Medial prefrontal cortex neuropeptide Y modulates binge-like ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J mice.
ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) signaling via limbic NPY1 and 2 receptors (NPY1R and NPY2R, respectively) is known to modulate binge-like ethanol consumption in rodents. However, the role of NPY signaling in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which provides top-down modulation of the limbic system, is unknown. Here, we used "drinking-in-the-dark" (DID) procedures in C57BL/6J mice to address this gap in the literature. First, the impact of DID on NPY immunoreactivity (IR) was assessed in the mPFC. Next, the role of NPY1R and NPY2R signaling in the mPFC on ethanol consumption was evaluated through site-directed pharmacology. Chemogenetic inhibition of NPY1R+ neurons in the mPFC was performed to further evaluate the role of this population. To determine the potential role of NPY1R+ neurons projecting from the mPFC to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) this efferent population was selectively silenced. Three, 4-day cycles of DID reduced NPY IR in the mPFC. Intra-mPFC activation of NPY1R and antagonism of NPY2R resulted in decreased binge-like ethanol intake. Silencing of mPFC NPY1R+ neurons overall, and specifically NPY1R+ neurons projecting to the BLA, significantly reduced binge-like ethanol intake. We provide novel evidence that (1) binge-like ethanol intake reduces NPY levels in the mPFC; (2) activation of NPY1R or blockade of NPY2R reduces binge-like ethanol intake; and (3) chemogenetic inhibition of NPY1R+ neurons in the mPFC and NPY1R+ mPFC neurons projecting to the BLA blunts binge-like drinking. These observations provide the first direct evidence that NPY signaling in the mPFC modulates binge-like ethanol consumption.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) signaling at the CRF1 receptor (CRF1R) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can modulate ethanol consumption in rodents. However, the effects of binge-like ethanol drinking on this system have not been thoroughly characterized, and little is known about the role of CRF2R or the CRF neurocircuitry involved. METHODS:The effects of binge-like ethanol consumption on the VTA CRF system were assessed following drinking-in-the-dark procedures. Intra-VTA infusions of selective CRF1R and/or CRF2R compounds were employed to assess the contributions of these receptors in modulating binge-like ethanol consumption (n = 89). To determine the potential role of CRF projections from the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) to the VTA, CRF neurons in this circuit were chemogenetically inhibited (n = 32). Binge-induced changes in VTA CRF system protein and messenger RNA were also assessed (n = 58). RESULTS:Intra-VTA antagonism of CRF1R and activation of CRF2R resulted in decreased ethanol intake, which was eliminated by simultaneous blockade of both receptors. Chemogenetic inhibition of local CRF neurons in the VTA did not alter binge-like ethanol drinking, but inhibition of VTA-projecting CRF neurons from the BNST significantly reduced intake. CONCLUSIONS:We provide novel evidence that 1) blunted binge-like ethanol consumption stemming from CRF1R blockade requires intact CRF2R signaling, and CRF2R activation reduces binge-like drinking; 2) inhibiting VTA-projecting BNST CRF neurons attenuates binge-like drinking; and 3) binge-like ethanol drinking alters protein and messenger RNA associated with the VTA-CRF system. These data suggest that ethanol-induced activation of BNST-to-VTA CRF projections is critical in driving binge-like ethanol intake.
Project description:Neuropeptide Y (NPY) receptors mediate a variety of physiological responses including feeding and vasoconstriction. To investigate the evolutionary events that have generated this receptor family, we have sequenced and determined the chromosomal localizations of all five presently known mammalian NPY receptor subtype genes in the domestic pig, Sus scrofa (SSC). The orthologs of the Y(1) and Y(2) subtypes display high amino acid sequence identities between pig, human, and mouse (92%-94%), whereas the Y(4), Y(5), and y(6) subtypes display lower identities (76%-87%). The lower identity of Y(5) is due to high sequence divergence in the large third intracellular loop. The NPY1R, NPY2R, and NPY5R receptor genes were localized to SSC8, the NPY4R to SSC14, and NPY6R to SSC2. Our comparisons strongly suggest that the tight cluster of NPY1R, NPY2R, and NPY5R on human chromosome 4 (HSA4) represents the ancestral configuration, whereas the porcine cluster has been split by two inversions on SSC8. These 3 genes, along with adjacent genes from 14 other gene families, form a cluster on HSA4 with extensive similarities to a cluster on HSA5, where NPY6R and >13 other paralogs reside, as well as another large cluster on HSA10 that includes NPY4R. Thus, these gene families have expanded through large-scale duplications. The sequence comparisons show that the NPY receptor triplet NPY1R-NPY2R-NPY5R existed before these large-scale duplications.
