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The blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response has been strongly associated with neuronal activity in the brain. However, some neuronal tuning properties are consistently different from the BOLD response. We studied the spatial extent of neural and hemodynamic responses in the primary visual cortex, where the BOLD responses spread and interact over much longer distances than the small receptive fields of individual neurons would predict. Our model shows that a feedforward-feedback loop between V1 and a higher visual area can account for the observed spread of the BOLD response. In particular, anisotropic landing of inputs to compartmental neurons were necessary to account for the BOLD signal spread, while retaining realistic spiking responses. Our work shows that simple dendrites can separate tuning at the synapses and at the action potential output, thus bridging the BOLD signal to the neural receptive fields with high fidelity.
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Mammographic density (MD), associated with higher water and lower fat content in the breast, is strongly related to breast cancer risk. Optical attenuation spectroscopy (OS) is a non-imaging method of evaluating breast tissue composition by red and near-infrared light transmitted through the breast that, unlike mammography, does not involve radiation. OS provides information on wavelength dependent light scattering of tissue and on absorption by water, lipid, oxy-, deoxy-hemoglobin. We propose that OS could be an alternative marker of breast cancer risk and that OS breast tissue measures will be associated with MD. In the present analysis, we developed an algorithm to estimate breast tissue composition and light scattering parameters using a spectrally constrained global fitting procedure employing a diffuse light transport model. OS measurements were obtained from 202 pre- and post-menopausal women with normal mammograms. Percent density (PD) and dense area (DA) were measured using Cumulus. The association between OS tissue composition and PD and DA was analyzed using linear regression adjusted for body mass index. Among pre-menopausal women, lipid content was significantly inversely associated with square root transformed PD (β = -0.05, p = 0.0002) and DA (β = -0.05, p = 0.019); water content was significantly positively associated with PD (β = 0.06, p = 0.008). Tissue oxygen saturation was marginally inversely associated with PD (β = -0.03, p = 0.057) but significantly inversely associated with DA (β = -0.10, p = 0.002). Among post-menopausal women lipid and water content were significantly associated (negatively and positively, respectively) with PD (β lipid = -0.08, β water = 0.14, both p<0.0001) and DA (β lipid = -0.10, p<0.0001; β water = 0.11, p = 0.001). The association between OS breast content and PD and DA is consistent with more proliferation in dense tissue of younger women, greater lipid content in low density tissue and higher water content in high density tissue. OS may be useful for assessing physiologic tissue differences related to breast cancer risk, particularly when mammography is not feasible or easily accessible.
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Aging-related impairments in hippocampus-dependent cognition have been attributed to maladaptive changes in the functional properties of pyramidal neurons within the hippocampal subregions. Much evidence has come from work on CA1 pyramidal neurons, with CA3 pyramidal neurons receiving comparatively less attention despite its age-related hyperactivation being postulated to interfere with spatial processing in the hippocampal circuit. Here, we use whole-cell current-clamp to demonstrate that aged rat (29-32 months) CA3 pyramidal neurons fire significantly more action potentials (APs) during theta-burst frequency stimulation and that this is associated with faster AP repolarization (i.e., narrower AP half-widths and enlarged fast afterhyperpolarization). Using a combination of patch-clamp physiology, pharmacology, Western blot analyses, immunohistochemistry, and array tomography, we demonstrate that these faster AP kinetics are mediated by enhanced function and expression of Kv4.2/Kv4.3 A-type K(+) channels, particularly within the perisomatic compartment, of CA3 pyramidal neurons. Thus, our study indicates that inhibition of these A-type K(+) channels can restore the intrinsic excitability properties of aged CA3 pyramidal neurons to a young-like state. Significance statement: Age-related learning deficits have been attributed, in part, to altered hippocampal pyramidal neuronal function with normal aging. Much evidence has come from work on CA1 neurons, with CA3 neurons receiving comparatively less attention despite its age-related hyperactivation being postulated to interfere with spatial processing. Hence, we conducted a series of experiments to identify the cellular mechanisms that underlie the hyperexcitability reported in the CA3 region. Contrary to CA1 neurons, we demonstrate that postburst afterhyperpolarization is not altered with aging and that aged CA3 pyramidal neurons are able to fire significantly more action potentials and that this is associated with faster action potential repolarization through enhanced expression of Kv4.2/Kv4.3 A-type K(+) channels, particularly within the cell bodies of CA3 pyramidal neurons.
