Browsing Anatomy and Neuroscience - Journal Articles by Issue Date
Now showing 1 - 20 of 214
Results Per Page
- ItemConcomitant deficits in working memory and fear extinction are functionally dissociated from reduced anxiety in metabotropic glutamate receptor 7-deficient mice(Society for Neuroscience, 2006-06) Callaerts-Vegh, Zsuzsanna; Beckers, Tom; Ball, Simon M.; Baeyens, Frank; Callaerts, Patrick F.; Cryan, John F.; Molnar, Elek; D’Hooge, Rudi; Science Foundation Ireland; Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Belgium; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BelgiumMetabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGluR7), a receptor with a distinct brain distribution and a putative role in anxiety, emotional responding, and spatial working memory, could be an interesting therapeutic target for fear and anxiety disorders. mGluR7-deficient (mGluR7 / ) mice showed essentially normal performance in tests for neuromotor and exploratory activity and passive avoidance learning but prominent anxiolytic behavior in two anxiety tests. They showed a delayed learning curve during the acquisition of the hidden-platform water maze, and three interspersed probe trials indicated that mGluR7 / mice were slower to acquire spatial information. Working memory in the water maze task and the radial arm maze was impaired in mGluR7 / mice compared with mGluR7 / . mGluR7 / mice also displayed a higher resistance to extinction of fear-elicited response suppression in a conditioned emotional response protocol. In a non-fear-based water maze protocol, mGluR7 / mice displayed similar delayed extinction. These observed behavioral changes are probably not attributable to changes inAMPAorNMDAreceptor function because expression levels of AMPAand NMDA receptors were unaltered. Extinction of conditioned fear is an active and context-dependent form of inhibitory learning and an experimental model for therapeutic fear reduction. It appears to depend on glutamatergic and higher-level brain functions similar to those involved in spatial working memory but functionally dissociated from those that mediate constitutional responses in anxiety tests.
- ItemTryptophan degradation in irritable bowel syndrome: evidence of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activation in a male cohort(BioMed Central Ltd., 2009-01-20) Clarke, Gerard; Fitzgerald, Peter; Cryan, John F.; Cassidy, Eugene M.; Quigley, Eamonn M.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; GlaxoSmithKline, United Kingdom; Wellcome Trust, United KingdomBackground: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects 10–15% of the population. Although characterised by a lack of reliable biological markers, the disease state is increasingly viewed as a disorder of the brain-gut axis. In particular, accumulating evidence points to the involvement of both the central and peripheral serotonergic systems in disease symptomatology. Furthermore, altered tryptophan metabolism and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity are hallmarks of many stress-related disorders. The kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation may serve to link these findings to the low level immune activation recently described in IBS. In this study, we investigated tryptophan degradation in a male IBS cohort (n = 10) and control subjects (n = 26). Methods: Plasma samples were obtained from patients and healthy controls. Tryptophan and its metabolites were measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and neopterin, a sensitive marker of immune activation, was measured using a commercially available ELISA assay. Results: Both kynurenine levels and the kynurenine:tryptophan ratio were significantly increased in the IBS cohort compared with healthy controls. Neopterin was also increased in the IBS subjects and the concentration of the neuroprotective metabolite kynurenic acid was decreased, as was the kynurenic acid:kynurenine ratio. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the activity of IDO, the immunoresponsive enzyme which is responsible for the degradation of tryptophan along this pathway, is enhanced in IBS patients relative to controls. This study provides novel evidence for an immune-mediated degradation of tryptophan in a male IBS population and identifies the kynurenine pathway as a potential source of biomarkers in this debilitating condition.
