Browsing by Subject "NUCLEUS-ACCUMBENS"

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  • Grotell, Milo; den Hollander, Bjornar; Jalkanen, Aaro; Törrönen, Essi; Ihalainen, Jouni; de Miguel, Elena; Dudek, Mateusz; Kettunen, Mikko I.; Hyytiä, Petri; Forsberg, Markus M.; Kankuri, Esko; Korpi, Esa R. (2021)
    Mephedrone (4-MMC), despite its illegal status, is still a widely used psychoactive substance. Its effects closely mimic those of the classical stimulant drug methamphetamine (METH). Recent research suggests that unlike METH, 4-MMC is not neurotoxic on its own. However, the neurotoxic effects of 4-MMC may be precipitated under certain circumstances, such as administration at high ambient temperatures. Common use of 4-MMC in conjunction with alcohol raises the question whether this co-consumption could also precipitate neurotoxicity. A total of six groups of adolescent rats were treated twice daily for four consecutive days with vehicle, METH (5 mg/kg) or 4-MMC (30 mg/kg), with or without ethanol (1.5 g/kg). To investigate persistent delayed effects of the administrations at two weeks after the final treatments, manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging brain scans were performed. Following the scans, brains were collected for Golgi staining and spine analysis. 4-MMC alone had only subtle effects on neuronal activity. When administered with ethanol, it produced a widespread pattern of deactivation, similar to what was seen with METH-treated rats. These effects were most profound in brain regions which are known to have high dopamine and serotonin activities including hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and caudate-putamen. In the regions showing the strongest activation changes, no morphological changes were observed in spine analysis. By itself 4-MMC showed few long-term effects. However, when co-administered with ethanol, the apparent functional adaptations were profound and comparable to those of neurotoxic METH.
  • Papazacharias, Apostolos; Taurisano, Paolo; Fazio, Leonardo; Gelao, Barbara; Di Giorgio, Annabella; Lo Bianco, Luciana; Quarto, Tiziana; Mancini, Marina; Porcelli, Annamaria; Romano, Raffaella; Caforio, Grazia; Todarello, Orlando; Popolizio, Teresa; Blasi, Giuseppe; Bertolino, Alessandro (2015)
    Earlier studies have demonstrated that emotional stimulation modulates attentional processing during goal directed behavior and related activity of a brain network including the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the caudate nucleus. However, it is not clear how emotional interference modulates behavior and brain physiology during variation in attentional control, a relevant question for everyday life situations in which both emotional stimuli and cognitive load vary. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of negative emotions on behavior and activity in IFG and caudate nucleus during increasing levels of attentional control. Twenty two healthy subjects underwent event related functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a task in which neutral or fearful facial expressions were displayed before stimuli eliciting increasing levels of attentional control processing. Results indicated slower reaction time (RI) and greater right IFG activity when fearful compared with neutral facial expressions preceded the low level of attentional control. On the other hand, fearful facial expressions preceding the intermediate level of attentional control elicited faster behavioral responses and greater activity in the right and left sides of the caudate. Finally, correlation analysis indicated a relationship between behavioral correlates of attentional control after emotional interference and right IFG activity. All together, these results suggest that the impact of negative emotions on attentional processing is differentially elicited at the behavioral and physiological levels as a function of cognitive load.
