Publications by authors named "Claudia Mattern"

34 Publications

Acute intranasal dopamine application counteracts the reversal learning deficit of spontaneously hypertensive rats in an attentional set-shifting task.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2021 May 12. Epub 2021 May 12.

M et P Pharma AG Emmetten Switzerland and Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.

Rationale: Studies on the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have concluded that the disorder might be caused by a deficit in the inhibitory control of executive functions because of dopamine hypofunction. Recently, the intranasal route has emerged as an effective alternative means for sending dopamine directly to the brain. However, whether the treatment can ameliorate the deficits of inhibitory control in ADHD remains unknown.

Objectives: Investigating the effects of acute intranasal dopamine (IN-DA) on the inhibitory control of executive functions of an ADHD rodent model.

Methods: We trained an animal model of ADHD, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), and Wistar rats as controls, in an attentional set-shifting task (ASST) in which dopamine (0.15 mg/kg, 0.3 mg/kg, or vehicle) was intranasally administered before the final test.

Results: IN-DA application dose-dependently improved the performance and reduced errors of SHR in the initial reversal learning. The effect size was comparable to that of a peripheral injection of 0.6 mg/kg methylphenidate. In control Wistar rats, the highest dose of intranasal dopamine (0.3 mg/kg) induced deficits in the reversal learning of extradimensional discriminations.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that the IN-DA treatment has potential for use in the treatment of ADHD; however, caution must be exercised when determining the dosage to be administered, because too much dopamine may have negative effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-021-05863-2DOI Listing
May 2021

Functional cooperation of the hedgehog and androgen signaling pathways during developmental and repairing myelination.

Glia 2021 Jun 23;69(6):1369-1392. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

U1195 Inserm, University Paris-Saclay, Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.

Hedgehog morphogens control fundamental cellular processes during tissue development and regeneration. In the central nervous system (CNS), Hedgehog signaling has been implicated in oligodendrocyte and myelin production, where it functions in a concerted manner with other pathways. Since androgen receptor (AR) plays a key role in establishing the sexual phenotype of myelin during development and is required for spontaneous myelin regeneration in the adult CNS, we hypothesized the existence of a possible coordination between Hedgehog and androgen signals in oligodendrocyte and myelin production. Here, we report complementary activities of both pathways during early postnatal oligodendrogenesis further revealing that persistent Hedgehog signaling activation impedes myelin production. The data also uncover prominent pro-myelinating activity of testosterone and involvement of AR in the control of neural stem cell commitment toward the oligodendroglial lineage. In the context of CNS demyelination, we provide evidence for the functional cooperation of the pathways leading to acceleration of myelin regeneration that might be related to their respective role on microglial and astroglial responses, higher preservation of axonal integrity, lower neuroinflammation, and functional improvement of animals in an immune model of CNS demyelination. Strong decreases of deleterious cytokines in the CNS (GM-CSF, TNF-α, IL-17A) and spleen (IL-2, IFN-γ) stand as unique features of the combined drugs while the potent therapeutic activity of testosterone on peripheral immune cells contributes to increase tolerogenic CD11c dendritic cells, reduce the clonal expansion of conventional CD4 T cells and increase CD4 Foxp3 regulatory T cells. Altogether, these data might open promising perspectives for demyelinating diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.23967DOI Listing
June 2021

Altered dopaminergic pathways and therapeutic effects of intranasal dopamine in two distinct mouse models of autism.

Mol Brain 2020 08 10;13(1):111. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota Medical School, 1035 University Drive, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA.

The dopamine (DA) system has a profound impact on reward-motivated behavior and is critically involved in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although DA defects are found in autistic patients, it is not well defined how the DA pathways are altered in ASD and whether DA can be utilized as a potential therapeutic agent for ASD. To this end, we employed a phenotypic and a genetic ASD model, i.e., Black and Tan BRachyury TItpr3/J (BTBR) mice and Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 knockout (Fmr1-KO) mice, respectively. Immunostaining of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to mark dopaminergic neurons revealed an overall reduction in the TH expression in the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area and dorsal striatum of BTBR mice, as compared to C57BL/6 J wild-type ones. In contrast, Fmr1-KO animals did not show such an alteration but displayed abnormal morphology of TH-positive axons in the striatum with higher "complexity" and lower "texture". Both strains exhibited decreased expression of striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) and increased spatial coupling between vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1, a label for glutamatergic terminals) and TH signals, while GABAergic neurons quantified by glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) remained intact. Intranasal administration of DA rescued the deficits in non-selective attention, object-based attention and social approaching of BTBR mice, likely by enhancing the level of TH in the striatum. Application of intranasal DA to Fmr1-KO animals alleviated their impairment of social novelty, in association with reduced striatal TH protein. These results suggest that although the DA system is modified differently in the two ASD models, intranasal treatment with DA effectively rectifies their behavioral phenotypes, which may present a promising therapy for diverse types of ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13041-020-00649-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7418402PMC
August 2020

