NPFFR2 Activates the HPA Axis and Induces Anxiogenic Effects in Rodents.
ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide FF (NPFF) belongs to the RFamide family and is known as a morphine-modulating peptide. NPFF regulates various hypothalamic functions through two receptors, NPFFR1 and NPFFR2. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis participates in physiological stress response by increasing circulating glucocorticoid levels and modulating emotional responses. Other RFamide peptides, including neuropeptide AF, neuropeptide SF and RFamide related peptide also target NPFFR1 or NPFFR2, and have been reported to activate the HPA axis and induce anxiety- or depression-like behaviors. However, little is known about the action of NPFF on HPA axis activity and anxiety-like behaviors, and the role of the individual receptors remains unclear. In this study, NPFFR2 agonists were used to examine the role of NPFFR2 in activating the HPA axis in rodents. Administration of NPFFR2 agonists, dNPA (intracerebroventricular, ICV) and AC-263093 (intraperitoneal, IP), time-dependently (in rats) and dose-dependently (in mice) increased serum corticosteroid levels and the effects were counteracted by the NPFF receptor antagonist, RF9 (ICV), as well as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) antagonist, ?-helical CRF(9-41) (intravenous, IV). Treatment with NPFFR2 agonist (AC-263093, IP) increased c-Fos protein expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and induced an anxiogenic effect, which was evaluated in mice using an elevated plus maze. These findings reveal, for the first time, that the direct action of hypothalamic NPFFR2 stimulates the HPA axis and triggers anxiety-like behaviors.
Project description:Neuropeptide FF (NPFF) is a family member of RF-amide peptides, which are suggested to be involved in the control of vertebrate feeding behavior. However, little is known about the effect of the NPFF peptide on feeding-related processes in basal vertebrates. In this study, four full-length cDNAs, npff, npffr1, npffr2-1, and npffr2-2, were cloned from spotted sea bass and characterized. The conserved NPFF peptide is biologically active because it functionally interacts with different receptors expressed in cultured eukaryotic cells to enhance CRE promoter activity. Tissue distribution analysis showed that the highest npff mRNA expression occurred in the telencephalon, hypothalamus, medulla, gonad and muscle, but the npffrs mRNAs were mainly distributed within the central nervous system (CNS). In situ hybridization (ISH) detected npff-expressing cells in several specific regions ranging across the telencephalon and midbrain to the hypothalamus. Incubation of the spotted sea bass conserved NPFF peptide significantly increased the expression of orexin (orx) and neuropeptide Y (npy) mRNA and decreased the expression of leptin (lep), somatostatin (ss), and cholecystokinin (cck) mRNA in brain cells. Similarly, the conserved NPFF peptide also heightened the expression of gastrin (gas), ghrelin (ghrl), and motilin (mtl) mRNA and significantly reduced the expression of cck mRNA in the intestine and stomach. Taken together, these data suggest that the NPFF peptide may play a stimulating role in regulating feeding-related processes in spotted sea bass.
Project description:Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a newly identified hypothalamic neuropeptide that inhibits pituitary hormone secretion in vertebrates. GnIH has an LPXRFamide (X?=?L or Q) motif at the C-terminal in representative species of gnathostomes. On the other hand, neuropeptide FF (NPFF), a neuropeptide characterized as a pain-modulatory neuropeptide, in vertebrates has a PQRFamide motif similar to the C-terminal of GnIH, suggesting that GnIH and NPFF have diverged from a common ancestor. Because GnIH and NPFF belong to the RFamide peptide family in vertebrates, protochordate RFamide peptides may provide important insights into the evolutionary origin of GnIH and NPFF. In this study, we identified a novel gene encoding RFamide peptides and two genes of their putative receptors in the amphioxus Branchiostoma japonicum. Molecular phylogenetic analysis and synteny analysis indicated that these genes are closely related to the genes of GnIH and NPFF and their receptors of vertebrates. We further identified mature RFamide peptides and their receptors in protochordates. The identified amphioxus RFamide peptides inhibited forskolin induced cAMP signaling in the COS-7 cells with one of the identified amphioxus RFamide peptide receptors expressed. These results indicate that the identified protochordate RFamide peptide gene is a common ancestral form of GnIH and NPFF genes, suggesting that the origin of GnIH and NPFF may date back to the time of the emergence of early chordates. GnIH gene and NPFF gene may have diverged by whole-genome duplication in the course of vertebrate evolution.
Project description:Kisspeptin is a member of the RFamide neuropeptide family that is implicated in gonadotropin secretion. Because kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling is implicated in the neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction, GPR54 ligands represent promising therapeutic agents against endocrine secretion disorders. In the present study, the selectivity profiles of GPR54 agonist peptides were investigated for several GPCRs, including RFamide receptors. Kisspeptin-10 exhibited potent binding and activation of neuropeptide FF receptors (NPFFR1 and NPFFR2). In contrast, short peptide agonists bound with much lower affinity to NPFFRs while showing relatively high selectivity toward GPR54. The possible localization of secondary kisspeptin targets was also demonstrated by variation in the levels of GnRH release from the median eminence and the type of GPR54 agonists used. Negligible affinity of the reported NPFFR ligands to GPR54 was observed and indicates the unidirectional cross-reactivity between both ligands.
