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(1/2010) Developmental synaptic changes increase the range of integrative capabilities of an identified excitatory neocortical connection.

Excitatory synaptic transmission between pyramidal cells and fast-spiking (FS) interneurons of layer V of the motor cortex was investigated in acute slices by using paired recordings at 30 degrees C combined with morphological analysis. The presynaptic and postsynaptic properties at these identified central synapses were compared between 3- and 5-week-old rats. At these two postnatal developmental stages, unitary EPSCs were mediated by the activation of AMPA receptors with fast kinetics at a holding potential of -72 mV. The amplitude distribution analysis of the EPSCs indicates that, at both stages, pyramidal-FS connections consisted of multiple functional release sites. The apparent quantal size obtained by decreasing the external calcium ([Ca2+]e) varied from 11 to 29 pA near resting membrane potential. In young rats, pairs of presynaptic action potentials elicited unitary synaptic responses that displayed paired-pulse depression at all tested frequencies. In older animals, inputs from different pyramidal cells onto the same FS interneuron had different paired-pulse response characteristics and, at most of these connections, a switch from depression to facilitation occurred when decreasing the rate of presynaptic stimulation. The balance between facilitation and depression endows pyramidal-FS connections from 5-week-old animals with wide integrative capabilities and confers unique functional properties to each synapse.  (+info)

(2/2010) Retinal input induces three firing patterns in neurons of the superficial superior colliculus of neonatal rats.

By using an in vitro isolated brain stem preparation, we recorded extracellular responses to electrical stimulation of the optic tract (OT) from 71 neurons in the superficial superior colliculus (SC) of neonatal rats (P1-13). At postnatal day 1 (P1), all tested neurons (n = 10) already received excitatory input from the retina. Sixty-nine (97%) superficial SC neurons of neonatal rats showed three response patterns to OT stimulation, which depended on stimulus intensity. A weak stimulus evoked only one spike that was caused by activation of non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors. A moderate stimulus elicited a short train (<250 ms) of spikes, which was induced by activation of both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors. A strong stimulus gave rise to a long train (>300 ms) of spikes, which was associated with additional activation of L-type high-threshold calcium channels. The long train firing pattern could also be induced either by temporal summation of retinal inputs or by blocking gamma-aminobutyric acid-A receptors. Because retinal ganglion cells show synchronous bursting activity before eye opening at P14, the retinotectal inputs appear to be sufficient to activate L-type calcium channels in the absence of pattern vision. Therefore activation of L-type calcium channels is likely to be an important source for calcium influx into SC neurons in neonatal rats.  (+info)

(3/2010) Uninjured C-fiber nociceptors develop spontaneous activity and alpha-adrenergic sensitivity following L6 spinal nerve ligation in monkey.

We investigated whether uninjured cutaneous C-fiber nociceptors in primates develop abnormal responses after partial denervation of the skin. Partial denervation was induced by tightly ligating spinal nerve L6 that innervates the dorsum of the foot. Using an in vitro skin-nerve preparation, we recorded from uninjured single afferent nerve fibers in the superficial peroneal nerve. Recordings were made from 32 C-fiber nociceptors 2-3 wk after ligation and from 29 C-fiber nociceptors in control animals. Phenylephrine, a selective alpha1-adrenergic agonist, and UK14304 (UK), a selective alpha2-adrenergic agonist, were applied to the receptive field for 5 min in increasing concentrations from 0.1 to 100 microM. Nociceptors from in vitro control experiments were not significantly different from nociceptors recorded by us previously in in vivo experiments. In comparison to in vitro control animals, the afferents found in lesioned animals had 1) a significantly higher incidence of spontaneous activity, 2) a significantly higher incidence of response to phenylephrine, and 3) a higher incidence of response to UK. In lesioned animals, the peak response to phenylephrine was significantly greater than to UK, and the mechanical threshold of phenylephrine-sensitive afferents was significantly lower than for phenylephrine-insensitive afferents. Staining with protein gene product 9.5 revealed an approximately 55% reduction in the number of unmyelinated terminals in the epidermis of the lesioned limb compared with the contralateral limb. Thus uninjured cutaneous C-fiber nociceptors that innervate skin partially denervated by ligation of a spinal nerve acquire two abnormal properties: spontaneous activity and alpha-adrenergic sensitivity. These abnormalities in nociceptor function may contribute to neuropathic pain.  (+info)

(4/2010) Homologous regulation of the alpha2C-adrenoceptor subtype in human hepatocarcinoma, HepG2.

