SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: ACS chemical neuroscience

35

Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment, known also as ‘chemobrain’, is a medical complication of cancer treatment that is characterized by a general decline in cognition affecting visual and verbal memory, attention, complex problem solving skills, and motor function. It is estimated that one-third of patients who undergo chemotherapy treatment will experience cognitive impairment. Alterations in the release and uptake of dopamine and serotonin, central nervous system neurotransmitters that play important roles in cognition, could potentially contribute to impaired intellectual performance in those impacted by chemobrain. To investigate how chemotherapy treatment affects these systems, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) at carbon-fiber microelectrodes was used to measure dopamine and serotonin release and uptake in coronal brain slices containing the striatum and dorsal raphe nucleus, respectively. Measurements were taken from rats treated weekly with selected doses of carboplatin and from control rats treated with saline. Modeling the stimulated dopamine release plots revealed an impairment of dopamine release per stimulus pulse (80% of saline control at 5 mg/kg and 58% at 20 mg/kg) after four weeks of carboplatin treatment. Moreover, Vmax, the maximum uptake rate of dopamine, was also decreased (55% of saline control at 5 mg/kg and 57% at 20 mg/kg). Nevertheless, overall dopamine content, measured in striatal brain lysates by high performance liquid chromatography, and reserve pool dopamine, measured by FSCV after pharmacological manipulation, did not significantly change, suggesting that chemotherapy treatment selectively impairs the dopamine release and uptake processes. Similarly, serotonin release upon electrical stimulation was impaired (45% of saline control at 20 mg/kg). Measurements of spatial learning discrimination were taken throughout the treatment period and carboplatin was found to alter cognition. These studies support the need for additional neurochemical and behavioral analyses to identify the underlying mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced cognitive disorders.

Concepts: Nervous system, Psychology, Brain, Chemotherapy, Serotonin, Problem solving, Dopamine, Raphe nuclei

28

We previously reported the discovery of VU0364572 and VU0357017 as M(1)-selective agonists that appear to activate M(1) through actions at an allosteric site. Previous studies have revealed that chemical scaffolds for many allosteric modulators contain molecular switches that allow discovery of allosteric antagonists and allosteric agonists or positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on a single chemical scaffold. Based on this, we initiated a series of studies to develop selective M(1) allosteric antagonists based on the VU0364572 scaffold. Interestingly, two lead antagonists identified in this series, VU0409774 and VU0409775, inhibited ACh-induced Ca(2+) responses at rat M(1-5) receptor subtypes, suggesting they are nonselective muscarinic antagonists. VU0409774 and VU0409775 also completely displaced binding of the nonselective radioligand [(3)H]-NMS at M(1) and M(3) mAChRs with affinities similar to their functional IC(50) values. Finally, Schild analysis revealed that these compounds inhibit M(1) responses through a fully competitive interaction at the orthosteric binding site. This surprising finding prompted further studies to determine whether agonist activity of VU0364572 and VU0357017 may also engage in previously unappreciated actions at the orthosteric site on M(1). Surprisingly, both VU0364572 and VU0357017 completely displaced [(3)H]-NMS binding to the orthosteric site of M(1)-M(5) receptors at high concentrations. Furthermore, evaluation of agonist activity in systems with varying levels of receptor reserve and Furchgott analysis using a cell line expressing M(1) under control of an inducible promotor was consistent with an action of these compounds as weak orthosteric partial agonists of M(1). However, consistent with previous studies suggesting actions at a site that is distinct from the orthosteric binding site, VU0364572 or VU0357017 slowed the rate of [(3)H]-NMS dissociation from CHO-rM(1) membranes. Together, these results suggest that VU0364572 and VU0357017 act as bitopic ligands and that novel antagonists in this series act as competitive orthosteric site antagonists.