The Effect of a Thixotropic Nasal Gel on Nasal Symptoms and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.

Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2020 7;181(5):385-394. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, Hannover, Germany,

Background: Drug-free viscous nasal applications have been shown to reduce nasal symptoms in individuals with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). Nascum®-Plus (NP), a commercially available thixotropic gel, has been designed to reduce dryness and soreness of the nasal mucosa and prevent the absorption of small particles.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of single-dose NP in treating nasal symptoms and secretion during challenge in an allergen challenge chamber (ACC). Furthermore, the effect of this treatment on biomarkers and immune cells of the allergic cascade were measured.

Methods: This open-label, cross-over, sequence-randomized, monocentric trial randomized 18 adults with SAR and a positive skin prick test reaction to Dactylis glomerata pollen to receive NP or no treatment during two 4-h ACC sessions 3 weeks apart. On Day 1, 9 subjects were challenged for 4 h with treatment, the other 9 without treatment, and vice versa on Day 22. Nasal lavage fluid and nasal filter eluate samples were obtained pre, 2, and 18 h post challenge in the ACC.

Results: NP significantly reduced nasal symptoms, assessed by total nasal symptom score (p < 0.001), and minimized nasal secretion (p = 0.047), while no significant effect on biomarkers and immune cells in the nasal fluid was observed. The treatment was safe and well-tolerated.

Conclusions: The physical barrier built by NP nasal gel can be safely applied in patients with allergic rhinitis. It reduces allergic nasal symptoms and secretion, but application of a single dose does not affect local inflammatory biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000506129DOI Listing
November 2020

Dose-dependent and long-term cerebroprotective effects of intranasal delivery of progesterone after ischemic stroke in male mice.

Neuropharmacology 2020 06 6;170:108038. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

U1195 Inserm and University Paris-Sud and University Paris-Saclay, 80 rue du Général Leclerc, 94276 Kremlin-Bicêtre, France. Electronic address:

Intranasal administration is emerging as a very promising route to deliver therapeutics to the brain. We have recently shown that the intranasal delivery of progesterone at 8 mg/kg is neuroprotective after stroke in male mice. To explore the translational potential of intranasal progesterone treatment, we performed a dose-response study and analyzed outcomes at 48 h after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The effects on functional outcomes at long-term were examined by using the optimal dose. In the first experiment, male C57BL/6JRj mice were treated with progesterone at 8, 16 or 24 mg/kg, or with placebo at 1, 6 and 24 h post-MCAO. Our results show that the dose of 8 mg/kg was optimal in counteracting the early histopathological impairments as well as in improving functional recovery. Steroid profiling in plasma showed that the dose of 8 mg/kg is the one that leads to sustained high levels of progesterone and its neuroactive metabolites. In the second experiment, the dose of 8 mg/kg was used and analyzes were performed at 2, 7 and 21 days post-MCAO. Progesterone increased survival, glycemia and body weight. Furthermore, progesterone decreased neurological deficits and improved performances of mice on the rotarod and pole as early as 2 days and up to 21 days post-MCAO. These findings show that intranasal administration of progesterone has a significant translational potential as a cerebroprotective treatment after stroke that can be effective to reduce mortality, to limit tissue and cell damage at the acute phase; and to confer a long-term functional recovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108038DOI Listing
June 2020

Intranasal pregnenolone increases acetylcholine in frontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala-Preferentially in the hemisphere ipsilateral to the injected nostril.

J Neurochem 2020 04 12;153(2):189-202. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

M et P Pharma AG, Emetten, Switzerland.