Project description:The nonpeptide small molecule, MES207, exhibits 17-fold preferential binding to the neuropeptide FF receptor 1 (NPFFR1) over NPFFR2 and shows antagonist functionality at NPFF receptors. In order to further the development of MES207 as a NPFFR1 probe, an UPLC-MS/MS bioanalytical method was developed and validated to quantify MES207 in rat plasma for a linearity range of 3-200?ng/mL. The method was applied in the analysis of the plasma, brain, and urine samples collected during pharmacokinetic studies in healthy male and female Sprague Dawley rats. The animals were dosed through oral gavage (50?mg/kg) and intravenously (2.5?mg/kg). Test samples were analyzed using the validated bioanalytical method to generate plasma concentration-time profiles. The results were further subjected to non-compartmental analysis using Phoenix 6.4®. MES207 exhibits a large volume of distribution (1.2?±?0.6?L), high clearance (0.8?±?0.1?L/h), and a poor oral bioavailability (1.7?±?0.4%). The compound also showed a multiple peak phenomenon with a very short absorption phase. It appears that gender does not significantly influence the differences in pharmacokinetic parameters of this NPFF probe.
Project description:The quantity and activation state of adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) impact the development of obesity-induced metabolic diseases. Appetite-controlling hormones play key roles in obesity; however, our understanding of their effects on ATMs is limited. Here, we have shown that human and mouse ATMs express NPFFR2, a receptor for the appetite-reducing neuropeptide FF (NPFF), and that NPFFR2 expression is upregulated by IL-4, an M2-polarizing cytokine. Plasma levels of NPFF decreased in obese patients and high-fat diet-fed mice and increased following caloric restriction. NPFF promoted M2 activation and increased the proliferation of murine and human ATMs. Both M2 activation and increased ATM proliferation were abolished in NPFFR2-deficient ATMs. Mechanistically, the effects of NPFF involved the suppression of E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF128 expression, resulting in enhanced stability of phosphorylated STAT6 and increased transcription of the M2 macrophage-associated genes IL-4 receptor ? (Il4ra), arginase 1 (Arg1), IL-10 (Il10), and alkylglycerol monooxygenase (Agmo). NPFF induced ATM proliferation concomitantly with the increase in N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (Ndrg2) expression and suppressed the transcription of Ifi200 cell-cycle inhibitor family members and MAF bZIP transcription factor B (Mafb), a negative regulator of macrophage proliferation. NPFF thus plays an important role in supporting healthy adipose tissue via the maintenance of metabolically beneficial ATMs.
Project description:Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that was found in the brain of Japanese quail when investigating the existence of RFamide peptides in birds. GnIH was named because it decreased gonadotropin release from cultured anterior pituitary, which was located in the hypothalamo-hypophysial system. GnIH and GnIH precursor gene related peptides have a characteristic C-terminal LPXRFamide (X = L or Q) motif that is conserved in jawed vertebrates. Orthologous peptides to GnIH are also named RFamide related peptide or LPXRFamide peptide from their structure. A G-protein coupled receptor GPR147 is the primary receptor for GnIH. Similarity-based clustering of neuropeptide precursors in metazoan species indicates that GnIH precursor of vertebrates is evolutionarily related to FMRFamide precursor of mollusk and nematode. FMRFamide peptide is the first RFamide peptide that was identified from the ganglia of the venus clam. In order to infer the evolutionary history of the GnIH-GnIH receptor system we investigate the structural similarities between GnIH and its receptor and well-studied nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) and their receptors. We also compare the functions of FLPs of nematode with GnIH of chordates. A multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analyses of GnIH, neuropeptide FF (NPFF), a paralogous peptide of GnIH, and FLP precursors have shown that GnIH and NPFF precursors belong to different clades and some FLP precursors have structural similarities to either precursor. The peptide coding regions of FLP precursors in the same clade align well with those of GnIH or NPFF precursors. Alignment of GnIH (LPXRFa) peptides of chordates and FLPs of C. elegans grouped the peptides into five groups according to the last C-terminal amino acid sequences, which were MRFa, LRFa, VRFa, IRFa, and PQRFa. Phylogenetic analysis of receptors suggested that GPR147 has evolutionary relationships with FLP receptors, which regulate reproduction, aggression, locomotion, and feeding. GnIH and some FLPs mediate the effect of stress on reproduction and behavior, which may also be a conserved property of these peptide systems. Future studies are needed to investigate the mechanism of how neuropeptide precursor genes are mutated to evolve new neuropeptides and their inheritance.
