Browsing by Subject "neurobiologia"

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  • Peltola, Marjaana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Schizophrenia is a devastating psychiatric illness afflicting approximately 1% of the world s population. Currently, the disease mechanism is poorly understood and the pharmacological interventions relieve only some of the symptoms. Schizophrenia is highly heritable and genetic factors contribute to about 65-80% of the liability to the illness. However, the genetic etiology is complex and remains largely unknown. Potassium channels are key determinants of neuronal excitability. Kv2.1 is a widely-expressed voltage-gated potassium channel α-subunit. Kv2.1 channels constitute an essential component of the somatodendritic delayed rectifier current (IK) in several neuronal types and regulate excitability, especially during periods of high-frequency firing. This study outlines the identification and characterization of a novel neuronal transmembrane protein AMIGO, which contains extracellular immunoglobulin (Ig) and leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. AMIGO was shown to be widely expressed in cerebral neurons and localized to distinctive clusters in the neuronal plasma membrane, restricted to the cell soma and proximal part of neurites. AMIGO was further identified as an auxiliary subunit of the Kv2.1 potassium channel. AMIGO and Kv2.1 were shown to display extensive spatial and temporal colocalization and association in brain. AMIGO was also shown to modify the voltage-dependent activation of Kv2.1 and neuronal delayed rectifier current (IK). To further understand the physiological role of AMIGO in brain, a mouse line lacking the Amigo gene was created and characterized as part of this study. Absence of AMIGO clearly reduced the amount of the Kv2.1 channel protein in mouse brain and altered the voltage-dependent activation of neuronal IK. These changes were accompanied by behavioral and pharmacological abnormalities reminiscent of those identified in schizophrenia. Concomitantly, the rare KV2.1 variant was found to be associated with human schizophrenia. These findings demonstrate the involvement of the AMIGO-Kv2.1 channel complex in schizophrenia-related behavioral domains in mice and establish KV2.1 as a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia spectrum disorders in humans. In the current study, AMIGO was identified as an integral component of the Kv2.1 channel complex in brain. The convergent findings in humans and mice suggest a role for the AMIGO-Kv2.1 potassium channel complex in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Furthermore, these findings suggest AMIGO and Kv2.1 may represent potential new targets for schizophrenia treatment development.
  • Sipilä, Sampsa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Distinct endogenous network events, generated independently of sensory input, are a general feature of various structures of the immature central nervous system. In the immature hippocampus, these type of events are seen as "giant depolarizing potentials" (GDPs) in intracellular recordings in vitro. GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the adult brain, has a depolarizing action in immature neurons, and GDPs have been proposed to be driven by GABAergic transmission. Moreover, GDPs have been thought to reflect an early pattern that disappears during development in parallel with the maturation of hyperpolarizing GABAergic inhibition. However, the adult hippocampus in vivo also generates endogenous network events known as sharp (positive) waves (SPWs), which reflect synchronous discharges of CA3 pyramidal neurons and are thought to be involved in cognitive functions. In this thesis, mechanisms of GDP generation were studied with intra- and extracellular recordings in the neonatal rat hippocampus in vitro and in vivo. Immature CA3 pyramidal neurons were found to generate intrinsic bursts of spikes and to act as cellular pacemakers for GDP activity whereas depolarizing GABAergic signalling was found to have a temporally non-patterned facilitatory role in the generation of the network events. Furthermore, the data indicate that the intrinsic bursts of neonatal CA3 pyramidal neurons and, consequently, GDPs are driven by a persistent Na+ current and terminated by a slow Ca2+-dependent K+ current. Gramicidin-perforated patch recordings showed that the depolarizing driving force for GABAA receptor-mediated actions is provided by Cl- uptake via the Na-K-C1 cotransporter, NKCC1, in the immature CA3 pyramids. A specific blocker of NKCC1, bumetanide, inhibited SPWs and GDPs in the neonatal rat hippocampus in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Finally, pharmacological blockade of the GABA transporter-1 prolonged the decay of the large GDP-associated GABA transients but not of single postsynaptic GABAA receptor-mediated currents. As a whole the data in this thesis indicate that the mechanism of GDP generation, based on the interconnected network of bursting CA3 pyramidal neurons, is similar to that involved in adult SPW activity. Hence, GDPs do not reflect a network pattern that disappears during development but they are the in vitro counterpart of neonatal SPWs.
