ResearchPad - biogenic-amines https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Monitoring of cardiovascular physiology augmented by a patient-specific biomechanical model during general anesthesia. A proof of concept study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14629 During general anesthesia (GA), direct analysis of arterial pressure or aortic flow waveforms may be inconclusive in complex situations. Patient-specific biomechanical models, based on data obtained during GA and capable to perform fast simulations of cardiac cycles, have the potential to augment hemodynamic monitoring. Such models allow to simulate Pressure-Volume (PV) loops and estimate functional indicators of cardiovascular (CV) system, e.g. ventricular-arterial coupling (Vva), cardiac efficiency (CE) or myocardial contractility, evolving throughout GA. In this prospective observational study, we created patient-specific biomechanical models of heart and vasculature of a reduced geometric complexity for n = 45 patients undergoing GA, while using transthoracic echocardiography and aortic pressure and flow signals acquired in the beginning of GA (baseline condition). If intraoperative hypotension (IOH) appeared, diluted norepinephrine (NOR) was administered and the model readjusted according to the measured aortic pressure and flow signals. Such patients were a posteriori assigned into a so-called hypotensive group. The accuracy of simulated mean aortic pressure (MAP) and stroke volume (SV) at baseline were in accordance with the guidelines for the validation of new devices or reference measurement methods in all patients. After NOR administration in the hypotensive group, the percentage of concordance with 10% exclusion zone between measurement and simulation was >95% for both MAP and SV. The modeling results showed a decreased Vva (0.64±0.37 vs 0.88±0.43; p = 0.039) and an increased CE (0.8±0.1 vs 0.73±0.11; p = 0.042) in hypotensive vs normotensive patients. Furthermore, Vva increased by 92±101%, CE decreased by 13±11% (p < 0.001 for both) and contractility increased by 14±11% (p = 0.002) in the hypotensive group post-NOR administration. In this work we demonstrated the application of fast-running patient-specific biophysical models to estimate PV loops and functional indicators of CV system using clinical data available during GA. The work paves the way for model-augmented hemodynamic monitoring at operating theatres or intensive care units to enhance the information on patient-specific physiology.

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<![CDATA[Bilateral Parkinson’s disease model rats exhibit hyperalgesia to subcutaneous formalin administration into the vibrissa pad]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc1e56242-0f9e-4dec-b14c-0acf3482ec2d

We bilaterally injected 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the medial forebrain bundle of rats and developed bilateral Parkinson’s disease (PD) model rats in order to experimentally investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the alteration of nociception in the orofacial region of patients with PD. We explored the effects of dopamine depletion on nociception by investigating behavioral responses (face rubbing) triggered by subcutaneous administration of formalin into the vibrissa pad. We also assessed the number of c-Fos–immunoreactive (c-Fos-IR) cells in the superficial layers of the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis (Vc). Subcutaneous formalin administration evoked a two-phase increase in face rubbing. We observed the first increase 0–5 min after formalin administration (first phase) and the second increase 10–60 min after administration (second phase). The number of face rubbing behaviors of 6OHDA–injected rats did not significantly change compared with saline–injected rats in both phases. Significant increase of c-Fos-IR cells in the Vc was found in 6-OHDA–injected rats after formalin administration compared with those in saline–injected rats after formalin administration. We also assessed expression of c-Fos-IR cells in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and significant decrease of c-Fos-IR cells in the PVN of 6-OHDA–injected rats was found. Taken together, these findings suggest that bilateral dopaminergic denervation evoked by 6-OHDA administration causes hyperalgesia in the trigeminal region and the PVN may be involved in the hyperalgesia.

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<![CDATA[Association between sublingual microcirculation, tissue perfusion and organ failure in major trauma: A subgroup analysis of a prospective observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823c2d5eed0c484638f67

Introduction

Previous studies described impaired microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation as reliable predictors of Multiple Organ Failure in major trauma. However, this relationship has been incompletely investigated. The objective of this analysis is to further evaluate the association between organ dysfunction and microcirculation after trauma.

