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    EV-3, an endogenous human erythropoietin isoform with distinct functional relevance 

    Bonnas, Christel; Wüstefeld, Liane; Winkler, Daniela; Kronstein-Wiedemann, Romy; Dere, Ekrem; Specht, Katja; Boxberg, Melanie; Tonn, Torsten; Ehrenreich, Hannelore; Stadler, Herbert; et al.
    Sillaber, Inge
    Scientific Reports 2017; 7(1): Art. 3684
    Generation of multiple mRNAs by alternative splicing is well known in the group of cytokines and has recently been reported for the human erythropoietin (EPO) gene. Here, we focus on the alternatively spliced EPO transcript characterized by deletion of exon 3 (hEPOΔ3). We show co-regulation of EPO and hEPOΔ3 in human diseased tissue. The expression of hEPOΔ3 in various human samples was low under normal conditions, and distinctly increased in pathological states. Concomitant up-regulation of hEPOΔ3 and EPO in response to hypoxic conditions was also observed in HepG2 cell cultures. Using LC-ESI-MS/MS, we provide first evidence for the existence of hEPOΔ3 derived protein EV-3 in human serum from healthy donors. Contrary to EPO, recombinant EV-3 did not promote early erythroid progenitors in cultures of human CD34+ haematopoietic stem cells. Repeated intraperitoneal administration of EV-3 in mice did not affect the haematocrit. Similar to EPO, EV-3 acted anti-apoptotic in rat hippocampal neurons exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation. Employing the touch-screen paradigm of long-term visual discrimination learning, we obtained first in vivo evidence of beneficial effects of EV-3 on cognition. This is the first report on the presence of a naturally occurring EPO protein isoform in human serum sharing non-erythropoietic functions with EPO.
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    Increased Mitochondrial Mass and Cytosolic Redox Imbalance in Hippocampal Astrocytes of a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome: Subcellular Changes Revealed by Ratiometric Imaging of JC-1 and roGFP1 Fluorescence 

    Bebensee, Dörthe F.; Can, Karolina; Müller, Michael
    Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2017; 2017 p.1-15
    Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with mutations in the MECP2 gene. Mostly girls are affected, and an apparently normal development is followed by cognitive impairment, motor dysfunction, epilepsy, and irregular breathing. Various indications suggest mitochondrial dysfunction. In Rett mice, brain ATP levels are reduced, mitochondria are leaking protons, and respiratory complexes are dysregulated. Furthermore, we found in MeCP2-deficient mouse (Mecp2−/y) hippocampus an intensified mitochondrial metabolism and ROS generation. We now used emission ratiometric 2-photon imaging to assess mitochondrial morphology, mass, and membrane potential (ΔΨm) in Mecp2−/y hippocampal astrocytes. Cultured astrocytes were labeled with the ΔΨm marker JC-1, and semiautomated analyses yielded the number of mitochondria per cell, their morphology, and ΔΨm. Mecp2−/y astrocytes contained more mitochondria than wild-type (WT) cells and were more oxidized. Mitochondrial size, ΔΨm, and vulnerability to pharmacological challenge did not differ. The antioxidant Trolox opposed the oxidative burden and decreased the mitochondrial mass, thereby dampening the differences among WT and Mecp2−/y astrocytes; mitochondrial size and ΔΨm were not markedly affected. In conclusion, mitochondrial alterations and redox imbalance in RTT also involve astrocytes. Mitochondria are more numerous in Mecp2−/y than in WT astrocytes. As this genotypic difference is abolished by Trolox, it seems linked to the oxidative stress in RTT.
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    Loss of Neuroligin3 specifically downregulates retinal GABAAα2 receptors without abolishing direction selectivity. 

