FGF8 induces formation of an ectopic isthmic organizer and isthmocerebellar development via a repressive effect on Otx2 expression. (1/3138)

Beads containing recombinant FGF8 (FGF8-beads) were implanted in the prospective caudal diencephalon or midbrain of chick embryos at stages 9-12. This induced the neuroepithelium rostral and caudal to the FGF8-bead to form two ectopic, mirror-image midbrains. Furthermore, cells in direct contact with the bead formed an outgrowth that protruded laterally from the neural tube. Tissue within such lateral outgrowths developed proximally into isthmic nuclei and distally into a cerebellum-like structure. These morphogenetic effects were apparently due to FGF8-mediated changes in gene expression in the vicinity of the bead, including a repressive effect on Otx2 and an inductive effect on En1, Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression. The ectopic Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression domains formed nearly complete concentric rings around the FGF8-bead, with the Wnt1 ring outermost. These observations suggest that FGF8 induces the formation of a ring-like ectopic signaling center (organizer) in the lateral wall of the brain, similar to the one that normally encircles the neural tube at the isthmic constriction, which is located at the boundary between the prospective midbrain and hindbrain. This ectopic isthmic organizer apparently sends long-range patterning signals both rostrally and caudally, resulting in the development of the two ectopic midbrains. Interestingly, our data suggest that these inductive signals spread readily in a caudal direction, but are inhibited from spreading rostrally across diencephalic neuromere boundaries. These results provide insights into the mechanism by which FGF8 induces an ectopic organizer and suggest that a negative feedback loop between Fgf8 and Otx2 plays a key role in patterning the midbrain and anterior hindbrain.  (+info)

Characterization of an amphioxus paired box gene, AmphiPax2/5/8: developmental expression patterns in optic support cells, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits, but not in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary region. (2/3138)

On the basis of developmental gene expression, the vertebrate central nervous system comprises: a forebrain plus anterior midbrain, a midbrain-hindbrain boundary region (MHB) having organizer properties, and a rhombospinal domain. The vertebrate MHB is characterized by position, by organizer properties and by being the early site of action of Wnt1 and engrailed genes, and of genes of the Pax2/5/8 subfamily. Wada and others (Wada, H., Saiga, H., Satoh, N. and Holland, P. W. H. (1998) Development 125, 1113-1122) suggested that ascidian tunicates have a vertebrate-like MHB on the basis of ascidian Pax258 expression there. In another invertebrate chordate, amphioxus, comparable gene expression evidence for a vertebrate-like MHB is lacking. We, therefore, isolated and characterized AmphiPax2/5/8, the sole member of this subfamily in amphioxus. AmphiPax2/5/8 is initially expressed well back in the rhombospinal domain and not where a MHB would be expected. In contrast, most of the other expression domains of AmphiPax2/5/8 correspond to expression domains of vertebrate Pax2, Pax5 and Pax8 in structures that are probably homologous - support cells of the eye, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits; although AmphiPax2/5/8 is not transcribed in any structures that could be interpreted as homologues of vertebrate otic placodes or otic vesicles. In sum, the developmental expression of AmphiPax2/5/8 indicates that the amphioxus central nervous system lacks a MHB resembling the vertebrate isthmic region. Additional gene expression data for the developing ascidian and amphioxus nervous systems would help determine whether a MHB is a basal chordate character secondarily lost in amphioxus. The alternative is that the MHB is a vertebrate innovation.  (+info)

Angiotensin II type 1 receptor-mediated inhibition of K+ channel subunit kv2.2 in brain stem and hypothalamic neurons. (3/3138)

