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Trends in Neurosciences

Daniel G Dillon, Diego A Pizzagalli
Depressed individuals typically show poor memory for positive events, potentiated memory for negative events, and impaired recollection. These phenomena are clinically important but poorly understood. Compelling links between stress and depression suggest promising candidate mechanisms. Stress can suppress hippocampal neurogenesis, inhibit dopamine neurons, and sensitize the amygdala. We argue that these phenomena may impair pattern separation, disrupt the encoding of positive experiences, and bias retrieval toward negative events, respectively, thus recapitulating core aspects of memory disruption in depression...
January 10, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Gustavo Deco, Viktor K Jirsa, Anthony R McIntosh
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 6, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Noam E Ziv, Naama Brenner
Synaptic plasticity - the directed modulation of synaptic connections by specific activity histories or physiological signals - is believed to be a major mechanism for the modification of neuronal network function. This belief, however, has a 'flip side': the supposition that synapses do not change spontaneously in manners unrelated to such signals. Contrary to this supposition, recent studies reveal that synapses do change spontaneously, and to a fairly large extent. Here we review experimental results on spontaneous synaptic remodeling, its relative contributions to total synaptic remodeling, its statistical characteristics, and its physiological importance...
December 21, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Arkady Khoutorsky, Theodore J Price
Persistent pain, which is poorly treated and estimated to afflict one third of the world's population, is largely mediated by the sensitization of nociceptive neurons. This sensitization involves de novo gene expression to support biochemical and structural changes required to maintain amplified pain signaling that frequently persists even after injury to tissue resolves. While transcription-dependent changes in gene expression are important, recent work demonstrates that activity-dependent regulation of mRNA translation is key to controlling the cellular proteome and the development and maintenance of persistent pain...
December 14, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Nan Yang, Zhenyu Yue
Using induced human dopamine (DA) neurons, a study by Burbulla and colleagues demonstrated a toxic cascade of cellular dysfunctions which may underlie Parkinson's disease (PD) progression. Their findings reveal what could be the causal relationship between multiple pathogenic pathways in human neurons obtained from idiopathic and familial cases, and suggest novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
December 13, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Moriah E Thomason
Early brain activity is crucial for neurogenesis and the development of brain networks. However, it has been challenging to localize regions in the developing human brain that contribute to spontaneous waves of neuronal activity. Recently, Arichi and colleagues reported that the temporal and heteromodal insular cortices have a central role in propagating these neural instructional signals.
December 7, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Stephanie Knowlton, Shivesh Anand, Twisha Shah, Savas Tasoglu
Bioprinting is a method by which a cell-encapsulating bioink is patterned to create complex tissue architectures. Given the potential impact of this technology on neural research, we review the current state-of-the-art approaches for bioprinting neural tissues. While 2D neural cultures are ubiquitous for studying neural cells, 3D cultures can more accurately replicate the microenvironment of neural tissues. By bioprinting neuronal constructs, one can precisely control the microenvironment by specifically formulating the bioink for neural tissues, and by spatially patterning cell types and scaffold properties in three dimensions...
December 6, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Anand N Rao, Peter W Baas
A longstanding question in cellular neuroscience is how microtubules in the axon become organized with their plus ends out, a pattern starkly different from the mixed orientation of microtubules in vertebrate dendrites. Recent attention has focused on a mechanism called polarity sorting, in which microtubules of opposite orientation are spatially separated by molecular motor proteins. Here we discuss this mechanism, and conclude that microtubules are polarity sorted in the axon by cytoplasmic dynein but that additional factors are also needed...
November 30, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Paul J Harrison, John R Geddes, Elizabeth M Tunbridge
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a leading cause of global disability. Its biological basis is unknown, and its treatment unsatisfactory. Here, we review two recent areas of progress. First, the discovery of risk genes and their implications, with a focus on voltage-gated calcium channels as part of the disease process and as a drug target. Second, facilitated by new technologies, it is increasingly apparent that the bipolar phenotype is more complex and nuanced than simply one of recurring manic and depressive episodes...
November 20, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Panpan Yu, Craig S Pearson, Herbert M Geller
Proteoglycans (PGs) in the extracellular matrix (ECM) play vital roles in axon growth and navigation, plasticity, and regeneration of injured neurons. Different classes of PGs may support or inhibit cell growth, and their functions are determined in part by highly specific structural features. Among these, the pattern of sulfation on the PG sugar chains is a paramount determinant of a diverse and flexible set of outcomes. Recent studies of PG sulfation illustrate the challenges of attributing biological actions to specific sulfation patterns, and suggest ways in which highly similar molecules may exert opposing effects on neurons...
