IF du Neurocentre

123 publications

* equal contribution
Les IF indiqués ont été collectés par le Web of Sciences en Juin 2021

Hippocampal adult neurogenesis has been associated to many cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functions and dysfunctions, and its status as a selected effect or an 'appendix of the brain' has been debated. In this review, we propose to understand hippocampal neurogenesis as the process underlying the 'Baldwin effect', a particular situation in evolution where fitness does not rely on the natural selection of genetic traits, but on 'ontogenetic adaptation' to a changing environment. This supports the view that a strong distinction between developmental and adult hippocampal neurogenesis is made. We propose that their functions are the constitution and the lifelong adaptation, respectively, of a basic repertoire of cognitive and emotional behaviors. This lifelong adaptation occurs through new forms of binding, i.e., association or dissociation of more basic elements. This distinction further suggests that a difference is made between developmental vulnerability (or resilience), stemming from dysfunctional (or highly functional) developmental hippocampal neurogenesis, and adult vulnerability (or resilience), stemming from dysfunctional (or highly functional) adult hippocampal neurogenesis. According to this hypothesis, developmental and adult vulnerability are distinct risk factors for various mental disorders in adults. This framework suggests new avenues for research on hippocampal neurogenesis and its implication in mental disorders.

19/03/2021 | Nat Commun   IF 14.9
Adult-born neurons immature during learning are necessary for remote memory reconsolidation in rats.
Lods M, Pacary E, Mazier W, Farrugia F, Mortessagne P, Masachs N, Charrier V, Massa F, Cota D, Ferreira G, Abrous DN, Tronel S

Memory reconsolidation, the process by which memories are again stabilized after being reactivated, has strengthened the idea that memory stabilization is a highly plastic process. To date, the molecular and cellular bases of reconsolidation have been extensively investigated particularly within the hippocampus. However, the role of adult neurogenesis in memory reconsolidation is unclear. Here, we combined functional imaging, retroviral and chemogenetic approaches in rats to tag and manipulate different populations of rat adult-born neurons. We find that both mature and immature adult-born neurons are activated by remote memory retrieval. However, only specific silencing of the adult-born neurons immature during learning impairs remote memory retrieval-induced reconsolidation. Hence, our findings show that adult-born neurons immature during learning are required for the maintenance and update of remote memory reconsolidation.

15/03/2021 | Transl Psychiatry   IF 6.2
Inhibition of mTOR signaling by genetic removal of p70 S6 kinase 1 increases anxiety-like behavior in mice.
Koehl M, Ladeveze E, Catania C, Cota D, Abrous DN

The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a ubiquitously expressed kinase that acts through two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, to regulate protein homeostasis, as well as long lasting forms of synaptic and behavioral plasticity. Alteration of the mTOR pathway is classically involved in neurodegenerative disorders, and it has been linked to dysregulation of cognitive functions and affective states. However, information concerning the specific involvement of the p70 S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), a downstream target of the mTORC1 pathway, in learning and memory processes and in the regulation of affective states remains scant. To fill this gap, we exposed adult male mice lacking S6K1 to a battery of behavioral tests aimed at measuring their learning and memory capabilities by evaluating reference memory and flexibility with the Morris water maze, and associative memory using the contextual fear conditioning task. We also studied their anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors by, respectively, performing elevated plus maze, open field, light-dark emergence tests, and sucrose preference and forced swim tests. We found that deleting S6K1 leads to a robust anxious phenotype concomitant with associative learning deficits; these symptoms are associated with a reduction of adult neurogenesis and neuronal atrophy in the hippocampus. Collectively, these results provide grounds for the understanding of anxiety reports after treatments with mTOR inhibitors and will be critical for developing novel compounds targeting anxiety.

10/09/2020 | BioRxiv
The atypical Rho GTPase Rnd2 is critical for dentate granule neuron development and anxiety-like behavior during adult but not neonatal neurogenesis
Kerloch T, Farrugia F, Maitre M, Terral G, Koehl M, Heng JI, Blanchard M, Doat H, Leste-Lasserre T, Goron A, Gonzales D, Guillemot F, Abrous DN, Pacary E

29/06/2020 | Aging Cell   IF 7.2
Responsiveness of dentate neurons generated throughout adult life is associated with resilience to cognitive aging.
Montaron MF, Charrier V, Blin N, Garcia P, Abrous DN

During aging, some individuals are resilient to the decline of cognitive functions whereas others are vulnerable. These inter-individual differences in memory abilities have been associated with differences in the rate of hippocampal neurogenesis measured in elderlies. Whether the maintenance of the functionality of neurons generated throughout adult life is linked to resilience to cognitive aging remains completely unexplored. Using the immediate early gene Zif268, we analyzed the activation of dentate granule neurons born in adult (3-month-old), middle-aged (12-month-old), or senescent (18-month-old) rats (n = 96) in response to learning when animals reached 21 months of age. The activation of neurons born during the developmental period was also examined. We show that adult-born neurons can survive up to 19 months and that neurons generated 4, 10, or 19 months before learning, but not developmentally born neurons, are activated in senescent rats with good learning abilities. In contrast, aged rats with bad learning abilities do not exhibit activity-dependent regulation of newborn cells, whatever their birthdate. In conclusion, we propose that resilience to cognitive aging is associated with responsiveness of neurons born during adult life. These data add to our current knowledge by showing that the aging of memory abilities stems not only from the number but also from the responsiveness of adult-born neurons.

18/05/2020 | Cereb Cortex   IF 5
Sox11 is an Activity-Regulated Gene with Dentate-Gyrus-Specific Expression Upon General Neural Activation.
von Wittgenstein J, Zheng F, Wittmann MT,Balta EA, Ferrazzi F, Schaffner I, Haberle BM, Valero-Aracama MJ,, Koehl M, Miranda CJ, Kaspar BK, Ekici AB, Reis A,, Abrous DN, Alzheimer C, Lie DC

Neuronal activity initiates transcriptional programs that shape long-term changes in plasticity. Although neuron subtypes differ in their plasticity response, most activity-dependent transcription factors (TFs) are broadly expressed across neuron subtypes and brain regions. Thus, how region- and neuronal subtype-specific plasticity are established on the transcriptional level remains poorly understood. We report that in young adult (i.e., 6-8

03/2020 | Glia   IF 6
Juvenile mild traumatic brain injury elicits distinct spatiotemporal astrocyte responses.
Clement T, Lee JB, Ichkova A, Rodriguez-Grande B, Fournier ML, Aussudre J, Ogier M, Haddad E, Canini F, Koehl M, Abrous DN, Obenaus A, Badaut J

Mild-traumatic brain injury (mTBI) represents ~80% of all emergency room visits and increases the probability of developing long-term cognitive disorders in children. To date, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying post-mTBI cognitive dysfunction are unknown. Astrogliosis has been shown to significantly alter astrocytes' properties following brain injury, potentially leading to significant brain dysfunction. However, such alterations have never been investigated in the context of juvenile mTBI (jmTBI). A closed-head injury model was used to study jmTBI on postnatal-day 17 mice. Astrogliosis was evaluated using glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), vimentin, and nestin immunolabeling in somatosensory cortex (SSC), dentate gyrus (DG), amygdala (AMY), and infralimbic area (ILA) of prefrontal cortex in both hemispheres from 1 to 30 days postinjury (dpi). In vivo T2-weighted-imaging (T2WI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were performed at 7 and 30 dpi to examine tissue level structural alterations. Increased GFAP-labeling was observed up to 30 dpi in the ipsilateral SSC, the initial site of the impact. However, vimentin and nestin expression was not perturbed by jmTBI. The morphology of GFAP positive cells was significantly altered in the SSC, DG, AMY, and ILA up to 7 dpi that some correlated with magnetic resonance imaging changes. T2WI and DTI values were significantly altered at 30 dpi within these brain regions most prominently in regions distant from the impact site. Our data show that jmTBI triggers changes in astrocytic phenotype with a distinct spatiotemporal pattern. We speculate that the presence and time course of astrogliosis may contribute to pathophysiological processes and long-term structural alterations following jmTBI.

17/10/2019 | Behav Brain Res   IF 2.8
Insult-induced aberrant hippocampal neurogenesis: Functional consequences and possible therapeutic strategies.
Bielefeld P, Dura I, Danielewicz J, Lucassen PJ, Baekelandt V, Abrous DN, Encinas JM, Fitzsimons CP

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays a critical role in a wide spectrum of hippocampus-dependent functions. Brain pathologies that involve the hippocampus like epilepsy, stroke, and traumatic brain injury, are commonly associated with cognitive impairments and mood disorders. These insults can affect neural stem cells and the subsequent neurogenic cascade in the hippocampus, resulting in the induction of aberrant neurogenesis, which is thought to compromise hippocampal network function, thereby hampering hippocampus-dependent behavior. We here summarize recent preclinical literature on hippocampal insult-induced changes in neurogenesis and based on that, we propose that normalizing aberrant neurogenesis post-insult may help to prevent or rescue behavioral deficits which could help develop novel therapeutic strategies.

In nonhuman mammals and in particular in rodents, most granule neurons of the dentate gyrus (DG) are generated during development and yet little is known about their properties compared with adult-born neurons. Although it is generally admitted that these populations are morphologically indistinguishable once mature, a detailed analysis of developmentally born neurons is lacking. Here, we used in vivo electroporation to label dentate granule cells (DGCs) generated in mouse embryos (E14.5) or in neonates (P0) and followed their morphological development up to 6 months after birth. By comparison with mature retrovirus-labeled DGCs born at weaning (P21) or young adult (P84) stages, we provide the evidence that perinatally born neurons, especially embryonically born cells, are morphologically distinct from later-born neurons and are thus easily distinguishable. In addition, our data indicate that semilunar and hilar GCs, 2 populations in ectopic location, are generated during the embryonic and the neonatal periods, respectively. Thus, our findings provide new insights into the development of the different populations of GCs in the DG and open new questions regarding their function in the brain.

18/04/2018 | cell stem cell   IF 23.3
Human Adult Neurogenesis: Evidence and Remaining Questions.
Kempermann G, Gage FH, Aigner L, Song H, Curtis MA, Thuret S, Kuhn HG, Jessberger S, Frankland PW, Cameron HA, Gould E, Hen R, Abrous DN, Toni N, Schinder AF, Zhao X, Lucassen PJ, Frisen J

Renewed discussion about whether or not adult neurogenesis exists in the human hippocampus, and the nature and strength of the supporting evidence, has been reignited by two prominently published reports with opposite conclusions. Here, we summarize the state of the field and argue that there is currently no reason to abandon the idea that adult-generated neurons make important functional contributions to neural plasticity and cognition across the human lifespan.

13/03/2018 | Brain Behav Immun   IF 6.3
mTORC1 pathway disruption abrogates the effects of the ciliary neurotrophic factor on energy balance and hypothalamic neuroinflammation.
Andre C, Catania C, Remus-Borel J, Ladeveze E, Leste-Lasserre T, Mazier W, Binder E, Gonzales D, Clark S, Guzman-Quevedo O, Abrous DN, Laye S, Cota D

Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) potently decreases food intake and body weight in diet-induced obese mice by acting through neuronal circuits and pathways located in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus. CNTF also exerts pro-inflammatory actions within the brain. Here we tested whether CNTF modifies energy balance by inducing inflammatory responses in the ARC and whether these effects depend upon the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway, which regulates both energy metabolism and inflammation. To this purpose, chow- and high fat diet (HFD)- fed mice lacking the S6 kinase 1 (S6K1(-/-)), a downstream target of mTORC1, and their wild-type (WT) littermates received 12 days continuous intracerebroventricular (icv) infusion of the CNTF analogue axokine (CNTFAx15). Behavioral, metabolic and molecular effects were evaluated. Central chronic administration of CNTFAx15 decreased body weight and feed efficiency in WT mice only, when fed HFD, but not chow. These metabolic effects correlated with increased number of iba-1 positive microglia specifically in the ARC and were accompanied by significant increases of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha mRNA expression in the hypothalamus. Hypothalamic iNOS and SOCS3 mRNA, molecular markers of pro-inflammatory response, were also increased by CNTFAx15. All these changes were absent in S6K1(-/-) mice. This study reveals that CNTFAx15 requires a functional S6K1 to modulate energy balance and hypothalamic inflammation in a diet-dependent fashion. Further investigations should determine whether S6K1 is a suitable target for the treatment of pathologies characterized by a high neuroinflammatory state.

06/03/2018 | Cell Rep   IF 8
Transcriptional Dysregulation in Postnatal Glutamatergic Progenitors Contributes to Closure of the Cortical Neurogenic Period.
Donega V, Marcy G, Lo Giudice Q, Zweifel S, Angonin D, Fiorelli R, Abrous DN, Rival-Gervier S, Koehl M, Jabaudon D, Raineteau O

Progenitors of cortical glutamatergic neurons (Glu progenitors) are usually thought to switch fate before birth to produce astrocytes. We used fate-mapping approaches to show that a large fraction of Glu progenitors persist in the postnatal forebrain after closure of the cortical neurogenesis period. Postnatal Glu progenitors do not accumulate during embryonal development but are produced by embryonal radial glial cells that persist after birth in the dorsal subventricular zone and continue to give rise to cortical neurons, although with low efficiency. Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals a dysregulation of transcriptional programs, which parallels changes in m(6)A methylation and correlates with the gradual decline in cortical neurogenesis observed in vivo. Rescuing experiments show that postnatal progenitors are partially permissive to genetic and pharmacological manipulations. Our study provides an in-depth characterization of postnatal Glu progenitors and identifies potential therapeutic targets for promoting brain repair.

05/03/2018 | Mol Psychiatry   IF 11.6
Depleting adult dentate gyrus neurogenesis increases cocaine-seeking behavior.
Deroche-Gamonet V, Revest JM, Fiancette JF, Balado E, Koehl M, Grosjean N, Abrous DN, Piazza PV

The hippocampus is the main locus for adult dentate gyrus (DG) neurogenesis. A number of studies have shown that aberrant DG neurogenesis correlates with many neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction. Although clear causal relationships have been established between DG neurogenesis and memory dysfunction or mood-related disorders, evidence of the causal role of DG neurogenesis in drug-seeking behaviors has not been established. Here we assessed the role of new DG neurons in cocaine self-administration using an inducible transgenic approach that selectively depletes adult DG neurogenesis. Our results show that transgenic mice with decreased adult DG neurogenesis exhibit increased motivation to self-administer cocaine and a higher seeking response to cocaine-related cues. These results identify adult hippocampal neurogenesis as a key factor in vulnerability to cocaine addiction.

09/05/2017 | Mol Psychiatry   IF 13.2
Inducing a long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus is sufficient to produce rapid antidepressant-like effects.
Kanzari A, Bourcier-Lucas C, Freyssin A, Abrous DN, Haddjeri N, Lucas G

Recent hypotheses propose that one prerequisite to obtain a rapid antidepressant (AD) effect would reside in processes of synaptic reinforcement occurring within the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus independently from neurogenesis. However, to date no relationship has been established between an increased DG synaptic plasticity, and rapid AD-like action. To the best of our knowledge, this study shows for the first time that inducing a long-term potentiation (LTP) within the DG by stimulating the perforant pathway (PP) is sufficient to induce such effects. Thus, Sprague-Dawley rats having undergone a successful LTP displayed a significant reduction of immobility when passed acutely 3 days thereafter in the forced swimming test (FST). Further, in a longitudinal paradigm using the pseudo-depressed Wistar-Kyoto rat strain, LTP elicited a decrease of FST immobility after only 2 days, whereas the AD desipramine was not effective before 16 days. In both models, the influence of LTP was transient, as it was no more observed after 8-9 days. No effects were observed on the locomotor activity or on anxiety-related behavior. Theta-burst stimulation of a brain region anatomically adjacent to the PP remained ineffective in the FST. Immunoreactivity of DG cells for phosphorylated histone H3 and doublecortin were not modified three days after LTP, indicating a lack of effect on both cell proliferation and neurogenesis. Finally, depleting brain serotonin contents reduced the success rate of LTP but did not affect its subsequent AD-like effects. These results confirm the 'plastic DG' theory of rapid AD efficacy. Beyond, they point out stimulations of the entorhinal cortex, from which the PP originates, as putative new approaches in AD research.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 9 May 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.94.

