Comparison of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss with Tinnitus and Short-Term TinnitusRead the full article
Neural Plasticity is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the publication of articles related to all aspects of neural plasticity, with special emphasis on its functional significance as reflected in behavior and in psychopathology.
Chief Editor, Professor Baudry, is currently University Professor at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. His research focuses on understanding the molecular/cellular mechanisms of learning and memory and neurodegeneration.
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The Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway Regulated Cytokines for Pathological Neuropathic Pain in Chronic Compression of Dorsal Root Ganglion Model
Neuropathic pain is one of the important challenges in the clinic. Although a lot of research has been done on neuropathic pain (NP), the molecular mechanism is still elusive. We aimed to investigate whether the Wnt/β-catenin pathway was involved in NP caused by sustaining dorsal root ganglion (DRG) compression with the chronic compression of dorsal root ganglion model (CCD). Our RNA sequencing results showed that several genes related to the Wnt pathway have changed in DRG and spinal cord dorsal horn (SCDH) after CCD surgery. Therefore, we detected the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in DRG and SCDH and found active β-catenin significantly upregulated in DRG and SCDH 1 day after CCD surgery and peaked on days 7-14. Immunofluorescence results also confirmed nuclear translocalization of active β-catenin in DRG and SCDH. Additionally, rats had obvious mechanical induced pain after CCD surgery and the pain was significantly alleviated after the application of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor XAV939. Furthermore, we found that the levels of proinflammatory factors tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-18 (IL-18) were significantly elevated in CCD rat serum, while the levels of them were correspondingly decreased after the Wnt/β-catenin pathway being inhibited. The results of Spearman correlation coefficient analysis showed that the levels of TNF-α and IL-18 were negatively correlated with the mechanical withdrawal thresholds (MWT) after CCD surgery. Collectively, our findings suggest that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of NP and may be an effective target for the treatment of NP.
Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals an Altered Hcy Metabolism in the Stria Vascularis of the Pendred Syndrome Mouse Model
Purpose. Slc26a4-/- mice exhibit severer defects in the development of the cochlea and develop deafness, while the underlying mechanisms responsible for these effects remain unclear. Our study was to investigate the potential mechanism linking SLC26A4 deficiency to hearing loss. Materials and Methods. RNA sequencing was applied to analyze the differential gene expression of the stria vascularis (SV) from wildtype and Slc26a4-/- mice. GO and KEGG pathway analysis were performed. Quantitative RT-PCR was applied to validate the expression of candidate genes affected by Slc26a4. ELISA and immunofluorescence technique were used to detect the homocysteine (Hcy) level in serum, brain, and SV, respectively. Results. 183 upregulated genes and 63 downregulated genes were identified in the SV associated with Slc26a4 depletion. Transcriptomic profiling revealed that Slc26a4 deficiency significantly affected the expression of genes associated with cell adhesion, transmembrane transport, and the biogenesis of multicellular organisms. The SV from Slc26a4-/- mice exhibited a higher expression of Bhmt mRNAs, as well as altered homocysteine (Hcy) metabolism. Conclusions. The altered expression of Bhmt results in a dramatic change in multiple biochemical reactions and a disruption of nutrient homeostasis in the endolymph which may contribute to hearing loss of Slc26a4 knockout mouse.
Molecular Basis of GABA Hypofunction in Adolescent Schizophrenia-Like Animals
Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that NMDA receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction appears centrally involved. Schizophrenia typically emerges in adolescence or early adulthood. Electrophysiological and several neurochemical changes have linked the GABA deficits to abnormal behaviors induced by NMDAR hypofunction. However, few studies have systematically investigated the molecular basis of GABA deficits, especially during adolescence. To address this issue, we transiently administrated MK-801 to mice on PND 10, which exhibited schizophrenia-relevant deficits in adolescence. Slice recording showed reduced GABA transmission and PVI+ hypofunction, indicating GABAergic hypofunction. Cortical proteomic evaluation combined with analysis of single cell data from the Allen Brain showed that various metabolic processes were enriched in top ranks and differentially altered in excitatory neurons, GABAergic interneurons, and glial cells. Notably, the GABA-related amino acid metabolic process was disturbed in both astrocytes and interneurons, in which we found a downregulated set of GABA-related proteins (GAD65, SYNPR, DBI, GAT3, SN1, and CPT1A). They synergistically regulate GABA synthesis, release, reuptake, and replenishment. Their downregulation indicates impaired GABA cycle and homeostasis regulated by interneuron-astrocyte communication in adolescence. Our findings on molecular basis of GABA deficits could provide potential drug targets of GABAergic rescue for early prevention and intervention.
