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Arevalo M.-A.,Instituto Cajal | Azcoitia I.,Complutense University of Madrid | Garcia-Segura L.M.,Instituto Cajal
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Hormones regulate homeostasis by communicating through the bloodstream to the body's organs, including the brain. As homeostatic regulators of brain function, some hormones exert neuroprotective actions. This is the case for the ovarian hormone 17β-oestradiol, which signals through oestrogen receptors (ERs) that are widely distributed in the male and female brain. Recent discoveries have shown that oestradiol is not only a reproductive hormone but also a brain-derived neuroprotective factor in males and females and that ERs coordinate multiple signalling mechanisms that protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases, affective disorders and cognitive decline. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Perez-Escudero A.,Instituto Cajal | Vicente-Page J.,Instituto Cajal | Hinz R.C.,Instituto Cajal | Arganda S.,Instituto Cajal | And 2 more authors.
Nature Methods | Year: 2014

Animals in groups touch each other, move in paths that cross, and interact in complex ways. Current video tracking methods sometimes switch identities of unmarked individuals during these interactions. These errors propagate and result in random assignments after a few minutes unless manually corrected. We present idTracker, a multitracking algorithm that extracts a characteristic fingerprint from each animal in a video recording of a group. It then uses these fingerprints to identify every individual throughout the video. Tracking by identification prevents propagation of errors, and the correct identities can be maintained indefinitely. idTracker distinguishes animals even when humans cannot, such as for size-matched siblings, and reidentifies animals after they temporarily disappear from view or across different videos. It is robust, easy to use and general. We tested it on fish (Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes), flies (Drosophila melanogaster), ants (Messor structor) and mice (Mus musculus).


Frade J.M.,Instituto Cajal | Lopez-Sanchez N.,Instituto Cajal
Cell Cycle | Year: 2010

Cumulative evidence indicates that neuronal cell cycle re-entry represents an early and critical event in AD, recapitulating known hallmarks of the disease including tau hyperphosphorylation and production of Aβ peptide-containing plaques. Neurons that duplicate their DNA are rarely observed to undergo mitosis, and they remain for long time as tetraploid cells, in accordance with the chronic course of the disease. We have recently shown that cell cycle re-entry and somatic tetraploidization occurs during normal development in a subpopulation of RGCs, giving rise to enlarged neurons with extensive dendritic trees. Tetraploization in these neurons occurs in response to the activation of the neurotrophin receptor p75NTR by an endogenous source of NGF. in contrast, BDNF inhibits G2/M transition in tetraploid RGCs, preventing their death by apoptosis. In AD both proNGF and p75NTR are overexpressed, and AD-associated oxidative conditions have been shown to enhance proNGF function. This suggests that p75NTR could be a trigger for neuronal tetraploidization in AD, being the p75NTR-mediated pathway a putative target for therapeutical intervention. Functional changes in affected neurons, derived from tetraploidy-associated hypertrophy, could compromise neuronal viability. The known decline of BDNF/TrkB expression in AD could facilitate G2/M transition and apoptosis in tetraploid neurons. © 2010 Landes Bioscience.


Diz-Chaves Y.,Instituto Cajal
International Journal of Peptides | Year: 2011

Obesity has become one of the leading causes of illness and mortality in the developed world. Preclinical and clinical data provide compelling evidence for ghrelin as a relevant regulator of appetite, food intake, and energy homeostasis. In addition, ghrelin has recently emerged as one of the major contributing factors to reward-driven feeding that can override the state of satiation. The corticotropin-releasing-factor system is also directly implicated in the regulation of energy balance and may participate in the pathophysiology of obesity and eating disorders. This paper focuses on the role of ghrelin in the regulation of appetite, on its possible role as a hedonic signal involved in food reward, and on its interaction with the corticotropin-releasing-factor system and chronic stress. Copyright © 2011 Yolanda Diz-Chaves.


Dendritic spines receive the majority of excitatory connections in the central nervous system, and, thus, they are key structures in the regulation of neural activity. Hence, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying their generation and plasticity, both during development and in adulthood, are a matter of fundamental and practical interest. Indeed, a better understanding of these mechanisms should provide clues to the development of novel clinical therapies. Here, we present original results obtained from high-quality images of Cajal's histological preparations, stored at the Cajal Museum (Instituto Cajal, CSIC), obtained using extended focus imaging, three-dimensional reconstruction, and rendering. Based on the data available in the literature regarding the formation of dendritic spines during development and our results, we propose a unifying model for dendritic spine development.