  • Palgi, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Among neurotrophic factors MANF/CDNF family is unique as their protein sequences are evolutionarily conserved between multicellular organisms. Still, little is known about their mechanism of action and interacting molecules. At the time of initiation of this study there were no known neurotrophic factors in invertebrates. According to the protein sequence homology there was an uncharacterized homologue to the novel neurotrophic factor MANF in Drosophila melanogaster. We found that Drosophila Manf (DmManf) is an essential gene in a fruit fly development. DmManf represents a true orthologue to mammalian MANF as its mutant lethality is rescued by human MANF. We have generated DmManf deletion mutant surviving to second instar larval stage with maternal contribution. When the maternal contribution of DmManf is abolished, the mutants die at the end of embryogenesis before hatching. In DmManf mutant the dopaminergic neurites degenerate and the dopamine level is extremely low. Ultrastructural analysis reveals nonapoptotic cell death in the embryonic ventral nerve cord and neuropile decomposition together with cell body glia activation taking place. In secretory cells like gastric caeca or fat body the visible loss of rough endoplasmic reticulum and drastic accumulation of vesicles, some filled with cellular debris, occur. According to microarray expression analysis data, expression of genes involved in vesicular transport and metabolism were altered in DmManf mutants. The expression of several genes implicated in pathology of Parkinson s disease (PD) was also altered. The degeneration of dopaminergic neurons is the hallmark for PD and this thesis work makes an effort to enlighten the mechanisms how the neurotrophic factor MANF protects these degenerating neurons.
  • Tegelberg, Saara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Progressive myoclonus epilepsy of Unverricht-Lundborg type (EPM1) is an autosomal recessively inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in the cystatin B (CSTB) gene. Although the gene behind the disease has long been known, the exact physiological function of CSTB and the molecular pathogenesis in EPM are largely unknown. In my thesis, I have characterized the developmental and degenerative processes in the brains of young, pre-symptomatic and fully symptomatic Cstb-deficient mice. This mouse is an excellent model for EPM1, as its phenotype closely resembles the human disease. To study the spatiotemporal disease progression, we conducted systematic analyses of changes in neurons and glia in Cstb-deficient brains. We saw significant microgliosis already in two-week-old Cstb-deficient animals, before the appearance of myoclonus at 1 month of age. Early microgliosis was followed by astroglial activation along with progressive neuron loss and brain atrophy. The phenotype of activated microglial cells changed during disease progression. To characterize molecular alterations in Cstb-deficient mouse brains, we performed a gene expression profiling. As the cerebellum shows the earliest and most prominent pathological changes, we focused the gene expression analyses on cerebellum of young Cstb-deficient animals. The results implied disturbances in pathways related to synaptic development, structure and function. Immunohisto¬chemical, electrophysiological and ligand binding studies suggested the involvement of especially GABAergic synapses. Data also showed alterations in genes related to the cytoskeleton and intracellular transport, along with pathways implying activation of immune defence. To shed light on the neuron death seen in the brain of Cstb-deficient mouse, we studied the effect of oxidative stress on Cstb-deficient neurons. As CSTB is an inhibitor of cysteine cathepsins and thus is proposed to protect cells from adverse cathepsin functions, we studied also the role of cathepsins in oxidative stress. The results show that oxidative insult increases the expression of both CSTB and cathepsin B. Cstb-deficient cells are sensitized to oxidative stress-induced damage and cell death, which is at least partially mediated through increased cathepsin B activity. These findings in Cstb-deficient mouse suggest that CSTB has an important role in protecting normal cellular integrity and functions along with affecting the development and function of synaptic connections. Our results also imply that microglia have a central role in nervous system damage already before the appearance of symptoms of EPM1. The results of my thesis study have guided the research of our group into new fields by revealing the importance of microglia in the early stages of EPM1. This study also shows that CSTB-deficiency leads not only to neurodegeneration per se, but also results in developmental defects whose consequences manifest later in EPM1 disease progression.
