The ability of VSL#3 to restore the age-related deficit in LTP is associated with changes in brain genes expression
ABSTRACT: A deficit in synaptic plasticity is one of the many changes that occurs with age. Specifically the archetypal model of plasticity, long-term potentiation (LTP), is reduced in hippocampus of middle-aged and aged animals. Several factors are likely to contribute to this deficit including morphological changes like a net loss of neurons and loss of synapses with the consequent changes in receptor signalling. However it is also clear that ageing is associated with development of oxidative stress, and also inflammatory stress which is typified by increased activation of microglia. Recent evidence has indicated that probiotics exert anti-inflammatory in the gut. Specifically VSL#3, a proprietary probiotic comprising 8 Gram-positive bacterial strains, decreased markers of inflammation in the colon in an animal model of colitis. We considered that its anti-inflammatory effects might extend to brain and therefore that treatment of aged rats with VSL#3 might attenuate the age-related deficit in LTP. The evidence indicates that LTP was impaired in control-treated aged rats but sustained in aged rats which received VSL#3. This was accompanied by a modest decrease in markers of microglial activation and an increase in BDNF and synapsin . The microarray analysis demonstrated that VSL#3 treatment induces changes also in the expression of some brain genes. four sample groups each representing a certain treatment condition of young or adult male Han Wistar rats
Project description:A deficit in synaptic plasticity is one of the many changes that occurs with age. Specifically the archetypal model of plasticity, long-term potentiation (LTP), is reduced in hippocampus of middle-aged and aged animals. Several factors are likely to contribute to this deficit including morphological changes like a net loss of neurons and loss of synapses with the consequent changes in receptor signalling. However it is also clear that ageing is associated with development of oxidative stress, and also inflammatory stress which is typified by increased activation of microglia. Recent evidence has indicated that probiotics exert anti-inflammatory in the gut. Specifically VSL#3, a proprietary probiotic comprising 8 Gram-positive bacterial strains, decreased markers of inflammation in the colon in an animal model of colitis. We considered that its anti-inflammatory effects might extend to brain and therefore that treatment of aged rats with VSL#3 might attenuate the age-related deficit in LTP. The evidence indicates that LTP was impaired in control-treated aged rats but sustained in aged rats which received VSL#3. This was accompanied by a modest decrease in markers of microglial activation and an increase in BDNF and synapsin . The microarray analysis demonstrated that VSL#3 treatment induces changes also in the expression of some brain genes. Overall design: four sample groups each representing a certain treatment condition of young or adult male Han Wistar rats
Project description:The intestinal microbiota is increasingly recognized as a complex signaling network that impacts on many systems beyond the enteric system modulating, among others, cognitive functions including learning, memory and decision-making processes. This has led to the concept of a microbiota-driven gut-brain axis, reflecting a bidirectional interaction between the central nervous system and the intestine. A deficit in synaptic plasticity is one of the many changes that occurs with age. Specifically, the archetypal model of plasticity, long-term potentiation (LTP), is reduced in hippocampus of middle-aged and aged rats. Because the intestinal microbiota might change with age, we have investigated whether the age-related deficit in LTP might be attenuated by changing the composition of intestinal microbiota with VSL#3, a probiotic mixture comprising 8 Gram-positive bacterial strains. Here, we report that treatment of aged rats with VSL#3 induced a robust change in the composition of intestinal microbiota with an increase in the abundance of Actinobacteria and Bacterioidetes, which was reduced in control-treated aged rats. VSL#3 administration modulated the expression of a large group of genes in brain tissue as assessed by whole gene expression, with evidence of a change in genes that impact on inflammatory and neuronal plasticity processes. The age-related deficit in LTP was attenuated in VSL#3-treated aged rats and this was accompanied by a modest decrease in markers of microglial activation and an increase in expression of BDNF and synapsin. The data support the notion that intestinal microbiota can be manipulated to positively impact on neuronal function.
Project description:Aging-related emotional memory deficit is a well-known complication in Alzheimer's disease and normal aging. However, little is known about its molecular mechanism. To address this issue, we examined the role of norepinephrine (NE) and its relevant drug desipramine in the regulation of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), surface expression of AMPA receptor, and associative fear memory in rats. We found that there was a defective regulation of NE content and AMPA receptor trafficking during fear conditioning, which were accompanied by impaired emotional memory and LTP in aged rats. Furthermore, we also found that the exogenous upregulation of NE ameliorated the impairment of LTP and emotional memory via enhancing AMPA receptor trafficking in aged rats, and the downregulation of NE impaired LTP in adult rats. Finally, acute treatment with NE or desipramine rescued the impaired emotional memory in aged rats. These results imply a pivotal role for NE in synaptic plasticity and associative fear memory in aging rats and suggest that desipramine is a potential candidate for treating aging-related emotional memory deficit.
