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Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson (balance), TN, United States

Schauder K.B.,University of Rochester | Muller C.L.,Vanderbilt Brain Institute | Veenstra-VanderWeele J.,Columbia University | Veenstra-VanderWeele J.,New York State Psychiatric Institute | And 3 more authors.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Several lines of evidence implicate dysfunction of the serotonin (5-HT) system in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, the serotonin transporter (5-HTT, SERT) has been scrutinized as an ASD candidate risk gene. SERT plays key roles in the development of circuits that underlie sensory function, particularly in the somatosensory system. One previous study in ASD found association of a rare, hyperfunctional SERT variant with sensory aversion, but studies of common SERT variants have never examined sensory symptoms in ASD. Using standardized caregiver assessments of sensory function in children, we evaluated patterns of sensory responsiveness in 47 children with ASD and 38 typically developing (TD) children. Study participants were genotyped for the functional SERT promoter polymorphisms, 5-HTTLPR and rs25531, to test the hypothesis that the higher expressing genotypes would be associated with hyperresponsiveness to touch, a common sensory aversion in ASD. All measures of sensory hypo- and hyperresponsiveness were increased in children with ASD, with hyporesponsive sensory patterns negatively correlated to age and hyperresponsive sensory patterns positively correlated to repetitive behavior. Strikingly, high-expressing SERT genotypes were associated with increased tactile hyperresponsiveness in the ASD group. Our findings indicate genetic variation that increases SERT function may specifically impact somatosensory processing in ASD. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Source

Fougnie D.,Vanderbilt University | Asplund C.L.,Vanderbilt Brain Institute | Marois R.,Vanderbilt University
Journal of Vision

An influential theory suggests that integrated objects, rather than individual features, are the fundamental units that limit our capacity to temporarily store visual information (S. J. Luck & E. K. Vogel, 1997). Using a paradigm that independently estimates the number and precision of items stored in working memory (W. Zhang & S. J. Luck, 2008), here we show that the storage of features is not cost-free. The precision and number of objects held in working memory was estimated when observers had to remember either the color, the orientation, or both the color and orientation of simple objects. We found that while the quantity of stored objects was largely unaffected by increasing the number of features, the precision of these representations dramatically decreased. Moreover, this selective deterioration in object precision depended on the multiple features being contained within the same objects. Such fidelity costs were even observed with change detection paradigms when those paradigms placed demands on the precision of the stored visual representations. Taken together, these findings not only demonstrate that the maintenance of integrated features is costly; they also suggest that objects and features affect visual working memory capacity differently. © ARVO. Source

Conrad K.L.,Vanderbilt University | Davis A.R.,Vanderbilt University | Silberman Y.,Vanderbilt University | Sheffler D.J.,Vanderbilt University | And 9 more authors.

The alpha2 adrenergic receptor (α2-AR) antagonist yohimbine is a widely used tool for the study of anxiogenesis and stress-induced drug-seeking behavior. We previously demonstrated that yohimbine paradoxically depresses excitatory transmission in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a region critical to the integration of stress and reward pathways, and produces an impairment of extinction of cocaine-conditioned place preference (cocaine-CPP) independent of α2-AR signaling. Recent studies show yohimbine-induced drug-seeking behavior is attenuated by orexin receptor 1 (OX1 R) antagonists. Moreover, yohimbine-induced cocaine-seeking behavior is BNST-dependent. Here, we investigated yohimbine-orexin interactions. Our results demonstrate yohimbine-induced depression of excitatory transmission in the BNST is unaffected by alpha1-AR and corticotropin-releasing factor receptor-1 (CRFR1) antagonists, but is (1) blocked by OxR antagonists and (2) absent in brain slices from orexin knockout mice. Although the actions of yohimbine were not mimicked by the norepinephrine transporter blocker reboxetine, they were by exogenously applied orexin A. We find that, as with yohimbine, orexin A depression of excitatory transmission in BNST is OX 1 R-dependent. Finally, we find these ex vivo effects are paralleled in vivo, as yohimbine-induced impairment of cocaine-CPP extinction is blocked by a systemically administered OX1 R antagonist. These data highlight a new mechanism for orexin on excitatory anxiety circuits and demonstrate that some of the actions of yohimbine may be directly dependent upon orexin signaling and independent of norepinephrine and CRF in the BNST. © 2012 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved. Source

Stevenson R.A.,Vanderbilt University | Stevenson R.A.,Vanderbilt Kennedy Center | Stevenson R.A.,Vanderbilt Brain Institute | Schlesinger J.J.,Vanderbilt Kennedy Center | And 2 more authors.

Background: Anesthesiology requires performing visually oriented procedures while monitoring auditory information about a patient's vital signs. A concern in operating room environments is the amount of competing information and the effects that divided attention has on patient monitoring, such as detecting auditory changes in arterial oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry. Methods: The authors measured the impact of visual attentional load and auditory background noise on the ability of anesthesia residents to monitor the pulse oximeter auditory display in a laboratory setting. Accuracies and response times were recorded reflecting anesthesiologists' abilities to detect changes in oxygen saturation across three levels of visual attention in quiet and with noise. Results: Results show that visual attentional load substantially affects the ability to detect changes in oxygen saturation concentrations conveyed by auditory cues signaling 99 and 98% saturation. These effects are compounded by auditory noise, up to a 17% decline in performance. These deficits are seen in the ability to accurately detect a change in oxygen saturation and in speed of response. Conclusions: Most anesthesia accidents are initiated by small errors that cascade into serious events. Lack of monitor vigilance and inattention are two of the more commonly cited factors. Reducing such errors is thus a priority for improving patient safety. Specifically, efforts to reduce distractors and decrease background noise should be considered during induction and emergence, periods of especially high risk, when anesthesiologists has to attend to many tasks and are thus susceptible to error. © 2013, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Whyte A.,Vanderbilt Brain Institute | Jessen T.,Vanderbilt University | Varney S.,Vanderbilt University | Carneiro A.M.D.,Vanderbilt University
Neurochemistry International

Dysfunctions in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) systems have been associated with several psychiatric illnesses, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Convergent evidence from genetic analyses of human subjects has implicated the integrin β3 subunit gene (ITGB3) as a modulator of serotonergic systems via genetic interactions with the 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4, SERT). While genetic interactions may result from contributions of each gene at several levels, we hypothesize that ITGB3 modulates the 5-HT system at the level of the synapse, through the actions of integrin αvβ3. Here we utilized a genetic approach in mouse models to examine Itgb3 contributions to SERT function both in the context of normal and reduced SERT expression. As integrin αvβ3 is expressed in postsynaptic membranes, we isolated synaptoneurosomes, which maintain intact pre- and post-synaptic associations. Citalopram binding revealed significant Slc6a4-driven reductions in SERT expression in midbrain synapses, whereas no significant changes were observed in hippocampal or cortical projections. Expecting corresponding changes to SERT function, we also measured 5-HT uptake activity in synaptoneurosomal preparations. Itgb3 single heterozygous mice displayed significant reductions in 5-HT Vmax, with no changes in Km, in midbrain preparations. However, in the presence of both Itgb3 and Slc6a4 heterozygozity, 5-HT uptake was similar to wild-type levels, revealing a significant Slc6a4 by Itgb3 genetic interaction in the midbrain. Similar findings were observed in cortical preparations, whereas in the hippocampus, most Vmax changes were driven solely by Slc6a4. Our findings provide evidence that integrin αvβ3 is involved in the regulation of serotonergic systems in some, but not all 5-HT synapses, revealing novel contributions to synaptic specificity within the central nervous system. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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