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  • Hämäläinen, Sini; Joutsa, Juho; Sihvonen, Aleksi J.; Leminen, Alina; Lehtonen, Minna (2018)
    Bilingualism is a sustained experience associated with structural changes in cortical grey matter (GM) morphology. Apart from a few studies, a dominant method used to assess bilingualism-induced GM changes has been the voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis. While VBM is sensitive to GM volume/density differences in general, it cannot be used to identify whether the observed difference is due to relative changes in, e.g., cortical thickness, area or folding, as it uses a single combined measure of them all. Here, we used surface-based analysis (SBA) approach to investigate whether early acquisition of a second language (L2) affects the cortical GM morphology relative to late L2 acquisition. More specifically, our aim was to test a hypothesis that early acquisition of two languages induces GM changes that are predominantly surface area-driven, while late acquisition is supposedly characterised with primarily thickness-driven changes. To this end, several surface-based measures were concurrently compared between the groups. In line with the hypothesis, the results revealed that early bilingual experience is associated with significantly extended cortical surface area over the left pars opercularis and the right superior temporal gyrus. Contrary to our expectations, however, we found no evidence supporting the postulated association between late L2 acquisition and increased cortical thickness. Nevertheless, our study highlights the importance of including cortical surface measures when investigating bilingualism related GM modulations.
  • Guirado, Ramon; La Terra, Danilo; Bourguignon, Mathieu; Carceller, Hector; Umemori, Juzoh; Sipilä, Pia; Nacher, Juan; Castren, Eero (2016)
    Neuronal plasticity peaks during critical periods of postnatal development and is reduced towards adulthood. Recent data suggests that windows of juvenile-like plasticity can be triggered in the adult brain by antidepressant drugs such as Fluoxetine. Although the exact mechanisms of how Fluoxetine promotes such plasticity remains unknown, several studies indicate that inhibitory circuits play an important role. The polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecules (PSA-NCAM) has been suggested to mediate the effects of Fluoxetine and it is expressed in the adult brain by mature interneurons. Moreover, the enzymatic removal of PSA by neuroaminidase-N not only affects the structure of interneurons but also has been shown to play a role in the onset of critical periods during development. We have here used ocular dominance plasticity in the mouse visual cortex as a model to investigate whether removal of PSA might influence the Fluoxetine-induced plasticity. We demonstrate that PSA removal in the adult visual cortex alters neither the baseline ocular dominance, nor the fluoxetine-induced shift in the ocular dominance. We also show that both chronic Fluoxetine treatment and PSA removal independently increase the basal FosB expression in parvalbumin (PV) interneurons in the primary visual cortex. Therefore, our data suggest that although PSA-NCAM regulates inhibitory circuitry, it is not required for the reactivation of juvenile like plasticity triggered by Fluoxetine.
  • Tiraboschi, Ettore; Guirado, Ramon; Greco, Dario; Auvinen, Petri; Fernando Maya-Vetencourt, Jose; Maffei, Lamberto; Castren, Eero (2013)
  • Koskinen, Mikko; Hotulainen, Pirta (2014)
  • Carceller, Hector; Rovira-Esteban, Laura; Nacher, Juan; Castrén, Eero; Guirado, Ramon (2016)
    Reelin, a glycoprotein expressed by Cajal-Retzius neurons throughout the marginal layer of developing neocortex, has been extensively shown to play an important role during brain development, guiding neuronal migration and detachment from radial glia. During the adult life, however, many studies have associated Reelin expression to enhanced neuronal plasticity. Although its mechanism of action in the adult brain remains mostly unknown, Reelin is expressed mainly by a subset of mature interneurons. Here, we confirm the described phenotype of this subpopulation in the adult neocortex. We show that these mature interneurons, although being in close proximity, lack polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) expression, a molecule expressed by a subpopulation of mature interneurons, related to brain development and involved in neuronal plasticity of the adult brain as well. However, in the layer II of Piriform cortex there is a high density of cells expressing Reelin whose neurochemical phenotype and connectivity has not been described before. Interestingly, in close proximity to these Reelin expressing cells there is a numerous subpopulation of immature neurons expressing PSA-NCAM and doublecortin (DCX) in this layer of the Piriform cortex. Here, we show that Reelin cells express the neuronal marker Neuronal Nuclei (NeuN), but however the majority of neurons lack markers of mature excitatory or inhibitory neurons. A detail analysis of its morphology indicates these that some of these cells might correspond to semilunar neurons. Interestingly, we found that the majority of these cells express T-box brain 1 (TBR-1) a transcription factor found not only in post-mitotic neurons that differentiate to glutamatergic excitatory neurons but also in Cajal-Retzius cells. We suggest that the function of these Reelin expressing cells might be similar to that of the Cajal-Retzius cells during development, having a role in the maintenance of the immature phenotype of the PSA-NCAM/DCX neurons through its receptors apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2) and very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) in the Piriform cortex layer II during adulthood.