Project description:Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) signaling via limbic CRF1 and 2 receptors (CRF1R and CRF2R, respectively) is known to modulate binge-like ethanol consumption in rodents. Though CRF signaling in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been shown to modulate anxiety-like behavior and ethanol seeking, its role in binge ethanol intake is unknown. Here, we used "drinking-in-the-dark" (DID) procedures in male and female C57BL/6J mice to address this gap in the literature. First, the role of CRF1R and CRF2R signaling in the mPFC on ethanol consumption was evaluated through site-directed pharmacology. Next, we evaluated if CRF1R antagonist reduction of binge-intake was modulated in part through CRF2R activation by co-administration of a CRF1R and CRF2R antagonist. Intra-mPFC inhibition of CRF1R and activation of CRF2R resulted in decreased binge-like ethanol intake. Further, the inhibitory effect of the CRF1R antagonist was attenuated by co-administration of a CRF2R antagonist. We provide novel evidence that (1) inhibition of CRF1R or activation of CRF2R in the mPFC reduces binge-like ethanol intake; and (2) the effect of CRF1R antagonism may be mediated via enhanced CRF2R activation. These observations provide the first direct behavioral pharmacological evidence that CRF receptor activity in the mPFC modulates binge-like ethanol consumption.
Project description:Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is widely expressed in the central nervous system and influences many physiological processes. It is located within the rat quantitative trait locus (QTL) for alcohol preference on chromosome 4. Alcohol-nonpreferring (NP) rats consume very little alcohol, but have significantly higher NPY expression in the brain than alcohol-preferring (P) rats. We capitalized on this phenotypic difference by creating an Npy knockout (KO) rat using the inbred NP background to evaluate NPY effects on alcohol consumption. Zinc finger nuclease (ZNF) technology was applied, resulting in a 26-bp deletion in the Npy gene. RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry confirmed the absence of Npy mRNA and protein in KO rats. Alcohol consumption was increased in Npy(+/-) but not Npy(-/-) rats, while Npy(-/-) rats displayed significantly lower body weight when compared to Npy(+/+) rats. In whole brain tissue, expression levels of Npy-related and other alcohol-associated genes, Npy1r, Npy2r, Npy5r, Agrp, Mc3r, Mc4r, Crh and Crh1r, were significantly greater in Npy(-/-) rats, whereas Pomc and Crhr2 expressions were highest in Npy(+/-) rats. These findings suggest that the NPY-system works in close coordination with the melanocortin (MC) and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) systems to modulate alcohol intake and body weight.
Project description:The prefrontal cortex and amygdala are anatomical substrates linked to both social information and emotional valence processing, but it is not known whether sub-circuits in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) that project to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) are recruited and functionally contribute to social approach-avoidance behavior. Using retrograde labeling of mPFC projections to the BLA, we find that BLA-projecting neurons in the infralimbic cortex (IL) are preferentially activated in response to a social cue as compared with BLA-projecting neurons in the prelimbic cortex (PL). Chemogenetic interrogation of these sub-circuits shows that activation of PL-BLA or inhibition of IL-BLA circuits impairs social behavior. Sustained closed-loop optogenetic activation of PL-BLA circuitry induces social impairment, corresponding to a negative emotional state as revealed by real-time place preference behavioral avoidance. Reactivation of foot shock-responsive PL-BLA circuitry impairs social behavior. Altogether, these data suggest a circuit-level mechanism by which valence-encoding mPFC-BLA sub-circuits shape social approach-avoidance behavior.
