Neurocentre Magendie

Monique VALLEE


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42 publication(s) depuis Août 1994:

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31/05/2016 | Neuropharmacology   IF 4.9
Differential control of dopamine ascending pathways by serotonin2B receptor antagonists: New opportunities for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Devroye C, Cathala A, Haddjeri N, Rovera R, Vallee M, Drago F, Piazza PV, Spampinato U

Recent studies suggest that the central serotonin2B receptor (5-HT2BR) could be an interesting pharmacological target for treating neuropsychiatric disorders related to dopamine (DA) dysfunction, such as schizophrenia. Thus, the present study was aimed at characterizing the role of 5-HT2BRs in the control of ascending DA pathway activity. Using neurochemical, electrophysiological and behavioral approaches, we assessed the effects of two selective 5-HT2BR antagonists, RS 127445 and LY 266097, on in vivo DA outflow in DA-innervated regions, on mesencephalic DA neuronal firing, as well as in behavioral tests predictive of antipsychotic efficacy and tolerability, such as phencyclidine (PCP)-induced deficit in novel object recognition (NOR) test, PCP-induced hyperlocomotion and catalepsy. Both RS 127445 (0.16 mg/kg, i.p.) and LY 266097 (0.63 mg/kg, i.p.) increased DA outflow in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). RS 127445, devoid of effect in the striatum, decreased DA outflow in the nucleus accumbens, and potentiated haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.)-induced increase in mPFC DA outflow. Also, RS 127445 decreased the firing rate of DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area, but had no effect in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Finally, both RS 127445 and LY 266097 reversed PCP-induced deficit in NOR test, and reduced PCP-induced hyperlocomotion, without inducing catalepsy. These results demonstrate that 5-HT2BRs exert a differential control on DA pathway activity, and suggest that 5-HT2BR antagonists could represent a new class of drugs for improved treatment of schizophrenia, with an ideal profile of effects expected to alleviate cognitive and positive symptoms, without eliciting extrapyramidal symptoms.

30/09/2015 | J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol   IF 2.7
Neurosteroids and potential therapeutics: focus on pregnenolone.
Vallee M

Considerable evidence from preclinical and clinical studies shows that steroids and in particular neurosteroids are important endogenous modulators of several brain-related functions. In this context, it remains to be elucidated whether neurosteroids may serve as biomarkers in the diagnosis of disorders and might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of these disorders. Pregnenolone (PREG) is the main steroid synthesized from cholesterol in mammals and invertebrates. PREG has three main sources of synthesis, the gonads, adrenal glands and brain and is submitted to various metabolizing pathways which are modulated depending on various factors including species, steroidogenic tissues and steroidogenic enzymes. Looking at the whole picture of steroids, PREG is often known as the precursor to other steroids and not as an active steroid per se. Actually, physiological and brain functions have been studied mainly for steroids that are very active either binding to specific intracellular receptors, or modulating with high affinity the abundant membrane receptors, GABAA or NMDA receptors. However, when high sensitive and specific methodological approaches were available to analyze low concentrations of steroids and then match endogenous levels of different steroid metabolomes, several studies have reported more significant alterations in PREG than in other steroids in extraphysiological or pathological conditions, suggesting that PREG could play a functional role as well. Additionally, several molecular targets of PREG were revealed in the mammalian brain and beneficial effects of PREG have been demonstrated in preclinical and clinical studies. On this basis, this review will be divided into three parts. The first provides a brief overview of the molecular targets of PREG and the pharmacological effects observed in animal and human studies. The second will focus on the possible functional role of PREG with an outline of the modulation of PREG levels in animal and in human research. Finally, the review will highlight the possible therapeutic uses of PREG that point towards the development of pregnenolone-like molecules.

22/04/2015 | Behav Brain Res   IF 3
Finasteride administration potentiates the disruption of prepulse inhibition induced by forced swim stress.
Pallares M, Llido A, Modol L, Vallee M, Darbra S

Acute stress has been demonstrated to alter sensory gating processes, measured by the prepulse inhibition of the startle response (PPI). It is well known that brain and plasma levels of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO) increase after acute environmental stress, fact that has been considered a homeostatic mechanism in restoring normal function following stress. Thus, it is of great interest to study the contribution of stress-altered plasma ALLO levels on PPI function. For this purpose, animals were injected with finasteride, an ALLO synthesis inhibitor, and submitted to swim stress before PPI testing. In order to obtain ALLO plasma levels, a separate set of animals that followed the same experimental procedure was used. We hypothesize that the blockade of ALLO production in response to stress can increase the stress-induced PPI disruption. In accordance with other authors, our results indicate that acute swim stress disrupted the normal PPI evolution (increase) related to the increase in prepulse intensities, and also decreased PPI at the highest prepulse intensity level (15db above background). Finasteride potentiated the PPI decrease induced by swim stress in the intermediate prepulse intensity (10db above background). As expected, plasma ALLO levels were increased in stressed animals and this increase was neutralized by prior finasteride administration. These results indicate that the neutralization of the physiological plasma ALLO levels increase after acute stress potentiates stress-induced PPI disruption. This data suggests that alterations in homeostatic ALLO synthesis mechanism may be linked to some neuropsychiatric disorders related to stress, such as anxiety/depression disorders.

