George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Salt Lake City, UT, United States
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Engle S.E.,Purdue University | Shih P.-Y.,Purdue University | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Drenan R.M.,Purdue University
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Tobacco addiction is a serious threat to public health in the United States and abroad, and development of new therapeutic approaches is a major priority. Nicotine activates and/or desensitizes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) throughout the brain. nAChRs in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons are crucial for the rewarding and reinforcing properties of nicotine in rodents, suggesting that theymay be keymediators of nicotine's action in humans. However, it is unknown which nAChR subtypes are sufficient to activate these neurons. To test the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits are sufficient to activate VTA DA neurons, we studied mice expressing hypersensitive, gain-offunction α6 nAChRs (α6L99S mice). In voltage-clamp recordings in brain slices from adult mice, 100 nMnicotine was sufficient to elicit inward currents in VTA DA neurons via α6β 2* nAChRs. In addition, we found that low concentrations of nicotine could act selectively through α6β2* nAChRs to enhance the function of 2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid (AMPA) receptors on the surface of these cells. In contrast, α6β2* activation did not enhance N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor function. Finally, AMPA receptor (AMPAR) function was not similarly enhanced in brain slices from α6L9'S mice lacking α4 nAChR subunits, suggesting that α4α6β2* nAChRs are important for enhancing AMPAR function in VTA DA neurons. Together, these data suggest that activation of α4α6β2* nAChRs in VTA DA neurons is sufficient to support the initiation of cellular changes that play a role in addiction to nicotine. a4a6b2* nAChRs may be a promising target for future smoking cessation pharmacotherapy.

Perez X.A.,SRI International | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Quik M.,SRI International
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2013

Long-term nicotine exposure induces alterations in dopamine transmission in nucleus accumbens that sustain the reinforcing effects of smoking. One approach to understand the adaptive changes that arise involves measurement of endogenous dopamine release using voltammetry. We therefore treated rats for 2-3 months with nicotine and examined alterations in nAChR subtype expression and electrically evoked dopamine release in rat nucleus accumbens shell, a region key in addiction. Long-term nicotine treatment selectively decreased stimulated α6β2* nAChR-mediated dopamine release compared with vehicle-treated rats. It also reduced α6β2* nAChRs, suggesting the receptor decline may contribute to the functional loss. This decreased response in release after chronic nicotine treatment was still partially sensitive to the agonist nicotine. Studies with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor demonstrated that the response was also sensitive to increased endogenous acetylcholine. However, unlike the agonists, nAChR antagonists decreased dopamine release only in vehicle- but not nicotine-treated rats. As antagonists function by blocking the action of acetylcholine, their ineffectiveness suggests that reduced acetylcholine levels partly underlie the dampened α6β2* nAChR-mediated function in nicotine-treated rats. As long-term nicotine modifies dopamine release by decreasing α6β2* nAChRs and their function, these data suggest that interventions that target this subtype may be useful for treating nicotine dependence. Long-term nicotine treatment decreases dopamine (DA) transmission in the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Our data suggest this may involve a decrease in α6β2* nicotinic receptor expression and function. These changes may play a key role in nicotine reward and dependence. Long-term nicotine treatment decreases dopamine (DA) transmission in the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Our data suggest this may involve a decrease in α6β2* nicotinic receptor expression and function. These changes may play a key role in nicotine reward and dependence. © 2013 International Society for Neurochemistry.

Di Cesare Mannelli L.,University of Florence | Cinci L.,University of Florence | Micheli L.,University of Florence | Zanardelli M.,University of Florence | And 4 more authors.
Pain | Year: 2014

Neuropathic pain affects millions of people worldwide, causing substantial disability and greatly impairing quality of life. Commonly used analgesics or antihyperalgesic compounds are generally characterized by limited therapeutic outcomes. Thus, there is a compelling need for novel therapeutic strategies able to prevent nervous tissue alterations responsible for chronic pain. The α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist α-conotoxin RgIA (RgIA), a peptide isolated from the venom of a carnivorous cone snail, induces relief in both acute and chronic pain models. To evaluate potential disease-modifying effects of RgIA, the compound was given to rats following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Two or 10 nmol RgIA injected intramuscularly once a day for 14 days reduced the painful response to suprathreshold stimulation, increased pain threshold to nonnoxious stimuli, and normalized alterations in hind limb weight bearing. Histological analysis of the sciatic nerve revealed that RgIA prevented CCI-induced decreases of axonal compactness and diameter, loss of myelin sheath, and decreases in the fiber number. Moreover, RgIA significantly reduced edema and inflammatory infiltrate, including a decrease of CD86+macrophages. In L4-L5 dorsal root ganglia, RgIA prevented morphometric changes and reduced the inflammatory infiltrate consistent with a disease-modifying effect. In the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, RgIA prevented CCI-induced activation of microglia and astrocytes. These data suggest that RgIA-like compounds may represent a novel class of therapeutics for neuropathic pain that protects peripheral nervous tissues as well as prevents central maladaptive plasticity by inhibiting glial cell activation. © 2014 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Marchand W.R.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Marchand W.R.,University of Utah | Lee J.N.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Lee J.N.,University of Utah | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2013