This study determined the effects of intranasal pregnenolone (IN-PREG) on acetylcholine (ACh) levels in selected areas of the rat brain, using in vivo microdialysis. Previous studies showed that PREG rapidly reaches the rodent brain after intranasal administration and that direct infusion of PREG and PREG-S into the basal forebrain modulates ACh release in frontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. In the present study, we investigated the effects of IN-PREG on the cholinergic system in the rat brain. In the first experiment, IN-PREG (5.6 and 11.2 mg/ml) or vehicle was applied bilaterally, and we hypothesized that IN-PREG would increase ACh levels in amygdala, hippocampus, and frontal cortex, relative to baseline and vehicle. Dialysate was collected for 100 min, based on pilot data of duration of effect. Bilateral IN-PREG (5.6 and 11.2 mg/ml) increased frontal cortex and hippocampal ACh relative to both baseline and vehicle. Moreover, 11.2 mg/ml PREG increased ACh in the amygdala relative to baseline, the lower dose, and vehicle. Therefore, in the second experiment, IN-PREG (11.2 mg/ml) was applied only into one nostril, with vehicle applied into the other nostril, in order to determine whether ACh is predominantly increased in the ipsilateral relative to the contralateral amygdala. Unilateral application of IN-PREG increased ACh in the ipsilateral amygdala, whereas no effect was observed on the contralateral side, suggesting that PREG was transported from the nostrils to the brain via the olfactory epithelial pathway, but not by circulation. The present data provide additional information on IN-PREG action in the cholinergic system of frontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. This may be relevant for therapeutic IN application of PREG in neurogenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.14923DOI Listing
April 2020

Intranasal dopamine attenuates fear responses induced by electric shock to the foot and by electrical stimulation of the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter.

J Psychopharmacol 2019 12 22;33(12):1524-1532. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

Instituto de Neurociências e Comportamento (INeC), Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.

Purpose: Intranasally applied dopamine (IN-DA), which likely reaches the brain via nasal-brain pathways and bypasses the blood-brain barrier, has been found to increase extracellular DA and bind to the DA2 transporter in the striatum. Recent studies suggest that DA plays a significant role in the processing of signaled and unconditioned aversive stimulation, including evidence that may attenuate responses to painful input. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of IN-DA on fear-related behaviors induced by electric shock to the foot or by electrical stimulation of the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter (dPAG).

Methods: DA hydrochloride suspended in a viscous castor oil gel (1 or 2 mg/kg) was applied (IN-DA) in a volume of 5 μL into the nostrils of adult Wistar male rats in order to evaluate its effects on (a) freezing induced by electric shock to the foot and (b) thresholds of freezing and escape and duration of post-stimulation freezing induced by electrical stimulation of the dPAG.

Results: IN-DA attenuated freezing induced by electric shock to the foot in the three test trials, indicating that it reduced long-term fear responses. IN-DA also increased the threshold of dPAG stimulation-induced escape responses and reduced post-stimulation freezing.

Conclusions: IN-DA, which has previously been shown to facilitate learning and to have antidepressive-like effects, attenuated unconditioned fear responses elicited by peripheral and intramesencephalic (dPAG) stimulation and reduced long-term conditioned fear responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881119862527DOI Listing
December 2019

Intranasal administration of progesterone: A potential efficient route of delivery for cerebroprotection after acute brain injuries.

Neuropharmacology 2019 02 6;145(Pt B):283-291. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

M et P Pharma AG, Schynweg 7, P.O. Box 138, 6376, Emmetten, Switzerland; Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33314, USA.

Progesterone has been shown to be cerebroprotective in different experimental models of brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. The preclinical data provided great hope for its use in humans. The failure of Phase 3 clinical trials to demonstrate the cerebroprotective efficiency of progesterone in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients emphasizes that different aspects of the design of both experimental and clinical studies should be reviewed and refined. One important aspect to consider is to test different routes of delivery of therapeutic agents. Several studies have shown that the intranasal delivery of drugs could be used in different experimental models of central nervous system diseases. In this review, we will summarize the pharmacokinetic characteristics and practical advantages of intranasal delivery of progesterone. A special emphasis will be placed on describing and discussing our recent findings showing that intranasal delivery of progesterone after transient focal cerebral ischemia: 1) improved motor functions; 2) reduced infarct volume, neuronal loss, blood brain barrier disruption; and 3) reduced brain mitochondrial dysfunctions. Our data suggest that intranasal delivery of progesterone is a potential efficient, safe and non-stressful mode of administration that warrants evaluation for cerebroprotection in patients with brain injuries. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled "Novel Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injury".
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.06.006DOI Listing
February 2019

Intra-nasal dopamine alleviates cognitive deficits in tgDISC1 rats which overexpress the human DISC1 gene.