30/11/2016 | Diabetes   IF 8.8
Inhibiting Microglia Expansion Prevents Diet-induced Hypothalamic and Peripheral Inflammation.
Andre C, Guzman-Quevedo O, Rey C, Remus-Borel J, Clark S, Castellanos-Jankiewicz A, Ladeveze E, Leste-Lasserre T, Nadjar A, Abrous DN, Laye S, Cota D

Cell proliferation and neuroinflammation in the adult hypothalamus may contribute to the pathogenesis of obesity. Here we tested whether the intertwining of these two processes has a role in the metabolic changes caused by three weeks of saturated high-fat diet (HFD) consumption.As compared to chow, HFD-fed mice rapidly increased body weight and fat mass, and specifically showed increased microglia number in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus. Microglia expansion required the adequate presence of fats and carbohydrates in the diet, since feeding mice a very high-fat, very low-carbohydrate diet did not affect cell proliferation. Blocking HFD-induced cell proliferation by central delivery of the antimitotic drug arabinofuranosyl cytidine (AraC) blunted food intake, body weight gain and adiposity. AraC treatment completely prevented the increase in the number of activated microglia in the ARC, the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFalpha in microglia and the recruitment of the NF-kappaB pathway, while restoring hypothalamic leptin sensitivity. Central blockade of cell proliferation also normalized circulating levels of the cytokines leptin and IL-1beta and decreased peritoneal pro-inflammatory CD86-IR macrophages number.These findings suggest that inhibition of diet-dependent microglia expansion hinders body weight gain while preventing central and peripheral inflammatory responses due to caloric overload.

25/11/2016 | Sci Rep   IF 5.2
Plasticity in the olfactory bulb of the maternal mouse is prevented by gestational stress.
Belnoue L, Malvaut S, Ladeveze E, Abrous DN, Koehl M

Maternal stress is associated with an altered mother-infant relationship that endangers offspring development, leading to emotional/behavioral problems. However, little research has investigated the stress-induced alterations of the maternal brain that could underlie such a disruption of mother-infant bonding. Olfactory cues play an extensive role in the coordination of mother-infant interactions, suggesting that motherhood may be associated to enhanced olfactory performances, and that this effect may be abolished by maternal stress. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the impact of motherhood under normal conditions or after gestational stress on olfactory functions in C57BL/6 J mice. We report that gestational stress alters maternal behavior and prevents both mothers' ability to discriminate pup odors and motherhood-induced enhancement in odor memory. We investigated adult bulbar neurogenesis as a potential mechanism of the enhanced olfactory function in mothers and found that motherhood was associated with an increased complexity of the dendritic tree of newborn neurons. This motherhood-evoked remodeling was totally prevented by gestational stress. Altogether, our results may thus provide insight into the neural changes that could contribute to altered maternal behavior in stressed mothers.

2016 | PLoS ONE   IF 3.1
LAMP5 Fine-Tunes GABAergic Synaptic Transmission in Defined Circuits of the Mouse Brain.
Tiveron MC, Beurrier C, Ceni C, Andriambao N, Combes A, Koehl M, Maurice N, Gatti E, Abrous DN, Kerkerian-Le Goff L, Pierre P, Cremer H

LAMP5 is member of the LAMP family of membrane proteins. In contrast to the canonical members of this protein family, LAMP1 and LAMP2, which show widespread expression in many tissues, LAMP 5 is brain specific in mice. In C. elegans, the LAMP5 ortholog UNC-46 has been suggested to act a trafficking chaperone, essential for the correct targeting of the nematode vesicular GABA-transporter UNC-47. We show here that in the mouse brain LAMP5 is expressed in subpopulations of GABAergic forebrain neurons in the striato-nigral system and the olfactory bulb. The protein was present at synaptic terminals, overlapping with the mammalian vesicular GABA-transporter VGAT. In LAMP5-deficient mice localization of the transporter was unaffected arguing against a conserved role in VGAT trafficking. Electrophysiological analyses in mutants showed alterations in short term synaptic plasticity suggesting that LAMP5 is involved in controlling the dynamics of evoked GABAergic transmission. At the behavioral level, LAMP5 mutant mice showed decreased anxiety and deficits in olfactory discrimination. Altogether, this work implicates LAMP5 function in GABAergic neurotransmission in defined neuronal subpopulations.

25/11/2015 | Hippocampus   IF 4.2
Running per se stimulates the dendritic arbor of newborn dentate granule cells in mouse hippocampus in a duration-dependent manner.
Dostes S, Dubreucq S, Ladeveze E, Marsicano G, Abrous DN, Chaouloff F, Koehl M

Laboratory rodents provided chronic unlimited access to running wheels display increased neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. In addition, recent studies indicate that such an access to wheels stimulates dendritic arborization in newly formed neurons. However, (i) the presence of the running wheel in the housing environment might also bear intrinsic influences on the number and shape of new neurons and (ii) the dendritic arborization of new neurons might be insensitive to moderate daily running activity (i.e. several hours). In keeping with these uncertainties, we have examined neurogenesis and dendritic arborization in newly formed granular cells in adult C57Bl/6N male mice housed for 3 weeks under standard conditions, with a locked wheel, with a running wheel set free 3 h/day, or with a running wheel set permanently free. The results indicate that the presence of a blocked wheel in the home cage increased cell proliferation, but not the number of new neurons while running increased in a duration-dependent manner the number of newborn neurons, as assessed by DCX labeling. Morphological analyses of the dendritic tree of newborn neurons, as identified by BrdU-DCX co-staining, revealed that although the presence of the wheel stimulated their dendritic architecture, the amplitude of this effect was lower than that elicited by running activity, and was found to be running duration-dependent. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

11/2015 | Hippocampus   IF 4.2
Effects of spaced learning in the water maze on development of dentate granule cells generated in adult mice.
Trinchero MF, Koehl M, Bechakra M, Delage P, Charrier V, Grosjean N, Ladeveze E, Schinder AF, Abrous DN

New dentate granule cells (GCs) are generated in the hippocampus throughout life. These adult-born neurons are required for spatial learning in the Morris water maze (MWM). In rats, spatial learning shapes the network by regulating their number and dendritic development. Here, we explored whether such modulatory effects exist in mice. New GCs were tagged using thymidine analogs or a GFP-expressing retrovirus. Animals were exposed to a reference memory protocol for 10-14 days (spaced training) at different times after newborn cells labeling. Cell proliferation, cell survival, cell death, neuronal phenotype, and dendritic and spine development were examined using immunohistochemistry. Surprisingly, spatial learning did not modify any of the parameters under scrutiny including cell number and dendritic morphology. These results suggest that although new GCs are required in mice for spatial learning in the MWM, they are, at least for the developmental intervals analyzed here, refractory to behavioral stimuli generated in the course of learning in the MWM. (c) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

06/2015 | cold spring harb perspect biol   IF 8.7
Interaction between Neurogenesis and Hippocampal Memory System: New Vistas.
Abrous DN, Wojtowicz JM

During the last decade, the questions on the functionality of adult neurogenesis have changed their emphasis from if to how the adult-born neurons participate in a variety of memory processes. The emerging answers are complex because we are overwhelmed by a variety of behavioral tasks that apparently require new neurons to be performed optimally. With few exceptions, the hippocampal memory system seems to use the newly generated neurons for multiple roles. Adult neurogenesis has given the dentate gyrus new capabilities not previously thought possible within the scope of traditional synaptic plasticity. Looking at these new developments from the perspective of past discoveries, the science of adult neurogenesis has emerged from its initial phase of being, first, a surprising oddity and, later, exciting possibility, to the present state of being an integral part of mainstream neuroscience. The answers to many remaining questions regarding adult neurogenesis will come along only with our growing understanding of the functionality of the brain as a whole. This, in turn, will require integration of multiple levels of organization from molecules and cells to circuits and systems, ultimately resulting in comprehension of behavioral outcomes.

25/04/2015 | Hippocampus   IF 4.2
Adult-born dentate neurons are recruited in both spatial memory encoding and retrieval.
Tronel S, Charrier V, Sage C, Maitre M, Leste-Lasserre T, Abrous DN

Adult neurogenesis occurs in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which is a key structure in learning and memory. Adult-generated granule cells have been shown to play a role in spatial memory processes such as acquisition or retrieval, in particular during an immature stage when they exhibit a period of increased plasticity. Here, we demonstrate that immature and mature neurons born in the dentate gyrus of adult rats are similarly activated in spatial memory processes. By imaging the activation of these two different neuron generations in the same rat and by using the immediate early gene Zif268, we show that these neurons are involved in both spatial memory acquisition and retrieval. These results demonstrate that adult-generated granule cells are involved in memory beyond their immaturity stage. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

01/11/2014 | Neuropharmacology   IF 4.8
Serotonin receptor stimulation inhibits cocaine-induced Fos expression and DARPP-32 phosphorylation in the rat striatum independently of dopamine outflow.
Devroye C, Cathala A, Maitre M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN, Revest JM, Spampinato U

The serotonin2C receptor (5-HT2CR) is known to control dopamine (DA) neuron function by modulating DA neuronal firing and DA exocytosis at terminals. Recent studies assessing the influence of 5-HT2CRs on cocaine-induced neurochemical and behavioral responses have shown that 5-HT2CRs can also modulate mesoaccumbens DA pathway activity at post-synaptic level, by controlling DA transmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), independently of DA release itself. A similar mechanism has been proposed to occur at the level of the nigrostriatal DA system. Here, using in vivo microdialysis in freely moving rats and molecular approaches, we assessed this hypothesis by studying the influence of the 5-HT2CR agonist Ro 60-0175 on cocaine-induced responses in the striatum. The intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of 1 mg/kg Ro 60-0175 had no effect on the increase in striatal DA outflow induced by cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.). Conversely, Ro 60-0175 inhibited cocaine-induced Fos immunoreactivity and phosphorylation of the DA and c-AMP regulated phosphoprotein of Mr 32 kDa (DARPP-32) at threonine 75 residue in the striatum. Finally, the suppressant effect of Ro 60-0175 on cocaine-induced DARPP-32 phosphorylation was reversed by the selective 5-HT2CR antagonist SB 242084 (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.). In keeping with the key role of DARPP-32 in DA neurotransmission, our results demonstrate that 5-HT2CRs are capable of modulating nigrostriatal DA pathway activity at post-synaptic level, by specifically controlling DA signaling in the striatum.

In keeping with its ability to control the mesoaccumbens dopamine (DA) pathway, the serotonin2C receptor (5-HT2C R) plays a key role in mediating the behavioral and neurochemical effects of drugs of abuse. Studies assessing the influence of 5-HT2C R agonists on cocaine-induced responses have suggested that 5-HT2C Rs can modulate mesoaccumbens DA pathway activity independently of accumbal DA release, thereby controlling DA transmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). In the present study, we assessed this hypothesis by studying the influence of the 5-HT2C R agonist Ro 60-0175 on cocaine-induced behavioral, neurochemical and molecular responses. The i.p. administration of 1 mg/kg Ro 60-0175 inhibited hyperlocomotion induced by cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.), had no effect on cocaine-induced DA outflow in the shell, and increased it in the core subregion of the NAc. Furthermore, Ro 60-0175 inhibited the late-onset locomotion induced by the subcutaneous administration of the DA-D2 R agonist quinpirole (0.5 mg/kg), as well as cocaine-induced increase in c-Fos immunoreactivity in NAc subregions. Finally, Ro 60-0175 inhibited cocaine-induced phosphorylation of the DA and c-AMP regulated phosphoprotein of Mr 32 kDa (DARPP-32) at threonine residues in the NAc core, this effect being reversed by the selective 5-HT2C R antagonist SB 242084 (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.). Altogether, these findings demonstrate that 5-HT2C Rs are capable of modulating mesoaccumbens DA pathway activity at post-synaptic level by specifically controlling DA signaling in the NAc core subregion. In keeping with the tight relationship between locomotor activity and NAc DA function, this interaction could participate in the inhibitory control of cocaine-induced locomotor activity.

09/02/2014 | Brain Struct Funct   IF 4.6
Influence of ontogenetic age on the role of dentate granule neurons.
Tronel S, Lemaire V, Charrier V, Montaron MF, Abrous DN

New neurons are continuously produced in the adult dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, a key structure in learning and memory. It has been shown that adult neurogenesis is crucial for normal memory processing. However, it is not known whether neurons born during the developmental period and during adulthood support the same functions. Here, we demonstrate that neurons born in neonates (first postnatal week) are activated in different memory processes when they are mature compared to neurons born in adults. By imaging the activation of these two different neuron generations in the same rat and using the IEG Zif268 and Fos, we show that these neurons are involved in discriminating dissimilar contexts and spatial problem solving, respectively. These findings demonstrate that the ontogenetic stage during which neurons are generated is crucial for their function within the memory network.

06/2013 | Neurobiol Dis   IF 5.6
Partial loss in septo-hippocampal cholinergic neurons alters memory-dependent measures of brain connectivity without overt memory deficits.
Brayda-Bruno L, Mons N, Yee BK, Micheau J, Abrous DN, Nogues X, Marighetto A

The functional relevance of septo-hippocampal cholinergic (SHC) degeneration to the degradation of hippocampus-dependent declarative memory (DM) in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains ill-defined. Specifically, selective SHC lesions often fail to induce overt memory impairments in animal models. In spite of apparent normal performance, however, neuronal activity within relevant brain structures might be altered by SHC disruption. We hypothesized that partial SHC degeneration may contribute to functional alterations within memory circuits occurring in aging before DM decline. In young adult mice, we studied the effects of behaviorally ineffective (saporin-induced) SHC lesions - similar in extent to that seen in aged animals - on activity patterns and functional connectivity between three main neural memory systems: the septo-hippocampal system, the striatum and the amygdala that sustain declarative, procedural and emotional memory, respectively. Animals were trained in a radial maze procedure dissociating the human equivalents of relational/DM and non-R/DM expressions in animals. Test-induced Fos activation pattern revealed that the partial SHC lesion significantly altered the brain's functional activities and connectivity (co-activation pattern) despite the absence of overt behavioral deficit. Specifically, hippocampal CA3 hyperactivity and abnormal septo-hippocampo-amygdalar inter-connectivity resemble those observed in aging and prodromal AD. Hence, SHC neurons critically coordinate hippocampal function in concert with extra-hippocampal structures in accordance with specific mnemonic demand. Although partial SHC degeneration is not sufficient to impact DM performance by itself, the connectivity change might predispose the emergence of subsequent DM loss when, due to additional age-related insults, the brain can no longer compensate the holistic imbalance caused by cholinergic loss.