Project description:Five families of neuropeptides that have a C-terminal RFamide motif have been identified in vertebrates: (1) gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), (2) neuropeptide FF (NPFF), (3) pyroglutamylated RFamide peptide (QRFP), (4) prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP), and (5) Kisspeptin. Experimental demonstration of neuropeptide-receptor pairings combined with comprehensive analysis of genomic and/or transcriptomic sequence data indicate that, with the exception of the deuterostomian PrRP system, the evolutionary origins of these neuropeptides can be traced back to the common ancestor of bilaterians. Here, we review the occurrence of homologs of vertebrate RFamide-type neuropeptides and their receptors in deuterostomian invertebrates - urochordates, cephalochordates, hemichordates, and echinoderms. Extending analysis of the occurrence of the RFamide motif in other bilaterian neuropeptide families reveals RFamide-type peptides that have acquired modified C-terminal characteristics in the vertebrate lineage (e.g., NPY/NPF), neuropeptide families where the RFamide motif is unique to protostomian members (e.g., CCK/sulfakinins), and RFamide-type peptides that have been lost in the vertebrate lineage (e.g., luqins). Furthermore, the RFamide motif is also a feature of neuropeptide families with a more restricted phylogenetic distribution (e.g., the prototypical FMRFamide-related neuropeptides in protostomes). Thus, the RFamide motif is both an ancient and a convergent feature of neuropeptides, with conservation, acquisition, or loss of this motif occurring in different branches of the animal kingdom.
Project description:Exposure to trauma is a potential contributor to anxiety; however, the molecular mechanisms responsible for trauma-induced anxiety require further clarification. In this study, in an aim to explore these mechanisms, we observed the changes in the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis using a radioimmunoassay and the changes in anxiety-like behavior using the open field test and elevated plus maze test in a rat model following intervention with NBI?27914, a specific corticotropin?releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) antagonist. CRHR1 was found to be involved in trauma?induced anxiety. We then applied bioinformatic analysis to screen microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) that target CRHR1, and miR?34b was determined to negatively regulate CRHR1 mRNA in primary hypothalamic neurons. The overexpression of miR?34b in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) by a miRNA agomir using a drug delivery system decreased the hyperactivity of the HPA axis and anxiety?like behavior. Overall, the involvement of the HPA axis in trauma?induced anxiety was demonstrated, and trauma-induced anxiety was attenuated by decreasing the hyperactivity of the HPA axis via miR?34b by targeting CRHR1.
Project description:Environmental stress has been demonstrated to increase susceptibility for mood and anxiety disorders, and hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the primary endocrine response to stress, is often observed in these patients. HPA axis activation is initiated by corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) from the hypothalamus, leading to the hypothesis that hypothalamic CRF overexpression contributes to HPA axis hyperactivity in psychiatric patients. In addition, elevated CRF in cerebrospinal fluid is observed in mood and anxiety disorder patients, suggesting that CRF is also being overproduced from extrahypothalamic sources such as the central amygdala (CeA) and overactivity of the amygdala in neuroimaging studies is a consistent finding in anxiety and depression patients. Due to the importance of CRF and the amygdala in the etiology of stress-sensitive psychiatric disorders, the present study sought to further dissect the impact of CRF overexpression (OE) in the amygdala on downstream behavioral, endocrine, and gene-expression changes typically associated with chronic stress. To test the hypothesis that elevated CRF output from the amygdala would reproduce HPA axis hyperactivity and behavioral symptoms of chronic stress, we developed a lentiviral vector in which 3.0kb of the CRF promoter drives overexpression of CRF (LVCRFp3.0CRF). In adult male rats, Experiment-1 examined behavioral consequences of chronic CRF overexpression from the amygdala; the dexamethasone (Dex)/CRF test was used to measure HPA axis reactivity. Experiment-2 focused on HPA axis disruptions; the dexamethasone-suppression and CRF-stimulation tests as well as the Dex/CRF test were used. In both experiments, expression of HPA-axis related transcripts were assessed.
Project description:Preclinical and some clinical studies suggest a relationship between perturbation in magnesium (Mg(2+)) homeostasis and pathological anxiety, although the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Since there is evidence that Mg(2+) modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, we tested whether enhanced anxiety-like behaviour can be reliably elicited by dietary Mg(2+) deficiency and whether Mg(2+) deficiency is associated with altered HPA axis function. Compared with controls, Mg(2+) deficient mice did indeed display enhanced anxiety-related behaviour in a battery of established anxiety tests. The enhanced anxiety-related behaviour of Mg(2+) deficient mice was sensitive to chronic desipramine treatment in the hyponeophagia test and to acute diazepam treatment in the open arm exposure test. Mg(2+) deficiency caused an increase in the transcription of the corticotropin releasing hormone in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN), and elevated ACTH plasma levels, pointing to an enhanced set-point of the HPA axis. Chronic treatment with desipramine reversed the identified abnormalities of the stress axis. Functional mapping of neuronal activity using c-Fos revealed hyper-excitability in the PVN of anxious Mg(2+) deficient mice and its normalisation through diazepam treatment. Overall, the present findings demonstrate the robustness and validity of the Mg(2+) deficiency model as a mouse model of enhanced anxiety, showing sensitivity to treatment with anxiolytics and antidepressants. It is further suggested that dysregulations in the HPA axis may contribute to the hyper-emotionality in response to dietary induced hypomagnesaemia. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.