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Gavra T.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Gavra T.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Libersat F.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology | Year: 2011

The parasitoid wasp Ampulex compressa stings and injects venom into the cockroach brain to induce a long-lasting hypokinetic state. This state is characterized by decreased responsiveness to aversive stimuli, suggesting the manipulation of a neuromodulatory system in the cockroach's central nervous system. A likely candidate is the opioid system, which is known to affect responsiveness to stimuli in insects. To explore this possibility, we injected cockroaches with different opioid receptor agonists or antagonists before they were stung by a wasp and tested the escape behavior of these cockroaches to electric foot shocks. Antagonists significantly decreased the startle threshold in stung individuals, whereas agonists led to an increased startle threshold in controls. Yet, neither agonists nor antagonists had any effect on grooming. To further characterize the interaction between the venom and opioid receptors, we used an antenna-heart preparation. In un-stung individuals external application of crude venom completely inhibits antenna-heart contractions. In stung individuals the antenna-heart showed no contractions. Although acetylcholine restored contractions, the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone was unable to antagonize the venom inhibition. These results suggest that the venom of A. compressa might contribute to the manipulation of cockroach behavior by affecting the opioid system. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source


Haramati O.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Mane R.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Molczadzki G.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Perez-Polo J.R.,University of Texas Medical Branch | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience | Year: 2010

Prenatal perturbation of brain circulation and oxygenation is a leading cause of perinatal brain damage affecting about 0.3-0.9% of births. Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) in preterm human infants at gestational week 23-32 results in neurodevelopmental abnormalities in childhood, presenting as learning disability, seizure activity, motor impairment and in the most severe cases, death. Here, we examined the potential of MgSO4 treatment, prior to foetal hypoxia, to attenuate hypoxia induced damage in a murine model of maternal hypoxia. We studied the time course of maternal hypoxia and MgSO4 pre-treatment effects on cerebellar tissue by means of DNA microarray analyses. Mild hypoxia induced minor expression changes in most genes. However, there were 5 gene sets which were down-regulated by maternal hypoxia. MgSO4 pre-treatment abrogated these decreases in gene. A cell cycle gene set which responded immediately (2 h) to hypoxia, showed a delayed response (24 h) when MgSO4 pre-treatment was given. Similar proportions of cell death were observed in all groups before P7, where combined hypoxia and MgSO4 treatment increased cell death in the internal granule layer. There were a higher number of BrdU positive cells at the end of hypoxic episodes and a down-regulation of Reelin signaling, compared to control. MgSO4 pre-treatment prevented the enhancement of cell proliferation due to hypoxia and increased Reelin levels. Altogether, MgSO4 pre-treatment both reduced the number of genes differentially affected by hypoxia and delayed the responses to hypoxia. In addition, MgSO4 pre-treatment modified the nature of the transcriptional response; while hypoxia induced down-regulation of gene sets, MgSO4 pre-treatment mostly up-regulated them. The dual reaction to the MgSO4 treatment may be the source of the ambiguity in observations reported for affected newborns. © 2009 ISDN. Source


Mawase F.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Mawase F.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Bar-Haim S.,Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience | Bar-Haim S.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | And 8 more authors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2016

Cerebral Palsy (CP) results from an insult to the developing brain and is associated with deficits in locomotor and manual skills and in sensorimotor adaptation. We hypothesized that the poor sensorimotor adaptation in persons with CP is related to their high execution variability and does not reflect a general impairment in adaptation learning. We studied the interaction between performance variability and adaptation deficits using a multi-session locomotor adaptation design in persons with CP. Six adolescents with diplegic CP were exposed, during a period of 15 weeks, to a repeated split-belt treadmill perturbation spread over 30 sessions and were tested again 6 months after the end of training. Compared to age-matched healthy controls, subjects with CP showed poor adaptation and high execution variability in the first exposure to the perturbation. Following training they showed marked reduction in execution variability and an increase in learning rates. The reduction in variability and the improvement in adaptation were highly correlated in the CP group and were retained 6 months after training. Interestingly, despite reducing their variability in the washout phase, subjects with CP did not improve learning rates during washout phases that were introduced only four times during the experiment. Our results suggest that locomotor adaptation in subjects with CP is related to their execution variability. Nevertheless, while variability reduction is generalized to other locomotor contexts, the development of savings requires both reduction in execution variability and multiple exposures to the perturbation. © 2016 Mawase, Bar-Haim, Joubran, Rubin, Karniel and Shmuelof. Source

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