Hypotensive drugs have been used to identify central neurons that mediate compensatory baroreceptor reflex responses. Such drugs also increase blood glucose. Our aim was to identify the neurochemical phenotypes of sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPN) and adrenal chromaffin cells activated following hydralazine (HDZ; 10mg/kg) administration in rats, and utilize this and SPN target organ destination to ascribe their function as cardiovascular or glucose regulating. Blood glucose was measured and adrenal chromaffin cell activation was assessed using c-Fos immunoreactivity (-ir) and phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase, respectively. The activation and neurochemical phenotype of SPN innervating the adrenal glands and celiac ganglia were determined using the retrograde tracer cholera toxin B subunit, in combination with in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Blood glucose was elevated at multiple time points following HDZ administration but little evidence of chromaffin cell activation was seen suggesting non-adrenal mechanisms contribute to the sustained hyperglycemia. 16±0.1% of T4-T11 SPN contained c-Fos and of these: 24.3±1.4% projected to adrenal glands and 29±5.5% projected to celiac ganglia with the rest innervating other targets. 62.8±1.4% of SPN innervating adrenal glands were activated and 29.9±3.3% expressed PPE mRNA whereas 53.2±8.6% of SPN innervating celiac ganglia were activated and 31.2±8.8% expressed PPE mRNA. CART-ir SPN innervating each target were also activated and did not co-express PPE mRNA. Neurochemical coding reveals that HDZ administration activates both PPE+SPN, whose activity increase glucose mobilization causing hyperglycemia, as well as CART+SPN whose activity drive vasomotor responses mediated by baroreceptor unloading to raise vascular tone and heart rate.
The neural systems that afford our ability to evaluate rewards and punishments are impacted by a variety of external factors. Here, we demonstrate that increased cognitive load reduces the functional efficacy of a reward processing system within the human medial-frontal cortex. In our paradigm, two groups of participants used performance feedback to estimate the exact duration of one second while electroencephalographic (EEG) data was recorded. Prior to performing the time estimation task, both groups were instructed to keep their eyes still and avoid blinking in line with well established EEG protocol. However, during performance of the time-estimation task, one of the two groups was provided with trial-to-trial-feedback about their performance on the time-estimation task and their eye movements to induce a higher level of cognitive load relative to participants in the other group who were solely provided with feedback about the accuracy of their temporal estimates. In line with previous work, we found that the higher level of cognitive load reduced the amplitude of the feedback-related negativity, a component of the human event-related brain potential associated with reward evaluation within the medial-frontal cortex. Importantly, our results provide further support that increased cognitive load reduces the functional efficacy of a neural system associated with reward processing.
Injury to neuronal tissues in the central nervous system (CNS) of mammals results in neural degeneration and sometime leads to loss of function, whereas fish retain a remarkable potential for neuro-regeneration throughout life. Thus, understanding the mechanism of neuro-regeneration in fish CNS would be useful to improve the poor neuro-regenerative capability in mammals. In the present study, we characterized a neuro-regenerative process in the brain of a cichlid, tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Morphological observations showed that the damaged brain region (habenula) successfully regrew and reinnervated axonal projections by 60 days post-damage. A fluorescent carbocyanine tracer, DiI tracing revealed a recovery of the major neuronal projection from the regenerated habenula to the interpenduncular nucleus by 60 days post-damage. TUNEL assay showed a significant increase of apoptotic cells (~234%, P<0.01) at one day post-damage, while the number of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive proliferative cells were significantly increased (~92%, P<0.05) at 7 days post-damage compared with sham-control fish. To demonstrate a potential role of apoptotic activity in the neuro-regeneration, effects of degenerative neural tissue on cell proliferation were examined in vivo. Implantation of detached neural but not non-neural tissues into the cranial cavity significantly (P<0.01) increased the number of BrdU-positive cells nearby the implantation regions at 3 days after the implantation. Furthermore, local injection of the protein extract and cerebrospinal fluid collected from injured fish brain significantly induced cell proliferation in the brain. These results suggest that factor(s) derived from apoptotic neural cells may play a critical role in the neuro-regeneration in teleost brain.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive psychostimulant that has surged in popularity worldwide in the last decade. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a member of the neurotrophic factor family, is widely expressed in the adult mammalian brain and plays an important role in the long-term survival, differentiation, and outgrowth of neurons. Previous studies suggested that the BDNF gene may be involved in the mechanisms underlying substance dependence. This study investigated the association of the BDNF gene Val66Met polymorphism with methamphetamine dependence and with psychosis in a Malaysian population with different ethnicities. The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism was genotyped by PCR-RFLP in 186 male methamphetamine-dependent subjects and in 154 male controls of four different ethnicities, namely, Malay, Chinese, Kadazan-Dusun, and Bajau. Our results showed that the distribution of the BDNF Val66Met genotype in Chinese subjects with methamphetamine dependence (OR=2.6, p=0.015) and methamphetamine psychosis (OR=0.2, p = 0.034) were significant compared with controls. The frequency of the 66Val allele in methamphetamine-dependent subjects was higher than that in the control group, suggesting that the 66Val carriers are more susceptible to methamphetamine dependence. However, 66Val allele frequency in other ethnicities was not significantly different from the controls. The results of the study also showed that in the Chinese methamphetamine-dependent subjects, there was a difference in allele frequency when comparing those who developed psychosis and those who did not. Our findings suggest that the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism may contribute to methamphetamine dependence and psychosis in the Chinese population but not in other Malaysian ethnicities.
Toxoplasma gondii can cause parasitic encephalitis, a life-threatening infection predominately occurs in immunocompromised individuals. T. gondii has the ability to invade the brain, but the mechanisms by which this parasite crosses the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) to cause brain damage remain incompletely understood. The present study reports the structural and functional changes associated with infection and replication of T. gondii within human cerebrovascular endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro. Our results indicated that exposure of ECs to T. gondii had adverse impact on the function and integrity of the ECs - through reduced viability and increased monolayer permeability as well as altered expression of cytokine and tight junction genes. The P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibitor verapamil was found to be effective in inhibiting T. gondii crossing the ECs in a dose-dependent manner. The present study showed that T. gondii can compromise several functions of human cerebrovascular endothelial cells and demonstrated the ability of verapamil to inhibit T. gondii crossing of the BBB-ECs in vitro.