    Hoon, Mrinalini; Krishnamoorthy, Vidhyasankar; Gollisch, Tim; Falkenburger, Bjoern; Varoqueaux, Frederique
    PloS one 2017; 12(7): Art. e0181011
    The postsynaptic adhesion proteins Neuroligins (NLs) are essential for proper synapse function, and their alterations are associated with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. It is increasingly clear that each NL isoform occupies specific subsets of synapses and is able to regulate the function of discrete networks. Studies of NL2 and NL4 in the retina in particular have contributed towards uncovering their role in inhibitory synapse function. In this study we show that NL3 is also predominantly expressed at inhibitory postsynapses in the retinal inner plexiform layer (IPL), where it colocalizes with both GABAA- and glycinergic receptor clusters in a 3:2 ratio. In the NL3 deletion-mutant (knockout or KO) mouse, we uncovered a dramatic reduction of the number of GABAAα2-subunit containing GABAA receptor clusters at the IPL. Retinal activity was thereafter assessed in KO and wild-type (WT) littermates by multi-electrode-array recordings of the output cells of retina, the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). RGCs in the NL3 KO showed reduced spontaneous activity and an altered response to white noise stimulation. Moreover, upon application of light flashes, the proportion of cells firing at light offset (OFF RGCs) was significantly lower in the NL3 KO compared to WT littermates, whereas the relative number of cells firing at light onset (ON RGCs) increased. Interestingly, although GABAAα2-bearing receptors have been related to direction-selective circuits of the retina, features of direction selective-retinal ganglion cells recorded remained unperturbed in the NL3 KO. Together our data underscore the importance of NL3 for the integrity of specific GABAAergic retinal circuits and identifies NL3 as an important regulator of retinal activity.
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    Amyloid-precursor Like Proteins APLP1 and APLP2 Are Dispensable for Normal Development of the Neonatal Respiratory Network. 

    Han, Kang; Müller, Ulrike C.; Hülsmann, Swen
    Frontiers in molecular neuroscience 2017; 10: Art. 189
    Recent studies using animal models indicated that the members of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene family are important for the formation, maintenance, and plasticity of synapses. Despite this, the specific role of the APP homologs APLP1 and APLP2 within the CNS and PNS is still poorly understood. In contrast to the subtle phenotypes of single mutants, double knockout mice (DKO) lacking APP/APLP2 or APLP1/APLP2 die within the first day after birth. Whereas APP/APLP2-DKO mice show severe deficits of neuromuscular morphology and transmission, the underlying cause of lethality of APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice remains unclear. Since expression of both proteins was confirmed by in situ hybridization, we aimed to test the role of APLP1/APLP2 in the formation and maintenance of synapses in the brainstem, and assessed a potential dysfunction of the most vital central neuronal network in APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice by analyzing the respiratory network of the medulla. We performed in vivo unrestrained whole body plethysmography in newborn APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice at postnatal day zero. Additionally, we directly tested the activity of the respiratory network in an acute slice preparation that includes the pre-Bötzinger complex. In both sets of experiments, no significant differences were detected regarding respiratory rate and cycle variability, strongly arguing against central respiratory problems as the primary cause of death of APLP1/APLP2-DKO mice. Thus, we conclude that APLP1 and APLP2 are dispensable for the development of the network and the generation of a normal breathing rhythm.
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    Riluzole: A potential therapeutic intervention in human brain tumor stem-like cells 

    Sperling, Swetlana; Aung, Thiha; Martin, Sabine; Rohde, Veit; Ninkovic, Milena
    Oncotarget
    A small subpopulation of tumor stem-like cells has the capacity to initiate tumors and mediate radio- and chemoresistance in diverse cancers hence also in glioblastoma (GBM). It has been reported that this capacity of tumor initiation in the brain is mainly dependent on the body’s nutrient supply. This population of so-called brain tumor initiating or brain tumor stem-like cells (BTSCs) is able to extract nutrients like glucose with a higher affinity. Riluzole, a drug approved for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was reported to possess anticancer properties, affecting the glutamate metabolism. We report that riluzole treatment inhibits the growth of brain tumor stem-like cells enriched cultures isolated from two human glioblastomas. The effects of riluzole on these cells were associated with an inhibition of a poor prognostic indicator: glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3). A decrease in GLUT3 is associated with a decrease in the p-Akt/HIF1α pathway. Further, downregulation of the DNA (Cytosine- 5-)-methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) gene that causes hypermethylation of various tumor-suppressor genes and leads to a poor prognosis in GBM, was detected. Two hallmarks of cancer cells—proliferation and cell death—were positively influenced by riluzole treatment. Finally, we observed that riluzole reduced the tumor growth in in vivo CAM assay, suggesting it could be a possible synergistic drug for the treatment of glioblastoma.
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    Monitoring ATP dynamics in electrically active white matter tracts 

