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Pozzilli, Italy

Moyanova S.G.,Neuropharmacology Unit | Dijkhuizen R.M.,University Utrecht | Dijkhuizen R.M.,Stanford University
Brain Research Bulletin | Year: 2014

Animal models are useful tools for better understanding the mechanisms underlying neurological deterioration after an ischemic insult as well as subsequent evolution of changes and recovery of functions. In response to the updated requirements for preclinical investigations of stroke to include relevant functional measurement techniques and biomarker endpoints, we here review the state of knowledge on application of some translational electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods, and in particular, electroencephalography monitoring and magnetic resonance imaging in rodent models of ischemic stroke. This may lead to improvement of diagnostic methods and identification of new therapeutic targets, which would considerably advance the translational value of preclinical stroke research. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Citraro R.,University of Catanzaro | Russo E.,University of Catanzaro | Ngomba R.T.,Neuropharmacology Unit | Nicoletti F.,Neuropharmacology Unit | And 5 more authors.
Epilepsy Research | Year: 2013

Drugs that modulate the endocannabinoid system and endocannabinoids typically play an anticonvulsant role although some proconvulsant effects have been reported both in humans and animal models. Moreover, no evidence for a role of the cannabinoid system in human absence epilepsy has been found although limited evidence of efficacy in relevant experimental animal models has been documented. This study aims to characterize the role of cannabinoids in specific areas of the cortico-thalamic network involved in oscillations that underlie seizures in a genetic animal model of absence epilepsy, the WAG/Rij rat. We assessed the effects of focal injection of the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), a non-selective CB receptor agonist (WIN55,212) and a selective CB1 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist (SR141716A) into thalamic nuclei and primary somatosensory cortex (S1po) of the cortico-thalamic network.AEA and WIN both reduced absence seizures independently from the brain focal site of infusion while, conversely, rimonabant increased absence seizures but only when focally administered to the ventroposteromedial thalamic nucleus (VPM). These results, together with previous reports, support therapeutic potential for endocannabinoid system modulators in absence epilepsy and highlight that attenuated endocannabinergic function may contribute to the generation and maintenance of seizures. Furthermore, the entire cortico-thalamic network responds to cannabinoid treatment, indicating that in all areas considered, CB receptor activation inhibits the pathological synchronization that subserves absence seizures. In conclusion, our result might be useful for the identification of future drug therapies in absence epilepsy. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Moyanova S.G.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Mastroiacovo F.,Neuropharmacology Unit | Kortenska L.V.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Mitreva R.G.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism | Year: 2011

We examined the influence of type 4 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu4) receptors on ischemic brain damage using the permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model in mice and the endothelin-1 (Et-1) model of transient focal ischemia in rats. Mice lacking mGlu4 receptors showed a 25% to 30% increase in infarct volume after MCAO as compared with wild-type littermates. In normal mice, systemic injection of the selective mGlu4 receptor enhancer, N-phenyl-7-(hydroxyimino)cyclopropabchromen-1a-caboxamide (PHCCC; 10 mg/kg, subcutaneous, administered once 30 minutes before MCAO), reduced the extent of ischemic brain damage by 35% to 45%. The drug was inactive in mGlu4 receptor knockout mice. In the Et-1 model, PHCCC administered only once 20 minutes after ischemia reduced the infarct volume to a larger extent in the caudate/putamen than in the cerebral cortex. Ischemic rats treated with PHCCC showed a faster recovery of neuronal function, as shown by electrocorticographic recording and by a battery of specific tests, which assess sensorimotor deficits. These data indicate that activation of mGlu4 receptors limit the development of brain damage after permanent or transient focal ischemia. These findings are promising because selective mGlu4 receptor enhancers are under clinical development for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other central nervous system disorders. © 2011 ISCBFM All rights reserved. Source

Battaglia G.,Neuropharmacology Unit | Cannella M.,Neurogenetics Unit | Riozzi B.,Neuropharmacology Unit | Orobello S.,Neurogenetics Unit | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine | Year: 2011

A defective expression or activity of neurotrophic factors, such as brain- and glial-derived neurotrophic factors, contributes to neuronal damage in Huntington's disease (HD). Here, we focused on transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β1), a pleiotropic cytokine with an established role in mechanisms of neuroprotection. Asymptomatic HD patients showed a reduction in TGF-β1 levels in the peripheral blood, which was related to trinucleotide mutation length and glucose hypometabolism in the caudate nucleus. Immunohistochemical analysis in post-mortem brain tissues showed that TGF-β1 was reduced in cortical neurons of asymptomatic and symptomatic HD patients. Both YAC128 and R6/2 HD mutant mice showed a reduced expression of TGF-β1 in the cerebral cortex, localized in neurons, but not in astrocytes. We examined the pharmacological regulation of TGF-β1 formation in asymptomatic R6/2 mice, where blood TGF-β1 levels were also reduced. In these R6/2 mice, both the mGlu2/3 metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist, LY379268, and riluzole failed to increase TGF-β1 formation in the cerebral cortex and corpus striatum, suggesting that a defect in the regulation of TGF-β1 production is associated with HD. Accordingly, reduced TGF-β1 mRNA and protein levels were found in cultured astrocytes transfected with mutated exon 1 of the human huntingtin gene, and in striatal knock-in cell lines expressing full-length huntingtin with an expanded glutamine repeat. Taken together, our data suggest that serum TGF-β1 levels are potential biomarkers of HD development during the asymptomatic phase of the disease, and raise the possibility that strategies aimed at rescuing TGF-β1 levels in the brain may influence the progression of HD. © 2011 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine © 2011 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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