• Cortical gene transcription response patterns to water maze training in aged mice

      Park, Sung-Soo; Stranahan, Alexis M.; Chadwick, Wayne; Zhou, Yu; Wang, Liyun; Martin, Bronwen; Becker, Kevin G.; Maudsley, Stuart; Department of Physiology (2011-06-29)
      Background: The hippocampus mediates the acquisition of spatial memory, but the memory trace is eventually transferred to the cortex. We have investigated transcriptional activation of pathways related to cognitive function in the cortex of the aged mouse by analyzing gene expression following water maze training.
    • Developmental Changes in Hemodynamic Responses and Cardiovagal Modulation during Isometric Handgrip Exercise

      Goulopoulou, Styliani; Fernhall, Bo; Kanaley, Jill A.; Department of Physiology (2010-08-29)
      The purpose of this study was to examine differences in pressor response and cardiovagal modulation during isometric handgrip exercise (IHG) between children and adults. Beat-to-beat heart rate (HR) and blood pressure were measured in 23 prepubertal children and 23 adults at baseline and during IHG. Cardiovagal modulation was quantified by analysis of HR variability. Mean arterial pressure responses to IHG were greater in adults compared to children (P < .05) whereas there were no group differences in HR responses (P > .05). Children had a greater reduction in cardiovagal modulation in response to IHG compared to adults (P < .05). Changes in mean arterial pressure during IHG were correlated with baseline cardiovagal modulation and force produced during isometric contraction (P < .05). In conclusion, differences in pressor reflex response between children and adults cannot be solely explained by differences in autonomic modulation and appear to be associated with factors contributing to the force produced during isometric contraction.
    • Evidence for a Developmental Role for TLR4 in Learning and Memory

      Okun, Eitan; Barak, Boaz; Saada-Madar, Ravit; Rothman, Sarah M.; Griffioen, Kathleen J.; Roberts, Nicholas; Castro, Kamilah; Mughal, Mohamed R.; Pita, Mario A.; Stranahan, Alexis M.; et al. (2012-10-11)
      Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play essential roles in innate immunity and increasing evidence indicates that these receptors are expressed in neurons, astrocytes and microglia in the brain where they mediate responses to infection, stress and injury. Very little is known about the roles of TLRs in cognition. To test the hypothesis that TLR4 has a role in hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory, we used mice deficient for TLR4 and mice receiving chronic TLR4 antagonist infusion to the lateral ventricles in the brain. We found that developmental TLR4 deficiency enhances spatial reference memory acquisition and memory retention, impairs contextual fear-learning and enhances motor functions, traits that were correlated with CREB up-regulation in the hippocampus. TLR4 antagonist infusion into the cerebral ventricles of adult mice did not affect cognitive behavior, but instead affected anxiety responses. Our findings indicate a developmental role for TLR4 in shaping spatial reference memory, and fear learning and memory. Moreover, we show that central TLR4 inhibition using a TLR4 antagonist has no discernible physiological role in regulating spatial and contextual hippocampus-dependent cognitive behavior.
    • Metabolic Context Regulates Distinct Hypothalamic Transcriptional Responses to Antiaging Interventions

      Stranahan, Alexis M.; Martin, Bronwen; Chadwick, Wayne; Park, Sung-Soo; Wang, Liyun; Becker, Kevin G.; WoodIII, William H.; Zhang, Yongqing; Maudsley, Stuart; Department of Physiology (2012-08-27)
      The hypothalamus is an essential relay in the neural circuitry underlying energy metabolism that needs to continually adapt to changes in the energetic environment. The neuroendocrine control of food intake and energy expenditure is associated with, and likely dependent upon, hypothalamic plasticity. Severe disturbances in energy metabolism, such as those that occur in obesity, are therefore likely to be associated with disruption of hypothalamic transcriptomic plasticity. In this paper, we investigated the effects of two well-characterized antiaging interventions, caloric restriction and voluntary wheel running, in two distinct physiological paradigms, that is, diabetic (db/db) and nondiabetic wild-type (C57/Bl/6) animals to investigate the contextual sensitivity of hypothalamic transcriptomic responses. We found that, both quantitatively and qualitatively, caloric restriction and physical exercise were associated with distinct transcriptional signatures that differed significantly between diabetic and non-diabetic mice. This suggests that challenges to metabolic homeostasis regulate distinct hypothalamic gene sets in diabetic and non-diabetic animals. A greater understanding of how genetic background contributes to hypothalamic response mechanisms could pave the way for the development of more nuanced therapeutics for the treatment of metabolic disorders that occur in diverse physiological backgrounds.
    • Vascular Protection by Angiotensin Receptor Antagonism Involves Differential VEGF Expression in Both Hemispheres after Experimental Stroke

      Guan, Weihua; Somanath, Payaningal R.; Kozak, Anna; Goc, Anna; El-Remessy, Azza B.; Ergul, Adviye; Johnson, Maribeth H.; Alhusban, Ahmed; Soliman, Sahar; Fagan, Susan C.; et al. (2011-09-1)
      We identified that the angiotensin receptor antagonist, candesartan, has profound neurovascular protective properties when administered after ischemic stroke and was associated with a proangiogenic state at least partly explained by vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA). However, the spatial distribution of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms and their receptors remained unknown. Protein analysis identified a significant increase in vascular endothelial grow factor B (VEGFB) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the ischemic hemispheres (with increased VEGF receptor 1 activation) of treated animals (p<0.05) which was co-occurring with an increase in protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation (p<0.05). An increase in VEGFA protein in the contralesional hemisphere corresponded to a significant increase in vascular density at seven days (p<0.01) after stroke onset