Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory

Santa Margherita di Belice, Italy

Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory

Santa Margherita di Belice, Italy
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Rossi S.,NeuroLogica | Rossi S.,Cervello | Sacchetti L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Napolitano F.,Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory | And 21 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2012

Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is involved in mood alterations associated with inflammatory illnesses and with stress. The synaptic basis of IL-1β-induced emotional disturbances is still unknown. To address the possible involvement of the endocannabinoid system in IL-1β- induced anxiety, we performed behavioral and neurophysiological studies in mice exposed to stress or to intracerebroventricular injections of this inflammatory cytokine or of its antagonist. We found that a single intracerebroventricular injection of IL-1β caused anxiety in mice, and abrogated the sensitivity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) controlling GABA synapses in the striatum. Identical behavioral and synaptic results were obtained following social defeat stress, and intracerebroventricular injection of IL-1 receptor antagonist reverted both effects. IL-1β-mediated inhibition of CB1R function was secondary to altered cholesterol composition within membrane lipid rafts, and required intact function of the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel, another element of the endocannabinoid system. Membrane lipid raft disruption and inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, in fact, abrogated IL-1β -CB1R coupling, and TRPV1 -/- mice were indeed insensitive to the synaptic and behavioral effects of both IL-1β and stress. On the other hand, cholesterol enrichment of striatal slices mimicked the synaptic effects of IL-1β on CB1Rs only in control mice, while the same treatment was ineffective in slices prepared from TRPV1 -/- mice. The present investigation identifies a previously unrecognized interaction between a major proinflammatory cytokine and the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of anxiety. © 2012 the authors.


Grasselli G.,Cervello | Grasselli G.,University of Chicago | Rossi S.,Cervello | Rossi S.,NeuroLogica | And 20 more authors.
British Journal of Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Background and Purpose Glutamate transmission is dysregulated in both multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of MS. A characteristic of EAE is increased glutamate transmission associated with up-regulation of AMPA receptors. However, little is known about the role of NMDA receptors in the synaptic modifications induced by EAE. Experimental Approach The contribution of NMDA receptors to the alterations of glutamate transmission and disease severity in EAE mice was assessed by means of neurophysiological, morphological, Western blot, metabolic and clinical score assessments. Key Results In our EAE mice, there was an NMDA receptor-dependent increase of glutamate release, associated with marked activation of the astroglia. Presynaptic NMDA receptors became overactive during EAE, increasing synaptic glutamate release by a mechanism dependent on voltage-gated sodium channels. By means of NAD(P)H autofluorescence analysis, we also found that EAE has a glutamate and NMDA receptor-dependent dysfunction of mitochondrial activity, which is known to contribute to the neurodegenerative damage of MS and EAE. Furthermore, pharmacological blockade of NMDA receptors in vivo ameliorated both synaptic transmission defects and of the clinical disease course of EAE mice, while EAE induced in mice with a genetically enhanced NMDA receptor signalling had opposite effects. Conclusions and Implications Our data, showing both sensitization of NMDA receptors and their involvement in the progression of the EAE disease, supggest that pharmacological impairment of NMDA receptor signalling would be a component of a neuroprotection strategy in MS. © 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.


Mulligan B.P.,Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory | Persinger M.A.,Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory
Neuroscience Letters | Year: 2012

