long-term impairment in behavioral domains relevant to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, whereas exposure to CAF + diazepam resulted in long-term learning/memory impairment. At doses used in these experiments, these behavioral impairments either did not occur or were substantially less pronounced in mice exposed to CAF alone or to phencyclidine or diazepam alone. CAF currently enjoys the reputation of being highly beneficial and safe for use in neonatal medicine. Our data suggest the need to consider whether CAF may have harmful as well as beneficial effects on the developing brain, and the need for research aimed at understanding the full advantage of its beneficial effects while avoiding its potentially harmful effects.
Congenital amusia is defined by marked deficits in pitch perception and production. Though historically examined only in otherwise typically developing (TD) populations, amusia has recently been documented in Williams syndrome (WS), a genetic, neurodevelopmental disorder with a unique auditory phenotype including auditory sensitivities and increased emotional responsiveness to music but variable musical skill. The current study used structural T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging to examine neural correlates of amusia in 17 individuals with WS (4 of whom met criteria for amusia). Consistent with findings from TD amusics, amusia in WS was associated with decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). The relationship between amusia and FA in the inferior component of the SLF was particularly robust, withstanding corrections for cognitive functioning, auditory sensitivities, or musical training. Though the number of individuals with amusia in the study is small, results add to evidence for the role of fronto-temporal disconnectivity in congenital amusia and suggest that novel populations with developmental differences can provide a window into understanding gene-brain-behavior relationships that underlie musical behaviors.
Oxytocin (OT) is a nonapeptide hormone that is secreted into the brain and blood circulation. OT has not only classical neurohormonal roles in uterine contraction and milk ejection during the reproductive phase in females, but has also been shown to have new pivotal neuromodulatory roles in social recognition and interaction in both genders. A single administration of OT through nasal spray increases mutual recognition and trust in healthy subjects and psychiatric patients, suggesting that OT is a potential therapeutic drug for autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and some other psychiatric disorders. Although the mechanism is not well understood, it is likely that OT can be transported into the brain where it activates OT receptors to exert its function in the brain. However, the amount transported into the brain may be low. To ensure equivalent effects, an OT analog with long-lasting and effective blood-brain barrier penetration properties would be beneficial for use as a therapeutic drug. Here, we designed and synthesized a new oxytocin analog, lipo-oxytocin-1 (LOT-1), in which two palmitoyl groups are conjugated at the amino group of the cysteine9 residue and the phenolic hydroxyl group of the tyrosine8 residue of the OT molecule. To determine whether LOT-1 actually has an effect on the central nervous system, we examined its effects in a CD157 knockout model mouse of the non-motor psychiatric symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Similar to OT, this analog rescued anxiety-like behavior and social avoidance in the open field test with the social target in a central arena 30 min after intraperitoneal injection in CD157 knockout mice. When examined 24 h after injection, the mice treated with LOT-1 displayed more recovery than those given OT. The results suggest that LOT-1 has a functional advantage in recovery of social behavioral impairment, such as those caused by neurodegenerative diseases, autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia.
Exposure of mothers to chronic stressors during pregnancy or the postpartum period often leads to the development of depression, anxiety, or other related mood disorders. The adverse effects of mood disorders are often mediated through maternal behavior and recent work has identified arginine vasopressin (AVP) as a key neuropeptide hormone in the expression of maternal behavior in both rats and humans. Using an established rodent model that elicits behavioral and physiological responses similar to human mood disorders, this study tested the effectiveness of chronic AVP infusion as a novel treatment for the adverse effects of exposure to chronic social stress during lactation in rats. During early (day 3) and mid (day 10) lactation, AVP treatment significantly decreased the latency to initiate nursing and time spent retrieving pups, and increased pup grooming and total maternal care (sum of pup grooming and nursing). AVP treatment was also effective in decreasing maternal aggression and the average duration of aggressive bouts on day 3 of lactation. Central AVP may be an effective target for the development of treatments for enhancing maternal behavior in individuals exposed to chronic social stress.
The involvement of the primary motor cortex (M1) in chronic low back pain (LBP) is a relatively new concept. Decreased M1 excitability and an analgesic effect after M1 stimulation have been recently reported. However, the neurochemical changes underlying these functional M1 changes are unknown. The current study investigated whether neurochemicals specific to neurons and glial cells in both right and left M1 are altered. N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) and myo-inositol (mI) were measured with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in 19 subjects with chronic LBP and 14 healthy controls. We also examined correlations among neurochemicals within and between M1 and relationships between neurochemical concentrations and clinical features of pain. Right M1 NAA was lower in subjects with LBP compared to controls (p = 0.008). Left M1 NAA and mI were not significantly different between LBP and control groups. Correlations between neurochemical concentrations across M1s were different between groups (p = 0.008). There were no significant correlations between M1 neurochemicals and pain characteristics. These findings provide preliminary evidence of neuronal depression and altered neuronalglial interactions across M1 in chronic LBP.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a general diagnosis for those exhibiting long-lasting neurobehavioral and cognitive deficiencies as a result of fetal alcohol exposure. It is among the most common causes of mental deficits today. Those impacted are left to rely on advances in our understanding of the nature of early alcohol-induced disorders toward human therapies. Research findings over the last decade have developed a model where ethanol-induced neurodegeneration impacts early neural circuit development, thereby perpetuating subsequent integration and plasticity in vulnerable brain regions. Here we review our current knowledge of FASD neuropathology based on discoveries of long-lasting neurophysiological effects of acute developmental ethanol exposure in animal models. We discuss the important balance between synaptic excitation and inhibition in normal neural network function, and relate the significance of that balance to human FASD as well as related disease states. Finally, we postulate that excitation/inhibition imbalance caused by early ethanol-induced neurodegeneration results in perturbed local and regional network signaling and therefore neurobehavioral pathology.
Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene, impairs information processing in the striatum, which, as part of the basal ganglia, modulates motor output. Growing evidence suggests that huntingtin interacting protein 14 (HIP14) contributes to HD neuropathology. Here, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) in the striatum as HIP14 knockout mice and wild-type controls freely navigated a plus-shaped maze. Upon entering the choice point of the maze, HIP14 knockouts tend to continue in a straight line, turning left or right significantly less often than wild-types, a sign of motor inflexibility that also occurs in HD mice. Striatal LFP activity anticipates this difference. In wild-types, the power spectral density pattern associated with entry into the choice point differs significantly from the pattern immediately before entry, especially at low frequencies (≤13 Hz), whereas HIP14 knockouts show no change in LFP activity as they enter the choice point. The lack of change in striatal activity may explain the turning deficit in the plus maze. Our results suggest that HIP14 plays a critical role in the aberrant behavioral modulation of striatal neuronal activity underlying motor inflexibility, including the motor signs of HD.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the combined effects of aging and lifelong ethanol exposure on the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain. This work is part of a project addressing interactions of aging and lifelong ethanol consumption in alcohol-preferring AA (Alko Alcohol) line of rats, selected for high voluntary consumption of ethanol. Intake of ethanol on the level of 4.5-5 g/kg/day for about 20 months induced only limited changes in the neurotransmitter levels; the concentration of noradrenaline was significantly reduced in the frontal cortex. There was also a trend towards lower levels of dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the frontal cortex, and towards a lower noradrenaline level in the dorsal cortex. Aging was associated with a decreased concentration of dopamine in the dorsal cortex and with a declining trend in the striatum. The levels of 5-HT in the limbic forebrain were higher in the aged than in the young animals, and in the striatum, there was a trend towards higher levels in older animals. The data suggest that a continuous intake of moderate amounts of ethanol does not enhance the age-related alterations in brain monoamine neurotransmission, while the decline in the brain level of dopamine associated with aging may be a factor contributing to age-related neurological disorders.
Absolute pitch (AP) is a form of sound recognition in which musical note names are associated with discrete musical pitch categories. The accuracy of pitch matching by non-AP musicians for chords has recently been shown to depend on stimulus familiarity, pointing to a role of spectral recognition mechanisms in the early stages of pitch processing. Here we show that pitch matching accuracy by AP musicians was also dependent on their familiarity with the chord stimulus. This suggests that the pitch matching abilities of both AP and non-AP musicians for concurrently presented pitches are dependent on initial recognition of the chord. The dual mechanism model of pitch perception previously proposed by the authors suggests that spectral processing associated with sound recognition primes waveform processing to extract stimulus periodicity and refine pitch perception. The findings presented in this paper are consistent with the dual mechanism model of pitch, and in the case of AP musicians, the formation of nominal pitch categories based on both spectral and periodicity information.
Opiate withdrawal is followed by a protracted abstinence syndrome consisting of craving and physiological changes. However, few studies have been dedicated to both the characterization and understanding of these long-term alterations in post-dependent subjects. The aim of the present study was to develop an opiate dependence model, which induces long-lasting behavioral changes in abstinent rats. Here, we first compared the effects of several protocols for the induction of opiate dependence (morphine pellets, repeated morphine or heroin injections) on the subsequent response to heroin challenges (0.25 mg/kg) at different time points during abstinence (3, 6, 9 and 18 weeks). In a second set of experiments, rats were exposed to increasing doses of heroin and subsequently monitored for general circadian activity up to 20 weeks of abstinence. Results show that heroin injections rather than the other methods of opiate administration have long-term consequences on rats' sensitivity to heroin with its psychostimulant effects persisting up to 18 weeks of abstinence. Moreover, intermittent episodes of heroin dependence rather than a single exposure produce enduring alteration of the basal circadian activity both upon heroin cessation and protracted abstinence. Altogether, these findings suggest that the induction of heroin dependence through intermittent increasing heroin injections is the optimal method to model long-term behavioral alterations during protracted abstinence in rats. This animal model would be useful in further characterizing long-lasting changes in post-dependent subjects to help understand the prolonged vulnerability to relapse.
Differential neural development of structures associated with reward and control systems may underlie risky behavior in adolescence. The nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) have been implicated in substance use behavior, although structural studies have yet to explore specific relationships between nucleus accumbens and OFC volumes and alcohol use in adolescence. High resolution structural MRI scans and assessments of recent alcohol use and lifetime substance use were collected in a sample of 168 juvenile justice-involved adolescents to explore whether gray matter volumes were associated with past 3-month quantity and frequency of alcohol use. Gray matter volumes were not associated with average quantity of alcohol use. Accumbens volume was positively associated with past 3-month frequency of drinking, and OFC volume was negatively associated with drinking frequency. Results may suggest that structural differences in regions related to reward and control processing may contribute to risk behavior in adolescence.
We spend much of our life predicting the future. This involves developing theories and making predictions about others' intentions, goals and about the consequences of the actions we are observing. Adapting our actions and behaviours to the environment is required for achieving our goals, and to do this the motor system relies on input from sensory modalities. However, recent theories suggest that the link between motor and perceptual areas is bidirectional, and that predictions based on planned or intended actions can unconsciously influence and modify our perception. In the following review we describe current theories on the link between action and perception, and examine the ways in which the motor system can unconsciously alter our perception.
Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) due to thrombo-embolic occlusion in the cerebral vasculature is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and throughout the world. Although the prognosis is poor for many patients with AIS, a variety of strategies and devices are now available for achieving recanalization in patients with this disease. Here, we review the treatment options for cerebrovascular thromboembolic occlusion with a focus on the evolution of strategies and devices that are utilized for achieving endovascular clot extraction. In order to demonstrate the progression of this treatment strategy over the past decade, we will also present a single-center case series of AIS patients treated with endovascular thrombectomy.