Materials and methods

This is a retrospective subgroup analysis on 28 trauma patients enrolled for the Microcirculation DAIly MONitoring in critically ill patients study (NCT 02649088). Patients were divided in two groups according with their Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score at day 4. At admission and every 24 hours, the sublingual microcirculation was evaluated with Sidestream Darkfield Imaging (SDF) and peripheral tissue perfusion was assessed with Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) and Vascular Occlusion Test (VOT). Simultaneously, hemodynamic, clinical/laboratory parameters and main organ supports were collected.

Results

Median SOFA score at Day 4 was 6.5. Accordingly, patients were divided in two groups: D4-SOFA ≤6.5 and D4-SOFA >6.5. The Length of Stay in Intensive Care was significantly higher in patients with D4-SOFA>6.5 compared to D4-SOFA≤6.5 (p = 0.013). Total Vessel Density of small vessels was significantly lower in patients with high D4-SOFA score at Day 1 (p = 0.002) and Day 2 (p = 0.006) after admission; the Perfused Vessel Density was lower in patients with high D4-SOFA score at Day 1 (p = 0.007) and Day 2 (p = 0.033). At Day 1, NIRS monitoring with VOT showed significantly faster tissue oxygen saturation downslope (p = 0.018) and slower upslope (p = 0.04) in patients with high D4-SOFA.

Discussion

In our cohort of major traumas, sublingual microcirculation and peripheral microvascular reactivity were significantly more impaired early after trauma in those patients who developed more severe organ dysfunctions. Our data would support the hypothesis that restoration of macrocirculation can be dissociated from restoration of peripheral and tissue perfusion, and that microvascular alterations can be associated with organ failure.

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<![CDATA[Increased arterial pressure in mice with overexpression of the ADHD candidate gene calcyon in forebrain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7585d5eed0c4843cfe50

The link between blood pressure (BP) and cerebral function is well established. However, it is not clear whether a common mechanism could underlie the relationship between elevated BP and cognitive deficits. The expression of calcyon, a gene abundant in catecholaminergic and hypothalamic nuclei along with other forebrain regions, is increased in the brain of the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) which is a widely accepted animal model of essential hypertension and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Previous studies demonstrated that mice with up-regulation of calcyon in forebrain (CalOE) exhibit deficits in working memory. To date, there is no evidence directly connecting calcyon to BP regulation. Here, we investigated whether forebrain up-regulation of calcyon alters BP using radiotelemetry. We found that CalOE mice exhibited higher mean arterial pressure (MAP) compared to tTA controls. Plasma norepinephrine levels were significantly higher in CalOE mice compared to tTA controls. Silencing the transgene with doxycycline normalized BP in CalOE mice, whereas challenging the mice with 4% high salt diet for 12 days exacerbated the MAP differences between CalOE and tTA mice. High salt diet challenge also increased proteinuria and urinary thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARs) in tTA and CalOE; and the increases were more prominent in CalOE mice. Taken together, our data suggest that upregulation of calcyon in forebrain could increase BP via alterations in noradrenergic transmission and increased oxidative stress during high salt challenge. Overall, this study reveals that calcyon could be a novel neural regulator of BP raising the possibility that it could play a role in the development of vascular abnormalities.

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<![CDATA[Fat cells gobbling up norepinephrine?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcd9d5eed0c484dec37d

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) controls key aspects of adipose tissue (AT) function through the release of norepinephrine (NE) and beta adrenergic signaling. Sympathetic tone is determined by NE release but also by the rate of extracellular NE clearance that historically has been believed to occur solely through solute carrier family 6 member 2 (SLC6A2) expressed on sympathetic neurons. Song and colleagues show that adipocytes can also clear NE through organic cation transporter 3 (Oct3). This contributes to our understanding of how adrenergic signaling is controlled in AT and also emphasizes the need to develop better methods to assess adrenergic signaling in vivo.