Concepts: Allosteric regulation, Pharmacology, Ligand, Receptor antagonist, Agonist, Inverse agonist, Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, Functional selectivity

27

Imaging mass spectrometry is an emerging technique of great potential for investigating the chemical architecture in biological matrices. Although the potential for studying neurobiological systems is evident, the relevance of the technique for application in neuroscience is still in its infancy. In the present review, a principal overview of the different approaches, including matrix assisted laser desorption ionization and secondary ion mass spectrometry are provided with particular focus on their strength and limitations for studying different neurochemical species in situ and in vitro. The potential of the various approaches is discussed based on both fundamental and biomedical neuroscience research. This review aims to serve as a general guide to familiarize the neuroscience community and other biomedical researchers with the technique, highlighting its great potential and suitability for comprehensive and specific chemical imaging.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, Biology, In vitro, Physical chemistry, Ion source, In situ, Secondary ion mass spectrometry

27

The molecular chaperone, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), is an emerging drug target for treating multiple diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. We recently found that one promising Hsp70 inhibitor, MKT-077, reduces tau levels in cellular models, suggesting its potential for use in treating neurodegenerative diseases that involve aberrant tau accumulation. However, MKT-077 does not penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB), limiting its use as either a clinical candidate or probe for exploring Hsp70 as a drug target in the central nervous system (CNS). We hypothesized that replacing the cationic pyridinium moiety in MKT-077 with a neutral pyridine might improve its clogP and enhance its BBB penetrance. To test this idea, we designed and synthesized YM-08, a neutral analog of MKT-077. Like the parent compound, YM-08 bound to Hsp70 in vitro and reduced phosphorylated tau levels in cultured brain slices. Pharmacokinetic evaluation in CD1 mice showed that YM-08 crossed the BBB and maintained a B/P value of ~0.25 for at least 18 hours. Together, these studies suggest that YM-08 is a promising scaffold for the development of Hsp70 inhibitors suitable for use in the CNS.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Neuroscience, Neurology, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein

27

Ruthenium diimine complexes have previously been used to facilitate light-activated electron transfer in the study of redox metalloproteins. Excitation at 488 nm leads to a photoexcited state, in which the complex can either accept or donate an electron, respectively, in the presence of a soluble sacrificial reductant or oxidant. Here, we describe a novel application of these complexes in mediating light-induced changes in cellular electrical activity. We demonstrate that RubpyC17 ([Ru(bpy)(2)(bpy-C17)](2+), where bpy is 2,2'-bipyridine and bpy-C17 is 2,2'-4-heptadecyl-4'-methyl-bipyridine), readily incorporates into the plasma membrane of cells, as evidenced by membrane-confined luminescence. Excitable cells incubated in RubpyC17 and then illuminated at 488 nm in the presence of the reductant ascorbate undergo membrane depolarization leading to firing of action potentials. In contrast, the same experiment performed with the oxidant ferricyanide, instead of ascorbate, leads to hyperpolarization. These experiments suggest that illumination of membrane-associated RubpyC17 in the presence of ascorbate alters the cell membrane potential by increasing the negative charge on the outer face of the cell membrane capacitor, effectively depolarizing the cell membrane. We rule out two alternative explanations for light-induced membrane potential changes, using patch clamp experiments: (1) light-induced direct interaction of RubpyC17 with ion channels and (2) light-induced membrane perforation. We show that incorporation of RubpyC17 into the plasma membrane of neuroendocrine cells enables light-induced secretion as monitored by amperometry. While the present work is focused on ruthenium diimine complexes, the findings point more generally to broader application of other transition metal complexes to mediate light-induced biological changes.

Concepts: Cell, Electric charge, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Redox, Action potential, Ion channel, Membrane potential

25

The light emission chemistry of firefly luciferase can be harnessed to reveal otherwise invisible biological processes occurring in the brains of live animals. Though powerful, the need for the luciferase substrate D-luciferin to traverse the blood-brain barrier poses limitations on the sensitivity and interpretation of these experiments. In this Viewpoint, we discuss bioluminescent imaging probes for the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and the broader implications for optical imaging and drug delivery in the brain.

