ResearchPad - behavioral-conditioning https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7872 When others stop and silence ensues, animals respond as if threatened. This study highlights the brain areas involved in listening to the dangerous silence.

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<![CDATA[Base-rate expectations modulate the causal illusion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823c7d5eed0c484638fca

Previous research revealed that people’s judgments of causality between a target cause and an outcome in null contingency settings can be biased by various factors, leading to causal illusions (i.e., incorrectly reporting a causal relationship where there is none). In two experiments, we examined whether this causal illusion is sensitive to prior expectations about base-rates. Thus, we pretrained participants to expect either a high outcome base-rate (Experiment 1) or a low outcome base-rate (Experiment 2). This pretraining was followed by a standard contingency task in which the target cause and the outcome were not contingent with each other (i.e., there was no causal relation between them). Subsequent causal judgments were affected by the pretraining: When the outcome base-rate was expected to be high, the causal illusion was reduced, and the opposite was observed when the outcome base-rate was expected to be low. The results are discussed in the light of several explanatory accounts (associative and computational). A rational account of contingency learning based on the evidential value of information can predict our findings.

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<![CDATA[Different temporal windows for CB1 receptor involvement in contextual fear memory destabilisation in the amygdala and hippocampus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c80d5eed0c484bd2b5d

Reconsolidation is a process in which re-exposure to a reminder causes a previously acquired memory to undergo a process of destabilisation followed by subsequent restabilisation. Different molecular mechanisms have been postulated for destabilisation in the amygdala and hippocampus, including CB1 receptor activation, protein degradation and AMPA receptor exchange; however, most of the amygdala studies have used pre-reexposure interventions, while those in the hippocampus have usually performed them after reexposure. To test whether the temporal window for destabilisation is similar across both structures, we trained Lister Hooded rats in a contextual fear conditioning task, and 1 day later performed memory reexposure followed by injection of either the NMDA antagonist MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) or saline in order to block reconsolidation. In parallel, we also performed local injections of either the CB1 antagonist SR141716A or its vehicle in the hippocampus or in the amygdala, either immediately before or immediately after reactivation. Infusion of SR141716A in the hippocampus prevented the reconsolidation-blocking effect of MK-801 when performed after reexposure, but not before it. In the amygdala, meanwhile, pre-reexposure infusions of SR141716A impaired reconsolidation blockade by MK-801, although the time-dependency of this effect was not as clear as in the hippocampus. Our results suggest the temporal windows for CB1-receptor-mediated memory destabilisation during reconsolidation vary between brain structures. Whether this reflects different time windows for engagement of these structures or different roles played by CB1 receptors in destabilisation across structures remains an open question for future studies.

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<![CDATA[Whole-Body Prepulse Inhibition Protocol to Test Sensorymotor Gating Mechanisms in Monkeys]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db00ab0ee8fa60bc644a

Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is the decrease of startle reflex amplitude when a slight stimulus is previously generated. This paradigm may provide valuable information about sensorimotor gating functionality. Here we aimed at determining the inhibited and uninhibited startle response of capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.), and to evaluate the role of the superior colliculus in PPI. Capuchin monkeys were tested in a whole-body protocol, to determine the best startle amplitude and interstimuli interval. Additionally we tested two subjects with bilateral superior colliculus damage in this protocol. Results show that 115 dB auditory pulse has induced the best startle response. In contrast to reports in other species, no habituation to the auditory stimuli was observed here in capuchins. Also, startle reflex inhibition was optimal after 120 msec interstimuli interval. Finally, there was a downward tendency of percentage inhibition in superior colliculus-lesioned monkeys. Our data provides the possibility of further studies with whole-body protocol in capuchin monkeys and reinforces the importance of the superior colliculus in PPI.