  • Juuri, Juuso (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Kainate-type of ionotropic glutamate (KA) receptors are associated with the modulation of neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission, and activity of neuronal networks. They are believed to have an important role in the development of neuronal connections. In this thesis, the role of KA receptors in the early brain development was assessed by conducting in vitro electrophysiological recordings from individual neurons at CA3 region in acute slices of neonatal rodent hippocampi. It was found that activation of separate KA receptor populations promoted action potential firing in both glutamatergic pyramidal neurons and GABAergic interneurons. The receptors in pyramidal neurons displayed a high affinity for agonist kainate, appeared to lack subunit GluK1, and promoted spontaneous firing of pyramidal neurons without depolarizing them. The receptors in interneurons contained subunit GluK1 and their activation suppressed afterhyperpolarizing current of medium duration (ImAHP). Receptors in both neuron types appeared to be activated tonically by ambient glutamate, suggesting that their physiological role may be to act as a modulatory mechanism sensitive to changes in extracellular glutamate concentration. Changes in activity of neurons at CA3 by activation of KA receptors were reflected on the network level. Promotion of pyramidal cell firing by pharmacological activation of high-affinity KA receptors lead to enhanced glutamatergic drive and generation of network bursts in the CA3 region. The ImAHP in interneurons was also suppressed by apamin, a blocker of SK potassium channels that mediate majority of this current, and apamin enhanced generation of network bursts. This suggests that also KA receptor mediated regulation of ImAHP may modulate network activity. It was also found that there was an interaction between KA receptors and ethanol in the modulation of hippocampal network: ethanol decreased the occurrence of the network bursts at postnatal days 1 (P1) and P10, whereas it increased bursting at P5. The network effects of ethanol were partially or completely counteracted by specific pharmacological block of GluK1 subunit-containing KA receptors. The findings disclose that via regulation of activity of individual neurons, KA receptors are capable of robust modulation of network activity in immature hippocampus. Additionally, exogenous agents affecting KA receptors may perturb activity dependent developmental processes that are central for the synaptic development. The results shed light on the mechanisms underlying development of hippocampal connectivity, and may help to understand early pathologies of the brain that have developmental origins.
  • Puskarjov, Martin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Active extrusion of Cl- from the neuronal cytoplasm by the neuron-specific K-Cl co-transporter isoform KCC2 is necessary for the hyperpolarizing inhibitory Cl- currents mediated by the GABA receptors (GABAARs). Early in development and following cellular trauma or seizures, GABAAR-mediated signaling is often depolarizing and may even, in contrast to its classical inhibitory action, promote action potential firing. Developmental up-regulation of KCC2 is largely responsible for the shift from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing GABAAR-mediated signaling, and conditions associated with brain pathology often lead to loss of KCC2 and re-emergence of depolarizing GABAAR responses. The molecular mechanisms responsible for the up-regulation of KCC2 during development and those mediating its down-regulation, however, remain elusive. The present Thesis demonstrates that the low level of KCC2 protein in immature neurons is not a limiting factor for its functional activation. A single seizure episode induced with kainate triggers a fast transient enhancement of neuronal Cl- extrusion capacity paralleled by a large increase in surface-expressed but not total KCC2 protein in the hippocampus of neonatal rodents. This post-translational activation of KCC2 appears to be mediated by BDNF-TrkB signaling, as evidenced by its sensitivity to Trk inhibition and its absence in BDNF knockout mice. In contrast to these fast changes in functional expression of KCC2, no requirement for endogenous BDNF was observed for the developmental up-regulation of KCC2 protein. Another key finding of this work is that down-regulation and inactivation of KCC2 following intense NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation is mediated via cleavage and truncation of KCC2 by the calcium-activated protease calpain. Importantly, the data obtained using inhibitors of protein degradation and protein synthesis indicate that