Neurobiol Learn Mem 2017 Dec 28;146:12-20. Epub 2017 Oct 28.

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address:

The Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene has been associated with mental illnesses such as major depression and schizophrenia. The transgenic DISC1 (tgDISC1) rat, which overexpresses the human DISC1 gene, is known to exhibit deficient dopamine (DA) homeostasis. To ascertain whether the DISC1 gene also impacts cognitive functions, 14-15 months old male tgDISC1 rats and wild-type controls were subjected to the novel object preference (NOP) test and the object-based attention test (OBAT) in order to assess short-term memory (1 h), long-term memory (24 h), and attention.

Results: The tgDISC1 group exhibited intact short-term memory, but deficient long-term-memory in the NOP test and deficient attention-related behavior in the OBAT. In a different group of tgDISC1 rats, 3 mg/kg intranasally applied dopamine (IN-DA) or its vehicle was applied prior to the NOP or the OBAT test. IN-DA reversed cognitive deficits in both the NOP and OBAT tests. In a further cohort of tgDISC1 rats, post-mortem levels of DA, noradrenaline, serotonin and acetylcholine were determined in a variety of brain regions. The tgDISC1 group had less DA in the neostriatum, hippocampus and amygdala, less acetylcholine in neostriatum, nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, and amygdala, more serotonin in the nucleus accumbens, and less serotonin and noradrenaline in the amygdala.

Conclusions: Our findings show that DISC1 overexpression and misassembly is associated with deficits in long-term memory and attention-related behavior. Since behavioral impairments in tgDISC1 rats were reversed by IN-DA, DA deficiency may be a major cause for the behavioral deficits expressed in this model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2017.10.015DOI Listing
December 2017

A Role of Endogenous Progesterone in Stroke Cerebroprotection Revealed by the Neural-Specific Deletion of Its Intracellular Receptors.

J Neurosci 2017 11 6;37(45):10998-11020. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

U1195 Inserm and University Paris-Sud and University Paris-Saclay, 94276 Kremlin-Bicêtre, France,

Treatment with progesterone protects the male and female brain against damage after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). However, in both sexes, the brain contains significant amounts of endogenous progesterone. It is not known whether endogenously produced progesterone enhances the resistance of the brain to ischemic insult. Here, we used steroid profiling by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) for exploring adaptive and sex-specific changes in brain levels of progesterone and its metabolites after MCAO. We show that, in the male mouse brain, progesterone is mainly metabolized via 5α-reduction leading to 5α-dihydroprogesterone (5α-DHP), also a progesterone receptor (PR) agonist ligand in neural cells, then to 3α,5α-tetrahydroprogesterone (3α,5α-THP). In the female mouse brain, levels of 5α-DHP and 3α,5α-THP are lower and levels of 20α-DHP are higher than in males. After MCAO, levels of progesterone and 5α-DHP are upregulated rapidly to pregnancy-like levels in the male but not in the female brain. To assess whether endogenous progesterone and 5α-DHP contribute to the resistance of neural cells to ischemic damage, we inactivated PR selectively in the CNS. Deletion of PR in the brain reduced its resistance to MCAO, resulting in increased infarct volumes and neurological deficits in both sexes. Importantly, endogenous PR ligands continue to protect the brain of aging mice. These results uncover the unexpected importance of endogenous progesterone and its metabolites in cerebroprotection. They also reveal that the female reproductive hormone progesterone is an endogenous cerebroprotective neurosteroid in both sexes. The brain responds to injury with protective signaling and has a remarkable capacity to protect itself. We show here that, in response to ischemic stroke, levels of progesterone and its neuroactive metabolite 5α-dihydroprogesterone are upregulated rapidly in the male mouse brain but not in the female brain. An important role of endogenous progesterone in cerebroprotection was demonstrated by the conditional inactivation of its receptor in neural cells. These results show the importance of endogenous progesterone, its metabolites, and neural progesterone receptors in acute cerebroprotection after stroke. This new concept could be exploited therapeutically by taking into account the progesterone status of patients and by supplementing and reinforcing endogenous progesterone signaling for attaining its full cerebroprotective potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3874-16.2017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6596486PMC
November 2017

Intranasal administration of dopamine attenuates unconditioned fear in that it reduces restraint-induced ultrasound vocalizations and escape from bright light.

