Browsing by Subject "TrkB"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-11 of 11
  • Casarotto, Plinio; Umemori, Juzoh; Castren, Eero (2022)
    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling through its receptor TrkB has for a long time been recognized as a critical mediator of the antidepressant drug action, but BDNF signaling has been considered to be activated indirectly through the action of typical and rapid-acting antidepressants through monoamine transporters and glutamate NMDA receptors, respectively. However, recent findings demonstrate that both typical and the fast-acting antidepressants directly bind to TrkB and thereby allosterically potentiate BDNF signaling, suggesting that TrkB is the direct target for antidepressant drugs. Increased TrkB signaling particularly in the parvalbumin-expressing interneurons orchestrates iPlasticity, a state of juvenile-like enhanced plasticity in the adult brain. iPlasticity sensitizes neuronal networks to environmental influences, enabling rewiring of networks miswired by adverse experiences. These findings have dramatically changed the position of TrkB in the antidepressant effects and they propose a new end-to-end model of the antidepressant drug action. This model emphasizes the enabling role of antidepressant treatment and the active participation of the patient in the process of recovery from mood disorders.
  • Sahu, Madhusmita P.; Pazos-Boubeta, Yago; Steinzeig, Anna; Kaurinkoski, Katja; Palmisano, Michela; Borowecki, Olgierd; Piepponen, Timo Petteri; Castren, Eero (2021)
    Neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) regulate each other and have been implicated in several neuronal mechanisms, including neuroplasticity. We have investigated the effects of BDNF on serotonergic neurons by deleting BDNF receptor TrkB from serotonergic neurons in the adult brain. The transgenic mice show increased 5-HT and Tph2 levels with abnormal behavioral phenotype. In spite of increased food intake, the transgenic mice are significantly leaner than their wildtype littermates, which may be due to increased metabolic activity. Consistent with increased 5-HT, the proliferation of hippocampal progenitors is significantly increased, however, long-term survival of newborn cells is unchanged. Our data indicates that BDNF-TrkB signaling regulates the functional phenotype of 5-HT neurons with long-term behavioral consequences.
  • Kuutti, Mirjami (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    In recent years, psychedelics have shown promise in the treatment of conditions like depression and addiction. The therapeutic effects of psychedelics have been linked to their ability to increase plasticity in the brain, an effect that has also been seen for antidepressants. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin family, which has an important role in the development of the nervous system, as well as promotion of neuronal survival and differentiation during adulthood. BDNF, through its receptor TrkB, has been implicated in antidepressant action, and BDNF-TrkB signalling is involved in many aspects of plasticity. Recently, antidepressants have been reported to bind directly to TrkB, and through this binding mediate their plasticity-enhancing, as well as behavioural effects. Psychedelics have been shown to increase structural and functional plasticity, but the mechanisms behind these effects are not fully understood. For example, the serotonergic receptor 5-HT2A is known to be behind the acute hallucinogenic effects of psychedelics, but its role in plasticity is still debated. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity. The dimerization of TrkB was examined after LSD treatment in the protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA). Phosphorylation of TrkB signalling markers mTOR and ERK, which have known effects on plasticity, was assessed in Western blot, and the total expression of BDNF was examined with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The timeline of the effects was investigated, and the involvement of 5-HT2A in TrkB dimerization and the phosphorylation of ERK was assessed by combining LSD treatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist M100907. Dimerization was also assessed in a TrkB mutant (Y433F) that has previously been shown to disrupt antidepressant effects on plasticity. These experiments showed that LSD treatment increased TrkB dimerization as well as phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK. The Y433F mutation interfered with LSD-induced TrkB dimerization, but the effects of LSD on TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation were not blocked by M100907. Together, these data suggest that 5-HT2A is not involved in LSD-induced promotion of TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation. The increases in phosphorylation and dimerization were found to be most robust after a 1 h LSD treatment, however an increase in BDNF expression was seen in cortical neuron cultures only after a 24 h treatment with LSD. The results reported in this study support the view that 5-HT2A might not be needed for the plasticity-inducing effects of psychedelics. If this is true, the development of treatments that target plasticity without hallucinatory effects could be possible. Overall, this research provides insight into the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity and offers new and interesting directions for future research in the field.
