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Single-Nucleus Transcriptomic Analysis of the Prefrontal Cortex During Development and Early-Life Stress [Meeting Abstract]

Menezes, E; Abreu, F; Alldred, M; Teixeira, C
Background: The brain contains interconnected circuits which are neither completed at birth or invariant across life. This neuronal plasticity is essential for life-long adaptive features like continuous learning and memory. However, this plasticity, especially when associated with severe adverse factors during early-life, can lead to the derailment of normative brain development and contribute to the etiology of behavioral deficits and psychiatric disorders. One of the most influential environmental factors during early-life is parental/caregiver care. Childhood adversity has been estimated to account for a significant percentage of adult-onset mental health disorders. In extreme cases of childhood adversity, institutional rearing where the infants were deprived of caregiver contact, cognitive deficits and dysregulated prefrontal cortex (PFC) function were found. In this study we hypothesize that earlylife adversity, in the form of maternal separation, leads to longlasting changes in the transcriptome of specific PFC cell populations leading to a dysregulation of PFC function.
Method(s): Here, we use a mouse model of maternal separation. The brains of pups and adults of normal reared or maternal separated (MS) animals were collected. In one set, we performed single-nucleus RNAseq with hashing to contrast the PFC transcriptome of these groups. In a separate cohort, we recorded whole slice voltage dye (VSD) responses to explore how changes in receptors identified by snRNAseq altered PFC responses.
Result(s): Using snRNAseq, as expected, we observed that the changes between ages were much more accentuated than changes between treatments. We also observed that the proportion of oligodendrocytes in adult-MS animals was similar to infant animals. Furthermore, we found that most of the differential gene expression between MS and standard reared animals was in interneurons, affecting pathways related to GABAergic, glutamatergic, and serotonergic functions. Using VSD we observed that adult-MS responses to GABAergic and serotonergic agonists were similar to the responses of more immature normal-reared animals.
Conclusion(s): This study suggests that MS leads to an immature PFC that may be linked to the behavioral deficits observed in animals and humans exposed to poor early-life care
ISSN: 1740-634x
CID: 5511602

Perinatal interference with the serotonergic system affects VTA function in the adult via glutamate co-transmission

Cunha, Catarina; Smiley, John F; Chuhma, Nao; Shah, Relish; Bleiwas, Cynthia; Menezes, Edenia C; Seal, Rebecca P; Edwards, Robert H; Rayport, Stephen; Ansorge, Mark S; Castellanos, Francisco X; Teixeira, Catia M
Serotonin and dopamine are associated with multiple psychiatric disorders. How they interact during development to affect subsequent behavior remains unknown. Knockout of the serotonin transporter or postnatal blockade with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) leads to novelty-induced exploration deficits in adulthood, potentially involving the dopamine system. Here, we show in the mouse that raphe nucleus serotonin neurons activate ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons via glutamate co-transmission and that this co-transmission is reduced in animals exposed postnatally to SSRIs. Blocking serotonin neuron glutamate co-transmission mimics this SSRI-induced hypolocomotion, while optogenetic activation of dopamine neurons reverses this hypolocomotor phenotype. Our data demonstrate that serotonin neurons modulate dopamine neuron activity via glutamate co-transmission and that this pathway is developmentally malleable, with high serotonin levels during early life reducing co-transmission, revealing the basis for the reduced novelty-induced exploration in adulthood due to postnatal SSRI exposure.
PMID: 32398719
ISSN: 1476-5578
CID: 4431172

Serotonergic regulation of the dopaminergic system: Implications for reward-related functions

Courtiol, Emmanuelle; Menezes, Edenia C; Teixeira, Catia M
Serotonin is a critical neuromodulator involved in development and behavior. Its role in reward is however still debated. Here, we first review classical studies involving electrical stimulation protocols and pharmacological approaches. Contradictory results on the serotonergic' involvement in reward emerge from these studies. These differences might be ascribable to either the diversity of cellular types within the raphe nuclei or/and the specific projection pathways of serotonergic neurons. We continue to review more recent work, using optogenetic approaches to activate serotonergic cells in the Raphe to VTA pathway. From these studies, it appears that activation of this pathway can lead to reinforcement learning mediated through the excitation of dopaminergic neurons by serotonergic neurons co-transmitting glutamate. Finally, given the importance of serotonin during development on adult emotion, the effect of abnormal early-life levels of serotonin on the dopaminergic system will also be discussed. Understanding the interaction between the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems during development and adulthood is critical to gain insight into the specific facets of neuropsychiatric disorders.
PMID: 34139249
ISSN: 1873-7528
CID: 4917612

Reduced motivation in perinatal fluoxetine treated mice: a hypodopaminergic phenotype