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<![CDATA[Developmental Changes in Hippocampal CA1 Single Neuron Firing and Theta Activity during Associative Learning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daabab0ee8fa60ba97fd

Hippocampal development is thought to play a crucial role in the emergence of many forms of learning and memory, but ontogenetic changes in hippocampal activity during learning have not been examined thoroughly. We examined the ontogeny of hippocampal function by recording theta and single neuron activity from the dorsal hippocampal CA1 area while rat pups were trained in associative learning. Three different age groups [postnatal days (P)17-19, P21-23, and P24-26] were trained over six sessions using a tone conditioned stimulus (CS) and a periorbital stimulation unconditioned stimulus (US). Learning increased as a function of age, with the P21-23 and P24-26 groups learning faster than the P17-19 group. Age- and learning-related changes in both theta and single neuron activity were observed. CA1 pyramidal cells in the older age groups showed greater task-related activity than the P17-19 group during CS-US paired sessions. The proportion of trials with a significant theta (4–10 Hz) power change, the theta/delta ratio, and theta peak frequency also increased in an age-dependent manner. Finally, spike/theta phase-locking during the CS showed an age-related increase. The findings indicate substantial developmental changes in dorsal hippocampal function that may play a role in the ontogeny of learning and memory.

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<![CDATA[Ongoing neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus mediates behavioral responses to ambiguous threat cues]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf2a4

Fear learning is highly adaptive if utilized in appropriate situations but can lead to generalized anxiety if applied too widely. A role of predictive cues in inhibiting fear generalization has been suggested by stress and fear learning studies, but the effects of partially predictive cues (ambiguous cues) and the neuronal populations responsible for linking the predictive ability of cues and generalization of fear responses are unknown. Here, we show that inhibition of adult neurogenesis in the mouse dentate gyrus decreases hippocampal network activation and reduces defensive behavior to ambiguous threat cues but has neither of these effects if the same negative experience is reliably predicted. Additionally, we find that this ambiguity related to negative events determines their effect on fear generalization, that is, how the events affect future behavior under novel conditions. Both new neurons and glucocorticoid hormones are required for the enhancement of fear generalization following an unpredictably cued threat. Thus, adult neurogenesis plays a central role in the adaptive changes resulting from experience involving unpredictable or ambiguous threat cues, optimizing behavior in novel and uncertain situations.

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<![CDATA[Inescapable Stress Changes Walking Behavior in Flies - Learned Helplessness Revisited]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db27ab0ee8fa60bd0744

Like other animals flies develop a state of learned helplessness in response to unescapable aversive events. To show this, two flies, one 'master', one 'yoked', are each confined to a dark, small chamber and exposed to the same sequence of mild electric shocks. Both receive these shocks when the master fly stops walking for more than a second. Behavior in the two animals is differently affected by the shocks. Yoked flies are transiently impaired in place learning and take longer than master flies to exit from the chamber towards light. After the treatment they walk more slowly and take fewer and shorter walking bouts. The low activity is attributed to the fly's experience that its escape response, an innate behavior to terminate the electric shocks, does not help anymore. Earlier studies using heat pulses instead of electric shocks had shown similar effects. This parallel supports the interpretation that it is the uncontrollability that induces the state.

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<![CDATA[Protective Effects of Edaravone in Adult Rats with Surgery and Lipopolysaccharide Administration-Induced Cognitive Function Impairment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da13ab0ee8fa60b7a362

Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a clinical syndrome characterized by cognitive declines in patients after surgery. Previous studies have suggested that surgery contributed to such impairment. It has been proven that neuroinflammation may exacerbate surgery-induced cognitive impairment in aged rats. The free radical scavenger edaravone has high blood brain barrier permeability, and was demonstrated to effectively remove free radicals from the brain and alleviate the development of POCD in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy, suggesting its potential role in preventing POCD. For this reason, this study was designed to determine whether edaravone is protective against POCD through its inhibitory effects on inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. First, Sprague Dawley adult male rats were administered 3 mg/kg edaravone intraperitoneally after undergoing a unilateral nephrectomy combined with lipopolysaccharide injection. Second, behavioral parameters related to cognitive function were recorded by fear conditioning and Morris Water Maze tests. Last, superoxide dismutase activities and malondialdehyde levels were measured in the hippocampi and prefrontal cortex on postoperative days 3 and 7, and microglial (Iba1) activation, p-Akt and p-mTOR protein expression, and synaptic function (synapsin 1) were also examined 3 and 7 days after surgery. Rats that underwent surgery plus lipopolysaccharide administration showed significant impairments in spatial and working memory, accompanied by significant reductions in hippocampal-dependent and independent fear responses. All impairments were attenuated by treatment with edaravone. Moreover, an abnormal decrease in superoxide dismutase activation, abnormal increase in malondialdehyde levels, significant increase in microglial reactivity, downregulation of p-Akt and p-mTOR protein expression, and a statistically significant decrease in synapsin-1 were observed in the hippocampi and prefrontal cortices of rats at different time points after surgery. All mentioned abnormal changes were totally or partially reversed by edaravone. To our knowledge, few reports have shown greater protective effects of edaravone on POCD induced by surgery plus lipopolysaccharide administration from its anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as maintenance of Akt/mTOR signal pathway activation; these might be closely related to the therapeutic effects of edaravone. Our research demonstrates the potential use of edaravone in the treatment of POCD.

