Project description:Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a primary phospholipid and major source of secondary lipid messengers and also serves as a biosynthetic precursor for other membrane phospholipids. Phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CCT) is the rate-limiting enzyme responsible for catalyzing the formation of PC. Changes in CCT activity have been associated with lipid dysregulation across various neurological disorders. Additionally, intermediates in PC synthesis, such as CDP-choline, have been suggested to attenuate drug craving during cocaine addiction. Recent work from our group demonstrated that cocaine exposure and conditioning alter the level of PC in the brain, specifically in the cerebellum and hippocampus. The present study examines the role of CCT expression in the brain and determines the effect of cocaine exposure on CCT expression. Immunohistochemical analysis (IHC) was performed to assess region-specific expression of CCT, including both of its isoforms; alpha (CCT?) and beta (CCT?). IHC did not detect any staining of CCT? throughout the rat brain. In contrast, CCT? expression was detected in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum with decreases in expression following cocaine exposure. Collectively, these data demonstrate the region- and cell-specific localization of CCT? and CCT? in the rat brain, as well as the altered expression of CCT? in the cerebellum following cocaine exposure.
Project description:Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are structurally similar to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and have both central (learning and memory deficits) and peripheral (motor dysfunction) neurotoxic effects at concentrations/doses similar to those of PCBs. The cellular and molecular mechanisms for these neurotoxic effects are not fully understood; however, several studies have shown that PBDEs affect thyroid hormones, cause oxidative stress, and disrupt Ca2+-mediated signal transduction. Changes in these signal transduction pathways can lead to differential gene regulation with subsequent changes in protein expression, which can affect the development and function of the nervous system.In this study, we examined the protein expression profiles in the rat cerebellum and hippocampus following developmental exposure to a commercial PBDE mixture, DE-71.Pregnant Long-Evans rats were dosed perinatally with 0 or 30.6 mg/kg/day of DE-71 from gestation day 6 through sampling on postnatal day 14. Proteins from the cerebellum and hippocampus were extracted, expression differences were detected by two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis, and proteins were identified by tandem mass spectrometry. Protein network interaction analysis was performed using Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis, and the proteins of interest were validated by Western blotting.Four proteins were significantly differentially expressed in the cerebellum following DE-71 exposure, whereas 70 proteins were significantly differentially expressed in the hippocampus. Of these proteins, 4 from the cerebellum and 47 from the hippocampus, identifiable by mass spectrometry, were found to have roles in mitochondrial energy metabolism, oxidative stress, apoptosis, calcium signaling, and growth of the nervous system.Results suggest that changes in energy metabolism and processes related to neuroplasticity and growth may be involved in the developmental neurotoxicity of PBDEs.
Project description:Morphine is one of the most effective analgesics in medicine. However, its use is associated with the development of tolerance and dependence. Recent studies demonstrating epigenetic changes in the brain after exposure to opiates have provided insight into mechanisms possibly underlying addiction. In this study, we sought to identify epigenetic changes in ten regions of the rat brain following acute and chronic morphine exposure. We analyzed DNA methylation of six nuclear-encoded genes implicated in brain function (Bdnf, Comt, Il1b, Il6, Nr3c1, and Tnf) and three mitochondrially-encoded genes (Mtco1, Mtco2, and Mtco3), and measured global 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5?hmC) levels. We observed differential methylation of Bdnf and Il6 in the pons, Nr3c1 in the cerebellum, and Il1b in the hippocampus in response to acute morphine exposure (all P value < 0.05). Chronic exposure was associated with differential methylation of Bdnf and Comt in the pons, Nr3c1 in the hippocampus and Il1b in the medulla oblongata (all P value < 0.05). Global 5mC levels significantly decreased in the superior colliculus following both acute and chronic morphine exposure, and increased in the hypothalamus following chronic exposure. Chronic exposure was also associated with significantly increased global 5hmC levels in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and hypothalamus, but significantly decreased in the midbrain. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, highly localized epigenetic changes in the rat brain following acute and chronic morphine exposure. Further work is required to elucidate the potential role of these changes in the formation of tolerance and dependence.
