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Journal of Physiology
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Pyridostigmine but not 3,4-diaminopyridine exacerbates ACh receptor loss and myasthenia induced in mice by muscle-specific kinase autoantibody
In myasthenia gravis, the neuromuscular junction is impaired by the antibody-mediated loss of postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). Muscle weakness can be improved upon treatment with pyridostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor, or with 3,4-diaminopyridine, which increases the release of ACh quanta. The clinical efficacy of pyridostigmine is in doubt for certain forms of myasthenia. Here we formally examined the effects of these compounds in the antibody-induced mouse model of anti-muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) myasthenia gravis. Mice received 14 daily injections of IgG from patients with anti-MuSK myasthenia gravis. This caused reductions in postsynaptic AChR densities and in endplate potential amplitudes. Systemic delivery of pyridostigmine at therapeutically relevant levels from days 7 to 14 exacerbated the anti-MuSK-induced structural alterations and functional impairment at motor endplates in the diaphragm muscle. No such effect of pyridostigmine was found in mice receiving control human IgG. Mice receiving smaller amounts of MuSK autoantibodies did not display overt weakness, but 9 days of pyridostigmine treatment precipitated generalised muscle weakness. In contrast, one week of treatment with 3,4-diaminopyridine enhanced neuromuscular transmission in the diaphragm muscle. Both pyridostigmine and 3,4-diaminopyridine increase ACh in the synaptic cleft yet only pyridostigmine potentiated the anti-MuSK-induced decline in endplate ACh receptor density. These results thus suggest that ongoing pyridostigmine treatment potentiates anti-MuSK-induced AChR loss by prolonging the activity of ACh in the synaptic cleft.
Fear conditioning and fear extinction are Pavlovian conditioning paradigms extensively used to study the mechanisms that underlie learning and memory formation. The neural circuits that mediate this learning are evolutionarily conserved, and seen in virtually all species from flies to humans. In mammals, the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex are two structures that play a key role in the acquisition, consolidation and retrieval of fear memory, as well extinction of fear. These two regions have extensive bidirectional connections, and in recent years, the neural circuits that mediate fear learning and fear extinction are beginning to be elucidated. In this review, we provide an overview of our current understanding of the neural architecture within the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex. We describe how sensory information is processed in these two structures and the neural circuits between them thought to mediate different aspects of fear learning. Finally, we discuss how changes in circuits within these structures may mediate fear responses following fear conditioning and extinction.
A key feature of neurodegenerative disease is the pathological loss of neurons that participate in generating behaviour. To investigate network properties of neural circuits and provide a complementary tool to study neurodegeneration in vitro or in situ, we developed an automated cell-specific laser detection and ablation system. The instrument consists of a two-photon and visible-wavelength confocal imaging setup, controlled by executive software, that identifies neurons in preparations based on genetically encoded fluorescent proteins or Ca2+ imaging, and then sequentially ablates cell targets while monitoring network function concurrently. Pathological changes in network function can be directly attributed to ablated cells, which are logged in real time. Here, we investigated brainstem respiratory circuits to demonstrate single-cell precision in ablation during physiological network activity, but the technique could be applied to interrogate network properties in neural systems that retain network functionality in reduced preparations in vitro or in situ.
The carotid body is a sensory organ for detecting arterial blood O2 levels and reflexly mediates systemic cardiac, vascular and respiratory responses to hypoxia. This article presents a brief review of the roles of gaseous messengers in the sensory transduction at the carotid body, genetic and epigenetic influences on hypoxic sensing and the role of the carotid body chemoreflex in cardiorespiratory diseases. Type I (also called glomus) cells, the site of O2 sensing in the carotid body, express haem oxygenase-2 and cystathionine--lyase, the enzymes which catalyse the generation of CO and H2S, respectively. Physiological studies have shown that CO is an inhibitory gas messenger, which contributes to the low sensory activity during normoxia, whereas H2S is excitatory and mediates sensory stimulation by hypoxia. Hypoxia-evoked H2S generation in the carotid body requires the interaction of cystathionine--lyase with haem oxygenase-2, which generates CO. Hypoxia-inducible factors 1 and 2 constitute important components of the genetic make-up in the carotid body, which influence hypoxic sensing by regulating the intracellular redox state via transcriptional regulation of pro- and antioxidant enzymes. Recent studies suggest that developmental programming of the carotid body response to hypoxia involves epigenetic changes, e.g. DNA methylation of genes encoding redox-regulating enzymes. Emerging evidence implicates heightened carotid body chemoreflex in the progression of autonomic morbidities associated with cardiorespiratory diseases, such as sleep-disordered breathing with apnoea, congestive heart failure and essential hypertension.
