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Concept: Catecholamine


Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors are an established treatment for end-of-dose motor fluctuations associated with levodopa therapy in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Current COMT inhibitors carry a high risk for toxic effects to hepatic cells or show moderate improvement. Opicapone was designed to be effective without the adverse effects.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Dopamine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine, Entacapone, Tolcapone


Context: Neuroendocrine and immune stresses imposed by chronic sleep restriction are known to be involved in the harmful cardiovascular effects associated with poor sleep. Objectives: Despite a well-known beneficial effect of napping on alertness, its effects on neuroendocrine stress and immune responses after sleep restriction are largely unknown. Design: A strictly controlled (sleep-wake status, light environment, caloric intake), crossover, randomized design in continuously polysomnography-monitored subjects. Setting: The study was conducted in a laboratory-based study. Participants: The subjects were 11 healthy young men. Intervention: We investigated the effects on neuroendocrine and immune biomarkers of a night of sleep restricted to 2 h followed by a day without naps or with 30 minute morning and afternoon naps, both conditions followed by an ad libitum recovery night starting at 20:00. Main Outcome Measures: Salivary interleukin-6 and urinary catecholamines were assessed throughout the daytime study periods. Results: The increase in norepinephrine values seen at the end of the afternoon after the sleep-restricted night was not present when the subjects had the opportunity to take naps. Interleukin-6 changes observed after sleep deprivation were also normalized after napping. During the recovery day in the no-nap condition, there were increased levels of afternoon epinephrine and dopamine, which was not the case in the nap condition. A recovery night after napping was associated with a reduced amount of slow-wave sleep compared to after the no-nap condition. Conclusions: Our data suggest that napping has stress-releasing and immune effects. Napping could be easily applied in real settings as a countermeasure to the detrimental health consequences of sleep debt.

Concepts: Immune system, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine


The catecholamines dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) are neurotransmitters and hormones that mediate stress responses in tissues and plasma. The expression of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) is responsive to stress and is high in tissues rich in catecholamines. We recently reported that APP is a ferroxidase, subsuming, in neurons and other cells, the iron-export activity that ceruloplasmin mediates in glia. Here we report that, like ceruloplasmin, APP also oxidizes synthetic amines and catecholamines catalytically (K(m) NE=0.27 mM), through a site encompassing its ferroxidase motif and selectively inhibited by zinc. Accordingly, APP knockout mice have significantly higher levels of DA, NE and E in brain, plasma and select tissues. Consistent with this, these animals have increased resting heart rate and systolic blood pressure as well as suppressed prolactin and lymphocyte levels. These findings support a role for APP in extracellular catecholaminergic clearance.

Concepts: Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Monoamine oxidase, Tyrosine, L-DOPA, Catecholamine


Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is seen, though rarely, in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine. Stress cardiomyopathy is most likely to occur in middle-aged women. The underlying etiology is believed to be related to catecholamine release in periods of intense stress. Catecholamines administered exogenously, and those secreted by neuroendocrine tumors (e.g., pheochromocytoma) or during anaphylaxis have been reported to cause apical ballooning syndrome, or takotsubo syndrome. However, reverse takotsubo stress cardiomyopathy is rarely seen or reported in anaphylaxis treated with epinephrine.

Concepts: Cardiomyopathy, Neuroendocrine tumor, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Cardiovascular diseases, Pheochromocytoma, Catecholamine, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy


A dimeric Cu(II) complex [Cu(μ(2)-hep)(hep-H)](2)·2ClO(4) (1) containing bidentate (hep-H=2-(2-hydroxyethyl)pyridine) ligand was synthesized and characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction studies. Each Cu-ion in 1 is in a distorted square pyramidal geometry. Further 1 along with silver nanoparticles (SNPs) have been used as modifier in the construction of a biomimetic sensor (1-SNP-GCPE) for determining certain catecholamines viz., dopamine (DA), levodopa (l-Dopa), epinephrine (EP) and norepinephrine (NE) using cyclic voltammetry, chronocoulometry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and adsorptive stripping square wave voltammetry (AdSSWV). Finally, the catalytic properties of the sensor were characterized by chronoamperometry. Employing AdSSWV, the calibration curves showed linear response ranging between 10(-6) and 10(-9)M for all the four analytes with detection limits (S/N=3) of 8.52×10(-10)M, 2.41×10(-9)M, 3.96×10(-10)M and 3.54×10(-10)M for DA, l-Dopa, EP and NE respectively. The lifetime of the biomimetic sensor was 3 months at room temperature. The prepared modified electrode shows several advantages such as simple preparation method, high sensitivity, high stability, ease of preparation and regeneration of the electrode surface by simple polishing along with excellent reproducibility. The method has been applied for the selective and precise analysis of DA, l-Dopa, EP and NE in pharmaceutical formulations, urine and blood serum samples.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, L-DOPA, Catecholamine, Catecholamines


Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT, EC plays a central role in the inactivation of neurotransmitters sharing a catecholic motif by transferring a methyl group from AdoMet. Methylation of the meta-hydroxyl is much more common than that of the para-hydroxyl in many COMT’s substrates, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Our experimental data showed that quercetin preferred meta-methylation but luteolin favored a para-methylation. To elucidate the mechanism for different preferences of methylations of quercetin and luteolin, we performed theoretical investigation on the different regioseletivities of COMT-catalyzed methylations for quercetin and luteolin by a combined approaches of MD simulations, ab initio calculations, and QM/MM computations. The ab initio calculation results showed that both quercetin and luteolin have more negative charge distributions on meta-O atom than para-O atom, which indicated that meta-O preferred SN2 reaction for their methylation. Our QM/MM computations also confirmed that these two flavonoids have lower reaction energetic barriers for COMT-catalyzed meta-O- methylation than para-O-methylation. On the other hand, our binding free energy computation results indicated that quercetin has more stable binding mode for meta-O-methylation than para-O-methylation but luteolin has more stable binding mode for para-O-methylation than meta-O-methylation. We gave a comprehensive explanation considering both thermodynamics and reaction kinetics aspects and discussed the protein-inhibitor interactions as well as the O-methylation mechanism in our present work.

Concepts: Computational chemistry, Ab initio, Force, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, Catecholamine


Regular exercise is shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects, yet the effects of acute exercise on cellular inflammatory responses and its mechanisms remain unclear. We tested the hypothesis that sympathoadrenergic activation during a single bout of exercise has a suppressive effect on monocytic cytokine production mediated by β2 adrenergic receptors (AR). We investigated the effects of 20-minute moderate (65-70% VO2 peak) exercise-induced catecholamine production on LPS-stimulated TNF production by monocytes in 47 healthy volunteers and determined AR subtypes involved. We also examined the effects of β-agonist isoproterenol and endogenous β- and α-agonists epinephrine and norepinephrine, and receptor-subtype-specific β- and α-antagonists on TNF production in a series of in vitro investigations. LPS-stimulated TNF production was determined intracellularly by flow cytometry in peripheral blood monocytes. Percent TNF-producing monocytes and per-cell TNF production with and without LPS was suppressed by exercise with moderate to large effects, which was reversed by a β2-AR antagonist in spite that plasma TNF levels did not change. This inhibitory response in TNF production by exercise was mirrored by β-AR agonists in an agonist-specific and dose-dependent manner in vitro: similar isoproterenol (EC50= 2.1-4.7x10(-10) M) and epinephrine (EC50= 4.4-10x10(-10) M) potency and higher norepinephrine concentrations (EC50= 2.6-4.3x10(-8) M) needed for the effects. Importantly, epinephrine levels observed during acute exercise in vivo significantly inhibited TNF production in vitro. The inhibitory effect of the AR agonists was abolished by β2-, but not by β1- or α-AR blockers. We conclude that the downregulation of monocytic TNF production during acute exercise is mediated by elevated epinephrine levels through β2-ARs. Decreased inflammatory responses during acute exercise may protect against chronic conditions with low-grade inflammation.