The role of neuronal plasticity in supporting the addictive state has generated much research and some conceptual theories. One such theory, the sensitization-homeostasis (SH) model, postulates that nicotine suppresses craving circuits, and this triggers the development of homeostatic adaptations that autonomously support craving. Based on clinical studies, the SH model predicts the existence of three distinct forms of neuroplasticity that are responsible for withdrawal, tolerance and the resolution of withdrawal. Over the past decade, many controversial aspects of the SH model have become well established by the literature, while some details have been disproven. Here we update the model based on new studies showing that nicotine dependence develops through a set sequence of symptoms in all smokers, and that the latency to withdrawal, the time it takes for withdrawal symptoms to appear during abstinence, is initially very long but shortens by several orders of magnitude over time. We conclude by outlining directions for future research based on the updated model, and commenting on how new experimental studies can gain from the framework put forth in the SH model.
Early adverse experience is a well-known risk factor for addictive behaviors later in life. Drug addiction typically manifests during adolescence in parallel with the later-developing prefrontal cortex (PFC). While it has been shown that dopaminergic modulation within the PFC is involved in addiction-like behaviors, little is known about how early adversity modulates its development. Here, we report that maternal separation stress (4 h per day between postnatal days 2-20) alters the development of the prelimbic PFC. Immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy revealed differences between maternally-separated and control rats in dopamine D1 and D2 receptor expression during adolescence, and specifically the expression of these receptors on projection neurons. In control animals, D1 and D2 receptors were transiently increased on all glutamatergic projection neurons, as well as specifically on PFC→nucleus accumbens projection neurons (identified with retrograde tracer). Maternal separation exacerbated the adolescent peak in D1 expression and blunted the adolescent peak in D2 expression on projection neurons overall. However, neurons retrogradely traced from the accumbens expressed lower levels of D1 during adolescence after maternal separation, compared to controls. Our findings reveal microcircuitry-specific changes caused by early life adversity that could help explain heightened vulnerability to drug addiction during adolescence.
Medical management of newborn infants often necessitates recurrent painful procedures, which may alter nociceptive pathways during a critical developmental period and adversely effect neuropsychological outcomes. To mitigate the effects of repeated painful stimuli, opioid administration for peri-procedural analgesia and ICU (intensive care unit) sedation is common in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). A growing body of basic and animal evidence suggests potential long-term harm associated with neonatal opioid therapy. Morphine increases apoptosis in human microglial cells, and animal studies demonstrate long-term changes in behavior, brain function, and spatial recognition memory following morphine exposure. This comprehensive review examines existing preclinical and clinical evidence on the long-term impacts of neonatal pain and opioid therapy.
It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the "energy" for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view is concordant with many of the theoretical formulations of Sigmund Freud. In this reconceptualization, all of consciousness may be dependent on the original evolution of affective phenomenal experiences that coded survival values. These subcortical energies provided a foundation that could be used for the epigenetic construction of perceptual and other higher forms of consciousness. From this perspective, perceptual experiences were initially affective at the primary-process brainstem level, but capable of being elaborated by secondary learning and memory processes into tertiary-cognitive forms of consciousness. Within this view, although all individual neural activities are unconscious, perhaps along with secondary-process learning and memory mechanisms, the primal sub-neocortical networks of emotions and other primal affects may have served as the sentient scaffolding for the construction of resolved perceptual and higher mental activities within the neocortex. The data supporting this neuro-psycho-evolutionary vision of the emergence of mind is discussed in relation to classical psychoanalytical models.
Patients with conversion disorder generally suffer from a severe neurological deficit which cannot be attributed to a structural neurological damage. In two patients with acute conversion paraplegia, investigation with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that the insular cortex, a limbic-related cortex involved in body-representation and subjective emotional experience, was activated not only during attempt to move the paralytic body-parts, but also during mental imagery of their movements. In addition, mental rotation of affected body-parts was found to be disturbed, as compared to unaffected body parts or external objects. fMRI during mental rotation of the paralytic body-part showed an activation of another limbic related region, the anterior cingulate cortex. These data suggest that conversion paraplegia is associated with pathological activity in limbic structures involved in body representation and a deficit in mental processing of the affected body-parts.
This paper examines the intricate relationship between working memory (WM) capacity and inhibitory control as a function of both L2 proficiency and age. In both its design and research questions, this study closely follows Gass & Lee's work, where both L1 and L2 Reading Span Tasks (as measures of WM capacity) and L1 and L2 Stroop interference tasks (to measure inhibitory control) were administered. In this study, the test battery is augmented by both an L1 and L2 C-test of overall language proficiency. Participants were 63 L1 Dutch speakers of L2 English, who had been immersed in an L2 environment for a considerable amount of time. Their data were set off against those of 54 monolingual Dutch speakers and 56 monolingual English speakers. At the time of testing, all the bilingual participants had a near-native command of English and their L1 and L2 WM scores were not found to be significantly different. However, discrepancies did occur in Stroop test scores of inhibition, where the bilinguals performed better in their L2 English than L1 Dutch. These main effects often contradicted the results found in Gass & Lee's study, who examined less proficient L2 learners. An aging effect was furthermore found: older subjects consistently performed more poorly on WM and inhibition tasks than their younger peers. These results can shed light on how individual factors like WM capacity and inhibitory control interact in successful late bilinguals and how these dynamics shift with advanced age.
Over the past decade, much progress has been made regarding our understanding of neurogenesis in both young and old animals and where it occurs throughout the lifespan, although the growth of new neurons declines with increasing age. In addition, physical activity can reverse this age-dependent decline in neurogenesis. Highly correlated with this decline is the degree of inter and intracellular Wnt signaling, the molecular mechanisms of which have only recently started to be elucidated. So far, most of what we know about intracellular signaling during/following exercise centers around the CREB/CRE initiated transcriptional events. Relatively little is known, however, about how aging and physical activity affect the Wnt signaling pathway. Herein, we briefly review the salient features of neurogenesis in young and then in old adult animals. Then, we discuss Wnt signaling and review the very few in vitro and in vivo studies that have examined the Wnt signaling pathways in aging and physical activity.