  • Wiencke, Kathleen; Horstmann, Annette; Mathar, David; Villringer, Arno; Neumann, Jane (2020)
    Computational modeling of dopamine transmission is challenged by complex underlying mechanisms. Here we present a new computational model that (I) simultaneously regards release, diffusion and uptake of dopamine, (II) considers multiple terminal release events and (III) comprises both synaptic and volume transmission by incorporating the geometry of the synaptic cleft. We were able to validate our model in that it simulates concentration values comparable to physiological values observed in empirical studies. Further, although synaptic dopamine diffuses into extra-synaptic space, our model reflects a very localized signal occurring on the synaptic level, i.e. synaptic dopamine release is negligibly recognized by neighboring synapses. Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that cognitive performance can be predicted by signal variability of neuroimaging data (e.g. BOLD). Signal variability in target areas of dopaminergic neurons (striatum, cortex) may arise from dopamine concentration variability. On that account we compared spatio-temporal variability in a simulation mimicking normal dopamine transmission in striatum to scenarios of enhanced dopamine release and dopamine uptake inhibition. We found different variability characteristics between the three settings, which may in part account for differences in empirical observations. From a clinical perspective, differences in striatal dopaminergic signaling contribute to differential learning and reward processing, with relevant implications for addictive- and compulsive-like behavior. Specifically, dopaminergic tone is assumed to impact on phasic dopamine and hence on the integration of reward-related signals. However, in humans DA tone is classically assessed using PET, which is an indirect measure of endogenous DA availability and suffers from temporal and spatial resolution issues. We discuss how this can lead to discrepancies with observations from other methods such as microdialysis and show how computational modeling can help to refine our understanding of DA transmission. Author summary The dopaminergic system of the brain is very complex and affects various cognitive domains like memory, learning and motor control. Alterations have been observed e.g. in Parkinson's or Huntington's Disease, ADHD, addiction and compulsive disorders, such as pathological gambling and also in obesity. We present a new computational model that allows to simulate the process of dopamine transmission from dopaminergic neurons originated in source brain regions like the VTA to target areas such as the striatum on a synaptic and on a larger, volume-spanning level. The model can further be used for simulations of dopamine related diseases or pharmacological interventions. In general, computational modeling helps to extend our understanding, gained from empirical research, to situations were in vivo measurements are not feasible.
  • Lei, Jing; Ye, Gang; Pertovaara, Antti; You, Hao-Jun (2020)
    Here we investigated variations of endogenous descending modulation of nociception and therapeutic effects of intramuscular (i.m.) heating-needle stimulation in early stage of Parkinson's disease (PD) induced by unilateral microinjection of 3.5 mu l of 2.5 mu g/mu l 6-hydroxydopamine into the rat striatum. Paw withdrawal reflexes to noxious mechanical and heat stimuli in PD rats with and without exposure to i.m. 5.8% saline induced muscle nociception were evaluated. Experimental PD had no influence on mechanical or heat sensitivity in the baseline condition, whereas descending facilitation was stronger and descending inhibition was weaker in PD rats than vehicle-treated or naive rats during muscle nociception (P <0.05). Striatal administration of 5 mu g of dopamine failed to reverse the PD-associated changes in descending facilitation or inhibition, whereas dopamine in the thalamic mediodorsal (MD) nucleus and ventromedial (VM) nucleus significantly decreased the increase in descending facilitation and reversed the attenuation in descending inhibition, respectively (P <0.05). I.m. 43 degrees C of heating-needle stimulation had no effects on the enhanced descending facilitation in PD rats, but it markedly increased descending inhibition and reversed the increase in the number of apomorphine-induced body rotations (P <0.05), which effects were dose-dependently attenuated by raclopride, a dopamine 2 receptor antagonist, in the thalamic VM nucleus (P <0.05). The results indicate that the early-stage PD is associated with enhanced descending facilitation and weakened descending inhibition. From clinical perspective, 43 degrees C heat therapeutic regime promises to selectively enhance descending inhibition that is accompanied by improvement of motor dysfunction in PD. (c) 2020 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • de Miguel, Elena; Vekovischeva, Olga; Kuokkanen, Katja; Vesajoki, Marja; Paasikoski, Nelli; Kaskinoro, Janne; Myllymäki, Mikko; Lainiola, Mira; Janhunen, Sanna K.; Hyytiä, Petri; Linden, Anni-Maija; Korpi, Esa R. (2019)
    Drugs of abuse induce widespread synaptic adaptations in the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) neurons. Such drug-induced neuroadaptations may constitute an initial cellular mechanism eventually leading to compulsive drug-seeking behavior. To evaluate the impact of GABA(B) receptors on addiction-related persistent neuroplasticity, we tested the ability of orthosteric agonist baclofen and two positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of GABA(B) receptors to suppress neuroadaptations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and reward-related behaviors induced by ethanol and cocaine. A novel compound (S)-1-(5-fluoro-2,3-dihydro-1H-inden-2-yl)-4-methyl-6,7,8,9-tetrahydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]quinazolin-5(4H)-one (ORM-27669) was found to be a GABA(B) PAM of low efficacy as agonist, whereas the reference compound (R,S)-5,7-di-tert-butyl-3-hydroxy-3-trifluoromethyl-3H-benzofuran-2-one (rac-BHFF) had a different allosteric profile being a more potent PAM in the calcium-based assay and an agonist, coupled with potent PAM activity, in the [S-35] GTP gamma S binding assay in rat and human recombinant receptors. Using autoradiography, the high-efficacy rac-BHFF and the low-efficacy ORM-27669 potentiated the effects of baclofen on [S-35] GTP gamma S binding with identical brain regional distribution. Treatment of mice with baclofen, rac-BHFF, or ORM-27669 failed to induce glutamate receptor neuroplasticity in the VTA DA neurons. Pretreatment with rac-BHFF at non-sedative doses effectively reversed both ethanol- and cocaine-induced plasticity and attenuated cocaine i.v. self-administration and ethanol drinking. Pretreatment with ORM-27669 only reversed ethanol-induced neuroplasticity and attenuated ethanol drinking but had no effects on cocaine-induced neuroplasticity or self-administration. These findings encourage further investigation of GABA(B) receptor PAMs with different efficacies in addiction models to develop novel treatment strategies for drug addiction.