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<![CDATA[Cortical Mechanisms of Central Fatigue and Sense of Effort]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8dab0ee8fa60b9e8a6

The purpose of this study was to investigate cortical mechanisms upstream to the corticospinal motor neuron that may be associated with central fatigue and sense of effort during and after a fatigue task. We used two different isometric finger abduction protocols to examine the effects of muscle activation and fatigue the right first dorsal interosseous (FDI) of 12 participants. One protocol was intended to assess the effects of muscle activation with minimal fatigue (control) and the other was intended to elicit central fatigue (fatigue). We hypothesized that high frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the supplementary motor area (SMA) would hasten recovery from central fatigue and offset a fatigue-induced increase in sense of effort by facilitating the primary motor cortex (M1). Constant force-sensation contractions were used to assess sense of effort associated with muscle contraction. Paired-pulse TMS was used to assess intracortical inhibition (ICI) and facilitation (ICF) in the active M1 and interhemispheric inhibitory (IHI) was assessed to determine if compensation occurs via the resting M1. These measures were made during and after the muscle contraction protocols. Corticospinal excitability progressively declined with fatigue in the active hemisphere. ICF increased at task failure and ICI was also reduced at task failure with no changes in IHI found. Although fatigue is associated with progressive reductions in corticospinal excitability, compensatory changes in inhibition and facilitation may act within, but not between hemispheres of the M1. rTMS of the SMA following fatigue enhanced recovery of maximal voluntary force and higher levels of ICF were associated with lower sense of effort following stimulation. rTMS of the SMA may have reduced the amount of upstream drive required to maintain motor output, thus contributing to a lower sense of effort and increased rate of recovery of maximal force.

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<![CDATA[Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da17ab0ee8fa60b7bc51

Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction.

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<![CDATA[Cecal Ligation and Puncture Results in Long-Term Central Nervous System Myeloid Inflammation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad2ab0ee8fa60bb6b64

Survivors of sepsis often experience long-term cognitive and functional decline. Previous studies utilizing lipopolysaccharide injection and cecal ligation and puncture in rodent models of sepsis have demonstrated changes in depressive-like behavior and learning and memory after sepsis, as well as evidence of myeloid inflammation and cytokine expression in the brain, but the long-term course of neuroinflammation after sepsis remains unclear. Here, we utilize cecal ligation and puncture with greater than 80% survival as a model of sepsis. We found that sepsis survivor mice demonstrate deficits in extinction of conditioned fear, but no acquisition of fear conditioning, nearly two months after sepsis. These cognitive changes occur in the absence of neuronal loss or changes in synaptic density in the hippocampus. Sepsis also resulted in infiltration of monocytes and neutrophils into the CNS at least two weeks after sepsis in a CCR2 independent manner. Cellular inflammation is accompanied by long-term expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine genes, including TNFα and CCR2 ligands, in whole brain homogenates. Gene expression analysis of microglia revealed that while microglia do express anti-microbial genes and damage-associated molecular pattern molecules of the S100A family of genes at least 2 weeks after sepsis, they do not express the cytokines observed in whole brain homogenates. Our results indicate that in a naturalistic model of infection, sepsis results in long-term neuroinflammation, and that this sustained inflammation is likely due to interactions among multiple cell types, including resident microglia and peripherally derived myeloid cells.

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<![CDATA[Fear Extinction as a Model for Synaptic Plasticity in Major Depressive Disorder]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f1ab0ee8fa60b6e7b3

Background

The neuroplasticity hypothesis of major depressive disorder proposes that a dysfunction of synaptic plasticity represents a basic pathomechanism of the disorder. Animal models of depression indicate enhanced plasticity in a ventral emotional network, comprising the amygdala. Here, we investigated fear extinction learning as a non-invasive probe for amygdala-dependent synaptic plasticity in patients with major depressive disorder and healthy controls.

