Encephalopsin: a novel mammalian extraretinal opsin discretely localized in the brain.
We have identified a mammalian opsin, encephalopsin, that shows strong and specific expression in the brain. Encephalopsin defines a new family of opsins and shows highest homology to vertebrate retinal and pineal opsins. Encephalopsin is highly expressed in the preoptic area and paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, both regions implicated in encephalic photoreception in nonmammalian vertebrates. In addition, encephalopsin shows highly patterned expression in other regions of the brain, being enriched in selected regions of the cerebral cortex, cerebellar Purkinje cells, a subset of striatal neurons, selected thalamic nuclei, and a subset of interneurons in the ventral horn of the spinal cord. Rostrocaudal gradients of encephalopsin expression are present in the cortex, cerebellum, and striatum. Radial stripes of encephalopsin expression are seen in the cerebellum. In the cortex and cerebellum, encephalopsin expression is considerably higher and more highly patterned in the adult than in the neonate. Encephalopsin is the first putative extraocular opsin identified in mammals and may play a role in encephalic photoreception. (+info)
Anterior cephalic neural crest is required for forebrain viability.
The prosencephalon, or embryonic forebrain, grows within a mesenchymal matrix of local paraxial mesoderm and of neural crest cells (NCC) derived from the posterior diencephalon and mesencephalon. Part of this NCC population forms the outer wall of capillaries within the prosencephalic leptomeninges and neuroepithelium itself. The surgical removal of NCC from the anterior head of chick embryos leads to massive cell death within the forebrain neuroepithelium during an interval that precedes its vascularization by at least 36 hours. During this critical period, a mesenchymal layer made up of intermingled mesodermal cells and NCC surround the neuroepithelium. This layer is not formed after anterior cephalic NCC ablation. The neuroepithelium then undergoes massive apoptosis. Cyclopia ensues after forebrain deterioration and absence of intervening frontonasal bud derivatives. The deleterious effect of ablation of the anterior NC cannot be interpreted as a deficit in vascularization because it takes place well before the time when blood vessels start to invade the neuroepithelium. Thus the mesenchymal layer itself exerts a trophic effect on the prosencephalic neuroepithelium. In an assay to rescue the operated phenotype, we found that the rhombencephalic but not the truncal NC can successfully replace the diencephalic and mesencephalic NC. Moreover, any region of the paraxial cephalic mesoderm can replace NCC in their dual function: in their early trophic effect and in providing pericytes to the forebrain meningeal blood vessels. The assumption of these roles by the cephalic neural crest may have been instrumental in the rostral expansion of the vertebrate forebrain over the course of evolution. (+info)
The midbrain-hindbrain boundary genetic cascade is activated ectopically in the diencephalon in response to the widespread expression of one of its components, the medaka gene Ol-eng2.
In vertebrates, the engrailed genes are expressed at early neurula stage in a narrow stripe encompassing the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB), a region from which a peculiar structure, the isthmus, is formed. Knock-out experiments in mice demonstrated that these genes are essential for the development of this structure and of its derivatives. In contrast, little is known about the effect of an overexpression of engrailed genes in vertebrate development. Here we report the isolation of Ol-eng2, a medaka fish (Oryzias latipes) engrailed gene. We have monitored the effects of its widespread expression following mRNA injections in 1- and 2-cell medaka and Xenopus embryos. We found that the ectopic expression of Ol-eng2 predominantly results in an altered development of the anterior brain, including an inhibition of optic vesicle formation. No change in the patterns of mesencephalic and telencephalic markers were observed. In contrast, expressions of markers of the diencephalon were strongly repressed in injected embryos. Furthermore, the endogenous Ol-eng2, Pax2, Wnt1 and Fgf8, which are essential components of the MHB genetic cascade, were ectopically expressed in this region. Therefore, we propose that Ol-eng2 induces de novo formation of an isthmus-like structure, which correlates with the development of ectopic midbrain structures, including optic tectum. A competence of the diencephalon to change to a midbrain fate has been demonstrated in isthmic graft experiments. Our data demonstrate that this change can be mimicked by ectopic engrailed expression alone. (+info)
CNS involvement in neuro-Behcet syndrome: an MR study.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Behcet disease (BD) is a multisystem vasculitis of unknown origin in which neurologic involvement has been reported in the range of 5% to 10% in large series. Reports on clinical and radiologic aspects of neuro-Behcet syndrome (NBS) are in general limited in number. Our purpose was to determine the MR patterns in patients with NBS who had neural parenchymal involvement and to correlate our findings with possible vascular pathophysiology. METHODS: The MR images of 65 patients with NBS and neural parenchymal involvement were reviewed. In a subgroup of patients who had serial MR studies, we evaluated the anatomic-radiologic location and distribution of the lesions and whether they corresponded to any vascular territory, and studied their extension, enhancement patterns, and temporal course. RESULTS: The most common imaging finding in NBS patients who had neural parenchymal involvement was a mesodiencephalic junction lesion with edema extending along certain long tracts in the brain stem and diencephalon in 46% of the patients. The next most common location of involvement was the pontobulbar region, seen in 40% of the cases. Three primary cervical spinal cord lesions and one case of isolated optic nerve involvement were observed. CONCLUSION: The parenchymal distribution of lesions in NBS appears to support the hypothesis of small-vessel vasculitis; mainly, venular involvement. The anatomic distribution of intraaxial veins of the CNS explains the predominant involvement of the brain stem structures observed in our patients. This pattern of lesion distribution might help to differentiate NBS from other vasculitides as well as from the inflammatory-demyelinating diseases of the CNS, such as multiple sclerosis. (+info)
Expression of three Rx homeobox genes in embryonic and adult zebrafish.