Project description:A norepinephrine (NE) deficiency has been observed in aged rats and in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is thought to cause cognitive disorder. Which endogenous factor induces NE depletion, however, is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of aging-associated formaldehyde (FA) on the inactivation of NE in vitro and in vivo, and on memory behaviors in rodents. The results showed that age-related DNA demethylation led to hippocampal FA accumulation, and when this occurred, the hippocampal NE content was reduced in healthy male rats of different ages. Furthermore, biochemical analysis revealed that FA rapidly inactivated NE in vitro and that an intrahippocampal injection of FA markedly reduced hippocampal NE levels in healthy adult rats. Unexpectedly, an injection of FA (at a pathological level) or 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA, a NE depletor) can mimic age-related NE deficiency, long-term potentiation (LTP) impairments, and spatial memory deficits in healthy adult rats. Conversely, an injection of NE reversed age-related deficits in both LTP and memory in aged rats. In agreement with the above results, the senescence-accelerated prone 8 (SAMP8) mice also exhibited a severe deficit in LTP and memory associated with a more severe NE deficiency and FA accumulation, when compared with the age-matched, senescence-resistant 1 (SAMR1) mice. Injection of resveratrol (a natural FA scavenger) or NE into SAMP8 mice reversed FA accumulation and NE deficiency and restored the magnitude of LTP and memory. Collectively, these findings suggest that accumulated FA is a critical endogenous factor for aging-associated NE depletion and cognitive decline.
Project description:We previously identified a set of 50 genes that were differentially transcribed in the hippocampal CA1 region of aged, learning-impaired rats compared to aged, superior learning animals during a Morris water maze paradigm. In the current study, we expressed three of these genes (Pctk1, Tcf12 and Ccnd1), which had shown increased transcription in aged, learning impaired rats, in the hippocampus of young rats using viral gene transfer and tested for learning and memory deficits at age 7-14months. Pctk1 injected animals displayed a modest deficit in acquiring latency in both the Morris water maze and the reverse Morris maze. In the radial arm water maze paradigm, Pctk1, Tcf12 and Ccnd1 expressing animals all showed significant deficits in spatial working memory compared to controls. Rats injected with Ccnd1 and Tcf12, but not Pctk1, also showed a significant deficit in spatial reference memory in the radial arm water maze. Electrophysiological experiments revealed no difference in LTP in Ccnd1 and Pctk1 animals. However, LTD induced by low frequency stimulation was observed in control and Ccnd1 animals, but not in Pctk1 treated animals. In addition, neither Ccnd1 nor Pctk1 expression produced any detectable neuropathology. In contrast Tcf12 expressing animals displayed significant neurodegeneration in both CA1 and dentate gyrus. Several Tcf12 animals also developed tumors that appeared to be glioblastomas, suggesting that aberrant Tcf12 expression in the hippocampus is tumorigenic. Thus, behavioral experiments suggested that overexpression of Pctk1 and Ccnd1 produce a deficit in learning and memory, but electrophysiological experiments do not point to a simple mechanism. In contrast, the learning and memory deficits in Tcf12 animals are likely due to neuropathology associated with Tcf12 gene expression.
Project description:Cocaine addiction is characterized by an impaired ability to develop adaptive behaviors that can compete with cocaine seeking, implying a deficit in the ability to induce plasticity in cortico-accumbens circuitry crucial for regulating motivated behavior. We found that rats withdrawn from cocaine self-administration had a marked in vivo deficit in the ability to develop long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in the nucleus accumbens core subregion after stimulation of the prefrontal cortex. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment prevents relapse in animal models and craving in humans by activating cystine-glutamate exchange and thereby stimulating extrasynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR). NAC treatment of rats restored the ability to induce LTP and LTD by indirectly stimulating mGluR2/3 and mGluR5, respectively. Our findings show that cocaine self-administration induces metaplasticity that inhibits further induction of synaptic plasticity, and this impairment can be reversed by NAC, a drug that also prevents relapse.
Project description:Visual statistical learning (VSL) was traditionally tested through offline two-alternative forced choice (2-AFC) questions. More recently, online reaction time (RT) measures and alternative offline question types have been developed to further investigate learning during exposure and more adequately assess individual differences in adults (Siegelman et al., 2017b, 2018). We assessed the usefulness of these measures for investigating VSL in early-school-aged children. Secondarily, we examined the effect of introducing a cover task, potentially affecting attention, on children's VSL performance. Fifty-three children (aged 5-8 years) performed a self-paced VSL task containing triplets, in which participants determine the presentation speed and RTs to each stimulus are recorded. Half of the participants performed a cover task, while the other half did not. Online sensitivity to the statistical structure was measured by contrasting RTs to unpredictable versus predictable elements. Subsequently, participants completed 2-AFC (choose correct triplet) and 3-AFC (fill blank to complete triplet) offline questions. RTs were significantly longer for unpredictable than predictable elements, so we conclude that early-school-aged children are sensitive to the statistical structure during exposure, and that the RT task can measure that. We found no evidence as to whether children can perform above chance on offline 2-AFC or 3-AFC questions, or whether the cover task affects children's VSL performance. These results show the feasibility of using an online RT task when assessing VSL in early-school-aged children. This task therefore seems suitable for future studies that aim to investigate VSL across development or in clinical populations, perhaps together with behavioral tasks.