  • Pylkkö, Tuomas (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    It is well known that the central nervous system is a highly isolated tissue. Because of this the physico-chemical criteria to be met by an orally administered central nervous system drug are very strict. This work describes methods that can be used to select drug candidates and screening collections that have a higher possibility of being relevant to central nervous system drug development projects. This work also argues that small molecular space is so vast that it is difficult to imagine any progress without focusing screening collections in some way or another. Given that most available commercial compounds are very similar in some respects, it is very much possible that this presents a bottle-neck for the progress of drug development as a whole. Therefore, research on novel methods for compound production are also evaluated. In addition, this work describes the miniaturization and automation of a previously published ELISA-based assay. This assay measures the activation of a tyrosine kinase receptor (TrkB), expressed in a fibroblast cell line. The receptor, and it's endogenous ligand, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, have been linked to the mechanism of action of previously discovered medical interventions used in the treatment of depression. Such an assay can be used to discover either small molecule agonists or antagonists acting upon the receptor. These molecules could possibly be clinically relevant in the treatment of depressive disorders and anxiety. It is demonstrated that it is indeed possible to miniaturize and automate the method, making it significantly more suitable for high-throughput screening. The original method was carried out in 24-well plates, transferring the samples to another plate for measurement. The new design uses 96-well plates and performs the entire process on the same plate.
  • Antila, Hanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a serine protease that cleaves the inactive plasminogen to a broad-spectrum protease plasmin. Plasmin is involved in the degradation of blood clots by breaking down the fibrin network. In addition to it's role in the fibrinolytic system, tPA participates in the functions of the central nervous system. tPA is expressed in several brain areas and has been shown to be involved in neuronal plasticity. tPA's effects on brain plasticity are mediated in part via degradation of extracellular matrix proteins, but mainly via processing of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Plasmin cleaves pro-BDNF into BDNF that serves as primary endogenous ligand for TrkB neurotrophin receptor. TrkB signalling is strongly associated with the regulation of neuronal plasticity such as neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and long-term potentiation (LTP). On the contrary, pro-BDNF binds and activates p75 neurotrophin receptor that regulates many distinct, even opposite, effects on neuronal plasticity such as long-term depression and synapse refraction. Enhancement of brain plasticity is considered to be important for the therapeutic effects of antidepressant drugs and this is at least partially mediated via BDNF. Antidepressants activate TrkB receptors and increase BDNF protein levels in the rodent brain but the mechanism behind this remains obscure. Given that tPA is an important factor in the processing of BDNF, it is a possible mediator for antidepressants' neurotrophic effects. The effects of antidepressants on tPA activity have been previously studied only in the blood circulatory system. The aim of the experimental part of this Master's thesis was to examine the effects of antidepressant fluoxetine on tPA activity and protein levels in mouse hippocampus. Also the effects of fluoxetine on BDNF-TrkB signalling were studied. Fluoxetine was administered to mice acutely (30 mg/kg, i.p., 1 h) and chronically (0,08 mg/ml in drinking water, 3 weeks). tPA activity was studied using SDS-PAGE - and in situzymographies. TrkB activation, tPA and BDNF protein levels were measured using western blot. BDNF protein levels were also examined with ELISA method. No changes in tPA activity were found after acute fluoxetine treatment. In line with this result is the observation that also the BDNF levels remained unchanged. However, TrkB receptor activity was increased in fluoxetine treated mice. It seems possible that BDNF is not involved in the TrkB activation caused by acute fluoxetine treatment. Chronic fluoxetine treatment caused a significant increase in the BDNF protein levels compared to water-drinking control mice. This was not, however, associated with significant changes in TrkB activity. No changes in tPA activity were observed, which suggests that tPA is not involved in the increase of BDNF levels after chronic fluoxetine treatment. Interestingly, tPA antibody detected three distinct proteins in western blot of whose levels acute fluoxetine treatment regulated. However, more studies are needed to identify these proteins and to reveal the significance of such an effect of fluoxetine. According to this study, neither acute nor chronic fluoxetine treatment affects tPA activity in mouse hippocampus. However, environmental enrichment has been shown to enhance tPA activity and produce similar neurotrophic effects as chronic fluoxetine treatment. Therefore the result of this study concerning effect of chronic antidepressant treatment on tPA activity should be verified.
