Spexin-Based Galanin Receptor Type 2 Agonist for Comorbid Mood Disorders and Abnormal Body Weight.
ABSTRACT: Despite the established comorbidity between mood disorders and abnormal eating behaviors, the underlying molecular mechanism and therapeutics remain to be resolved. Here, we show that a spexin-based galanin receptor type 2 agonist (SG2A) simultaneously normalized mood behaviors and body weight in corticosterone pellet-implanted (CORTI) mice, which are underweight and exhibit signs of anhedonia, increased anxiety, and depression. Administration of SG2A into the lateral ventricle produced antidepressive and anxiolytic effects in CORTI mice. Additionally, SG2A led to a recovery of body weight in CORTI mice while it induced significant weight loss in normal mice. In Pavlovian fear-conditioned mice, SG2A decreased contextual and auditory fear memory consolidation but accelerated the extinction of acquired fear memory without altering innate fear and recognition memory. The main action sites of SG2A in the brain may include serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus for mood control, and proopiomelanocortin/corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons in the hypothalamus for appetite and body weight control. Furthermore, intranasal administration of SG2A exerted the same anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects and decreased food intake and body weight in a dose-dependent manner. Altogether, these results indicate that SG2A holds promise as a clinical treatment for patients with comorbid mood disorders and abnormal appetite/body weight.
Project description:Antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy combined are more effective in treating mood disorders than either treatment alone, but the neurobiological basis of this interaction is unknown. To investigate how antidepressants influence the response of mood-related systems to behavioral experience, we used a fear-conditioning and extinction paradigm in mice. Combining extinction training with chronic fluoxetine, but neither treatment alone, induced an enduring loss of conditioned fear memory in adult animals. Fluoxetine treatment increased synaptic plasticity, converted the fear memory circuitry to a more immature state, and acted through local brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Fluoxetine-induced plasticity may allow fear erasure by extinction-guided remodeling of the memory circuitry. Thus, the pharmacological effects of antidepressants need to be combined with psychological rehabilitation to reorganize networks rendered more plastic by the drug treatment.
Project description:Fear memory generalization is a learning mechanism that promotes flexible fear responses to novel situations. While fear generalization has adaptive value, overgeneralization of fear memory is a characteristic feature of the pathology of anxiety disorders. The neuropeptide S (NPS) receptor (NPSR) has been shown to be associated with anxiety disorders and has recently been identified as a promising target for treating anxiety disorders. Moreover, stress hormones play a role in regulating both physiological and pathological fear memories and might therefore also be involved in anxiety disorders. However, little is known about the interplay between stress hormone and the NPS system in the development of overgeneralized fear. Here, we hypothesize that NPSR-deficient mice with high corticosterone (CORT) levels during the fear memories consolidation are more prone to develop generalized fear. To address this hypothesis, NPSR-deficient mice were submitted to a contextual fear conditioning procedure. Immediately after conditioning, mice received CORT injections (2.5 or 5 mg/kg). One day and 1 month later, the mice were tested for the specificity and strength of their fear memory, their anxiety level, and their startle response. Moreover, CORT blood levels were monitored throughout the experiment. Using this protocol, a specific contextual fear memory was observed in all experimental groups, despite the 5-mg/kg CORT-treated NPSR-deficient mice. This group of mice showed a generalization of contextual fear memory and a decreased startle response, and the females of this group had significantly less body weight gain. These findings indicate that interplay between CORT and the NPS system during the consolidation of fear memories is critical for the generalization of contextual fear.
Project description:Altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) function is consistently reported in psychiatric disorders, normal aging, and neurodegenerative disorders and reduced function of GABA interneurons is associated with both mood and cognitive symptoms. Benzodiazepines (BZ) have broad anxiolytic, but also sedative, anticonvulsant and amnesic effects, due to nonspecific GABA-A receptor (GABAA-R) targeting. Varying the profile of activity of BZs at GABAA-Rs is predicted to uncover additional therapeutic potential. We synthesized four novel imidazobenzodiazepine (IBZD) amide ligands and tested them for positive allosteric modulation at multiple ?-GABAA-R (?-positive allosteric modulators), pharmacokinetic properties, as well as anxiolytic and antidepressant activities in adult mice. Efficacy at reversing stress-induced or age-related working memory deficits was assessed using a spontaneous alternation task. Diazepam (DZP) was used as a control. Three ligands (GL-II-73, GL-II-74, and GL-II-75) demonstrated adequate brain penetration and showed predictive anxiolytic and antidepressant efficacies. GL-II-73 and GL-II-75 significantly reversed stress-induced and age-related working memory deficits. In contrast, DZP displayed anxiolytic but no antidepressant effects or effects on working memory. We demonstrate distinct profiles of anxiolytic, antidepressant, and/or pro-cognitive activities of newly designed IBZD amide ligands, suggesting novel therapeutic potential for IBZD derivatives in depression and aging.
