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Federico MASSA

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25 publication(s) since Février 1999:

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19/04/2011 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   IF 9.6
Conditional reduction of adult neurogenesis impairs bidirectional hippocampal synaptic plasticity.
Massa F, Koehl M, Wiesner T, Grosjean N, Revest JM, Piazza PV, Abrous DN, Oliet SH

Adult neurogenesis is a process by which the brain produces new neurons once development has ceased. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been linked to the relational processing of spatial information, a role attributed to the contribution of newborn neurons to long-term potentiation (LTP). However, whether newborn neurons also influence long-term depression (LTD), and how synaptic transmission and plasticity are affected as they incorporate their network, remain to be determined. To address these issues, we took advantage of a genetic model in which a majority of adult-born neurons can be selectively ablated in the dentate gyrus (DG) and, most importantly, in which neurogenesis can be restored on demand. Using electrophysiological recordings, we show that selective reduction of adult-born neurons impairs synaptic transmission at medial perforant pathway synapses onto DG granule cells. Furthermore, LTP and LTD are largely compromised at these synapses, probably as a result of an increased induction threshold. Whereas the deficits in synaptic transmission and plasticity are completely rescued by restoring neurogenesis, these synapses regain their ability to express LTP much faster than their ability to express LTD. These results demonstrate that both LTP and LTD are influenced by adult neurogenesis. They also indicate that as newborn neurons integrate their network, the ability to express bidirectional synaptic plasticity is largely improved at these synapses. These findings establish that adult neurogenesis is an important process for synaptic transmission and bidirectional plasticity in the DG, accounting for its role in efficiently integrating novel incoming information and in forming new memories.

05/05/2010 | J Neurosci   IF 6.1
Alterations in the hippocampal endocannabinoid system in diet-induced obese mice.
Massa F, Mancini G, Schmidt H, Steindel F, Mackie K, Angioni C, Oliet SH, Geisslinger G, Lutz B

The endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays central roles in the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. Its alteration in activity contributes to the development and maintenance of obesity. Stimulation of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB(1) receptor) increases feeding, enhances reward aspects of eating, and promotes lipogenesis, whereas its blockade decreases appetite, sustains weight loss, increases insulin sensitivity, and alleviates dysregulation of lipid metabolism. The hypothesis has been put forward that the eCB system is overactive in obesity. Hippocampal circuits are not directly involved in the neuronal control of food intake and appetite, but they play important roles in hedonic aspects of eating. We investigated the possibility whether or not diet-induced obesity (DIO) alters the functioning of the hippocampal eCB system. We found that levels of the two eCBs, 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) and anandamide, were increased in the hippocampus from DIO mice, with a concomitant increase of the 2-AG synthesizing enzyme diacylglycerol lipase-alpha and increased CB(1) receptor immunoreactivity in CA1 and CA3 regions, whereas CB(1) receptor agonist-induced [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding was unchanged. eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity was changed in the CA1 region, as depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition and long-term depression of inhibitory synapses were enhanced. Functionality of CB(1) receptors in GABAergic neurons was furthermore revealed, as mice specifically lacking CB(1) receptors on this neuronal population were partly resistant to DIO. Our results show that DIO-induced changes in the eCB system affect not only tissues directly involved in the metabolic regulation but also brain regions mediating hedonic aspects of eating and influencing cognitive processes.

01/08/2008 | J Mol Med   IF 4.7
Targeting endocannabinoid degradation protects against experimental colitis in mice: involvement of CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Storr MA, Keenan CM, Emmerdinger D, Zhang H, Yüce B, Sibaev A, Massa F, Buckley NE, Lutz B, Göke B, Brand S, Patel KD, Sharkey KA


10/2007 | PLoS Biol   IF 8.4
Genetic dissection of behavioural and autonomic effects of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in mice
Monory K, Blaudzun H, Massa F, Kaiser N, Lemberger T, Schutz G, Wotjak C T, Lutz B, Marsicano G

Marijuana and its main psychotropic ingredient Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exert a plethora of psychoactive effects through the activation of the neuronal cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), which is expressed by different neuronal subpopulations in the central nervous system. The exact neuroanatomical substrates underlying each effect of THC are, however, not known. We tested locomotor, hypothermic, analgesic, and cataleptic effects of THC in conditional knockout mouse lines, which lack the expression of CB1 in different neuronal subpopulations, including principal brain neurons, GABAergic neurons (those that release gamma aminobutyric acid), cortical glutamatergic neurons, and neurons expressing the dopamine receptor D1, respectively. Surprisingly, mice lacking CB1 in GABAergic neurons responded to THC similarly as wild-type littermates did, whereas deletion of the receptor in all principal neurons abolished or strongly reduced the behavioural and autonomic responses to the drug. Moreover, locomotor and hypothermic effects of THC depend on cortical glutamatergic neurons, whereas the deletion of CB1 from the majority of striatal neurons and a subpopulation of cortical glutamatergic neurons blocked the cataleptic effect of the drug. These data show that several important pharmacological actions of THC do not depend on functional expression of CB1 on GABAergic interneurons, but on other neuronal populations, and pave the way to a refined interpretation of the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids on neuronal functions.