    Trevisiol, Andrea; Saab, Aiman S.; Winkler, Ulrike; Marx, Grit; Imamura, Hiromi; Möbius, Wiebke; Kusch, Kathrin; Nave, Klaus-Armin; Hirrlinger, Johannes
    eLife 2017; 6: Art. e24241
    In several neurodegenerative diseases and myelin disorders, the degeneration profiles of myelinated axons are compatible with underlying energy deficits. However, it is presently impossible to measure selectively axonal ATP levels in the electrically active nervous system. We combined transgenic expression of an ATP-sensor in neurons of mice with confocal FRET imaging and electrophysiological recordings of acutely isolated optic nerves. This allowed us to monitor dynamic changes and activity-dependent axonal ATP homeostasis at the cellular level and in real time. We find that changes in ATP levels correlate well with compound action potentials. However, this correlation is disrupted when metabolism of lactate is inhibited, suggesting that axonal glycolysis products are not sufficient to maintain mitochondrial energy metabolism of electrically active axons. The combined monitoring of cellular ATP and electrical activity is a novel tool to study neuronal and glial energy metabolism in normal physiology and in models of neurodegenerative disorders.
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    Modulation of Microglial Activity by Rho-Kinase (ROCK) Inhibition as Therapeutic Strategy in Parkinson’s Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 

    Roser, Anna-Elisa; Tönges, Lars; Lingor, Paul
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 2017; 9: Art. 94
    Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive degeneration of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system (CNS, PNS), resulting in a reduced innervation of target structures and a loss of function. A shared characteristic of many neurodegenerative diseases is the infiltration of microglial cells into affected brain regions. During early disease stages microglial cells often display a rather neuroprotective phenotype, but switch to a more pro-inflammatory neurotoxic phenotype in later stages of the disease, contributing to the neurodegeneration. Activation of the Rho kinase (ROCK) pathway appears to be instrumental for the modulation of the microglial phenotype: increased ROCK activity in microglia mediates mechanisms of the inflammatory response and is associated with improved motility, increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and release of inflammatory cytokines. Recently, several studies suggested inhibition of ROCK signaling as a promising treatment option for neurodegenerative diseases. In this review article, we discuss the contribution of microglial activity and phenotype switch to the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), two devastating neurodegenerative diseases without disease-modifying treatment options. Furthermore, we describe how ROCK inhibition can influence the microglial phenotype in disease models and explore ROCK inhibition as a future treatment option for PD and ALS.
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    Antagonistic Functions of MBP and CNP Establish Cytosolic Channels in CNS Myelin 

    Snaidero, Nicolas; Velte, Caroline; Myllykoski, Matti; Raasakka, Arne; Ignatev, Alexander; Werner, Hauke B.; Erwig, Michelle S.; Möbius, Wiebke; Kursula, Petri; Nave, Klaus-Armin; et al.
    Simons, Mikael
    Cell Reports 2017; 18(2) p.314-323
    The myelin sheath is a multilamellar plasma membrane extension of highly specialized glial cells laid down in regularly spaced segments along axons. Recent studies indicate that myelin is metabolically active and capable of communicating with the underlying axon. To be functionally connected to the neuron, oligodendrocytes maintain non-compacted myelin as cytoplasmic nanochannels. Here, we used high-pressure freezing for electron microscopy to study these cytoplasmic regions within myelin close to their native state. We identified 2,030-cyclic nucleotide 30-phosphodiesterase (CNP), an oligodendrocyte- specific protein previously implicated in the maintenance of axonal integrity, as an essential factor in generating and maintaining cytoplasm within the myelin compartment. We provide evidence that CNP directly associates with and organizes the actin cytoskeleton, thereby providing an intracellular strut that counteracts membrane compaction by myelin basic protein (MBP). Our study provides amolecular and structural framework for understanding how myelin maintains its cytoplasm to function as an active axon-glial unit.
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    Analysis of the Serotonergic System in a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome Reveals Unusual Upregulation of Serotonin Receptor 5b 