the basal turn-over of KCC2 protein is slow and, consequently, down-regulation under pathological conditions is likely to result from enhanced degradation rather than from reduced de novo KCC2 synthesis. Together, the present findings highlight post-translational regulation as an important mediator of changes in the functional expression of KCC2 in response to conditions of enhanced neuronal activity, such as epileptic seizures. KCC2 has been traditionally regarded to have the most clearly defined physio-logical role of all the K-Cl cotransporters, as it is uniquely expressed in central neurons, and determines the neuronal response to activation of GABAA and glycine receptors. However, such a view has changed drastically following the unexpected observation that KCC2 has also a structural role in the morphological maintenance of dendritic spines, one that is independent of its ability to transport ions. The intimate temporal coincidence between the developmental onset of KCC2 expression and the most intense phase of synaptogenesis during the brain growth spurt points to a possible role for this protein in synapse formation. Importantly, whether KCC2 plays a role in spinogenesis i.e. in induction of spines during the brain growth spurt has not been investigated so far. The results of the present work demonstrate that expression of KCC2 is not only a necessary but also a sufficient condition for the induction of functional glutamatergic spines during the brain growth spurt. The results of this work support the idea of KCC2 as an important synchronizing factor in the functional development of glutamatergic and GABAergic signaling.
  • Hienola, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain any more so it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure. Daniel C. Dennett (from Consciousness Explained, 1991) The little sea squirt needs its brain for a task that is very simple and short. When the task is completed, the sea squirt starts a new life in a vegetative state, after having a nourishing meal. The little brain is more tightly structured than our massive primate brains. The number of neurons is exact, no leeway in neural proliferation is tolerated. Each neuroblast migrates exactly to the correct position, and only a certain number of connections with the right companions is allowed. In comparison, growth of a mammalian brain is a merry mess. The reason is obvious: Squirt brain needs to perform only a few, predictable functions, before becoming waste. The more mobile and complex mammals engage their brains in tasks requiring quick adaptation and plasticity in a constantly changing environment. Although the regulation of nervous system development varies between species, many regulatory elements remain the same. For example, all multicellular animals possess a collection of proteoglycans (PG); proteins with attached, complex sugar chains called glycosaminoglycans (GAG). In development, PGs participate in the organization of the animal body, like in the construction of parts of the nervous system. The PGs capture water with their GAG chains, forming a biochemically active gel at the surface of the cell, and in the extracellular matrix (ECM). In the nervous system, this gel traps inside it different molecules: growth factors and ECM-associated proteins. They regulate the proliferation of neural stem cells (NSC), guide the migration of neurons, and coordinate the formation of neuronal connections. In this work I have followed the role of two molecules contributing to the complexity of mammalian brain development. N-syndecan is a transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) with cell signaling functions. Heparin-binding growth-associated molecule (HB-GAM) is an ECM-associated protein with high expression in the perinatal nervous system, and high affinity to HS and heparin. N-syndecan is a receptor for several growth factors and for HB-GAM. HB-GAM induces specific signaling via N-syndecan, activating c-Src, calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) and cortactin. By studying the gene knockouts of HB-GAM and N-syndecan in mice, I have found that HB-GAM and N-syndecan are involved as a receptor-ligand-pair in neural migration and differentiation. HB-GAM competes with the growth factors fibriblast growth factor (FGF)-2 and heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF) in HS-binding, causing NSCs to stop proliferation and to differentiate, and affects HB-EGF-induced EGF receptor (EGFR) signaling in neural cells during migration. N-syndecan signaling affects the motility of young neurons, by boosting EGFR-mediated cell migration. In addition, these two receptors form a complex at the surface of the neurons, probably creating a motility-regulating structure.