31/01/2013 | Neurobiol Dis   IF 5.6
Partial loss in septo-hippocampal cholinergic neurons alters memory-dependent measures of brain connectivity without overt memory deficits.
Brayda-Bruno L, Mons N, Yee B K, Micheau J, Abrous DN, Nogues X, Marighetto A

The functional relevance of septo-hippocampal cholinergic (SHC) degeneration to the degradation of hippocampus-dependent declarative memory (DM) in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains ill-defined. Specifically, selective SHC lesions often fail to induce overt memory impairments in animal models. In spite of apparent normal performance, however, neuronal activity within relevant brain structures might be altered by SHC disruption. We hypothesized that partial SHC degeneration may contribute to functional alterations within memory circuits occurring in aging before DM decline. In young adult mice, we studied the effects of behaviorally ineffective (saporin-induced) SHC lesions - similar in extent to that seen in aged animals - on activity patterns and functional connectivity between three main neural memory systems: the septo-hippocampal system, the striatum and the amygdala that sustain declarative, procedural and emotional memory, respectively. Animals were trained in a radial maze procedure dissociating the human equivalents of relational/DM and non-R/DM expressions in animals. Test-induced Fos activation pattern revealed that the partial SHC lesion significantly altered the brain's functional activities and connectivity (co-activation pattern) despite the absence of overt behavioral deficit. Specifically, hippocampal CA3 hyperactivity and abnormal septo-hippocampo-amygdalar inter-connectivity resemble those observed in aging and prodromal AD. Hence, SHC neurons critically coordinate hippocampal function in concert with extra-hippocampal structures in accordance with specific mnemonic demand. Although partial SHC degeneration is not sufficient to impact DM performance by itself, the connectivity change might predispose the emergence of subsequent DM loss when, due to additional age-related insults, the brain can no longer compensate the holistic imbalance caused by cholinergic loss.

2013 | PLoS ONE   IF 3.7
Prenatal stress inhibits hippocampal neurogenesis but spares olfactory bulb neurogenesis.
Belnoue L, Grosjean N, Ladeveze E, Abrous DN, Koehl M

The dentate gyrus (DG) and the olfactory bulb (OB) are two regions of the adult brain in which new neurons are integrated daily in the existing networks. It is clearly established that these newborn neurons are implicated in specific functions sustained by these regions and that different factors can influence neurogenesis in both structures. Among these, life events, particularly occurring during early life, were shown to profoundly affect adult hippocampal neurogenesis and its associated functions like spatial learning, but data regarding their impact on adult bulbar neurogenesis are lacking. We hypothesized that prenatal stress could interfere with the development of the olfactory system, which takes place during the prenatal period, leading to alterations in adult bulbar neurogenesis and in olfactory capacities. To test this hypothesis we exposed pregnant C57Bl/6J mice to gestational restraint stress and evaluated behavioral and anatomic consequences in adult male offspring. We report that prenatal stress has no impact on adult bulbar neurogenesis, and does not alter olfactory functions in adult male mice. However, it decreases cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the DG of the hippocampus, thus confirming previous reports on rats. Altogether our data support a selective and cross-species long-term impact of prenatal stress on neurogenesis.

15/08/2012 | Biol Psychiatry
Interplay of maternal care and genetic influences in programming adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
Koehl M, van der Veen R, Gonzales D, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

BACKGROUND: Adult hippocampal neurogenesis, which is involved in the physiopathology of hippocampal functions, is genetically determined and influenced by early life events. However, studies on the interaction of these determining forces are lacking. This prompted us to investigate whether adult hippocampal neurogenesis can be modulated by maternal care and whether this influence depends upon the genetic background of the individual. METHODS: We used a model of fostering that allows singling out the influence of the genetic make-up of the pups on the outcome of maternal behavior. Mice from two different inbred strains (C57BL/6J and DBA/2J) known to differ in their baseline neurogenesis as well as in their sensitivity to the influence of environmental experiences were raised by nonrelated mothers from the AKR/Ola (AKR) and C3H/He (C3H) strains exhibiting low- and high-pup-oriented behavior, respectively. Neurogenesis was then assessed in the dentate gyrus of the adult adopted C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice. RESULTS: We show that both the number and the morphological features of newborn granule cells in the dentate gyrus are determined by the maternal environment to which mice were exposed as pups and that this sensitivity to maternal environment is observed only in genetically vulnerable subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our data indicate interplay between early environment and the genetic envelop of an individual in determining adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Our experimental approach could thus contribute to the identification of factors determining the neurogenic potential of the adult hippocampus.

01/05/2012 | Mol Psychiatry   IF 14.9
Stressing new neurons into depression?
Lucassen PJ, Fitzsimons CP, Korosi A, Joels M, Belzung C, Abrous DN

02/03/2012 | Cell   IF 32
Acute cannabinoids impair working memory through astroglial CB1 receptor modulation of hippocampal LTD.
Han J, Kesner P, Metna-Laurent M, Duan T, Xu L, Georges F, Koehl M, Abrous DN, Mendizabal-Zubiaga J, Grandes P, Liu Q, Bai G, Wang W, Xiong L, Ren W, Marsicano G, Zhang X

Impairment of working memory is one of the most important deleterious effects of marijuana intoxication in humans, but its underlying mechanisms are presently unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the impairment of spatial working memory (SWM) and in vivo long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic strength at hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapses, induced by an acute exposure of exogenous cannabinoids, is fully abolished in conditional mutant mice lacking type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB(1)R) in brain astroglial cells but is conserved in mice lacking CB(1)R in glutamatergic or GABAergic neurons. Blockade of neuronal glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) and of synaptic trafficking of glutamate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole propionic acid receptors (AMPAR) also abolishes cannabinoid effects on SWM and LTD induction and expression. We conclude that the impairment of working memory by marijuana and cannabinoids is due to the activation of astroglial CB(1)R and is associated with astroglia-dependent hippocampal LTD in vivo.

29/02/2012 | J Neurosci   IF 6.9
Long-lasting plasticity of hippocampal adult-born neurons.
Lemaire V, Tronel S, Montaron MF, Fabre A, Dugast E, Abrous DN

Adult neurogenesis occurs in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which is a key structure in learning and memory. It is believed that adult-born neurons exert their unique role in information processing due to their high plasticity during immature stage that renders them malleable in response to environmental demands. Here, we demonstrate that, in rats, there is no critical time window for experience-induced dendritic plasticity of adult-born neurons as spatial learning in the water maze sculpts the dendritic arbor of adult-born neurons even when they are several months of age. By ablating neurogenesis within a specific period of time, we found that learning was disrupted when the delay between ablation and learning was extended to several months. Together, these results show that mature adult-born neurons are still plastic when they are functionally integrated into dentate network. Our results suggest a new perspective with regard to the role of neo-neurons by highlighting that even mature ones can provide an additional source of plasticity to the brain to process memory information.

14/02/2012 | Behav Brain Res   IF 3.3
Functions for adult neurogenesis in memory: an introduction to the neurocomputational approach and to its contribution.
Nogues X, Corsini MM, Marighetto A, Abrous DN

Until recently, it was believed that the introduction of new neurons in neuronal networks was incompatible with memory function. Since the rediscovery of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, behavioral data demonstrate that adult neurogenesis is required for memory processing. We examine neurocomputational studies to identify which basic mechanisms involved in memory might be mediated by adult neurogenesis. Mainly, adult neurogenesis might be involved in the reduction of catastrophic interference and in a time-related pattern separation function. Artificial neuronal networks suggest that the selective recruitment of new-born or old neurons is not stochastic, but depends on environmental requirements. This leads us to propose the novel concept of 'soft-supervision'. Soft-supervision would be a biologically plausible process, by which the environment is able to influence activation and learning rules of neurons differentially.

02/2012 | Hippocampus   IF 5.5
Adult-born neurons are necessary for extended contextual discrimination.
Tronel S, Belnoue L, Grosjean N, Revest JM, Piazza PV, Koehl M, Abrous DN

New neurons are continuously produced in the adult dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. It has been shown that one of the functions of adult neurogenesis is to support spatial pattern separation, a process that transforms similar memories into nonoverlapping representations. This prompted us to investigate whether adult-born neurons are required for discriminating two contexts, i.e., for identifying a familiar environment and detect any changes introduced in it. We show that depleting adult-born neurons impairs the animal's ability to disambiguate two contexts after extensive training. These data suggest that the continuous production of new dentate neurons plays a crucial role in extracting and separating efficiently contextual representation in order to discriminate features within events.

09/01/2012 | Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
The antidepressant hyperforin increases the phosphorylation of CREB and the expression of TrkB in a tissue-specific manner.
Gibon J, Deloulme JC, Chevallier T, Ladeveze E, Abrous DN, Bouron A

Hyperforin is one of the main bioactive compounds that underlie the antidepressant actions of the medicinal plant Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort). However, the effects of a chronic hyperforin treatment on brain cells remains to be fully addressed. The following study was undertaken to further advance our understanding of the biological effects of this plant extract on neurons. Special attention was given to its impact on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor TrkB and on adult hippocampal neurogenesis since they appear central to the mechanisms of action of antidepressants. The consequences of a chronic hyperforin treatment were investigated on cortical neurons in culture and on the brain of adult mice treated for 4 wk with a daily injection (i.p.) of hyperforin (4 mg/kg). Its effects on the expression of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (CREB), phospho-CREB (p-CREB), TrkB and phospho-TrkB (p-TrkB) were analysed by Western blot experiments and its impact on adult hippocampal neurogenesis was also investigated. Hyperforin stimulated the expression of TRPC6 channels and TrkB via SKF-96365-sensitive channels controlling a downstream signalling cascade involving Ca2+, protein kinase A, CREB and p-CREB. In vivo, hyperforin augmented the expression of TrkB in the cortex but not in the hippocampus where hippocampal neurogenesis remained unchanged. In conclusion, this plant extract acts on the cortical BDNF/TrkB pathway leaving adult hippocampal neurogenesis unaffected. This study provides new insights on the neuronal responses controlled by hyperforin. We propose that the cortex is an important brain structure targeted by hyperforin.

In utero electroporation (IUE) has become a powerful technique to study the development of different regions of the embryonic nervous system (1-5). To date this tool has been widely used to study the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation and neuronal migration especially in the developing cerebral cortex (6-8). Here we detail our protocol to electroporate in utero the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus and provide evidence that this approach can be used to study dendrites and spines in these two cerebral regions. Visualization and manipulation of neurons in primary cultures have contributed to a better understanding of the processes involved in dendrite, spine and synapse development. However neurons growing in vitro are not exposed to all the physiological cues that can affect dendrite and/or spine formation and maintenance during normal development. Our knowledge of dendrite and spine structures in vivo in wild-type or mutant mice comes mostly from observations using the Golgi-Cox method( 9). However, Golgi staining is considered to be unpredictable. Indeed, groups of nerve cells and fiber tracts are labeled randomly, with particular areas often appearing completely stained while adjacent areas are devoid of staining. Recent studies have shown that IUE of fluorescent constructs represents an attractive alternative method to study dendrites, spines as well as synapses in mutant / wild-type mice (10-11) (Figure 1A). Moreover in comparison to the generation of mouse knockouts, IUE represents a rapid approach to perform gain and loss of function studies in specific population of cells during a specific time window. In addition, IUE has been successfully used with inducible gene expression or inducible RNAi approaches to refine the temporal control over the expression of a gene or shRNA (12). These advantages of IUE have thus opened new dimensions to study the effect of gene expression/suppression on dendrites and spines not only in specific cerebral structures (Figure 1B) but also at a specific time point of development (Figure 1C). Finally, IUE provides a useful tool to identify functional interactions between genes involved in dendrite, spine and/or synapse development. Indeed, in contrast to other gene transfer methods such as virus, it is straightforward to combine multiple RNAi or transgenes in the same population of cells. In summary, IUE is a powerful method that has already contributed to the characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying brain function and disease and it should also be useful in the study of dendrites and spines.

19/04/2011 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
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.

03/2011 | Eur J Neurosci   IF 3.6
A new chapter in the field of memory: adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
Koehl M, Abrous DN

Understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory is a major challenge in neurobiology. Structural and functional changes occurring in the hippocampus such as synaptic remodeling and long-term potentiation are key signatures of long-term memory processes. The discovery of a de novo hippocampal production of neurons in the adult brain has been a breakthrough in the field of plasticity and memory, introducing a new actor that could sustain memory processes. Here we will review our current knowledge on the role of these adult new neurons in memory. In particular we will provide evidence showing that they are required for learning and memory and that an alteration in their production rate or maturation leads to memory impairments. Through a thorough survey of the literature, we will also acknowledge that there are many controversies regarding the specific role played by newborn neurons. The emerging picture is that they are involved in the establishment of spatiotemporal relationships among multiple environmental cues for the flexible use of the acquired information. Indeed, newborn neurons have been found to be required for separating events based on their spatial and temporal characteristics, a process that preserves the uniqueness of a memory representation. Thus, adult-born neurons are required for allocentric space representation, for long-term memory retention and for flexible inferential memory expression. Finally, we will conclude by highlighting directions for future research, emphasizing that the exact participation of newborn neurons in memory processes will not be approached without considering the hippocampal network in general.

19/01/2011 | J Neurosci   IF 7.1
A critical time window for the recruitment of bulbar newborn neurons by olfactory discrimination learning.
Belnoue L, Grosjean N, Abrous DN, Koehl M

In the mammalian brain, the dentate gyrus and the olfactory bulb are regions where new neurons are continuously added. While the functional consequences of continuous hippocampal neurogenesis have been extensively studied, the role of olfactory adult-born neurons remains elusive. In particular, the involvement of these newborn neurons in odor processing is still a matter of debate. We demonstrate a critical impact of both the age of new neurons and the memory processes involved (learning vs recall) in the recruitment of newborn cells. Thus, odor stimulation preferentially recruited immature neurons over more mature ones (2 weeks old vs 5 and 9 weeks old), whereas associative learning based on odor discrimination preferentially recruited mature neurons (5-9 weeks old). Furthermore, while mature neurons were activated by this associative learning, they were not activated by long-term memory recall, indicating that the contribution of newborn neurons in olfactory functions depends also on the memory process involved. Our data thus show that newborn neurons are indeed involved in odor processing and that their recruitment is age- and memory process-dependent.

21/07/2010 | J Neurosci   IF 7.5
The planar polarity protein Scribble1 is essential for neuronal plasticity and brain function.
Moreau MM, Piguel N, Papouin T, Koehl M, Durand CM, Rubio ME, Loll F, Richard EM, Mazzocco C, Racca C, Oliet SH, Abrous DN, Montcouquiol M, Sans N

Scribble (Scrib) is a key regulator of apicobasal polarity, presynaptic architecture, and short-term synaptic plasticity in Drosophila. In mammals, its homolog Scrib1 has been implicated in cancer, neural tube closure, and planar cell polarity (PCP), but its specific role in the developing and adult nervous system is unclear. Here, we used the circletail mutant, a mouse model for PCP defects, to show that Scrib1 is located in spines where it influences actin cytoskeleton and spine morphing. In the hippocampus of these mutants, we observed an increased synapse pruning associated with an increased number of enlarged spines and postsynaptic density, and a decreased number of perforated synapses. This phenotype was associated with a mislocalization of the signaling pathway downstream of Scrib1, leading to an overall activation of Rac1 and defects in actin dynamic reorganization. Finally, Scrib1-deficient mice exhibit enhanced learning and memory abilities and impaired social behavior, two features relevant to autistic spectrum disorders. Our data identify Scrib1 as a crucial regulator of brain development and spine morphology, and suggest that Scrib1(crc/+) mice might be a model for studying synaptic dysfunction and human psychiatric disorders.