- ItemToll-like receptor mRNA expression is selectively increased in the colonic mucosa of two animal models relevant to irritable bowel syndrome(Public Library of Science, 2009-11-09) McKernan, Declan P.; Nolan, Aoife; Brint, Elizabeth K.; O'Mahony, Siobhain M.; Hyland, Niall P.; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; GlaxoSmithKline, United KingdomBackground: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is largely viewed as a stress-related disorder caused by aberrant brain-gut– immune communication and altered gastrointestinal (GI) homeostasis. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that stress modulates innate immune responses; however, very little is known on the immunological effects of stress on the GI tract. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critical pattern recognition molecules of the innate immune system. Activation of TLRs by bacterial and viral molecules leads to activation of NF-kB and an increase in inflammatory cytokine expression. It was our hypothesis that innate immune receptor expression may be changed in the gastrointestinal tract of animals with stressinduced IBS-like symptoms. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, our objective was to evaluate the TLR expression profile in the colonic mucosa of two rat strains that display colonic visceral hypersensivity; the stress-sensitive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat and the maternally separated (MS) rat. Quantitative PCR of TLR2-10 mRNA in both the proximal and distal colonic mucosae was carried out in adulthood. Significant increases are seen in the mRNA levels of TLR3, 4 & 5 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa of MS rats compared with controls. No significant differences were noted for TLR 2, 7, 9 & 10 while TLR 6 could not be detected in any samples in both rat strains. The WKY strain have increased levels of mRNA expression of TLR3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 & 10 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa compared to the control Sprague-Dawley strain. No significant differences in expression were found for TLR2 while as before TLR6 could not be detected in all samples in both strains. Conclusions: These data suggest that both early life stress (MS) and a genetic predisposition (WKY) to stress affect the expression of key sentinels of the innate immune system which may have direct relevance for the molecular pathophysiology of IBS.
- ItemTherapeutic targeting in the silent era: advances in non-viral siRNA delivery(Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010-04) Guo, Jianfeng; Fisher, Karen A.; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and TechnologyGene silencing using RNA-interference, first described in mammalian systems almost a decade ago, is revolutionizing therapeutic target validation efforts both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the potential for using short interfering RNA (siRNA) as a therapy in its own right is also progressing at a significant pace. However, the widespread use of such approaches is contingent on having appropriate systems to achieve clinically appropriate, safe, and efficient delivery of siRNA. There are many physicochemical and biological barriers to such delivery, and a growing emphasis on the design and characterisation of non-viral technologies that will overcome these barriers and expedite targeted delivery. This review discusses the considerations and challenges associated with use of siRNA-based therapeutics, including stability and off-target effects. Speculation is made on the properties of an ideal delivery system and the non-viral delivery approaches used to date, both in vitro and in vivo, are classified and discussed. Moreover, the ability of cyclodextrin-based delivery vectors to fulfil many of the criteria of an ideal delivery construct is also elaborated.
- ItemNeurotrophic factors for the treatment of Parkinson's disease(Elsevier, 2011-06) Sullivan, Aideen M.; Toulouse, AndréParkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder caused by the progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. The resulting loss of dopamine neurotransmission is responsible for the symptoms of the disease. Available treatments are initially successful in treating PD symptoms; however, their long-term use is associated with complications and they cannot stop the neurodegeneration. Current research aims at developing new therapies to halt/reverse the neurodegenerative process, rather than treating symptoms. Neurotrophic factors are proteins critical for maintenance and protection of neurones in the developing and adult brain. Several neurotrophic factors have been investigated for their protective effects on dopaminergic neurones. Here we review some of the most promising factors and provide an update on their status in clinical trials.
- ItemContributions of central and systemic inflammation to the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease(Elsevier, 2012) Collins, Louise M.; Toulouse, André; Connor, Thomas J.; Nolan, Yvonne M.Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) represents a complex interaction between the inherent vulnerability of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system, a possible genetic predisposition, and exposure to environmental toxins including inflammatory triggers. Evidence now suggests that chronic neuroinflammation is consistently associated with the pathophysiology of PD. Activation of microglia and increased levels of pro-inflammatory mediators such as TNF-alpha,IL-1beta and IL-6, reactive oxygen species and eicosanoids has been reported after post mortem analysis of the substantia nigra from PD patients and in animal models of PD. It is hypothesised that chronically activated microglia secrete high levels of pro-inflammatory mediators which damage neurons and further activate microglia, resulting in a feed forward cycle promoting further inflammation and neurodegeneration. Moreover, nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons are more vulnerable to pro-inflammatory and oxidative mediators than other cell types because of their low intracellular glutathione concentration. Systemic inflammation has also been suggested to contribute to neurodegeneration in PD, as lymphocyte infiltration has been observed in brains of PD patients and in animal models of PD, substantiating the current theory of a fundamental role of inflammation in neurodegeneration. We will examine the current evidence in the literature which offers insight into the premise that both central and systemic inflammation may contribute to neurodegeneration in PD. We will discuss the emerging possibility of the use of diagnostic tools such as imaging technologies for PD patients. Finally, we will present the immunomodulatory therapeutic strategies that are now under investigation and in clinical trials as potential neuroprotective drugs for PD.
