Translating glutamate: from pathophysiology to treatment.
ABSTRACT: The neurotransmitter glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in mammalian brain and is responsible for most corticocortical and corticofugal neurotransmission. Disturbances in glutamatergic function have been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders-including schizophrenia, drug abuse and addiction, autism, and depression-that were until recently poorly understood. Nevertheless, improvements in basic information regarding these disorders have yet to translate into Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments. Barriers to translation include the need not only for improved compounds but also for improved biomarkers sensitive to both structural and functional target engagement and for improved translational models. Overcoming these barriers will require unique collaborative arrangements between pharma, government, and academia. Here, we review a recent Institute of Medicine-sponsored meeting, highlighting advances in glutamatergic theories of neuropsychiatric illness as well as remaining barriers to treatment development.
Project description:Multiple lines of evidence support the pathogenic role of neuroinflammation in psychiatric illness. While systemic autoimmune diseases are well-documented causes of neuropsychiatric disorders, synaptic autoimmune encephalitides with psychotic symptoms often go under-recognized. Parallel to the link between psychiatric symptoms and autoimmunity in autoimmune diseases, neuroimmunological abnormalities occur in classical psychiatric disorders (for example, major depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorders). Investigations into the pathophysiology of these conditions traditionally stressed dysregulation of the glutamatergic and monoaminergic systems, but the mechanisms causing these neurotransmitter abnormalities remained elusive. We review the link between autoimmunity and neuropsychiatric disorders, and the human and experimental evidence supporting the pathogenic role of neuroinflammation in selected classical psychiatric disorders. Understanding how psychosocial, genetic, immunological and neurotransmitter systems interact can reveal pathogenic clues and help target new preventive and symptomatic therapies.
Project description:Glutamate is a ubiquitous excitatory neurotransmitter, which is involved in normal physiology, a variety of central nervous system (CNS) functions, including excitotoxicity and neuronal migration. It is implicated in the pathogenesis of various neuropsychiatric disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's dementia, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Over the years, a growing body of evidence has helped researchers understand the mechanisms underlying glutamatergic involvement in the pathogenesis of these disorders. In this review, we attempt to elucidate the role of glutamate in OCD, which is a chronic psychiatric condition with significant morbidity. This article provides current perspectives on the role played by glutamate in the pathogenesis, clinical symptoms and treatment response in OCD, a critical analysis of existing and emerging evidence, both clinical and preclinical, followed by a summary and future directions.
Project description:Neuropsychiatric disorders are the third leading cause of global disease burden. Current pharmacological treatment for these disorders is inadequate, with often insufficient efficacy and undesirable side effects. One reason for this is that the links between molecular drug action and neurobehavioral drug effects are elusive. We use a big data approach from the neurotransmitter response patterns of 258 different neuropsychiatric drugs in rats to address this question. Data from experiments comprising 110,674 rats are presented in the Syphad database [ www.syphad.org ]. Chemoinformatics analyses of the neurotransmitter responses suggest a mismatch between the current classification of neuropsychiatric drugs and spatiotemporal neurostransmitter response patterns at the systems level. In contrast, predicted drug-target interactions reflect more appropriately brain region related neurotransmitter response. In conclusion the neurobiological mechanism of neuropsychiatric drugs are not well reflected by their current classification or their chemical similarity, but can be better captured by molecular drug-target interactions.
Project description:Members of the Shank family of multidomain proteins (Shank1, Shank2, and Shank3) are core components of the postsynaptic density (PSD) of excitatory synapses. At synaptic sites Shanks serve as scaffolding molecules that cluster neurotransmitter receptors as well as cell adhesion molecules attaching them to the actin cytoskeleton. In this study we investigated the synapse specific localization of Shank1-3 and focused on well-defined synaptic contacts within the hippocampal formation. We found that all three family members are present only at VGLUT1-positive synapses, which is particularly visible at mossy fiber contacts. No costaining was found at VGLUT2-positive contacts indicating that the molecular organization of VGLUT2-associated PSDs diverges from classical VGLUT1-positive excitatory contacts in the hippocampus. In light of SHANK mutations in neuropsychiatric disorders, this study indicates which glutamatergic networks within the hippocampus will be primarily affected by shankopathies.
Project description:The pyramidal neurons of the mammalian neocortex form two major types of long-range connections-corticocortical and cortico-subcortical. The transcription factors Satb2 and Ctip2 are critical regulators of neuronal cell fate that control interhemispheric versus corticofugal connections respectively. Here, we investigate the axon guidance molecules downstream of Satb2 and Ctip2 that establish these connections. We show that the expression of two Netrin1 receptors- DCC and Unc5C is under direct negative regulation by Satb2 and Ctip2, respectively. Further, we show that the Netrin1-Unc5C/DCC interaction is involved in controlling the interhemispherical projection in a subset of early born, deep layer callosal neurons.