Chronic voluntary wheel-running activity has been reported to hypersensitise central CB1 receptors in mice. On the other hand, pharmacological findings suggest that the CB1 receptor could be involved in wheel-running behaviour and in running-induced neurogenesis in the hippocampus. We analysed wheel-running behaviour for 6 weeks and measured its consequences on hippocampal neurogenesis in CB1 knockout (CB1(-/-)) animals, compared to wild-type (CB1(+/+)) littermates. Because wheel running has been shown to affect locomotor reactivity in novel environments, memory for aversive events and depression-like behaviours, we also assessed these behaviours in control and running CB1(+/+) and CB1(-/-) mice. When compared with running CB1(+/+) mice, the distance covered weekly by CB1(-/-) mice was decreased by 30-40%, an observation accounted for by decreased time spent and maximal velocity on the wheels. Analyses of running distances with respect to the light/dark cycle revealed that mutant covered less distance throughout both the inactive and the active phases of that cycle. Locomotion in an activity cage, exploration in an open field, and immobility time in the forced swim test proved insensitive to chronic wheel running in either genotype. Wheel running, per se, did not influence the expression and extinction of cued fear memory but counteracted in a time-dependent manner the deficiency of extinction measured in CB1(-/-) mice. Hippocampal neurogenesis, assessed by doublecortin labelling of immature neurons in the dentate gyrus, was lowered by 40% in control CB1(-/-) mice, compared to control CB1(+/+) mice. Although CB1(-/-) mice ran less than their wild-type littermates, the 6-week running protocol increased neurogenesis to similar extents (37-39%) in both genotypes. This study suggests that mouse CB1 receptors control wheel running but not its neurogenic consequences in the hippocampus.

27/04/2010 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   IF 9.6
Spatial learning sculpts the dendritic arbor of adult-born hippocampal neurons.
Tronel S, Fabre A, Charrier V, Oliet SH, Gage FH, Abrous DN

Neurogenesis in the hippocampus is characterized by the birth of thousand of cells that generate neurons throughout life. The fate of these adult newborn neurons depends on life experiences. In particular, spatial learning promotes the survival and death of new neurons. Whether learning influences the development of the dendritic tree of the surviving neurons (a key parameter for synaptic integration and signal processing) is unknown. Here we show that learning accelerates the maturation of their dendritic trees and their integration into the hippocampal network. We demonstrate that these learning effects on dendritic arbors are homeostatically regulated, persist for several months, and are specific to neurons born during adulthood. Finally, we show that this dendritic shaping depends on the cognitive demand and relies on the activation of NMDA receptors. In the search for the structural changes underlying long-term memory, these findings lead to the conclusion that shaping neo-networks is important in forming spatial memories.

The dogma according to which 'once the development of the central nervous system ended, generation of neurons was impossible' has been challenged by the discovery that new neurons are created in specific regions of the adult mammalian brain. This discovery has been one of the most controversial of modern neuroscience. One of these regions is the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation, a key structure in memory. Here we will review our current knowledge on the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in memory and in the pathophysiology of memory. In particular we will review evidence showing that adult-born neurons are required for learning and memory and that an alteration of their production rate leads to memory impairments. We also discuss how neurogenesis is finely shaped by learning for the purpose of mnemonic information processing.

10/2009 | Mol Psychiatry
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is involved in anxiety-related behaviors.
Revest JM, Dupret D, Koehl M, Funk-Reiter C, Grosjean N, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is a unique example of structural plasticity, the functional role of which has been a matter of intense debate. New transgenic models have recently shown that neurogenesis participates in hippocampus-mediated learning. Here, we show that transgenic animals, in which adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been specifically impaired, exhibit a striking increase in anxiety-related behaviors. Our results indicate that neurogenesis plays an important role in the regulation of affective states and could be the target of new treatments for anxiety disorders.

02/2009 | Eur J Neurosci
Age-dependent effect of prenatal stress on hippocampal cell proliferation in female rats.
Koehl M, Lemaire V, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

Stressors occurring during pregnancy can alter the developmental trajectory of offspring and lead to, among other deleterious effects, cognitive deficits and hyperactivity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. A recent feature of the prenatal stress (PS) model is its reported influence on structural plasticity in hippocampal formation, which sustains both cognitive functions and stress responsiveness. Indeed, we and others have previously reported that males exposed to stress in utero are characterized by a decrease in hippocampal cell proliferation, and consequently neurogenesis, from adolescence to senescence. Recent studies in females submitted to PS have reported conflicting results, ranging from no effect to a decrease in cell proliferation. We hypothesized that changes in cell proliferation in PS female rats are age dependent. To address this issue, we examined the impact of PS on hippocampal cell proliferation in juvenile, young, middle-aged and old females. As hypothesized, we found an age-dependent effect of PS in female rats as cell proliferation was significantly decreased only when animals reached senescence, a time when adrenal gland weight also increased. These data suggest that the deleterious effects of PS on hippocampal cell proliferation in females are either specific to senescence or masked during adulthood by protective factors.

2009 | PLoS ONE
Cellular and behavioral effects of cranial irradiation of the subventricular zone in adult mice.
Lazarini F, Mouthon MA, Gheusi G, de Chaumont F, Olivo-Marin JC, Lamarque S, Abrous DN, Boussin FD, Lledo PM

BACKGROUND: In mammals, new neurons are added to the olfactory bulb (OB) throughout life. Most of these new neurons, granule and periglomerular cells originate from the subventricular zone (SVZ) lining the lateral ventricles and migrate via the rostral migratory stream toward the OB. Thousands of new neurons appear each day, but the function of this ongoing neurogenesis remains unclear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we irradiated adult mice to impair constitutive OB neurogenesis, and explored the functional impacts of this irradiation on the sense of smell. We found that focal irradiation of the SVZ greatly decreased the rate of production of new OB neurons, leaving other brain areas intact. This effect persisted for up to seven months after exposure to 15 Gray. Despite this robust impairment, the thresholds for detecting pure odorant molecules and short-term olfactory memory were not affected by irradiation. Similarly, the ability to distinguish between odorant molecules and the odorant-guided social behavior of irradiated mice were not affected by the decrease in the number of new neurons. Only long-term olfactory memory was found to be sensitive to SVZ irradiation. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that the continuous production of adult-generated neurons is involved in consolidating or restituting long-lasting olfactory traces.

07/2008 | Faseb J
Exercise-induced promotion of hippocampal cell proliferation requires beta-endorphin.
Koehl M, Meerlo P, Gonzales D, Rontal A, Turek FW, Abrous DN

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is influenced by a variety of stimuli, including exercise, but the mechanisms by which running affects neurogenesis are not yet fully understood. Because beta-endorphin, which is released in response to exercise, increases cell proliferation in vitro, we hypothesized that it could exert a similar effect in vivo and mediate the stimulatory effects of running on neurogenesis. We thus analyzed the effects of voluntary wheel-running on adult neurogenesis (proliferation, differentiation, survival/death) in wild-type and beta-endorphin-deficient mice. In wild-type mice, exercise promoted cell proliferation evaluated by sacrificing animals 24 h after the last 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) pulse and by using endogenous cell cycle markers (Ki67 and pH(3)). This was accompanied by an increased survival of 4-wk-old BrdU-labeled cells, leading to a net increase of neurogenesis. Beta-endorphin deficiency had no effect in sedentary mice, but it completely blocked the running-induced increase in cell proliferation; this blockade was accompanied by an increased survival of 4-wk-old cells and a decreased cell death. Altogether, adult neurogenesis was increased in response to exercise in knockout mice. We conclude that beta-endorphin released during running is a key factor for exercise-induced cell proliferation and that a homeostatic balance may regulate the final number of new neurons.

03/2008 | Genes Brain Behav
Impact of intra- and interstrain cross-fostering on mouse maternal care.
van der Veen R, Abrous DN, de Kloet ER, Piazza PV, Koehl M

The importance of maternal care in shaping an individual's phenotype in health and disease is becoming more and more apparent in both human and animal studies. However, in mouse studies using inbred strains or knockout mice to analyze the genetic influences on the development of normal and aberrant behavioral phenotypes, maternal behavior is very poorly characterized and often ignored. This study provides an extensive analysis of spontaneous maternal behavior of inbred mice in three conditions: (1) comparing two commonly used strains, (2) analyzing the impact of adopting pups from the same strain (intrastrain cross-fostering) and (3) analyzing the impact of adopting pups from a different strain (interstrain cross-fostering). For each condition, maternal behavior was analyzed continuously over 23-h periods on postnatal days 2, 4, 6 and 9. We report that (1) the maternal behavior of C57BL/6J and DBA/2J dams toward their biological offspring is highly similar, (2) intrastrain cross-fostering has minimal impact on maternal behavior of C57BL/6J and DBA/2J dams, (3) interstrain cross-fostering does not modify the strain differences in maternal care observed between AKR and C3H/He mothers and (4) the pup strain does influence the amount of maternal behavior shown by both mothers in interstrain cross-fostering. These latter findings demonstrate that both mother strain and pup strain are key determinants of maternal behavior.

A dysfunction of retinoid hippocampal signaling pathway has been involved in the appearance of affective and cognitive disorders. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain unknown. Hippocampal granule neurons are generated throughout life and are involved in emotion and memory. Here, we investigated the effects of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) on neurogenesis and memory and the ability of retinoic acid (RA) treatment to prevent VAD-induced impairments. Adult retinoid-deficient rats were generated by a vitamin A-free diet from weaning in order to allow a normal development. The effects of VAD and/or RA administration were examined on hippocampal neurogenesis, retinoid target genes such as neurotrophin receptors and spatial reference memory measured in the water maze. Long-term VAD decreased neurogenesis and led to memory deficits. More importantly, these effects were reversed by 4 weeks of RA treatment. These beneficial effects may be in part related to an up-regulation of retinoid-mediated molecular events, such as the expression of the neurotrophin receptor TrkA. We have demonstrated for the first time that the effect of vitamin A deficient diet on the level of hippoccampal neurogenesis is reversible and that RA treatment is important for the maintenance of the hippocampal plasticity and function.

2008 | PLoS ONE
Spatial relational memory requires hippocampal adult neurogenesis.
Dupret D, Revest JM, Koehl M, Ichas F, De Giorgi F, Costet P, Abrous DN, Piazza PV

The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is one of the few regions of the mammalian brain where new neurons are generated throughout adulthood. This adult neurogenesis has been proposed as a novel mechanism that mediates spatial memory. However, data showing a causal relationship between neurogenesis and spatial memory are controversial. Here, we developed an inducible transgenic strategy allowing specific ablation of adult-born hippocampal neurons. This resulted in an impairment of spatial relational memory, which supports a capacity for flexible, inferential memory expression. In contrast, less complex forms of spatial knowledge were unaltered. These findings demonstrate that adult-born neurons are necessary for complex forms of hippocampus-mediated learning.

2008 | PLoS ONE
Maternal environment influences cocaine intake in adulthood in a genotype-dependent manner.
van der Veen R, Koehl M, Abrous DN, de Kloet ER, Piazza PV, Deroche-Gamonet V

BACKGROUND: Accumulating epidemiological evidence points to the role of genetic background as a modulator of the capacity of adverse early experiences to give rise to mental illness. However, direct evidence of such gene-environment interaction in the context of substance abuse is scarce. In the present study we investigated whether the impact of early life experiences on cocaine intake in adulthood depends on genetic background. In addition, we studied other behavioral dimensions associated with drug abuse, i.e. anxiety- and depression-related behaviors. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: For this purpose, we manipulated the maternal environment of two inbred mouse strains, the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J by fostering them with non-related mothers, i.e. the C3H/HeN and AKR strains. These mother strains show respectively high and low pup-oriented behavior. As adults, C57BL/6J and DBA/2J were tested either for cocaine intravenous self-administration or in the elevated plus-maze and forced swim test (FST). We found that the impact of maternal environment on cocaine use and a depression-related behavior depends upon genotype, as cocaine self-administration and behavior in the FST were influenced by maternal environment in DBA/2J, but not in C57BL/6J mice. Anxiety was not influenced by maternal environment in either strain. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our experimental approach could contribute to the identification of the psychobiological factors determining the susceptibility or the resilience of certain individuals to develop psychopathologies.

08/2007 | PLoS Biol
Spatial learning depends on both the addition and removal of new hippocampal neurons.
Dupret D, Fabre A, Dobrossy MD, Panatier A, Rodriguez JJ, Lamarque S, Lemaire V, Oliet SH, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

The role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in spatial learning remains a matter of debate. Here, we show that spatial learning modifies neurogenesis by inducing a cascade of events that resembles the selective stabilization process characterizing development. Learning promotes survival of relatively mature neurons, apoptosis of more immature cells, and finally, proliferation of neural precursors. These are three interrelated events mediating learning. Thus, blocking apoptosis impairs memory and inhibits learning-induced cell survival and cell proliferation. In conclusion, during learning, similar to the selective stabilization process, neuronal networks are sculpted by a tightly regulated selection and suppression of different populations of newly born neurons.

30/05/2007 | J Neurosci
Learning-induced survival of new neurons depends on the cognitive status of aged rats.
Drapeau E, Montaron MF, Aguerre S, Abrous DN

Aging is accompanied by an alteration of spatial memory, which has been related to an alteration in hippocampal plasticity. Within the dentate gyrus, new neurons are generated throughout the entire life of an individual. This neurogenesis seems to play a role in hippocampal-mediated learning and learning-induced changes in neurogenesis have been proposed to be involved in memory. However, in aged rats, little is known on the influence of learning on the early development of the adult-born neurons and on the possible involvement of learning-induced changes in neurogenesis in age-related memory deficits. To address this issue, we took advantage of the existence of spontaneous individual differences for performances observed in aged subjects in the water maze. In this task, learning can be divided into two phases, an early phase during which performances quickly improve, and a late phase during which asymptotic levels of performances are reached. We show that the influence of spatial learning on the survival of the newly born cells depends on their birth date and the memory abilities of the aged rats. In aged rats with preserved spatial memory, learning increases the survival of cells generated before learning whereas it decreases survival of cells produced during the early phase of learning. These results highlight the importance of learning-induced changes in adult-born cell survival in memory. Furthermore, they provide new insights on the possible neural mechanisms of aging of cognitive functions and show that an alteration to the steps leading to neurogenesis may be involved in the determination of individual memory abilities.

There is much interest to understand the mechanisms leading to the establishment, maintenance, and extinction of fear memories. The amygdala has been critically involved in the processing of fear memories and a number of molecular changes have been implicated in this brain region in relation to fear learning. Although neural cell adhesion molecules (NCAMs) have been hypothesized to play a role, information available about their contribution to fear memories is scarce. We investigate here whether polysialylated NCAM (PSA-NCAM) contributes to auditory fear conditioning in the amygdala. First, PSA-NCAM expression was evaluated in different amygdala nuclei after auditory fear conditioning at two different shock intensities. Results showed that PSA-NCAM expression was increased 24 h post-training only in animals subjected to the highest shock intensity (1mA). Second, PSA-NCAM was cleaved in the basolateral amygdaloid complex through micro-infusions of the enzyme endoneuraminidase N, and the consequences of such treatment were investigated on the acquisition, consolidation, remote memory expression, and extinction of conditioned fear memories. Intra-amygdaloid cleavage of PSA-NCAM did not affect acquisition, consolidation or expression of remote fear memories. However, intra-amygdaloid PSA-NCAM cleavage enhanced fear extinction processes. These results suggest that upregulation of PSA-NCAM is a correlate of fear conditioning that is not necessary for the establishment of fear memory in the amygdala, but participates in mechanisms precluding fear extinction. These findings point out PSA-NCAM as a potential target for the treatment of psychopathologies that involve impairment in fear extinction.

