State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science

Kowloon, Hong Kong

State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science

Kowloon, Hong Kong

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PubMed | Beijing Normal University, CAS Institute of Biophysics, Hainan Normal University and State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science
Type: | Journal: Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) | Year: 2016

Deafening elicits a deterioration of learned vocalization, in both humans and songbirds. In songbirds, learned vocal plasticity has been shown to depend on the basal ganglia-cortical circuit, but the underlying cellular basis remains to be clarified. Using confocal imaging and electron microscopy, we examined the effect of deafening on dendritic spines in avian vocal motor cortex, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), and investigated the role of the basal ganglia circuit in motor cortex plasticity. We found rapid structural changes to RA dendritic spines in response to hearing loss, accompanied by learned song degradation. In particular, the morphological characters of RA spine synaptic contacts between 2 major pathways were altered differently. However, experimental disruption of the basal ganglia circuit, through lesions in song-specialized basal ganglia nucleus Area X, largely prevented both the observed changes to RA dendritic spines and the song deterioration after hearing loss. Our results provide cellular evidence to highlight a key role of the basal ganglia circuit in the motor cortical plasticity that underlies learned vocal plasticity.


PubMed | University of Victoria, University of Hong Kong, State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science and Jinan University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Adiponectin (ADN) is an adipocyte-secreted protein with insulin-sensitizing, antidiabetic, antiinflammatory, and antiatherogenic properties. Evidence is also accumulating that ADN has neuroprotective activities, yet the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here we show that ADN could pass through the blood-brain barrier, and elevating its levels in the brain increased cell proliferation and decreased depression-like behaviors. ADN deficiency did not reduce the basal hippocampal neurogenesis or neuronal differentiation but diminished the effectiveness of exercise in increasing hippocampal neurogenesis. Furthermore, exercise-induced reduction in depression-like behaviors was abrogated in ADN-deficient mice, and this impairment in ADN-deficient mice was accompanied by defective running-induced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the hippocampal tissue. In vitro analyses indicated that ADN itself could increase cell proliferation of both hippocampal progenitor cells and Neuro2a neuroblastoma cells. The neurogenic effects of ADN were mediated by the ADN receptor 1 (ADNR1), because siRNA targeting ADNR1, but not ADNR2, inhibited the capacity of ADN to enhance cell proliferation. These data suggest that adiponectin may play a significant role in mediating the effects of exercise on hippocampal neurogenesis and depression, possibly by activation of the ADNR1/AMPK signaling pathways, and also raise the possibility that adiponectin and its agonists may represent a promising therapeutic treatment for depression.


Yuan T.-F.,Nanjing Normal University | Yuan T.-F.,State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science | Liang Y.-X.,State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science | Liang Y.-X.,University of Hong Kong | And 8 more authors.
Cell Transplantation | Year: 2015

Neurovascular niches serve as the hosts for adult neural stem cells in both the hippocampus and subventricular zone. The rostral migratory stream (RMS) vasculature has been found to be important for neuroblast migration, while its roles in hosting putative neural stem cells have not been investigated. Here we investigated the organization of RMS vasculature and its contribution to the production of new neurons. A single pulse of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) administration revealed locally formed new neurons within RMS were located adjacent to blood vessels. In addition, BrdU label-retaining cells that are putative neural stem cells were also found close to the vasculature. Sodium fluorescein perfusion assay demonstrated that the blood–brain barrier (BBB) organization was especially “leaky” in the neurogenic niches. Immunohistochemical visualization of some BBB component molecules indicated a thinner BBB in the RMS region, compared to that in the frontal cortex of adult rats. Finally, the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor was strong and specialized in the RMS region, implying that the region was active in cell proliferation and migration. Here we show that the RMS vasculature associated with surrounding astrocytes provides a highly organized neurovascular niche for adult neural stem cell proliferation, in addition to the function of neuroblast migration support. This result points to a new vasculature supporting neurogenic region in the brain. © 2015 Cognizant Comm. Corp.


Zhou W.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Yang X.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Chen K.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Cai P.,CAS Institute of Psychology | And 4 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2014

Recent studies have suggested the existence of human sex pheromones, with particular interest in two human steroids: androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien- 3-one) and estratetraenol (estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol). The current study takes a critical step to test the qualification of the two steroids as sex pheromones by examining whether they communicate gender information in a sex-specific manner. By using dynamic point-light displays that portray the gaits of walkers whose gender is digitally morphed from male to female [1, 2], we show that smelling androstadienone systematically biases heterosexual females, but not males, toward perceiving the walkers as more masculine. By contrast, smelling estratetraenol systematically biases heterosexual males, but not females, toward perceiving the walkers as more feminine. Homosexual males exhibit a response pattern akin to that of heterosexual females, whereas bisexual or homosexual females fall in between heterosexual males and females. These effects are obtained despite that the olfactory stimuli are not explicitly discriminable. The results provide the first direct evidence that the two human steroids communicate opposite gender information that is differentially effective to the two sex groups based on their sexual orientation. Moreover, they demonstrate that human visual gender perception draws on subconscious chemosensory biological cues, an effect that has been hitherto unsuspected. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Chen K.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Zhou B.,CAS Institute of Psychology | Chen S.,CAS Institute of Psychology | He S.,State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