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<![CDATA[Impulsivity across reactive, proactive and cognitive domains in Parkinson's disease on dopaminergic medication: Evidence for multiple domain impairment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9fad5eed0c48452a639

Impulse control disorders (ICD) may occur in Parkinson’s disease (PD) although it remains to be understood if such deficits may occur even in the absence of a formal ICD diagnosis. Moreover, studies addressing simultaneously distinct neurobehavioral domains, such as cognitive, proactive and reactive motor impulsivity, are still lacking. Here, we aimed to investigate if reactive, proactive and cognitive impulsivity involving risk taking are concomitantly affected in medicated PD patients, and whether deficits were dependent on response strategies, such as speed accuracy tradeoffs, or the proportion of omission vs. commission errors. We assessed three different impulsivity domains in a sample of 21 PD patients and 13 matched controls. We found impaired impulsivity in both reactive (p = 0.042) and cognitive domains (p = 0.015) for the PD patients, irrespective of response strategy. For the latter, effect sizes were larger for the actions related with reward processing (p = 0.017, dCohen = 0.9). In the proactive impulsivity task, PD patients showed significantly increased number of omissions (p = 0.041), a response strategy which was associated with preserved number of commission errors. Moreover, the number of premature and proactive response errors were correlated with disease stage. Our findings suggest that PD ON medication is characterized compared to healthy controls by impairment across several impulsivity domains, which is moderated in the proactive domain by the response strategy.

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<![CDATA[Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels mediate salivary gland function and blood feeding in the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dccbd5eed0c484dec23d

Background

Tick feeding causes extreme morbidity and mortality to humans through transmission of pathogens and causes severe economic losses to the agricultural industry by reducing livestock yield. Salivary gland secretions are essential for tick feeding and thus, reducing or preventing saliva secretions into the vertebrate host is likely to reduce feeding and hinder pathogen life cycles. Unfortunately, the membrane physiology of tick salivary glands is underexplored and this gap in knowledge limits the development of novel therapeutics for inducing cessation of tick feeding.

Methodology

We studied the influence of inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel subtypes to the functional capacity of the isolated tick salivary gland through the use of a modified Ramsay assay. The secreted saliva was subsequently used for quantification of the elemental composition of the secreted saliva after the glands were exposed to K+ channel modulators as a measure of osmoregulatory capacity. Lastly, changes to blood feeding behavior and mortality were measured with the use of a membrane feeding system.

Principal findings

In this study, we characterized the fundamental role of Kir channel subtypes in tick salivary gland function and provide evidence that pharmacological inhibition of these ion channels reduces the secretory activity of the Amblyomma americanum salivary gland. The reduced secretory capacity of the salivary gland was directly correlated with a dramatic reduction of blood ingestion during feeding. Further, exposure to small-molecule modulators of Kir channel subtypes induced mortality to ticks that is likely resultant from an altered osmoregulatory capacity.

Conclusions

Our data contribute to understanding of tick salivary gland function and could guide future campaigns aiming to develop chemical or reverse vaccinology technologies to reduce the worldwide burden of tick feeding and tick-vectored pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Metabolomic profiling reveals correlations between spermiogram parameters and the metabolites present in human spermatozoa and seminal plasma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe4fd5eed0c484e5b889

In 50% of all infertility cases, the male is subfertile or infertile, however, the underlying mechanisms are often unknown. Even when assisted reproductive procedures such as in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection are performed, the causes of male factor infertility frequently remain elusive. Since the overall activity of cells is closely linked to their metabolic capacity, we analyzed a panel of 180 metabolites in human sperm and seminal plasma and elucidated their associations with spermiogram parameters. Therefore, metabolites from a group of 20 healthy donors were investigated using a targeted LC-MS/MS approach. The correlation analyses of the amino acids, biogenic amines, acylcarnitines, lysophosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins and sugars from sperm and seminal plasma with standard spermiogram parameters revealed that metabolites in sperm are closely related to sperm motility, whereas those in seminal plasma are closely related to sperm concentration and morphology. This study provides essential insights into the metabolome of human sperm and seminal plasma and its associations with sperm functions. This metabolomics technique could be a promising screening tool to detect the factors of male infertility in cases where the cause of infertility is unclear.