The role of the hippocampus in pavlovian fear conditioning is controversial. Although lesion and pharmacological inactivation studies have suggested a key role for the dorsal hippocampus in contextual fear conditioning, the involvement of the ventral part is still uncertain. Likewise, the debate is open with regard to the putative implication of each hippocampal subdivision in fear conditioning to a discrete conditioned stimulus. We explored the potential existence of dissociations occurring in the dorsal versus ventral hippocampus at the cellular level while dealing with either contextual or cued fear conditioning and focused in a molecular 'signature' linked to structural plasticity, the polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM). We found an upregulation of PSA-NCAM expression in the dorsal (but not ventral) dentate gyrus at 24 h after contextual (but not tone) fear conditioning. Specific removal of PSA through microinfusion of the enzyme endoneuraminidase-N in the dorsal (but not ventral) hippocampus reduced freezing responses to the conditioned context. Therefore, we present evidence for a specific role of PSA-NCAM in the dorsal hippocampus in the plasticity processes occurring during consolidation of the context representation after 'standard' contextual fear conditioning. Interestingly, we also found that exposing animals just to the context induced an activation of PSA-NCAM in both dorsal and ventral dentate gyrus. Altogether, these findings highlighting the distinctive occurrence of these neuroplastic processes in the dorsal hippocampus during the standard contextual fear-conditioning task enlighten the ongoing debate about the involvement of these hippocampal subdivisions in pavlovian fear conditioning.

01/05/2006 | Biol Psychiatry
Postnatal stimulation of the pups counteracts prenatal stress-induced deficits in hippocampal neurogenesis.
Lemaire V, Lamarque S, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

BACKGROUND: Prenatal stress constitutes a developmental risk factor for later psychopathology. The behavioral disorders are sustained by neurobiological alterations including long-term reduction of hippocampal neurogenesis; its deregulation has been involved in cognitive impairments, mood disorders and addiction. A major goal is to define periods in development and strategies for intervening to prevent the effects of early stressful events. We investigated the ability of a postnatal infantile stimulation to prevent prenatal stress-induced alteration in hippocampal neurogenesis. METHODS: The influence of postnatal handling on prenatal stress-induced changes in hippocampal neurogenesis was examined in 4 and 26 month-old male rats. Three distinct phases of the neurogenesis were studied: proliferation, survival and neuronal differentiation. RESULTS: Prenatal stress reduced hippocampal cell proliferation all throughout life. Furthermore, the survival rate of newborn cells, the number of immature neurons and the number of differentiated new neurons were reduced in young and old prenatally-stressed rats. All those deleterious effects were counteracted by neonatal handling. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that finer aspects of brain shaping can be rewired by environmental influences occurring at sensitive phase of development. They also suggest that infantile stimulation may reverse the appearance of behavioral disorders induced by early life stress.

04/2006 | Neurobiol Aging
Lifelong corticosterone level determines age-related decline in neurogenesis and memory.
Montaron MF, Drapeau E, Dupret D, Kitchener P, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

Ageing is accompanied by an alteration of spatial memory, a decline in hippocampal neurogenesis and a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) leading to elevated levels of circulating corticosterone. However, the role of the HPA axis in age-related decline in cognitive functions and in neurogenesis decline remains unclear. We found that suppression of glucocorticoids secretion from midlife to the rest of the animals' life increases neurogenesis in old animals and prevents the emergence of age-related memory disorders. Reciprocally, aged rats with a chronic upregulation of the HPA axis exhibit not only spatial memory impairments but also very low levels of hippocampal cell proliferation and survival. Altogether, these results indicate that the extent of lifetime exposure to glucocorticoids determines the extent of age-related decline in hippocampal neurogenesis and consequently age-related cognitive dysfunctions.

08/2005 | Eur J Neurosci
Methylazoxymethanol acetate does not fully block cell genesis in the young and aged dentate gyrus.
Dupret D, Montaron MF, Drapeau E, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

During adulthood, new neurons are continuously added to the mammalian dentate gyrus (DG). An increasing number of studies have correlated changes in rates of dentate neurogenesis with memory abilities. One study based on subchronic treatment with the toxin methylazoxymethanol acetate (MAM) has provided causal evidence that neurogenesis is involved in hippocampal-dependent trace conditioning. In contrast, spatial learning is not impaired following MAM treatment. We hypothesized that this was due to the small residual number of new cells produced following MAM treatment. In the present experiment, we attempted to achieve a higher level of reduction of adult-generated cells following MAM treatment in young and aged rats. We found only a partial reduction of adult-generated cells in the DG. More importantly, independently of the age of the animals, MAM treatment at a dose necessary to reduce neurogenesis altered the overall health of the animals. In conclusion, the behavioural results obtained following subchronic treatment with high doses of MAM in adulthood must be interpreted with extreme caution.

04/2005 | Physiol Rev
Adult neurogenesis: from precursors to network and physiology.
Abrous DN, Koehl M, Le Moal M

The discovery that the adult mammalian brain creates new neurons from pools of stemlike cells was a breakthrough in neuroscience. Interestingly, this particular new form of structural brain plasticity seems specific to discrete brain regions, and most investigations concern the subventricular zone (SVZ) and the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampal formation (HF). Overall, two main lines of research have emerged over the last two decades: the first aims to understand the fundamental biological properties of neural stemlike cells (and their progeny) and the integration of the newly born neurons into preexisting networks, while the second focuses on understanding its relevance in brain functioning, which has been more extensively approached in the DG. Here, we propose an overview of the current knowledge on adult neurogenesis and its functional relevance for the adult brain. We first present an analysis of the methodological issues that have hampered progress in this field and describe the main neurogenic sites with their specificities. We will see that despite considerable progress, the levels of anatomic and functional integration of the newly born neurons within the host circuitry have yet to be elucidated. Then the intracellular mechanisms controlling neuronal fate are presented briefly, along with the extrinsic factors that regulate adult neurogenesis. We will see that a growing list of epigenetic factors that display a specificity of action depending on the neurogenic site under consideration has been identified. Finally, we review the progress accomplished in implicating neurogenesis in hippocampal functioning under physiological conditions and in the development of hippocampal-related pathologies such as epilepsy, mood disorders, and addiction. This constitutes a necessary step in promoting the development of therapeutic strategies.

01/2005 | Neurobiol Aging
Pregnenolone sulfate enhances neurogenesis and PSA-NCAM in young and aged hippocampus.
Mayo W, Lemaire V, Malaterre J, Rodriguez JJ, Cayre M, Stewart MG, Kharouby M, Rougon G, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

Age-dependent cognitive impairments have been correlated with functional and structural modifications in the hippocampal formation. In particular, the brain endogenous steroid pregnenolone-sulfate (Preg-S) is a cognitive enhancer whose hippocampal levels have been linked physiologically to cognitive performance in senescent animals. However, the mechanism of its actions remains unknown. Because neurogenesis is sensitive to hormonal influences, we examined the effect of Preg-S on neurogenesis, a novel form of plasticity, in young and old rats. We demonstrate that in vivo infusion of Preg-S stimulates neurogenesis and the expression of the polysialylated forms of NCAM, PSA-NCAM, in the dentate gyrus of 3- and 20-month-old rats. These influences on hippocampal plasticity are mediated by the modulation of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor complex A (GABA(A)) receptors present on hippocampal neuroblasts. In vitro, Preg-S stimulates the division of adult-derived spheres suggesting a direct influence on progenitors. These data provide evidence that neurosteroids represent one of the local secreted signals controlling hippocampal neurogenesis. Thus, therapies which stimulate neurosteroidogenesis could preserve hippocampal plasticity and prevent the appearance of age-related cognitive disturbances.

2004 | Neurotox Res
Environmentally induced long-term structural changes: cues for functional orientation and vulnerabilities.
Montaron MF, Koehl M, Lemaire V, Drapeau E, Abrous DN, Le Moal M

Environmental challenges profoundly modify phenotypes and disrupt inherent developmental programs both at functional and structural levels. As an example, we have studied the impact of these environmental influences on adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. Neurogenesis results from an inherent program, participates to hippocampal network organization and, as a consequence, to the various functional abilities depending on this region, including memories. In preclinical studies of aging we have shown that phenotypes vulnerable to the development of spatial memory disorders are characterized by lower hippocampal neurogenesis. We have hypothesized that these interindividual variations in functional expression of neurogenesis in senescent subjects could be predicted early in life. Indeed, a behavioral response (novelty-induced locomotor reactivity) and a biological trait (hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity), which are predictive of cognitive impairments later in life, are related to neurogenesis in young adult rats. This suggests that subjects starting off with an impaired neurogenesis, here rats that are high reactive to stress, are predisposed for the development of age-related cognitive disorders. We have further shown that these inter-individual differences result from early deleterious life events. Indeed, prenatal stress orients neurogenesis in pathological ways for the entire life, and precipitates age-related cognitive impairments. Altogether these data suggest first that hippocampal neurogenesis plays a pivotal role in environmentally-induced vulnerability to the development of pathological aging, and second that environmental challenges and life events orient structural developments, leading to different phenotypes.

12/2003 | Eur J Neurosci
Implication of corticosteroid receptors in the regulation of hippocampal structural plasticity.
Montaron MF, Piazza PV, Aurousseau C, Urani A, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

The dentate gyrus is one of the few areas of the adult brain that continues to produce neurons and to express the embryonic polysialylated isoforms of neuronal cell adhesion molecules (PSA-NCAM). The stress hormone corticosterone exerts a complex modulation on neurogenesis and PSA-NCAM, and previous studies have shown that mature granule cells require corticosterone for their survival. Thus, the aim of our work was to investigate the respective role of the different corticosteroid receptors on these three parameters in adrenalectomized rats. It was found that treatment with a low dose of the mineralocorticoid receptor agonist, aldosterone, prevents only the adrenalectomy-induced increase in cell death. Treatment with a higher dose of aldosterone normalized cell proliferation whereas PSA-NCAM expression was normalized only by treatment with the glucocorticoid receptor agonist, RU 28362. It is concluded that stimulation of the mineralocorticoid receptor is sufficient to mediate the effects of corticosterone on neurogenesis and to protect mature cells from cell death whereas stimulation of the glucocorticoid receptor is necessary to modulate PSA-NCAM expression.

25/11/2003 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Spatial memory performances of aged rats in the water maze predict levels of hippocampal neurogenesis.
Drapeau E, Mayo W, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN

Neurogenesis occurs within the adult dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation and it has been proposed that the newly born neurons, recruited into the preexistent neuronal circuits, might be involved in hippocampal-dependent learning processes. Age-dependent spatial memory impairments have been related to an alteration in hippocampal plasticity. The aim of the current study was to examine whether cognitive functions in aged rats are quantitatively correlated with hippocampal neurogenesis. To this end, we took advantage of the existence of spontaneous individual differences observed in aged subjects in a hippocampal-dependent task, the water maze. We expected that the spatial memory capabilities of aged rats would be related to the levels of hippocampal neurogenesis. Old rats were trained in the water maze, and, 3 weeks after training, rats were injected with 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdUrd, 50 or 150 mg/kg) to label dividing cells. Cell proliferation was examined one day after the last BrdUrd injection, whereas cell survival and differentiation were determined 3 weeks later. It is shown that a quantitative relationship exists between learning and the number of newly generated neurons. Animals with preserved spatial memory, i.e., the aged-unimpaired rats, exhibited a higher level of cell proliferation and a higher number of new neurons in comparison with rats with spatial memory impairments, i.e., the aged-impaired rats. In conclusion, the extent of memory dysfunction in aged rats is quantitatively related to the hippocampal neurogenesis. These data reinforce the assumption that neurogenesis is involved in memory processes and aged-related cognitive alterations.

The hippocampal formation, to which new neurons are added on a daily basis throughout life, is important in spatial learning. Surviving de novo produced cells integrate into the functional circuitry, where they can influence both normal and pathological behaviors. In this study, we examined the effect of the water-maze (a hippocampal-dependent spatial task) on neurogenesis. Learning in this task can be divided into two phases, an early phase during which performance improves rapidly, and a late phase during which asymptotic levels of performance are reached. Here we demonstrate that the late phase of learning has a multifaceted effect on neurogenesis depending on the birth date of new neurons. The number of newly born cells increased contingently with the late phase and a large proportion of these cells survived for at least 4 weeks and differentiated into neurons. In contrast, late-phase learning decreased the number of newly born cells produced during the early phase. This decline in neurogenesis was positively correlated with performance in the water-maze. Thus, rats with the highest de novo cell number were less able to acquire and use spatial information than those with low numbers of new cells. These results show that learning has a complex effect on hippocampal neurogenesis, and reveals a novel mechanism through which neurogenesis may influence normal and pathological behaviors.

09/2003 | Prog Neurobiol
Individual differences in cognitive aging: implication of pregnenolone sulfate.
Mayo W, George O, Darbra S, Bouyer JJ, Vallee M, Darnaudery M, Pallares M, Lemaire-Mayo V, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous N

In humans and animals, individual differences in aging of cognitive functions are classically reported. Some old individuals exhibit performances similar to those of young subjects while others are severely impaired. In senescent animals, we have previously demonstrated a significant correlation between the cognitive performance and the cerebral concentration of a neurosteroid, the pregnenolone sulfate (PREG-S). Neurotransmitter systems modulated by this neurosteroid were unknown until our recent report of an enhancement of acetylcholine (ACh) release in basolateral amygdala, cortex and hippocampus induced by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) or intracerebral administrations of PREG-S. Central ACh neurotransmission is known to be involved in the regulation of memory processes and is affected in normal aging and severely altered in human neurodegenerative pathologies like Alzheimer's disease. In the central nervous system, ACh neurotransmission is also involved in the modulation of sleep-wakefulness cycle, and particularly the paradoxical sleep (PS). Relationships between paradoxical sleep and memory are documented in the literature in old animals in which the spatial memory performance positively correlates with the basal amounts of paradoxical sleep. PREG-S infused at the level of ACh cell bodies (nucleus basalis magnocellularis, NBM, or pedunculopontine nucleus, PPT) increases paradoxical sleep in young animals.Finally, aging related cognitive dysfunctions, particularly those observed in Alzheimer's disease, have also been related to alterations of mechanisms underlying cerebral plasticity. Amongst these mechanisms, neurogenesis has been extensively studied recently. Our data demonstrate that PREG-S central infusions dramatically increase neurogenesis, this effect could be related to the negative modulator properties of this steroid at the GABA(A) receptor level. Taken together these data suggest that neurosteroids can influence cognitive processes, particularly in senescent subjects, through a modulation of ACh neurotransmission associated with paradoxical sleep modifications; furthermore, our recent data suggest a critical role for neurosteroids in the modulation of cerebral plasticity, mainly on hippocampal neurogenesis.

06/2002 | Neurotox Res
Individual vulnerability to substance abuse and affective disorders: role of early environmental influences.
Koehl M, Lemaire V, Mayo W, Abrous DN, Maccari S, Piazza PV, Le Moal M, Vallee M

One of the most important questions raised by modern psychiatry and experimental psychopathology is the origin of mental diseases. More concisely, clinical and experimental neurosciences are increasingly concerned with the factors that render one individual more vulnerable than another to a given pathological outcome. Animal models are now available to understand the sources of individual differences for specific phenotypes prone to behavioral disadaptations. Over the last 10 years we have explored the consequences of environmental perinatal manipulations in the rat. We have shown that prenatal stress is at the origin of a wide range of physiological and behavioral aberrances such as alterations in the activity of the hormonal stress axis, increased vulnerability to drug of abuse, emotional liability, cognitive impairments and predisposition to pathological aging. Taken together, these abnormalities define a bio-behavioral syndrome. Furthermore, the cognitive disabilities observed in prenatally-stressed rats were recently related to an alteration of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, thus confirming the impact of early life events on brain morphology. A second model (handling model) has also been developed in which pups are briefly separated from their mothers during early postnatal life. In contrast with prenatally-stressed animals, handled rats exhibited a reduced emotion response when confronted with novel situations and were protected against age-induced impairments of both the hormonal stress axis and cognitive functions. Taken together, the results of these investigations show that the bio-behavioral phenotype that characterizes each individual is strongly linked to the nature and timing of perinatal experience. Furthermore, data collected in prenatally-stressed animals indicate that this model could be used profitably to understand the etiology and pathophysiology of affective disorders.