Attention is intrinsic to our perceptual representations of sensory inputs. Best characterized in the visual domain, it is typically depicted as a spotlight moving over a saliency map that topographically encodes strengths of visual features and feedback modulations over the visual scene. By introducing smells to two well-established attentional paradigms, the dot-probe and the visual-search paradigms, we find that a smell reflexively directs attention to the congruent visual image and facilitates visual search of that image without the mediation of visual imagery. Furthermore, such effect is independent of, and can override, top-down bias. We thus propose that smell quality acts as an object feature whose presence enhances the perceptual saliency of that object, thereby guiding the spotlight of visual attention. Our discoveries provide robust empirical evidence for a multimodal saliency map that weighs not only visual but also olfactory inputs. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


PubMed | State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology and Kunming Medical University
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

A common pattern in dominance hierarchies is that some ranks result in higher levels of psychosocial stress than others. Such stress can lead to negative health outcomes, possibly through altered levels of stress hormones. The dominance rank-stress physiology relationship is known to vary between species; sometimes dominants show higher levels of glucocorticoid stress hormones, whereas in other cases subordinates show higher levels. It is less clear how this relationship varies between groups of different ages or cultures. In this study, we used long-term cortisol measurement methods to compare the effect of rank on cortisol levels in adult and adolescent male rhesus macaques. In the adult groups, subordinates had significantly higher cortisol levels. In the adolescents, no significant correlation between cortisol and status was found. Further analysis demonstrated that the adult hierarchy was stricter than that of the adolescents. Adult subordinates received extreme aggression more frequently than dominants, and this class of behavior was positively correlated with cortisol; by contrast, adolescents showed neither trend. Together, these findings provide evidence for a cortisol-rank relationship determined by social factors, namely, despotism of the group, and highlight the importance of group-specific social analysis when comparing or combining results obtained from different groups of animals.


Wen G.,South China University of Technology | Wen G.,State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science | Wei J.,South China University of Technology | Wang J.,South China University of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Neurocomputing | Year: 2013

When performing the classification on the high dimensional, the sparse, or the noisy data, many approaches easily lead to the dramatic performance degradation. To deal with this issue from the different perspective, this paper proposes a cognitive gravitation model (CGM) based on both the law of gravitation in physics and the cognitive laws, where the self-information of each sample instead of mass is applied. Subsequently, a new classifier is designed which utilizes CGM to find k nearest neighbors from each class for the query sample and then classifies this query sample to the class whose cognitive gravitation is largest. The cognitive gravitation of the class is defined as the sum of the cognitive gravitation between its each nearest neighbor and the query sample. The advantage of our approach is that it has a firm and simple mathematical basis while it has good classification performance. The conducted experiments on challenging benchmark data sets validate the proposed model and the classification approach. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Li H.,South China University of Technology | Wen G.,South China University of Technology | Yu Z.,South China University of Technology | Zhou T.,State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science
Neurocomputing | Year: 2013

Although there exist a lot of k-nearest neighbor approaches and their variants, few of them consider how to make use of the information in both the whole feature space and subspaces. In order to address this limitation, we propose a new classifier named as the random subspace evidence classifier (RSEC). Specifically, RSEC first calculates the local hyperplane distance for each class as the evidences not only in the whole feature space, but also in randomly generated feature subspaces. Then, the basic belief assignment is computed according to these distances for the evidences of each class. In the following, all the evidences represented by basic belief assignments are pooled together by the Dempster's rule. Finally, RSEC assigns the class label to each test sample based on the combined belief assignment. The experiments in the datasets from UCI machine learning repository, artificial data and face image database illustrate that the proposed approach yields lower classification error in average comparing to 7 existing k-nearest neighbor approaches and variants when performing the classification task. In addition, RSEC has good performance in average on the high dimensional data and the minority class of the imbalanced data. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of neuroscience methods | Year: 2010

The accurate implantation of microelectrodes is a significant difficulty facing many neurophysiologists. This paper reports on a new method used to promote the precise positioning of electrode implantation through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), allowing both the relevant brain structure and the MRI-visible external markers anchored on the skull (in this case rigid glass tubes with a 0.5mm internal diameter) to be displayed. By referencing these markers, the coordinates of the brain target were calculated. Using this novel approach, recording electrodes were successfully implanted into the superior colliculus (SC) of rhesus monkeys, with an error <1mm, and its neuronal discharge signals were obtained. This new method allows neurophysiologists to precisely target the small deep brain structures of monkeys and study their electrophysiological characteristics in detail.


PubMed | State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive science
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Oxidative stress influences cell survival and homeostasis, but the mechanisms underlying the biological effects of oxidative stress remain to be elucidated. The protein kinase MST1 (mammalian Ste20-like kinase 1) plays a major role in oxidative stress-induced cell death in primary mammalian neurons. However, the mechanisms that regulate MST1 in oxidative stress responses remain largely unknown. In the present study, we demonstrate that the protein kinase c-Abl phosphorylates MST1 at Y433, which triggers the stabilization and activation of MST1. Inhibition of c-Abl promotes the degradation of MST1 through C terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP)-mediated ubiquitination, and thereby attenuates cell death. Oxidative stress induces the c-Abl-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of MST1 and increases the interaction between MST1 and FOXO3 (Forkhead box O3), thereby activating the MST1-FOXO signaling pathway, leading to cell death in both primary culture neurons and rat hippocampal neurons. The identification of the c-Abl tyrosine kinase as a novel upstream activator of MST1 suggests that the c-Abl-MST1 signaling cascade plays an important role in cellular responses to oxidative stress.

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