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<![CDATA[Retraction: The Cellular Distribution of Serotonin Transporter Is Impeded on Serotonin-Altered Vimentin Network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df313d5eed0c484580c8c ]]> <![CDATA[Serotonin and neuropeptides are both released by the HSN command neuron to initiate Caenorhabditis elegans egg laying]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ad5d5eed0c484a479f2

Neurons typically release both a small-molecule neurotransmitter and one or more neuropeptides, but how these two types of signal from the same neuron might act together remains largely obscure. For example, serotonergic neurons in mammalian brain express the neuropeptide Substance P, but it is unclear how this co-released neuropeptide might modulate serotonin signaling. We studied this issue in C. elegans, in which all serotonergic neurons express the neuropeptide NLP-3. The serotonergic Hermaphrodite Specific Neurons (HSNs) are command motor neurons within the egg-laying circuit which have been shown to release serotonin to initiate egg-laying behavior. We found that egg-laying defects in animals lacking serotonin were far milder than in animals lacking HSNs, suggesting that HSNs must release other signal(s) in addition to serotonin to stimulate egg laying. While null mutants for nlp-3 had only mild egg-laying defects, animals lacking both serotonin and NLP-3 had severe defects, similar to those of animals lacking HSNs. Optogenetic activation of HSNs induced egg laying in wild-type animals, and in mutant animals lacking either serotonin or NLP-3, but failed to induce egg laying in animals lacking both. We recorded calcium activity in the egg-laying muscles of animals lacking either serotonin, NLP-3, or both. The single mutants, and to a greater extent the double mutant, showed muscle activity that was uncoordinated and unable to expel eggs. Specifically, the vm2 muscles cells, which are direct postsynaptic targets of the HSN, failed to contract simultaneously with other egg-laying muscle cells. Our results show that the HSN neurons use serotonin and the neuropeptide NLP-3 as partially redundant co-transmitters that together stimulate and coordinate activity of the target cells onto which they are released.

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<![CDATA[Kami-shoyo-san improves ASD-like behaviors caused by decreasing allopregnanolone biosynthesis in an SKF mouse model of autism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2dcd5eed0c48441ebe8

Dysfunctions in the GABAergic system are associated with the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the mechanisms by which GABAergic system dysfunctions induce the pathophysiology of ASD remain unclear. We previously demonstrated that a selective type I 5α-reductase inhibitor SKF105111 (SKF) induced ASD-like behaviors, such as impaired sociability-related performance and repetitive grooming behaviors, in male mice. Moreover, the effects of SKF were caused by a decrease in the endogenous levels of allopregnanolone (ALLO), a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor. In this study, we used SKF-treated male mice as a putative animal model of ASD and examined the effects of Kami-shoyo-san (KSS) as an experimental therapeutic strategy for ASD. KSS is a traditional Kampo formula consisting of 10 different crude drugs and has been used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms. KSS dose-dependently attenuated sociability deficits and suppressed an increase in grooming behaviors in SKF-treated mice without affecting ALLO content in the prefrontal cortex. The systemic administration of the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 reversed the ameliorative effects of KSS. On the other hand, the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride and GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline only attenuated the ameliorative effect of KSS on repetitive self-grooming behaviors. The present results indicate that KSS improves SKF-induced ASD-like behaviors by facilitating dopamine receptor-mediated mechanisms and partly by neurosteroid-independent GABAA receptor-mediated neurotransmission. Therefore, KSS is a potential candidate for the treatment of ASD.

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<![CDATA[Short-term synaptic depression can increase the rate of information transfer at a release site]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c366803d5eed0c4841a6dbe

