A genetic approach to visualization of multisynaptic neural pathways using plant lectin transgene.
The wiring patterns among various types of neurons via specific synaptic connections are the basis of functional logic employed by the brain for information processing. This study introduces a powerful method of analyzing the neuronal connectivity patterns by delivering a tracer selectively to specific types of neurons while simultaneously transsynaptically labeling their target neurons. We developed a novel genetic approach introducing cDNA for a plant lectin, wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), as a transgene under the control of specific promoter elements. Using this method, we demonstrate three examples of visualization of specific transsynaptic neural pathways: the mouse cerebellar efferent pathways, the mouse olfactory pathways, and the Drosophila visual pathways. This strategy should greatly facilitate studies on the anatomical and functional organization of the developing and mature nervous system. (+info)
We recently described a perivascular sensory nerve-linked dilator system that can be activated by interstitial Ca2+ (Ca2+isf). The present study tested the hypothesis that Ca2+isf in the rat duodenal submucosa varies through a range that is sufficient to activate this pathway. An in situ microdialysis method was used to estimate Ca2+isf. When the duodenal lumen was perfused with Ca2+-free buffer, Ca2+isf was 1.0 +/- 0.13 mmol/l. Ca2+isf increased to 1.52 +/- 0.04, 1.78 +/- 0.10, and 1.89 +/- 0.1 when the lumen was perfused with buffer containing 3, 6, and 10 mmol/l Ca2+, respectively (P < 0.05). Ca2+isf was 1.1 +/- 0.06 mmol/l in fasted animals and increased to 1. 4 +/- 0.06 mmol/l in free-feeding rats (P < 0.05). Wire myography was used to study isometric tension responses of isolated mesenteric resistance arteries. Cumulative addition of extracellular Ca2+-relaxed serotonin- and methoxamine-precontracted arteries with half-maximal effective doses of 1.54 +/- 0.05 and 1.67 +/- 0.08 mmol/l, respectively (n = 5). These data show that duodenal Ca2+isf undergoes dynamic changes over a range that activates the sensory nerve-linked dilator system and indicate that this system can link changes in local Ca2+ transport with alterations in regional resistance and organ blood flow. (+info)
Increasing confidence in vergence as a cue to distance.
Multiple cues contribute to the visual perception of an object's distance from the observer. The manner in which the nervous system combines these various cues is of considerable interest. Although it is accepted that image cues play a significant role in distance perception, controversy exists regarding the use of kinaesthetic information about the eyes' state of convergence. We used a perturbation technique to explore the contribution of vergence to visually based distance estimates as a function of both fixation distance and the availability of retinal information. Our results show that the nervous system increases the weighting given to vergence as (i) fixation distance becomes closer; and (ii) the available retinal image cues decrease. We also identified the presence of a strong contraction bias when distance cues were studied in isolation, but we argue that such biases do not suggest that vergence provides an ineffectual signal for near-space perception. (+info)
In vivo microdialysis assessment of nerve-stimulated contractions associated with increased acetylcholine release in the dog intestine.
Intestinal contractility and release of endogenous acetylcholine (ACh) were measured simultaneously in vivo in the small intestine of the anesthetized dog. Electrical stimulation of nerves in the intestinal seromuscular layers caused contractions and increased concentrations of ACh in the dialysate, which were abolished by infusion of tetrodotoxin into the intestinal marginal artery at 75 nmol/ml. Intraarterial administration of atropine at 150 nmol/ml abolished the stimulated contractions, without significant effects on increases in concentrations of dialysate ACh. Thus, the nerve-stimulated contractions were found in vivo to be associated with a local increase in ACh release from the intestinal cholinergic neurons. (+info)
Depletion of cutaneous peptidergic innervation in HIV-associated xerosis.
Severe xerosis occurs in approximately 20% of human immunodeficiency virus seropositive patients. Changes in cutaneous innervation have been found in various inflammatory skin diseases and in xerotic skin in familial amyloid. We have therefore carried out a quantitative examination of the cutaneous peptidergic innervation in human immunodeficiency virus-associated xerosis. Immunohistochemistry and image analysis quantitation were used to compare total cutaneous innervation (protein gene product 9.5), calcitonin gene-related peptide, substance P, and vasoactive intestinal peptide peptidergic fibers, at two sites in the skin of human immunodeficiency virus-associated xerosis patients (upper arm, n = 12; upper leg, n = 11) and site-matched seronegative controls (upper arm, n = 10; upper leg, n = 10). Measurement of lengths of fibers of each type was carried out for each subject in the epidermis and papillary dermis, and around the sweat glands. Immunostained mast cells in these areas were counted. Epidermal integrity and maturation were assessed by immunostaining for involucrin. There were significant (Mann-Whitney U test; p < 0.02) decreases in total lengths of protein gene product 9.5 fibers in both epidermis/papillary dermis and sweat gland fields; of calcitonin gene-related peptide innervation in the epidermis/papillary dermis; and of substance P innervation of the sweat glands. There were no differences in the distribution of mast cells, or in the epidermal expression of involucrin. Depletion of the calcitonin gene-related peptide innervation may affect the nutrient blood supply of the upper dermis, and the integrity and function of basal epidermis and Langerhans cells. Diminished substance P innervation of the sweat glands may affect their secretory activity. Both of these changes may be implicated in the development of xerosis. (+info)
Choroid plexus epithelial expression of MDR1 P glycoprotein and multidrug resistance-associated protein contribute to the blood-cerebrospinal-fluid drug-permeability barrier.