Project description:Exposure to loud noise is a major environmental threat to public health. Loud noise exposure, apart from affecting the inner ear, is deleterious for cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous systems and it is associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. In this study we investigated DNA, neurotransmitters and immune-histochemical alterations induced by exposure to loud noise in three major brain areas (cerebellum, hippocampus, striatum) of Wistar rats. Rats were exposed to loud noise (100 dBA) for 12 h. The effects of noise on DNA integrity in all three brain areas were evaluated by using Comet assay. In parallel studies, brain monoamine levels and morphology of nigrostriatal pathways, hippocampus and cerebellum were analyzed at different time intervals (24 h and 7 days) after noise exposure. Loud noise produced a sudden increase in DNA damage in all the brain areas under investigation. Monoamine levels detected at 7 days following exposure were differently affected depending on the specific brain area. Namely, striatal but not hippocampal dopamine (DA) significantly decreased, whereas hippocampal and cerebellar noradrenaline (NA) was significantly reduced. This is in line with pathological findings within striatum and hippocampus consisting of a decrease in striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) combined with increased Bax and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Loud noise exposure lasting 12 h causes immediate DNA, and long-lasting neurotransmitter and immune-histochemical alterations within specific brain areas of the rat. These alterations may suggest an anatomical and functional link to explain the neurobiology of diseases which prevail in human subjects exposed to environmental noise.
Project description:Lead (Pb) is a heavy metal with a proven neurotoxic effect. Exposure is particularly dangerous to the developing brain in the pre- and neonatal periods. One postulated mechanism of its neurotoxicity is induction of inflammation. This study analyzed the effect of exposure of rat pups to Pb during periods of brain development on the concentrations of selected cytokines and prostanoids in the forebrain cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum. METHODS:Administration of 0.1% lead acetate (PbAc) in drinking water ad libitum, from the first day of gestation to postnatal day 21, resulted in blood Pb in rat pups reaching levels below the threshold considered safe for humans by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (10 µg/dL). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method was used to determine the levels of interleukins IL-1?, IL-6, transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and thromboxane B2 (TXB2). Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR were used to determine the expression levels of cyclooxygenases COX-1 and COX-2. Finally, Western blot was used to determine the level of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B). RESULTS:In all studied brain structures (forebrain cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum), the administration of Pb caused a significant increase in all studied cytokines and prostanoids (IL-1?, IL-6, TGF-?, PGE2 and TXB2). The protein and mRNA expression of COX-1 and COX-2 increased in all studied brain structures, as did NF-?B expression. CONCLUSIONS:Chronic pre- and neonatal exposure to Pb induces neuroinflammation in the forebrain cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of rat pups.
Project description:Organophosphates (OPs), a class of phosphorus-containing chemicals that act by disrupting cholinergic transmission, include both toxic and fast-acting chemical warfare agents as well as less toxic but more easily accessible OP pesticides. The classical atropine/2-PAM antidote fails to protect against long-term symptoms following acute intoxication with OPs at levels that trigger status epilepticus. Acute OP intoxication also causes a robust neuroinflammatory response, which is implicated in the pathogenesis of long-term effects. In this study, we characterized the profiles of lipid mediators, important players in neuroinflammation, in the rat model of acute DFP intoxication. The profiles of lipid mediators were monitored in three different regions of the brain (cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum) at 0, 1, 3, 7, 14, and 28?days post-exposure. The distribution pattern of lipid mediators was distinct in the three brain regions. In the cerebellum, the profile is dominated by LOX metabolites, while the lipid mediator profiles in cortex and hippocampus are dominated by COX metabolites followed by LOX and CYP 450 metabolites. Following acute DFP intoxication, most of the pro-inflammatory lipid mediators (e.g., PGD2 and PGE2) increased rapidly from day 1, while the concentrations of some anti-inflammatory lipid mediators (e.g. 14,15 EpETrE) decreased after DFP intoxication but recovered by day 14 post-exposure. The lipidomics results suggest two potential treatment targets: blocking the formation of prostaglandins by inhibiting COX and stabilizing the anti-inflammatory lipid mediators containing epoxides by inhibiting the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH).