RATIONALE: New research findings in the field of neuroactive steroids strongly suggest that to understand their role in physiopathology, it is essential to accurately measure their tissue levels. Through his broad chemical expertise and extensive knowledge of steroids, Dr. Robert H. Purdy pioneered structure-activity relationship studies on these compounds and developed innovative detection assays that are essential to assess their function in biological tissues. OBJECTIVE: The goal of the present paper is to point out the specific contributions of Dr. Purdy and his collaborators to the current knowledge on the role of neuroactive steroids in the modulation of memory and alcohol- and stress-related effects with particular emphasis on the detection assays he developed to assess their endogenous levels. Reviewed here are the major results as well as the original and valuable methodological strategies issued by the long-term collaboration between Dr Purdy and many scientists worldwide on the investigation of the structure-activity relationship of neuroactive steroids. RESULTS: Altogether, the data presented herein put forward the original notion that knowledge of the chemical structure of steroids is essential for their detection and the understanding of their role in physiological and pathological conditions, including the stress response. CONCLUSIONS: The current challenge is to identify and quantify using appropriate methods neuroactive steroids in the context of both animal and clinical studies in order to reveal how their levels change under physiological and disease states. Dr. Purdy passed away in September 2012, but scientists all over the world will always be grateful for his pioneering work on steroid chemistry and for his great enthusiasm in research.

02/2014 | Prog Neurobiol   IF 13.2
Neonatal allopregnanolone levels alteration: effects on behavior and role of the hippocampus.
Darbra S, Modol L, Llido A, Casas C, Vallee M, Pallares M

Several works have pointed out the importance of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone for the maturation of the central nervous system and for adult behavior. The alteration of neonatal allopregnanolone levels in the first weeks of life alters emotional adult behavior and sensory gating processes. Without ruling out brain structures, some of these behavioral alterations seem to be related to a different functioning of the hippocampus in adult age. We focus here on the different behavioral studies that have revealed the importance of neonatal allopregnanolone levels for the adult response to novel environmental stimuli, anxiety-related behaviors and processing of sensory inputs (prepulse inhibition). An increase in neonatal physiological allopregnanolone levels decreases anxiety and increases novelty responses in adult age, thus affecting the individual response to environmental cues. These effects are also accompanied by a decrease in prepulse inhibition, indicating alterations in sensory gating that have been related to that present in disorders, such as schizophrenia. Moreover, behavioral studies have shown that some of these effects are related to a different functioning of the dorsal hippocampus, as the behavioral effects (decrease in anxiety and locomotion or increase in prepulse inhibition) of intrahippocampal allopregnanolone infusions in adult age are not present in those subjects in whom neonatal allopregnanolone levels were altered. Recent data indicated that this hippocampal involvement may be related to alterations in the expression of gamma-aminobutyric-acid receptors containing alpha4 and delta subunits, molecular alterations that can persist into adult age and that can, in part, explain the reported behavioral disturbances.

02/2014 | Int J Neuropsychopharmacol   IF 4.6
Neonatal finasteride administration alters hippocampal alpha4 and delta GABAAR subunits expression and behavioural responses to progesterone in adult rats.
Modol L, Casas C, Navarro X, Llido A, Vallee M, Pallares M, Darbra S

Allopregnanolone is a neurosteroid that has been reported to fluctuate during early developmental stages. Previous experiments reported the importance of neonatal endogenous allopregnanolone levels for the maturation of the central nervous system and particularly for the hippocampus. Changes in neonatal allopregnanolone levels have been related to altered adult behaviour and with psychopathological susceptibility, including anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and drug abuse. However, the mechanism underlying these changes remains to be elucidated. In the present study we assessed changes in hippocampal expression of alpha4 and delta GABAA receptor (GABAAR) subunits as a consequence of neonatal finasteride (a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor) administration during early development (PD6 to PD15) in male rats. We observed that the treatment altered the temporal window of the natural peak in the expression of these subunits during development. Additionally, the level of these subunits were higher than in non-handled and control animals in the adult hippocampus. We observed that in adulthood, neonatal finasteride-treated animals presented an anxiogenic-like profile in response to progesterone administration which was absent in the rest of the groups. In conclusion, these results corroborate the relevance of neonatal maintenance of neurosteroid levels for behavioural anxiety responses in the adult, and point to some of the mechanisms involved in this alterations.