17/08/2006 | Neuron   IF 14.4
The endocannabinoid system controls key epileptogenic circuits in the hippocampus
Monory K, Massa F, Egertova M, Eder M, Blaudzun H, Westenbroek R, Kelsch W, Jacob W, Marsch R, Ekker M, Long J, Rubenstein J L, Goebbels S, Nave K A, During M, Klugmann M, Wolfel B, Dodt H U, Zieglgansberger W, Wotjak C T, Mackie K, Elphick M R, Marsicano G, Lutz B

Balanced control of neuronal activity is central in maintaining function and viability of neuronal circuits. The endocannabinoid system tightly controls neuronal excitability. Here, we show that endocannabinoids directly target hippocampal glutamatergic neurons to provide protection against acute epileptiform seizures in mice. Functional CB1 cannabinoid receptors are present on glutamatergic terminals of the hippocampal formation, colocalizing with vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGluT1). Conditional deletion of the CB1 gene either in cortical glutamatergic neurons or in forebrain GABAergic neurons, as well as virally induced deletion of the CB1 gene in the hippocampus, demonstrate that the presence of CB1 receptors in glutamatergic hippocampal neurons is both necessary and sufficient to provide substantial endogenous protection against kainic acid (KA)-induced seizures. The direct endocannabinoid-mediated control of hippocampal glutamatergic neurotransmission may constitute a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of disorders associated with excessive excitatory neuronal activity.

06/2006 | J Mol Med   IF 4.7
CB1 and TRPV1 receptors mediate protective effects on colonic electrophysiological properties in mice
Sibaev A, Massa F, Yuce B, Marsicano G, Lehr H A, Lutz B, Goke B, Allescher H D, Storr M

CB1 and TRPV1 receptors modulate enteric neurotransmission and colonic inflammation. This study investigates early electrophysiological changes in distal colon of wild-type and receptor deficient mice after an inflammatory insult set by dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS). Colitis was induced by DNBS in CB1(-/-) mice, TRPV1(-/-) mice, and their respective wild-type littermates. Electrophysiological properties consisting of membrane potentials and electrically induced inhibitory junction potentials (IJP) of circular smooth muscle cells were evaluated at different time points. Additionally a histological colitis severity score was evaluated in CB1(+/+) and CB1(-/-) mice 24 h after DNBS. Inflammation caused spontaneous atropine insensitive rhythmic action potentials in CB1(-/-) and TRPV1(-/-) mice but not in wild-type animals. This indicates that membrane stability is disturbed, which in turn indicates a lack of protective mechanisms. Focal electrical neuronal stimulation of the myenteric plexus induced IJP in the smooth muscle cells. Twenty-four hours after initiation of inflammation, the duration of the IJP is prolonged in all animals, indicating disturbances within neuromuscular interaction. In CB1(-/-) mice, it is interesting that the duration of IJP was significantly extended, as compared to CB1(+/+) mice pointing toward missing protective mechanisms in the CB1(-/-) mice. Inflammatory insults in the mouse colon induce reproducible changes in the electrophysiological properties and such changes correlate with duration of colitis. In mutants, these electrophysiological changes display different patterns, suggesting the lack of protective properties for neuromuscular interactions and membrane stability.

02/2006 | J Mol Med   IF 4.7
Vanilloid receptor (TRPV1)-deficient mice show increased susceptibility to dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid induced colitis
Massa F, Sibaev A, Marsicano G, Blaudzun H, Storr M, Lutz B

In the human colon, vanilloid receptor TRPV1 is overexpressed both in afferent nerve terminals and in epithelial cells during inflammation. In the past years, pharmacological experiments using TRPV1 agonists and antagonists revealed that TRPV1 receptors may play proinflammatory and protective roles in the gastrointestinal tract. Here, we applied a genetic approach to define the role of TRPV1 and analyzed the effects of dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS)-induced colitis in TRPV1-deficient (TRPV1-/-) mice. Intrarectal infusion of DNBS induced increased inflammation in TRPV1-/- mice compared to wild-type littermates (TRPV1+/+) as evaluated by macroscopic scoring and myeloperoxidase assays. This finding indicates that TRPV1 receptors are required for the protection within sensory pathways that regulate the response following the initiation of colonic inflammation. Electrophysiological recordings from circular smooth-muscle cells, performed 8 and 24 h after DNBS treatment, revealed strong spontaneous oscillatory action potentials in TRPV1-/- but not in TRPV1+/+ colons, indicating an early TRPV1-mediated control of inflammation-induced irritation of smooth-muscle activities. These unexpected results suggest that TRPV1 receptors mediate endogenous protection against experimentally induced colonic inflammation.

2006 | J Endocrinol Invest   IF 3.4
Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract.
Massa F, Monory K

In the past centuries, different preparations of marijuana have been used for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as GI pain, gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; the active component of marijuana), as well as endogenous and synthetic cannabinoids, exert their biological functions on the gastrointestinal tract by activating two types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1 receptor) and cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2 receptor). While CB1 receptors are located in the enteric nervous system and in sensory terminals of vagal and spinal neurons and regulate neurotransmitter release, CB2 receptors are mostly distributed in the immune system, with a role presently still difficult to establish. Under pathophysiological conditions, the endocannabinoid system conveys protection to the GI tract, eg from inflammation and abnormally high gastric and enteric secretion. For such protective activities, the endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising therapeutic target against different GI disorders, including frankly inflammatory bowel diseases (eg, Crohn's disease), functional bowel diseases (eg, irritable bowel syndrome), and secretion- and motility-related disorders.


11/04/2004 | J Clin Invest   IF 12.3
The endogenous cannabinoid system protects against colonic inflammation.
Massa F*, Marsicano G*, et al.