The paired-class homeobox gene, Rx, is important in eye development. In this study we analyze expression patterns of three zebrafish Rx genes (Zrx1, 2, 3) in embryos and adults. All three genes show dynamic spatiotemporal patterns of expression. Zrx3 is expressed earliest, in the anteriormost region of the neural plate, in regions that give rise to ventral diencephalon and retinae. As development proceeds, Zrx3 expression is reduced in the lateral optic primordia, and is absent in the optic cup, but is retained at the ventral midline of the diencephalon, and is expressed in hypothalamus in the adult. As the neural retina begins to differentiate, Zrx3 is re-expressed in a subset of cells in the inner nuclear layer, presumably bipolar cells, and this expression is retained in the adult. In contrast, Zrx1/2 have a slightly later onset of expression, are initially coincident with Zrx3, but then become complementary, remaining on in the optic primordia but disappearing from the ventral midline of the diencephalon. Zrx1/2 are down-regulated as the retina differentiates, except in the outer nuclear layer where they continue to be expressed at high levels in cone, but not rod, photoreceptors. This is the first transcription factor described that distinguishes between cone and rod photoreceptors. (+info)
Tissue interactions in the induction of anterior pituitary: role of the ventral diencephalon, mesenchyme, and notochord.
Rathke's pouch, the epithelial primordium of the anterior pituitary, differentiates in close topographical and functional association with the ventral diencephalon. It is still not known whether the ventral diencephalon acts as the initial inducer of pituitary development. The roles of the adjacent mesenchyme and notochord, two other tissues located in close proximity to Rathke's pouch, in this process are even less clear. In this report we describe an in vitro experimental system that reproduces the earliest steps of anterior pituitary development. We provide evidence that the ventral diencephalon from 2- to 4-day-old chick embryos is able to function as an inducer of pituitary development and can convert early chick embryonic head ectoderm, which is not involved normally in pituitary development, into typical anterior pituitary tissue. This induction is contact-dependent. In our experimental system, there is a requirement for the supporting action of mesenchyme, which is independent of the mesenchyme source. Transplantation of the notochord into the lateral head region of a six-somite chick embryo induces an epithelial invagination, suggesting that the notochord induces the outpouching of the roof of the stomodeal ectoderm that results in formation of Rathke's pouch and causes the close contact between this ectoderm and the ventral diencephalon. Finally, we demonstrate that the ventral diencephalon from e9.5-e11.5 mouse embryos is also an efficient inducer of anterior pituitary differentiation in chick embryonic lateral head ectoderm, suggesting that the mechanism of anterior pituitary induction is conserved between mammals and birds, using the same, or similar, signaling pathways. (+info)
Expression of a zebrafish iroquois homeobox gene, Ziro3, in the midline axial structures and central nervous system.
We describe a zebrafish gene, Ziro3, which is highly homologous to Xenopus and mouse iroquois3. Ziro3 expression starts during gastrulation in the dorsal axial mesoderm that develops into the notochord. Later, the expression is limited to the chordo-neural hinge in the tailbud. Ziro3 expression also occurs in the central nervous system (CNS), excluding the telencephalon. The level of Ziro3 expression differs in odd and even rhombomeres. In the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB) and rhombomere 6, Ziro3 transcripts appear only after the formation of the cerebellum and otic vesicle, respectively. (+info)
Leptin increases serotonin turnover by inhibition of brain nitric oxide synthesis.
Leptin administration inhibits diencephalic nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and increases brain serotonin (5-HT) metabolism in mice. We evaluated food intake, body-weight gain, diencephalic NOS activity, and diencephalic content of tryptophan (TRP), 5-HT, hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), and 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio after intracerebroventricular (ICV) or intraperitoneal (IP) leptin injection in mice. Five consecutive days of ICV or IP leptin injections induced a significant reduction in neuronal NOS (nNOS) activity, and caused a dose-dependent increase of 5-HT, 5-HIAA, and the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio. Diencephalic 5-HT metabolism showed a significant increase in 5-HT, 5-HIAA, and the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio 3 hours after a single leptin injection. This effect was maintained for 3 hours and had disappeared by 12 hours after injection. After a single IP leptin injection, the peak for 5-HT, 5-HIAA, and the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio was achieved at 6 hours. Single injections of ICV or IP leptin significantly increased diencephalic 5-HT content. Leptin-induced 5-HT increase was antagonized by the coadministration of L-arginine only when the latter was ICV injected, whereas D-arginine did not influence leptin effects on brain 5-HT content. Finally, in nNOS-knockout mice, the appetite-suppressant activity of leptin was strongly reduced, and the leptin-induced increase in brain 5-HT metabolism was completely abolished. Our results indicate that the L-arginine/NO pathway is involved in mediating leptin effects on feeding behavior, and demonstrate that nNOS activity is required for the effects of leptin on brain 5-HT turnover. (+info)