J Psychopharmacol 2017 06 30;31(6):682-690. Epub 2017 Jan 30.

1 Laboratório de Neuropsicofarmacologia, FFCLRP, Universidade de São Paulo, Campus USP, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.

Background: Although substantial evidence suggests that dopamine (DA) enhances conditioned fear responses, few studies have examined the role of DA in unconditioned fear states. Whereas DA does not cross the blood-brain barrier, intranasally-applied dopamine reaches the brain directly via the nose-brain pathways in rodents, providing an alternative means of targeting DA receptors. Intranasal dopamine (IN-DA) has been demonstrated to bind to DA transporters and to increase extracellular DA in the striatum as well as having memory-promoting effects in rats. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of IN-DA in three tests of fear/anxiety.

Methods: The three doses of DA hydrochloride (0.03, 0.3, or 1 mg/kg) were applied in a viscous castor oil gel in a volume of 5 µl to each of both nostrils of adult Wistar rats prior to testing of (a) escape from a bright light, using a two-chamber procedure, (b) restraint-induced 22 kHz ultrasound vocalizations (USVs), and (c) exploratory behavior in the elevated plus-maze (EPM).

Results: IN-DA dose-dependently reduced escape from bright light and the number of USV responses to restraint. It had no influence on the exploratory behavior in the EPM.

Conclusions: IN-DA application reduced escape behavior in two tests of unconditioned fear (escape from bright light and USV response to immobilization). These findings may be interpreted in light of the known antidepressant action of IN-DA and DA reuptake blockers. The results also confirm the promise of the nasal route as an alternative means for targeting the brain's dopaminergic receptors with DA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881116686882DOI Listing
June 2017

Unexpected central role of the androgen receptor in the spontaneous regeneration of myelin.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 12 7;113(51):14829-14834. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

U1195 INSERM, University Paris-Sud, University Paris-Saclay, Kremlin-Bicêtre 94276, France.

Lost myelin can be replaced after injury or during demyelinating diseases in a regenerative process called remyelination. In the central nervous system (CNS), the myelin sheaths, which protect axons and allow the fast propagation of electrical impulses, are produced by oligodendrocytes. The abundance and widespread distribution of oligodendrocyte progenitors (OPs) within the adult CNS account for this remarkable regenerative potential. Here, we report a key role for the male gonad, testosterone, and androgen receptor (AR) in CNS remyelination. After lysolecithin-induced demyelination of the male mouse ventral spinal cord white matter, the recruitment of glial fibrillary acidic protein-expressing astrocytes was compromised in the absence of testes and testosterone signaling via AR. Concomitantly, the differentiation of OPs into oligodendrocytes forming myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein-positive myelin was impaired. Instead, in the absence of astrocytes, axons were remyelinated by protein zero (P0) and peripheral myelin protein 22-kDa (PMP22) myelin, normally only produced by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. Thus, testosterone favors astrocyte recruitment and spontaneous oligodendrocyte-mediated remyelination. This finding may have important implications for demyelinating diseases, psychiatric disorders, and cognitive aging. The testosterone dependency of CNS oligodendrocyte remyelination may have roots in the evolutionary history of the AR, because the receptor has evolved from an ancestral 3-ketosteroid receptor through gene duplication at the time when myelin appeared in jawed vertebrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1614826113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5187716PMC
December 2016

Chronic corticosterone treatment enhances extinction-induced depression in aged rats.