  • Varaschin, Rafael Koerich; Osterstock, Guillaume; Ducrot, Charles; Leino, Sakari; Bourque, Marie-Josee; Prado, Marco A. M.; Prado, Vania Ferreira; Salminen, Outi; Rannanpää (Nee Nuutinen), Saara; Trudeau, Louis-Eric (2018)
    Histamine H-3 receptors are widely distributed Gi-coupled receptors whose activation reduces neuronal activity and inhibits release of numerous neurotransmitters. Although these receptors are abundantly expressed in the striatum, their modulatory role on activity-dependent dopamine release is not well understood. Here, we observed that histamine H-3 receptor activation indirectly diminishes dopamine overflow in the ventral striatum by reducing cholinergic interneuron activity. Acute brain slices from C57BL/6 or channelrhodopsin-2-transfected DAT-cre mice were obtained, and dopamine transients evoked either electrically or optogenetically were measured by fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. The H-3 agonist alpha-methylhistamine significantly reduced electrically-evoked dopamine overflow, an effect blocked by the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine, suggesting involvement of cholinergic interneurons. None of the drug treatments targeting H-3 receptors affected optogenetically evoked dopamine overflow, indicating that direct H-3-modulation of dopaminergic axons is unlikely. Next, we used qPCR and confirmed the expression of histamine H-3 receptor mRNA in cholinergic interneurons, both in ventral and dorsal striatum. Activation of H-3 receptors by alpha-methylhistamine reduced spontaneous firing of cholinergic interneurons in the ventral, but not in the dorsal striatum. Resting membrane potential and number of spontaneous action potentials in ventral-striatal cholinergic interneurons were significantly reduced by alpha-methylhistamine. Acetylcholine release from isolated striatal synaptosomes, however, was not altered by alpha-methylhistamine. Together, these results indicate that histamine H-3 receptors are important modulators of dopamine release, specifically in the ventral striatum, and that they do so by decreasing the firing rate of cholinergic neurons and, consequently, reducing cholinergic tone on dopaminergic axons. (C) 2018 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Panula, Pertti (2020)
    Alcohol use disorder is associated with several mental, physical, and social problems. Its treatment is difficult and often requires a combination of pharmacological and behavioural therapy. The brain histaminergic system, one of the wake-active systems that controls whole-brain activity, operates through three neuronal GPCRs. The histamine H-3 receptor (Hrh3), which is expressed in many brain areas involved in alcohol drinking and alcohol reward, can be targeted with a number of drugs developed initially for cognitive disorders and/or disorders related to sleep, wakefulness, and alertness. In all rodent alcohol drinking models tested so far, H-3 receptor antagonists have reduced alcohol drinking and alcohol-induced place preference and cue-induced alcohol reinstatement. Several H-3 receptor antagonists tested and found to be safe for humans could be subjected to clinical tests to treat alcohol use disorder. Preference should be given to short-acting drugs to avoid the sleep problems associated with the wake-maintaining effects of the drugs. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on New Uses for 21st Century. To view the other articles in this section visit
  • Laukkanen, Virpi; Kärkkäinen, Olli; Kautiainen, Hannu; Tiihonen, Jari; Storvik, Markus (2019)
    The function of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors mGluR1 and mGluR5 is involved in the hyperglutamatergic state caused by chronic alcohol. Preclinical studies suggest that group I mGluR modulation could serve as a novel treatment of alcoholism. Considering the wide role of glutamatergic neurochemistry in addiction, group I mGluR binding was studied in brain areas involved in decision-making, learning and memory. Post-mortem whole hemisphere autoradiography was used to study the binding density of [H-3] quisqualic acid, a potent group I mGluR agonist, in 9 Cloninger type 1 alcoholics, 8 Cloninger type 2 alcoholics and 10 controls. Binding was studied in the dorsal striatum, hippocampus and cortex. Alcoholics displayed a trend towards increased [ H-3] quisqualic acid binding in all brain areas. The most robust findings were in the putamen (p = 0.006) and anterior insula (p = 0.005), where both alcoholic subtypes displayed increased binding compared to the controls. These findings suggest altered group I mGluR function in alcoholic subjects in the dorsal striatum, which is involved in habitual learning, and in the anterior insula, which has a pivotal role in the perception of bodily sensations. Increased [H-3] quisqualic acid binding might suggest a beneficial impact of mGluR1/5 modulators in the treatment of alcoholism.