    Vogelgesang, Steffen; Niebert, Sabine; Renner, Ute; Möbius, Wiebke; Hülsmann, Swen; Manzke, Till; Niebert, Marcus
    Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 2017; 10: Art. 61
    Mutations in the transcription factor methyl-CpG-binding-protein 2 (MeCP2) cause a delayed-onset neurodevelopmental disorder known as Rett syndrome (RTT). Although alteration in serotonin levels have been reported in RTT patients, the molecular mechanisms underlying these defects are not well understood. Therefore, we chose to investigate the serotonergic system in hippocampus and brainstem of male Mecp2􀀀=y knock-out mice in the B6.129P2(C)-Mecp2(tm1.1Bird) mouse model of RTT. The serotonergic system in mouse is comprised of 16 genes, whose mRNA expression profile was analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR. Mecp2􀀀=y mice are an established animal model for RTT displaying most of the cognitive and physical impairments of human patients and the selected areas receive significant modulation through serotonin. Using anatomically and functional characterized areas, we found regionspecific differential expression between wild type and Mecp2􀀀=y mice at post-natal day 40. In brainstem, we found five genes to be dysregulated, while in hippocampus, two genes were dysregulated. The one gene dysregulated in both brain regions was dopamine decarboxylase, but of special interest is the serotonin receptor 5b (5-ht5b), which showed 75-fold dysregulation in brainstem of Mecp2􀀀=y mice. This dysregulation was not due to upregulation, but due to failure of down-regulation in Mecp2􀀀=y mice during development. Detailed analysis of 5-ht5b revealed a receptor that localizes to endosomes and interacts with Gai proteins.
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    Limitations of Sulforhodamine 101 for Brain Imaging 

    Hülsmann, Swen; Hagos, Liya; Heuer, Heike; Schnell, Christian
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 2017; 11: Art. 44
    Since 2004, the red fluorescent dye Sulforhodamine 101 (SR101) has been boosting the functional analysis of astrocytes in a functional environment in an unprecedented way. However, two major limitations have been challenging the usefulness of this tool for cellular imaging: (i) SR101 is not as specific for astrocytes as previously reported; and (ii) discoveries of severe excitatory side effects of SR101 are bearing the risk of unwanted alteration of the system of interest. In this article, we summarize the current knowledge about SR101-labeling protocols and discuss the problems that arise from varying of the staining protocols. Furthermore, we provide a testable hypothesis for the observed hyper-excitability that can be observed when using SR101.
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    Rho Kinase Inhibition with Fasudil in the SOD1G93A Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis—Symptomatic Treatment Potential after Disease Onset 

    Günther, René; Balck, Alexander; Koch, Jan C.; Nientiedt, Tobias; Sereda, Michael; Bähr, Mathias; Lingor, Paul; Tönges, Lars
    Frontiers in Pharmacology 2017; 8: Art. 17
    Despite an improved understanding of the genetic background and the pathomechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) no novel disease-modifying therapies have been successfully implemented in clinical routine. Riluzole still remains the only clinically approved substance in human ALS treatment with limited efficacy. We have previously identified pharmacological rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitors as orally applicable substances in SOD1.G93A transgenic ALS mice (SOD1G93A), which are able to extend survival time and improve motor function after presymptomatic treatment. Here, we have evaluated the therapeutic effect of the orally administered ROCK inhibitor Fasudil starting at a symptomatic disease stage, more realistically reflecting the clinical situation. Oral Fasudil treatment was initiated at a symptomatic stage at 80 days of life (d80) with 30 or 100 mg/kg body weight in both female and male mice. While baseline neurological scoring and survival were not influenced, Fasudil significantly improved motor behavior in male mice. Spinal cord pathology of motoneurons (MN) and infiltrating microglial cells (MG) at disease end-stage were not significantly modified. Although treatment after symptom onset was less potent than treatment in asymptomatic animals, our study shows the therapeutic benefits of this well-tolerated substance, which is already in clinical use for other indications.
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    Dietary cholesterol promotes repair of demyelinated lesions in the adult brain 