Background: Objective methods of differentiating unipolar versus bipolar depression would enhance our ability to treat these disorders by providing more accurate diagnoses. One first step towards developing diagnostic methodology is determining whether brain function as assessed by functional MRI (fMRI) and functional connectivity analyses might differentiate the two disorders. Methods: Fourteen subjects with bipolar II depression and 26 subjects with recurrent unipolar depression were studied using fMRI and functional connectivity analyses. Results: The first key finding of this study was that functional connectivity of the right posterior cingulate cortex differentiates bipolar II and unipolar depression. Additionally, results suggest that functional connectivity of this region is associated with suicidal ideation and depression severity in unipolar but not bipolar II depression. Limitations: The primary limitation is the relatively small sample size, particularly for the correlational analyses. Conclusions: The functional connectivity of right posterior cingulate cortex may differential unipolar from bipolar II depression. Further, connectivity of this region may be associated with depression severity and suicide risk in unipolar but not bipolar depression. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Marchand W.R.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Marchand W.R.,University of Utah | Lee J.N.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Lee J.N.,University of Utah | And 5 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2013

The primary aim of this study was to enhance our understanding of the functional architecture of the cortico-basal ganglia circuitry during motor task execution. Twenty right-handed female subjects without any history of neuropsychiatric illness underwent fMRI at 3 T. The activation paradigm was a complex motor task completed with the nondominant hand. Analyses of functional connectivity strength were conducted for pairs of structures in input, intrinsic, and output segments of the circuitry. Next, connectivity strengths were correlated with results of neurocognitive testing conducted outside of the scanner, which provided information about both motor and cognitive processes. For input pathways, results indicate that SMA-striatum interactions are particularly relevant for motor behavior and disruptions may impact both motor and cognitive functions. For intrinsic pathways, results indicate that thalamus (VA nucleus) to striatum feedback pathway appears to have an important role during task execution and carries information relevant for motor planning. Together, these findings add to accumulating evidence that the GPe may play a role in higher order basal ganglia processing. A potentially controversial finding was that strong functional connectivity appears to occur across intrinsic inhibitory pathways. Finally, output (thalamus to cortex) feedback was only correlated with motor planning. This result suggests circuit processes may be more relevant for future behaviors than the execution of the current task. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Filchakova O.,University of Utah | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) containing the α9 subunit are expressed in a wide variety of non-neuronal tissues ranging from immune cells to breast carcinomas. The α9 subunit is able to assemble into a functional homomeric nAChR and also co-assemble with the α10 subunit into functional heteromeric nAChRs. Despite the increasing awareness of the important roles of this subunit in vertebrates, the study of human α9-containing nAChRs has been severely limited by difficulties in its expression in heterologous systems. In Xenopus laevis oocytes, functional expression of human α9α10 nAChRs is very low compared to that of rat α9α10 nAChRs. When oocytes were co-injected with cRNA of α9 and α10 subunits of human versus those of rat, oocytes with the rat α9 human α10 combination had an ∼-fold higher level of acetylcholine-gated currents (IACh) than those with the human α9 rat α10 combination, suggesting difficulties with human α9 expression. When the ratio of injected human α9 cRNA to human α10 cRNA was increased from 1:1 to 5:1, IACh increased 36-fold (from 142±23 nA to 5171±748 nA). Functional expression of human α9-containing receptors in oocytes was markedly improved by appending the 5′-untranslated region of alfalfa mosaic virus RNA4 to the 5′-leader sequence of the α9 subunit cRNA. This increased the functional expression of homomeric human α9 receptors by 70-fold (from 7±1 nA to 475±158 nA) and of human α9α10 heteromeric receptors by 80-fold (from 113±62 nA to 9192±1137 nA). These findings indicate the importance of the composition of the 5′ untranslated leader sequence for expression of α9-containing nAChRs. © 2013 Filchakova and McIntosh.

Marks M.J.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Grady S.R.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Salminen O.,University of Helsinki | Paley M.A.,University of Colorado at Boulder | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2014

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) of the α6β2* subtype (where *indicates the possible presence of additional subunits) are prominently expressed on dopaminergic neurons. Because of this, their role in tobacco use and nicotine dependence has received much attention. Previous studies have demonstrated that α6β2*-nAChR are down-regulated following chronic nicotine exposure (unlike other subtypes that have been investigated - most prominently α4β2* nAChR). This study examines, for the first time, effects across a comprehensive chronic nicotine dose range. Chronic nicotine dose-responses and quantitative ligand-binding autoradiography were used to define nicotine sensitivity of changes in α4β2*-nAChR and α6β2*-nAChR expression. α6β2*-nAChR down-regulation by chronic nicotine exposure in dopaminergic and optic-tract nuclei was ≈three-fold more sensitive than up-regulation of α4β2*-nAChR. In contrast, nAChR-mediated [3H]-dopamine release from dopamine-terminal region synaptosomal preparations changed only in response to chronic treatment with high nicotine doses, whereas dopaminergic parameters (transporter expression and activity, dopamine receptor expression) were largely unchanged. Functional measures in olfactory tubercle preparations were made for the first time; both nAChR expression levels and nAChR-mediated functional measures changed differently between striatum and olfactory tubercles. These results show that functional changes measured using synaptosomal [3H]-DA release are primarily owing to changes in nAChR, rather than in dopaminergic, function. © 2014 International Society for Neurochemistry.

