Neural Plasticity https://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi © 2017 , Hindawi Limited . All rights reserved. Enhancing Plasticity of the Central Nervous System: Drugs, Stem Cell Therapy, and Neuro-Implants Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/2545736/ Stroke represents the first cause of adult acquired disability. Spontaneous recovery, dependent on endogenous neurogenesis, allows for limited recovery in 50% of patients who remain functionally dependent despite physiotherapy. Here, we propose a review of novel drug therapies with strong potential in the clinic. We will also discuss new avenues of stem cell therapy in patients with a cerebral lesion. A promising future for the development of efficient drugs to enhance functional recovery after stroke seems evident. These drugs will have to prove their efficacy also in severely affected patients. The efficacy of stem cell engraftment has been demonstrated but will have to prove its potential in restoring tissue function for the massive brain lesions that are most debilitating. New answers may lay in biomaterials, a steadily growing field. Biomaterials should ideally resemble lesioned brain structures in architecture and must be proven to increase functional reconnections within host tissue before clinical testing. Alice Le Friec, Anne-Sophie Salabert, Carole Davoust, Boris Demain, Christophe Vieu, Laurence Vaysse, Pierre Payoux, and Isabelle Loubinoux Copyright © 2017 Alice Le Friec et al. All rights reserved. Drosophila: An Emergent Model for Delineating Interactions between the Circadian Clock and Drugs of Abuse Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/4723836/ Endogenous circadian oscillators orchestrate rhythms at the cellular, physiological, and behavioral levels across species to coordinate activity, for example, sleep/wake cycles, metabolism, and learning and memory, with predictable environmental cycles. The 21st century has seen a dramatic rise in the incidence of circadian and sleep disorders with globalization, technological advances, and the use of personal electronics. The circadian clock modulates alcohol- and drug-induced behaviors with circadian misalignment contributing to increased substance use and abuse. Invertebrate models, such as Drosophila melanogaster, have proven invaluable for the identification of genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying highly conserved processes including the circadian clock, drug tolerance, and reward systems. In this review, we highlight the contributions of Drosophila as a model system for understanding the bidirectional interactions between the circadian system and the drugs of abuse, alcohol and cocaine, and illustrate the highly conserved nature of these interactions between Drosophila and mammalian systems. Research in Drosophila provides mechanistic insights into the corresponding behaviors in higher organisms and can be used as a guide for targeted inquiries in mammals. Aliza K. De Nobrega and Lisa C. Lyons Copyright © 2017 Aliza K. De Nobrega and Lisa C. Lyons. All rights reserved. Comparison of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Susceptibility to Treadmill Exercise in Nine Mouse Strains Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5863258/ The genetic background of mice has various influences on the efficacy of physical exercise, as well as adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus. In this study, we investigated the basal level of hippocampal neurogenesis, as well as the effects of treadmill exercise on adult hippocampal neurogenesis in 9 mouse strains: 8 very commonly used laboratory inbred mouse strains (C57BL/6, BALB/c, A/J, C3H/HeJ, DBA/1, DBA/2, 129/SvJ, and FVB) and 1 outbred mouse strain (ICR). All 9 strains showed diverse basal levels of cell proliferation, neuroblast differentiation, and integration into granule cells in the sedentary group. C57BL/6 mice showed the highest levels of cell proliferation, neuroblast differentiation, and integration into granule cells at basal levels, and the DBA/2 mice showed the lowest levels. The efficacy of integration into granule cells was maximal in ICR mice. Treadmill exercise increased adult hippocampal neurogenesis in all 9 mouse strains. These results suggest that the genetic background of mice affects hippocampal neurogenesis and C57BL/6 mice are the most useful strain to assess basal levels of cell proliferation and neuroblast differentiation, but not maturation into granule cells. In addition, the DBA/2 strain is not suitable for studying hippocampal neurogenesis. Jong Whi Kim, Sung Min Nam, Dae Young Yoo, Hyo Young Jung, Il Yong Kim, In Koo Hwang, Je Kyung Seong, and Yeo Sung Yoon Copyright © 2017 Jong Whi Kim et al. All rights reserved. Activation State-Dependent Substrate Gating in Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/9601046/ Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is highly concentrated in the brain where its activation by the Ca2+ sensor CaM, multivalent structure, and complex autoregulatory features make it an ideal translator of Ca2+ signals created by different patterns of neuronal activity. We provide direct evidence that graded levels of kinase activity and extent of T287 (T286 α isoform) autophosphorylation drive changes in catalytic output and substrate selectivity. The catalytic domains of CaMKII phosphorylate purified PSDs much more effectively when tethered together in the holoenzyme versus individual subunits. Using multisubstrate SPOT arrays, high-affinity substrates are preferentially phosphorylated with limited subunit activity per holoenzyme, whereas multiple subunits or maximal subunit activation is required for intermediate- and low-affinity, weak