Concepts: Inflammation, Monocyte, Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Adrenergic receptor, Beta blocker, Catecholamine


There is growing scientific and societal recognition of the role that pet dogs can play in healthy development of children; both those who are neuro-typically developing and those who live with a neuro-developmental disorder, such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, little attention has been paid to how living with children positively and negatively affects quality of life of a pet dog. In this exploratory study we conducted semi-structured interviews with parents of neuro-typically developing children (n = 18) and those with a neuro-developmental disorder (n = 18) who owned a pet dog, until no new factors were identified. Living with children brought potentially positive benefits to the dog’s life including: imposition of a routine, participation in recreational activities and the development of a strong bond between the child and the dog. The importance of maintaining a routine was particularly prevalent in families with children with neuro-developmental disorders. Potential negative factors included having to cope with child meltdowns and tantrums, over stimulation from child visitors, harsh contact and rough and tumble play with the child. The regularity and intensity of meltdowns and tantrums was particularly evident in responses from parents with children with a neuro-developmental disorder. However, child visitors and rough play and contact were mentioned similarly across the groups. Protective factors included having a safe haven for the dog to escape to, parent’s awareness of stress signs and child education in dog-interaction. Parents were also asked to complete a stress response scale to provide an initial quantitative comparison of stress responses between dogs living with the two family-types. Parents with neuro-typically developing children more frequently observed their dog rapidly running away from a situation and less frequently observed their dog widening their eyes, than parents with children with a neuro-developmental disorder. We propose the development of a stress audit based on the findings reported here, to prevent potential dangerous situations, which may lead to dog bites and dog relinquishment and allow owners to maximise the benefits of dog ownership.

Concepts: Attention, Educational psychology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Hyperactivity, Catecholamine


Pain is a primary symptom driving patients to seek physical therapy and its attenuation commonly defines a successful outcome. A large body of evidence is dedicated to elucidating the relationship between chronic stress and pain. A physiologic stress response may be evoked by fear or perceived threat to safety, status, or well-being, and elicits the secretion of sympathetic catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinepherine) and neuroendocrine hormones (cortisol) to promote survival and motivate success. Cortisol is a potent anti-inflammatory that functions to mobilize glucose reserves for energy and modulate inflammation. Cortisol may also facilitate the consolidation of fear-based memories for future survival and avoidance of danger. While short-term stress may be adaptive, maladaptive responses (such as magnification, rumination, or helplessness) to pain or non-pain-related stressors may intensify cortisol secretion and condition a sensitized physiologic stress response that is readily recruited. Ultimately, a prolonged or exaggerated stress response may perpetuate cortisol dysfunction, widespread inflammation, and pain. While stress may be unavoidable in life and challenges are inherent to success, humans have the capability to modify what they perceive as stressful and how they respond to it. Exaggerated psychological responses (eg: catastrophizing) following maladaptive cognitive appraisals of potential stressors as threatening may exacerbate cortisol secretion by facilitating fear-based activation of the amygdala. Coping, cognitive re-appraisal, or confrontation of stressors may minimize cortisol secretion and prevent chronic, recurrent pain. Given the parallel mechanisms underlying the physiologic effects of a maladaptive response to pain and non-pain-related stressors, physical therapists should consider screening for non-pain-related stress to facilitate treatment, prevent chronic disability, and improve quality of life.

Concepts: Anxiety, Cortisol, Epinephrine, Sympathetic nervous system, Stress, Norepinephrine, Catecholamine, Neuroendocrine


The cerebellum, although traditionally considered a motor structure, has been increasingly recognized to play a role in regulating executive function, the dysfunction of which is a factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Additionally, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) polymorphism has been reported to be associated with executive function. We examined whether the cortico-cerebellar executive function network is altered in children with ADHD and whether COMT polymorphism is associated with the altered network. Thirty-one children with ADHD and thirty age- and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) controls underwent resting-state functional MRI, and functional connectivity of executive function-related Crus I/II in the cerebellum was analysed. COMT Val158Met genotype data were also obtained from children with ADHD. Relative to TD controls, children with ADHD showed significantly lower functional connectivity of the right Crus I/II with the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Additionally, the functional connectivity of children with ADHD was modulated by COMT polymorphism, with Met-carriers exhibiting significantly lower functional connectivity than the Val/Val genotype. These results suggest the existence of variations, such as ethnic differences, in COMT genetic effects on the cortico-cerebellar executive function network. These variations contribute to heterogeneity in ADHD. Further neuroimaging genetics study might lead to the development of fundamental therapies that target ADHD pathophysiology.

Concepts: Genetics, Brain, Cerebrum, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Attention versus memory in prefrontal cortex, Dopamine, Working memory, Catecholamine