- ItemNeurotrophic effects of growth/differentiation factor 5 in a neuronal cell line(Springer-Verlag, 2012) Toulouse, André; Collins, Grace C.; Sullivan, Aideen M.; Higher Education AuthorityThe neurotrophin growth/differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) is studied as a potential therapeutic agent for Parkinson's disease as it is believed to play a role in the development and maintenance of the nigrostriatal system. Progress in understanding the effects of GDF5 on dopaminergic neurones has been hindered by the use of mixed cell populations derived from primary cultures or in vivo experiments, making it difficult to differentiate between direct and indirect effects of GDF5 treatment on neurones. In an attempt to establish an useful model to study the direct neuronal influence of GDF5, we have characterised the effects of GDF5 on a human neuronal cell line, SH-SY5Y. Our results show that GDF5 has the capability to promote neuronal but not dopaminergic differentiation. We also show that it promotes neuronal survival in vitro following a 6-hydroxydopamine insult. Our results show that application of GDF5 to SH-SY5Y cultures induces the SMAD pathway which could potentially be implicated in the intracellular transmission of GDF5 s neurotrophic effects. Overall, our study shows that the SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line provides an excellent neuronal model to study the neurotrophic effects of GDF5.
- ItemSchizophrenia patients with a history of childhood trauma have a pro-inflammatory phenotype(Cambridge University Press, 2012) Dennison, Una; McKernan, Declan P.; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; GlaxoSmithKline, United KingdomBackground. Increasing evidence indicates that childhood trauma is a risk factor for schizophrenia and patients with this syndrome have a pro-inflammatory phenotype. We tested the hypothesis that the pro-inflammatory phenotype in schizophrenia is associated with childhood trauma and that patients without a history of such trauma have a similar immune profile to healthy controls. Method. We recruited 40 schizophrenia patients and 40 controls, all of whom completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques, we measured peripheral levels of interleukin (IL)-1b, IL-6, IL-8 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-a. These immune parameters were compared in schizophrenia with childhood trauma, schizophrenia without childhood trauma and healthy controls. Results. Patients with childhood trauma had higher levels of IL-6 and TNF-a than patients without trauma and healthy controls, and TNF-a levels correlated with the extent of the trauma. Patients with no trauma had similar immune profiles to controls. Conclusions. Childhood trauma drives changes, possibly epigenetic, that generate a pro-inflammatory phenotype.
- ItemDynamic 5-HT2C receptor editing in a mouse model of obesity(PLOS, 2012-03-20) Schellekens, Harriët; Clarke, Gerard; Jeffery, Ian B.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Bartolomucci, Alessandro; Science Foundation Ireland; Enterprise Ireland; European Commission; American Neurogastroenterology and Motility SocietyThe central serotonergic signalling system has been shown to play an important role in appetite control and the regulation of food intake. Serotonin exerts its anorectic effects mainly through the 5-HT1B, 5-HT2C and 5-HT6 receptors and these are therefore receiving increasing attention as principal pharmacotherapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity. The 5-HT2C receptor has the distinctive ability to be modified by posttranscriptional RNA editing on 5 nucleotide positions (A, B, C, D, E), having an overall decreased receptor function. Recently, it has been shown that feeding behaviour and fat mass are altered when the 5-HT2C receptor RNA is fully edited, suggesting a potential role for 5-HT2C editing in obesity. The present studies investigate the expression of serotonin receptors involved in central regulation of food intake, appetite and energy expenditure, with particular focus on the level of 5-HT2C receptor editing. Using a leptin-deficient mouse model of obesity (ob/ob), we show increased hypothalamic 5-HT1A receptor expression as well as increased hippocampal 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, and 5-HT6 receptor mRNA expression in obese mice compared to lean control mice. An increase in full-length 5-HT2C expression, depending on time of day, as well as differences in 5-HT2C receptor editing were found, independent of changes in total 5-HT2C receptor mRNA expression. This suggests that a dynamic regulation exists of the appetite-suppressing effects of the 5-HT2C receptor in both the hypothalamus and the hippocampus in the ob/ob mice model of obesity. The differential 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B and 5-HT6 receptor expression and altered 5-HT2C receptor editing profile reported here is poised to have important consequences for the development of novel anti-obesity therapies.