Methods

Differential fear conditioning was measured in 37 inpatients with severe unipolar depression (International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, criteria) and 40 healthy controls. The eye-blink startle response, a subcortical output signal that is modulated by local synaptic plasticity in the amygdala in fear acquisition and extinction learning, was recorded as the primary outcome parameter.

Results

After robust and similar fear acquisition in both groups, patients with major depressive disorder showed significantly enhanced fear extinction learning in comparison to healthy controls, as indicated by startle responses to conditioned stimuli. The strength of extinction learning was positively correlated with the total illness duration.

Conclusions

The finding of enhanced fear extinction learning in major depressive disorder is consistent with the concept that the disorder is characterized by enhanced synaptic plasticity in the amygdala and the ventral emotional network. Clinically, the observation emphasizes the potential of successful extinction learning, the basis of exposure therapy, in anxiety-related disorders despite the frequent comorbidity of major depressive disorder.

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<![CDATA[Presynaptic GABAB Receptors Regulate Hippocampal Synapses during Associative Learning in Behaving Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da27ab0ee8fa60b80f33

GABAB receptors are the G-protein-coupled receptors for GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Pharmacological activation of GABAB receptors regulates neurotransmission and neuronal excitability at pre- and postsynaptic sites. Electrophysiological activation of GABAB receptors in brain slices generally requires strong stimulus intensities. This raises the question as to whether behavioral stimuli are strong enough to activate GABAB receptors. Here we show that GABAB1a-/- mice, which constitutively lack presynaptic GABAB receptors at glutamatergic synapses, are impaired in their ability to acquire an operant learning task. In vivo recordings during the operant conditioning reveal a deficit in learning-dependent increases in synaptic strength at CA3-CA1 synapses. Moreover, GABAB1a-/- mice fail to synchronize neuronal activity in the CA1 area during the acquisition process. Our results support that activation of presynaptic hippocampal GABAB receptors is important for acquisition of a learning task and for learning-associated synaptic changes and network dynamics.

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<![CDATA[Fear Expression Suppresses Medial Prefrontal Cortical Firing in Rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da27ab0ee8fa60b81360

The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) plays a crucial role in emotional learning and memory in rodents and humans. While many studies suggest a differential role for the prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) subdivisions of mPFC, few have considered the relationship between neural activity in these two brain regions recorded simultaneously in behaving animals. Importantly, how concurrent PL and IL activity relate to conditioned freezing behavior is largely unknown. Here we used single-unit recordings targeting PL and IL in awake, behaving rats during the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear. On Day 1, rats received either signaled or unsignaled footshocks in the recording chamber; an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) preceded signaled footshocks. Twenty-four hours later, animals were returned to the recording chamber (modified to create a novel context) where they received 5 CS-alone trials. After fear conditioning, both signaled and unsignaled rats exhibited high levels of post-shock freezing that was associated with an enduring suppression of mPFC spontaneous firing, particularly in the IL of signaled rats. Twenty-four hours later, CS presentation produced differential conditioned freezing in signaled and unsignaled rats: freezing increased in rats that had received signaled shocks, but decreased in animals in the unsignaled condition (i.e., external inhibition). This group difference in CS-evoked freezing was mirrored in the spontaneous firing rate of neurons in both PL and IL. Interestingly, differences in PL and IL firing rate highly correlated with freezing levels. In other words, in the signaled group IL spontaneous rates were suppressed relative to PL, perhaps limiting IL-mediated suppression of fear and allowing PL activity to dominate performance, resulting in high levels of freezing. This was not observed in the unsignaled group, which exhibited low freezing. These data reveal that the activity of mPFC neurons is modulated by both associative and nonassociative stimuli that regulate conditioned fear.

