Alterations in the neuropeptide galanin system in major depressive disorder involve levels of transcripts, methylation, and peptide.
ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a substantial burden to patients, families, and society, but many patients cannot be treated adequately. Rodent experiments suggest that the neuropeptide galanin (GAL) and its three G protein-coupled receptors, GAL1-3, are involved in mood regulation. To explore the translational potential of these results, we assessed the transcript levels (by quantitative PCR), DNA methylation status (by bisulfite pyrosequencing), and GAL peptide by RIA of the GAL system in postmortem brains from depressed persons who had committed suicide and controls. Transcripts for all four members were detected and showed marked regional variations, GAL and galanin receptor 1 (GALR1) being most abundant. Striking increases in GAL and GALR3 mRNA levels, especially in the noradrenergic locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe nucleus, in parallel with decreased DNA methylation, were found in both male and female suicide subjects as compared with controls. In contrast, GAL and GALR3 transcript levels were decreased, GALR1 was increased, and DNA methylation was increased in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of male suicide subjects, however, there were no changes in the anterior cingulate cortex. Thus, GAL and its receptor GALR3 are differentially methylated and expressed in brains of MDD subjects in a region- and sex-specific manner. Such an epigenetic modification in GALR3, a hyperpolarizing receptor, might contribute to the dysregulation of noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons implicated in the pathogenesis of MDD. Thus, one may speculate that a GAL3 antagonist could have antidepressant properties by disinhibiting the firing of these neurons, resulting in increased release of noradrenaline and serotonin in forebrain areas involved in mood regulation.
Project description:Using riboprobe in situ hybridization, we studied the localization of the transcripts for the neuropeptide galanin and its receptors (GalR1-R3), tryptophan hydroxylase 2, tyrosine hydroxylase, and nitric oxide synthase as well as the three vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT 1-3) in the locus coeruleus (LC) and the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) regions of postmortem human brains. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was used also. Galanin and GalR3 mRNA were found in many noradrenergic LC neurons, and GalR3 overlapped with serotonin neurons in the DRN. The qPCR analysis at the LC level ranked the transcripts in the following order in the LC: galanin >> GalR3 >> GalR1 > GalR2; in the DRN the ranking was galanin >> GalR3 >> GalR1 = GalR2. In forebrain regions the ranking was GalR1 > galanin > GalR2. VGLUT1 and -2 were strongly expressed in the pontine nuclei but could not be detected in LC or serotonin neurons. VGLUT2 transcripts were found in very small, nonpigmented cells in the LC and in the lateral and dorsal aspects of the periaqueductal central gray. Nitric oxide synthase was not detected in serotonin neurons. These findings show distinct differences between the human brain and rodents, especially rat, in the distribution of the galanin system and some other transmitter systems. For example, GalR3 seems to be the important galanin receptor in both the human LC and DRN versus GalR1 and -2 in the rodent brain. Such knowledge may be important when considering therapeutic principles and drug development.
Project description:The novel neuropeptide spexin (SPX) was discovered to activate galanin receptor 2 (GALR2) and 3 (GALR3) but not galanin receptor 1 (GALR1). Although GALR2 is known to display a function, particularly in anxiety, depression, and appetite regulation, the further determination of its function would benefit from a more stable and selective agonist that acts only at GALR2. In the present study, we developed a GALR2-specific agonist with increased stability in serum. As galanin (GAL) showed a low affinity to GALR3, the residues in SPX were replaced with those in GAL, revealing that particular mutations such as Gln5 → Asn, Met7 → Ala, Lys11 → Phe, and Ala13 → Pro significantly decreased potencies toward GALR3 but not toward GALR2. Quadruple (Qu) mutation of these residues still retained potency to GALR2 but totally abolished the potency to both GALR3 and GALR1. The first amino acid modifications or D-Asn1 substitution significantly increased the stability when they are incubated in 100% fetal bovine serum. Intracerebroventricular administration of the mutant peptide with D-Asn1 and quadruple substitution (dN1-Qu) exhibited an anxiolytic effect in mice. Taken together, the GALR2-specific agonist with increased stability can greatly help delineation of GALR2-mediated functions and be very useful for treatments of anxiety disorder.