The blood-brain barrier and a blood-cerebrospinal-fluid (CSF) barrier function together to isolate the brain from circulating drugs, toxins, and xenobiotics. The blood-CSF drug-permeability barrier is localized to the epithelium of the choroid plexus (CP). However, the molecular mechanisms regulating drug permeability across the CP epithelium are defined poorly. Herein, we describe a drug-permeability barrier in human and rodent CP mediated by epithelial-specific expression of the MDR1 (multidrug resistance) P glycoprotein (Pgp) and the multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP). Noninvasive single-photon-emission computed tomography with 99mTc-sestamibi, a membrane-permeant radiopharmaceutical whose transport is mediated by both Pgp and MRP, shows a large blood-to-CSF concentration gradient across intact CP epithelium in humans in vivo. In rats, pharmacokinetic analysis with 99mTc-sestamibi determined the concentration gradient to be greater than 100-fold. In membrane fractions of isolated native CP from rat, mouse, and human, the 170-kDa Pgp and 190-kDa MRP are identified readily. Furthermore, the murine proteins are absent in CP isolated from their respective mdr1a/1b(-/-) and mrp(-/-) gene knockout littermates. As determined by immunohistochemical and drug-transport analysis of native CP and polarized epithelial cell cultures derived from neonatal rat CP, Pgp localizes subapically, conferring an apical-to-basal transepithelial permeation barrier to radiolabeled drugs. Conversely, MRP localizes basolaterally, conferring an opposing basal-to-apical drug-permeation barrier. Together, these transporters may coordinate secretion and reabsorption of natural product substrates and therapeutic drugs, including chemotherapeutic agents, antipsychotics, and HIV protease inhibitors, into and out of the central nervous system. (+info)
Rhythmic swimming activity in neurones of the isolated nerve cord of the leech.
1. Repeating bursts of motor neurone impulses have been recorded from the nerves of completely isolated nerve cords of the medicinal leech. The salient features of this burst rhythm are similar to those obtained in the semi-intact preparation during swimming. Hence the basic swimming rhythm is generated by a central oscillator. 2. Quantitative comparisons between the impulse patterns obtained from the isolated nerve cord and those obtained from a semi-intact preparation show that the variation in both dorsal to ventral motor neurone phasing and burst duration with swim cycle period differ in these two preparations. 3. The increase of intersegmental delay with period, which is a prominent feature of swimming behaviour of the intact animal, is not seen in either the semi-intact or isolated cord preparations. 4. In the semi-intact preparation, stretching the body wall or depolarizing an inhibitory motor neurone changes the burst duration of excitatory motor neurones in the same segment. In the isolated nerve cord, these manipulations also change the period of the swim cycle in the entire cord. 5. These comparisons suggest that sensory input stabilizes the centrally generated swimming rhythm, determines the phasing of the bursts of impulses from dorsal and ventral motor neurones, and matches the intersegmental delay to the cycle period so as to maintain a constant body shape at all rates of swimming. (+info)
Time course of myosin heavy chain transitions in neonatal rats: importance of innervation and thyroid state.
During the postnatal period, rat limb muscles adapt to weight bearing via the replacement of embryonic (Emb) and neonatal (Neo) myosin heavy chains (MHCs) by the adult isoforms. Our aim was to characterize this transition in terms of the six MHC isoforms expressed in skeletal muscle and to determine the importance of innervation and thyroid hormone status on the attainment of the adult MHC phenotype. Neonatal rats were made hypothyroid via propylthiouracil (PTU) injection. In normal and PTU subgroups, leg muscles were unilaterally denervated at 15 days of age. The MHC profiles of plantaris (PLN) and soleus (Sol) muscles were determined at 7, 14, 23, and 30 days postpartum. At day 7, the Sol MHC profile was 55% type I, 30% Emb, and 10% Neo; in the PLN, the pattern was 60% Neo and 25% Emb. By day 30 the Sol and PLN had essentially attained an adult MHC profile in the controls. PTU augmented slow MHC expression in the Sol, whereas in the PLN it markedly repressed IIb MHC by retaining neonatal MHC expression. Denervation blunted the upregulation of IIb in the PLN and of Type I in the Sol and shifted the pattern to greater expression of IIa and IIx MHCs in both muscles. In contrast to previous observations, these findings collectively suggest that both an intact thyroid and innervation state are obligatory for the attainment of the adult MHC phenotype, particularly in fast-twitch muscles. (+info)