01/05/2002 | J Neurosci
Nicotine self-administration impairs hippocampal plasticity.
Abrous DN, Adriani W, Montaron MF, Aurousseau C, Rougon G, Le Moal M, Piazza PV

Nicotine, the neuroactive compound responsible for tobacco addiction, is primarily believed to have beneficial effects on the adult brain. However, in heavy smokers, abstinence from nicotine is accompanied by cognitive impairments that suggest adverse effects of nicotine on brain plasticity. For this reason, we studied changes in plasticity-related processes in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampal formation of animals trained to self-administer nicotine. The DG was chosen because it undergoes profound plastic rearrangements, many of which have been related to memory and learning performances. In this region, we examined the expression of the polysialylated (PSA) forms of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), PSA-NCAM, neurogenesis, and cell death by measuring the number of pyknotic cells. It was found that nicotine self-administration profoundly decreased, in a dose-dependent manner, the expression of PSA-NCAM in the DG; a significant effect was observed at all the doses tested (0.02, 0.04, and 0.08 mg/kg per infusion). Neurogenesis was also decreased in the DG, but a significant effect was observed only for the two highest doses of nicotine. Finally, the same doses that decreased neurogenesis also increased cell death. These results raise an important additional concern for the health consequences of nicotine abuse and open new insight on the possible neural mechanisms of tobacco addiction.

01/01/2002 | J Neurosci
Anti-S-nitrosocysteine antibodies are a predictive marker for demyelination in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: implications for multiple sclerosis.
Boullerne AI, Rodriguez JJ, Touil T, Brochet B, Schmidt S, Abrous ND, Le Moal M, Pua JR, Jensen MA, Mayo W, Arnason BG, Petry KG

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by inflammation within the CNS. This inflammatory response is associated with production of nitric oxide (NO) and NO-related species that nitrosylate thiols. We postulated that MS patients would exhibit an antibody (Ab) response directed against proteins containing S-nitrosocysteine (SNO-cysteine) and showed that anti-NO-cysteine Abs of the IgM isotype are in fact present in the sera of some MS patients (Boullerne et al., 1995). We report here the presence of a seemingly identical Ab response directed against SNO-cysteine in an acute model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in Lewis rats with the 68-84 peptide of guinea pig myelin basic protein (MBP(68-84)). Serum levels of anti-SNO-cysteine Abs peaked 1 week before the onset of clinical signs and well before the appearance of anti-MBP(68-84) Abs. The anti-SNO-cysteine Ab peak titer correlated with the extent of subsequent CNS demyelination, suggesting a link between Ab level and CNS lesion formation. In relapsing-remitting MS patients, we found elevated anti-SNO-cysteine Ab at times of relapse and normal values in most patients judged to be in remission. Two-thirds of patients with secondary progressive MS had elevated anti-SNO-cysteine Ab levels, including those receiving interferon beta-1b. The data show that a rise in circulating anti-SNO-cysteine Ab levels precedes onset of EAE. Anti-SNO-cysteine Abs are also elevated at times of MS attacks and in progressive disease, suggesting a possible role for these Abs, measurable in blood, as a biological marker for clinical activity.

Neurosteroids are a subclass of steroids that can be synthesized in the central nervous system independently of peripheral sources. Several neurosteroids influence cognitive functions. Indeed, in senescent animals we have previously demonstrated a significant correlation between the cerebral concentration of pregnenolone sulfate (PREG-S) and cognitive performance. Indeed, rats with memory impairments exhibited low PREG-S concentrations compared to animals with correct memory performance. Furthermore, these memory deficits can be reversed by intracerebral infusions of PREG-S. Neurotransmitter systems modulated by this neurosteroid were unknown until our recent report of an enhancement of acetylcholine (ACh) release in basolateral amygdala, cortex, and hippocampus induced by central administrations of PREG-S. Central ACh neurotransmission is involved in the regulation of memory processes and is affected in normal aging and in human neurodegenerative pathologies like Alzheimer's disease. ACh neurotransmission is also involved in the modulation of sleep-wakefulness cycle and relationships between paradoxical sleep and memory are well documented in the literature. PREG-S infused at the level of ACh cell bodies induces a dramatic increase of paradoxical sleep in young animals. Cognitive dysfunctions, particularly those observed in Alzheimer's disease, have also been related to alterations of cerebral plasticity. Among these mechanisms, neurogenesis has been recently studied. Preliminary data suggest that PREG-S central infusions dramatically increase neurogenesis. Taken together these data suggest that PREG-S can influence cognitive processes, particularly in senescent subjects, through a modulation of ACh neurotransmission associated with paradoxical sleep modifications; furthermore our recent data suggest a role for neurosteroids in the modulation of hippocampal neurogenesis.

02/2001 | Eur J Neurosci
Influence of glucocorticoids on dopaminergic transmission in the rat dorsolateral striatum.
Barrot M, Abrous DN, Marinelli M, Rouge-Pont F, Le Moal M, Piazza PV

Glucocorticoid hormones exert strong influences on central neurotransmitter systems. In the present work, we examined the functional consequences of corticosterone suppression on the dopaminergic transmission in the dorsolateral striatum by studying the expression of Fos-like proteins and extracellular dopamine levels. Glucocorticoid hormones were suppressed by adrenalectomy, and the specificity of the effects assessed by restoring physiological plasmatic corticosterone concentrations. We show that, in the dorsolateral striatum, glucocorticoids modify postsynaptic dopaminergic transmission. Suppression of glucocorticoids decreased the induction of Fos proteins in response to a direct agonist of dopamine D(1) receptors (SKF 82958, 1.5 mg/kg, i.p.), but not the release of dopamine induced by morphine (2 mg/kg, s.c.) or the density of the limiting enzyme of dopamine synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase. In contrast to the dopaminergic response to morphine, the response to cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) was modified by the suppression of corticosterone. In this case, adrenalectomy increased cocaine-induced changes in extracellular dopamine but did not modify the expression of Fos-like proteins. This absence of changes in cocaine-induced Fos-like proteins might result from a compensatory mechanism between the increase in the dopaminergic response and the decrease in the functional activity of dopamine D(1) receptors. The increased dopaminergic response to cocaine also contrasts with the decreased response previously observed in the shell of the nucleus accumbens [Barrot et al. (2000) Eur. J. Neurosci., 12, 973-979]. The present data highlight the profound heterogeneous influence of glucocorticoids within dopaminergic projections.

01/2001 | Neurotox Res
Long term neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects of perinatal life events in rats.
Koehl M, Lemaire V, Vallee M, Abrous N, Piazza PV, Mayo W, Maccari S, Le Moal M

Modern neurosciences are now able to open new avenues concerning an experimental approach to clinical neurosciences and psychiatry. Detection and prediction of potential vulnerabilities such as behavioral disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases, are urgent tasks leading to prevention that must be encouraged in parallel to the enormous efforts displayed for treatments. Besides possible genetic origins of diseases, environmental factors are now coming under scrutiny, and especially deleterious and challenging life events and stress occurring during prenatal and postnatal critical periods may orient brain functions towards deleterious developments. The hypothesis that will be examined is that early events might be at the origin of pathological transformations and symptoms after long periods of apparent normal abilities and behavioral homeostasis. We used models of prenatal stress and postnatal manipulations such as cross-fostering. It will be demonstrated that such events induce long-term changes, cognitive and emotional modifications appearing first, when offspring are adults, followed by cognitive defects later in life. Increased sensitivity of the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), the endocrine system controlling the secretion of stress hormones (corticoids), appears to be a major element of pathogenesis. HPA axis dysfunction appears very early after birth (3 days) and lasts for months. Cumulative exposure to high levels of hormones seems to be detrimental for some brain regions, especially the hippocampus and major neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine neurons. We evidenced that neuronal modifications in hippocampal region are correlated with behavioral and cognitive defects, relating environment, stress in early life, hormonal changes, long-term neuropathological processes and impaired cognition in aging. Moreover appears in offspring, when adults, a proneness to engage in drug dependence. These data emphasize the need to consider early environmental life events as etiological factors for delayed neuropsychiatric disturbances, neurodegenerative defects included. Moreover, they strengthen the interest for a longitudinal approach to promote experimental psychopathology.

12/12/2000 | Hum Mol Genet
Disruption of the mouse Necdin gene results in hypothalamic and behavioral alterations reminiscent of the human Prader-Willi syndrome.
Muscatelli F, Abrous DN, Massacrier A, Boccaccio I, Le Moal M, Cau P, Cremer H

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a complex neurogenetic disorder with considerable clinical variability that is thought in large part to be the result of a hypothalamic defect. PWS results from the absence of paternal expression of imprinted genes localized in the 15q11-q13 region; however, none of the characterized genes has so far been shown to be involved in the etiology of PWS. Here, we provide a detailed investigation of a mouse model deficient for NECDIN: Linked to the mutation, a neonatal lethality of variable penetrance is observed. Viable NECDIN: mutants show a reduction in both oxytocin-producing and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)-producing neurons in hypothalamus. This represents the first evidence of a hypothalamic deficiency in a mouse model of PWS. NECDIN:-deficient mice also display increased skin scraping activity in the open field test and improved spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze. The latter features are reminiscent of the skin picking and improved spatial memory that are characteristics of the PWS phenotype. These striking parallels in hypothalamic structure, emotional and cognitive-related behaviors strongly suggest that NECDIN is responsible for at least a subset of the multiple clinical manifestations of PWS.

26/09/2000 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Prenatal stress produces learning deficits associated with an inhibition of neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
Lemaire V, Koehl M, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

Early experiences such as prenatal stress significantly influence the development of the brain and the organization of behavior. In particular, prenatal stress impairs memory processes but the mechanism for this effect is not known. Hippocampal granule neurons are generated throughout life and are involved in hippocampal-dependent learning. Here, we report that prenatal stress in rats induced lifespan reduction of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and produced impairment in hippocampal-related spatial tasks. Prenatal stress blocked the increase of learning-induced neurogenesis. These data strengthen pathophysiological hypotheses that propose an early neurodevelopmental origin for psychopathological vulnerabilities in aging.

09/2000 | Exp Neurol
Influence of environment on the efficacy of intrastriatal dopaminergic grafts.
Dobrossy MD, Le Moal M, Montaron MF, Abrous N

Functional recovery is influenced by experience. The aim of the present work was to examine the effects of 'enriched' environment (EE) versus an 'impoverished' environment on the anatomical and functional integration of intrastriatal dopaminergic grafts. These influences were studied using a paradigm where grafting was performed before the dopamine-depleting lesion. Dopaminergic grafts were implanted into the left neostriatum of adult male rats. In the enriched group, grafted rats were housed collectively and were trained on different behavioral tests following grafting. In contrast, impoverished grafted rats were housed individually and not further manipulated. Ten weeks after grafting, the mesotelencephalic dopaminergic pathway was destroyed unilaterally to the grafted side and different behaviors were followed for 7 months. Grafting prior to lesioning had no prophylactic effects on the performance as the graft did not prevent the onset of the lesion-induced impairments. However, under EE conditions, a graft effect was manifested in the reduction of drug-induced rotation and on the indices of bias as tested by a spatial alternation test. No positive graft effects were observed in the skilled paw reaching test. Grafted rats raised under impoverished conditions performed in a fashion indistinguishable from the control lesioned animals on most measures of behavior. A beneficial effect of EE conditions was observed on survival of TH-positive neurons within the grafts. The results suggest that survival of grafted neurons, and the reduction of the magnitude of particular behavioral impairments, can be optimized by increasing the complexity of the subject's environment.

04/2000 | Int J Dev Neurosci
PSA-NCAM: an important regulator of hippocampal plasticity.
Cremer H, Chazal G, Lledo PM, Rougon G, Montaron MF, Mayo W, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

The Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM) serves as a temporally and spatially regulated modulator of a variety of cell-cell interactions. This review summarizes recent results of studies aimed at understanding its regulation of expression and biological function, thereby focussing on its polysialylated isoforms (PSA-NCAM). The detailed analysis of the expression of PSA and NCAM in the hippocampal mossy fiber system and the morphological consequences of PSA-NCAM deficiency in mice support the notion that the levels of expression of NCAM are important not only for the regulation and maintenance of structural changes, such as migration, axonal growth and fasciculation, but also for activity-induced plasticity. There is evidence that PSA-NCAM can specifically contribute to a presynaptic form of plasticity, namely long-term potentiation at hippocampal mossy fiber synapses. This is consistent with previous observations that NCAM-deficient mice show deficits in spatial learning and exploratory behavior. Furthermore, our data points to an important role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is the principle adaptive response of the organism to environmental challenges, in the control of PSA-NCAM expression in the hippocampal formation. In particular, we evidence an inhibitory influence of corticosterone on PSA-NCAM expression.

27/03/2000 | J Comp Neurol
Serotonergic systems in the spinal cord of the amphibian urodele Pleurodeles waltl.
Branchereau P, Rodriguez JJ, Delvolve I, Abrous DN, Le Moal M, Cabelguen JM

The role of the monoamine serotonin (5-HT) in modulating the neural networks underlying axial locomotor movements was studied in an adult amphibian urodele, Pleurodeles waltl. 5-HT was applied to an in vitro brainstem-spinal cord preparation of P. waltl, which displayed fictive axial locomotor patterns following bath application of N-methyl-D-aspartate (5 microM) with D-serine (10 microM). Our results showed that 5-HT (1-25 microM) produces a reversible increase in the cycle duration and the duration of rhythmic bursting activity recorded extracellularly from ventral roots innervating the axial musculature. When applied alone, 5-HT does not trigger axial locomotor activity. The distribution pattern of 5-HT immunoreactive (5-HT-ir) cells along the spinal cord was investigated both in intact and in chronic spinal animals. The number of 5-HT-ir cell bodies is higher at brachial levels and decreases through crural levels. Sparse oval or fusiform 5-HT-ir somata are present within the gray matter, just ventrolateral to the central canal. Longitudinal fibers were detected throughout the entire white matter, except in the medial part of the dorsal funiculi. Two columns of intensely labeled and profusely branching thick and thin fibers associated with numerous varicosities run continuously along the ventrolateral surface of the spinal cord. Three weeks following full spinal cord transection at the level of the second spinal root, all longitudinal processes had disappeared, indicating their supraspinal origin, whereas the ventrolateral plexes remained, suggesting that they originated from intraspinal 5-HT-ir cell bodies. Our data showing that spinal 5-HT is organized according to a rostrocaudal gradient suggest that the 5-HT systems of P. waltl are not related to the presence of limb motor pools but more likely are related to axial central pattern generators (CPGs) networks down the length of the spinal cord. The possible involvement of these two sources (descending vs. intraspinal) of 5-HT innervation in the modulation of the axial CPGs is discussed.