  • Rosenholm, Marko (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Pharmacologically induced neuronal plasticity holds unprecedented potential in treatment of several neurological disorders, such as depression. Several antidepressant drugs have been shown to induce neuronal plasticity by stimulating BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) receptor TrkB (tropomyosin receptor kinase B). Studies with rapid-acting antidepressant treatments suggest delta range slow wave EEG (electroencephalography) activity to function as a potential non-invasive biomarker for activation of TrkB-related neuroplastic signaling responses. A sedative GABAA-agonist THIP (gaboxadol) has been shown to induce slow wave EEG activity (SWA) and preliminary studies suggest it to activate TrkB signaling as well. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential connection between SWA, neuroplastic signaling responses and neuronal inhibition by utilizing EEG measurements and THIP administration in genetic and developmental mouse models. The pharmaco-EEG experiments showed acute THIP administration (6 mg/kg, i.p.) to increase SWA in wild-type but not in GABAA δ-subunit knockout mice. TrkB signaling responses from similar treatment groups showed a trend of increased TrkB-related protein phosphorylation in wild-type but not in GABAA δ-subunit knockout mice indicating a positive connection between SWA, neuronal inhibition and TrkB-related signaling response. Autophosphorylation response of TrkB and related proteins in mice of different age showed most TrkB phosphorylation in postnatal day 16 (P16) mouse pups, whereas phosphorylation response of CREB and p70S6k was the highest in postnatal day 8 (P8) mouse pups. Since SWA emerges during the second postnatal week in mice, the obtained result further supports the connection between SWA and TrkB signaling. Acute THIP administration caused no significant phosphorylation changes in P8 or P16 mouse pups. The results support the hypothesis of a positive connection between SWA, neuronal inhibition and TrkB-related signaling response. Further studies with different excitatory and inhibitory interventions are required to better understand the role of neuronal excitation and inhibition in TrkB signaling responses and corresponding EEG signatures.
  • Anttila, Jenni (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the receptor mediating its effects, neurotrophin receptor TrkB, seem to have a role in the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders such as depression and mania. BDNF is a neurotrophin that regulates the differentiation and survival of neurons and mediates neuronal plasticity. Lithium and valproate are mood stabilizing agents that are commonly used to treat mania but their mechanism of action is still unclear. However, both acute and chronic lithium treatment have been shown to activate TrkB receptor in the rodent anterior cingulate cortex. It has also been shown that chronic lithium and valproate treatment increase the amount of BDNF in the rodent brain. The aim of the experimental part of this master's thesis was to find out what are the effects of lithium and valproate on TrkB receptor activation and on the amount of intracellular BDNF protein levels in vitro on embryonic day 18 (E18) rat primary cortical neurons. In addition, the possible role of neuronal maturation was investigated by conducting the experiments with neuronal cultures aged 7 and 21 days in vitro. The research methods included two different types of enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), phospho-Trk ELISA and BDNF ELISA. Western blot was used to confirm the results. Therapeutically relevant concentration of lithiumchloride and valproate blocked BDNFinduced TrkB receptor phosphorylation in immature neurons aged 7 days in vitro. The effect of valproate was detected only with ELISA. In contrast, therapeutically relevant concentration of valproate increased TrkB receptor phosphorylation in immature neurons after one hour treatment. Lithium and valproate did not regulate TrkB receptor phosphorylation in mature neurons aged 21 days in vitro. However, therapeutically relevant concentration of lithium increased BDNF protein content in mature neurons after 24 hours treatment. Therapeutically relevant concentration of valproate did not alter BDNF protein levels. In conclusion, neuronal maturation does have a role on the effects of lithium and valproate on TrkB receptor activation and regulation of BDNF protein levels. It is possible that lithium and valproate are harmful to immature neurons through blocking BDNF-induced TrkB receptor phosphorylation. Since therapeutically relevant concentration of lithium did not activate TrkB receptor as has been shown previously in vivo it seems that certain developmental processes are essential for lithium-induced TrkB receptor activation.