substrates, respectively. Using a monomeric form of CaMKII to control T287 autophosphorylation, we demonstrate that increased Ca2+/CaM-dependent activity for all substrates tested, with the extent of weak, low-affinity substrate phosphorylation governed by the extent of T287 autophosphorylation. Our data suggest T287 autophosphorylation regulates substrate gating, an intrinsic property of the catalytic domain, which is amplified within the multivalent architecture of the CaMKII holoenzyme. D. E. Johnson and A. Hudmon Copyright © 2017 D. E. Johnson and A. Hudmon. All rights reserved. Longitudinal Brain Functional Connectivity Changes of the Cortical Motor-Related Network in Subcortical Stroke Patients with Acupuncture Treatment Mon, 11 Dec 2017 07:12:29 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5816263/ In clinical practice, the effectiveness of the rehabilitation therapy such as acupuncture combining conventional Western medicine (AG) on stroke people’s motor-related brain network and their behaviors has not been systematically studied. In the present study, seventeen adult ischemic patients were collected and divided into two groups: the conventional Western medicine treatment group (CG) and the AG. The neurological deficit scores (NDS) and resting-state functional MRI data were collected before and after treatment. Compared with the CG patients, AG patients exhibited a significant enhancement of the percent changes of NDS from pre- to posttreatment intervention. All patients showed significant changes of functional connectivity (FC) between the pair of cortical motor-related regions. After treatment, both patient groups showed a recovery of brain connectivity to the nearly normal level compared with the controls in these pairs. Moreover, a significant correlation between the percent changes of NDS and the pretreatment FC values of bilateral primary motor cortex (M1) in all patients was found. In conclusion, our results showed that AG therapy can be an effective means for ischemic stroke patients to recover their motor function ability. The FC strengths between bilateral M1 of stroke patients can predict stroke patients’ treatment outcome after rehabilitation therapy. Yongxin Li, Ya Wang, Chenxi Liao, Wenhua Huang, and Ping Wu Copyright © 2017 Yongxin Li et al. All rights reserved. Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Combined with Robotic Rehabilitation Improves Upper Limb Function after Stroke Sun, 10 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/7876507/ The efficacy of standard rehabilitative therapy for improving upper limb functions after stroke is limited; thus, alternative strategies are needed. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with rehabilitation is a promising approach, but the invasiveness of this technique limits its clinical application. Recently, a noninvasive method to stimulate vagus nerve has been developed. The aim of the present study was to explore whether noninvasive VNS combined with robotic rehabilitation can enhance upper limb functionality in chronic stroke. Safety and efficacy of this combination have been assessed within a proof-of-principle, double-blind, semirandomized, sham-controlled trial. Fourteen patients with either ischemic or haemorrhagic chronic stroke were randomized to robot-assisted therapy associated with real or sham VNS, delivered for 10 working days. Efficacy was evaluated by change in upper extremity Fugl–Meyer score. After intervention, there were no adverse events and Fugl–Meyer scores were significantly better in the real group compared to the sham group. Our pilot study confirms that VNS is feasible in stroke patients and can produce a slight clinical improvement in association to robotic rehabilitation. Compared to traditional stimulation, noninvasive VNS seems to be safer and more tolerable. Further studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of this innovative approach. Fioravante Capone, Sandra Miccinilli, Giovanni Pellegrino, Loredana Zollo, Davide Simonetti, Federica Bressi, Lucia Florio, Federico Ranieri, Emma Falato, Alessandro Di Santo, Alessio Pepe, Eugenio Guglielmelli, Silvia Sterzi, and Vincenzo Di Lazzaro Copyright © 2017 Fioravante Capone et al. All rights reserved. Long-Term High Salt Intake Involves Reduced SK Currents and Increased Excitability of PVN Neurons with Projections to the Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla in Rats Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/7282834/ Evidence indicates that high salt (HS) intake activates presympathetic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) neurons, which contributes to sympathoexcitation of salt-sensitive hypertension. The present study determined whether 5 weeks of HS (2% NaCl) intake alters the small conductance Ca2+-activated potassium channel (SK) current in presympathetic PVN neurons and whether this change affects the neuronal excitability. In whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings, HS-treated rats had significantly decreased SK currents compared to rats with normal salt (NS, 0.4% NaCl) intake in PVN neurons. The sensitivity of PVN neuronal excitability in response to current injections was greater in HS group compared to NS controls. The SK channel blocker apamin augmented the neuronal excitability in both groups but had less effect on the sensitivity of the neuronal excitability in HS group compared to NS controls. In the HS group, the interspike interval (ISI) was significantly shorter than that in NS controls. Apamin significantly shortened the ISI in NS controls but had less effect in the HS group. This data suggests that HS intake reduces SK currents, which contributes to increased PVN neuronal excitability at least in part through