Previous correlations between geomagnetic activity and quantitative changes in electroencephalographic power revealed particular associations with the right parietal lobe for theta activity and the right frontal region for gamma activity. In the present experiment subjects were exposed to either no field (sham conditions) or to either 20. nT or 70. nT, 7. Hz, amplitude modulated (mHz range) magnetic fields for 30. min. Quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) measurements were completed before, during, and after the field exposures. After about 10. min of exposure theta power over the right parietal region was enhanced for the 20. nT exposure but suppressed for the 70. nT exposure relative to sham field exposures. The effect dissipated by the end of the exposure. These results support the contention that magnetic field fluctuations were primarily responsible for the significant geomagnetic-QEEG correlations reported in several studies. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Castelli M.,NeuroLogica | Federici M.,Fondazione Santa Lucia | Rossi S.,NeuroLogica | de Chiara V.,NeuroLogica | And 13 more authors.
European Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Abnormal dopamine (DA) transmission in the striatum plays a pivotal role in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As striatal DA signalling modulates the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the present study was aimed at investigating cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) function in a model of ADHD obtained by triple point-mutation in the dopamine transporter (DAT) gene in mice, making them insensitive to cocaine [DAT cocaine-insensitive (DAT-CI) mice]. DAT-CI mice had a marked hyperactive phenotype, and neurophysiological recordings revealed that the sensitivity of CB1Rs controlling GABA-mediated synaptic currents [CB1Rs (GABA)] in the striatum was completely lost. In contrast, CB1Rs modulating glutamate transmission [CB1Rs (Glu)], and GABA B receptors were not affected in this model of ADHD. In DAT-CI mice, the blockade of CB1R (GABA) function was complete even after cocaine or environmental manipulations activating the endogenous DA-dependent reward system, which are known to sensitize these receptors in control animals. Conversely, the hedonic property of sucrose was intact in DAT-CI mice, indicating normal sweet perception in these animals. Our results point to CB1Rs as novel molecular players in ADHD, and suggest that therapeutic strategies aimed at interfering with the ECS might prove effective in this disorder. © 2011 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2011 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Guida F.,The Second University of Naples | Luongo L.,The Second University of Naples | Marmo F.,University of Naples Federico II | Romano R.,The Second University of Naples | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Brain | Year: 2015

Background: Enhanced supraspinal glutamate levels following nerve injury are associated with pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for neuropathic pain. Chronic pain can interfere with specific brain areas involved in glutamate-dependent neuropsychological processes, such as cognition, memory, and decision-making. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is thought to play a critical role in pain-related depression and anxiety, which are frequent co-morbidities of chronic pain. Using an animal model of spared nerve injury (SNI) of the sciatic nerve, we assess bio-molecular modifications in glutamatergic synapses in the mPFC that underlie neuropathic pain-induced plastic changes at 30 days post-surgery. Moreover, we examine the effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) administration on pain-related behaviours, as well as the cortical biochemical and morphological changes that occur in SNI animals. Results: At 1 month, SNI was associated with mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, as well as depression-like behaviour, cognitive impairments, and obsessive-compulsive activities. Moreover, we observed an overall glutamate synapse modification in the mPFC, characterized by changes in synaptic density proteins and amino acid levels. Finally, with regard to the resolution of pain and depressive-like syndrome in SNI mice, PEA restored the glutamatergic synapse proteins and changes in amino acid release. Conclusions: Given the potential role of the mPFC in pain mechanisms, our findings may provide novel insights into neuropathic pain forebrain processes and indicate PEA as a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states. Graphical Abstract Palmitoylethanolamide: a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states. © 2015 Guida et al.


PubMed | Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory, The Second University of Naples, University of Naples Federico II, University of Rome La Sapienza and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Molecular brain | Year: 2015

Enhanced supraspinal glutamate levels following nerve injury are associated with pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for neuropathic pain. Chronic pain can interfere with specific brain areas involved in glutamate-dependent neuropsychological processes, such as cognition, memory, and decision-making. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is thought to play a critical role in pain-related depression and anxiety, which are frequent co-morbidities of chronic pain. Using an animal model of spared nerve injury (SNI) of the sciatic nerve, we assess bio-molecular modifications in glutamatergic synapses in the mPFC that underlie neuropathic pain-induced plastic changes at 30days post-surgery. Moreover, we examine the effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) administration on pain-related behaviours, as well as the cortical biochemical and morphological changes that occur in SNI animals.At 1month, SNI was associated with mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, as well as depression-like behaviour, cognitive impairments, and obsessive-compulsive activities. Moreover, we observed an overall glutamate synapse modification in the mPFC, characterized by changes in synaptic density proteins and amino acid levels. Finally, with regard to the resolution of pain and depressive-like syndrome in SNI mice, PEA restored the glutamatergic synapse proteins and changes in amino acid release.Given the potential role of the mPFC in pain mechanisms, our findings may provide novel insights into neuropathic pain forebrain processes and indicate PEA as a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states. Graphical Abstract Palmitoylethanolamide: a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states.