Potential abnormalities in the structure and function of the temporal lobes have been studied much less in bipolar disorder than in schizophrenia. This may not be justified because language-related symptoms, such as pressured speech and flight of ideas, and cognitive deficits in the domain of verbal memory are amongst the hallmark of bipolar disorder (BD), and contribution of temporal lobe dysfunction is therefore likely. In the current study, we examined resting-state functional connectivity (FC) between the auditory cortex (Heschl's gyrus [HG], planum temporale [PT]) and whole brain using seed correlation analysis in n = 21 BD euthymic patients and n = 20 matched healthy controls and associated it with verbal memory performance. In comparison to controls BD patients showed decreased functional connectivity between Heschl's gyrus and planum temporale and the left superior and middle temporal gyrus. Additionally, fronto-temporal functional connectivity with the right inferior frontal/precentral gyrus and the insula was increased in patients. Verbal episodic memory deficits in the investigated sample of BD patients and language-related symptoms might therefore be associated with a diminished FC within the auditory/temporal gyrus and a compensatory fronto-temporal pathway.
Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be accompanied by different levels of consciousness. While encoding is based on a hierarchical arrangement of memory systems from procedural to episodic-autobiographical memory, retrieval allows independence in the sense that no matter how information is encoded, it can be retrieved in any memory system. Thus, we illustrate the relations between various long-term memory systems by reviewing the spectrum of abnormalities in mnemonic processing that may arise in the dissociative amnesia-a condition that is usually characterized by a retrieval blockade of episodic-autobiographical memories and occurs in the context of psychological trauma, without evidence of brain damage on conventional structural imaging. Furthermore, we comment on the functions of implicit memories in guiding and even adaptively molding the behavior of patients with dissociative amnesia and preserving, in the absence of autonoetic consciousness, the so-called "internal coherence of life".
Three studies examined amnesic H.M.'s use of words, phrases, and propositions on the Test of Language Competence (TLC). In Study 1, H.M. used 19 lexical categories (e.g., common nouns, verbs) and one syntactic category (noun phrases) with the same relative frequency as memory-normal controls, he used no lexical or syntactic category with less-than-normal frequency, and he used proper names (e.g., Melanie) and coordinative conjunctions (e.g., and) with reliably greater-than-normal frequency. In Study 2, H.M. overused proper names relative to controls when answering episodic memory questions about childhood experiences in speech and writing, replicating and extending Study 1 results for proper names. Based on detailed analyses of the use (and misuse) of coordinating conjunctions on the TLC, Study 3 developed a syntax-level "compensation hypothesis" for explaining why H.M. overused coordinating conjunctions relative to controls in Study 1. Present results suggested that (a) frontal mechanisms for retrieving word-, phrase-, and propositional-categories are intact in H.M., unlike in category-specific aphasia, (b) using his intact retrieval mechanisms, H.M. has developed a never-previously-observed proposition-level free association strategy to compensate for the hippocampal region damage that has impaired his mechanisms for encoding novel linguistic structures, and (c) H.M.'s overuse of proper names warrants further research.
Every year millions of young people are treated with anaesthetic agents for surgery and sedation in a seemingly safe manner. However, growing and convincing preclinical evidence in rodents and nonhuman primates, together with recent epidemiological observations, suggest that exposure to anaesthetics in common clinical use can be neurotoxic to the developing brain and lead to long-term neurological sequelae. These findings have seriously questioned the safe use of general anaesthetics in obstetric and paediatric patients. The mechanisms and human applicability of anaesthetic neurotoxicity and neuroprotection have remained under intense investigation over the past decade. Ongoing pre-clinical investigation may have significant impact on clinical practice in the near future. This review represents recent developments in this rapidly emerging field. The aim is to summarise recently available laboratory data, especially those being published after 2010, in the field of anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity and its impact on cognitive function. In addition, we will discuss recent findings in mechanisms of early-life anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity, the role of human stem cell-derived models in detecting such toxicity, and new potential alleviating strategies.
Anesthetic neurotoxicity has been a hot topic in anesthesia for the past decade. It is of special interest to pediatric anesthesiologists. A subgroup of children potentially at greater risk for anesthetic neurotoxicity, based on a prolonged anesthetic exposure early in development, are those children receiving anesthesia for surgical repair of congenital heart disease. These children have a known risk of neurologic deficit after cardiopulmonary bypass for surgical repair of congenital heart disease. Yet, the type of anesthesia used has not been considered as a potential etiology for their neurologic deficits. These children not only receive prolonged anesthetic exposure during surgical repair, but also receive repeated anesthetic exposures during a critical period of brain development. Their propensity to abnormal brain development, as a result of congenital heart disease, may modify their risk of anesthetic neurotoxicity. This review article provides an overview of anesthetic neurotoxicity from the perspective of a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist and provides insight into basic science and clinical investigations as it relates to this unique group of children who have been studied over several decades for their risk of neurologic injury.
The use of volatile anesthetics, a group of general anesthetics, is an exceedingly common practice. These anesthetics may have neuroprotective effects. Over the last decade, anesthetic induced neurotoxicity in pediatric populations has gained a certain notoriety based on pre-clinical cell and animal studies demonstrating that general anesthetics may induce neurotoxicity, including neuroapoptosis, neurodegeneration, and long-term neurocognitive and behavioral deficits. With hundreds of millions of people having surgery under general anesthesia worldwide, and roughly six million children annually in the U.S. alone, the importance of clearly defining toxic or protective effects of general anesthetics cannot be overstated. Yet, with our expanding body of knowledge, we have come to learn that perhaps not all volatile anesthetics have the same pharmacological profiles; certain ones may have a more favorable neurotoxic profile and may actually exhibit neuroprotection in specific populations and situations. Thus far, very few clinical studies exist, and have not yet been convincing enough to alter our practice. This review will provide an update on current data regarding volatile anesthetic induced neurotoxicity and neuroprotection in neonatal and infant populations. In addition, this paper will discuss ongoing studies and the trajectory of further research over the coming years.