  • Molari, Joonas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Currently, there is an undeniable need for more effective treatments of depression. The efficacy of traditional antidepressant drugs becomes apparent after multiple weeks of treatment. New advancements in depression treatments have been made, as glutamatergic NMDA-receptor antagonist ketamine is seen to ameliorate symptoms rapidly, even only hours after drug administration. Understanding ketamine’s mechanism of action as an antidepressant could enable the development of more effective antidepressant drugs. The critical molecular level component in ketamine’s antidepressant effect is considered to be the activation of TrkB tyrosine receptor kinase B, which subsequently leads to the initiation of signaling pathways, which regulate synaptic plasticity. So far, it has not been examined; whether there is a difference in ketamine’s antidepressant effect based on the dosing-time of day. The aim of the present study was to find out if there is a variation between ketamine’s effect on synaptic plasticity and the circadian phase in which the drug is administered. Ketamine’s (200 or 50 mg/kg, i.p.) effects were studied in C57BL/6J–mice during light phase (mouse’s inactive phase) and dark phase (mouse’s active phase) of the day. The phase of the day didn’t affect the activity of TrkB signaling in its related parts (pTrkBTyr816, pGSK3βSer9, p-p70S6KTyr421/Ser424 and p-p44/42MAPKThr202/Tyr204) in prefrontal cortex samples which were analysed in Western blot assay. Ketamine increased dose-dependently the phosphorylation of GSK3βSer9 and p70S6KTyr421/Ser424 as well as decreased p-p44/42MAPKThr202/Tyr204 at 30 minutes after drug administration in both phases of the day. Ketamine (200 mg/kg, i.p.) also lowered the glucose concentration measured from the trunk blood. To examine the effect of hypoglycemia on the activity of TrkB signaling another experiment was conducted. The hypoglycemia induced by insulin detemir (6 IU/kg, i.p.) didn’t affect any measured protein phosphorylation at 60 minutes after drug administration. The results of this study support the notion of ketamine’s rapid and dosedependent induction of neuroplasticity. The possible role of hypoglycemia in ketamine's neuropharmacology should be investigated in future studies.
  • Lesnikova, Angelina; Casarotto, Plinio; Moliner, Rafael; Fred, Senem Merve; Biojone, Caroline; Castren, Eero (2021)
    Perineuronal nets (PNNs) have an important physiological role in the retention of learning by restricting cognitive flexibility. Their deposition peaks after developmental periods of intensive learning, usually in late childhood, and they help in long-term preservation of newly acquired skills and information. Modulation of PNN function by various techniques enhances plasticity and regulates the retention of memories, which may be beneficial when memory persistence entails negative symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this study, we investigated the role of PTP sigma [receptor-type tyrosine-protein phosphatase S, a phosphatase that is activated by binding of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) from PNNs] in retention of memories using Novel Object Recognition and Fear Conditioning models. We observed that mice haploinsufficient for PTPRS gene (PTP sigma(+/-)), although having improved short-term object recognition memory, display impaired long-term memory in both Novel Object Recognition and Fear Conditioning paradigm, as compared to WT littermates. However, PTP sigma(+/-) mice did not show any differences in behavioral tests that do not heavily rely on cognitive flexibility, such as Elevated Plus Maze, Open Field, Marble Burying, and Forced Swimming Test. Since PTP sigma has been shown to interact with and dephosphorylate TRKB, we investigated activation of this receptor and its downstream pathways in limbic areas known to be associated with memory. We found that phosphorylation of TRKB and PLC gamma are increased in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and amygdaloid complex of PTP sigma(+/-) mice, but other TRKB-mediated signaling pathways are not affected. Our data suggest that PTP sigma downregulation promotes TRKB phosphorylation in different brain areas, improves short-term memory performance but disrupts long-term memory retention in the tested animal models. Inhibition of PTP sigma or disruption of PNN-PTP sigma-TRKB complex might be a potential target for disorders where negative modulation of the acquired memories can be beneficial.
  • Haapaniemi, Hele (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The prevalence of major depressive disorder is increasing despite the increased standard of living. The prevailing hypothesis to explain depression is that there is an unbalance in information processing in relevant brain networks. Antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs) have been shown to induce a juvenile-like plasticity state (iPlasticity) in the brain that helps in rewiring the affected neuronal networks when combined with beneficial environmental stimuli (e.g. psychotherapy). However, it takes weeks to see the beneficial effects of conventional antidepressants on mood and they bring relief only to approximately two-thirds of the patients. There is an urgent need for more efficient and rapid-acting antidepressants. Preliminary data suggests that psychedelics may have potential to respond to this need. It is thought that the therapeutic effect of psychedelics rises from the molecular effects leading to structural and functional plasticity and behavioral changes. Molecular effects of psychedelics are believed to arise from the activation of serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptors. It is well established that serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptor activation lies behind the hallucinogenic effects of psychedelics, but its role in drug-induced