Project description:Transcriptional regulation plays a central role in controlling neural stem and progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation during neurogenesis. For instance, transcription factors from the nuclear factor I (NFI) family have been shown to co-ordinate neural stem and progenitor cell differentiation within multiple regions of the embryonic nervous system, including the neocortex, hippocampus, spinal cord and cerebellum. Knockout of individual Nfi genes culminates in similar phenotypes, suggestive of common target genes for these transcription factors. However, whether or not the NFI family regulates common suites of genes remains poorly defined. Here, we use granule neuron precursors (GNPs) of the postnatal murine cerebellum as a model system to analyse regulatory targets of three members of the NFI family: NFIA, NFIB and NFIX. By integrating transcriptomic profiling (RNA-seq) of Nfia- and Nfix-deficient GNPs with epigenomic profiling (ChIP-seq against NFIA, NFIB and NFIX, and DNase I hypersensitivity assays), we reveal that these transcription factors share a large set of potential transcriptional targets, suggestive of complementary roles for these NFI family members in promoting neural development.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The brain is a major site of microRNA (miRNA) gene expression, but the spatial expression patterns of miRNAs within the brain have not yet been fully covered. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We have characterized the regional expression profiles of miRNAs in five distinct regions of the adult rat brain: amygdala, cerebellum, hippocampus, hypothalamus and substantia nigra. Microarray profiling uncovered 48 miRNAs displaying more than three-fold enrichment between two or more brain regions. Notably, we found reciprocal expression profiles for a subset of the miRNAs predominantly found (> ten times) in either the cerebellum (miR-206 and miR-497) or the forebrain regions (miR-132, miR-212, miR-221 and miR-222). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results indicate that some miRNAs could be important for area-specific functions in the brain. Our data, combined with previous studies in mice, provides additional guidance for future investigations of miRNA functions in the brain.
Project description:Lipid profiles in the blood are altered in human cocaine users, suggesting that cocaine exposure can induce lipid remodeling.Lipid changes in the brain tissues of rats sensitized to cocaine were determined through shotgun lipidomics using electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). We also performed pairwise principal component analysis (PCA) to assess cocaine-induced changes in blood lipid profiles. Alterations in the abundance of phospholipid species were correlated with behavioral changes in the magnitude of either the initial response to the drug or locomotor sensitization.Behavioral sensitization altered the relative abundance of several phospholipid species in the hippocampus and cerebellum, measured one week following the final exposure to cocaine. In contrast, relatively few effects on phospholipids in either the dorsal or the ventral striatum were observed. PCA analysis demonstrated that cocaine altered the relative abundance of several glycerophospholipid species as compared to saline-injected controls in blood. Subsequent MS/MS analysis identified some of these lipids as phosphatidylethanolamines, phosphatidylserines and phosphatidylcholines. The relative abundance of some of these phospholipid species were well-correlated (R(2) of 0.7 or higher) with either the initial response to cocaine or locomotor sensitization.Taken together, these data demonstrate that a cocaine-induced sensitization assay results in the remodeling of specific phospholipids in rat brain tissue in a region-specific manner and also alters the intensities of certain types of phospholipid species in rat blood. These results further suggest that such changes may serve as biomarkers to assess the neuroadaptations occurring following repeated exposure to cocaine.
Project description:Chronic stress is a major risk factor for several human disorders that affect modern societies. The brain is a key target of chronic stress. In fact, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to stress affects learning and memory, decision making and emotional responses, and may even predispose for pathological processes, such as Alzheimer's disease and depression. Lipids are a major constituent of the brain and specifically signaling lipids have been shown to regulate brain function. Here, we used a mass spectrometry-based lipidomic approach to evaluate the impact of a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) paradigm on the rat brain in a region-specific manner. We found that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was the area with the highest degree of changes induced by chronic stress. Although the hippocampus presented relevant lipidomic changes, the amygdala and, to a greater extent, the cerebellum presented few lipid changes upon chronic stress exposure. The sphingolipid and phospholipid metabolism were profoundly affected, showing an increase in ceramide (Cer) and a decrease in sphingomyelin (SM) and dihydrosphingomyelin (dhSM) levels, and a decrease in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and ether phosphatidylcholine (PCe) and increase in lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) levels, respectively. Furthermore, the fatty-acyl profile of phospholipids and diacylglycerol revealed that chronic stressed rats had higher 38 carbon(38C)-lipid levels in the hippocampus and reduced 36C-lipid levels in the PFC. Finally, lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) levels in the PFC were found to be correlated with blood corticosterone (CORT) levels. In summary, lipidomic profiling of the effect of chronic stress allowed the identification of dysregulated lipid pathways, revealing putative targets for pharmacological intervention that may potentially be used to modulate stress-induced deficits.