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<![CDATA[The Role of the Lateral Habenula in Punishment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da26ab0ee8fa60b80d68

The lateral habenula (LHb) is a small epithalamic structure that projects via the fasciculus retroflexus to the midbrain. The LHb is known to modulate midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, including inhibition of ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons via glutamatergic excitation of the GABAergic rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg). A variety of lines of evidence show activity in LHb and the LHb-RMTg pathway is correlated with, and is sufficient to support, punishment learning. However, it is not immediately clear whether LHb is necessary for punishment. Here we used a within-subjects punishment task to assess the role of LHb in the acquisition and expression of punishment as well as in aversive choice. Rats that pressed two individually presented levers for pellet rewards rapidly suppressed responding to one lever if it also caused footshock deliveries (punished lever) but continued pressing a second lever that did not cause footshock (unpunished lever). Infusions of an AMPA receptor antagonist (NBQX) into LHb had no effect on the acquisition or expression of this punishment, or on aversive choice, but did increase locomotion. Infusion of the sodium channel blocker bupivacaine likewise had no effect on expression of punishment. However, infusion of the calcium channel blocker mibefradil did affect expression of punishment by significantly decreasing the latency with which rats responded on the punished lever and significantly increasing unpunished lever-pressing. Taken together, these findings indicate that the LHb plays a limited role in punishment, influencing only latency to respond. This role is linked to calcium channel permeability and not AMPA receptor or sodium channel permeability.

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<![CDATA[Salt Appetite Is Reduced by a Single Experience of Drinking Hypertonic Saline in the Adult Rat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f2ab0ee8fa60b6ec59

Salt appetite, the primordial instinct to favorably ingest salty substances, represents a vital evolutionary important drive to successfully maintain body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. This innate instinct was shown here in Sprague-Dawley rats by increased ingestion of isotonic saline (IS) over water in fluid intake tests. However, this appetitive stimulus was fundamentally transformed into a powerfully aversive one by increasing the salt content of drinking fluid from IS to hypertonic saline (2% w/v NaCl, HS) in intake tests. Rats ingested HS similar to IS when given no choice in one-bottle tests and previous studies have indicated that this may modify salt appetite. We thus investigated if a single 24 h experience of ingesting IS or HS, dehydration (DH) or 4% high salt food (HSD) altered salt preference. Here we show that 24 h of ingesting IS and HS solutions, but not DH or HSD, robustly transformed salt appetite in rats when tested 7 days and 35 days later. Using two-bottle tests rats previously exposed to IS preferred neither IS or water, whereas rats exposed to HS showed aversion to IS. Responses to sweet solutions (1% sucrose) were not different in two-bottle tests with water, suggesting that salt was the primary aversive taste pathway recruited in this model. Inducing thirst by subcutaneous administration of angiotensin II did not overcome this salt aversion. We hypothesised that this behavior results from altered gene expression in brain structures important in thirst and salt appetite. Thus we also report here lasting changes in mRNAs for markers of neuronal activity, peptide hormones and neuronal plasticity in supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus following rehydration after both DH and HS. These results indicate that a single experience of drinking HS is a memorable one, with long-term changes in gene expression accompanying this aversion to salty solutions.

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<![CDATA[Intergroup Contact and Outgroup Humanization: Is the Causal Relationship Uni- or Bidirectional?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb852

The attribution of uniquely human characteristics to the outgroup may favor the search for contact with outgroup members and, vice versa, contact experiences may improve humanity attributions to the outgroup. To explore this bidirectional relationship, two studies were performed. In Study 1, humanity perceptions were manipulated using subliminal conditioning. Two experimental conditions were created. In the humanization condition, the unconditioned stimuli (US) were uniquely human words; in the dehumanization condition, the US were non-uniquely human and animal words. In both conditions, conditioned stimuli were typical outgroup faces. An approach/avoidance technique (the manikin task) was used to measure the willingness to have contact with outgroup members. Findings showed that in the humanization condition participants were faster in approaching than in avoiding outgroup members: closeness to the outgroup was preferred to distance. Latencies of approach and avoidance movements were not different in the dehumanization condition. In Study 2, contact was manipulated using the manikin task. One approach (contact) condition and two control conditions were created. The attribution of uniquely human traits to the outgroup was stronger in the contact than in the no-contact conditions. Furthermore, the effect of contact on humanity attributions was mediated by increased trust toward the outgroup. Thus, findings demonstrate the bidirectionality of the relationship between contact and humanity attributions. Practical implications of findings are discussed.