a decrease in spike frequency adaptation and may be a precursor to the development of salt-sensitive hypertension. Andrew D. Chapp, Renjun Wang, Zixi (Jack) Cheng, Zhiying Shan, and Qing-Hui Chen Copyright © 2017 Andrew D. Chapp et al. All rights reserved. Brain-Specific SNAP-25 Deletion Leads to Elevated Extracellular Glutamate Level and Schizophrenia-Like Behavior in Mice Tue, 28 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/4526417/ Several studies have associated reduced expression of synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) with schizophrenia, yet little is known about its role in the illness. In this paper, a forebrain glutamatergic neuron-specific SNAP-25 knockout mouse model was constructed and studied to explore the possible pathogenetic role of SNAP-25 in schizophrenia. We showed that SNAP-25 conditional knockout (cKO) mice exhibited typical schizophrenia-like phenotype. A significantly elevated extracellular glutamate level was detected in the cerebral cortex of the mouse model. Compared with Ctrls, SNAP-25 was dramatically reduced by about 60% both in cytoplasm and in membrane fractions of cerebral cortex of cKOs, while the other two core members of SNARE complex: Syntaxin-1 (increased ~80%) and Vamp2 (increased ~96%) were significantly increased in cell membrane part. Riluzole, a glutamate release inhibitor, significantly attenuated the locomotor hyperactivity deficits in cKO mice. Our findings provide in vivo functional evidence showing a critical role of SNAP-25 dysfunction on synaptic transmission, which contributes to the developmental of schizophrenia. It is suggested that a SNAP-25 cKO mouse, a valuable model for schizophrenia, could address questions regarding presynaptic alterations that contribute to the etiopathophysiology of SZ and help to consummate the pre- and postsynaptic glutamatergic pathogenesis of the illness. Hua Yang, Mengjie Zhang, Jiahao Shi, Yunhe Zhou, Zhipeng Wan, Yicheng Wang, Yinghan Wan, Jun Li, Zhugang Wang, and Jian Fei Copyright © 2017 Hua Yang et al. All rights reserved. Sustained Activity of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor: Homer, Arrestin, and Beyond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5125624/ When activated, metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlus) exert long-lasting changes within the glutamatergic synapses. One mechanism is a tonic effect of downstream signal transduction pathways via sustained activation of mGlu itself. Like many other G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), mGlu can exist in a constitutively active state, which persists agonist independently. In this paper, we review the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the constitutive activity of group I mGlus. The issues concerning Homer1a mechanism in the constitutive activity of group I mGlus and recent findings regarding the significant role of β-arrestin in sustained GPCR activity are also discussed. We propose that once in a state of sustained activation, the mGlu persistently activates downstream signaling pathways, including various adaptor proteins and kinases, such as β-arrestin and mitogen-activated protein kinases. In turn, these effector molecules bind to or phosphorylate the mGlu C-terminal binding domains and consequently regulate the activation state of the mGlu. Geehoon Chung and Sang Jeong Kim Copyright © 2017 Geehoon Chung and Sang Jeong Kim. All rights reserved. Neural Mechanisms of Circadian Regulation of Natural and Drug Reward Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5720842/ Circadian rhythms are endogenously generated near 24-hour variations of physiological and behavioral functions. In humans, disruptions to the circadian system are associated with negative health outcomes, including metabolic, immune, and psychiatric diseases, such as addiction. Animal models suggest bidirectional relationships between the circadian system and drugs of abuse, whereby desynchrony, misalignment, or disruption may promote vulnerability to drug use and the transition to addiction, while exposure to drugs of abuse may entrain, disrupt, or perturb the circadian timing system. Recent evidence suggests natural (i.e., food) and drug rewards may influence overlapping neural circuitry, and the circadian system may modulate the physiological and behavioral responses to these stimuli. Environmental disruptions, such as shifting schedules or shorter/longer days, influence food and drug intake, and certain mutations of circadian genes that control cellular rhythms are associated with altered behavioral reward. We highlight the more recent findings associating circadian rhythms to reward function, linking environmental and genetic evidence to natural and drug reward and related neural circuitry. Lauren M. DePoy, Colleen A. McClung, and Ryan W. Logan Copyright © 2017 Lauren M. DePoy et al. All rights reserved. Interhemispheric Pathways Are Important for Motor Outcome in Individuals with Chronic and Severe Upper Limb Impairment Post Stroke Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:10:18 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/4281532/ Background. Severity of arm impairment alone does not explain motor outcomes in people with severe impairment post stroke. Objective. Define the contribution of brain biomarkers to upper limb motor outcomes in people with severe arm impairment post stroke. Methods. Paretic arm impairment (Fugl-Meyer upper limb, FM-UL) and function (Wolf Motor Function Test rate, WMFT-rate) were measured in 15 individuals with severe (FM-UL ≤ 30/66) and 14 with mild–moderate (FM-UL > 40/66) impairment. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and diffusion weight imaging indexed structure and function of the corticospinal tract and corpus callosum. Separate models of the relationship between possible biomarkers and motor outcomes at a single chronic (≥6 months) time point post stroke were performed. Results. Age (ΔR20.365, ) and ipsilesional-transcallosal inhibition (ΔR20.182, ) explained a 54.7% () variance in paretic WMFT-rate. Prefrontal corpus callous fractional anisotropy (PF-CC FA) alone explained 49.3% () variance in FM-UL outcome. The same models did not explain significant variance in mild–moderate stroke. In the severe group, k-means cluster analysis of PF-CC FA distinguished two subgroups, separated by a clinically meaningful and significant difference in motor impairment () and function () outcomes. Conclusion. Corpus callosum function and structure were identified as possible biomarkers of motor outcome in people with chronic and severe arm impairment. Kathryn S. Hayward, Jason L. Neva, Cameron S. Mang, Sue Peters, Katie P. Wadden, Jennifer K. Ferris, and Lara A. Boyd Copyright © 2017 Kathryn S. Hayward et al. All rights reserved. A Longitudinal fMRI Research on Neural Plasticity and Sensory Outcome of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5101925/ Peripheral nerve compression is reported to induce cortical plasticity, which was well pictured by former researches. However, the longitudinal changes brought by surgical treatment are not clear. In this research, 18 subjects who suffered from bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome were evaluated using task-dependent fMRI and electromyography assessment before and after surgery. The third digit was tactually simulated by von Frey filaments. The results demonstrated that the pattern of activation was similar but a decreased extent of activation in the postcentral gyrus, inferior frontal lobe, superior frontal lobe, and parahippocampal gyrus after surgery was found. The correlation analysis showed a significant correlation between the decreased number of activated voxels and the improvement of EMG performance. This result implied a potential connection between fMRI measurement and clinical improvement. Hao Ma, Yechen Lu, Xuyun Hua, Yundong Shen, Mouxiong Zheng, and Wendong Xu Copyright © 2017 Hao Ma et al. All rights reserved. New Insights into the Role of the Locus Coeruleus-Noradrenergic System in Memory and Perception Dysfunction Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/4624171/ O. Eschenko, P. B. Mello-Carpes, and N. Hansen Copyright © 2017 O. Eschenko et al. All rights reserved. Glucose Intake Alters Expression of Neuropeptides Derived from Proopiomelanocortin in the Lateral Hypothalamus and the Nucleus Accumbens in Fructose Preference Rats Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/6589424/ To study the neuroendocrine mechanism of sugar preference, we investigated the role of glucose feeding in the regulation of expression levels of neuropeptides derived from proopiomelanocortin (POMC) in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in fructose preference rats. Fructose preference rats were induced by using the lithium chloride backward conditioning procedure. The fructose preference was confirmed by the two-bottle test. The drinking behavior of rats was assessed by the fructose concentration gradient test. The preference of 10% glucose or 0.1% saccharine was assessed, and the expression levels of neuropeptides derived from POMC in the LH and the NAc in fructose preference rats were measured by Western blot analysis. Fructose preference rats displayed a greater fructose preference than control rats. Furthermore, fructose preference rats preferred glucose solution rather than saccharine solution, while control rats preferred saccharine solution rather than glucose solution. The expression levels of neuropeptides derived from POMC in the LH and the NAc were changed by glucose but not saccharine intake. In summary, the data suggests that glucose intake increases the expression of neuropeptides derived from POMC in the LH and the NAc in fructose preference rats. Guangfa Jiao, Guozhong Zhang, Haiying Wang, Weilin Zhao, Yanwei Cui, Yongjing Liu, Feng Gao, Fang Yuan, and Yi Zhang Copyright © 2017 Guangfa Jiao et al. All rights reserved. Hippocampal Regulation of Postsynaptic Density Homer1 by Associative Learning Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5959182/ Genes involved in synaptic plasticity, particularly genes encoding postsynaptic density proteins, have been recurrently linked to psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism. Postsynaptic density Homer1 proteins contribute to synaptic plasticity through the competing actions of short and long isoforms. The activity-induced expression of short Homer1 isoforms, Homer1a and Ania-3, is thought to be related to processes of learning and memory. However, the precise regulation of Homer1a and Ania-3 with different components of learning has not been investigated. Here, we used in situ hybridization to quantify short and long Homer1 expression in the hippocampus following consolidation, retrieval, and extinction of associative fear memory, using contextual fear conditioning in rats. Homer1a and Ania-3, but not long Homer1, were regulated by contextual fear learning or novelty detection, although their precise patterns of expression in hippocampal subregions were dependent on the isoform. We also show for the first time that the two short Homer1 isoforms are regulated after the retrieval and extinction of contextual fear memory, albeit with distinct temporal and spatial profiles. These findings support a role of activity-induced Homer1 isoforms in learning and memory processes in discrete hippocampal subregions and suggest that Homer1a and Ania-3 may play separable roles