Zhang D.,SRI International | Bordia T.,SRI International | Mcgregor M.,SRI International | Mcintosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | And 3 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LIDs) are a serious complication of levodopa therapy for Parkinson's disease for which there is little treatment. Accumulating evidence shows that nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) drugs decrease LIDs in parkinsonian animals. Here, we examined the effect of two β2 nAChR agonists, ABT-089 and ABT-894, that previously were approved for phase 2 clinical trials for other indications. Two sets of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned monkeys were administered levodopa/carbidopa (10 mg/kg and 2.5 mg/kg, respectively) twice daily 5 days a week until they were stably dyskinetic. Each set had a vehicle-treated group, an nAChR agonist-treated group, and a nicotine-treated group as a positive control. Set A monkeys had previously received other nAChR drugs (nAChR drug-primed), whereas Set B monkeys were initially nAChR drug-naive. Both sets were administered the partial agonist ABT-089 (range, 0.01-1.0 mg/kg) orally 5 days a week twice daily 30 minutes before levodopa with each dose given for 1 to 5 weeks. ABT-089 decreased LIDs by 30% to 50% compared with vehicle-treated monkeys. Nicotine reduced LIDs by 70% in a parallel group. After 4 weeks of washout, the effect of the full agonist ABT-894 (range, 0.0001-0.10 mg/kg) was assessed on LIDs in Set A and Set B. ABT-894 reduced LIDs by 70%, similar to nicotine. Both drugs acted equally well at α4β2* and α6β2* nAChRs; however, ABT-089 was 30 to 60 times less potent than ABT-894. Tolerance did not develop for the time periods tested (range, 3-4 months). The nAChR drugs did not worsen parkinsonism or cognitive ability. Emesis, a common problem with nAChR drugs, was not observed. ABT-894 and ABT-089 appear to be good candidate nAChR drugs for the management of LIDs in Parkinson's disease. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

McDonald J.,University of Utah | Wooderchak-Donahue W.,University of Utah | Wooderchak-Donahue W.,Arup | VanSant Webb C.,Arup | And 5 more authors.
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2015

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a vascular dysplasia characterized by telangiectases and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in particular locations described in consensus clinical diagnostic criteria published in 2000. Two genes in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-ß) signaling pathway, ENG and ACVRL1, were discovered almost two decades ago, and mutations in these genes have been reported to cause up to 85% of HHT. In our experience, approximately 96% of individuals with HHT have a mutation in these two genes, when published (Curaçao) diagnostic criteria for HHT are strictly applied. More recently, two additional genes in the same pathway, SMAD4 and GDF2, have been identified in a much smaller number of patients with a similar or overlapping phenotype to HHT. Yet families still exist with compelling evidence of a hereditary telangiectasia disorder, but no identifiable mutation in a known gene. Recent availability of whole exome and genome testing has created new opportunities to facilitate gene discovery, identify genetic modifiers to explain clinical variability, and potentially define an increased spectrum of hereditary telangiectasia disorders. An expanded approach to molecular diagnostics for inherited telangiectasia disorders that incorporates a multi-gene next generation sequencing (NGS) HHT panel is proposed. © 2015 McDonald.

Engle S.E.,Purdue University | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Drenan R.M.,Purdue University
Neuropharmacology | Year: 2015

Nicotine + ethanol co-exposure results in additive and/or synergistic effects in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine (DA) pathway, but the mechanisms supporting this are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits (α6∗ nAChRs) are involved in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure. Exposing VTA slices from C57BL/6 WT animals to drinking-relevant concentrations of ethanol causes a marked enhancement of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) function in VTA neurons. This effect was sensitive to α-conotoxin MII (an α6β2∗ nAChR antagonist), suggesting that α6∗ nAChR function is required. In mice expressing hypersensitive α6∗ nAChRs (α6L9S mice), we found that lower concentrations (relative to C57BL/6 WT) of ethanol were sufficient to enhance AMPAR function in VTA neurons. Exposure of live C57BL/6 WT mice to ethanol also produced AMPAR functional enhancement in VTA neurons, and studies in α6L9S mice strongly suggest a role for α6∗ nAChRs in this response. We then asked whether nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance VTA AMPAR function. We identified low concentrations of nicotine and ethanol that were capable of strongly enhancing VTA AMPAR function when co-applied to slices, but that did not enhance AMPAR function when applied alone. This effect was sensitive to both varenicline (an α4β2∗ and α6β2∗ nAChR partial agonist) and α-conotoxin MII. Finally, nicotine + ethanol co-exposure also enhanced AMPAR function in VTA neurons from α6L9S mice. Together, these data identify α6∗ nAChRs as important players in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure in VTA neurons. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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