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Muriel KOEHL

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46 publication(s) since Juin 1997:

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05/09/1999 | J Neurobiol   IF 4.5
Prenatal stress alters circadian activity of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and hippocampal corticosteroid receptors in adult rats of both gender.
Koehl M, Darnaudery M, Dulluc J, Van Reeth O, Le Moal M, Maccari S

Prenatal stress impairs activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in response to stress in adult offspring. So far, very few data are available on the effects of prenatal stress on circadian functioning of the HPA axis. Here, we studied the effects of prenatal stress on the circadian rhythm of corticosterone secretion in male and female adult rats. To evaluate the effects of prenatal stress on various regulatory components of corticosterone secretion, we also assessed the diurnal fluctuation of adrenocorticotropin, total and free corticosterone levels, and hippocampal corticosteroid receptors. Finally, in the search of possible maternal factors, we studied the effects of repeated restraint stress on the pattern of corticosterone secretion in pregnant female rats. Results demonstrate that prenatal stress induced higher levels of total and free corticosterone secretion at the end of the light period in both males and females, and hypercorticism over the entire diurnal cycle in females. No diurnal fluctuation of adrenocorticotropin was observed in any group studied. The effects of prenatal stress on corticosterone secretion could be mediated, at least in part, by a reduction in corticosteroid receptors at specific times of day. Results also show that prepartal stress alters the pattern of corticosterone secretion in pregnant females. Those data indicate that prenatally stressed rats exhibit an altered temporal functioning of the HPA axis, which, taken together with their abnormal response to stress, reinforces the idea of a general homeostatic dysfunction in those animals.

11/1998 | J Neurochem   IF 4.6
The neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate increases cortical acetylcholine release: a microdialysis study in freely moving rats.
Darnaudery M, Koehl M, Pallares M, Le Moal M, Mayo W

The effects of pregnenolone sulfate (Preg-S) administrations (0, 12, 48, 96, and 192 nmol intracerebroventricularly) on acetylcholine (ACh) release in the frontal cortex and dorsal striatum were investigated by on-line microdialysis in freely moving rats. Following Preg-S administration, extracellular ACh levels in the frontal cortex increased in a dose-dependent manner, whereas no change was observed in the striatum. The highest doses (96 and 192 nmol) induced a threefold increase above control values of ACh release, the intermediate dose of 48 nmol led to a twofold increase, whereas after the dose of 12 nmol, the levels of ACh were not different from those observed after vehicle injection. The increase in cortical ACh reached a maximum 30 min after administration for all the active doses. Taken together, these results suggest that Preg-S interacts with the cortical cholinergic system, which may account, at least in part, for the promnesic and/or antiamnesic properties of this neurosteroid.

In addition to corticotropin-releasing factor's well-known role in mediating hormonal and behavioral responses to stress, this peptide also reportedly affects arousal and cognition, processes that classically have been associated with forebrain cholinergic systems. Corticotropin-releasing factor stimulation of cholinergic neurons might thus provide a mechanism for this peptide's cognitive effects. To examine this possibility, the present experiments characterize the effect of corticotropin-releasing factor on cholinergic neurotransmission, using in vivo microdialysis to measure hippocampal acetylcholine release. Corticotropin-releasing factor (0.5-5.0 microg/rat intracerebroventricularly) was found to increase dialysate concentrations of acetylcholine in a dose-dependent manner in comparison with a control injection, the ovine peptide having a greater effect than the same dose of the human/rat peptide. This effect was found to be centrally mediated, independent of the peripheral effects of an exogenous corticotropin-releasing factor injection; subcutaneous injections of the peptide increased plasma concentrations of corticosterone, the adrenal hormone ultimately secreted in the rat's stress response, to the same level as did the central injections, without affecting hippocampal acetylcholine release. These results demonstrate that corticotropin-releasing factor, acting centrally, regulates hippocampal cholinergic activity, and suggest that corticotropin-releasing factor/acetylcholine interactions may underlie some of the previously identified roles of these neurotransmitters in arousal, cognition, and stress.