plasticity is currently under debate. Signaling of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) through its receptor TrkB has been proposed to underlie the plasticity-promoting effects of psychedelics. However, the mechanisms leading to increased BDNF/TrkB signaling after psychedelic administration are poorly understood. This thesis aimed to study the molecular mechanisms associated with psychedelic-induced plasticity in cortical neuronal cultures. The timeline of the effects of LSD was studied by analyzing the phosphorylation of neurotrophic signaling markers downstream of TrkB (mTOR and ERK) in primary neuronal cultures using Western blot. The role of the 5-HT2A receptor was assessed by combining 5-HT2A antagonist M100907 pretreatment with LSD treatment, followed by Western blot analyses of the same signaling markers mTOR and ERK. The degree of molecular effects of psychedelics was compared to the effects of classical antidepressant fluoxetine. Protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA) was used to evaluate the dimerization of the TrkB receptor in the presence of psychedelics and classical antidepressants. In this context, Western blot was also used to assess the phosphorylation of the plasticity-related BDNF signaling markers ERK and two tyrosines of TrkB receptor (Y515 and Y816) that mediate recruitment of neurotrophic signaling pathways. We found that psychedelic treatment promoted phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK significantly. These effects were not affected by pretreatment with M100907, indicating activation of BDNF/TrkB signaling by psychedelics is independent from 5-HT2A activation. Psychedelics were also shown to cause a significant increase in dimerization of TrkB whereas increase caused by fluoxetine was not significant. Lastly, psychedelics were shown to cause increase in phosphorylation of TrkB and ERK that were comparable to those induced by fluoxetine. These results highlight the potential of psychedelics to promote BDNF-mediated neurotrophic signaling associated with juvenile-like plasticity. Interestingly, the results show recruitment of BDNF/TrkB downstream signaling independently from 5-HT2A activation, which suggests that plasticity-promoting effects of psychedelics might be detached from their hallucinogenic effects.
  • Annala, Iina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Subanesthetic-dose ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) blocker, exerts rapid antidepressant effects that sustain long after its elimination from the body. The precise mechanism remains unknown, but regulation of TrkB (tropomyosin receptor kinase B), ERK (extracellular-regulated kinase 1 and 2), GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3β) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have been deemed important for its antidepressant-like effects in rodents. In addition, activation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs) is thought to be an important step in its mechanism. Nitrous oxide (N2O), another NMDAR antagonist and a putative rapid-acting antidepressant, regulates the same molecular pathways as ketamine in the rodent PFC. The fast pharmacokinetics of N2O have been exploited to show that markers of neuronal excitation, including phosphorylation of ERK, are upregulated in the PFC during its acute pharmacological effects (NMDAR blockade), while regulation of TrkB, GSK3β and P70S6K emerges only upon N2O withdrawal. In the first part of this study, we investigated the N2O-induced biochemical changes associated with neuronal excitation and BDNF-TrkB signaling in the PFC and further, the requirement for AMPAR activation in inducing them. We focused on the effects seen after the acute pharmacological effects of N2O. N2O (65% for 20 min) was administered to adult male C57BL/6 mice with or without pretreatment with AMPAR antagonist (NBQX, 10 mg/kg) and PFC samples were collected 15 minutes after stopping N2O delivery. Within this time N2O is expected to be completely eliminated. The brain samples were analyzed using western blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative reverse transcription PCR. We observed that N2O increased levels of phosphorylated TrkB, GSK3β and P70S6K, and these effects were not attenuated by NBQX pretreatment. At the same time, we observed a decrease in the levels of phosphorylated ERK, which was attenuated in mice that received NBQX prior to N2O. Tissue levels of BDNF protein or messenger RNA (exon IV) were not different between control and experimental groups. These results indicate that the mechanism of N2O is associated with TrkB and ERK signaling that are regulated independently of each other. It appears that AMPAR activation is not required for TrkB signaling, although it might play a role in ERK signaling. Further, N2O-induced TrkB phosphorylation in the PFC is not associated with changes in total levels of BDNF. In the second part of the study, we aimed to search for new ketamine-like NMDAR blockers with antidepressant potential. Ketamine was used as a query compound for in silico substructure search to find commercial ketamine analogs. The retrieved ketamine analogs were filtered by their computed ADMET properties and then further screened virtually by docking them to the pore region of NMDAR complex (protein data bank code: 4TLM), around the predicted binding site of ketamine. Finally, we sought to study if selected ketamine analogs could elicit ketamine-like effects on TrkB and ERK signaling in mouse primary cortical neurons. However, we did not proceed to test the analogs since ketamine (positive control) did not show any effects on TrkB or ERK phosphorylation in our culture. Overall, this study advances the understanding of the mechanism of N2O, possibly giving new insight of the antidepressant mechanisms of NMDAR-blocking agents more generally. Additionally, we found promising ketamine analogs that await experimental testing.