Cocaine is a psychostimulant in the pharmacological class of drugs called Local Anesthetics. Interestingly, cocaine is the only drug in this class that has a chemical formula comprised of a tropane ring and is, moreover, addictive. The correlation between tropane and addiction is well-studied. Another well-studied correlation is that between psychosis induced by cocaine and that psychosis endogenously present in the schizophrenic patient. Indeed, both of these psychoses exhibit much the same behavioral as well as neurochemical properties across species. Therefore, in order to study the link between schizophrenia and cocaine addiction, we used a behavioral paradigm called Acoustic Startle. We used this acoustic startle paradigm in female versus male Sprague-Dawley animals to discriminate possible sex differences in responses to startle. The startle method operates through auditory pathways in brain via a network of sensorimotor gating processes within auditory cortex, cochlear nuclei, inferior and superior colliculi, pontine reticular nuclei, in addition to mesocorticolimbic brain reward and nigrostriatal motor circuitries. This paper is the first to report sex differences to acoustic stimuli in Sprague-Dawley animals (Rattus norvegicus) although such gender responses to acoustic startle have been reported in humans (Swerdlow et al. 1997 ). The startle method monitors pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) as a measure of the loss of sensorimotor gating in the brain's neuronal auditory network; auditory deficiencies can lead to sensory overload and subsequently cognitive dysfunction. Cocaine addicts and schizophrenic patients as well as cocaine treated animals are reported to exhibit symptoms of defective PPI (Geyer et al., 2001 ). Key findings are: (a) Cocaine significantly reduced PPI in both sexes. (b) Females were significantly more sensitive than males; reduced PPI was greater in females than in males. (c) Physiological saline had no effect on startle in either sex. Thus, the data elucidate gender-specificity to the startle response in animals. Finally, preliminary studies show the effect of cocaine on acoustic startle in tandem with effects on estrous cycle. The data further suggest that hormones may play a role in these sex differences to acoustic startle reported herein.
Astrocytes regulate fundamentally important functions to maintain central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis. Altered astrocytic function is now recognized as a primary contributing factor to an increasing number of neurological diseases. In this review, we provide an overview of our rapidly developing understanding of the basal and inflammatory functions of astrocytes as mediators of CNS responsiveness to inflammation and injury. Specifically, we elaborate on ways that astrocytes actively participate in the pathogenesis of demyelinating diseases of the CNS through their immunomodulatory roles as CNS antigen presenting cells, modulators of blood brain barrier function and as a source of chemokines and cytokines. We also outline how changes in the extracellular matrix can modulate astrocytes phenotypically, resulting in dysregulation of astrocytic responses during inflammatory injury. We also relate recent studies describing newly identified roles for astrocytes in leukodystrophies. Finally, we describe recent advances in how adapting this increasing breadth of knowledge on astrocytes has fostered new ways of thinking about human diseases, which offer potential to modulate astrocytic heterogeneity and plasticity towards therapeutic gain. In summary, recent studies have provided improved insight in a wide variety of neuroinflammatory and demyelinating diseases, and future research on astrocyte pathophysiology is expected to provide new perspectives on these diseases, for which new treatment modalities are increasingly necessary.
Hypoxia-ischemia (HI; reduction in blood/oxygen supply) is common in infants with serious birth complications, such as prolonged labor and cord prolapse, as well as in infants born prematurely (<37 weeks gestational age; GA). Most often, HI can lead to brain injury in the form of cortical and subcortical damage, as well as later cognitive/behavioral deficits. A common domain of impairment is working memory, which can be associated with heightened incidence of developmental disorders. To further characterize these clinical issues, the current investigation describes data from a rodent model of HI induced on postnatal (P)7, an age comparable to a term (GA 36-38) human. Specifically, we sought to assess working memory using an eight-arm radial water maze paradigm. Study 1 used a modified version of the paradigm, which requires a step-wise change in spatial memory via progressively more difficult tasks, as well as multiple daily trials for extra learning opportunity. Results were surprising and revealed a small HI deficit only for the final and most difficult condition, when a delay before test trial was introduced. Study 2 again used the modified radial arm maze, but presented the most difficult condition from the start, and only one daily test trial. Here, results were expected and revealed a robust and consistent HI deficit across all weeks. Combined results indicate that male HI rats can learn a difficult spatial working memory task if it is presented in a graded multi-trial format, but performance is poor and does not appear to remediate if the task is presented with high initial memory demand. Male HI rats in both studies displayed impulsive characteristics throughout testing evidenced as reduced choice latencies despite more errors. This aspect of behavioral results is consistent with impulsiveness as a core symptom of ADHD-a diagnosis common in children with HI insult. Overall findings suggest that task specific behavioral modifications are crucial to accommodating memory deficits in children suffering from cognitive impairments following neonatal HI.
Several cross-sectional functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies reported a negative correlation between auditory verbal hallucination (AVH) severity and amplitude of the activations during language tasks. The present study assessed the time course of this correlation and its possible structural underpinnings by combining structural, functional MRI and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS).
Nine schizophrenia patients with AVH (evaluated with the Auditory Hallucination Rating scale; AHRS) and nine healthy participants underwent two sessions of an fMRI speech listening paradigm. Meanwhile, patients received high frequency (20 Hz) rTMS.