The release of neurotransmitters from synapses obeys complex and stochastic dynamics. Depending on the recent history of synaptic activation, many synapses depress the probability of releasing more neurotransmitter, which is known as synaptic depression. Our understanding of how synaptic depression affects the information efficacy, however, is limited. Here we propose a mathematically tractable model of both synchronous spike-evoked release and asynchronous release that permits us to quantify the information conveyed by a synapse. The model transits between discrete states of a communication channel, with the present state depending on many past time steps, emulating the gradual depression and exponential recovery of the synapse. Asynchronous and spontaneous releases play a critical role in shaping the information efficacy of the synapse. We prove that depression can enhance both the information rate and the information rate per unit energy expended, provided that synchronous spike-evoked release depresses less (or recovers faster) than asynchronous release. Furthermore, we explore the theoretical implications of short-term synaptic depression adapting on longer time scales, as part of the phenomenon of metaplasticity. In particular, we show that a synapse can adjust its energy expenditure by changing the dynamics of short-term synaptic depression without affecting the net information conveyed by each successful release. Moreover, the optimal input spike rate is independent of the amplitude or time constant of synaptic depression. We analyze the information efficacy of three types of synapses for which the short-term dynamics of both synchronous and asynchronous release have been experimentally measured. In hippocampal autaptic synapses, the persistence of asynchronous release during depression cannot compensate for the reduction of synchronous release, so that the rate of information transmission declines with synaptic depression. In the calyx of Held, the information rate per release remains constant despite large variations in the measured asynchronous release rate. Lastly, we show that dopamine, by controlling asynchronous release in corticostriatal synapses, increases the synaptic information efficacy in nucleus accumbens.

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<![CDATA[Sex differences in aggression: Differential roles of 5-HT2, neuropeptide F and tachykinin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fea5d5eed0c4841351f0

Despite the conserved function of aggression across taxa in obtaining critical resources such as food and mates, serotonin’s (5-HT) modulatory role on aggressive behavior appears to be largely inhibitory for vertebrates but stimulatory for invertebrates. However, critical gaps exist in our knowledge of invertebrates that need to be addressed before definitively stating opposing roles for 5-HT and aggression. Specifically, the role of 5-HT receptor subtypes are largely unknown, as is the potential interactive role of 5-HT with other neurochemical systems known to play a critical role in aggression. Similarly, the influence of these systems in driving sex differences in aggressive behavior of invertebrates is not well understood. Here, we investigated these questions by employing complementary approaches in a novel invertebrate model of aggression, the stalk-eyed fly. A combination of altered social conditions, pharmacological manipulation and 5-HT2 receptor knockdown by siRNA revealed an inhibitory role of this receptor subtype on aggression. Additionally, we provide evidence for 5-HT2’s involvement in regulating neuropeptide F activity, a suspected inhibitor of aggression. However, this function appears to be stage-specific, altering only the initiation stage of aggressive conflicts. Alternatively, pharmacologically increasing systemic concentrations of 5-HT significantly elevated the expression of the neuropeptide tachykinin, which did not affect contest initiation but instead promoted escalation via production of high intensity aggressive behaviors. Notably, these effects were limited solely to males, with female aggression and neuropeptide expression remaining unaltered by any manipulation that affected 5-HT. Together, these results demonstrate a more nuanced role for 5-HT in modulating aggression in invertebrates, revealing an important interactive role with neuropeptides that is more reminiscent of vertebrates. The sex-differences described here also provide valuable insight into the evolutionary contexts of this complex behavior.

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<![CDATA[Dissecting the roles of β-arrestin2 and GSK-3 signaling in 5-HT1BR-mediated perseverative behavior and prepulse inhibition deficits in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633954d5eed0c484ae64c0

Serotonin-1B receptors (5-HT1BRs) modulate perseverative behaviors and prepulse inhibition (PPI) in humans and mice. These inhibitory G-protein-coupled receptors signal through a canonical G-protein-coupled pathway that is modulated by GSK-3β, and a noncanonical pathway mediated by the adaptor protein β-arrestin2 (Arrb2). Given the development of biased ligands that differentially affect canonical versus noncanonical signaling, we examined which signaling pathway mediates 5-HT1BR agonist-induced locomotor perseveration and PPI deficits, behavioral phenotypes observed in both obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To assess the role of canonical 5-HT1BR signaling, mice received acute pretreatment with a GSK-3 inhibitor (SB216763 or AR-A014418) and acute treatment with the 5-HT1A/1B receptor agonist RU24969 prior to assessing perseverative locomotor behavior in the open field, and PPI. To determine the role of noncanonical 5-HT1BR signaling, Arrb2 wild-type (WT), heterozygous (HT), and knockout (KO) mice received acute RU24969 treatment prior to behavioral testing. GSK-3 inhibition increased locomotor perseveration overall, and also failed to influence the RU24969-induced perseverative locomotor pattern in the open field. Yet, GSK-3 inhibition modestly reduced RU24969-induced PPI deficits. On the other hand, Arrb2 HT and KO mice showed reduced locomotion and no changes in perseveration overall, in addition to modest reductions in RU24969-induced locomotion and PPI deficits. In conclusion, our data do not support use of either GSK-3 inhibitors or β-arrestin2 inhibition in treatment of perseverative behaviors.