    Berghoff, Stefan A.; Gerndt, Nina; Winchenbach, Jan; Stumpf, Sina K.; Hosang, Leon; Odoardi, Francesca; Ruhwedel, Torben; Böhler, Carolin; Barrette, Benoit; Stassart, Ruth; et al.
    Liebetanz, DavidDibaj, PayamMöbius, WiebkeEdgar, Julia M.Saher, Gesine
    Nature Communications 2017; 8
    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder in which remyelination failure contributes to persistent disability. Cholesterol is rate-limiting for myelin biogenesis in the developing CNS; however, whether cholesterol insufficiency contributes to remyelination failure in MS, is unclear. Here, we show the relationship between cholesterol, myelination and neurological parameters in mouse models of demyelination and remyelination. In the cuprizone model, acute disease reduces serum cholesterol levels that can be restored by dietary cholesterol. Concomitant with blood-brain barrier impairment, supplemented cholesterol directly supports oligodendrocyte precursor proliferation and differentiation, and restores the balance of growth factors, creating a permissive environment for repair. This leads to attenuated axon damage, enhanced remyelination and improved motor learning. Remarkably, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, cholesterol supplementation does not exacerbate disease expression. These findings emphasize the safety of dietary cholesterol in inflammatory diseases and point to a previously unrecognized role of cholesterol in promoting repair after demyelinating episodes.
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    μCT of ex-vivo stained mouse hearts and embryos enables a precise match between 3D virtual histology, classical histology and immunochemistry 

    Dullin, Christian; Ufartes, Roser; Larsson, Emanuel; Martin, Sabine; Lazzarini, Marcio; Tromba, Giuliana; Missbach-Guentner, Jeannine; Pinkert-Leetsch, Diana; Katschinski, Dörthe M.; Alves, Frauke
    PLOS ONE 2017; 12(2): Art. e0170597
    The small size of the adult and developing mouse heart poses a great challenge for imaging in preclinical research. The aim of the study was to establish a phosphotungstic acid (PTA) ex-vivo staining approach that efficiently enhances the x-ray attenuation of soft-tissue to allow high resolution 3D visualization of mouse hearts by synchrotron radiation based μCT (SRμCT) and classical μCT. We demonstrate that SRμCT of PTA stained mouse hearts ex-vivo allows imaging of the cardiac atrium, ventricles, myocardium especially its fibre structure and vessel walls in great detail and furthermore enables the depiction of growth and anatomical changes during distinct developmental stages of hearts in mouse embryos. Our x-ray based virtual histology approach is not limited to SRμCT as it does not require monochromatic and/or coherent x-ray sources and even more importantly can be combined with conventional histological procedures. Furthermore, it permits volumetric measurements as we show for the assessment of the plaque volumes in the aortic valve region of mice from an ApoE-/- mouse model. Subsequent, Masson-Goldner trichrome staining of paraffin sections of PTA stained samples revealed intact collagen and muscle fibres and positive staining of CD31 on endothelial cells by immunohistochemistry illustrates that our approach does not prevent immunochemistry analysis. The feasibility to scan hearts already embedded in paraffin ensured a 100% correlation between virtual cut sections of the CT data sets and histological heart sections of the same sample and may allow in future guiding the cutting process to specific regions of interest. In summary, since our CT based virtual histology approach is a powerful tool for the 3D depiction of morphological alterations in hearts and embryos in high resolution and can be combined with classical histological analysis it may be used in preclinical research to unravel structural alterations of various heart diseases.
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    Revisiting adult neurogenesis and the role of erythropoietin for neuronal and oligodendroglial differentiation in the hippocampus 