Before rTMS, activations were negatively correlated with AHRS in a left posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) cluster, considered henceforward as a functional region of interest (fROI). After rTMS, activations in this fROI no longer correlated with AHRS. This decoupling was explained by a significant decrease of AHRS scores after rTMS that contrasted with a relative stability of cerebral activations. A voxel-based-morphometry analysis evidenced a cluster of the left pSTS where grey matter volume negatively correlated with AHRS before rTMS and positively correlated with activations in the fROI at both sessions.
rTMS decreases the severity of AVH leading to modify the functional correlate of AVH underlain by grey matter abnormalities.
In developing neurons the frequency of long duration, spontaneous, transient calcium (Ca2+) elevations localized to the growth cone, is inversely related to the rate of axon elongation and increases several fold when axons pause. Here we report that these spontaneous Ca2+ transients with slow kinetics, called Ca2+ waves, are modulated by conditions of ethanol exposure that alter axonal growth dynamics. Using time-series fluorescence calcium imaging we found that acute treatment of fetal rat hippocampal neurons with 43 or 87 mM ethanol at an early stage of development in culture decreased the percent of axon growth cones showing at least one Ca2+ wave during 10 min of recording, from 18% in controls to 5% in cultures exposed to ethanol. Chronic exposure to 43 mM ethanol also reduced the incidence of Ca2+ waves to 8%, but exposure to 87 mM ethanol increased their incidence to 31%. Neither chronic nor acute ethanol affected the peak amplitude, time to peak or total duration of Ca2+ waves. In some experiments, we determined the temporal correlation between Ca2+ waves and growth and non-growth phases of axonal growth dynamics. As expected, waves were most prevalent in stationary or retracting growth cones in all treatment groups, except in cultures exposed chronically to 87 mM ethanol. Thus, the relationship between growth cone Ca2+ waves and axon growth dynamics is disrupted by ethanol.
Gamma band oscillations in the human brain (around 40 Hz) play a functional role in information processing, and a real-time assessment of gamma band activity could be used to evaluate the functional relevance more directly. Therefore, we developed a source based Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) with an online detection of gamma band activity in a selective brain region in the visual cortex. The BCI incorporates modules for online detection of various artifacts (including microsaccades) and the artifacts were continuously fed back to the volunteer. We examined the efficiency of the source-based BCI for Neurofeedback training of gamma- and alpha-band (8-12 Hz) oscillations and compared the specificity for the spatial and frequency domain. Our results demonstrated that volunteers learned to selectively switch between modulating alpha- or gamma-band oscillations and benefited from online artifact information. The analyses revealed a high level of accuracy with respect to frequency and topography for the gamma-band modulations. Thus, the developed BCI can be used to manipulate the fast oscillatory activity with a high level of specificity. These selective modulations can be used to assess the relevance of fast neural oscillations for information processing in a more direct way, i.e., by the adaptive presentation of stimuli within well-described brain states.
The beneficial effects of exercise on brain function have been demonstrated in animal models and in a growing number of clinical studies on humans. There are multiple mechanisms that account for the brain-enhancing effects of exercise, including neuroinflammation, vascularization, antioxidation, energy adaptation, and regulations on neurotrophic factors and neurotransmitters. Dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NE), and serotonin (5-HT) are the three major monoamine neurotransmitters that are known to be modulated by exercise. This review focuses on how these three neurotransmitters contribute to exercise affecting brain function and how it can work against neurological disorders.
Olfactory hallucinations without subsequent myoclonic activity have not been well characterized or understood. Herein we describe, in a retrospective study, two major forms of olfactory hallucinations labeled phantosmias: one, unirhinal, the other, birhinal. To describe these disorders we performed several procedures to elucidate similarities and differences between these processes. From 1272, patients evaluated for taste and smell dysfunction at The Taste and Smell Clinic, Washington, DC with clinical history, neurological and otolaryngological examinations, evaluations of taste and smell function, EEG and neuroradiological studies 40 exhibited cyclic unirhinal phantosmia (CUP) usually without hyposmia whereas 88 exhibited non-cyclic birhinal phantosmia with associated symptomology (BPAS) with hyposmia. Patients with CUP developed phantosmia spontaneously or after laughing, coughing or shouting initially with spontaneous inhibition and subsequently with Valsalva maneuvers, sleep or nasal water inhalation; they had frequent EEG changes usually ipsilateral sharp waves. Patients with BPAS developed phantosmia secondary to several clinical events usually after hyposmia onset with few EEG changes; their phantosmia could not be initiated or inhibited by any physiological maneuver. CUP is uncommonly encountered and represents a newly defined clinical syndrome. BPAS is commonly encountered, has been observed previously but has not been clearly defined. Mechanisms responsible for phantosmia in each group were related to decreased gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity in specific brain regions. Treatment which activated brain GABA inhibited phantosmia in both groups.
The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. Alpha band variation was monitored within the right- and left-cortical side when subjects consciously (supraliminal stimulation) or unconsciously (subliminal stimulation) processed facial patterns. Twenty subjects looked at six facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) under two different conditions: supraliminal (200 ms) vs. subliminal (30 ms) stimulation (140 target-mask pairs for each condition). The results showed that conscious/unconscious processing and the significance of the stimulus can modulate the alpha power. Moreover, it was found that there was an increased right frontal activity for negative emotions vs. an increased left response for positive emotion. The significance of facial expressions was adduced to elucidate cortical different responses to emotional types.