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs), as a family of non-coding small RNAs, play important roles in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Sea cucumber (Apostichopus japonicus) is an important economic species which is widely cultured in East Asia. The longitudinal muscle (LTM) and respiratory tree (RPT) are two important tissues in sea cucumber, playing important roles such as respiration and movement. In this study, we identified and characterized miRNAs in the LTM and RPT of sea cucumber (Apostichopus japonicus) using Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. A total of 314 and 221 conserved miRNAs were identified in LTM and RPT, respectively. In addition, 27 and 34 novel miRNAs were identified in the LTM and RPT, respectively. A set of 58 miRNAs were identified to be differentially expressed between LTM and RPT. Among them, 9 miRNAs (miR-31a-3p, miR-738, miR-1692, let-7a, miR-72a, miR-100b-5p, miR-31b-5p, miR-429-3p, and miR-2008) in RPT and 7 miRNAs (miR-127, miR-340, miR-381, miR-3543, miR-434-5p, miR-136-3p, and miR-300-3p) in LTM were differentially expressed with foldchange value being greater than 10. A total of 14,207 and 12,174 target genes of these miRNAs were predicted, respectively. Functional analysis of these target genes of miRNAs were performed by GO analysis and pathway analysis. This result provided in this work will be useful for understanding biological characteristics of the LTM and RPT of sea cucumber and assisting molecular breeding of sea cucumber for aquaculture.
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Human Ether á go-go Related Gene potassium channels form the rapid component of the delayed-rectifier (IKr) current in the heart. The N-terminal 'eag' domain, which is composed of a Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain and a short PAS-cap region, is a critical regulator of hERG channel function. In previous studies, we showed that isolated eag (i-eag) domains rescued the dysfunction of long QT type-2 associated mutant hERG R56Q channels, by substituting for defective eag domains, when the channels were expressed in Xenopus oocytes or HEK 293 cells.Here, our goal was to determine whether the rescue of hERG R56Q channels by i-eag domains could be translated into the environment of cardiac myocytes. We expressed hERG R56Q channels in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) and measured electrical properties of the cells with whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. We found that, like in non-myocyte cells, hERG R56Q had defective, fast closing (deactivation) kinetics when expressed in hiPSC-CMs. We report here that i-eag domains slowed the deactivation kinetics of hERG R56Q channels in hiPSC-CMs. hERG R56Q channels prolonged the AP of hiPSCs, and the AP was shortened by co-expression of i-eag domains and hERG R56Q channels. We measured robust Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) between i-eag domains tagged with Cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) and hERG R56Q channels tagged with Citrine fluorescent proteins (Citrine), indicating their close proximity at the cell membrane in live iPSC-CMs. Together, functional regulation and FRET spectroscopy measurements indicated that i-eag domains interacted directly with hERG R56Q channels in hiPSC-CMs. These results mean that the regulatory role of i-eag domains is conserved in the cellular environment of human cardiomyocytes, indicating that i-eag domains may be useful as a biological therapeutic.
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Effects of climate change on animal behavior and cascading ecosystem responses are rarely evaluated. In coastal Alaska, social river otters (Lontra Canadensis), largely males, cooperatively forage on schooling fish and use latrine sites to communicate group associations and dominance. Conversely, solitary otters, mainly females, feed on intertidal-demersal fish and display mutual avoidance via scent marking. This behavioral variability creates "hotspots" of nutrient deposition and affects plant productivity and diversity on the terrestrial landscape. Because the abundance of schooling pelagic fish is predicted to decline with climate change, we developed a spatially-explicit individual-based model (IBM) of otter behavior and tested six scenarios based on potential shifts to distribution patterns of schooling fish. Emergent patterns from the IBM closely mimicked observed otter behavior and landscape use in the absence of explicit rules of intraspecific attraction or repulsion. Model results were most sensitive to rules regarding spatial memory and activity state following an encounter with a fish school. With declining availability of schooling fish, the number of social groups and the time simulated otters spent in the company of conspecifics declined. Concurrently, model results suggested an elevation of defecation rate, a 25% increase in nitrogen transport to the terrestrial landscape, and significant changes to the spatial distribution of "hotspots" with declines in schooling fish availability. However, reductions in availability of schooling fish could lead to declines in otter density over time.
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Dendritic voltage-gated ion channels profoundly shape the integrative properties of neuronal dendrites. In epilepsy, numerous changes in dendritic ion channels have been described, all of them due to either their altered transcription or phosphorylation. In pilocarpine-treated chronically epileptic rats, we describe a novel mechanism that causes an increased proximal dendritic persistent Na(+) current (INaP). We demonstrate using a combination of electrophysiology and molecular approaches that the upregulation of dendritic INaP is due to a relief from polyamine-dependent inhibition. The polyamine deficit in hippocampal neurons is likely caused by an upregulation of the degrading enzyme spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase. Multiphoton glutamate uncaging experiments revealed that the increase in dendritic INaP causes augmented dendritic summation of excitatory inputs. These results establish a novel post-transcriptional modification of ion channels in chronic epilepsy and may provide a novel avenue for treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. In this paper, we describe a novel mechanism that causes increased dendritic persistent Na(+) current. We demonstrate using a combination of electrophysiology and molecular approaches that the upregulation of persistent Na(+) currents is due to a relief from polyamine-dependent inhibition. The polyamine deficit in hippocampal neurons is likely caused by an upregulation of the degrading enzyme spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase. Multiphoton glutamate uncaging experiments revealed that the increase in dendritic persistent Na current causes augmented dendritic summation of excitatory inputs. We believe that these results establish a novel post-transcriptional modification of ion channels in chronic epilepsy.