03/2000 | Eur J Neurosci
The dopaminergic hyper-responsiveness of the shell of the nucleus accumbens is hormone-dependent.
Barrot M, Marinelli M, Abrous DN, Rouge-Pont F, Le Moal M, Piazza PV

The dopaminergic projection to the shell of the nucleus accumbens is the most reactive to stress, reward and drugs of abuse and this subregion of the nucleus accumbens is also considered a target of therapeutic effects of atypical antipsychotic drugs (APD). In this report we show, by means of in vivo microdialysis and Fos immunohistochemistry, that the hyper-responsiveness which characterizes the dopaminergic transmission to the shell is dependent on glucocorticoid hormones. In Sprague-Dawley rats, after suppression of endogenous glucocorticoids by adrenalectomy, extracellular dopamine levels selectively decreased in the shell, whilst they remained unchanged in the core. This effect was observed in basal conditions, after a mild stress (vehicle injection), as well as after subcutaneous administration of morphine (2 mg/kg, s.c. ) or intraperitoneal injection of cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.). The decrease in dopamine observed in the shell had a postsynaptic impact, as shown by less induction of Fos-like proteins selectively in the shell in response to cocaine. However, the induction of Fos-like proteins by the full D1 agonist SKF82958 (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) remained unchanged after adrenalectomy, suggesting that the changes in Fos expression after cocaine injection were likely to depend on changes in extracellular dopamine levels rather than on changes in postsynaptic sensitivity to dopamine. The effects of adrenalectomy were glucocorticoid-specific given that they were prevented by corticosterone treatment. This anatomical specificity in the control of neuronal activity by a hormonal input highlights the role of steroid hormones in shaping the functional activity of the brain.

We have examined the behavioural consequences of a partial unilateral dopaminergic denervation of the rat striatum. This partial lesion was obtained by an intrastriatal 6-hydroxy-dopamine injection (6-OHDA, 20 or 10 microgram divided between two injection sites) and was compared with a unilateral complete lesion resulting from an injection of 6-OHDA (2 x 6 microgram) into the medial forebrain bundle. Quantification of striatal dopamine (DA) and its metabolites, and the immunohistochemical evaluation of the nigrostriatal DA system confirmed the complete and partial lesions. Animals with complete striatal denervation displayed both apomorphine- and amphetamine-induced rotations whereas the partial denervation elicited amphetamine-induced rotations only. However, the rates of amphetamine-induced rotation were not correlated with the size of the lesion. In contrast, the paw-reaching impairments were significantly correlated with the striatal dopaminergic depletion. When evaluated in the staircase test, animals with partial denervation were impaired exclusively for the paw contralateral to the side of the lesion. This motor deficit (50-75%) included all components of the skilled paw use (i.e. attempt, motor coordination and success) and was observed at least 12 weeks after the lesion. However, these animals were able to perform normal stepping adjustments with the impaired paw, indicating that the partial lesion induced a coordination deficit of the paw rather than a deficit of movement initiation. After a complete lesion, stepping adjustments of the contralateral paw were dramatically impaired (by 80%), an akinesia which almost certainly accounted for the great deficit in skilled paw use. The paw-reaching impairments resulting from the partial striatal denervation are proposed as a model of the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease and may be useful for the development of restorative therapies.

11/1999 | Eur J Neurosci
Behavioural trait of reactivity to novelty is related to hippocampal neurogenesis.
Lemaire V, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

The hippocampal formation is one of the brain areas where neurogenesis persists during adulthood, with new neurons being continuously added to the population of dentate granule cells. However, the functional implications of this neurogenesis are unknown. On the other hand, the hippocampal formation is particularly concerned with the detection of novelty, and there are indications that dentate granule cells play a significant role in this function. Recently, the existence of inter-individual differences in behavioural reactivity to novelty has been evidenced, related to differences in the reactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Rats that are highly reactive to novelty (HR) exhibit a prolonged corticosterone secretion in response to novelty and to stress when compared with low reactive rats (LR). Taking advantage of the existence of these inter-individual differences, we investigated whether neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus is correlated with the behavioural trait of reactivity to novelty. Rats were first selected according to their locomotor reactivity to a novel environment. Two weeks later, cell proliferation, evaluated by the incorporation of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in progenitors, was studied by immunohistochemistry. We found that cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus was negatively correlated with locomotor reactivity to novelty. Indeed, cell proliferation in LR rats was twice that observed in HR rats. In contrast, survival of nascent neurons was not influenced by the behavioural trait of reactivity to novelty. Using an unbiased stereology, we show that LR rats had more cells within the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus than did HR rats. These results demonstrate the existence of inter-individual differences in neurogenesis and total granule cell number within the dentate gyrus. These differences in hippocampal plasticity can be predicted by the behavioural trait of reactivity to novelty.

Activation of dopaminergic (DA) transmission by psychostimulants increases c-fos expression. d-Amphetamine-induced c-fos activation is reduced in the neostriatum deprived of DA afferents. Dopaminergic grafts implanted into the denervated neostriatum induce a c-fos hyperexpression when challenged with d-amphetamine, which is correlated with the exaggerated compensation of d-amphetamine-induced rotation. The aim of the present study was to test the generality of this phenomenon and the effects of DA grafts on the expression of three immediate early gene-coded proteins (c-Fos, Jun-B, Krox-24) following a challenge with either d-amphetamine or cocaine. c-fos basal expression was low in the neostriatum and was increased by the administration of psychostimulants. These effects were blocked by the DA lesion and restored by the DA grafts. A c-fos hyperexpression was observed within the grafted neostriatum, which was correlated with the compensation of d-amphetamine- or cocaine-induced rotation. Basal levels of Jun-B- and Krox-24-LI nuclei were high within the neostriatum. Administration of d-amphetamine or cocaine did not influence the expression of these IEG-coded proteins. Jun-B expression was not affected by the surgical procedure. In contrast, lesion of DA afferents of neostriatum decreased Krox-24 basal expression, an effect reversed by the grafts. Thus, the expression of c-fos but not Jun-B or Krox-24 appeared to be a good marker for the rotational behavior exhibited by DA-grafted rats challenged with drugs that increased DA transmission. This generalized c-fos overshoot indicates an abnormal activation of postsynaptic neurons by dopamine and points to its value as an indicator of the deleterious effects of DA grafts.

07/1999 | Ann Neurol
Levodopa induces a cytoplasmic localization of D1 dopamine receptors in striatal neurons in Parkinson's disease.
Muriel MP, Bernard V, Levey AI, Laribi O, Abrous DN, Agid Y, Bloch B, Hirsch EC

Parkinson's disease is characterized by a massive loss of nigral dopamine neurons that results in a reduction of dopamine concentrations in the striatum. The most commonly used treatment for this disease is levodopa therapy to restore striatal dopamine. This treatment is mediated by dopamine receptors, but the effect of treatment and the disease on receptor distribution is unknown. In this study, the distribution of D1 dopamine receptors was analyzed at the cellular and subcellular level in the striatum of 5 patients with Parkinson's disease (all treated with levodopa) and 4 control subjects. In the control brains, D1 dopamine receptors were mostly detected on the plasma membrane of medium-sized spiny neurons. The quantitative analysis performed at the ultrastructural level in patients with Parkinson's disease revealed an increase in immunostaining in the cytoplasm of medium-sized neurons. This effect was likely the result of the treatment rather than the dopaminergic denervation, as such changes were not observed in the striatum of rats with a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine nigrostriatal lesion, but were present in normal or lesioned rats treated with a D1 dopamine agonist. Altered localization of D1 dopamine receptors may participate in the occurrence of side effects of levodopa therapy such as dyskinesia and fluctuations in motor performances.

Several electrochemical techniques allow the measurement of dopamine release in freely moving animals and brain slices. In this report, we applied one of these techniques, coulometry, coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), to the study of dopamine release in primary cultures of embryonic mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. Between day 9 and 33 of culture, concentrations of dopamine, above the detection threshold, were found in the incubation buffer (Krebs ringer buffer, KRB). Concentrations of dopamine in the incubation buffer reflected neuronal release as they were: (i) positively correlated with the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive dopamine neurons in the culture; (ii) tetrodotoxin (TTX) sensitive and Ca2+ dependent; (iii) increased by a depolarizing stimulus, e.g. K+ (20 mM), or by the indirect dopamine agonists amphetamine and cocaine; (iv) decreased by a hyperpolarizing stimulus, e.g. the dopamine D2-like receptor agonist quinpirole. Dopamine release in this model was also sensitive to the manipulation of glucocorticoids, potent modulators of dopamine release in vivo. Long-term treatment of the cell cultures with RU 39305, a selective antagonist of glucocorticoid receptors (GR), but not with spironolactone, a selective antagonist of mineralocorticoid receptors (MR), dose-dependently decreased K+-stimulated dopamine release. In conclusion, these results demonstrate an in vitro model that allows the studying of the release of endogenous dopamine in cell cultures and the effects of glucocorticoid hormones on the release dynamics.

We have previously demonstrated that mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) of the right parietal cortex results in a relatively selective deficit in conditioned fear responding. However, this behavioural deficit is very consistent and unrelated to the extent of the cortical necrotic lesion. We were therefore interested in determining if other brain regions might show a consistent response to mild TBI, and therefore, more reliably relate to the behavioural change. Increased expression of inducible transcription factors (ITFs) has been used to study which brain regions respond to a variety of events. In the present study, we examined the expression patterns of immunoreactivity (IR) for four ITFs (c-Fos, c-Jun, JunB, and Krox-24) at 3 h after mild fluid percussion TBI. Changes in ITF expression were only observed ipsilateral to the side of TBI. The clearest changes were observed in brain regions known to be involved in conditioned fear responding, such as the amygdala complex and hippocampal formation and several cortical regions. In contrast, no changes in IR for any of the ITFs were observed in the striatum, nucleus accumbens, nucleus basalis magnocellularis, septum or periacqueductal grey. Unlike the extent of visible damage to the cortex at the site of impact, the overexpression of ITFs showed a notable consistency between animals subjected to TBI. This consistency in regions known to be involved in conditioned fear responding (i.e., amygdala complex and hippocampal formation) lead us to suggest that it is these changes, rather than the more variable cortical necrotic lesion, that is responsible for the behavioural deficits we observe following mild TBI. Importantly, our results demonstrate that like the hippocampus, the amygdala is a sub-cortical structure particularly sensitive to the effects of mild brain trauma and underline the fact that cerebral regions distant from the location of the fluid impact can be affected.

04/1999 | Eur J Neurosci
Adrenalectomy increases neurogenesis but not PSA-NCAM expression in aged dentate gyrus.
Montaron MF, Petry KG, Rodriguez JJ, Marinelli M, Aurousseau C, Rougon G, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

Ageing is accompanied by a decline in neurogenesis and in polysialylated isoforms of neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) expression within the hippocampus and by elevated basal levels of circulating corticosterone. In a companion study, we demonstrated that suppression of corticosterone by adrenalectomy increased neurogenesis and PSA-NCAM expression in the dentate gyrus of adult rats. Here we show that adrenalectomy increased neurogenesis in this structure in old rats, as measured by the incorporation of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine in neuronal progenitors. This effect was prevented by corticosterone replacement. In contrast, PSA-NCAM expression remained unchanged in comparison with controls. Thus, in the aged brain, stem cells are still present and able to enter the cell cycle. This may point to ways of protecting or treating age-related cognitive impairments.

04/1999 | Eur J Neurosci
Functional heterogeneity in dopamine release and in the expression of Fos-like proteins within the rat striatal complex.
Barrot M, Marinelli M, Abrous DN, Rouge-Pont F, Le Moal M, Piazza PV

The dorsolateral striatum, and the core and shell of the nucleus accumbens are three major anatomical regions of the striatal complex. The shell is considered as a part of the extended amygdala, and is involved in the control of motivation and reward. The core and the striatum are considered central to sensory motor integration. In this study we compared the responses of these three regions to mild stress and drugs of abuse by measuring extracellular dopamine (DA) concentrations and Fos-like immunoreactivity (Fos-LI). The results are summarrized as follows. (i) In unchallenged conditions, extracellular DA concentrations were highest in the dorsolateral striatum and lowest in the core, whereas Fos-LI was highest in the shell and lowest in the dorsolateral striatum. (ii) After challenges that increase DA by depolarizing DAergic neurons (injection stress or 2 mg/kg morphine), the shell presented the largest increase in DA levels and Fos-LI. (iii) After the administration of a DA-uptake blocker (15 mg/kg cocaine), the percentage increase in DA was still largest in the shell. However, the absolute increase in DA and Fos-LI in the shell and the dorsolateral striatum were similar. (iv) After a full D1 agonist (SKF82958), Fos-LI was highest in the shell and lowest in the dorsolateral striatum. In conclusion, the nucleus accumbens shell seems to be the area of the striatal complex most functionally reactive to stress and drugs of abuse. However, the dorsolateral striatum and the core appear functionally distinct, as for most of the parameters studied these two regions differed.

1999 | J Soc Biol
[Corticosteroid hormones and the brain].
Le Moal M, Vallee M, Maccari S, Mayo W, Montaron MF, Piazza PV, Abrous N

The anatomical and functional links between the hormone stress axis and the cortico-limbic brain regions which integrate emotion and motivation are well documented. It is important, considering the consequences of stress on the brain, to take into account the regulatory buffer capacities of the personality-cognitive processes. Another point of interest is evaluation of the long term effects of repeated life events on chronic environmental pressures which induce brain negative feedback defects and, subsequently, insidious cellular changes in regions such as the hippocampus that lead to memory or adaptive impairments. An example is provided by perinatal stress that induces, later in life, both hormonal and cognitive deleterious changes.

09/1998 | Eur J Neurosci
Complex regulation of the expression of the polysialylated form of the neuronal cell adhesion molecule by glucocorticoids in the rat hippocampus.
Rodriguez JJ, Montaron MF, Petry KG, Aurousseau C, Marinelli M, Premier S, Rougon G, Le Moal M, Abrous DN

The gyrus dentatus is one of the few areas of the brain that continues to produce neurons after birth. The newborn cells differentiate into granule cells which project axons to their postsynaptic targets. This step is accompanied by the transient expression of the polysialylated isoforms of neuronal cell adhesion molecules (PSA-NCAM) by the developing neurons. Glucocorticoid hormones have been shown to inhibit neurogenesis. We noted a functional correlation between PSA-NCAM expression and glucocorticoid action after manipulation of corticosterone levels in the adrenalectomized rat. Adrenalectomy increased neurogenesis, evaluated from the incorporation of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine in neuronal precursors, as well as PSA-NCAM expression. The increase in PSA-NCAM-immunoreactive (IR) cells in the gyrus dentatus, evidenced 72 h following adrenalectomy, persisted for at least a month. It was accompanied by enhanced dendritic arborization of PSA-NCAM-IR cells in the gyrus dentatus and by an increase in number of PSA-NCAM-IR fibres in the CA3 subfield. Neurogenesis was normalized by restitution of diurnal or nocturnal levels of corticosterone, whereas normalization of PSA-NCAM expression was only observed after simulation of the complete circadian fluctuation of the hormone. Our findings reveal the complex action of corticosterone in modulating the expression of PSA-NCAM in the gyrus dentatus of the hippocampal formation. They also highlight the importance of corticosterone fluctuations in the control of neurogenesis and plasticity in this structure.

05/1998 | Neuroscience
Behavioural recovery after unilateral lesion of the dopaminergic mesotelencephalic pathway: effect of repeated testing.
Abrous DN, Rodriguez JJ, Montaron MF, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Barneoud P

Functional recovery following a complete unilateral lesion of the nigrostriatal pathway in adult rats was studied. We examined the effect of training on the spontaneous or induced postural bias following the lesion. Two tasks measuring lateralization were used to assess the lesion-induced postural bias: spontaneous asymmetry was evaluated in the Y-maze, whereas induced body bias was measured by hanging the rat by its tail. Recovery was assessed at three different times following the lesion. The effects of lesion in adult rats in the short, medium and long term were evaluated and compared with the effects of dopaminergic transplants. In adult lesioned rats, destruction of dopaminergic innervation of the neostriatum induced initially an ipsilateral bias as measured in the 'tail hang test' and the Y-maze. Recovery of function was observed in the tail hang test as ipsilateral bias declined on repeated testing. Apart from this effect, there was a post-lesion interval effect, since the postural bias disappeared more rapidly on repeated testing in the long-term lesioned rats. This spontaneous recovery was impaired by intrastriatal dopaminergic grafts. Furthermore, no spontaneous recovery was observed in the Y-maze test. These observations show that repeated testing can influence the long-term effects of damage to the nigrostriatal dopamine system.