Rhythm as the time structure of music is composed of distinct temporal components such as pattern, meter, and tempo. Each feature requires different computational processes: meter involves representing repeating cycles of strong and weak beats; pattern involves representing intervals at each local time point which vary in length across segments and are linked hierarchically; and tempo requires representing frequency rates of underlying pulse structures. We explored whether distinct rhythmic elements engage different neural mechanisms by recording brain activity of adult musicians and non-musicians with positron emission tomography (PET) as they made covert same-different discriminations of (a) pairs of rhythmic, monotonic tone sequences representing changes in pattern, tempo, and meter, and (b) pairs of isochronous melodies. Common to pattern, meter, and tempo tasks were focal activities in right, or bilateral, areas of frontal, cingulate, parietal, prefrontal, temporal, and cerebellar cortices. Meter processing alone activated areas in right prefrontal and inferior frontal cortex associated with more cognitive and abstract representations. Pattern processing alone recruited right cortical areas involved in different kinds of auditory processing. Tempo processing alone engaged mechanisms subserving somatosensory and premotor information (e.g., posterior insula, postcentral gyrus). Melody produced activity different from the rhythm conditions (e.g., right anterior insula and various cerebellar areas). These exploratory findings suggest the outlines of some distinct neural components underlying the components of rhythmic structure.
New paradigms are required in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) systems for the needs and expectations of healthy people. To solve this issue, we explore the emerging field of cooperative BCIs, which involves several users in a single BCI system. Contrary to classical BCIs that are dependent on the unique subject's will, cooperative BCIs are used for problem solving tasks where several people shall be engaged by sharing a common goal. Similarly as combining trials over time improves performance, combining trials across subjects can significantly improve performance compared with when only a single user is involved. Yet, cooperative BCIs may only be used in particular settings, and new paradigms must be proposed to efficiently use this approach. The possible benefits of using several subjects are addressed, and compared with current single-subject BCI paradigms. To show the advantages of a cooperative BCI, we evaluate the performance of combining decisions across subjects with data from an event-related potentials (ERP) based experiment where each subject observed the same sequence of visual stimuli. Furthermore, we show that it is possible to achieve a mean AUC superior to 0.95 with 10 subjects and 3 electrodes on each subject, or with 4 subjects and 6 electrodes on each subject. Several emerging challenges and possible applications are proposed to highlight how cooperative BCIs could be efficiently used with current technologies and leverage BCI applications.
Learning foreign speech contrasts involves creating new representations of sound categories in memory. This formation of new memory representations is likely to involve changes in neural networks as reflected by oscillatory brain activity. To explore this, we conducted time-frequency analyses of electro-encephalography (EEG) data recorded in a passive auditory oddball paradigm using Thai language tones. We compared native speakers of English (a non-tone language) and native speakers of Mandarin Chinese (a tone language), before and after a two-day laboratory training. Native English speakers showed a larger gamma-band power and stronger alpha-band synchrony across EEG channels than the native Chinese speakers, especially after training. This is compatible with the view that forming new speech categories on the basis of unfamiliar perceptual dimensions involves stronger gamma activity and more coherent activity in alpha-band networks than forming new categories on the basis of familiar dimensions.
Conscious and unconscious brain mechanisms, including cognition, emotions and language are considered in this review. The fundamental mechanisms of cognition include interactions between bottom-up and top-down signals. The modeling of these interactions since the 1960s is briefly reviewed, analyzing the ubiquitous difficulty: incomputable combinatorial complexity (CC). Fundamental reasons for CC are related to the Gödel's difficulties of logic, a most fundamental mathematical result of the 20th century. Many scientists still "believed" in logic because, as the review discusses, logic is related to consciousness; non-logical processes in the brain are unconscious. CC difficulty is overcome in the brain by processes "from vague-unconscious to crisp-conscious" (representations, plans, models, concepts). These processes are modeled by dynamic logic, evolving from vague and unconscious representations toward crisp and conscious thoughts. We discuss experimental proofs and relate dynamic logic to simulators of the perceptual symbol system. "From vague to crisp" explains interactions between cognition and language. Language is mostly conscious, whereas cognition is only rarely so; this clarifies much about the mind that might seem mysterious. All of the above involve emotions of a special kind, aesthetic emotions related to knowledge and to cognitive dissonances. Cognition-language-emotional mechanisms operate throughout the hierarchy of the mind and create all higher mental abilities. The review discusses cognitive functions of the beautiful, sublime, music.
Perinatal brain injury can be induced by a number of different damaging events occurring during or shortly after birth, including neonatal asphyxia, neonatal hypoxia-ischemia and stroke-induced focal ischemia. Typical manifestations of these conditions are the presence of glutamate excitoxicity, neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, the combination of which can potentially result in apoptotic-necrotic cell death, generation of brain lesions and long-lasting functional impairment. In spite of the high incidence of perinatal brain injury, the number of clinical interventions available for the treatment of the affected newborn babies is extremely limited. Hence, there is a dramatic need to develop new effective therapies aimed to prevent acute brain damage and enhance the endogenous mechanisms of long-term brain repair. The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous neuromodulatory system involved in the control of multiple central and peripheral functions. An early responder to neuronal injury, the endocannabinoid system has been described as an endogenous neuroprotective system that once activated can prevent glutamate excitotoxicity, intracellular calcium accumulation, activation of cell death pathways, microglia activation, neurovascular reactivity and infiltration of circulating leukocytes across the blood-brain barrier. The modulation of the endocannabinoid system has proven to be an effective neuroprotective strategy to prevent and reduce neonatal brain injury in different animal models and species. Also, the beneficial role of the endocannabinoid system on the control of the endogenous repairing responses (neurogenesis and white matter restoration) to neonatal brain injury has been described in independent studies. This review addresses the particular effects of several drugs that modulate the activity of the endocannabinoid system on the progression of different manifestations of perinatal brain injury during both the acute and chronic recovery phases using rodent and non-rodent animal models, and will provide a complete description of the known mechanisms that mediate such effects.