1. Previous studies of the regulation of the alpha2C-adrenoceptor in OK and in transfected cells have led to discrepant conclusions. In the present work, we examined the homologous regulation of the human alpha2C-adrenoceptor in the hepatocarcinoma cell-line, HepG2; a model which expresses this subtype spontaneously. 2. Short-period treatment of the cells with UK14304 provoked neither a diminution of the potency of the alpha2-agonist to inhibit forskolin-induced cyclic AMP-accumulation nor a change in the degree of receptor coupling to G-proteins. 3. Long-period exposure to UK14304 resulted in a large reduction of [3H]MK912 binding sites (55% decrease). The action of UK14304 was dose-dependent (EC50 = 190 +/- 45 nM), rapid (t1/2 = 4.2 h) and reversible. Receptor down-regulation was also observed with clonidine or (-)adrenaline (38 and 36% decrease, respectively) and was blocked by the addition of alpha2-antagonists. 4. Conversely to that observed with alpha2-agonists, treatment of the cells with RX821002 or yohimbine alone, but not with phentolamine, promoted a significant increase of the receptor expression. 5. The observed alterations of receptor density are not the reflection of changes at the alpha2C4 mRNA level. Estimation of the receptor protein turnover and measurement of its half-life demonstrated that down-regulation by alpha2-agonists and up-regulation by alpha2-antagonists, with inverse-agonist efficacy, are respectively the consequence of increased and decreased rate of receptor degradation. 6. In conclusion, our data show that alpha2C-adrenoceptor does not undergo desensitization but is down-regulated in HepG2. The lack of desensitization agrees with previous results obtained in cells transfected with the alpha2C4 gene, but not with observations made in OK cells. Inversely, down-regulation fits with results obtained in OK but not in transfected cells. The reasons for these discrepancies are discussed. Our results also demonstrated that certain alpha2-antagonists behave as inverse agonist on the HepG2 model and thus provide for the first time evidence of inverse efficacy of antagonists on a cellular model expressing physiological level of a wild-type alpha2-adrenoceptor.  (+info)

(5/2010) Dose escalation study of the NMDA glycine-site antagonist licostinel in acute ischemic stroke.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Licostinel (ACEA 1021; 5-nitro-6, 7-dichloro-2,3-quinoxalinedione), a competitive antagonist of glycine at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, is an effective neuroprotective agent in animal models of cerebral ischemia. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of licostinel in patients with acute stroke. METHODS: In this 5-center dose escalation trial, patients were enrolled within 48 hours of an ischemic stroke and treated with ascending doses of a short infusion of licostinel or a placebo. Adverse effects were assessed with clinical and laboratory measurements, and patient outcome was determined with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale. RESULTS: Sixty-four patients (44 treated with escalating doses of licostinel and 20 who received placebo) were treated. Lower doses of licostinel (0.03 to 0.60 mg/kg) were not associated with any significant adverse effects. Higher doses of licostinel (1.2 to 3.0 mg/kg) were associated with a variety of mild-to-moderate adverse effects including neurological and gastrointestinal complaints. No major psychotomimetic effects or significant safety concerns occurred. At the higher dose levels, peak plasma concentrations of licostinel were substantially higher than those required for neuroprotection in animal stroke models. A similar improvement in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores over time was seen in both the placebo group and the licostinel-treated patients. CONCLUSIONS: A short infusion of licostinel in doses up to 3.0 mg/kg is safe and tolerable in acute stroke patients. Licostinel may be a safer and better tolerated neuroprotective agent than many of the previously evaluated NMDA antagonists.  (+info)

(6/2010) Continuing postischemic neuronal death in CA1: influence of ischemia duration and cytoprotective doses of NBQX and SNX-111 in rats.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Transient forebrain ischemia results in a 24- to 72-hour delayed loss of CA1 neurons. Previous work has not assessed whether insult durations can vary the degree and maturation rate of CA1 injury and whether there are different ultrastructural features of death after brief or severe ischemia. We also tested whether known cytoprotective drugs achieve permanent or transient neuroprotection. METHODS: In the first experiment, ischemia was induced for 5, 15, or 30 minutes with the use of the 4-vessel occlusion rat model with 1- to 28-day survival. Others subjected to 5 or 15 minutes of ischemia and allowed to survive for 14 or 7 days, respectively, were examined with electron microscopy. Finally, we determined whether NBQX (30 mg/kg x3 at 0 or 6 hours after ischemia), an AMPA antagonist, and SNX-111 (5 mg/kg at 6 hours after ischemia), an N-type Ca2+ channel antagonist, provided enduring CA1 protection against 10 minutes of ischemia. RESULTS: CA1 damage was not detected at 24 hours. Thirty minutes of ischemia produced 47% and 84% CA1 damage at 2 and 3 days, respectively. A 15-minute occlusion yielded 11%, 74%, and 86% loss at 2, 3, and 7 days, respectively. Five minutes of ischemia produced an even slower progression with 24%, 52%, and 59% loss at 3, 7, and 14 days, respectively. Ultrastructural examination after 5 and 15 minutes of ischemia revealed necrosis with no morphological evidence of apoptosis. Both NBQX (P<0.021) and SNX-111 (P<0.001) significantly reduced CA1 death at 7 days (/=80%) compared with saline treatment ( approximately 79%). CONCLUSIONS: Brief forebrain ischemia results in a slower progression of CA1 loss than more severe insults. Nonetheless, neuronal injury had necrotic, not apoptotic, morphology. NBQX and SNX-111 only postponed CA1 injury.  (+info)