in synaptic plasticity. Nicholas E. Clifton, Darren Cameron, Simon Trent, Lucy H. Sykes, Kerrie L. Thomas, and Jeremy Hall Copyright © 2017 Nicholas E. Clifton et al. All rights reserved. Sphingosine 1-Phosphate Receptor 1 Modulates CNTF-Induced Axonal Growth and Neuroprotection in the Mouse Visual System Mon, 06 Nov 2017 03:42:21 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/6818970/ The lack of axonal regeneration and neuronal cell death causes permanent neurological deficits in the injured CNS. Using the classical CNS injury model of optic nerve crush in mice, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) was found to stimulate retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival and axonal growth, but in an incomplete fashion. The elucidation of molecular mechanisms impairing CNTF-induced axonal regeneration is paramount to promote visual recovery. In the present study, we sought to evaluate the contribution of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) to the neuroprotective and regenerative effects of CNTF. The transduction of retinal cells with adeno-associated viruses (AAV) allowed to activate CNTF/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) signaling and to modulate S1PR1 expression in RGCs. Our results showed that CNTF/Stat3 prevented injury-induced S1PR1 downregulation. Silencing S1PR1 in RGCs significantly enhanced CNTF-induced axonal growth in the injured optic nerve. In contrast, RGC survival was markedly decreased when S1PR1 was repressed with viral vectors. The level of phosphorylated Stat3 (P-Stat3), an intracellular mediator of CNTF, did not fluctuate after S1PR1 inhibition and CNTF stimulation. Collectively, these results suggest that S1PR1 acts as a major regulator of retinal neuron survival and restricts the RGC growth response induced by CNTF. Sandrine Joly, Deniz Dalkara, and Vincent Pernet Copyright © 2017 Sandrine Joly et al. All rights reserved. Circadian Rhythm Disturbances in Mood Disorders: Insights into the Role of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Sun, 05 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/1504507/ Circadian rhythm disturbances are a common symptom among individuals with mood disorders. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), in the ventral part of the anterior hypothalamus, orchestrates physiological and behavioral circadian rhythms. The SCN consists of self-sustaining oscillators and receives photic and nonphotic cues, which entrain the SCN to the external environment. In turn, through synaptic and hormonal mechanisms, the SCN can drive and synchronize circadian rhythms in extra-SCN brain regions and peripheral tissues. Thus, genetic or environmental perturbations of SCN rhythms could disrupt brain regions more closely related to mood regulation and cause mood disturbances. Here, we review clinical and preclinical studies that provide evidence both for and against a causal role for the SCN in mood disorders. Chelsea A. Vadnie and Colleen A. McClung Copyright © 2017 Chelsea A. Vadnie and Colleen A. McClung. All rights reserved. Regionally Specific Regulation of Sensorimotor Network Connectivity Following Tactile Improvement Thu, 02 Nov 2017 05:56:51 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5270532/ Correlations between inherent, task-free low-frequency fluctuations in the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals of the brain provide a potent tool to delineate its functional architecture in terms of intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC). Still, it remains unclear how iFC is modulated during learning. We employed whole-brain resting-state magnetic resonance imaging prior to and after training-independent repetitive sensory stimulation (rSS), which is known to induce somatosensory cortical reorganization. We investigated which areas in the sensorimotor network are susceptible to neural plasticity (i.e., where changes in functional connectivity occurred) and where iFC might be indicative of enhanced tactile performance. We hypothesized iFC to increase in those brain regions primarily receiving the afferent tactile input. Strengthened intrinsic connectivity within the sensorimotor network after rSS was found not only in the postcentral gyrus contralateral to the stimulated hand, but also in associative brain regions, where iFC correlated positively with tactile performance or learning. We also observed that rSS led to attenuation of the network at higher cortical levels, which possibly promotes facilitation of tactile discrimination. We found that resting-state BOLD fluctuations are linked to behavioral performance and sensory learning, indicating that network fluctuations at rest are predictive of behavioral changes and neuroplasticity. Stefanie Heba, Melanie Lenz, Tobias Kalisch, Oliver Höffken, Lauren M. Schweizer, Benjamin Glaubitz, Nicolaas A. J. Puts, Martin Tegenthoff, Hubert R. Dinse, and Tobias Schmidt-Wilcke Copyright © 2017 Stefanie Heba et al. All rights reserved. Modulation Effects of Cordycepin on Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels in Rat Hippocampal CA1 Pyramidal Neurons in the Presence/Absence of Oxygen Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/2459053/ Our previous study revealed that cordycepin features important neuroprotective effects against hypoxic insult by improvement of neuronal electrophysiological function. Modulation on voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) in CA1 neurons is the initial event during hypoxia/ischemia. However, no study comprehensively investigated cordycepin on VGSC. Hence, this study investigated modulation effects of cordycepin on VGSC not only in oxygen physiological conditions but also in acute oxygen