  • Mitra, Sumonto; Turconi, Giorgio; Darreh-Shori, Taher; Mätlik, Kärt; Aquilino, Matilde; Eriksdotter, Maria; Andressoo, Jaan-Olle (2021)
    Gradual decline in cholinergic transmission and cognitive function occurs during normal aging, whereas pathological loss of cholinergic function is a hallmark of different types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD). Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is known to modulate and enhance the dopamine system. However, how endogenous GDNF influences brain cholinergic transmission has remained elusive. In this study, we explored the effect of a twofold increase in endogenous GDNF (Gdnf hypermorphic mice, Gdnf(wt/hyper)) on cholinergic markers and cognitive function upon aging. We found that Gdnf(wt/hyper) mice resisted an overall age-associated decline in the cholinergic index observed in the brain of Gdnf(wt/wt) animals. Biochemical analysis revealed that the level of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is important for survival and function of central cholinergic neurons, was significantly increased in several brain areas of old Gdnf(wt/hyper) mice. Analysis of expression of genes involved in cholinergic transmission in the cortex and striatum confirmed modulation of cholinergic pathways by GDNF upon aging. In line with these findings, Gdnf(wt/hyper) mice did not undergo an age-related decline in cognitive function in the Y-maze test, as observed in the wild type littermates. Our results identify endogenous GDNF as a potential modulator of cholinergic transmission and call for future studies on endogenous GDNF function in neurodegenerative disorders characterized by cognitive impairments, including AD, LBD, and PDD.
  • Heni, Martin; Kullmann, Stephanie; Ahlqvist, Emma; Wagner, Robert; Machicao, Fausto; Staiger, Harald; Haring, Hans-Ulrich; Almgren, Peter; Groop, Leif C.; Small, Dana M.; Fritsche, Andreas; Preissl, Hubert (2016)
    Variations in FTO are the strongest common genetic determinants of adiposity, and may partly act by influencing dopaminergic signalling in the brain leading to altered reward processing that promotes increased food intake. Therefore, we investigated the impact of such an interaction on body composition, and peripheral and brain insulin sensitivity. Participants from the Tubingen Family study (n = 2245) and the Malmo Diet and Cancer study (n = 2921) were genotyped for FTO SNP rs8050136 and ANKK1 SNP rs1800497. Insulin sensitivity in the caudate nucleus, an important reward area in the brain, was assessed by fMRI in 45 participants combined with intranasal insulin administration. We found evidence of an interaction between variations in FTO and an ANKK1 polymorphism that associates with dopamine (D2) receptor density. In cases of reduced D2 receptor availability, as indicated by the ANKK1 polymorphism, FTO variation was associated with increased body fat and waist circumference and reduced peripheral insulin sensitivity. Similarly, altered central insulin sensitivity was observed in the caudate nucleus in individuals with the FTO obesity-risk allele and diminished D2 receptors. The effects of variations in FTO are dependent on dopamine D2 receptor density (determined by the ANKK1 polymorphism). Carriers of both risk alleles might, therefore, be at increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
  • den Hollander, Bjornar; Dudek, Mateusz; Ojanpera, Ilkka; Kankuri, Esko; Hyytia, Petri; Korpi, Esa R. (2015)
    Background: In recent years there has been a large increase in the use of substituted cathinones such as mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone, 4-MMC), a psychostimulant drug that shows a strong resemblance to methamphetamine (METH). Unlike METH, which can produce clear long-term effects, the effects of 4-MMC have so far remained elusive. We employ manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI), a highly sensitive method for detecting changes in neuronal activation, to investigate the effects of METH and 4-MMC on the brain. Methods: In Wistar rats we performed a MEMRI scan two weeks after binge treatments (twice daily for 4 consecutive days) of METH (5 mg/kg) or 4-MMC (30 mg/kg). Furthermore, locomotor activity measurements and novel object recognition tests were performed. Results: METH produced a widespread pattern of decreased bilateral activity in several regions, including the nucleus accumbens, caudate putamen, globus pallidus, thalamus, and hippocampus, as well as several other cortical and subcortical areas. Conversely, 4-MMC produced increased bilateral activity, anatomically limited to the hypothalamus and hippocampus. Drug treatments did not affect the development of locomotor sensitization or novel object recognition performance. Conclusions: The pattern of decreased brain activity seen after METH corresponds closely to regions known to be affected by this drug and confirms the validity of MEMRI for detecting neuroadaptation two weeks after amphetamine binge treatment. 4-MMC, unlike METH, produced increased activity in a limited number of different brain regions. This highlights an important difference in the long-term effects of these drugs on neural function and shows precisely the anatomical localization of 4-MMC-induced neuroadaptation.
  • Int Cannabis Consortium; Marees, Andries T.; Gamazon, Eric R.; Gerring, Zachary; Loukola, Anu; Korhonen, Tellervo; Qaiser, Beenish; Kaprio, Jaakko (2020)
    Background: Little is known about the functional mechanisms through which genetic loci associated with substance use traits ascertain their effect. This study aims to identify and functionally annotate loci associated with substance use traits based on their role in genetic regulation of gene expression. Methods: We evaluated expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTLs) from 13 brain regions and whole blood of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) database, and from whole blood of the Depression Genes and Networks (DGN) database. The role of single eQTLs was examined for six substance use traits: alcohol consumption (N = 537,349), cigarettes per day (CPD; N = 263,954), former vs. current smoker (N = 312,821), age of smoking initiation (N = 262,990), ever smoker (N = 632,802), and cocaine dependence (N = 4,769). Subsequently, we conducted a gene level analysis of gene expression on these substance use traits using S-PrediXcan. Results: Using an FDR-adjusted p-value <0.05 we found 2,976 novel candidate genetic loci for substance use traits, and identified genes and tissues through which these loci potentially exert their effects. Using S-PrediXcan, we identified significantly associated genes for all substance traits. Discussion: Annotating genes based on transcriptomic regulation improves the identification and functional characterization of candidate loci and genes for substance use traits.
  • Julku, Ulrika H.; Panhelainen, Anne E.; Tiilikainen, Saija E.; Svarcbahs, Reinis; Tammimäki, Anne E.; Piepponen, T. Petteri; Savolainen, Mari H.; Myöhänen, Timo T. (2018)
    Alpha-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies, a histopathological finding of Parkinson's disease. Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) is a serine protease that binds to alpha-synuclein and accelerates its aggregation in vitro. PREP enzyme inhibitors have been shown to block the alpha-synuclein aggregation process in vitro and in cellular models, and also to enhance the clearance of alpha-synuclein aggregates in transgenic mouse models. Moreover, PREP inhibitors have induced alterations in dopamine and metabolite levels, and dopamine transporter immunoreactivity in the nigrostriatal tissue. In this study, we characterized the role of PREP in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic and GABAergic systems of wild-type C57Bl/6 and PREP knockout mice, and the effects of PREP overexpression on these systems. Extracellular concentrations of dopamine and protein levels of phosphorylated dopamine transporter were increased and dopamine reuptake was decreased in the striatum of PREP knockout mice, suggesting increased internalization of dopamine transporter from the presynaptic membrane. Furthermore, PREP overexpression increased the level of dopamine transporters in the nigrostriatal tissue but decreased phosphorylated dopamine transporters in the striatum in wild-type mice. Our results suggest that PREP regulates the function of dopamine transporter, possibly by controlling the phosphorylation and transport of dopamine transporter into the striatum or synaptic membrane.