Project description:The ability to inhibit drinking is a significant challenge for recovering alcoholics, especially in the presence of alcohol-associated cues. Previous studies have demonstrated that the regulation of cue-guided alcohol seeking is mediated by the basolateral amygdala (BLA), nucleus accumbens (NAc), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). However, given the high interconnectivity between these structures, it is unclear how mPFC projections to each subcortical structure, as well as projections between BLA and NAc, mediate alcohol-seeking behaviors. Here, we evaluate how cortico-striatal, cortico-amygdalar, and amygdalo-striatal projections control extinction and relapse in a rat model of alcohol seeking. Specifically, we used a combinatorial viral technique to express diphtheria toxin receptors in specific neuron populations based on their projection targets. We then used this strategy to create directionally selective ablations of three distinct pathways after acquisition of ethanol self-administration but before extinction and reinstatement. We demonstrate that ablation of mPFC neurons projecting to NAc, but not BLA, blocks cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking and neither pathway is necessary for extinction of responding. Further, we show that ablating BLA neurons that project to NAc disrupts extinction of alcohol approach behaviors and attenuates reinstatement. Together, these data provide evidence that the mPFC?NAc pathway is necessary for cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking, expand our understanding of how the BLA?NAc pathway regulates alcohol behavior, and introduce a new methodology for the manipulation of target-specific neural projections.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The vast majority of recovering alcoholics will relapse at least once and understanding how the brain regulates relapse will be key to developing more effective behavior and pharmacological therapies for alcoholism. Given the high interconnectivity of cortical, striatal, and limbic structures that regulate alcohol intake, it has been difficult to disentangle how separate projections between them may control different aspects of these complex behaviors. Here, we demonstrate a new approach for noninvasively ablating each of these pathways and testing their necessity for both extinction and relapse. We show that inputs to the nucleus accumbens from medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala regulate alcohol-seeking behaviors differentially, adding to our understanding of the neural control of alcoholism.
Project description:Anxious temperament (AT) is identifiable early in life and predicts the later development of anxiety disorders and depression. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a putative endogenous anxiolytic neurotransmitter that adaptively regulates responses to stress and might confer resilience to stress-related psychopathology. With a well-validated nonhuman primate model of AT, we examined expression of the NPY system in the central nucleus (Ce) of the amygdala, a critical neural substrate for extreme anxiety.In 24 young rhesus monkeys, we measured Ce messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of all members of the NPY system that are detectable in the Ce with quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction. We then examined the relationship between these mRNA levels and both AT expression and brain metabolism.Lower mRNA levels of neuropeptide Y receptor 1 (NPY1R) and NPY5R but not NPY or NPY2R in the Ce predicted elevated AT; mRNA levels for NPY1R and NPY5R in the motor cortex were not related to AT. In situ hybridization analysis provided for the first time a detailed description of NPY1R and NPY5R mRNA distribution in the rhesus amygdala and associated regions. Lastly, mRNA levels for these two receptors in the Ce predicted metabolic activity in several regions that have the capacity to regulate the Ce.Decreased NPY signaling in the Ce might contribute to the altered metabolic activity that is a component of the neural substrate underlying AT. This suggests that enhancement of NPY signaling might reduce the risk to develop psychopathology.
