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Author: Dragos Inta (44)


Feb
2018

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a major proliferative agent in the nervous system. Both BDNF-deficiency and perinatal hypoxia represent genetic/environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. Moreover, a decreased BDNF response to birth hypoxia was associated with the disease.

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Dec
2017

To explore the domain-general risk factor of early-life social stress in mental illness, rearing rodents in persistent postweaning social isolation has been established as a widely used animal model with translational relevance for neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Although changes in resting-state brain connectivity are a transdiagnostic key finding in neurodevelopmental diseases, a characterization of imaging correlates elicited by early-life social stress is lacking.
We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging of postweaning social isolation rats (N = 23) 9 weeks after isolation.

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Jan
2018

Evidence indicates that ketamine's rapid antidepressant efficacy likely results from its antagonism of NR2B-subunit-containing NMDA receptors (NMDAR). Since ketamine equally blocks NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDAR, and has affinity to other receptors, NR2B-selective drugs might have improved therapeutic efficiency and side effect profile.
We aimed to compare the effects of (S)-ketamine and two different types of NR2B-selective antagonists on functional brain networks in rats, in order to find common circuits, where their effects intersect, and that might explain their antidepressant action.

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Feb
2018

The dysfunction of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons, the most abundant type of hippocampal GABAergic inhibitory interneuron, has been implicated in mood disorders. We recently reported that adult male Wistar rats exposed to three weeks of social isolation show depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors and a reduced number of PV+ interneurons in all hippocampal subregions. As GABA neurotransmission has been proposed as a potential therapeutic target of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, we examined whether treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Flx) (15 mg/kg/day) or the antipsychotic clozapine (Clz) (20 mg/kg/day) during three weeks of social isolation in rats offered protection from the isolation stress-induced reduction in the number of PV+ interneurons in hippocampal subregions.

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Jan
2018

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that drugs targeting the glutamate system may represent a valuable therapeutic alternative in major depressive disorders (MDD). The rapid and prolonged mood elevating effect of the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist ketamine has been studied intensely. However, its clinical use is hampered by deleterious side-effects, such as psychosis.

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Dec
1969

Classical monoaminergic antidepressants show several disadvantages, such as protracted onset of therapeutic action. Conversely, the fast and sustained antidepressant effect of the-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist ketamine raises vast interest in understanding the role of the glutamate system in mood disorders. Indeed, numerous data support the existence of glutamatergic dysfunction in major depressive disorder (MDD).

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Jan
2017

Non-selective and subunit (GluN2B)-specific N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists represent promising alternative antidepressant drugs with fast onset of the therapeutic action. The neuronal activation pattern induced by NMDAR antagonists is well characterized by c-Fos expression analysis only in the adult rodent brain. In contrast, there is little information available regarding their effects during postnatal development.

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Feb
2018

The evidence underlying the so-called glutamatergic hypothesis ranges from NMDA receptor hypofunction to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory circuits in specific brain structures. Among all glutamatergic system components, metabotropic receptors play a main role in regulating neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity. Here, we investigated, using qRT-PCR and western blot, consequences in the hippocampus and prefrontal/frontal cortex (PFC/FC) of mice with a genetic deletion of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5), addressing key components of the GABAergic and glutamatergic systems.

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Dec
1969


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May
2017

The implication of neuroinflammation in schizophrenia, sustained by recent genetic evidence, represents one of the most exciting topics in schizophrenia research. Drugs which inhibit microglia activation, especially the classical tetracycline antibiotic minocycline are currently under investigation as alternative antipsychotics. However, recent studies demonstrated that microglia activation is not only a hallmark of neuroinflammation, but plays important roles during brain development.

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May
2016

The translational assessment of mechanisms underlying cognitive functions using touchscreen-based approaches for rodents is growing in popularity. In these paradigms, daily training is usually accompanied by extended food restriction to maintain animals' motivation to respond for rewards. Here, we show a transient elevation in stress hormone levels due to food restriction and touchscreen training, with subsequent adaptation effects, in fecal corticosterone metabolite concentrations, indicating effective coping in response to physical and psychological stressors.

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Oct
2016

The recently identified Cystine-knot containing AMPAR-associated protein (Ckamp44) represents a novel AMPAR-related protein that critically controls AMPAR-mediated currents and short-term plasticity. However, the effects of the lack of this protein at network level are not entirely understood. Here we used c-Fos brain mapping to analyse whether the excitatory/inhibitory balance is altered in the absence of the Ckamp44.

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Oct
2016

NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonists induce in perinatal rodent cortical apoptosis and protracted schizophrenia-like alterations ameliorated by antipsychotic treatment. The broad-spectrum antibiotic minocycline elicits antipsychotic and neuroprotective effects. Here we tested, if minocycline protects also against apoptosis triggered by the NMDAR antagonist MK-801 at postnatal day 7.

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Sep
2015

New neurons in the adult striatum: from rodents to humans.