Project description:Pathological fear and anxiety can be studied, in rodents, with fear conditioning and exposure to reminder cues. These paradigms are thought to critically involve the ventral hippocampus, which also serves as key site of glucocorticoid action in the brain. Here, we demonstrate a long-lasting reduction of kainate-induced gamma oscillations in slice preparations of the ventral hippocampal area CA3, 30 days after a single fear conditioning training. Reduction of gamma power was sensitive to corticosterone application and associated with a decrease in glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression across strata of the ventral hippocampal CA3. A fear reactivation session 24 h after the initial conditioning normalized receptor expression levels and attenuated the corticosterone-mediated recovery of gamma oscillations. It moreover increased both baseline and stimulus-induced corticosterone plasma levels and evoked a generalization of fear memory to the background context. Reduced ventral hippocampal gamma oscillation in both fear reactivated and non-reactivated mice were associated with a decrease of anxiety-like behavior in an elevated plus maze. Taking advantage of the circadian fluctuation in corticosterone, we demonstrated the association of high endogenous basal corticosterone plasma concentrations during morning hours with reduced anxiety-like behavior in fear reactivated mice. The anxiolytic effect of the hormone was verified with local applications to the ventral hippocampus. Our data suggest that corticosterone acting on ventral hippocampal network activity has anxiolytic-like effects following fear exposure, highlighting its potential therapeutic value for anxiety disorders.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Microarray studies identified Ch12:orf39 (Spexin) as the most down-regulated gene in obese human fat. Therefore, we examined its role in obesity pathogenesis. METHODS:Spexin effects on food intake, meal patterns, body weight, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and locomotor activity were monitored electronically in C57BL/6J mice or Wistar rats with diet-induced obesity (DIO). Its effects on adipocyte [(3)H]-oleate uptake were determined. RESULTS:In humans, Spexin gene expression was down-regulated 14.9-fold in obese omental and subcutaneous fat. Circulating Spexin changed in parallel, correlating (r?=?-0.797) with Leptin. In rats, Spexin (35 µg/kg/day SC) reduced caloric intake ?32% with corresponding weight loss. Meal patterns were unaffected. In mice, Spexin (25 µg/kg/day IP) significantly reduced the RER at night, and increased locomotion. Spexin incubation in vitro significantly inhibited facilitated fatty acid (FA) uptake into DIO mouse adipocytes. Conditioned taste aversion testing (70 µg/kg/day IP) demonstrated no aversive Spexin effects. CONCLUSIONS:Spexin gene expression is markedly down-regulated in obese human fat. The peptide produces weight loss in DIO rodents. Its effects on appetite and energy regulation are presumably central; those on adipocyte FA uptake appear direct and peripheral. Spexin is a novel hormone involved in weight regulation, with potential for obesity therapy.
Project description:?-Aminobutyric acid B (GABAB) receptor activation is a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of drug addiction, pain, anxiety, and depression. However, full agonists of this receptor induce side-effects, such as sedation, muscle relaxation, tolerance, and cognitive disruption. Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the GABAB receptor may have similar therapeutic effects as agonists with superior side-effect profiles. The present study behaviorally characterized N-([1R,2R,4S]-bicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-yl)-2-methyl-5-(4-[trifluoromethyl]phenyl)-4-pyrimidinamine (BHF177), a GABAB receptor PAM, in mouse models of anxiety-like behavior, learning and memory. In addition, the effects of BHF177 were compared with the agonist baclofen. Unlike the anxiolytic chlordiazepoxide, baclofen (0.5, 1.5, and 2.5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) and BHF177 (10, 20, and 40 mg/kg, orally) had no effect on anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze, light/dark box, or Vogel conflict test. Baclofen increased punished drinking in the Vogel conflict test, but this effect may be attributable to the analgesic actions of baclofen. At the highest dose tested (2.5 mg/kg), baclofen-treated mice exhibited sedation-like effects (i.e., reduced locomotor activity) across many of the tests, whereas BHF177-treated mice exhibited no sedation-like effects. BHF177 exhibited pro-convulsion properties only in mice, but not in rats, indicating that this effect may be species-specific. At doses that were not sedative or pro-convulsant, baclofen and BHF177 had no selective effects on fear memory retrieval in contextual and cued fear conditioning or spatial learning and memory in the Barnes maze. These data suggest that BHF177 has little sedative activity, no anxiolytic-like profile, and minimal impairment of learning and memory in mice.
