Browsing by Subject "synapse"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-6 of 6
  • Moliner, Rafael (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Classical and rapid-acting antidepressant drugs have been shown to reinstate juvenile-like plasticity in the adult brain, allowing mature neuronal networks to rewire in an environmentally-driven/activity-dependent process. Indeed, antidepressant drugs gradually increase expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and can rapidly activate signaling of its high-affinity receptor TRKB. However, the exact mechanism of action underlying drug-induced restoration of juvenile-like plasticity remains poorly understood. In this study we first characterized acute effects of classical and rapid-acting antidepressant drugs on the interaction between TRKB and postsynaptic density (PSD) proteins PSD-93 and PSD-95 in vitro. PSD proteins constitute the core of synaptic complexes by anchoring receptors, ion channels, adhesion proteins and various signaling molecules, and are also involved in protein transport and cell surface localization. PSD proteins have in common their role as key regulators of synaptic structure and function, although PSD-93 and PSD-95 are associated with different functions during development and have opposing effects on the state of plasticity in individual synapses and neurons. Secondly, we investigated changes in mobility of TRKB in dendritic structures in response to treatment with antidepressant drugs in vitro. We found that antidepressant drugs decrease anchoring of TRKB with PSD-93 and PSD-95, and can rapidly increase TRKB turnover in dendritic spines. Our results contribute to the mechanistic model explaining drug-induced restoration of juvenile-like neuronal plasticity, and may provide a common basis for the effects of antidepressant drugs.
  • Khanal, Pushpa; Hotulainen, Pirta (2021)
    Dendritic spines are small, bulbous protrusions along neuronal dendrites where most of the excitatory synapses are located. Dendritic spine density in normal human brain increases rapidly before and after birth achieving the highest density around 2-8 years. Density decreases during adolescence, reaching a stable level in adulthood. The changes in dendritic spines are considered structural correlates for synaptic plasticity as well as the basis of experience-dependent remodeling of neuronal circuits. Alterations in spine density correspond to aberrant brain function observed in various neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Dendritic spine initiation affects spine density. In this review, we discuss the importance of spine initiation in brain development, learning, and potential complications resulting from altered spine initiation in neurological diseases. Current literature shows that two Bin Amphiphysin Rvs (BAR) domain-containing proteins, MIM/Mtss1 and SrGAP3, are involved in spine initiation. We review existing literature and open databases to discuss whether other BAR-domain proteins could also take part in spine initiation. Finally, we discuss the potential molecular mechanisms on how BAR-domain proteins could regulate spine initiation.
  • Karmila, Nelli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder associated with reduced life expectancy. The biological mechanism of schizophrenia is nebulous; however, many findings point to the central nervous system and neurons, where a reduction in dendritic spines has been indicated by previous research. The genetic findings support the involvement of synapses in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. To study the biological properties stemming from genetics, relevant model systems and efficient methods are needed. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology offers a robust method for modeling the biological processes underlying schizophrenia. Somatic cells, e.g. fibroblasts, can be reprogrammed back to a pluripotent state resembling embryonic stem cells, and further differentiated into any cell type of the body, which might not be otherwise accessible. This allows establishing and characterizing neuronal cultures from patient and control cell lines, potentially revealing biological differences associated to the disease phenotype. The field of schizophrenia research has adopted iPSC technology and multiple studies have been conducted. These include assessments of synaptic density in the produced neuronal cultures, many of which reported decreased density associated with schizophrenia. In this thesis, a modified version of Nehme et al. (2018) protocol was used to differentiate iPSCs into neurons in co-cultures with human iPSC-derived astrocytes. The overarching aim was to construct an immunocytochemistry (ICC) -based assay to measure synaptic density in the produced co-cultures. First, suitable markers for characterization by ICC were tested and selected. The markers were selected to inform about neuronal identity, maturity, and synapses of the differentiated neurons. Next, the culturing conditions were optimized regarding the cell density and coating of the culturing wells. Finally, to estimate the utility of the assay, a pilot study was performed with three cell lines derived from a healthy control and a monozygotic twin pair discordant for schizophrenia. iPSCs from these cell lines were differentiated into neurons in co-cultures with astrocytes, and then characterized with ICC using selected markers and image analysis software. The synaptic density was quantified for each cell line. The performance of the assay was evaluated with analysis of variance (ANOVA) and restricted maximum likelihood model (RELM). An assay to quantify synaptic structures in mature neurons was established. The average synaptic density for all cell lines was approximately 1 synapse per 100μm of neurite. Analysis of the data produced with the assay revealed a notable batch effect and technical variation. This suggests that further optimization is needed to reduce variance from undesired sources. The pilot data suggests that the differences in synaptic density between cases and controls may be modest, further highlighting the need for minimizing noise in the assay to improve signal to noise ratio. However, indicated by power analysis, large sample sizes are needed to identify meaningful differences between cases and controls. In light of these results, more attention should be drawn to the methodology in the field of iPSC-based studies, as the principals of the assay constructed here were similar to other synaptic assays used in previous publications.