- ItemA click chemistry route to 2-functionalised PEGylated and cationic beta-cyclodextrins: co-formulation opportunities for siRNA delivery(Royal Society of Chemistry, 2012-05-21) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; Ogier, Julien R.; Desgranges, Stephane; Cryan, John F.; Darcy, Raphael; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Drug Delivery Network; Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and TechnologyA new approach to the synthesis of amphiphilic beta-cyclodextrins has used 'click' chemistry to selectively modify the secondary 2-hydroxyl group. The resulting extended polar groups can be either polycationic or neutral PEGylated groups and these two amphiphile classes are compatible in dual cyclodextrin formulations for delivery of siRNA. When used alone with an siRNA, a cationic cyclodextrin was shown to have good transfection properties in cell culture. Co-formulation with a PEGylated cyclodextrin altered the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles formed with siRNA. Improved particle properties included lower surface charges and reduced tendency to aggregate. However, as expected, the transfection efficiency of the cationic vector was lowered by co-formulation with the PEGylated cyclodextrin, requiring future surface modification of particles with targeting ligands for effective siRNA delivery.
- ItemClick-modified cyclodextrins as non-viral vectors for neuronal siRNA delivery(American Chemical Society, 2012-08-03) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; Godinho, Bruno M. D. C.; Ogier, Julien R.; Devocelle, Marc; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Drug Delivery Network; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and TechnologyRNA interference (RNAi) holds great promise as a strategy to further our understanding of gene function in the central nervous system (CNS) and as a therapeutic approach for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the potential for its use is hampered by the lack of siRNA delivery vectors, which are both safe and highly efficient. Cyclodextrins have been shown to be efficient and low toxicity gene delivery vectors in various cell types in vitro. However, to date they have not been exploited for delivery of oligonucleotides to neurons. To this end, a modified β-cyclodextrin (CD) vector was synthesised, which complexed siRNA to form cationic nanoparticles of less than 200nm in size. Furthermore, it conferred stability in serum to the siRNA cargo. The in vitro performance of the CD in both immortalised hypothalamic neurons and primary hippocampal neurons was evaluated. The CD facilitated high levels of intracellular delivery of labelled siRNA, whilst maintaining at least 80% cell viability. Significant gene knockdown was achieved, with a reduction in luciferase expression of up to 68% and a reduction in endogenous glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) expression of up to 40%. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a modified CD has been used as a safe and efficacious vector for siRNA delivery into neuronal cells.
- ItemTransplantation of novel human GDF5-expressing CHO cells is neuroprotective in models of Parkinson's disease(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012-09-26) Costello, Daniel J.; O'Keeffe, Gerard W.; Hurley, Fiona M.; Sullivan, Aideen M.; Health Research BoardGrowth/differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) is a neurotrophic factor that promotes the survival of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo and as such is potentially useful in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). This study shows that a continuous supply of GDF5, produced by transplanted GDF5-overexpressing CHO cells in vivo, has neuroprotective and neurorestorative effects on midbrain dopaminergic neurons following 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced lesions of the adult rat nigrostriatal pathway. It also increases the survival and improves the function of transplanted embryonic dopaminergic neurons in the 6-OHDA-lesioned rat model of PD. This study provides the first proof-of-principle that sustained delivery of GDF5 in vivo may be useful in the treatment of PD.