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<![CDATA[Enhanced activity of pyramidal neurons in the infralimbic cortex drives anxiety behavior]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536a1bd5eed0c484a46e9a

We show that in an animal model of anxiety the overall excitation, particularly in the infralimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex (IL), is increased and that the activity ratio between excitatory pyramidal neurons and inhibitory interneurons (AR PN/IN) is shifted towards excitation. The same change in AR PN/IN is evident for wildtype mice, which have been exposed to an anxiety stimulus. We hypothesize, that an elevated activity and the imbalance of excitation (PN) and inhibition (IN) within the neuronal microcircuitry of the prefrontal cortex is responsible for anxiety behaviour and employed optogenetic methods in freely moving mice to verify our findings. Consistent with our hypothesis elevation of pyramidal neuron activity in the infralimbic region of the prefrontal cortex significantly enhanced anxiety levels in several behavioural tasks by shifting the AR PN/IN to excitation, without affecting motor behaviour, thus revealing a novel mechanism by which anxiety is facilitated.

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<![CDATA[High-fat diet accelerates extreme obesity with hyperphagia in female heterozygous Mecp2-null mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bdfd5eed0c48491ebe7

Rett syndrome (RTT) is an X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutation of the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. Although RTT has been associated with obesity, the underlying mechanism has not yet been elucidated. In this study, female heterozygous Mecp2-null mice (Mecp2+/- mice), a model of RTT, were fed a normal chow diet or high-fat diet (HFD), and the changes in molecular signaling pathways were investigated. Specifically, we examined the expression of genes related to the hypothalamus and dopamine reward circuitry, which represent a central network of feeding behavior control. In particular, dopamine reward circuitry has been shown to regulate hedonic feeding behavior, and its disruption is associated with HFD-related changes in palatability. The Mecp2+/- mice that were fed the normal chow showed normal body weight and food consumption, whereas those fed the HFD showed extreme obesity with hyperphagia, an increase of body fat mass, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance compared with wild-type mice fed the HFD (WT-HFD mice). The main cause of obesity in Mecp2+/--HFD mice was a remarkable increase in calorie intake, with no difference in oxygen consumption or locomotor activity. Agouti-related peptide mRNA and protein levels were increased, whereas proopiomelanocortin mRNA and protein levels were reduced in Mecp2+/--HFD mice with hyperleptinemia, which play an essential role in appetite and satiety in the hypothalamus. The conditioned place preference test revealed that Mecp2+/- mice preferred the HFD. Tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter mRNA levels in the ventral tegmental area, and dopamine receptor and dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein mRNA levels in the nucleus accumbens were significantly lower in Mecp2+/--HFD mice than those of WT-HFD mice. Thus, HFD feeding induced dysregulation of food intake in the hypothalamus and dopamine reward circuitry, and accelerated the development of extreme obesity associated with addiction-like eating behavior in Mecp2+/- mice.

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<![CDATA[How pupil responses track value-based decision-making during and after reinforcement learning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ae42bd5eed0c4845890b6