Concepts: Brain, Enzyme, Optics, Light, Hydrolysis, Firefly, Bioluminescence, Luciferase

25

α-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP; 7) is an illegal synthetic stimulant that is being sold on the clandestine market as “flakka” and “gravel”. The potent pharmacological effects of α-PVP are presumably mediated by inhibition of dopamine uptake at the dopamine transporter (DAT). However, little is known about how structural modification of α-PVP influences activity at DAT. Eleven analogs of α-PVP were synthesized and examined for their ability to inhibit uptake of [3H]dopamine in rat brain synaptosomes. All of the analogs behaved as DAT reuptake inhibitors, but potencies varied over a >1,500-fold range. Potency was primarily associated with the nature of the α-substituent, with the more bulky substituents imparting the highest potency. Expansion of the pyrrolidine ring to a piperidine reduced potency up to 10-fold, whereas conformational constraint in the form of an aminotetralone resulted in the least potent compound. Our study provides the first systematic and comparative structure-activity investigation on the ability of α-PVP analogs to act as inhibitors of DAT.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Enzyme inhibitor, Morphine, Inhibitor, Xanthine oxidase inhibitor, Dopamine, Dopamine transporter, ClanDestine

22

Hallucinogenic drugs potently alter human behavior and have a millennia-long history of use for medicinal and religious purposes. Interest is rapidly growing in their potential as CNS modulators and therapeutic agents for brain conditions. Anti-muscarinic cholinergic drugs, such as atropine and scopolamine, induce characteristic hyperactivity and dream-like hallucinations, and form a separate, group of hallucinogens known as ‘deliriants’. Although atropine and scopolamine are relatively well-studied drugs in cholinergic physiology, deliriants represent the least-studied class of hallucinogens in terms of their behavioral and neurological phenotypes. As such, novel approaches and new model organisms are needed to investigate the CNS effects of these compounds. Here, we comprehensively evaluate the preclinical effects of deliriant hallucinogens in various animal models, their mechanisms of action and potential interplay with other signaling pathways. We also parallel experimental and clinical findings on deliriant agents and outline future directions of translational research in this field.

22

The development of a sensor for the rapid and sensitive detection of neurotransmitters could provide a pathway for the diagnosis of neurological diseases, leading to the discovery of more effective treatment methods. We investigate the use of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) based sensors for the rapid detection of melatonin, serotonin, glutamate, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Previous studies have demonstrated SERS detection of neurotransmitters, however, there has been no comprehensive study on the effect of the metal used as the SERS substrate or the excitation wavelength used for detection. Here, we present the detection of 7 neurotransmitters using both silver and gold nanoparticles at excitation wavelengths of 532 nm, 633 nm, and 785 nm. Over the range of wavelengths investigated, the SERS enhancement on the silver and gold nanoparticles varies, with an average enhancement factor of 105-106. The maximum SERS enhancement occurs at an excitation wavelength of 785 nm for the gold nanoparticles and at 633 nm for the silver nanoparticles.

Concepts: Nervous system, Gold, Neurotransmitter, Epinephrine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, L-DOPA, Neurotransmitters

21

Autism is a developmental disorder of the nervous system associated with impaired social communication and interactions as well excessive repetitive behaviors. There are no drug therapies that directly target the pathology of this disease. The retinioic acid receptor-related orphan receptor α (RORα) is a nuclear receptor that has been demonstrated to have reduced expression in many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Several genes that have been shown to be downregulated in individuals with ASD have also been identified as putative RORα target genes. Utilizing a synthetic RORα/γ agonist, SR1078, that we identified previously, we demonstrate that treatment of BTBR mice (a model of autism) with SR1078 results in reduced repetitive behavior. Furthermore, these mice display increased expression of ASD-associated RORα target genes in both the brains of the BTBR mice and in a human neuroblastoma cell line treated with SR1078. These data suggest that pharmacological activation of RORα may be a method for treatment of autism.

Concepts: Nervous system, Psychology, Pharmacology, Cell, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Nuclear receptor, Autism spectrum