Araque A.,Instituto Cajal | Navarrete M.,Instituto Cajal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Numerous evidence demonstrates that astrocytes, a type of glial cell, are integral functional elements of the synapses, responding to neuronal activity and regulating synaptic transmission and plasticity. Consequently, they are actively involved in the processing, transfer and storage of information by the nervous system, which challenges the accepted paradigm that brain function results exclusively from neuronal network activity, and suggests that nervous system function actually arises from the activity of neuron-glia networks. Most of our knowledge of the properties and physiological consequences of the bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons resides at cellular and molecular levels. In contrast, much less is known at higher level of complexity, i.e. networks of cells, and the actual impact of astrocytes in the neuronal network function remains largely unexplored. In the present article, we summarize the current evidence that supports the notion that astrocytes are integral components of nervous system networks and we discuss some functional properties of intercellular signalling in neuron-glia networks. © 2010 The Royal Society.


Wu J.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Roman A.-C.,Instituto Cajal | Carvajal-Gonzalez J.M.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Mlodzik M.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2013

Planar cell polarity (PCP) is cellular polarity within the plane of an epithelial tissue or organ. PCP is established through interactions of the core Frizzled (Fz)/PCP factors and, although their molecular interactions are beginning to be understood, the upstream input providing the directional bias and polarity axis remains unknown. Among core PCP genes, Fz is unique as it regulates PCP both cell-autonomously and non-autonomously, with its extracellular domain acting as a ligand for Van Gogh (Vang). We demonstrate in Drosophila melanogaster wings that Wg (Wingless) and dWnt4 (Drosophila Wnt homologue) provide instructive regulatory input for PCP axis determination, establishing polarity axes along their graded distribution and perpendicular to their expression domain borders. Loss-of-function studies reveal that Wg and dWnt4 act redundantly in PCP determination. They affect PCP by modulating the intercellular interaction between Fz and Vang, which is thought to be a key step in setting up initial polarity, thus providing directionality to the PCP process. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Navarrete M.,Instituto Cajal | Araque A.,Instituto Cajal
Neuron | Year: 2010

Endocannabinoids and their receptor CB1 play key roles in brain function. Astrocytes express CB1Rs that are activated by endocannabinoids released by neurons. However, the consequences of the endocannabinoid-mediated neuron-astrocyte signaling on synaptic transmission are unknown. We show that endocannabinoids released by hippocampal pyramidal neurons increase the probability of transmitter release at CA3-CA1 synapses. This synaptic potentiation is due to CB1R-induced Ca2+ elevations in astrocytes, which stimulate the release of glutamate that activates presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors. While endocannabinoids induce synaptic depression in the stimulated neuron by direct activation of presynaptic CB1Rs, they indirectly lead to synaptic potentiation in relatively more distant neurons by activation of CB1Rs in astrocytes. Hence, astrocyte calcium signal evoked by endogenous stimuli (neuron-released endocannabinoids) modulates synaptic transmission. Therefore, astrocytes respond to endocannabinoids that then potentiate synaptic transmission, indicating that astrocytes are actively involved in brain physiology. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Perea G.,Instituto Cajal | Araque A.,Instituto Cajal
Brain Research Reviews | Year: 2010

The classical view of glial cells as simple supportive cells for neurons is being replaced by a new vision in which glial cells are active elements involved in the physiology of the nervous system. This new vision is based on the fact that astrocytes, a subtype of glial cells in the CNS, are stimulated by synaptically released neurotransmitters, which increase the astrocyte Ca2+ levels and stimulate the release of gliotransmitters that regulate synaptic efficacy and plasticity. Consequently, our understanding of synaptic function, previously thought to exclusively result from signaling between neurons, has also changed to include the bidirectional signaling between neurons and astrocytes. Hence, astrocytes have been revealed as integral elements involved in the synaptic physiology, therefore contributing to the processing, transfer and storage of information by the nervous system. Reciprocal communication between astrocytes and neurons is therefore part of the intercellular signaling processes involved in brain function. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.


Navarrete M.,Instituto Cajal | Araque A.,Instituto Cajal
Cell | Year: 2011

In this issue, Panatier et al. (2011) show that astrocytes detect synaptic activity induced by single action potentials and upregulate basal synaptic transmission through calcium-dependent mechanisms and purinergic signaling. These results demonstrate the relevance of astrocyte calcium in neurophysiology and confirm that astrocytes are actively involved in synaptic function. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

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