deprivation injury conditions. Results revealed that cordycepin (80 μM) reduced the amplitude of VGSC currents (INa) (77.6% of control, ) within 1 min of drug exposure coupled with a negative shift in steady-state inactivation and prolonged recovery time course from inactivation. Additionally, this mild reduction on the peak of INa induced by the pretreatment with cordycepin can attenuate and delay the following hypoxia causing rapid dramatic decrease in INa with no additive change in the voltage dependence of inactivation. As modulation on VGSC in CA1 neurons represents the initial event during ischemia, we propose that suppression effect of cordycepin on VGSC is an important neuronal protective mechanism that may enhance neuronal tolerance to acute oxygen deprivation and delay hypoxia-induced neuronal injuries. Zhi-Bin Liu, Chao Liu, Bin Zeng, Li-Ping Huang, and Li-Hua Yao Copyright © 2017 Zhi-Bin Liu et al. All rights reserved. Correlation between Traits of Emotion-Based Impulsivity and Intrinsic Default-Mode Network Activity Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/9297621/ Negative urgency (NU) and positive urgency (PU) are implicated in several high-risk behaviors, such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, and nonsuicidal self-injury behavior. The current study aimed to explore the possible link between trait of urgency and brain activity at rest. We assessed the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) of the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal in 85 healthy volunteers. Trait urgency measures were related to ALFF in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventral and dorsal medial frontal cortex, anterior cingulate, and posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus. In addition, trait urgency measures showed significant correlations with the functional connectivity of the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus seed with the thalamus and midbrain region. These findings suggest an association between intrinsic brain activity and impulsive behaviors in healthy humans. Jizheng Zhao, Dardo Tomasi, Corinde E. Wiers, Ehsan Shokri-Kojori, Şükrü B. Demiral, Yi Zhang, Nora D. Volkow, and Gene-Jack Wang Copyright © 2017 Jizheng Zhao et al. All rights reserved. HINT1 in Neuropsychiatric Diseases: A Potential Neuroplastic Mediator Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5181925/ Although many studies have investigated the functions of histidine triad nucleotide-binding protein 1 (HINT1), its roles in neurobiological processes remain to be fully elucidated. As a member of the histidine triad (HIT) enzyme superfamily, HINT1 is distributed in almost every organ and has both enzymatic and nonenzymatic activity. Accumulating clinical and preclinical evidence suggests that HINT1 may play an important role as a neuroplastic mediator in neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, inherited peripheral neuropathies, mood disorders, and drug addiction. Though our knowledge of HINT1 is limited, it is believed that further research on the neuropathological functions of HINT1 would eventually benefit patients with neuropsychiatric and even psychosomatic diseases. Peng Liu, Zhongwei Liu, Jiabei Wang, Xiancang Ma, and Yonghui Dang Copyright © 2017 Peng Liu et al. All rights reserved. Treadmill Exercise Improves Motor Dysfunction and Hyperactivity of the Corticostriatal Glutamatergic Pathway in Rats with 6-OHDA-Induced Parkinson’s Disease Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:26:57 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/2583910/ Hyperactivity in the corticostriatal glutamatergic pathway (CGP) induces basal ganglia dysfunction, contributing to parkinsonian syndrome (PS). Physical exercise can improve PS. However, the effect of exercise on the CGP, and whether this pathway is involved in the improvement of PS, remains unclear. Parkinson’s disease (PD) was induced in rats by 6-hydroxydopamine injection into the right medial forebrain bundle. Motor function was assessed using the cylinder test. Striatal neuron (SN) spontaneous and evoked firing activity was recorded, and the expression levels of Cav1.3 and CaMKII in the striatum were measured after 4 weeks of treadmill exercise. The motor function in PD rats was improved by treadmill exercise. SN showed significantly enhanced excitability, and treadmill exercise reduced SN excitability in PD rats. In addition, firing activity was evoked in SNs by stimulation of the primary motor cortex, and SNs exhibited significantly decreased stimulus threshold, increased firing rates, and reduced latency. The expression of Cav1.3 and p-CaMKII (Thr286) in the striatum were enhanced in PD rats. However, these effects were reversed by treadmill exercise. These findings suggest that treadmill exercise inhibits CGP hyperactivity in PD rats, which may be related to improvement of PS. Wei Chen, Decai Qiao, Xiaoli Liu, and Kaixuan Shi Copyright © 2017 Wei Chen et al. All rights reserved. Constitutive Expression of Adiponectin in Endothelial Progenitor Cells Protects a Rat Model of Cerebral Ischemia Sun, 22 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/6809745/ Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), as precursors to endothelial cells, play a significant part in the process of endogenous blood vessel repair and maintenance of endothelial integrity. Adiponectin (APN) is an adipocyte-specific adipocytokine. In this study, we aim to test whether we transplant a combined graft of EPCs transfected with the adiponectin gene into a rat model of cerebral ischemia could improve functional recovery after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into a MCAO control group, a MCAO EPC treatment