Project description:Accumulating evidence implicates dysregulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the pathophysiology of depression. However, the effects of ketamine on synaptic plasticity and their contribution to its mechanism of action as an antidepressant, are still unclear. We investigated ketamine’s effects on in vivo dorsal hippocampal (dHPC) synaptic plasticity and their role in mediating aspects of antidepressant activity in the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) model of depression. dHPC long-term potentiation (LTP) was significantly impaired in WKY rats compared to Wistar controls. Importantly, a single low dose (5?mg/kg, ip) of ketamine or its metabolite, (2R,6R)-HNK, rescued the LTP deficit in WKY rats at 3.5?h but not 30?min following injection, with residual effects at 24?h, indicating a delayed, sustained facilitatory effect on dHPC synaptic plasticity. Consistent with the observed dHPC LTP deficit, WKY rats exhibited impaired hippocampal-dependent long-term spatial memory as measured by the novel object location recognition test (NOLRT), which was effectively restored by pre-treatment with both ketamine or (2R,6R)-HNK. In contrast, in WKYs, which display abnormal stress coping, ketamine, but not (2R,6R)-HNK, had rapid and sustained effects in the forced swim test (FST), a commonly used preclinical screen for antidepressant-like activity. The differential effects of (2R,6R)-HNK observed here reveal a dissociation between drug effects on FST immobility and dHPC synaptic plasticity. Therefore, in the WKY rat model, restoring dHPC LTP was not correlated with ketamine’s effects in FST, but importantly, may have contributed to the reversal of hippocampal-dependent cognitive deficits, which are critical features of clinical depression. Our findings support the theory that ketamine may reverse the stress-induced loss of connectivity in key neural circuits by engaging synaptic plasticity processes to “reset the system”.
Project description:NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus is widely accepted as a cellular substrate for memory formation. Age-related declines in the expression of both NMDAR-dependent LTP and NMDAR subunit proteins in the CA1 region of the hippocampus have been well characterized and likely underlie age-related memory impairment. In the current study, we examined NMDAR-dependent LTP in young Fischer 344 rats (4 months old) and aged rats (24 months old) given either a control diet or a diet supplemented with blueberry extract for 6-8 weeks. NMDAR-dependent LTP was evoked by high-frequency stimulation (HFS) in the presence of nifedipine, to eliminate voltage-gated calcium channel LTP. Field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) were increased by 57% 1 h after HFS in young animals, but this potentiation was reduced to 31% in aged animals. Supplementation of the diet with blueberry extract elevated LTP (63%) in aged animals to levels seen in young. The normalization of LTP may be due to the blueberry diet preventing a decline in synaptic strength, as measured by the slope of the fEPSP for a given fiber potential. The blueberry diet did not prevent age-related declines in NMDAR protein expression. However, phosphorylation of a key tyrosine residue on the NR2B subunit, important for increasing NMDAR function, was enhanced by the diet, suggesting that an increase in NMDAR function might overcome the loss in protein. This report provides evidence that dietary alterations later in life may prevent or postpone the cognitive declines associated with aging.
Project description:Background & Aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain and is linked to post-inflammatory and stress-correlated factors that cause changes in the perception of visceral events. Increased evidence indicates that probiotic bacteria may be useful in treating IBS. Our aims were to evaluate the efficacy of treatment with VSL#3, a mixture of 8 probiotic bacteria strains, in the neonatal maternal separation (NMS)-induced visceral hypersensitivity rat model and to determine whether it modulates the colonic expression of pain-related genes. Methods: Male NMS pups were treated orally with placebo or VSL#3 at days 3-60, while normal, not separated rats were used as control. After 60 days from birth, perception of painful sensation induced by colorectal distension (CRD) was measured by assessing the abdominal withdrawal reflex (score 0-4). The colonic gene expression analysis was assessed by using Agilent Whole Rat Genome Oligo Microarrays. Results: NMS rats exhibited both hyperalgesia and allodynia when compared with controls. VSL#3 showed a potent analgesic effect on CRD-induced pain without modifying colorectal compliance. The microarray analysis demonstrated that NMS rats had both over- and downregulation of several genes involved in inflammatory and painful processes and VSL#3 was able to counteract these alterations. Conclusions: This study indicates that VSL#3 is effective in reducing visceral pain in an experimental model of IBS by induction or suppression of pain-modulating genes. These observations provide support for the use of VSL#3 in the treatment of painful conditions related to IBS. The dataset comprises 12 samples divided into three sample groups each representing a certain treatment condition of male rats.