- ItemIn vitro investigations of the efficacy of cyclodextrin-siRNA complexes modified with lipid-PEG-octaarginine: towards a formulation strategy for effective neuronal siRNA delivery(Springer Science+Business Media, 2012-11) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; Desgranges, Stephane; Ogier, Julien R.; Quinlan, Aoife; Devocelle, Marc; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology; Irish Drug Delivery NetworkPurpose: Development of RNA interference based therapeutics for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases is hindered by a lack of non-viral vectors with suitable properties for systemic administration. Amphiphilic and cationic cyclodextrins (CD) offer potential for neuronal siRNA delivery. Here, we aimed to improve our CD-based siRNA formulation through incorporation of a polyethyleneglycol (PEG) shielding layer and a cell penetrating peptide, octaarginine (R8). Methods: CD.siRNA complexes were modified by addition of an R8-PEG-lipid conjugate. Physical properties including size, charge and stability were assessed. Flow cytometry was used to determine uptake levels in a neuronal cell model. Knockdown of an exogenous gene and an endogenous housekeeping gene were used to assess gene silencing abilities. Results: CD.siRNA complexes modified with R8-PEG-lipid exhibited a lower surface charge and greater stability to a salt-containing environment. Neuronal uptake was increased and significant reductions in the levels of two target genes were achieved with the new formulation. However, the PEG layer was not sufficient to protect against serum-induced aggregation. Conclusions: The R8-PEG-lipid-CD.siRNA formulation displayed enhanced salt-stability due to the PEG component, while the R8 component facilitated transfection of neuronal cells and efficient gene silencing. Further improvements will be investigated in the future in order to optimise stability in serum and enhance neuronal specificity.
- ItemCharacterisation of cationic amphiphilic cyclodextrins for neuronal delivery of siRNA: effect of reversing primary and secondary face modifications(Elsevier, 2012-12-18) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; Doyle, D.; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology; Irish Drug Delivery NetworkSignificant research is focused on the development of non-viral vectors for delivery of siRNA to neurons and the central nervous system. Cyclodextrins (CDs) have shown great promise as efficient and low toxicity gene delivery vectors in various cell types. Here, we investigate two CDs for siRNA delivery in a neuronal cell model. These CDs were substituted on opposite faces (primary and secondary) with amphiphilic and cationic groups. Physical properties of CD.siRNA complexes, including size, charge and stability were measured. In vitro investigations were carried out in immortalised hypothalamic neurons. Neuronal cell uptake was measured by flow cytometry and cytotoxicity was assessed by MTT assay. Knockdown of a luciferase reporter gene was used as a measure of gene silencing efficiency. Both CDs interacted with siRNA, yielding nanosized cationic complexes which exhibited good stability on storage. A favourable toxicity profile was demonstrated for the CD.siRNA complexes. However, only one of the two CDs mediated high levels of neuronal uptake and efficient gene silencing, equivalent to those achieved with a commercial lipid-based vector. Despite the suitability of both CDs as siRNA delivery vectors in terms of their ability to complex siRNA and the properties of the complexes yielded, only one CD achieved good transfection efficiency. This was likely due to the differences in their chemical structures. The effective CD offers great potential as a novel non-toxic vector for neuronal siRNA delivery.
- ItemCationic and PEGylated amphiphilic cyclodextrins: co-formulation opportunities for neuronal siRNA delivery(Public Library of Science, 2013) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; Ogier, Julien R.; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology; Irish Drug Delivery NetworkOptimising non-viral vectors for neuronal siRNA delivery presents a significant challenge. Here, we investigate a co-formulation, consisting of two amphiphilic cyclodextrins (CDs), one cationic and the other PEGylated, which were blended together for siRNA delivery to a neuronal cell culture model. Co-formulated CD-siRNA complexes were characterised in terms of size, charge and morphology. Stability in salt and serum was also examined. Uptake was determined by flow cytometry and toxicity was measured by MTT assay. Knockdown of a luciferase reporter gene was used as a measure of gene silencing efficiency. Incorporation of a PEGylated CD in the formulation had significant effects on the physical and biological properties of CD. siRNA complexes. Co-formulated complexes exhibited a lower surface charge and greater stability in a high salt environment. However, the inclusion of the PEGylated CD also dramatically reduced gene silencing efficiency due to its effects on neuronal uptake. The co-formulation strategy for cationic and PEGylated CDs improved the stability of the CD. siRNA delivery systems, although knockdown efficiency was impaired. Future work will focus on the addition of targeting ligands to the co-formulated complexes to restore transfection capabilities.