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<![CDATA[Assessment of Homonymous Recurrent Inhibition during Voluntary Contraction by Conditioning Nerve Stimulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3aab0ee8fa60bd4a80

In humans, the amount of spinal homonymous recurrent inhibition during voluntary contraction is usually assessed by using a peripheral nerve stimulation paradigm. This method consists of conditioning the maximal M-wave (SM stimulus) with prior reflex stimulation (S1), with 10 ms inter-stimulus interval (ISI). The decrease observed between unconditioned (S1 only) and conditioned (S1+SM) reflex size is then attributed to recurrent inhibition. However, during a voluntary contraction, a superimposed SM stimulation leads to a maximal M-wave followed by a voluntary (V) wave at similar latency than the H-reflex. This wave can therefore interfere with the conditioned H-reflex when two different stimulation intensities are used (S1 and SM), leading to misinterpretation of the data. The aim of the present study was to assess if conditioning V-wave response instead of H-reflex, by applying SM for both stimuli (test and conditioning), can be used as an index of recurrent inhibition. Conditioned and unconditioned responses of soleus and medial gastrocnemius muscles were recorded in twelve subjects at 25% and at 50% of maximal voluntary contraction at the usual ISI of 10 ms and an optimal inter-stimulus of 15 ms determined upon M- and V-wave latencies. Conditioned H-reflex (obtained with S1+SM paradigm) was significantly lower than the unconditioned by ~30% on average, meaning that the amount of inhibition was 70%. This amount of recurrent inhibition was significantly lower at higher force level with both methods. Regardless of the level of force or the conditioning ISI, results obtained with V-wave conditioning (SM+SM) were similar at both force levels, linearly correlated and proportional to those obtained with H conditioning. Then, V-wave conditioning appears to be a reliable index of homonymous recurrent inhibition during voluntary contraction.

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<![CDATA[First Behavioural Characterisation of a Knockout Mouse Model for the Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-β Superfamily Cytokine, MIC-1/GDF15]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da20ab0ee8fa60b7e874

Macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1), also known as growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), is a stress response cytokine. MIC-1/GDF15 is secreted into the cerebrospinal fluid and increased levels of MIC-1/GDF15 are associated with a variety of diseases including cognitive decline. Furthermore, Mic-1/Gdf15 knockout mice (Mic-1 KO) weigh more, have increased adiposity, associated with increased spontaneous food intake, and exhibit reduced basal energy expenditure and physical activity. The current study was designed to comprehensively determine the role of MIC-1/GDF15 on behavioural domains of male and female knockout mice including locomotion, exploration, anxiety, cognition, social behaviours, and sensorimotor gating. Mic-1 KO mice exhibited a task-dependent increase in locomotion and exploration and reduced anxiety-related behaviours across tests. Spatial working memory and social behaviours were not affected by Mic-1/Gdf15 deficiency. Interestingly, knockout mice formed an increased association with the conditioned stimulus in fear conditioning testing and also displayed significantly improved prepulse inhibition. Overall sex effects were evident for social behaviours, fear conditioning, and sensorimotor gating. This is the first study defining the role of Mic-1/Gdf15 in a number of behavioural domains. Whether the observed impact is based on direct actions of Mic-1/Gdf15 deficiency on the CNS or whether the behavioural effects are mediated by indirect actions on e.g. other neurotransmitter systems must be clarified in future studies.

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<![CDATA[The BACHD Rat Model of Huntington Disease Shows Signs of Fronto-Striatal Dysfunction in Two Operant Conditioning Tests of Short-Term Memory]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5cbb

The BACHD rat is a recently developed transgenic animal model of Huntington disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by extensive loss of striatal neurons. Cognitive impairments are common among patients, and characterization of similar deficits in animal models of the disease is therefore of interest. The present study assessed the BACHD rats' performance in the delayed alternation and the delayed non-matching to position test, two Skinner box-based tests of short-term memory function. The transgenic rats showed impaired performance in both tests, indicating general problems with handling basic aspects of the tests, while short-term memory appeared to be intact. Similar phenotypes have been found in rats with fronto-striatal lesions, suggesting that Huntington disease-related neuropathology might be present in the BACHD rats. Further analyses indicated that the performance deficit in the delayed alternation test might be due to impaired inhibitory control, which has also been implicated in Huntington disease patients. The study ultimately suggests that the BACHD rats might suffer from neuropathology and cognitive impairments reminiscent of those of Huntington disease patients.

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