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Marco E.M.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | Scattoni M.L.,Sect. Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology | Rapino C.,University of Teramo | Ceci C.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | And 5 more authors.
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2013

Individual response to stress is orchestrated by hypothalamus-pituitary axis corticosteroids, although critically modulated by the central endocannabinoid (eCB) system. Whilst the role of the eCB system in stress response and emotional homeostasis in adult animals has been extensively studied, it has only been scarcely investigated in developing animals. Herein, we aimed to investigate the participation of eCB ligands in the stress responses of neonate rats. Twelve days-old Wistar male rats were exposed to a social challenge (repeated brief isolations from dam and littermates), which resulted in a significant increase in serum corticosterone levels. This stressful social challenge also decreased spontaneous rat pups' behaviours and augmented isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations. Notably, a specific decrease in anandamide content (not 2-AG) was observed within the hippocampus (not in the striatum). However, the enhancement of eCB signalling by URB597 administration (0.1. mg/kg) did not affect the adrenocortical and behavioural responses to this postnatal social challenge. The influence of gestational stress was also evaluated in the infant offspring of rats dams exposed to restraint stress (PRS, three episodes/day, on gestation days 14 till delivery); however, PRS did not modify neonate responses to this postnatal challenge. Present findings provide evidence for the participation of the eCB system in the acute response to a social challenge in infant male rats. However, the lack of evidences from the pharmacological study encourages the investigation of alternative and/or indirect mechanisms that may participate in the behavioural and endocrine response to stress in developing animals. Further experiments are still needed to clarify the interactions between the HPA axis and the eCB system in stress reactivity at early postnatal stages. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


De Filippis B.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | Romano E.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | Laviola G.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2014

Rho GTPases are key intracellular signaling molecules that coordinate dynamic changes in the actin cytoskeleton, thereby stimulating a variety of processes, including morphogenesis, migration, neuronal development, cell division and adhesion. Deviations from normal Rho GTPases activation state have been proposed to disrupt cognition and synaptic plasticity. This review focuses on the functional consequences of genetic ablation of upstream and downstream Rho GTPases molecules on cognitive function and neuronal morphology and connectivity. Available information on this issue is described and compared to that gained from mice carrying mutations in the most studied Rho GTPases and from pharmacological in vivo studies in which brain Rho GTPases signaling was modulated. Results from reviewed literature provide definitive evidence of a compelling link between Rho GTPases signaling and cognitive function, thus supporting the notion that Rho GTPases and their downstream effectors may represent important therapeutic targets for disorders associated with cognitive dysfunction. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Macri S.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | Ceci C.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience | Altabella L.,Sect. Molecular and Cellular Imaging | Canese R.,Sect. Molecular and Cellular Imaging | Laviola G.,Sect. Behavioural Neuroscience
Scientific Reports | Year: 2013

All laboratory animals shall be provided some form of environmental enrichment (EE) in the nearest future (Directive 2010/63/EU). Displacing standard housing with EE entails the possibility that data obtained under traditional housing may be reconsidered. Specifically, while EE often contrasts the abnormalities of consolidated disease models, it also indirectly demonstrates that their validity depends on housing conditions. We mimicked a situation in which the consequences of a novel pharmacological compound were addressed before and after the adoption of the Directive. We sub-chronically exposed standard- or EE-reared adolescent CD1 mice (postnatal days 23-33) to the synthetic compound JWH-018, and evaluated its short- and long-term potential cannabinoid properties on: weight gain, locomotion, analgesia, motor coordination, body temperature, brain metabolism (1 H MRI/MRS), anxiety- and depressive-related behaviours. While several parameters are modulated by JWH-018 independently of housing, other effects are environmentally mediated. The transition from standard housing to EE shall be carefully monitored. Source

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