Insulin relaxes bladder via PI3K/AKT/eNOS pathway activation in mucosa: unfolded protein response-dependent insulin resistance as a cause of obesity-associated overactive bladder
We aimed to investigate the role of insulin in the bladder and its relevance for the development of overactive bladder (OAB) in insulin-resistant obese mice. Bladders from male individuals who were involved in multiple organ donations were used. C57BL6/J mice were fed with a high-fat diet for 10 weeks to induce insulin-resistant obesity. Concentration–response curves to insulin were performed in human and mouse isolated mucosa-intact and mucosa-denuded bladders. Cystometric study was performed in terminally anaesthetized mice. Western blot was performed in bladders to detect phosphorylated endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) (Ser1177) and the phosphorylated protein kinase AKT (Ser473), as well as the unfolded protein response (UPR) markers TRIB3, CHOP and ATF4. Insulin (1–100 nm) produced concentration-dependent mouse and human bladder relaxations that were markedly reduced by mucosal removal or inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/eNOS pathway. In mouse bladders, insulin produced a 3.0-fold increase in cGMP levels (P < 0.05) that was prevented by PI3K/AKT/eNOS pathway inhibition. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibition abolished insulin-induced phosphorylation of AKT and eNOS in bladder mucosa. Obese mice showed greater voiding frequency and non-voiding contractions, indicating overactive detrusor smooth muscle. Insulin failed to relax the bladder or to increase cGMP in the obese group. Insulin-stimulated AKT and eNOS phosphorylation in mucosa was also impaired in obese mice. The UPR markers TRIB3, CHOP and ATF4 were increased in the mucosa of obese mice. The UPR inhibitor 4-phenyl butyric acid normalized all the functional and molecular parameters in obese mice. Our data show that insulin relaxes human and mouse bladder via activation of the PI3K/AKT/eNOS pathway in the bladder mucosa. Endoplasmic reticulum stress-dependent insulin resistance in bladder contributes to OAB in obese mice.
Complete blockade of the vasorelaxant effects of angiotensin-(1-7) and bradykinin in murine microvessels by antagonists of the receptor Mas
The heptapeptide angiotensin-(1–7) is a biologically active metabolite of angiotensin II, the predominant peptide of the renin–angiotensin system. Recently, we have shown that the receptor Mas is associated with angiotensin-(1–7)-induced signalling and mediates, at least in part, the vasodilatory properties of angiotensin-(1–7). However, it remained controversial whether an additional receptor could account for angiotensin-(1–7)-induced vasorelaxation. Here, we used two different angiotensin-(1–7) antagonists, A779 and d-Pro-angiotensin-(1–7), to address this question and also to study their influence on the vasodilatation induced by bradykinin. Isolated mesenteric microvessels from both wild-type and Mas-deficient C57Bl/6 mice were precontracted with noradrenaline, and vascular reactivity to angiotensin-(1–7) and bradykinin was subsequently studied using a small-vessel myograph. Furthermore, mechanisms for Mas effects were investigated in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Both angiotensin-(1–7) and bradykinin triggered a concentration-dependent vasodilatation in wild-type microvessels, which was absent in the presence of a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor. In these vessels, the pre-incubation with the Mas antagonists A779 or d-Pro-angiotensin-(1–7) totally abolished the vasodilatory capacity of both angiotensin-(1–7) and bradykinin, which was nitric oxide mediated. Accordingly, Mas-deficient microvessels lacked the capacity to relax in response to either angiotensin-(1–7) or bradykinin. Pre-incubation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells with A779 prevented bradykinin-mediated NO generation and NO synthase phosphorylation at serine 1177. The angiotensin-(1–7) antagonists A779 and d-Pro-angiotensin-(1–7) equally block Mas, which completely controls the angiotensin-(1–7)-induced vasodilatation in mesenteric microvessels. Importantly, Mas also appears to be a critical player in NO-mediated vasodilatation induced by renin–angiotensin system-independent agonists by altering phosphorylation of NO synthase.