There is growing evidence that stressors occurring during pregnancy can impair biological and behavioral responses to stress in the adult offspring. For instance, prenatal stress enhances emotional reactivity, anxiety, and depressive-like behaviors associated with a prolonged stress-induced corticosterone secretion and a reduction in hippocampal corticosteroid receptors. Among the neurotransmitters involved in these hormonal and behavioral responses, acetylcholine may play a critical role. However, it is unknown whether prenatal stressful events also may influence the development of cholinergic systems. In the present study, hippocampal acetylcholine was measured, by in vivo microdialysis, in both male and female adult prenatally stressed rats, under basal conditions, after a mild stress (saline injection) or after intracerebroventricular administration of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF; 0.1 nM). No difference in basal release of acetylcholine was observed between control and prenatally stressed rats of both genders. Mild stress was found to increase hippocampal acetylcholine release to a greater extent in prenatally stressed rats than in controls. In males, the CRF-induced increase in hippocampal acetylcholine release was larger in prenatally stressed rats, as compared with controls, during the first hour after the injection and in females during the third hour after the injection. These data indicate that prenatal stress has long-term effects on the development of forebrain cholinergic systems. The augmented increase in hippocampal acetylcholine release after the mild stress and CRF injection in prenatally stressed rats may be involved in some of the hormonal and behavioral abnormalities found in prenatally stressed rats.

23/12/1997 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   IF 9.5
Neurosteroids: deficient cognitive performance in aged rats depends on low pregnenolone sulfate levels in the hippocampus.
Vallee M, Mayo W, Darnaudery M, Corpechot C, Young J, Koehl M, Le Moal M, Baulieu EE, Robel P, Simon H

Pregnenolone sulfate (PREG S) is synthesized in the nervous system and is a major neurosteroid in the rat brain. Its concentrations were measured in the hippocampus and other brain areas of single adult and aged (22-24 month-old) male Sprague-Dawley rats. Significantly lower levels were found in aged rats, although the values were widely scattered and reached, in about half the animals, the same range as those of young ones. The spatial memory performances of aged rats were investigated in two different spatial memory tasks, the Morris water maze and Y-maze. Performances in both tests were significantly correlated and, accompanied by appropriate controls, likely evaluated genuine memory function. Importantly, individual hippocampal PREG S and distance to reach the platform in the water maze were linked by a significant correlation, i.e., those rats with lower memory deficit had the highest PREG S levels, whereas no relationship was found with the PREG S content in other brain areas (amygdala, prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, striatum). Moreover, the memory deficit of cognitively impaired aged rats was transiently corrected after either intraperitoneal or bilateral intrahippocampal injection of PREG S. PREG S is both a gamma-aminobutyric acid antagonist and a positive allosteric modulator at the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, and may reinforce neurotransmitter system(s) that decline with age. Indeed, intracerebroventricular injection of PREG S was shown to stimulate acetylcholine release in the adult rat hippocampus. In conclusion, it is proposed that the hippocampal content of PREG S plays a physiological role in preserving and/or enhancing cognitive abilities in old animals, possibly via an interaction with central cholinergic systems. Thus, neurosteroids should be further studied in the context of prevention and/or treatment of age-related memory disorders.

Prenatal and postnatal stressors can have different long-term neuroendocrine effects including modifications of stress-induced corticosterone secretion. However, very little is known about the possible long-term effects of prenatal or postnatal stress on the rhythmicity of basal corticosterone secretion in adult offspring. Corticosterone levels were thus determined at six different time points over 24 h in adult rats whose mothers had undergone restraint stress manipulations. The results demonstrate that prenatal stress induces a phase advance in the evening increase of corticosterone levels, and that this change is prevented by postnatal stress. It thus appears that the circadian system governing the HPA axis is modifiable by a prenatal stress, and remains susceptible to compensatory changes during the postnatal period.