group, and a MCAO LV-APN-EPC treatment group. A focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion model was induced by the intraluminal suture method. After 2 h of reperfusion, EPCs were transplanted by injection through the tail vein. A rotarod test was conducted to assess behavioral function before MCAO and on days 1, 7, and 14 after MCAO. After 14 d, TTC staining, CD31 immunofluorescence, and TUNEL staining were used to evaluate infarct volume, microvessel density, and cell apoptosis. Results revealed that behavioral function, infarct area percentage, microvessel density, and cell apoptosis rates were more favorable in the LV-APN-EPC treatment group than in the EPC treatment group. These data suggested that gene-modified cell therapy may be a useful approach for the treatment of ischemic stroke. Renwei Zhang, Xiaorui Xie, Qing Yu, Hongliang Feng, Meiyao Wang, Yan Li, and Yumin Liu Copyright © 2017 Renwei Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Neural Plasticity Is Involved in Physiological Sleep, Depressive Sleep Disturbances, and Antidepressant Treatments Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/5870735/ Depression, which is characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood and anhedonia, greatly impacts patients, their families, and society. The associated and recurring sleep disturbances further reduce patient’s quality of life. However, therapeutic sleep deprivation has been regarded as a rapid and robust antidepressant treatment for several decades, which suggests a complicated role of sleep in development of depression. Changes in neural plasticity are observed during physiological sleep, therapeutic sleep deprivation, and depression. This correlation might help us to understand better the mechanism underlying development of depression and the role of sleep. In this review, we first introduce the structure of sleep and the facilitated neural plasticity caused by physiological sleep. Then, we introduce sleep disturbances and changes in plasticity in patients with depression. Finally, the effects and mechanisms of antidepressants and therapeutic sleep deprivation on neural plasticity are discussed. Meng-Qi Zhang, Rui Li, Yi-Qun Wang, and Zhi-Li Huang Copyright © 2017 Meng-Qi Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Spinal Excitability Changes after Transspinal and Transcortical Paired Associative Stimulation in Humans Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:36:40 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/6751810/ Paired associative stimulation (PAS) produces enduring neuroplasticity based on Hebbian associative plasticity. This study established the changes in spinal motoneuronal excitability by pairing transcortical and transspinal stimulation. Transcortical stimulation was delivered after (transspinal-transcortical PAS) or before (transcortical-transspinal PAS) transspinal stimulation. Before and after 40 minutes of each PAS protocol, spinal neural excitability was assessed based on the amplitude of the transspinal-evoked potentials (TEPs) recorded from ankle muscles of both legs at different stimulation intensities (recruitment input-output curve). Changes in TEPs amplitude in response to low-frequency stimulation and paired transspinal stimuli were also established before and after each PAS protocol. TEP recruitment input-output curves revealed a generalized depression of TEPs in most ankle muscles of both legs after both PAS protocols that coincided with an increased gain only after transcortical-transspinal PAS. Transcortical-transspinal PAS increased and transspinal-transcortical PAS decreased the low-frequency-dependent TEP depression, whereas neither PAS protocol affected the TEP depression observed upon paired transspinal stimuli. These findings support the notion that transspinal and transcortical PAS has the ability to alter concomitantly cortical and spinal synaptic activity. Transspinal and transcortical PAS may contribute to the development of rehabilitation strategies in people with bilateral increased motoneuronal excitability due to cortical or spinal lesions. Maria Knikou Copyright © 2017 Maria Knikou. All rights reserved. Locus Coeruleus and Dopamine-Dependent Memory Consolidation Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:21:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/8602690/ Most everyday memories including many episodic-like memories that we may form automatically in the hippocampus (HPC) are forgotten, while some of them are retained for a long time by a memory stabilization process, called initial memory consolidation. Specifically, the retention of everyday memory is enhanced, in humans and animals, when something novel happens shortly before or after the time of encoding. Converging evidence has indicated that dopamine (DA) signaling via D1/D5 receptors in HPC is required for persistence of synaptic plasticity and memory, thereby playing an important role in the novelty-associated memory enhancement. In this review paper, we aim to provide an overview of the key findings related to D1/D5 receptor-dependent persistence of synaptic plasticity and memory in HPC, especially focusing on the emerging evidence for a role of the locus coeruleus (LC) in DA-dependent memory consolidation. We then refer to candidate brain areas and circuits that might be responsible for detection and transmission of the environmental novelty signal and molecular and anatomical evidence for the LC-DA system. We also discuss molecular mechanisms that might mediate the environmental novelty-associated memory enhancement, including plasticity-related proteins that are involved in initial memory consolidation processes in HPC. Miwako Yamasaki and Tomonori Takeuchi Copyright © 2017 Miwako Yamasaki and Tomonori Takeuchi. All rights reserved. Neuroplasticity and Healthy Lifestyle: How Can We Understand This Relationship? Mon, 16 Oct 2017 04:31:16 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/9506181/ Azucena Begega, Luis J. Santín, Pablo Galeano, Debora Cutuli, and Patricia Sampedro Piquero Copyright © 2017 Azucena Begega et al. All rights reserved. Enhancement in Tonically Active Glutamatergic Inputs to the Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla Contributes to Neuropathic Pain-Induced High Blood Pressure Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:44:30 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/4174010/ Neuropathic pain increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases including hypertension with the characteristic of sympathetic overactivity. The enhanced tonically active glutamatergic input to the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) contributes to sympathetic overactivity and blood pressure (BP) in cardiovascular diseases. We hypothesize that neuropathic pain enhances tonically active glutamatergic inputs to the RVLM, which contributes to high level of BP and sympathetic outflow. Animal model with the trigeminal neuropathic pain was induced by the infraorbital nerve-chronic constriction injury (ION-CCI). A significant increase in BP and renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) was found in rats with ION-CCI (BP, , RSNA, , ). The concentration of glutamate in the RVLM was significantly increased in the ION-CCI group (, ). Blockade of glutamate receptors by injection of kynurenic acid into the RVLM significantly decreased BP and RSNA in the ION-CCI group (, ). In two major sources (the paraventricular nucleus and periaqueductal gray) for glutamatergic inputs to the RVLM, the ION-CCI group (, ) showed an increase in glutamate content and expression of glutaminase 2, vesicular glutamate transporter 2 proteins, and c-fos. Our results suggest that enhancement in tonically active glutamatergic inputs to the RVLM contributes to neuropathic pain-induced high blood pressure. Wei Wang, Zui Zou, Xing Tan, Ru-Wen Zhang, Chang-Zhen Ren, Xue-Ya Yao, Cheng-Bao Li, Wei-Zhong Wang, and Xue-Yin Shi Copyright © 2017 Wei Wang et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Propofol Treatment in Neural Progenitors Derived from Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Sun, 08 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/9182748/ Propofol is an intravenous anesthetic that has been widely used in clinics. Besides its anesthetic effects, propofol has also been reported to influence the regulation of the autonomic system. Controversies exist with regard to whether propofol exposure is safe for pregnant women and young children. In this work, human-induced pluripotent stem cell- (hiPSC-) derived neural progenitor cells (NPCs) were treated with propofol at 20, 50, 100, or 300 μM for 6 h or 24 h, and acute and subacute cell injury, cell proliferation, and apoptosis were evaluated. Comparison of genome-wide gene expression profiles was performed for treated and control iPSC-NPCs. Propofol treatment for 6 h at the clinically relevant concentration (20 or 50 μM) did not affect cell viability, apoptosis, or proliferation, while propofol at higher concentration (100 or 300 μM) decreased NPC viability and induced apoptosis. In addition, 20 μM propofol treatment for 6 h did not alter global gene expression. In summary, propofol treatment at commonly practiced clinical doses for 6 h did not have adverse effects on hiPSC-derived NPCs. In contrast, longer exposure and/or higher concentration could decrease NPC viability and induce apoptosis. Bo Long, Shenglan Li, Haipeng Xue, Li Sun, Dong H. Kim, and Ying Liu Copyright © 2017 Bo Long et al. All rights reserved. Functional Metaplasticity of Hippocampal Schaffer Collateral-CA1 Synapses Is Reversed in Chronically Epileptic Rats Mon, 02 Oct 2017 05:11:50 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2017/8087401/ Spatial learning and associating spatial information with individual experience are crucial for rodents and higher mammals. Hence, studying the cellular and molecular cascades involved in the key mechanism of information storage in the brain, synaptic plasticity, has led to enormous knowledge in this field. A major open question applies to the interdependence between synaptic plasticity and its behavioral correlates. In this context, it has become clear that behavioral aspects may impact subsequent synaptic plasticity, a phenomenon termed behavioral metaplasticity. Here, we trained control and pilocarpine-treated chronically epileptic rats of two different age groups (adolescent and adult) in a spatial memory task and subsequently tested long-term potentiation (LTP) in vitro at Schaffer collateral—CA1 synapses. As expected, memory acquisition in the behavioral task was significantly impaired both in pilocarpine-treated animals and in adult controls. Accordingly, these groups, without being tested in the behavioral training task, showed reduced CA1-LTP levels compared to untrained young controls. Spatial memory training significantly reduced subsequent CA1-LTP in vitro in the adolescent control group yet enhanced CA1-LTP in the adult pilocarpine-treated group. Such training in the adolescent pilocarpine-treated and adult control groups resulted in intermediate changes. Our study demonstrates age-dependent functional metaplasticity following a spatial memory training task and its reversal under pathological conditions. Mirko Rehberg, Timo Kirschstein, Xiati Guli, Steffen Müller, Marco Rohde, Denise Franz, Tursonjan Tokay, and Rüdiger Köhling Copyright © 2017 Mirko Rehberg et al. All rights reserved.