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4 publication(s) depuis Octobre 2017:

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In the last decade, the trend of drug consumption has completely changed, and several new psychoactive substances (NPS) have appeared on the drug market as legal alternatives to common drugs of abuse. Designed to reproduce the effects of illegal substances like cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, or ketamine, NPS are only in part controlled by UN conventions and represent an emerging threat to global public health. The effects of NPS greatly differ from drug to drug and relatively scarce information is available at present about their pharmacology and potential toxic effects. Yet, compared to more traditional drugs, more dangerous short- and long-term effects have been associated with their use, and hospitalizations and fatal intoxications have also been reported after NPS use. In the era of cyberculture, the Internet acts as an ideal platform to promote and market these compounds, leading to a global phenomenon. Hidden by several aliases, these substances are sold across the web, and information about consumption is shared by online communities through drug fora, YouTube channels, social networks, and smartphone applications (apps). This review intends to provide an overview and analysis of social media that contribute to the popularity of NPS especially among young people. The possibility of using the same channels responsible for their growing diffusion to make users aware of the risks associated with NPS use is proposed.

16/05/2018 | Neuron   IF 14.3
Serotonergic Signaling Controls Input-Specific Synaptic Plasticity at Striatal Circuits.
Cavaccini A, Gritti M, Giorgi A, Locarno A, Heck N, Migliarini S, Bertero A, Mereu M, Margiani G, Trusel M, Catelani T, Marotta R, De Luca MA, Caboche J, Gozzi A, Pasqualetti M, Tonini R

Monoaminergic modulation of cortical and thalamic inputs to the dorsal striatum (DS) is crucial for reward-based learning and action control. While dopamine has been extensively investigated in this context, the synaptic effects of serotonin (5-HT) have been largely unexplored. Here, we investigated how serotonergic signaling affects associative plasticity at glutamatergic synapses on the striatal projection neurons of the direct pathway (dSPNs). Combining chemogenetic and optogenetic approaches reveals that impeding serotonergic signaling preferentially gates spike-timing-dependent long-term depression (t-LTD) at thalamostriatal synapses. This t-LTD requires dampened activity of the 5-HT4 receptor subtype, which we demonstrate controls dendritic Ca(2+) signals by regulating BK channel activity, and which preferentially localizes at the dendritic shaft. The synaptic effects of 5-HT signaling at thalamostriatal inputs provide insights into how changes in serotonergic levels associated with behavioral states or pathology affect striatal-dependent processes.

04/2018 | Mol Psychiatry   IF 11.6
Remote memories are enhanced by COMT activity through dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system in the prefrontal cortex.
Scheggia D, Zamberletti E, Realini N, Mereu M, Contarini G, Ferretti V, Manago F, Margiani G, Brunoro R, Rubino T, De Luca MA, Piomelli D, Parolaro D, Papaleo F

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a crucial hub for the flexible modulation of recent memories (executive functions) as well as for the stable organization of remote memories. Dopamine in the PFC is implicated in both these processes and genetic variants affecting its neurotransmission might control the unique balance between cognitive stability and flexibility present in each individual. Functional genetic variants in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene result in a different catabolism of dopamine in the PFC. However, despite the established role played by COMT genetic variation in executive functions, its impact on remote memory formation and recall is still poorly explored. Here we report that transgenic mice overexpressing the human COMT-Val gene (COMT-Val-tg) present exaggerated remote memories (>50 days) while having unaltered recent memories (<24 h). COMT selectively and reversibly modulated the recall of remote memories as silencing COMT Val overexpression starting from 30 days after the initial aversive conditioning normalized remote memories. COMT genetic overactivity produced a selective overdrive of the endocannabinoid system within the PFC, but not in the striatum and hippocampus, which was associated with enhanced remote memories. Indeed, acute pharmacological blockade of CB1 receptors was sufficient to rescue the altered remote memory recall in COMT-Val-tg mice and increased PFC dopamine levels. These results demonstrate that COMT genetic variations modulate the retrieval of remote memories through the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system in the PFC.

24/10/2017 | Cell Rep   IF 8
Brain-wide Mapping of Endogenous Serotonergic Transmission via Chemogenetic fMRI.
Giorgi A, Migliarini S, Galbusera A, Maddaloni G, Mereu M, Margiani G, Gritti M, Landi S, Trovato F, Bertozzi SM, Armirotti A, Ratto GM, De Luca MA, Tonini R, Gozzi A, Pasqualetti M

Serotonin-producing neurons profusely innervate brain regions via long-range projections. However, it remains unclear whether and how endogenous serotonergic transmission specifically influences regional or global functional activity. We combined designed receptors exclusively activated by designed drugs (DREADD)-based chemogenetics and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), an approach we term 'chemo-fMRI,' to causally probe the brain-wide substrates modulated by endogenous serotonergic activity. We describe the generation of a conditional knockin mouse line that, crossed with serotonin-specific Cre-recombinase mice, allowed us to remotely stimulate serotonergic neurons during fMRI scans. We show that endogenous stimulation of serotonin-producing neurons does not affect global brain activity but results in region-specific activation of a set of primary target regions encompassing corticohippocampal and ventrostriatal areas. By contrast, pharmacological boosting of serotonin levels produced widespread fMRI deactivation, plausibly reflecting the mixed contribution of central and perivascular constrictive effects. Our results identify the primary functional targets of endogenous serotonergic stimulation and establish causation between activation of serotonergic neurons and regional fMRI signals.