Trends Neurosci 2015 Sep 20;38(9):517-23. Epub 2015 Aug 20.
Dragos Inta, Heather A Cameron, Peter Gass
Most neurons are generated during development and are not replaced during adulthood, even if they are lost to injury or disease. However, it is firmly established that new neurons are generated in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of almost all adult mammals, including humans. Nevertheless, many questions remain regarding adult neurogenesis in other brain regions and particularly in humans, where standard birth-dating methods are not generally feasible.

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Oct
2015


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Oct
2015

Ketamine may represent an efficient alternative antidepressant with rapid therapeutic onset; however, the clinical use of ketamine is hampered by psychosis-like side-effects. Recent studies suggest that the nitric oxide (NO) donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) prevents psychosis-like abnormalities triggered by ketamine or another NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist, phencyclidine (PCP) in rats. SNP was shown to elicit antipsychotic effects also in humans.

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Jul
2015

Is forebrain neurogenesis a potential repair mechanism after stroke?

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2015 Jul 13;35(7):1220-1. Epub 2015 May 13.
Dragos Inta, Peter Gass
The use of adult subventricular zone (SVZ) neurogenesis as brain repair strategy after stroke represents a hot topic in neurologic research. Recent radiocarbon-14 dating has revealed a lack of poststroke neurogenesis in the adult human neocortex; however, adult neurogenesis has been shown to occur, even under physiologic conditions, in the human striatum. Here, these results are contrasted with experimental poststroke neurogenesis in the murine brain.

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Dec
1969

The cyclic AMP (cAMP)-response element binding protein (CREB) is an activity-dependent transcription factor playing a role in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, and emotional behavior. However, the impact of Creb ablation on rodent behavior is vague as e.g.

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Dec
1969

ECT and striatal plasticity.

Brain Stimul 2015 Jan-Feb;8(1):166-7. Epub 2014 Nov 18.
Dragos Inta, Peter Gass

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Aug
2014

Several prospective studies indicated perinatal hypoxia as risk factor for psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. It is thought that hypoxia prior to or during birth may contribute to alterations leading to the protracted clinical manifestation during young adulthood. However, only a small fraction of children with a history of perinatal hypoxia develop later psychotic symptoms, therefore it is not known if hypoxia alone is sufficient to trigger long-term behavioral changes.

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Oct
2014

Glutamatergic dysfunctions have recently been postulated to play a considerable role in mood disorders. However, molecular mechanisms underlying these effects have been poorly deciphered. Previous work demonstrated the contribution of GluA1-containing AMPA receptors (AMPAR) to a depression-like and anxiety-like phenotype.

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Apr
2014

Adolescence is characterized by important molecular and anatomical changes with relevance for the maturation of brain circuitry and cognitive function. This time period is of critical importance in the emergence of several neuropsychiatric disorders accompanied by cognitive impairment, such as affective disorders and schizophrenia. The molecular mechanisms underlying these changes at neuronal level during this specific developmental stage remains however poorly understood.

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Dec
1969

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective therapy for several psychiatric disorders, including severe major depression, mania and certain forms of schizophrenia. It had been proposed that ECT acts by modulating local plasticity via the stimulation of neurogenesis. In fact, among antidepressant therapies, ECT is the most robust enhancer of neurogenesis in the hippocampus of rodents and non-human primates.

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Nov
2013

The glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia postulates NMDA receptor hypofunction as important pathophysiological mechanism. In rodents, NMDA receptor antagonists induce together with psychosis-like effects cortical injury. Stress during adolescence can trigger schizophrenia by unknown mechanisms.

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Aug
2013

NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonists like ketamine and MK-801 possess remarkable antidepressant effects with fast onset. However, they over-stimulate the retrosplenial cortex, evoking psychosis-like effects and neuronal injury, revealed by de novo induction of the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). Moreover, early in the development MK-801 triggers widespread cortical apoptosis, inducing extensive caspase-3 expression.

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Jun
2013

The glutamate system is thought to play an important role in modulating mood and anxiety. Ionotropic NMDA receptors critically influence neuronal circuits regulating emotional behaviour. Their pharmacological blockade triggers fast antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.

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Dec
2012

Schizophrenia is most likely a neurodevelopmental disorder with a characteristic delayed onset of symptoms occurring usually during transition from adolescence to adulthood. Recent studies revealed that both genetic and environmental risk factors for the disease disturb not only embryonic, but also postnatal neurogenesis, possible contributing to neurochemical alterations associated with schizophrenia. Several recent patents proposed therapeutic interventions in schizophrenia by increasing postnatal neurogenesis.

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Sep
2012

Patients with schizophrenia show deficits in motivation, reward anticipation and salience attribution. Several functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) investigations revealed neurobiological correlates of these deficits, raising the hypothesis of a common basis in midbrain dopaminergic signaling. However, investigations of drug-naïve first-episode patients with comprehensive fMRI tasks are still missing.

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Apr
2012

Glutamatergic agents have been conceptualized as powerful, fast-acting alternatives to monoaminergic-based antidepressants. NMDA receptor antagonists such as ketamine or MK-801 are therapeutically effective, but their clinical use is hampered by psychotomimetic effects, accompanied by neurotoxicity in the retrosplenial and cingulate cortex. Antagonists of metabotropic mGlu5 receptors like MPEP elicit both robust antidepressant and anxiolytic effects; however, the underlying mechanisms are yet unknown.