Cognitive Aftereffects of Acute tDCS Coupled with Cognitive Training: An fMRI Study in Healthy Seniors
Enhancing cognitive functions through noninvasive brain stimulation is of enormous public interest, particularly for the aging population in whom processes such as working memory are known to decline. In a randomized double-blind crossover study, we investigated the acute behavioral and neural aftereffects of bifrontal and frontoparietal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with visual working memory (VWM) training on 25 highly educated older adults. Resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) analysis was performed prior to and after each stimulation session with a focus on the frontoparietal control network (FPCN). The bifrontal montage with anode over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex enhanced VWM accuracy as compared to the sham stimulation. With the rs-FC within the FPCN, we observed significant interaction using bifrontal tDCS. We found no cognitive aftereffects of the frontoparietal tDCS compared to sham stimulation. Our study shows that a single bifrontal tDCS combined with cognitive training may enhance VWM performance and rs-FC within the relevant brain network even in highly educated older adults.
LIFU Alleviates Neuropathic Pain by Improving the KCC2 Expression and Inhibiting the CaMKIV–KCC2 Pathway in the L4–L5 Section of the Spinal Cord
Effective treatment remains lacking for neuropathic pain (NP), a type of intractable pain. Low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU), a noninvasive, cutting-edge neuromodulation technique, can effectively enhance inhibition of the central nervous system (CNS) and reduce neuronal excitability. We investigated the effect of LIFU on NP and on the expression of potassium chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2) in the spinal cords of rats with peripheral nerve injury (PNI) in the lumbar 4–lumbar 5 (L4–L5) section. In this study, rats received PNI surgery on their right lower legs followed by LIFU stimulation of the L4–L5 section of the spinal cord for 4 weeks, starting 3 days after surgery. We used the 50% paw withdraw threshold (PWT50) to evaluate mechanical allodynia. Western blotting (WB) and immunofluorescence (IF) were used to calculate the expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 (p-ERK1/2), calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type IV (CaMKIV), phosphorylated cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (p-CREB), and KCC2 in the L4–L5 portion of the spinal cord after the last behavioral tests. We found that PWT50 decreased () 3 days post-PNI surgery in the LIFU− and LIFU+ groups and increased () after 4 weeks of LIFU stimulation. The expression of p-CREB and CaMKIV decreased () and that of KCC2 increased () after 4 weeks of LIFU stimulation, but that of p-ERK1/2 () was unaffected. Our study showed that LIFU could effectively alleviate NP behavior in rats with PNI by increasing the expression of KCC2 on spinal dorsal corner neurons. A possible explanation is that LIFU could inhibit the activation of the CaMKIV–KCC2 pathway.
The Prediction of Acute Postoperative Pain Based on Neural Oscillations Measured before the Surgery
Even with an improved understanding of pain mechanisms and advances in perioperative pain management, inadequately controlled postoperative pain remains. Predicting acute postoperative pain based on presurgery physiological measures could provide valuable insights into individualized, effective analgesic strategies, thus helping improve the analgesic efficacy. Considering the strong correlation between pain perception and neural oscillations, we hypothesize that acute postoperative pain could be predicted by neural oscillations measured shortly before the surgery. Here, we explored the relationship between neural oscillations 2 hours before the thoracoscopic surgery and the subjective intensity of acute postoperative pain. The spectral power density of resting-state beta and gamma band oscillations at the frontocentral region was significantly different between patients with different levels of acute postoperative pain (i.e., low pain vs. moderate/high pain). A positive correlation was also observed between the spectral power density of resting-state beta and gamma band oscillations and subjective reports of postoperative pain. Then, we predicted the level of acute postoperative pain based on features of neural oscillations using machine learning techniques, which achieved a prediction accuracy of 92.54% and a correlation coefficient between the real pain intensities and the predicted pain intensities of 0.84. Altogether, the prediction of acute postoperative pain based on neural oscillations measured before the surgery is feasible and could meet the clinical needs in the future for better control of postoperative pain and other unwanted negative effects. The study was registered on the Clinical Trial Registry (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03761576?term=NCT03761576&draw=2&rank=1) with the registration number NCT03761576.