Sarcolemmal localisation of Na+/H+ exchange and Na+-HCO3- co-transport influences the spatial regulation of intracellular pH in rat ventricular myocytes
Membrane acid extrusion by Na+/H+ exchange (NHE1) and Na+–HCO3– co-transport (NBC) is essential for maintaining a low cytoplasmic [H+] (~60 nm, equivalent to an intracellular pH (pHi) of 7.2). This protects myocardial function from the high chemical reactivity of H+ ions, universal end-products of metabolism. We show here that, in rat ventricular myocytes, fluorescent antibodies map the NBC isoforms NBCe1 and NBCn1 to lateral sarcolemma, intercalated discs and transverse tubules (t-tubules), while NHE1 is absent from t-tubules. This unexpected difference matches functional measurements of pHi regulation (using AM-loaded SNARF-1, a pH fluorophore). Thus, myocyte detubulation (by transient exposure to 1.5 m formamide) reduces global acid extrusion on NBC by 40%, without affecting NHE1. Similarly, confocal pHi imaging reveals that NBC stimulation induces spatially uniform pHi recovery from acidosis, whereas NHE1 stimulation induces pHi non-uniformity during recovery (of ~0.1 units, for 2–3 min), particularly at the ends of the cell where intercalated discs are commonly located, and where NHE1 immunostaining is prominent. Mathematical modelling shows that this induction of local pHi microdomains is favoured by low cytoplasmic H+ mobility and long H+ diffusion distances, particularly to surface NHE1 transporters mediating high membrane flux. Our results provide the first evidence for a spatial localisation of [H+]i regulation in ventricular myocytes, suggesting that, by guarding pHi, NHE1 preferentially protects gap junctional communication at intercalated discs, while NBC locally protects t-tubular excitation–contraction coupling.
Dihydroxy bile acids, such as chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), are well known to promote colonic fluid and electrolyte secretion, thereby causing diarrhoea associated with bile acid malabsorption. However, CDCA is rapidly metabolised by colonic bacteria to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), the effects of which on epithelial transport are poorly characterised. Here, we investigated the role of UDCA in the regulation of colonic epithelial secretion. Cl– secretion was measured across voltage-clamped monolayers of T84 cells and muscle-stripped sections of mouse or human colon. Cell surface biotinylation was used to assess abundance/surface expression of transport proteins. Acute (15 min) treatment of T84 cells with bilateral UDCA attenuated Cl– secretory responses to the Ca2+ and cAMP-dependent secretagogues carbachol (CCh) and forskolin (FSK) to 14.0 ± 3.8 and 40.2 ± 7.4% of controls, respectively (n = 18, P < 0.001). Investigation of the molecular targets involved revealed that UDCA acts by inhibiting Na+/K+-ATPase activity and basolateral K+ channel currents, without altering their cell surface expression. In contrast, intraperitoneal administration of UDCA (25 mg kg–1) to mice enhanced agonist-induced colonic secretory responses, an effect we hypothesised to be due to bacterial metabolism of UDCA to lithocholic acid (LCA). Accordingly, LCA (50–200 m) enhanced agonist-induced secretory responses in vitro and a metabolically stable UDCA analogue, 6-methyl-UDCA, exerted anti-secretory actions in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, UDCA exerts direct anti-secretory actions on colonic epithelial cells and metabolically stable derivatives of the bile acid may offer a new approach for treating intestinal diseases associated with diarrhoea.
Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis
Quantity and timing of protein ingestion are major factors regulating myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS). However, the effect of specific ingestion patterns on MPS throughout a 12 h period is unknown. We determined how different distributions of protein feeding during 12 h recovery after resistance exercise affects anabolic responses in skeletal muscle. Twenty-four healthy trained males were assigned to three groups (n = 8/group) and undertook a bout of resistance exercise followed by ingestion of 80 g of whey protein throughout 12 h recovery in one of the following protocols: 8 x 10 g every 1.5 h (PULSE); 4 x 20 g every 3 h (intermediate: INT); or 2 x 40 g every 6 h (BOLUS). Muscle biopsies were obtained at rest and after 1, 4, 6, 7 and 12 h post exercise. Resting and post-exercise MPS (l-[ring-13C6] phenylalanine), and muscle mRNA abundance and cell signalling were assessed. All ingestion protocols increased MPS above rest throughout 1–12 h recovery (88–148%, P < 0.02), but INT elicited greater MPS than PULSE and BOLUS (31–48%, P < 0.02). In general signalling showed a BOLUS>INT>PULSE hierarchy in magnitude of phosphorylation. MuRF-1 and SLC38A2 mRNA were differentially expressed with BOLUS. In conclusion, 20 g of whey protein consumed every 3 h was superior to either PULSE or BOLUS feeding patterns for stimulating MPS throughout the day. This study provides novel information on the effect of modulating the distribution of protein intake on anabolic responses in skeletal muscle and has the potential to maximize outcomes of resistance training for attaining peak muscle mass.