Project description:Galanin effects are mediated by three G-protein-coupled receptors: galanin receptor 1 (GalR1), GalR2 and GalR3. We quantified mRNA levels of GalR1, GalR2 and GalR3 in the rat stomach, small and large intestine using real-time RT-PCR. All three GalR mRNAs were detected throughout the gut at different levels. GalR1 and GalR2 mRNA levels were higher in the large than in the small intestine. GalR2 mRNA was most abundant in the stomach. GalR3 mRNA levels were generally quite low. The differential regional distribution of GalRs suggests that the complex effects of galanin in the gut are the result of activating multiple receptor subtypes, whose density, subtype and signaling vary along the gastrointestinal tract.
Project description:Galanin is a 30 amino-acid active neuropeptide that acts via three G-protein coupled galanin receptors, GALR1, GALR2 and GALR3. Recently, GALR1 was also suggested as a tumor suppressor gene that was frequently silenced in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; moreover, galanin and GALR1 were reported to inhibit human oral cancer cell proliferation. However, the exact role of galanin in gastric cancer is unclear. Here, we describe the epigenetic silencing of galanin in human gastric cancer. Five gastric cancer cell lines (SNU-1, SNU-601, SNU-638, KATOIII, and AGS) showed a significant reduction in galanin expression that was restored by the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. We confirmed the hypermethylation of CpG islands in the galanin promoter region by methylation-specific and bisulfate sequencing polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Interestingly, hypermethylated galanin did not affect galanin receptor expression. Exogenous galanin expression in silenced cells induced apoptosis and decreased phosphorylated Akt expression. Taken together, these data suggest that galanin hypermethylation impairs its tumor suppressor function in gastric cancer carcinogenesis.
Project description:Galanin receptors (GALRs) belong to the superfamily of G-protein coupled receptors. The three GALR subtypes (GALR1, GALR2, and GALR3) are activated by their endogenous ligands: spexin (SPX) and galanin (GAL). The synthetic SPX-based GALR2-specific agonist, SG2A, plays a dual role in the regulation of appetite and depression-like behaviors. Little is known, however, about the molecular interaction between GALR2 and SG2A. Using site-directed mutagenesis and domain swapping between GALR2 and GALR3, we identified residues in GALR2 that promote interaction with SG2A and residues in GALR3 that inhibit interaction with SG2A. In particular, Phe103, Phe106, and His110 in the transmembrane helix 3 (TM3) domain; Val193, Phe194, and Ser195 in the TM5 domain; and Leu273 in the extracellular loop 3 (ECL3) domain of GALR2 provide favorable interactions with the Asn5, Ala7, Phe11, and Pro13 residues of SG2A. Our results explain how SG2A achieves selective interaction with GALR2 and inhibits interaction with GALR3. The results described here can be used broadly for in silico virtual screening of small molecules for the development of GALR subtype-specific agonists and/or antagonists.
Project description:Galanin modulates seizures in the brain through two galanin receptor subtypes, GalR1 and GalR2. To generate systemically active galanin receptor ligands that discriminate between GalR1 and GalR2, the GalR1-preferring analogue Gal-B2 (or NAX 5055) was rationally redesigned to yield GalR2-preferring analogues. Systematic truncations of the N-terminal backbone led to [N-Me,des-Sar]Gal-B2, containing N-methyltryptophan. This analogue exhibited 18-fold preference in binding toward GalR2, maintained agonist activity, and exhibited potent anticonvulsant activity in mice following intraperitoneal administration.
Project description:Galanin is a stress-inducible neuropeptide and cotransmitter in serotonin and norepinephrine neurons with a possible role in stress-related disorders. Here we report that variants in genes for galanin (GAL) and its receptors (GALR1, GALR2, GALR3), despite their disparate genomic loci, conferred increased risk of depression and anxiety in people who experienced childhood adversity or recent negative life events in a European white population cohort totaling 2,361 from Manchester, United Kingdom and Budapest, Hungary. Bayesian multivariate analysis revealed a greater relevance of galanin system genes in highly stressed subjects compared with subjects with moderate or low life stress. Using the same method, the effect of the galanin system genes was stronger than the effect of the well-studied 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4). Conventional multivariate analysis using general linear models demonstrated that interaction of galanin system genes with life stressors explained more variance (1.7%, P = 0.005) than the life stress-only model. This effect replicated in independent analysis of the Manchester and Budapest subpopulations, and in males and females. The results suggest that the galanin pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of depression in humans by increasing the vulnerability to early and recent psychosocial stress. Correcting abnormal galanin function in depression could prove to be a novel target for drug development. The findings further emphasize the importance of modeling environmental interaction in finding new genes for depression.