    Hassouna, I.; Ott, C.; Wüstefeld, L.; Offen, N.; Neher, R. A.; Mitkovski, M.; Winkler, D.; Sperling, S.; Fries, L.; Goebbels, S.; et al.
    Vreja, I. C.Hagemeyer, N.Dittrich, M.Rossetti, M. F.Kröhnert, K.Hannke, K.Boretius, S.Zeug, A.Höschen, C.Dandekar, T.Dere, E.Neher, E.Rizzoli, S. O.Nave, K.-A.Sirén, A.-L.Ehrenreich, H.
    Molecular Psychiatry 2016; 21(12) p.1752-1767
    Recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) improves cognitive performance in neuropsychiatric diseases ranging from schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis to major depression and bipolar disease. This consistent EPO effect on cognition is independent of its role in hematopoiesis. The cellular mechanisms of action in brain, however, have remained unclear. Here we studied healthy young mice and observed that 3-week EPO administration was associated with an increased number of pyramidal neurons and oligodendrocytes in the hippocampus of ~ 20%. Under constant cognitive challenge, neuron numbers remained elevated until 46 months of age. Surprisingly, this increase occurred in absence of altered cell proliferation or apoptosis. After feeding a 15N-leucine diet, we used nanoscopic secondary ion mass spectrometry, and found that in EPO-treated mice, an equivalent number of neurons was defined by elevated 15N-leucine incorporation. In EPO-treated NG2-Cre-ERT2 mice, we confirmed enhanced differentiation of preexisting oligodendrocyte precursors in the absence of elevated DNA synthesis. A corresponding analysis of the neuronal lineage awaits the identification of suitable neuronal markers. In cultured neurospheres, EPO reduced Sox9 and stimulated miR124, associated with advanced neuronal differentiation. We are discussing a resulting working model in which EPO drives the differentiation of non-dividing precursors in both (NG2+) oligodendroglial and neuronal lineages. As endogenous EPO expression is induced by brain injury, such a mechanism of adult neurogenesis may be relevant for central nervous system regeneration.
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    Calcium channel inhibition-mediated axonal stabilization improves axonal regeneration after optic nerve crush 

    Ribas, Vinicius T.; Lingor, Paul
    Neural Regeneration Research 2016; 11(8)
    not available
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    Thalamocortical Connections Drive Intracortical Activation of Functional Columns in the Mislaminated Reeler Somatosensory Cortex 

    Wagener, Robin J.; Witte, Mirko; Guy, Julien; Mingo-Moreno, Nieves; Kügler, Sebastian; Staiger, Jochen F.
    Cerebral Cortex 2015; 26 p.820-837: Art. bhv257
    Neuronal wiring is key to proper neural information processing. Tactile information from the rodent’s whiskers reaches the cortex via distinct anatomical pathways. The lemniscal pathway relays whisking and touch information from the ventral posteromedial thalamic nucleus to layer IV of the primary somatosensory “barrel” cortex. The disorganized neocortex of the reeler mouse is a model system that should severely compromise the ingrowth of thalamocortical axons (TCAs) into the cortex. Moreover, it could disrupt intracortical wiring.We found that neuronal intermingling within the reeler barrel cortex substantially exceeded previous descriptions, leading to the loss of layers. However, viral tracing revealed that TCAs still specifically targeted transgenically labeled spiny layer IV neurons. Slice electrophysiology and optogenetics proved that these connections represent functional synapses. In addition, we assessed intracortical activation via immediate-early-gene expression resulting from a behavioral exploration task. The cellular composition of activated neuronal ensembles suggests extensive similarities in intracolumnar information processing in thewild-type and reeler brains.We conclude that extensive ectopic positioning of neuronal partners can be compensated for by cell-autonomous mechanisms that allow for the establishment of proper connectivity. Thus, genetic neuronal fate seems to be of greater importance for correct cortical wiring than radial neuronal position.
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    Dead-time correction of fluorescence lifetime measurements and fluorescence lifetime imaging 

    Isbaner, Sebastian; Karedla, Narain; Ruhlandt, Daja; Stein, Simon Christoph; Chizhik, Anna; Gregor, Ingo; Enderlein, Jörg
    Optics Express 2016; 24(9)
    We present a comprehensive theory of dead-time effects on Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC) as used for fluorescence lifetime measurements, and develop a correction algorithm to remove these artifacts. We apply this algorithm to fluorescence lifetime measurements as well as to Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM), where rapid data acquisition is necessarily connected with high count rates. There, dead-time effects cannot be neglected, and lead to distortions in the observed lifetime image. The algorithm is quite general and completely independent of the particular nature of the measured signal. It can also be applied to any other single-event counting measurement with detector and/or electronics dead-time.
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    Cortical network dysfunction caused by a subtle defect of myelination 