  • Eising, Else; de Leeuw, Christiaan; Min, Josine L.; Anttila, Verneri; Verheijen, Mark H. G.; Terwindt, Gisela M.; Dichgans, Martin; Freilinger, Tobias; Kubisch, Christian; Ferrari, Michel D.; Smit, August B.; de Vries, Boukje; Palotie, Aarno; van den Maagdenberg, Arn M. J. M.; Posthuma, Danielle; Int Headache Genetics Consortium (2016)
    Background Migraine is a common episodic brain disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of severe unilateral headache and additional neurological symptoms. Two main migraine types can be distinguished based on the presence of aura symptoms that can accompany the headache: migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Multiple genetic and environmental factors confer disease susceptibility. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) indicate that migraine susceptibility genes are involved in various pathways, including neurotransmission, which have already been implicated in genetic studies of monogenic familial hemiplegic migraine, a subtype of migraine with aura. Methods To further explore the genetic background of migraine, we performed a gene set analysis of migraine GWAS data of 4954 clinic-based patients with migraine, as well as 13,390 controls. Curated sets of synaptic genes and sets of genes predominantly expressed in three glial cell types (astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes) were investigated. Discussion Our results show that gene sets containing astrocyte- and oligodendrocyte-related genes are associated with migraine, which is especially true for gene sets involved in protein modification and signal transduction. Observed differences between migraine with aura and migraine without aura indicate that both migraine types, at least in part, seem to have a different genetic background.
  • Rydgren, Emilie (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Kainate receptors (KARs) are glutamate receptors that modulate neurotransmission and neuronal excitability. They assemble from five subunits (GRIK1-5 or GluK1-5) present at both pre- and postsynaptic membranes. KAR function is regulated by neuropilin and tolloid-like (NETO) proteins, which also regulate postsynaptic GRIK2 abundance. Some KAR subunit gene variants associate with psychiatric disorders. Moreover, Grik1, Grik2 and Grik4 knock-out (KO) mice display changes in anxiety- and fear-related behaviours. In previous work, Neto2 KO mice expressed higher fear and impaired fear extinction in the fear conditioning paradigm. We hypothesised that this phenotype could be due to reduced KAR subunit abundance in fear-related brain regions, i.e. ventral hippocampus, amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). We specifically investigated GRIK2/3 and GRIK5 levels in the subcellular synaptosomal (SYN) fraction using western blot. We did not observe any difference between genotypes in any of the brain regions. However, our statistical power may have been insufficient, particularly for amygdala and mPFC. Also, an effect on synaptic KAR subunit abundance might be specific to either pre- or postsynaptic compartment, and thus more difficult to detect in SYN fractions. Alternatively, NETO2 absence may affect KAR actions instead of their subunit levels in fear-related brain regions, which could be examined through electrophysiological recordings. Ultimately, unravelling how a molecular system without NETO2 gives rise to fear behaviour in mice may lead to a better understanding of fear-related disorders in human and to new therapeutic strategies.
  • Srinivasan, Vignesh; Korhonen, Laura; Lindholm, Dan (2020)
    Neurons are polarized in structure with a cytoplasmic compartment extending into dendrites and a long axon that terminates at the synapse. The high level of compartmentalization imposes specific challenges for protein quality control in neurons making them vulnerable to disturbances that may lead to neurological dysfunctions including neuropsychiatric diseases. Synapse and dendrites undergo structural modulations regulated by neuronal activity involve key proteins requiring strict control of their turnover rates and degradation pathways. Recent advances in the study of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and autophagy processes have brought novel insights into the specific roles of these processes in neuronal physiology and synaptic signaling. In this review, we highlight recent data and concepts about UPR and autophagy in neuropsychiatric disorders and synaptic plasticity including a brief outline of possible therapeutic approaches to influence UPR and autophagy signaling in these diseases.