Angiotensin II (Ang II) has powerful modulatory actions on cardiovascular function that are mediated by specific receptors located on neurons within the hypothalamus and brain stem. Incubation of neuronal cocultures of rat hypothalamus and brain stem with Ang II elicits an Ang II type 1 (AT1) receptor-mediated inhibition of total outward K+ current that contributes to an increase in neuronal firing rate. However, the exact K+ conductance(s) that is inhibited by Ang II are not established. Pharmacological manipulation of total neuronal outward K+ current revealed a component of K+ current sensitive to quinine, tetraethylammonium, and 4-aminopyridine, with IC50 values of 21.7 micromol/L, 1.49 mmol/L, and 890 micromol/L, respectively, and insensitive to alpha-dendrotoxin (100 to 500 nmol/L), charybdotoxin (100 to 500 nmol/L), and mast cell degranulating peptide (1 micromol/L). Collectively, these data suggest the presence of Kv2.2 and Kv3.1b. Biophysical examination of the quinine-sensitive neuronal K+ current demonstrated a macroscopic conductance with similar biophysical properties to those of Kv2.2 and Kv3.1b. Ang II (100 nmol/L), in the presence of the AT2 receptor blocker PD123,319, elicited an inhibition of neuronal K+ current that was abolished by quinine (50 micromol/L). Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed the presence of Kv2.2 and Kv3.1b mRNA in these neurons. However, Western blot analyses demonstrated that only Kv2.2 protein was present. Coexpression of Kv2.2 and the AT1 receptor in Xenopus oocytes demonstrated an Ang II-induced inhibition of Kv2.2 current. Therefore, these data suggest that inhibition of Kv2.2 contributes to the AT1 receptor-mediated reduction of neuronal K+ current and subsequently to the modulation of cardiovascular function.  (+info)

The superior olivary nucleus and its influence on nucleus laminaris: a source of inhibitory feedback for coincidence detection in the avian auditory brainstem. (4/3138)

Located in the ventrolateral region of the avian brainstem, the superior olivary nucleus (SON) receives inputs from nucleus angularis (NA) and nucleus laminaris (NL) and projects back to NA, NL, and nucleus magnocellularis (NM). The reciprocal connections between the SON and NL are of particular interest because they constitute a feedback circuit for coincidence detection. In the present study, the chick SON was investigated. In vivo tracing studies show that the SON projects predominantly to the ipsilateral NM, NL, and NA. In vitro whole-cell recording reveals single-cell morphology, firing properties, and postsynaptic responses. SON neurons are morphologically and physiologically suited for temporal integration; their firing patterns do not reflect the temporal structure of their excitatory inputs. Of most interest, direct stimulation of the SON evokes long-lasting inhibition in NL neurons. The inhibition blocks both intrinsic spike generation and orthodromically evoked activity in NL neurons and can be eliminated by bicuculline methiodide, a potent antagonist for GABAA receptor-mediated neurotransmission. These results strongly suggest that the SON provides GABAergic inhibitory feedback to laminaris neurons. We discuss a mechanism whereby SON-evoked GABAergic inhibition can influence the coding of interaural time differences for sound localization in the avian auditory brainstem.  (+info)

Concurrent inhibition and excitation of phrenic motoneurons during inspiration: phase-specific control of excitability. (5/3138)

The movements that define behavior are controlled by motoneuron output, which depends on the excitability of motoneurons and the synaptic inputs they receive. Modulation of motoneuron excitability takes place over many time scales. To determine whether motoneuron excitability is specifically modulated during the active versus the quiescent phase of rhythmic behavior, we compared the input-output properties of phrenic motoneurons (PMNs) during inspiratory and expiratory phases of respiration. In neonatal rat brainstem-spinal cord preparations that generate rhythmic respiratory motor outflow, we blocked excitatory inspiratory synaptic drive to PMNs and then examined their phase-dependent responses to superthreshold current pulses. Pulses during inspiration elicited fewer action potentials compared with identical pulses during expiration. This reduced excitability arose from an inspiratory-phase inhibitory input that hyperpolarized PMNs in the absence of excitatory inspiratory inputs. Local application of bicuculline blocked this inhibition as well as the difference between inspiratory and expiratory firing. Correspondingly, bicuculline locally applied to the midcervical spinal cord enhanced fourth cervical nerve (C4) inspiratory burst amplitude. Strychnine had no effect on C4 output. Nicotinic receptor antagonists neither potentiated C4 output nor blocked its potentiation by bicuculline, further indicating that the inhibition is not from recurrent inhibitory pathways. We conclude that it is bulbospinal in origin. These data demonstrate that rapid changes in motoneuron excitability occur during behavior and suggest that integration of overlapping, opposing synaptic inputs to motoneurons is important in controlling motor outflow. Modulation of phasic inhibition may represent a means for regulating the transfer function of PMNs to suit behavioral demands.  (+info)

A clinical study of motor evoked potentials using a triple stimulation technique. (6/3138)