Rossi S.,NeuroLogica | Rossi S.,Cervello | De Chiara V.,NeuroLogica | De Chiara V.,Cervello | And 22 more authors.
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2010

The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) plays a crucial role in emotional control, and inhibition of its degradation by the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) has a potent antianxiety effect. The mechanism by which the magnification of AEA activity reduces anxiety is still largely undetermined. By using FAAH mutant mice and both intraperitoneal and intrace-rebroventricular administration of the FAAH inhibitor (3′-(aminocarbonyl)[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-yl)- cyclohexylcarbamate (URB597), we found that enhanced AEA signaling reversed, via central cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs), the anxious phenotype of mice exposed to social defeat stress. This behavioral effect was associated with preserved activity of CB1Rs regulating GABA transmission in the striatum, whereas these receptors were dramatically down-regulated by stress in control animals. The hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis was not involved in the antistress effects of FAAH inhibition, although the HPA axis is a biological target of endogenous AEA. We also provided some physiological indications that striatal CB1Rs regulating GABA synapses are not the receptor targets of FAAH inhibition, which rather resulted in the stimulation of striatal CB1Rs regulating glutamate transmission. Collectively, our findings suggest that preservation of cannabinoid CB1 receptor function within the striatum is a possible synaptic correlate of the antianxiety effects of FAAH inhibition. Copyright © 2010 The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.


De Chiara V.,NeuroLogica | De Chiara V.,Cervello | Errico F.,Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory | Musella A.,NeuroLogica | And 17 more authors.
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2010

The endogenous cannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of the central reward pathway. Running wheel and sucrose consumption have rewarding and reinforcing properties in rodents, and share many neurochemical and behavioral characteristics with drug addiction. In this study, we investigated whether running wheel or sucrose consumption altered the sensitivity of striatal synapses to the activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. We found that cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated presynaptic control of striatal inhibitory postsynaptic currents was remarkably potentiated after these environmental manipulations. In contrast, the sensitivity of glutamate synapses to CB1 receptor stimulation was unaltered, as well as that of GABA synapses to the stimulation of presynaptic GABAB receptors. The sensitization of cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated responses was slowly reversible after the discontinuation of running wheel or sucrose consumption, and was also detectable following the mobilization of endocannabinoids by metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 stimulation. Finally, we found that the upregulation of cannabinoid transmission induced by wheel running or sucrose had a crucial role in the protective effects of these environmental manipulations against the motor and synaptic consequences of stress. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.


Gentile A.,Cervello | Gentile A.,NeuroLogica | Fresegna D.,Cervello | Federici M.,Cervello | And 17 more authors.
Neurobiology of Disease | Year: 2014

Mood disturbances are frequent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), even in non-disabled patients and in the remitting stages of the disease. It is still largely unknown how the pathophysiological process on MS causes anxiety and depression, but the dopaminergic system is likely involved.Aim of the present study was to investigate depressive-like behavior in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS, and its possible link to dopaminergic neurotransmission. Behavioral, amperometric and biochemical experiments were performed to determine the role of inflammation in mood control in EAE. First, we assessed the independence of mood alterations from motor disability during the acute phase of the disease, by showing a depressive-like behavior in EAE mice with mild clinical score and preserved motor skills (mild-EAE). Second, we linked such behavioral changes to the selective increased striatal expression of interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) in a context of mild inflammation and to dopaminergic system alterations. Indeed, in the striatum of EAE mice, we observed an impairment of dopamine (DA) neurotransmission, since DA release was reduced and signaling through DA D1- and D2-like receptors was unbalanced.In conclusion, the present study provides first evidence of the link between the depressive-like behavior and the alteration of dopaminergic system in EAE mice, raising the possibility that IL-1β driven dysfunction of dopaminergic signaling might play a role in mood disturbances also in MS patients. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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