Project description:Galanin is a neuropeptide implicated in the regulation of feeding, reproduction, cognition, nociception, and seizure susceptibility. There are three known galanin receptor (GALR) subtypes (GALR1, GALR2, and GALR3), which bind to galanin with different affinities and have their own unique distributions, signaling mechanisms, and putative functions in the brain and peripheral nervous system. To gain further insight into the possible physiological significance of GALR2, we created mutant mice that were deficient in GALR2 and compared their phenotype to that of wild-type (WT) littermate or age-matched controls, with respect to basic motor and sensory function, feeding behavior, reproduction, mood, learning and memory, and seizure susceptibility. Phenotypic analysis revealed that animals bearing a deletion of GALR2 did not differ significantly from their WT controls in any of the measured variables. We conclude that either GALR2 plays no role in these physiological functions or through redundancy or compensation these mutant animals can adapt to the congenital absence of GALR2. It is also conceivable that GALR2 plays only a subtle role in some of these functions and that the impact of its loss could not be detected by the analytical procedures used here.
Project description:One copy of the galanin receptor 1 (GALR1) locus on 18q is often deleted and expression is absent in some head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines. To determine if loss of heterozygosity and hypermethylation might silence the GALR1 gene, promoter methylation status and gene expression were assessed in a large panel of HNSCC cell lines and tumors.Promoter methylation of GALR1 in 72 cell lines and 100 primary tumor samples was analyzed using methylation-specific PCR. GALR1 expression and methylation status were analyzed further by real-time PCR and bisulfite sequencing analysis.The GALR1 promoter was fully or partially methylated in 38 of 72 (52.7%) HNSCC cell lines but not in the majority 18 of 20 (90.0%) of nonmalignant lines. GALR1 methylation was also found in 38 of 100 (38%) primary tumor specimens. Methylation correlated with decreased GALR1 expression. In tumors, methylation was significantly correlated with increased tumor size (P = 0.0036), lymph node status (P = 0.0414), tumor stage (P = 0.0037), cyclin D1 expression (P = 0.0420), and p16 methylation (P = 0.0494) and survival (P = 0.045). Bisulfite sequencing of 36 CpG sites upstream of the transcription start site revealed that CpG methylation within transcription factor binding sites correlated with complete suppression of GALR1 mRNA. Treatment with trichostatin A and 5-azacytidine restored GALR1 expression. In UM-SCC-23 cells that have total silencing of GALR1, exogenous GALR1 expression and stimulation with galanin suppressed cell proliferation.Frequent promoter hypermethylation, gene silencing, association with prognosis, and growth suppression after reexpression support the hypothesis that GALR1 is a tumor suppressor gene in HNSCC.
Project description:Leptin modulates food reward via central leptin receptor (LepRb) expressing neurons. Food reward requires stimulation of midbrain dopamine neurons and is modulated by central leptin action, but the exact central mechanisms remain unclear. Stimulatory and inhibitory leptin actions on dopamine neurons have been reported, e.g. by indirect actions on orexin neurons or via direct innervation of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area.We showed earlier that LepRb neurons in the lateral hypothalamus (LHA) co-express the inhibitory acting neuropeptide galanin (GAL-LepRb neurons). We studied the involvement of GAL-LepRb neurons to regulate nutrient reward in mice with selective LepRb deletion from galanin neurons (GAL-LepRb(KO) mice).We found that the rewarding value and preference for sucrose over fat was increased in GAL-LepRb(KO) mice compared to controls. LHA GAL-LepRb neurons innervate orexin neurons, but not the VTA. Further, expression of galanin and its receptor GalR1 are decreased in the LHA of GAL-LepRb(KO) mice, resulting in increased activation of orexin neurons.We suggest galanin as an important mediator of leptin action to modulate nutrient reward by inhibiting orexin neurons.