Project description:microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as potent regulators of learning, recent memory, and extinction. However, our understanding of miRNAs directly involved in regulating complex psychiatric conditions perpetuated by aberrant memory, such as in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), remains limited. To begin to address the role of miRNAs in persistent memories, we performed small-RNA sequencing on basolateral amygdala (BLA) tissue and identified miRNAs altered by auditory fear conditioning (FC) one month after training. mir-598-3p, a highly conserved miRNA previously unstudied in the brain, was down-regulated in the BLA. Further decreasing BLA mir-598-3p levels did not increase strength of the remote fear memory. Given that stress is a critical component in PTSD, we next assessed the impact of stress and stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) on mir-598-3p levels, finding the miRNA is elevated in the BLA of male, but not female, mice susceptible to the effects of stress in SEFL. Accordingly, intra-BLA inhibition of mir-598-3p interfered with expression and extinction of the remote fear memory in male, but not female, mice. This effect could not be attributed to an anxiolytic effect of miRNA inhibition. Finally, bioinformatic analysis following quantitative proteomics on BLA tissue collected 30 d post-SEFL training identified putative mir-598-3p targets and related pathways mediating the differential susceptibility, with evidence for regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, the core mediator of structural plasticity. Taken together, the results suggest BLA mir-598-3p may be recruited by stress to mediate a critical switch from a salient remote fear memory to one that is enhanced and extinction-resistant.
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:Background: There is strong evidence for a bidirectional association between depression and obesity. Several biological, psychological, and behavior-related factors may influence this complex association. Clinical impression and preliminary evidence suggest that patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder may endorse very different depressive symptom patterns depending on their body weight status. Until now, little is known about potential differences in depressive symptoms in relation to body weight status. Objective: The aim of this analysis is the investigation of potential differences in depressive symptom clusters (mood symptoms, somatic/vegetative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms) in relation to body weight status. Methods: Cross-sectional baseline data were derived from two large European multicenter studies: the MooDFOOD Trial and the NESDA cohort study, including persons with overweight and obesity and normal weight reporting subthreshold depressive symptoms (assessment via Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report, IDS-SR30). Different measures for body weight status [waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI)] were examined. Propensity score matching was performed and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted. Results: A total of n = 504 individuals (73.0% women) were analyzed. Results show that more somatic/vegetative depressive symptoms, such as pain, change in appetite and weight, gastrointestinal symptoms, and arousal-related symptoms, were significantly associated with both a higher BMI and higher WHR, respectively. In addition, being male and older age were significantly associated with higher WHR. Mood and cognitive depressive symptoms did not yield significant associations for both body weight status measures. Conclusions: Somatic/vegetative symptoms and not mood and cognitive symptoms of depression are associated with body weight status. Thus, the results support previous findings of heterogeneous depressive symptoms in relation to body weight status. In addition to BMI, other body weight status measures for obesity should be taken into account in future studies. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT02529423.
Project description:Transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channels are widely expressed in brain and involved in various aspects of brain function. Both TRPC4 and TRPC5 have been implicated in innate fear function, which represents a key response to environmental stress. However, to what extent the TRPC4/C5 channels are involved in psychiatric disorders remains unexplored. Here, we tested the antidepressant and anxiolytic-like effects of a newly identified TRPC4/C5 inhibitor, M084. We show that a single intraperitoneal administration of M084 at 10 mg/kg body weight to C57BL/6 male mice significantly shortened the immobility time in forced swim test and tail suspension test within as short as 2 hours. The M084-treated mice spent more time exploring in illuminated and open areas in light/dark transition test and elevated plus maze test. In mice subjected to chronic unpredictable stress, M084 treatment reversed the enhanced immobility time in forced swim test and decreased the latency to feed in novelty suppressed feeding test. The treatment of M084 increased BDNF expression in both mRNA and protein levels, as well as phosphorylation levels of AKT and ERK, in prefrontal cortex. Our results indicate that M084 exerts rapid antidepressant and anxiolytic-like effects at least in part by acting on BDNF and its downstream signaling. We propose M084 as a lead compound for further druggability research.