Amplitudes of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) are usually much smaller than those of motor responses to maximal peripheral nerve stimulation, and show marked variation between normal subjects and from one stimulus to another. Consequently, amplitude measurements have low sensitivity to detect central motor conduction failures due to the broad range of normal values. Since these characteristics are mostly due to varying desynchronization of the descending action potentials, causing different degrees of phase cancellation, we applied the recently developed triple stimulation technique (TST) to study corticospinal conduction to 489 abductor digiti minimi muscles of 271 unselected patients referred for possible corticospinal dysfunction. The TST allows resynchronization of the MEP, and thereby a quantification of the proportion of motor units activated by the transcranial stimulus. TST results were compared with those of conventional MEPs. In 212 of 489 sides, abnormal TST responses suggested conduction failure of various degrees. By contrast, conventional MEPs detected conduction failures in only 77 of 489 sides. The TST was therefore 2.75 times more sensitive than conventional MEPs in disclosing corticospinal conduction failures. When the results of the TST and conventional MEPs were combined, 225 sides were abnormal: 145 sides showed central conduction failure, 13 sides central conduction slowing and 67 sides both conduction failure and slowing. It is concluded that the TST is a valuable addition to the study of MEPs, since it improves detection and gives quantitative information on central conduction failure, an abnormality which appears to be much more frequent than conduction slowing. This new technique will be useful in following the natural course and the benefit of treatments in disorders affecting central motor conduction.  (+info)

Infratentorial atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and disability in multiple sclerosis. (7/3138)

Loss of tissue volume in the central nervous system may provide an index of fixed neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Recent magnetic resonance studies have shown a modest relationship between clinical disability rating scores and transverse sectional area of the cervical spinal cord. To explore further the relationship between atrophy and disability in multiple sclerosis, we estimated the volumes of infratentorial structures from MRIs in a cross-sectional study of 41 patients, 21 with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 20 with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. We used the Cavalieri method of modern design stereology with point counting to estimate the volume of brainstem, cerebellum and upper cervical spinal cord from three-dimensional MRIs acquired with an MPRAGE (Magnetization-prepared Rapid Acquisition Gradient Echo) sequence. The volume of the upper (C1-C3) cervical spinal cord was significantly correlated with a composite spinal cord score derived from the appropriate Functional Scale scores of the Expanded Disability Status Scale (r = -0.50, P < 0.01). The cerebellar (r = 0.49, P < 0.01) and brainstem (r = 0.34, P < 0.05) volumes correlated with the Scripp's Neurological Disability Rating Scale scores. The upper cervical cord volumes (r = -0.39, P < 0.01), but not the brainstem or cerebellar volumes, were significantly associated with disease duration. MRI-estimated structural volumes may provide a simple index of axonal and/or myelin loss, the presumed pathological substrates of irreversible impairment and disability in multiple sclerosis.  (+info)

Tissue-specific changes of type 1 angiotensin II receptor and angiotensin-converting enzyme mRNA in angiotensinogen gene-knockout mice. (8/3138)

This study examined whether type 1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) mRNAs are regulated during dietary salt loading in angiotensinogen gene-knockout (Atg-/-) mice which are genetically deficient in endogenous production of angiotensin II. Wild-type (Atg+/+) and Atg-/- mice were fed a normal-salt (0.3% NaCl) or a high-salt (4% NaCl) diet for 2 weeks. The mRNA levels were measured by Northern blot analysis. In Atg+/+ mice, concentrations of plasma angiotensin peptides were decreased by salt loading, whereas the treatment increased the brainstem, cardiac, pulmonary, renal cortex, gastric and intestinal AT1 mRNA levels. Salt loading also enhanced renal cortex ACE mRNA levels in Atg+/+ mice. Although plasma angiotensin peptides and urinary aldosterone excretion were not detected in Atg-/- mice, salt loading increased blood pressure in Atg-/- mice. In Atg-/- mice, pulmonary, renal cortex, gastric and intestinal AT1, and renal cortex and intestinal ACE mRNA levels were higher than those in Atg+/+ mice. However, salt loading upregulated AT1 mRNA expression only in the liver of Atg-/- mice, and the treatment did not affect ACE mRNA levels in Atg-/- mice. Furthermore, although the levels of ACE enzymatic activity showed the same trend with the ACE mRNA levels in the lung, renal cortex and intestine of both Atg-/- and Atg+/+ mice, the results of radioligand binding assay showed that cardiac expression of AT1 protein was regulated differently from AT1 mRNA expression both in Atg-/- and Atg+/+ mice. Thus, expression of AT1 and ACE is regulated by salt loading in a tissue-specific manner that appears to be mediated, at least partly, by a mechanism other than changes in the circulating or tissue levels of angiotensin peptides.  (+info)