Menezes, Edenia; Shah, Relish; Laughlin, Lindsay; Vinod, K Yaragudri; Smiley, John F; Cunha, Catarina; Balla, Andrea; Sershen, Henry; Castellanos, Francisco X; Corvelo, André; Teixeira, Catia M
Early life is a sensitive period in which enhanced neural plasticity allows the developing brain to adapt to its environment. This plasticity can also be a risk factor in which maladaptive development can lead to long-lasting behavioral deficits. Here, we test how early-life exposure to the selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitor, fluoxetine, affects motivation and dopaminergic signaling in adulthood. We show for the first time that mice exposed to fluoxetine in the early postnatal period exhibit a reduction in effort-related motivation. These mice also show blunted responses to amphetamine and reduced dopaminergic activation in a sucrose reward task.Interestingly, we find that the reduction in motivation can be rescued in the adult by administering bupropion, a dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor used as an antidepressant and a smoke cessation aid, but not by fluoxetine. Taken together, our studies highlight the effects of early postnatal exposure of fluoxetine on motivation and demonstrate the involvement of the dopaminergic system in this process.Significance StatementThe developmental period is characterized by enhanced plasticity. During this period, environmental factors have the potential to lead to enduring behavioral changes. Here we show that exposure to the SSRI fluoxetine during a restricted period in early-life leads to a reduction in adult motivation. We further show that this reduction is associated with decreased dopaminergic responsivity. Finally, we show that motivational deficits induced by early-life fluoxetine exposure can be rescued by adult administration of bupropion but not by fluoxetine.
PMID: 33536200
ISSN: 1529-2401
CID: 4776472

The Role of Redox Dysregulation in the Effects of Prenatal Stress on Embryonic Interneuron Migration

Bittle, Jada; Menezes, Edenia C; McCormick, Michael L; Spitz, Douglas R; Dailey, Michael; Stevens, Hanna E
Maternal stress during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders in offspring, but embryonic brain mechanisms disrupted by prenatal stress are not fully understood. Our lab has shown that prenatal stress delays inhibitory neural progenitor migration. Here, we investigated redox dysregulation as a mechanism for embryonic cortical interneuron migration delay, utilizing direct manipulation of pro- and antioxidants and a mouse model of maternal repetitive restraint stress starting on embryonic day 12. Time-lapse, live-imaging of migrating GAD67GFP+ interneurons showed that normal tangential migration of inhibitory progenitor cells was disrupted by the pro-oxidant, hydrogen peroxide. Interneuron migration was also delayed by in utero intracerebroventricular rotenone. Prenatal stress altered glutathione levels and induced changes in activity of antioxidant enzymes and expression of redox-related genes in the embryonic forebrain. Assessment of dihydroethidium (DHE) fluorescence after prenatal stress in ganglionic eminence (GE), the source of migrating interneurons, showed increased levels of DHE oxidation. Maternal antioxidants (N-acetylcysteine and astaxanthin) normalized DHE oxidation levels in GE and ameliorated the migration delay caused by prenatal stress. Through convergent redox manipula-tions, delayed interneuron migration after prenatal stress was found to critically involve redox dysregulation. Redox biology during prenatal periods may be a target for protecting brain development.
PMID: 30877797
ISSN: 1460-2199
CID: 4821292

Effects of a rat model of gestational hypothyroidism on forebrain dopaminergic, GABAergic, and serotonergic systems and related behaviors

Menezes, Edênia Cunha; Santos, Patrícia Rabelo; Goes, Tiago Costa; Carvalho, Vanessa Cibelle Barboza; Teixeira-Silva, Flávia; Stevens, Hanna E; Badauê-Passos, Daniel Jr
We investigated the effects of maternal hypothyroidism on forebrain dopaminergic, GABAergic, and serotonergic systems and related behavior in adult rat offspring. Experimental gestational hypothyroidism (EGH) was induced by administering 0.02% methimazole (MMI) to pregnant rats from gestational day 9 to delivery. Neurotransmitter-related protein and gene expression were evaluated in offspring forebrain at postnatal day (P) 120. Exploratory behavior, contextual fear conditioning, locomotion, and 30-day reserpine Parkinson induction were assessed from P75-P120. Protein and gene expression assessments of medial prefrontal cortex showed group differences in dopaminergic, GABAergic, and serotonergic receptors, catabolic enzymes, and transporters. Striatum of MMI offspring showed an isolated decrease in the dopaminergic enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase. MMI exposure increased GABA and dopamine receptor expression in amygdala. MMI offspring also had decreased state anxiety and poor contextual fear conditioning. We found that baseline locomotion was not changed, but reserpine treatment significantly reduced locomotion only in MMI offspring. Our results indicated that restriction of maternal thyroid hormones reduced dopaminergic, GABAergic, and serotoninergic forebrain components in offspring. Tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency in the striatum may underlie enhanced reserpine induction of Parkinson-like movement in these same offspring. Deficits across different neurotransmitter systems in medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala may underlie decreased state anxiety-like behavior and reduced fear conditioning in offspring, but no changes in trait anxiety-like behavior occurred with maternal MMI exposure. These findings strongly support the hypothesis that adequate delivery of maternal thyroid hormones to the fetus is crucial to the development of the central nervous system critical for emotion and motor regulation.
PMID: 30898681
ISSN: 1872-7549
CID: 4821302