  • Hirvenkari, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Social interaction consists of events of different modalities that unfold on a subsecond timescale and are usually influenced by all involved participants. Therefore, social interaction is difficult to be simulated in laboratory, as simple, static, and unidirectional stimuli and tasks do not cover its properties accurately enough. However, moving towards more natural experimental setups in brain imaging, e.g. in magnetoencephalography (MEG), means giving up many traditional ways of analysis, such as signal averaging on the basis of pre-classified well-controlled stimuli. Thus, in addition to developing naturalistic experimental setups, new ways are needed to analyse the data and to classify the events of interest. In this thesis, ecologically valid experimental setups for brain imaging of social interaction were developed and tested in three MEG and two behavioural experiments. Of the MEG studies, the first study presented in this thesis introduced a free-viewing paradigm for MEG and showed different responses to congruent and incongruent audiovisual stimuli in the auditory cortex. In the second MEG study auditory cortex was shown to respond differently to the anticipation of emotional and neutral sounds. The third MEG study presented a setup for simultaneous MEG measurements of two interacting persons, validating its feasibility by showing reproducible and similar auditory responses in both subjects to stimuli delivered from the two measurement sites. The two behavioural studies of this thesis concentrated on turn taking behaviour in conversation. The first of them showed that the organization of turn-taking guides the gaze of an external viewer of the conversation. The latter study demonstrated that speech is a strong inducer of behavioural entrainment as speakers mutually adapted their speaking rhythms when producing sentences with a partner.
  • Hynninen, Elina; Moliner, Rafael; Ekelund, Jesper; Korpi, Esa R.; Elsilä, Lauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Psykedeelit eli serotonergiset hallusinogeenit ovat herättäneet uutta mielenkiintoa neurotieteissä ja psykiatriassa viime vuosina. Psykedeelejä tutkitaan nykyään pääsiassa psykedeeliavusteisen terapian muodossa. Tähänastiset tutkimukset antavat viitteitä mahdollisista hoidollisista ominaisuuksista muun muassa masennuksen, ahdistuksen, riippuvuuksien sekä kivun hoidossa. Nykyisten tutkimustulosten mukaan hoidolliset vaikutukset saattavat osalla potilaista jatkua pitkään hoitojakson jälkeen. Psykedeelit sitoutuvat keskushermostossa useisiin välittäjäainereseptoreihin, mutta niiden pääasiallinen molekulaarinen vaikutusmekanismi on serotonergisen 5-HT2A-reseptorin aktivaatio. Subjektiivisesti koetut vaikutukset välittyvät useita eri välittäjäaineita käyttävien hermoratojen toiminnallisten muutosten kautta, toistaiseksi melko huonosti tunnetuilla molekulaarisilla mekanismeilla. Aivotasolla psykedeelien on havaittu vähentävän tärkeiden yhteyskeskusten aktiivisuutta, lisäävän toiminnallisia yhteyksiä korkean tason aistikeskusten välillä sekä lisäävän hermosolujen muovautuvuutta. Psykedeelien voimakkaita psykologisia vaikutuksia ovat muutokset omassa kehonkuvassa ja ympäröivän maailman havainnoinnissa. Lisääntynyt hyvänolontunne, joka kuitenkin voi hetkessä muuttua voimakkaaksi ahdistukseksi on tyypillistä. Psykedeelien aikaansaama kokemus riippuu vahvasti käyttäjän omasta mielentilasta ja käytönaikaisesta ympäristöstä. Yliannostustilanteessa yleisiä haittoja ovat oksentelu, kuume, veren hyytymisen häiriöt, sympaattinen yliaktiivisuus ja lyhyet koomajaksot. Psykedeelejä pidetään fysiologisesti turvallisina aineina, mutta valvomattomissa olosuhteissa psykedeelien käyttäjä voi ajautua voimakkaiden psyykkisten vaikutusten alaisena vaarallisiin tilanteisiin ja onnettomuuksiin. Toleranssi psykedeeleihin kehittyy jo muutaman keskisuuren päivittäisen annoksen jälkeen. Lääketieteellinen psykedeelitutkimus on hyvin alkuvaiheessa. Tutkimukset ovat toistaiseksi olleet otannoiltaan pieniä ja asetelmiltaan usein avoimia ja kontrolloimattomia, minkä vuoksi ne ovat toistaiseksi riittämättömiä kuvastamaaan psykedeelien todellista vaikuttavuutta ja turvallisuutta.