- ItemIdentifying early inflammatory changes in monocyte derived macrophages from a population with IQ discrepant episodic memory(Public Library of Science, 2013) Downer, Eric J.; Jones, Raasay S.; McDonald, Claire L.; Greco, Eleonora; Brennan, Sabina; Connor, Thomas J.; Robertson, Ian H.; Lynch, Marina A.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board; Atlantic Philanthropies; Trinity College DublinBackground: Cells of the innate immune system including monocytes and macrophages are the first line of defence against infections and are critical regulators of the inflammatory response. These cells express toll-like receptors (TLRs), innate immune receptors which govern tailored inflammatory gene expression patterns. Monocytes, which produce pro-inflammatory mediators, are readily recruited to the central nervous system (CNS) in neurodegenerative diseases. Methods: This study explored the expression of receptors (CD11b, TLR2 and TLR4) on circulating monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from healthy elderly adults who we classified as either IQ memory-consistent (high-performing, HP) or IQ memory-discrepant (low-performing, LP). Results: The expression of CD11b, TLR4 and TLR2 was increased in MDMs from the LP group when compared to HP cohort. MDMs from both groups responded robustly to treatment with the TLR4 activator, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), in terms of cytokine production. Significantly, MDMs from the LP group displayed hypersensitivity to LPS exposure. Interpretation: Overall these findings define differential receptor expression and cytokine profiles that occur in MDMs derived from a cohort of IQ memory-discrepant individuals. These changes are indicative of inflammation and may be involved in the prodromal processes leading to the development of neurodegenerative disease.
- ItemDisodium cromoglycate reverses colonic visceral hypersensitivity and influences colonic ion transport in a stress-sensitive rat strain(Public Library of Science, 2013) Carroll, Siobhan Y.; O'Mahony, Siobhain M.; Grenham, Susan; Cryan, John F.; Hyland, Niall P.; Science Foundation IrelandThe interface between psychiatry and stress-related gastrointestinal disorders (GI), such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is well established, with anxiety and depression the most frequently occurring comorbid conditions. Moreover, stress-sensitive Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, which display anxiety-and depressive-like behaviors, exhibit GI disturbances akin to those observed in stress-related GI disorders. Additionally, there is mounting preclinical and clinical evidence implicating mast cells as significant contributors to the development of abdominal visceral pain in IBS. In this study we examined the effects of the rat connective tissue mast cell (CTMC) stabiliser, disodium cromoglycate (DSCG) on visceral hypersensitivity and colonic ion transport, and examined both colonic and peritoneal mast cells from stress-sensitive WKY rats. DSCG significantly decreased abdominal pain behaviors induced by colorectal distension in WKY animals independent of a reduction in colonic rat mast cell mediator release. We further demonstrated that mast cell-stimulated colonic ion transport was sensitive to inhibition by the mast cell stabiliser DSCG, an effect only observed in stress-sensitive rats. Moreover, CTMC-like mast cells were significantly increased in the colonic submucosa of WKY animals, and we observed a significant increase in the proportion of intermediate, or immature, peritoneal mast cells relative to control animals. Collectively our data further support a role for mast cells in the pathogenesis of stress-related GI disorders.
- ItemCyclodextrins for non-viral gene and siRNA delivery(Bentham Science Publishers, 2013-01) O'Mahony, Aoife M.; O'Driscoll, Caitríona M.; O'Neill, Martin J.; Godinho, Bruno M. D. C.; Darcy, Raphael; Cryan, John F.; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology; Irish Drug Delivery NetworkConsiderable research is focused on the development of non-viral vectors for gene and RNA interference therapies, with significant advancements in this field over the past number of years. Cationic lipids and polymers have been extensively investigated for these purposes, but there still remains a need for alternative vectors. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic oligosaccharides derived from starch and are well characterised pharmaceutical excipients. They offer many advantages as potential non-viral vectors for gene and siRNA delivery, in particular the ease with which they can be chemically modified and their limited toxicity. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of publications concerning CDs in this field. In this paper, we will review the two main approaches to the use of CDs for gene and siRNA delivery. In the first instance, CDs are used as a scaffold, to which various chemical groups can be grafted, yielding monodisperse functionalised CDs which can self-assemble in the presence of oligonucleotides. CDs are particularly amenable to chemical modification and this approach enables specific and precise design of CD vectors for targeting to various cell and tissue types. In the second approach, CDs can be included as a component of a delivery system, for example, as part of a polymer backbone, appended to a dendrimeric vector, or in polyrotaxane systems. Here, the inclusion of CDs facilitates post-modification of the vector through the formation of inclusion complexes with adamantane and, in some instances, reduces toxicity of the vector. Lastly, we will consider the development of in vivo CD vectors for therapeutic use and other novel applications including siRNA delivery in neurons and the CNS.