09/01/1997 | Brain Res
Decrease in highly polysialylated neuronal cell adhesion molecules and in spatial learning during ageing are not correlated.
Abrous DN, Montaron MF, Petry KG, Rougon G, Darnaudery M, Le Moal M, Mayo W

Age-dependent spatial memory impairments have been related to a decline in hippocampal plasticity. Highly polysialylated neuronal cell adhesion molecules (PSA-NCAM) show a strong expression during adulthood within regions associated with neuroplastic events. Furthermore, NCAM molecules have been proposed to mediate neuronal plasticity during learning and memory. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of ageing on the expression of PSA-NCAM within the hippocampus. To investigate whether age-dependent changes in expression of PSA-NCAM were accentuated in aged rats with learning impairment, animals were in a first step assessed for their cognitive abilities using a Morris water maze. Seven-month-old and 24-month-old-rats were tested for their performance in the Morris water maze. The animals were sacrificed and brain sections were processed for PSA-NCAM immunohistochemistry. Ageing was accompanied by an overall decrease in PSA-NCAM-immunoreactivity (-IR) within the forebrain, presenting a important decrease of the number of PSA-NCAM-IR perikarya within the hippocampus. These results were confirmed by Western blot analysis. No difference in PSA-NCAM immunoreactivity was observed in aged rats with or without spatial learning impairment. It is concluded that although changes in PSA-NCAM accompanied the decrease in cognitive abilities, our data did not evidence a causal relationship between these two parameters.

01/1997 | Neurobiol Aging
Effect of aging on the basal expression of c-Fos, c-Jun, and Egr-1 proteins in the hippocampus.
Desjardins S, Mayo W, Vallee M, Hancock D, Le Moal M, Simon H, Abrous DN

In the present study the effect of aging on the basal expression of three different immediate early genes (IEGs) was investigated. The protein products of c-fos, c-jun, and egr-1 genes were visualized immunohistochemically in the rat hippocampus of young adult (4-month-old) and old rats (20-month-old). Astrocytes were quantified by GFAp immunostaining to determine whether changes in the expression of IEGs were correlated with modifications in this marker of degenerative changes. In the young adult rat brain, basal levels of c-Jun and Egr-1 but not c-Fos were detected within the hippocampal formation. Whereas very high basal levels of c-Jun were found in the dentate granule cells and in the pyramidal cells of the ventral hippocampus, Egr-1 was highly expressed in the CA1 pyramidal cells of the dorsal hippocampus. Aging was accompanied by a decrease in Egr-1 expression, by a decrease in total cell density, as well as by a loss of astrocytes in CA1 subfields. In contrast, basal expression of c-Fos and c-Jun as well as astrocyte density within the dentate gyrus were not affected by aging. No difference in these markers was observed in aged rats with or without impairment in spatial learning in a water maze. It was concluded that although these changes may reflect senescence-induced decline of brain function, they do not constitute the defect underlying the age-associated reduction in mnesic capability.

24/12/1996 | Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Suppression of glucocorticoid secretion and antipsychotic drugs have similar effects on the mesolimbic dopaminergic transmission.
Piazza PV, Barrot M, Rouge-Pont F, Marinelli M, Maccari S, Abrous DN, Simon H, Le Moal M

Specific antagonists of central dopaminergic receptors constitute the major class of antipsychotic drugs (APD). Two principal effects of APD are used as criteria for the pre-clinical screening of their antipsychotic action: (i) inhibition of basal and depolarization-induced activity of mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons; (ii) antagonism of the locomotor effects of dopaminergic agonists. Given that glucocorticoid hormones in animals increase dopamine release and dopamine-mediated behaviors and that high levels of glucocorticoids can induce psychotic symptoms in humans, these experiments examined whether inhibition of endogenous glucocorticoids might have APD-like effects on mesolimbic dopaminergic transmission in rats. It is shown that suppression of glucocorticoid secretion by adrenalectomy profoundly decreased (by greater than 50%): (i) basal dopaminergic release and the release of dopamine induced by a depolarizing stimulus such as morphine (2 mg/kg, s.c.), as measured in the nucleus accumbens of freely moving animals by microdialysis; (ii) the locomotor activity induced by the direct dopaminergic agonist apomorphine. The effects of adrenalectomy were glucocorticoid specific given that they were reversed by the administration of glucocorticoids at doses within the physiological range. Despite its profound diminution of dopaminergic neurotransmission, adrenalectomy neither modified the number of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons nor induced gliosis in the mesencephalon or in the nucleus accumbens, as shown by tyrosine hydroxylase and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining. In conclusion, these findings suggest that blockade of central effects of glucocorticoids might open new therapeutic strategies of behavioral disturbances.

Activation of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system by psychostimulants such as amphetamine increases c-Fos expression in the striatum, mostly in the striatonigral substance P-ergic pathway. This effect is greatly reduced in the neostriatum deprived of dopaminergic afferents. Dopaminergic grafts implanted into the denervated neostriatum restore the reactivity of the striatum to amphetamine. However, the number of striatal neurons expressing c-Fos is greatly increased in the graft-bearing striatum compared with the normal striatum. We examined whether this increase in the number of c-Fos-expressing neurons corresponds to the recruitment of a new neuron population, or whether it reflects an increase in the proportion of substance P-ergic neurons exhibiting activation of c-Fos. Adult rats received a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the ascending dopaminergic mesotelencephalic pathway, and a suspension of embryonic mesencephalic neurons was subsequently implanted into the denervated neostriatum. Three months after implantation, animals were injected with d-amphetamine (5 mg/kg) and killed 2 h later. In the first experiment, striatal sections were processed to visualize both c-Fos protein, by immunohistochemistry, and preproenkephalin A or substance P, by in situ hybridization. In the second experiment, c-Fos and neuropeptide Y were visualized on the same sections. In addition, some sections incubated with anti-c-Fos antibody were counterstained with toluidine blue in order to determine whether cholinergic neurons were expressing c-Fos following amphetamine treatment. The density of neurons expressing c-Fos following amphetamine treatment was three-fold higher in the graft-bearing striata than in the striata of control animals. Approximately 75% of the c-Fos expressing cells were substance P-ergic in control animals whereas 6% were enkephalinergic and only a few were neuropeptide Y-ergic or cholinergic. Similar proportions were found in the graft-bearing striatum, signifying that the pattern of activation of c-fos following amphetamine administration is not changed by the graft. Thus, the increased expression of c-Fos predominantly reflects a graft-induced increase in the proportion of neurons expressing c-Fos within the same population of neurons which normally expresses c-Fos in the striatum, i.e. the striatonigral substance P-ergic neurons; there is no recruitment of a new neuronal population. This increased activation of the striatonigral substance P-ergic pathway may underlie the abnormal behavioural reactions brought about by amphetamine-induced stimulation of the implanted dopaminergic neurons.

To evaluate the functional integration of neonatal dopaminergic transplants within host brain we studied the postsynaptic effects induced by their stimulation by following the expression of immediate early genes c-fos, c-jun and egr-1. This study was conducted nine months after the intrastriatal implantation of embryonic mesencephalic neurons to rat pups having sustained a unilateral lesion of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. We examined whether, when challenged with d-amphetamine: (1) dopaminergic grafts transplanted into the previously denervated neonatal neostriatum lead to a normal activation of postsynaptic striatal neurons in term of immediate early genes activation; and (2) whether this activation is related to the action of the dopamine released from the grafts using a dopaminergic D1 antagonist. Following a mild stress-injection of saline-c-fos expression was high in the lesioned neostriatum when compared with control animals. This effect was only partially counteracted by a pre-treatment with the D1 antagonist SCH 23390, but was abolished by the graft. Administration of d-amphetamine increased c-fos expression in the neostriatum and the globus pallidus of the control group. This activation was partially blocked by the lesion. The transplant reversed the effect of the lesion and, moreover, led to a c-fos over-expression in the dorsolateral neostriatum and the globus pallidus. These overcompensations positively correlated with the abnormal rotation induced by d-amphetamine in the same animals. Pre-treatment with SCH 23390 blocked the effect of d-amphetamine on c-fos expression in control and grafted animals. Similar results were found for egr-1 but not c-jun expression. It is concluded that the neonatal lesion of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, in contrast to the adult-stage lesion, modifies the reactivity of c-fos in the neostriatum to stress, presumably in relation with compensatory reorganizations occurring following the neonatal lesion. Grafts made into neonates, when challenged with amphetamine, induce an abnormal c-fos expression which can predict the degree of overshoot observed for rotation activity. This over-expression, which depends upon the stimulation of D1 receptors, indicate an abnormal activation of postsynaptic target cells by the grafts.

Previous reports have evoked the possibility that a priming stimulation of grafted dopaminergic (DA) neurones by amphetamine enhances their efficacy in behavioural tests performed several days later. The present study was designed to test this hypothesis. Five days after the unilateral destruction of the DA mesotelencephalic system of 3-day-old rat pups, DA grafts were implanted into the denervated neostriatum of half of the lesioned pups. At adulthood, lesion and graft groups were subdivided into 4 subgroups which received one of the following treatments: saline or amphetamine injection in an environment where the behavioural test was subsequently conducted (paired environment) or in an unrelated environment (unpaired environment). Five days later, rotational response to a tail-pinch stress was tested in the paired environment. In these conditions, we found no evidence for a priming effect of amphetamine. Animals that received amphetamine or saline in the unpaired environment displayed the same rotational response to the tail-pinch stress. On the other hand, a conditioning influence of the environment was detected. Thus, the effect previously described might have been caused by a conditioning effect and/or might be due to differences in the experimental conditions. This suggests that 'priming' the graft with amphetamine does not provide a general strategy to enhance the functional efficacy of DA grafts.

The intracerebral transplantation of embryonic dopaminergic nigral neurons, although relatively successful, leads to a fairly low yield of surviving cells. Many factors may influence the viability of dopaminergic grafts and one of these is the preparation of the tissue prior to transplantation. We have investigated the effects of different steps during the preparation and storage of embryonic rat nigral cell suspensions on their subsequent survival at a variety of different time points using a combination of techniques and studies. For studies concerned with the first 24 h we employed vital stains, in the period covering the next 7 days we used in vitro cultures, and in the long term experiment we used in vivo grafts. The results suggest that nigral cell suspensions may remain sufficiently viable for grafting for much longer periods than previously reported. In addition a number of parameters which affect cell survival have been characterised, including the age of the embryonic donor tissue, the use of proteolytic enzymes and the trituration procedure used during the preparation of the suspension. The optimal preparation technique, therefore, uses E13-E14 embryos with the dissected ventral mesencephalon being incubated in purified 0.1% trypsin solutions for 60 min and triturated using a flame polished Pasteur pipette. This may have important implications in improving intracerebral transplantation for Parkinson's disease.

The ascending dopaminergic pathway of 3-day-old rats has been unilaterally destroyed by the injection of 6-hydroxydopamine into the lateral hypothalamus. Five days later, a suspension containing embryonic dopaminergic neurones was injected in the lesioned neostriatum. Rotational responses to dopaminergic agonists were tested eight months after grafting and animals were killed one month later. Neostriatal dopaminergic D1 and D2 receptors were examined using autoradiography while changes in D2 receptor mRNA levels were studied by in situ hybridization. The lesion induced a behavioural hypersensitivity - as manifested in contralateral rotations - to dopaminergic D1 (SKF 38393) or D2 (LY 171555) agonists which was abolished by the graft. Density of D1 receptors was not affected by the lesion while D2 receptors density was increased by 20-25% in the more rostral part of the neostriatum. Changes in D2 mRNA after the lesion paralleled those observed for D2 receptor density, i.e. D2 mRNA level was increased by 15-19% in the rostral neostriatum. The graft did not influence D1 receptor densities but reversed the post-lesion increase of D2 receptors associated parameters. It is concluded that dopaminergic grafts implanted in neonatal hosts are able to normalise the density of D2 receptors by an action on their synthesis.

The aim of the present experiment was to test whether: (i) the destruction of the dopaminergic meso-telencephalic pathway in neonatal rats induces an increase in the density of Neuropeptide Y immunoreactive (NPY-IR) neuronal perikarya within the denervated neostriatum; (ii) embryonic dopaminergic neurons grafted into the neonatal neostriatum could block such an effect of the lesion. As a control, density of NPY-IR neurones was also examined in rats lesioned and/or grafted at adulthood. The ascending dopaminergic system of 3-day-old rat pups or adult rats was unilaterally lesioned by intrahypothalamic injection of 6-hydroxydopamine. Grafting was performed six days later. The neonatal lesion increased the number of NPY-IR neurones on the lesioned side by 24% as compared to the contralateral neonstriatum. This increase was abolished in the neostriatum bearing dopaminergic grafts as evaluated six weeks after grafting. These effects are similar to that observed in animals lesioned and/or grafted as adults and further extend the range of post-lesion modifications which can be reversed by the implantation of embryonic DA neurones to neonates.

We have examined whether dopaminergic mesencephalic grafts implanted into neonates can provide more extensive protection against deficits induced by a subsequent unilateral lesion of the mesotelencephalic dopaminergic pathway than when the grafts are implanted in adulthood. A dopamine-rich neuronal cell suspension obtained from embryonic day 14 mesencephali was injected unilaterally into the neostriatum of otherwise intact neonatal or adult rats at one day or two months of age, respectively. Two months later, the ipsilateral mesotelencephalic dopaminergic pathway was destroyed by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine. The behavioural effects of the grafts were evaluated in tests of drug-induced rotation and skilled paw reaching. After completion of the behavioural testing, animals were killed and brains were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. In rats receiving transplants as adults, grafts were compact and located in the neostriatum. In contrast, in rats receiving transplants neonatally, fewer dopaminergic neurons survived and they were dispersed over a large area of the host neostriatum and nucleus accumbens. After lesioning, all animals manifested strong rotation in response to amphetamine: this was not initially prevented by the grafts, made at either age, up to three months following the lesion, but was reduced in both groups of grafted rats by seven months after lesioning. This prolonged period for the development of recovery contrasts markedly with the rapid recovery obtained when similar grafts are implanted into the denervated neostriatum of adult rats that had received a prior 6-hydroxydopamine lesion. The development of apomorphine rotation, thought to reflect the development of receptor supersensitivity following lesions, was partially blocked to a similar extent by the grafts in both age groups. In contrast to their effects in the rotation tests, the dopaminergic grafts had no detectable effect on the profound contralateral deficit induced by the lesions in the paw-reaching test, whether implanted into neonatal or adult brains. Thus, whereas the age of the host at the time of implantation can markedly influence the gross morphological organization of dopaminergic grafts implanted into the neostriatum, the functional effects were similar, whether the grafts were implanted into neonatal or adult hosts.

Unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced lesion of the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) pathway causes a significant increase of preproenkephalin (PPE) messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in the DA-depleted striatum in rat brain. Using an in situ hybridization (ISH) technique and computer-assisted microdensitometry, we quantified the changes in PPE mRNA levels in the striatum. Seven months after lesion, levels of PPE mRNA were 75% higher in the DA-depleted striatum than in the contralateral control striatum of the same animal or in the striatum of sham control animals. The implantation of embryonic dopaminergic neurons into the denervated striatum led to a complete reversal of this increase and, in grafted animals, levels of PPE mRNA were at control values. Moreover, this reversal extended beyond the areas reinnervated by the grafted dopaminergic neurons.