  • Koivuniemi, Raili (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are present in the developing and adult neuroepithelium of the brain and are regulated by internal and external signals that influence neurogenesis and tissue homeostasis. NPCs are multipotent tissue stem cells that can arouse all neural cell types, including neurons and glial cells. In culture, NPCs grow preferentially as cell aggregates called neurospheres. This suggests that interactions between cells are essential to regulate NPC behavior and development. Interactions between cells may be facilitated by cell surface-attached proteases and their inhibitors that play an important role in development and during tissue remodeling after injury. Neuroinflammation, an innate immune response of the nervous system, is part of many neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroinflammation involves activation of microglia and production of proinflammatory cytokines. Inflammation may have negative effects on NPCs and thus, agents that protect NPCs could serve as a therapeutic potential for neuronal injuries and neurodegenerative diseases by enabling local tissue repair in the brain. The aim of this thesis was to study the regulation of NPC development by membrane-associated proteins and the effects of inflammation on NPCs. Glucocorticoid hormone (GH) levels increase in inflammation and after stress. GHs have previously been shown to decrease NPC proliferation and neurogenesis. We have studied the effects of a synthetic GH dexamethasone on the cytosolic membrane-associated and anti-apoptotic protein BRUCE, and how BRUCE affects NPC behaviour. In addition, we have studied the secretion of cytokine interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) after microglial activation and further the influence of IFN-gamma on NPCs. To address the role of cell surface-associated protease inhibitors during NPC development, we have studied the expression and function of Kunitz type serine protease inhibitors HAI-1 and HAI-2 in NPCs. The results show that dexamethasone enhances degradation of BRUCE by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), which leads to decreased NPC proliferation. NPC division was negatively affected also by IFN-gamma produced by microglial cells as well as protease inhibitors HAI-1 and HAI-2. Moreover, IFN-gamma induced NPC cell death that was rescued by a neuropeptide PACAP. In the developing NPCs, HAI-1 and HAI-2 expression was increased by bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and BMP-4, which inhibited NPC proliferation and increased glial cell differentiation partly in a HAI-dependent manner. This thesis provides knowledge about interplay between immune cells and NPCs as well as developmental signaling systems, including proteolytic pathways, that affect NPC behaviour. In NPCs, proteolytic pathways may be regulated by external signals, like cytokines, from the neighboring cells. Proteolysis is involved also in the UPS that regulates the cell cycle machinery and thus, cell division. This thesis also deals with NPC survival, which is of importance for stem cell therapies. Knowledge of reciprocal effects of IFN-gamma and PACAP on NPCs is relevant when designing treatment for brain inflammation and disease.