(7/2010) Synaptic transmission at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rat hippocampal organotypic cultures and slices.

1. Whole-cell clamp recordings of the compound synaptic current elicited by afferent stimulation of Schaffer collaterals showed that blockade of the NMDA, AMPA and GABAA receptor-mediated components by 6-nitro-7-sulphamoyl- benzo(f)quinoxaline-2,3-dione (NBQX), 3-((R)-2-carboxypiperazine-4-yl)propyl-1-phosphonate (R-CPP) and picrotoxin, respectively, left a small residual current in 39 out of 41 CA1 pyramidal neurones in organotypic cultures and 9 out of 16 CA1 cells in acutely prepared slices. 2. This current represented 2. 9 +/- 0.4 % of the compound evoked synaptic response in organoypic cultures and 1.4 +/- 0.5 % in slices. It was characterized by a slightly rectifying I-V curve and a reversal potential of 3.4 +/- 5. 1 mV. 3. This residual current was insensitive to blockers of GABAB, purinergic, muscarinic and 5-HT3 receptors, but it was essentially blocked by the nicotinic receptor antagonist d-tubocurarine (91 +/- 4 % blockade; 20 microM), and partly blocked by alpha-bungarotoxin (200 nM) and methyllycaconitine (10 nM), two antagonists with a higher selectivity for alpha7 subunit-containing nicotinic receptors (48 +/- 3 % and 55 +/- 11 % blockade, respectively). 4. The residual current was of synaptic origin, since it occurred after a small delay; its amplitude depended upon the stimulation intensity and it was calcium dependent and blocked by the sodium channel antagonist tetrodotoxin. 5. We conclude that afferent stimulation applied in the stratum radiatum evokes in some hippocampal neurones a small synaptic current mediated by activation of neuronal nicotinic receptors.  (+info)

(8/2010) L-764406 is a partial agonist of human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. The role of Cys313 in ligand binding.

Insulin-sensitizing thiazolidinedione (TZD) compounds are high affinity ligands for a member of the nuclear receptor family, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma. A scintillation proximity assay for measurement of 3H-radiolabeled TZD binding to human PPARgamma under homogeneous conditions was developed. Using this approach, a novel non-TZD compound (L-764406) was shown to be a potent (apparent binding IC50 of 70 nM) PPARgamma ligand. Preincubation of PPARgamma with L-764406 prevented binding of the [3H]TZD, suggesting a covalent interaction with the receptor; in addition, structurally related analogues of L-764406, which would be predicted not to interact with PPARgamma in a covalent fashion, did not displace [3H]TZD binding to PPARgamma. Covalent binding of L-764406 was proven by an observed molecular weight shift of a tryptic PPARgamma ligand binding domain (LBD) peptide by mass spectrometric analysis. A specific cysteine residue (Cys313 in helix 3 of hPPARgamma2) was identified as the attachment site for this compound. In protease protection experiments, the liganded receptor adopted a typical agonist conformation. L-764406 exhibited partial agonist activity in cells expressing a chimeric receptor containing the PPARgamma LBD and a cognate reporter gene and also induced the expression of the adipocyte-specific gene aP2 in 3T3-L1 cells. In contrast, L-764406 did not exhibit activity in cells transfected with chimeric receptors containing PPARalpha or PPARdelta LBDs. The partial agonist properties of L-764406 were also evident in a co-activator association assay, indicating that the increased transcription in cells was co-activator mediated. Thus, L-764406 is a novel non-TZD ligand for PPARgamma and is also the first known partial agonist for this receptor. The results suggest a critical functional role for Cys313, and helix 3, in contributing to ligand binding and subsequent agonist-induced conformational changes.  (+info)