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To determine whether reactive astrocytes stimulated by brain injury can transdifferentiate into functional new neurons, we labeled these cells by injecting a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) targeted enhanced green fluorescence protein plasmid (pGfa2-eGFP plasmid) into the striatum of adult rats immediately following a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and performed immunolabeling with specific neuronal markers to trace the neural fates of eGFP-expressing (GFP(+)) reactive astrocytes. The results showed that a portion of striatal GFP(+) astrocytes could transdifferentiate into immature neurons at 1 week after MCAO and mature neurons at 2 weeks as determined by double staining GFP-expressing cells with βIII-tubulin (GFP(+)-Tuj-1(+)) and microtubule associated protein-2 (GFP(+)-MAP-2(+)), respectively. GFP(+) neurons further expressed choline acetyltransferase, glutamic acid decarboxylase, dopamine receptor D2-like family proteins, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit R2, indicating that astrocyte-derived neurons could develop into cholinergic or GABAergic neurons and express dopamine and glutamate receptors on their membranes. Electron microscopy analysis indicated that GFP(+) neurons could form synapses with other neurons at 13 weeks after MCAO. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that action potentials and active postsynaptic currents could be recorded in the neuron-like GFP(+) cells but not in the astrocyte-like GFP(+) cells, demonstrating that new GFP(+) neurons possessed the capacity to fire action potentials and receive synaptic inputs. These results demonstrated that striatal astrocyte-derived new neurons participate in the rebuilding of functional neural networks, a fundamental basis for brain repair after injury. These results may lead to new therapeutic strategies for enhancing brain repair after ischemic stroke.
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HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy have shown elevated incidence of dyslipidemia, lipodystrophy, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Most studies, however, focus on cohorts from developed countries, with less data available for these co-morbidities in Ethiopia and sub-Saharan Africa. Adult HIV-negative (n = 36), treatment naïve (n = 51), efavirenz (EFV)-treated (n = 91), nevirapine (NVP)-treated (n = 95), or ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (LPV/r)-treated (n=44) subjects were recruited from Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Aortic pressure, augmentation pressure, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were measured via applanation tonometry and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and carotid arterial stiffness, and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were measured via non-invasive ultrasound. Body mass index, waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR), skinfold thickness, and self-reported fat redistribution were used to quantify lipodystrophy. CD4+ cell count, plasma HIV RNA levels, fasting glucose, total-, HDL-, and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, hsCRP, sVCAM-1, sICAM-1, leptin and complete blood count were measured. PWV and normalized cIMT were elevate and FMD impaired in EFV- and LPV/r-treated subjects compared to NVP-treated subjects; normalized cIMT was also elevated and FMD impaired in the EFV- and LPV/r-treated subjects compared to treatment-naïve subjects. cIMT was not statistically different across groups. Treated subjects exhibited elevated markers of dyslipidemia, inflammation, and lipodystrophy. PWV was associated with age, current EFV and LPV/r used, heart rate, blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL, and hsCRP, FMD with age, HIV duration, WHR, and glucose, and cIMT with age, current EFV use, skinfold thickness, and blood pressure. Current EFV- or LPV/r-treatment, but not NVP-treatment, correlated with elevated markers of atherosclerosis, which may involve mechanisms distinct from traditional risk factors.
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Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of epilepsy in adults and is often refractory to antiepileptic medications. The medial entorhinal area (MEA) is affected in TLE but mechanisms underlying hyperexcitability of MEA neurons require further elucidation. Previous studies suggest that inputs from the presubiculum (PrS) contribute to MEA pathophysiology. We assessed electrophysiologically how PrS influences MEA excitability using the rat pilocarpine model of TLE. PrS-MEA connectivity was confirmed by electrically stimulating PrS afferents while recording from neurons within superficial layers of MEA. Assessment of alterations in PrS-mediated synaptic drive to MEA neurons was made following focal application of either glutamate or NBQX to the PrS in control and epileptic animals. Here, we report that monosynaptic inputs to MEA from PrS neurons are conserved in epileptic rats, and that PrS modulation of MEA excitability is layer-specific. PrS contributes more to synaptic inhibition of LII stellate cells than excitation. Under epileptic conditions, stellate cell inhibition is significantly reduced while excitatory synaptic drive is maintained at levels similar to control. PrS contributes to both synaptic excitation and inhibition of LIII pyramidal cells in control animals. Under epileptic conditions, overall excitatory synaptic drive to these neurons is enhanced while inhibitory synaptic drive is maintained at control levels. Additionally, neither glutamate nor NBQX applied focally to PrS now affected EPSC and IPSC frequency of LIII pyramidal neurons. These layer-specific changes in PrS-MEA interactions are unexpected and of significance in unraveling pathophysiological mechanisms underlying TLE.
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