November 14, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Alessandro Sale
Several experimental procedures are currently used to investigate the impact of the environment on brain plasticity under physiological and pathological conditions. The available methodologies are aimed at obtaining global or specific reductions or intensifications of the stimuli, with initial standardization in animal models being paralleled by translational applications to humans. More procedures can be combined together or applied in series to obtain powerful experimental paradigms, and the choice of a given setting should take into account the specific genetic background, age, and phenotypic vulnerabilities of the target subjects...
November 8, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Carlos A Saura, Jean-René Cardinaux
The brain has the ability to sense, coordinate, and respond to environmental changes through biological processes involving activity-dependent gene expression. cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB)-regulated transcription coactivators (CRTCs) have recently emerged as novel transcriptional regulators of essential biological functions, while their deregulation is linked to age-related human diseases. In the brain, CRTCs are unique signaling factors that act as sensors and integrators of hormonal, metabolic, and neural signals contributing to brain plasticity and brain-body communication...
October 30, 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Michael T Bowen, Inga D Neumann
Drugs that act on the brain oxytocin (OXT) system may provide a much-needed treatment breakthrough for substance-use disorders. Targeting the brain OXT system has the potential to treat addiction to all major classes of addictive substance and to intervene across all stages of the addiction cycle. Emerging evidence suggests that OXT is able to interfere with such a wide range of addictive behaviours for such a wide range of addictive substances by rebalancing core neural systems that become dysregulated over the course of addiction...
December 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
James H Cole, Katja Franke
The brain changes as we age and these changes are associated with functional deterioration and neurodegenerative disease. It is vital that we better understand individual differences in the brain ageing process; hence, techniques for making individualised predictions of brain ageing have been developed. We present evidence supporting the use of neuroimaging-based 'brain age' as a biomarker of an individual's brain health. Increasingly, research is showing how brain disease or poor physical health negatively impacts brain age...
December 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Daniel Hoops, Cecilia Flores
A dramatic maturational process ongoing in adolescence is prefrontal cortex development, including its dopamine innervation. Dopamine axons grow from the striatum to the prefrontal cortex, the only known case of long-distance axon growth during adolescence. This is coordinated by the Netrin-1 guidance cue receptor DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer), which in turn controls the intrinsic development of the prefrontal cortex itself. Stimulant drugs in adolescence alter DCC in dopamine neurons and, in turn prefrontal cortex maturation, impacting cognitive abilities...
December 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Jie Sui, Xiaosi Gu
Self representation is fundamental to mental functions. While the self has mostly been studied in traditional psychophilosophical terms ('self as subject'), recent laboratory work suggests that the self can be measured quantitatively by assessing biases towards self-associated stimuli ('self as object'). Here, we summarize new quantitative paradigms for assessing the self, drawn from psychology, neuroeconomics, embodied cognition, and social neuroscience. We then propose a neural model of the self as an emerging property of interactions between a core 'self network' (e...
November 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Thomas F Giustino, Stephen Maren
Inhibitory interneurons comprise a diverse subpopulation of cells that are critical to circuit function. How distinct inhibitory microcircuits control long-range projections remains poorly understood. A recent study by Lu and colleagues uncovered a unidirectional microcircuit of prefrontal chandelier cells that preferentially innervate and suppress long-range amygdala-projecting pyramidal cells.
November 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Paul E Micevych, Paul G Mermelstein, Kevin Sinchak
Over the past few years our understanding of estrogen signaling in the brain has expanded rapidly. Estrogens are synthesized in the periphery and in the brain, acting on multiple receptors to regulate gene transcription, neural function, and behavior. Various estrogen-sensitive signaling pathways often operate in concert within the same cell, increasing the complexity of the system. In females, estrogen concentrations fluctuate over the estrous/menstrual cycle, dynamically modulating estrogen receptor (ER) expression, activity, and trafficking...
November 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
B G Gunn, T Z Baram
Stress is a major trigger of seizures in people with epilepsy. Exposure to stress results in the release of several stress mediators throughout the brain, including the hippocampus, a region sensitive to stress and prone to seizures. Stress mediators interact with their respective receptors to produce distinct effects on the excitability of hippocampal neurons and networks. Crucially, these stress mediators and their actions exhibit unique spatiotemporal profiles, generating a complex combinatorial output with time- and space-dependent effects on hippocampal network excitability and seizure generation...
November 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
Scott A Small, Sabrina Simoes-Spassov, Richard Mayeux, Gregory A Petsko
While clues have existed that endosomal trafficking is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), whether it plays a central role in the disease and if so how has remained unknown. Here we rely on recent genetic and cellular findings to construct a model proposing that traffic jams in the early endosome can act as an upstream pathogenic hub in AD. We also rely on an independent series of findings to suggest how the traffic jams can act as a unified mediator of downstream pathophysiology. The model predicts, therefore, that interventions designed to unjam the endosome carry high therapeutic promise...
October 2017: Trends in Neurosciences
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