Project description:PURPOSE:Glutamate (Glu) is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system and glutamatergic neurotransmission has been implicated in many common and severe neuropsychiatric disorders. In vivo MRS techniques have been developed to measure brain Glu concentration to investigate the pathophysiology of various brain disorders. However, it is difficult to interpret Glu signal changes because Glu plays multiple roles in the brain and is found in multiple microenvironments including cytosolic, vesicular, and extracellular. METHODS:In vivo diffusion-weighted MRS (DW-MRS) with low to very high b-values was performed on the rat prefrontal cortex at 9.4T under both light and deep anesthetic conditions to examine Glu diffusion properties. RESULTS:Significant alterations in Glu diffusion as well as reduced Glu concentration were observed under deep anesthesia compared with superficial anesthesia in the absence of similar changes in NAA or creatine. CONCLUSION:The modifications in Glu diffusion under deep anesthesia might reflect changes in Glu microenvironment. The present work shows that Glu DW-MRS could be an important tool to explore Glu physiology with changing levels of neuronal activity and synaptic function.
Project description:Structural connectivity analyses by means of diffusion-weighted imaging have substantially advanced the understanding of stroke-related network alterations and their implications for motor recovery processes and residual motor function. Analyses of the corticospinal tract, alternate corticofugal pathways as well as intrahemispheric and interhemispheric corticocortical connections have not only been related to residual motor function in cross-sectional studies, but have also been evaluated to predict functional recovery after stroke in longitudinal studies. This review will consist of an update on the available literature about structural connectivity analyses after ischemic motor stroke, followed by an outlook of possible future directions of research and applications.
Project description:Adverse, unfavourable life conditions, particularly during early life stages and infancy, can lead to epigenetic regulation of genes involved in stress-response, behavioral disinhibition, and cognitive-emotional systems. Over time, the ultimate final outcome can be expressed through behaviors bedeviled by problems with impulse control, such as eating disorders, alcoholism, and indiscriminate social behavior. While many reward gene polymorphisms are involved in impulsive behaviors, a polymorphism by itself may not translate to the development of a particular behavioral disorder unless it is impacted by epigenetic effects. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) affects the development and integrity of the noradrenergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic, glutamatergic, and cholinergic neurotransmitter systems, and plasma levels of the neurotrophin are associated with both cognitive and aggressive impulsiveness. Epigenetic mechanisms associated with a multitude of environmental factors, including premature birth, low birth weight, prenatal tobacco exposure, non-intact family, young maternal age at birth of the target child, paternal history of antisocial behavior, and maternal depression, alter the developmental trajectories for several neuropsychiatric disorders. These mechanisms affect brain development and integrity at several levels that determine structure and function in resolving the final behavioral expressions.
Project description:Bipolar disorder (BD) is a common mood disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Both genetic and environmental factors have been implicated in BD etiology, but the biological underpinnings remain elusive. Recently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of neuropsychiatric disorders have identified a risk locus for BD containing the SYNE1 gene, a large gene encoding multiple proteins. The BD association signal spans, almost exclusively, the part of SYNE1 encoding CPG2, a brain-specific protein localized to excitatory postsynaptic sites, where it regulates glutamate receptor internalization. Here we show that CPG2 protein levels are significantly decreased in postmortem brain tissue from BD patients, as compared to control subjects, as well as schizophrenia and depression patients. We identify genetic variants within the postmortem brains that map to the CPG2 promoter region, and show that they negatively affect gene expression. We also identify missense single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CPG2 coding regions that affect CPG2 expression, localization, and synaptic function. Our findings link genetic variation in the CPG2 region of SYNE1 with a mechanism for glutamatergic synapse dysfunction that could underlie susceptibility to BD in some individuals. Few GWAS hits in human genetics for neuropsychiatric disorders to date have afforded such mechanistic clues. Further, the potential for genetic distinction of susceptibility to BD from other neuropsychiatric disorders with overlapping clinical traits holds promise for improved diagnostics and treatment of this devastating illness.
Project description:Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and may be a key neurotransmitter involved in autism. Literature pertaining to glutamate and autism or related disorders (e.g., Fragile X syndrome) is reviewed in this article. Interest in glutamatergic dysfunction in autism is high due to increasing convergent evidence implicating the system in the disorder from peripheral biomarkers, neuroimaging, protein expression, genetics and animal models. Currently, there are no pharmaceutical interventions approved for autism that address glutamate deficits in the disorder. New treatments related to glutamatergic neurotransmission, however, are emerging. In addition, older glutamate-modulating medications with approved indications for use in other disorders are being investigated for re-tasking as treatments for autism. This review presents evidence in support of glutamate abnormalities in autism and the potential for translation into new treatments for the disorder.