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Mar
2012

Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. A hypoglutamatergic state is believed to play an important role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The release of glutamate in the brain is modulated by a class of vesicular glutamate transporters, VGLUT1-3.

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Jul
2011

The early postnatal period represents a critical time window for brain development. Transient Cajal-Retzius cells in layer I of the cortex play an important role in cortical lamination by modulating neuronal migration and maturation. Recent data have demonstrated that the 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist and alpha7 nicotinic receptor partial agonist tropisetron, acting via 5-HT(3) receptors expressed on Cajal-Retzius cells, can disturb the formation of cortical columns at perinatal stages.

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Jul
2011

An increasing number of studies demonstrate the important role of several susceptibility genes for schizophrenia, such as neuregulin-1 and DISC1, in early postnatal and adult neurogenesis. Its significance for the pathophysiology of the disease, including its relation to neurotransmitter systems implicated in schizophrenia (like the dopamine system), remains, however, unknown. Here, we review molecular and cellular components of the dopamine system associated with postnatal neurogenesis and plasticity, both in rodents and in primates, and discuss their possible implication in schizophrenia.

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Jul
2011

The catecholaminergic theory of depression assumes dysfunctional neurotransmission of dopamine and norepinephrine. Therefore, the antidepressant bupropion, a dual dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, might be a valuable treatment option also in schizophrenic patients with major depressive episodes. However, reports on induced psychotic symptoms in depressed patients questioned its use in patients with psychotic spectrum lifetime diagnoses.

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Mar
2010

Recent clinical evidence for the effectiveness of new antipsychotic drugs that specifically target glutamate receptors has rekindled interest in the glutamatergic system regarding pathophysiology and treatment of schizophrenia. The glutamatergic hypothesis of schizophrenia was triggered by the clinical/behavioural observation that NMDA receptor antagonists can induce psychosis in humans and abnormal behaviour with schizophrenia-like symptoms in animals. Initial models focused on NMDA receptor hypofunction as a potential pathogenetic mechanism.

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Dec
2009

Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) heterozygous mice (GR(+/- )) represent a valuable animal model for major depression. GR(+/- ) mice show a depression-related phenotype characterized by increased learned helplessness on the behavioral level and neuroendocrine alterations with hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis overdrive characteristic of depression. Hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels have also been shown to be reduced in GR(+/- ) animals.

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Dec
2009

Patients with schizophrenia often experience comorbid obsessive-compulsive syndromes (OCSs). Within these patients, a significant subgroup developed secondary OCS during treatment with antiserotonergic, atypical antipsychotic agents such as clozapine. Although cognitive behavioral therapy and antiobsessive antidepressants brought up inconsistent results, in some cases, dose reductions of clozapine in combination approaches were able to alleviate OCS.

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Sep
2009

Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists can exert antidepressant effects. Thus, a single intravenous injection of ketamine, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists, has been recently demonstrated to produce a rapid and relatively sustained antidepressant effect in patients. Therefore, the role of NMDA receptors and their signalling pathways for pathophysiology and therapy of depression are under intense research.

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Apr
2009

Cajal-Retzius cells, located in layer I of the cortex, synthesize and secrete the glycoprotein reelin, which plays a pivotal role in neuronal migration during embryonic development. Cajal-Retzius cells persist after birth, but their postnatal role is unknown. Here we show that Cajal-Retzius cells receive a major excitatory synaptic input via serotonin 5-HT(3) receptors.

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Dec
2008

Most forebrain GABAergic interneurons in rodents are born during embryonic development in the ganglionic eminences (GE) and migrate tangentially into the cortical plate. A subset, however, continues to be generated postnatally in the subventricular zone (SVZ). These interneurons populate the olfactory bulb (OB) reached via migration in the rostral migratory stream (RMS).

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Sep
2008

Hippocampal neurogenesis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of and recovery from depression. However, most of the underlying studies were endpoint investigations in experimental animals yielding conflicting results, and it has been under debate to which extent these results could be transferred to human patients. Now, researchers have developed a powerful new tool to address these questions by a non-invasive method in humans and animals in vivo, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy to detect a biomarker for proliferating progenitor cells that give rise to new neurons.

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Nov
2007

The analysis of gene expression for tissue homogenates is of limited value because of the considerable cell heterogeneity in tissues. However, several methods are available to isolate a cell type of interest from a complex tissue, the most reliable one being Laser Microdissection (LMD). Cells may be distinguished by their morphology or by specific antigens, but the obligatory staining often results in RNA degradation.

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Dec
2006

The transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) is well known for its antiapoptotic action. However, in some disorders, such as cerebral ischemia, a proapoptotic function of NF-kappaB has been demonstrated. To analyze which subunit of NF-kappaB is functional in cerebral ischemia, we induced focal cerebral ischemia in mice with a germline deletion of the p52 or c-Rel gene or with a conditional deletion of RelA in the brain.

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