Tor preventive measures are necessary to attenuate the increased economic and social burden of dementia. This review will focus on the potential for physical activity and exercise training to promote brain health and improve cognitive function via neurophysiological changes. We will review pertinent animal and human research examining the effects of physical activity on cognitive function and neurophysiology. We will discuss cross-sectional and longitudinal studies addressing the relationship between neurocognitive health and cardiorespiratory fitness or habitual activity level. We will then present and discuss longitudinal investigations examining the effects of exercise training on cognitive function and neurophysiology. We will conclude by summarizing our current understanding of the relationship between physical activity and brain health, and present areas for future research given the current gaps in our understanding of this issue.
The present discourse links the electrical and chemical properties of the brain with neurotransmitters and movement behaviors to further elucidate strategies to diagnose and treat brain disease. Neuromolecular imaging (NMI), based on electrochemical principles, is used to detect serotonin in nerve terminals (dorsal and ventral striata) and somatodendrites (ventral tegmentum) of reward/motor mesocorticolimbic and nigrostriatal brain circuits. Neuronal release of serotonin is detected at the same time and in the same animal, freely moving and unrestrained, while open-field behaviors are monitored via infrared photobeams. The purpose is to emphasize the unique ability of NMI and the BRODERICK PROBE® biosensors to empirically image a pattern of temporal synchrony, previously reported, for example, in Aplysia using central pattern generators (CPGs), serotonin and cerebral peptide-2. Temporal synchrony is reviewed within the context of the literature on central pattern generators, neurotransmitters and movement disorders. Specifically, temporal synchrony data are derived from studies on psychostimulant behavior with and without cocaine while at the same time and continuously, serotonin release in motor neurons within basal ganglia, is detected. The results show that temporal synchrony between the neurotransmitter, serotonin and natural movement occurs when the brain is NOT injured via, e.g., trauma, addictive drugs or psychiatric illness. In striking contrast, in the case of serotonin and cocaine-induced psychostimulant behavior, a different form of synchrony and also asynchrony can occur. Thus, the known dysfunctional movement behavior produced by cocaine may well be related to the loss of temporal synchrony, the loss of the ability to match serotonin in brain with motor activity. The empirical study of temporal synchrony patterns in humans and animals may be more relevant to the dynamics of motor circuits and movement behaviors than are studies of static parameters currently relied upon within the realms of science and medicine. There are myriad applications for the use of NMI to discover clinically relevant diagnoses and treatments for brain disease involving the motor system.
Our recently described nonlinear dynamical model of cell injury is here applied to the problems of brain ischemia and neuroprotection. We discuss measurement of global brain ischemia injury dynamics by time course analysis. Solutions to proposed experiments are simulated using hypothetical values for the model parameters. The solutions solve the global brain ischemia problem in terms of "master bifurcation diagrams" that show all possible outcomes for arbitrary durations of all lethal cerebral blood flow (CBF) decrements. The global ischemia master bifurcation diagrams: (1) can map to a single focal ischemia insult, and (2) reveal all CBF decrements susceptible to neuroprotection. We simulate measuring a neuroprotectant by time course analysis, which revealed emergent nonlinear effects that set dynamical limits on neuroprotection. Using over-simplified stroke geometry, we calculate a theoretical maximum protection of approximately 50% recovery. We also calculate what is likely to be obtained in practice and obtain 38% recovery; a number close to that often reported in the literature. The hypothetical examples studied here illustrate the use of the nonlinear cell injury model as a fresh avenue of approach that has the potential, not only to solve the brain ischemia problem, but also to advance the technology of neuroprotection.
At present there are no clinical therapies that can repair traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or degenerative brain disease. While redundancy and rewiring of surviving circuits can recover some lost function, the brain and spinal column lack sufficient endogenous stem cells to replace lost neurons or their supporting glia. In contrast, pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that exogenous transplants can have remarkable efficacy for brain repair in animal models. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can provide paracrine factors that repair damage caused by ischemic injury, and oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) grafts give dramatic functional recovery from spinal cord injury. These studies have progressed to clinical trials, including human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived OPCs for spinal cord repair. However, ESC-derived allografts are less than optimal, and we need to identify a more appropriate donor graft population. The cell reprogramming field has developed the ability to trans-differentiate somatic cells into distinct cell types, a technology that has the potential to generate autologous neurons and glia which address the histocompatibility concerns of allografts and the tumorigenicity concerns of ESC-derived grafts. Further clarifying how cell reprogramming works may lead to more efficient direct reprogram approaches, and possibly in vivo reprogramming, in order to promote brain and spinal cord repair.
Hypoxia Ischemia (HI) refers to the disruption of blood and/or oxygen delivery to the brain. Term infants suffering perinatal complications that result in decreased blood flow and/or oxygen delivery to the brain are at risk for HI. Among a variety of developmental delays in this population, HI injured infants demonstrate subsequent memory deficits. The Rice-Vannucci rodent HI model can be used to explore behavioral deficits following early HI events, as well as possible therapeutic agents to help reduce deleterious outcomes. Caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist that has recently shown promising results as a therapeutic agent following HI injury. The current study sought to investigate the therapeutic benefit of caffeine following early HI injury in male rats. On post-natal day (P) 7, HI injury was induced (cauterization of the right common carotid artery, followed by two hours of 8% oxygen). Male sham animals received only a midline incision with no manipulation of the artery followed by room air exposure for two hours. Subsets of HI and sham animals then received either an intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of caffeine (10 mg/kg), or vehicle (sterile saline) immediately following hypoxia. All animals later underwent testing on the Morris Water Maze (MWM) from P90 to P95. Results show that HI injured animals (with no caffeine treatment) displayed significant deficits on the MWM task relative to shams. These deficits were attenuated by caffeine treatment when given immediately following the induction of HI. We also found a reduction in right cortical volume (ipsilateral to injury) in HI saline animals as compared to shams, while right cortical volume in the HI caffeine treated animals was intermediate. These findings suggest that caffeine is a potential therapeutic agent that could be used in HI injured infants to reduce brain injury and preserve subsequent cognitive function.