03/01/2014 | Science   IF 34.7
Pregnenolone can protect the brain from cannabis intoxication.
Vallee M, Vitiello S, Bellocchio L, Hebert-Chatelain E, Monlezun S, Martin-Garcia E, Kasanetz F, Baillie GL, Panin F, Cathala A, Roullot-Lacarriere V, Fabre S, Hurst DP, Lynch DL, Shore DM, Deroche-Gamonet V, Spampinato U, Revest JM, Maldonado R, Reggio PH, Ross RA, Marsicano G, Piazza PV

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Pregnenolone is considered the inactive precursor of all steroid hormones, and its potential functional effects have been largely uninvestigated. The administration of the main active principle of Cannabis sativa (marijuana), Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), substantially increases the synthesis of pregnenolone in the brain via activation of the type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor. Pregnenolone then, acting as a signaling-specific inhibitor of the CB1 receptor, reduces several effects of THC. This negative feedback mediated by pregnenolone reveals a previously unknown paracrine/autocrine loop protecting the brain from CB1 receptor overactivation that could open an unforeseen approach for the treatment of cannabis intoxication and addiction.

15/10/2013 | Mol Psychiatry   IF 15
BDNF-TrkB signaling through Erk1/2 phosphorylation mediates the enhancement of fear memory induced by glucocorticoids.
Revest JM, Le Roux A, Roullot-Lacarriere V, Kaouane N, Vallee M, Kasanetz F, Rouge-Pont F, Tronche F, Desmedt A, Piazza PV

Activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) by glucocorticoid hormones (GC) enhances contextual fear memories through the activation of the Erk1/2MAPK signaling pathway. However, the molecular mechanism mediating this effect of GC remains unknown. Here we used complementary molecular and behavioral approaches in mice and rats and in genetically modified mice in which the GR was conditionally deleted (GRNesCre). We identified the tPA-BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway as the upstream molecular effectors of GR-mediated phosphorylation of Erk1/2MAPK responsible for the enhancement of contextual fear memory. These findings complete our knowledge of the molecular cascade through which GC enhance contextual fear memory and highlight the role of tPA-BDNF-TrkB-Erk1/2MAPK signaling pathways as one of the core effectors of stress-related effects of GC.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 15 October 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.134.

Diverse studies indicate that the alteration of the physiological levels of neurosteroids in early neonatal phases provokes alterations in the maturation of certain cerebral structures. Allopregnanolone (ALLO) has important modulatory effects in the hippocampus during the postnatal period where the adult pattern of inhibitory transmission is being established. In order to study whether endogenous neonatal ALLO levels would be a determinant parameter involved in mediating adult hippocampal GABAA system maturation, we investigated the effects of neonatal finasteride (50mg/kg, SC) treatment and ALLO (ALLO; 20mg/kg, SC) supplementation on an animal behavioural model with relevance to neurodevelopmental disorder, such as schizophrenia. Two sets of experiments were conducted. Neonatal treatment (from postnatal day (pnd) 5 to pnd9) was performed in 23 male Wistar rats and steroid quantification was performed in hippocampal homogenates at pnd9. A second group (n=127) underwent neonatal treatment (pnd5-pnd9) and were submitted to hippocampal surgery at 80d. The behavioural response to bilateral intrahippocampal neurosteroid administration (ALLO, 0.2mug/0.5mul per side or pregnenolone sulphate 5ng/0.5mul per side) on novelty-induced exploration activity and prepulse inhibition (PPI) was assessed at 95d. Results showed that neonatal ALLO and finasteride administration decreased novelty directed exploratory behaviour and impaired the prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response at 95 days of age. Moreover, intrahippocampal ALLO increased head-dipping behaviour independently of the neonatal treatment, while intrahippocampal ALLO decreased PPI only in finasteride and ALLO groups. The results obtained in the present study indicate the importance of neonatal neurosteroid levels in the development of hippocampal function and their relevance in a behavioural phenotype that some have likened to that present in schizophrenia.

Neurosteroids (NS) are well known to exert modulatory effects on ionotropic receptors. Recent findings indicate that NS could also act as important factors during development. In this sense, neonatal modifications of Allopregnanolone (Allop) levels during critical periods have been demonstrate to alter the morphology of the hippocampus but also other brain structures. The aim of the present work is to screen whether the alterations of Allop levels modify adult CA1 hippocampal response to NS administration. For this purpose, pups were injected with Allop (20 mg/kg s.c.), Finasteride (5alpha-reductase inhibitor that impedes Allop synthesis) (50 mg/kg s.c.) or Vehicle from postnatal day 5 (P5) to postnatal day 9 (P9). NS levels were tested at P5. To test the behavioural hippocampal response to NS in adulthood, animals were implanted with a bilateral cannula into the CA1 hippocampus at 80 days old and injected with Allop (0.2 mug/0.5 mul), Pregnenolone sulphate (5 ng/0.5 mul) or Vehicle in each hippocampus. After injections animals were tested in the Boisser test to assess exploratory behaviour, the elevated plus maze to assess anxiety and the passive avoidance to test aversive learning. Results indicate that alteration of neonatal Allop or pregnenolone levels (by Allop and Finasteride administration, respectively) suppressed intrahippocampal Allop anxiolytic effect in the EPM. Moreover our results also indicate that manipulation of neonatal Allop levels (Allop and Finast administration) alters exploratory and anxiety-like behaviour and impairs aversive learning in the adulthood. These data point out the role of Allop in the maturation of hippocampal function and behaviour.