  • Kupari, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands, which include GDNF, neurturin (NRTN), persephin (PSPN) and artemin (ARTN), signal through a glycosyl phosphatidyl inositol (GPI)-linked cognate-receptor (GFRα1-4) and the transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase receptor RET. The members of the GDNF family play a particularly important role in the development of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). In the autonomic nervous system, GDNF and NRTN regulate important steps in the development of the enteric and parasympathetic nervous systems from migration and proliferation to soma size and target innervation, whereas ARTN takes part in the early phases of sympathetic nervous system development. In the sensory system, GFRα2 ¬ the co-receptor of NRTN has been shown to mediate trophic signaling for nonpeptidergic nociceptive neurons, and is also required for their innervation of the glabrous epidermis. However, several aspects of the role of GFRα2-signaling in normal PNS development and function remain poorly understood. Therefore, the aims of this study were to elucidate (1) the role of GFRα2-signaling in the development of parasympathetic neurons; (2) the role of GFRα2-signaling in two classes of somatosensory mechanoreceptor neurons and their target innervation; and (3) the role of GFRα2-signaling in the cholinergic innervation of the gastric mucosa and the role of this innervation in gastric secretion. We discovered that programmed cell death (PCD) is a normal part of parasympathetic neuron development in mice. GFRα2-signaling was found to regulate parasympathetic neuron survival in pancreatic and submandibular ganglia during late embryonic development; lack of GFRα2-mediated signaling resulted in the loss of intrapancreatic neurons through PCD. In argreement with previous studies, apoptosis in the ENS was found to be rare, and was not increased in the absence of GFRα2, implying that the normal number of enteric neurons is not determined by PCD. In the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), we found that GFRα2 regulates the cell size, but not the peripheral innervation of hair follicles in both the large early-RET RA Aβ-class low threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs) and in the small C-LTMRs. In contrast, GFRα2 was found to regulate both the cell size and the epidermal innervation in the small Mrgprd+ C-nociceptors. We also found evidence that the RA Aβ-LTMRs downregulate GFRα2-expression at some point after birth, suggesting a possible switch in neurotrophic signaling pathways. In the enteric nervous system, we demonstrated that GFRα2-signaling via NRTN is required for cholinergic innervation of the gastric mucosa. Interestingly, this innervation was found to be unnecessary for maintaining the gastric mucosa and for gastrin secretion and basal acid secretion. Even though vagally-stimulated secretion is lost in the GFRα2-KO mice, their ability to secrete acid in response to direct parietal cell stimulation remains in the absence of gastric mucosal innervation.
  • Nyman-Huttunen, Henrietta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The neuronal cell adhesion molecule ICAM-5 ICAM-5 (telencephalin) belongs to the intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-subgroup of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF). ICAMs participate in leukocyte adhesion and adhesion-dependent functions in the central nervous system (CNS) through interacting with the leukocyte-specific b2 integrins. ICAM-5 is found in the mammalian forebrain, appears at the time of birth, and is located at the cell soma and neuronal dendrites. Recent studies also show that it is important for the regulation of immune functions in the brain and for the development and maturation of neuronal synapses. The clinical importance of ICAM-5 is still under investigation; it may have a role in the development of Alzheimer s disease (AD). In this study, the role of ICAM-5 in neuronal differentiation and its associations with a-actinin and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors were examined. NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are known to be involved in many neuronal functions, including the passage of information from one neuron to another one, and thus it was thought important to study their role related to ICAM-5. The results suggested that ICAM-5 was able to induce dendritic outgrowth through homophilic adhesion (ICAM-5 monomer binds to another ICAM-5 monomer in the same or neighbouring cell), and the homophilic binding activity appeared to be regulated by monomer/multimer transition. Moreover, ICAM-5 binding to a-actinin was shown to be important for neuritic outgrowth. It was examined whether matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are the main enzymes involved in ICAM-5 ectodomain cleavage. The results showed that stimulation of NMDARs leads to MMP activation, cleavage of ICAM-5 and it is accompanied by dendritic spine maturation. These findings also indicated that ICAM-5 and NMDA receptor subunit 1 (NR1) compete for binding to a-actinin, and ICAM-5 may regulate the NR1 association with the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, it is concluded that ICAM-5 is a crucial cell adhesion molecule involved in the development of neuronal synapses, especially in the regulation of dendritic spine development, and its functions may also be involved with memory formation and learning.