- ItemProtein quality and the protein to carbohydrate ratio within a high fat diet influences energy balance and the gut microbiota in C57BL/6J mice(Public Library of Science, 2014) McAllan, Liam; Skuse, Peter; Cotter, Paul D.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cryan, John F.; Ross, R. Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F.; Roche, Helen M.; Nilaweera, Kanishka N.; Teagasc; Science Foundation IrelandMacronutrient quality and composition are important determinants of energy balance and the gut microbiota. Here, we investigated how changes to protein quality (casein versus whey protein isolate; WPI) and the protein to carbohydrate (P/C) ratio within a high fat diet (HFD) impacts on these parameters. Mice were fed a low fat diet (10% kJ) or a high fat diet (HFD; 45% kJ) for 21 weeks with either casein (20% kJ, HFD) or WPI at 20%, 30% or 40% kJ. In comparison to casein, WPI at a similar energy content normalised energy intake, increased lean mass and caused a trend towards a reduction in fat mass (P = 0.08), but the protein challenge did not alter oxygen consumption or locomotor activity. WPI reduced HFD-induced plasma leptin and liver triacylglycerol, and partially attenuated the reduction in adipose FASN mRNA in HFD-fed mice. High throughput sequence-based analysis of faecal microbial populations revealed microbiota in the HFD-20% WPI group clustering closely with HFD controls, although WPI specifically increased Lactobacillaceae/Lactobacillus and decreased Clostridiaceae/Clostridium in HFD-fed mice. There was no effect of increasing the P/C ratio on energy intake, but the highest ratio reduced HFD-induced weight gain, fat mass and plasma triacylglycerol, non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and leptin levels, while it increased lean mass and oxygen consumption. Similar effects were observed on adipose mRNA expression, where the highest ratio reduced HFD-associated expression of UCP-2, TNFα and CD68 and increased the diet-associated expression of β3-AR, LPL, IR, IRS-1 and GLUT4. The P/C ratio also impacted on gut microbiota, with populations in the 30/ 40% WPI groups clustering together and away from the 20% WPI group. Taken together, our data show that increasing the P/C ratio has a dramatic effect on energy balance and the composition of gut microbiota, which is distinct from that caused by changes to protein quality.
- ItemDevil's Claw to suppress appetite - ghrelin receptor modulation potential of a Harpagophytum procumbens root extract(Public Library of Science, 2014) Torres-Fuentes, Cristina; Theeuwes, Wessel F.; McMullen, Michael K.; McMullen, Anna K.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Schellekens, Harriët; Enterprise Ireland; Science Foundation IrelandGhrelin is a stomach-derived peptide that has been identified as the only circulating hunger hormone that exerts a potent orexigenic effect via activation of its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R1a). Hence, the ghrelinergic system represents a promising target to treat obesity and obesity-related diseases. In this study we analysed the GHS-R1a receptor activating potential of Harpagophytum procumbens, popularly known as Devil's Claw, and its effect on food intake in vivo. H. procumbens is an important traditional medicinal plant from Southern Africa with potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. This plant has been also used as an appetite modulator but most evidences are anecdotal and to our knowledge, no clear scientific studies relating to appetite modulation have been done to this date. The ghrelin receptor activation potential of an extract derived from the dried tuberous roots of H. procumbens was analysed by calcium mobilization and receptor internalization assays in human embryonic kidney cells (Hek) stably expressing the GHS-R1a receptor. Food intake was investigated in male C57BL/6 mice following intraperitoneal administration of H. procumbens root extract in ad libitum and food restricted conditions. Exposure to H. procumbens extract demonstrated a significant increased cellular calcium influx but did not induce subsequent GHS-R1a receptor internalization, which is a characteristic for full receptor activation. A significant anorexigenic effect was observed in male C57BL/6 mice following peripheral administration of H. procumbens extract. We conclude that H. procumbens root extract is a potential novel source for potent anti-obesity bioactives. These results reinforce the promising potential of natural bioactives to be developed into functional foods with weight-loss and weight maintenance benefits.