Cognition can reveal itself in the pupil, as latent cognitive processes map onto specific pupil responses. For instance, the pupil dilates when we make decisions and these pupil size fluctuations reflect decision-making computations during and after a choice. Surprisingly little is known, however, about how pupil responses relate to decisions driven by the learned value of stimuli. This understanding is important, as most real-life decisions are guided by the outcomes of earlier choices. The goal of this study was to investigate which cognitive processes the pupil reflects during value-based decision-making. We used a reinforcement learning task to study pupil responses during value-based decisions and subsequent decision evaluations, employing computational modeling to quantitatively describe the underlying cognitive processes. We found that the pupil closely tracks reinforcement learning processes independently across participants and across trials. Prior to choice, the pupil dilated as a function of trial-by-trial fluctuations in value beliefs about the to-be chosen option and predicted an individual’s tendency to exploit high value options. After feedback a biphasic pupil response was observed, the amplitude of which correlated with participants’ learning rates. Furthermore, across trials, early feedback-related dilation scaled with value uncertainty, whereas later constriction scaled with signed reward prediction errors. These findings show that pupil size fluctuations can provide detailed information about the computations underlying value-based decisions and the subsequent updating of value beliefs. As these processes are affected in a host of psychiatric disorders, our results indicate that pupillometry can be used as an accessible tool to non-invasively study the processes underlying ongoing reinforcement learning in the clinic.

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<![CDATA[Bayesian adaptive dual control of deep brain stimulation in a computational model of Parkinson’s disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf9ed5eed0c484914a99

In this paper, we present a novel Bayesian adaptive dual controller (ADC) for autonomously programming deep brain stimulation devices. We evaluated the Bayesian ADC’s performance in the context of reducing beta power in a computational model of Parkinson’s disease, in which it was tasked with finding the set of stimulation parameters which optimally reduced beta power as fast as possible. Here, the Bayesian ADC has dual goals: (a) to minimize beta power by exploiting the best parameters found so far, and (b) to explore the space to find better parameters, thus allowing for better control in the future. The Bayesian ADC is composed of two parts: an inner parameterized feedback stimulator and an outer parameter adjustment loop. The inner loop operates on a short time scale, delivering stimulus based upon the phase and power of the beta oscillation. The outer loop operates on a long time scale, observing the effects of the stimulation parameters and using Bayesian optimization to intelligently select new parameters to minimize the beta power. We show that the Bayesian ADC can efficiently optimize stimulation parameters, and is superior to other optimization algorithms. The Bayesian ADC provides a robust and general framework for tuning stimulation parameters, can be adapted to use any feedback signal, and is applicable across diseases and stimulator designs.

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<![CDATA[Metabolomics approach in the investigation of depression biomarkers in pharmacologically induced immune-related depression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0993c5d5eed0c4842ad8ac

Background

The aim of this study was to identify previously unrecognised biological pathways and biomarkers that might expand the inflammatory hypothesis of depression.

Methods

Broad metabolomics analyses in plasma samples from 31 chronic hepatitis C-infected patients with and without immune-related depression were carried out using the Absolute IDQ p180 kit—a targeted metabolomics approach of combined direct flow injection and liquid chromatography that measures acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and sugars.

Results

The measurements showed that the average concentration of the branched-chain amino acid isoleucine was significantly lower in depressive HCV patients in comparison to non-depressive HCV patients [depression group: Median 51.35 (43.4–60.2 μmol/L) vs. Median 62.10 (38.4–81.7 μmol/L); U = -2.958; p = 0.002]. All other amino acids, acylcarnitines, biogenic amines, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, sugars, liver enzymes and thyroid levels showed no statistically significant differences.

Conclusions

The results of the present study suggest that the branched-chain amino acid isoleucine might play a role in the pathophysiology of immune-related major depression, which expands existing knowledge about inflammatory hypothesis of depression.

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<![CDATA[Dopamine production in Enterococcus faecium: A microbial endocrinology-based mechanism for the selection of probiotics based on neurochemical-producing potential]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841a9d5eed0c484fca615

The mechanisms by which probiotics may influence host physiology are still incompletely understood. Microbial endocrinology, a field representing the union of microbiology, endocrinology and neurobiology, has theorized that microorganisms have the capacity to serve as neurochemical delivery vehicles [1]. According to microbial endocrinology, neurochemicals can serve as a common language between host and bacterium, enabling bidirectional communication. We report herein the first demonstration that Enterococcus sp. has the capacity to produce dopamine in a gastrointestinal-like environment when supplied with the dopamine precursor L-3,4 dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa). The results presented herein provide a means to select probiotics based on neurochemical-producing potential and suggest the possibility that probiotics containing E. faecium may serve to influence the host through dopaminergic pathways.

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