Project description:Binge eating is the core, maladaptive eating behavior that cuts across several major types of eating disorders. Binge eating is associated with a significant loss of control over palatable food (PF) intake, and deficits in behavioral control mechanisms, subserved by the prefrontal cortex (PFC), may underlie binge eating. Few studies, to date, have examined whether the PFC is directly involved in the expression of binge eating. As such, the present study investigated the functional role of the medial PFC (mPFC) in PF consumption, using an individual differences rat model of binge eating proneness. Here, we tested the hypothesis that binge eating proneness (i.e., high levels of PF consumption) is associated with reduced mPFC-mediated behavioral control over PF intake. In experiment 1, we quantified PF-induced Fos expression in both excitatory and inhibitory neurons within the mPFC in binge eating prone (BEP) and binge eating resistant (BER) female rats. In experiment 2, we pharmacologically inactivated the mPFC of BEP and BER female rats, just prior to PF exposure, and subsequently quantified PF intake and scores of feeding behavior. While most Fos-expressing neurons of the mPFC in both BEPs and BERs were of the excitatory phenotype, fewer excitatory neurons were engaged by PF in BEPs than in BERs. Moreover, pharmacological inactivation of the mPFC led to a significant increase in PF intake in both BEPs and BERs, but the rise in PF consumption was stronger in BEPs than in BERs. Thus, these data suggest that lower, PF-induced excitatory tone in the mPFC of BEP rats may lead to a weaker, mPFC-mediated behavioral "brake" over excessive PF intake.
Project description:Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is an appetite hormone that acts centrally to control feeding behavior. The 5' and exon 2 regions of NPY2R, one of five NPY receptor genes, have been weakly and inconsistently implicated with obesity. With the ATG start site of the gene at the beginning of exon 2, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across intron 1 may show stronger associations with obesity than expected. Two 5' SNPs, three intron 1 SNPs, and one synonymous exon 2 SNP were genotyped on 2,985 white Utah subjects. Previously associated FTO, NPY, NPY1R, MC4R, PPARGC1A, OR7D4, and four NPFFR2 SNPs were also genotyped and related to BMI. One NPY2R 5' SNP (rs12649641, P = 0.008), an exon 2 SNP (rs2880415, P = 0.009), and an intron 1 SNP (rs17376826, P = 7 × 10(-6)) were each significantly associated with BMI. All three SNPs, plus FTO (rs9939609, P = 1.5 × 10(-6)) and two NPFFR2 SNPs (rs4129733, P = 3.7 × 10(-13) and rs11940196, 4.2 × 10(-10)) remained significant in a multiple regression additive model. Diplotypes using the estimated haplotypes of NPY2R, NPFFR2, and MC4R were significantly associated with BMI (P = 1.0 × 10(-10), 3.2 × 10(-8), and 1.1 × 10(-4), respectively). Haplotypes of NPY2R, NPFFR2, and MC4R, plus the FTO SNP, explained 9.6% of the BMI variance. SNP effect sizes per allele for the four genes ranged from 0.8 to 3.5 kg/m(2). We conclude that haplotypes containing the rs17376826 SNP in intron 1 of NPY2R have strong associations with BMI, some NPFFR2 haplotypes are strongly protective against or increase risk of obesity, and both NPY2R and NPFFR2 play important roles in obesity predisposition independent of FTO and MC4R.
Project description:Frequent binge drinking has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and the development of ethanol dependence. Thus, identifying pharmaceutical targets to treat binge drinking is of paramount importance. Here we employed a mouse model of binge-like ethanol drinking to study the role of neuropeptide Y (NPY). To this end, the present set of studies utilized pharmacological manipulation of NPY signaling, immunoreactivity (IR) mapping of NPY and NPY receptors, and electrophysiological recordings from slice preparations of the amygdala. The results indicated that central infusion of NPY, a NPY Y1 receptor (Y1R) agonist, and a Y2R antagonist significantly blunted binge-like ethanol drinking in C57BL/6J mice (that achieved blood ethanol levels >80?mg/dl in control conditions). Binge-like ethanol drinking reduced NPY and Y1R IR in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), and 24?h of ethanol abstinence after a history of binge-like drinking promoted increases of Y1R and Y2R IR. Electrophysiological recordings of slice preparations from the CeA showed that binge-like ethanol drinking augmented the ability of NPY to inhibit GABAergic transmission. Thus, binge-like ethanol drinking in C57BL/6J mice promoted alterations of NPY signaling in the CeA, and administration of exogenous NPY compounds protected against binge-like drinking. The current data suggest that Y1R agonists and Y2R antagonists may be useful for curbing and/or preventing binge drinking, protecting vulnerable individuals from progressing to the point of ethanol dependence.