    Poggi, Giulia; Boretius, Susann; Möbius, Wiebke; Moschny, Nicole; Baudewig, Jürgen; Ruhwedel, Torben; Hassouna, Imam; Wieser, Georg L.; Werner, Hauke B.; Goebbels, Sandra; et al.
    Glia 2016; 64(11) p.2025-2040
    Subtle white matter abnormalities have emerged as a hallmark of brain alterations in magnetic resonance imaging or upon autopsy of mentally ill subjects. However, it is unknown whether such reduction of white matter and myelin contributes to any disease-relevant phenotype or simply constitutes an epiphenomenon, possibly even treatment-related. Here, we have reanalyzed Mbp heterozygous mice, the unaffected parental strain of shiverer, a classical neurological mutant. Between 2 and 20 months of age, Mbp1/- versus Mbp1/1 littermates were deeply phenotyped by combining extensive behavioral/cognitive testing with MRI, 1H-MR spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and molecular techniques. Surprisingly, Mbp-dependent myelination was significantly reduced in the prefrontal cortex. We also noticed a mild but progressive hypomyelination of the prefrontal corpus callosum and low-grade inflammation. While most behavioral functions were preserved, Mbp1/- mice exhibited defects of sensorimotor gating, as evidenced by reduced prepulse-inhibition, and a late-onset catatonia phenotype. Thus, subtle but primary abnormalities of CNS myelin can be the cause of a persistent cortical network dysfunction including catatonia, features typical of neuropsychiatric conditions.
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    Transcranial alternating current stimulation affects the BOLD signal in a frequency and task-dependent manner 

    Cabral-Calderin, Yuranny; Anne Weinrich, Christiane; Schmidt-Samoa, Carsten; Poland, Eva; Dechent, Peter; Bähr, Mathias; Wilke, Melanie
    Human Brain Mapping 2015; 37(1) p.94-121
    Abstract: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) has emerged as a promising tool for manipulating ongoing brain oscillations. While previous studies demonstrated frequency-specific effects of tACS on diverse cognitive functions, its effect on neural activity remains poorly understood. Here we asked how tACS modulates regional fMRI blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal as a function of frequency, current strength, and task condition. TACS was applied over the posterior cortex of healthy human subjects while the BOLD signal was measured during rest or task conditions (visual perception, passive video viewing and motor task). TACS was applied in a blockwise manner at different frequencies (10, 16, 60 and 80 Hz). The strongest tACS effects on BOLD activity were observed with stimulation at alpha (10 Hz) and beta (16 Hz) frequency bands, while effects of tACS at the gamma range were rather modest. Specifically, we found that tACS at 16 Hz induced BOLD activity increase in fronto-parietal areas. Overall, tACS effects varied as a function of frequency and task, and were predominantly seen in regions that were not activated by the task. Also, the modulated regions were poorly predicted by current density modeling studies. Taken together, our results suggest that tACS does not necessarily exert its strongest effects in regions below the electrodes and that region specificity might be achieved with tACS due to varying susceptibility of brain regions to entrain to a given frequency.
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    Ret is essential to mediate GDNF’s neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effect in a Parkinson disease mouse model 

    Drinkut, Anja; Tillack, Karsten; Meka, Durga P.; Schulz, Jorg B.; Kügler, Sebastian; Kramer, Edgar R.
    Cell Death and Disease 2016; 7(9): Art. e2359
    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent survival and regeneration-promoting factor for dopaminergic neurons in cell and animal models of Parkinson disease (PD). GDNF is currently tested in clinical trials on PD patients with so far inconclusive results. The receptor tyrosine kinase Ret is the canonical GDNF receptor, but several alternative GDNF receptors have been proposed, raising the question of which signaling receptor mediates here the beneficial GDNF effects. To address this question we overexpressed GDNF in the striatum of mice deficient for Ret in dopaminergic neurons and subsequently challenged these mice with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Strikingly, in this established PD mouse model, the absence of Ret completely abolished GDNF’s neuroprotective and regenerative effect on the midbrain dopaminergic system. This establishes Ret signaling as absolutely required for GDNF’s effects to prevent and compensate dopaminergic system degeneration and suggests Ret activation as the primary target of GDNF therapy in PD.
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