Horm Behav 2016 11 12;86:21-26. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Withdrawal and avoidance behavior are common symptoms of depression and can appear as a consequence of absence of reward, i.e. extinction-induced depression (EID). This is particularly relevant for the aged organism subjected to pronounced loss of former rewards. Avoidance of the former site of reward and increased withdrawal into a distant compartment accompany extinction of food-rewarded behavior in rodent models. During extinction, behavioral markers for re-learning dissociate from indicators of extinction-induced depression. Here we examined the effect of a chronic treatment with corticosterone (CORT), a well-known inducer of depression-related behavior, on EID in adult and aged rats. Adult (3-4months) and aged (18months) male rats were treated with CORT via drinking water for 3weeks prior to extinction of a cued food-reward task. CORT treatment increased the distance from the site of reward and decreased goal tracking behavior during extinction, especially in the aged rats. Plasma hormone levels measured before and after restraint stress showed a decline in basal ACTH- and CORT-levels after chronic CORT treatment in aged animals. The treatment significantly impaired the HPA-axis activation after acute stress in both, adult and aged animals, alike. Altogether, these findings show an enhancement of EID after chronic CORT treatment in the aged organism, which may be mediated by an impaired HPA-axis sensitivity. These findings may have special relevance for the investigation of human geriatric depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.09.003DOI Listing
November 2016

Promnestic effects of intranasally applied pregnenolone in rats.

Neurobiol Learn Mem 2016 09 14;133:185-195. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314, USA; M et P Pharma AG, 6376 Emmetten, Switzerland. Electronic address:

The neurosteroid pregnenolone (PREG) has been shown to have memory-enhancing and anti-depressant action. The present study addresses the question of whether intranasally applied pregnenolone (IN-PREG) also has promnestic properties in the rat. We examined the effects of IN-PREG at doses of 0.187 and 0.373mg/kg on memory for objects and their location on learning and retention of escape in a water maze, and on behavior on the elevated plus maze. The main findings were: (a) Pre-trial, but not post-trial, administration of IN-PREG facilitated long-term memory in a novel object-preference test and a novel object-location preference test when tested 48h after dosing. (b) Over the duration of 5days of extinction trials, after learning to escape onto a hidden platform in a water maze, the animals treated with IN-PREG spent more time in searching for the absent platform, indicating either, or both, superior memory for the former position of the escape platform, or a higher resistance to extinction. (c) Administration of the anticholinergic, scopolamine, disrupted learning to escape from the water maze in the vehicle-treated group. The IN-PREG treated groups exhibited superior escape learning in comparison with vehicle controls, indicating that the treatment countered the scopolamine effect. IN-PREG treatment had no influence on behaviors on the elevated plus maze. Our results demonstrate that IN-PREG is behaviorally active with cognitive enhancing properties comparable to those known from studies employing systemic PREG administration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2016.07.012DOI Listing
September 2016

Intranasal Dopamine Reduces In Vivo [(123)I]FP-CIT Binding to Striatal Dopamine Transporter: Correlation with Behavioral Changes and Evidence for Pavlovian Conditioned Dopamine Response.

Front Behav Neurosci 2016 22;10:80. Epub 2016 Apr 22.

Clinic of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Düsseldorf Düsseldorf, Germany.

Purpose: Dopamine (DA), which does not cross the blood-brain barrier, has central and behavioral effects when administered via the nasal route. Neither the mechanisms of central action of intranasal dopamine (IN-DA), nor its mechanisms of diffusion and transport into the brain are well understood. We here examined whether IN-DA application influences dopamine transporter (DAT) binding in the dorsal striatum and assessed the extent of binding in relation to motor and exploratory behaviors. We hypothesized that, based on the finding of increased extracellular DA in the striatum induced by application of IN-DA, binding of [(123)I]FP-CIT to the DAT should be decreased due to competition at the receptor.

Methods: Rats were administered 3 mg/kg IN-DA and vehicle (VEH), with IN-DA injection either preceding or following VEH. Then motor and exploratory behaviors (traveled distance, velocity, center time, sitting, rearing, head-shoulder motility, grooming) were assessed for 30 min in an open field prior to administration of [(123)I]FP-CIT. DAT binding after IN-DA and VEH was measured with small animal SPECT 2 h following administration of the radioligand.

Results: (1) After IN-DA application, striatal DAT binding was significantly lower as compared to VEH, indicating that the nasally delivered DA had central action and increased DA levels comparable to that found previously with L-DOPA administration; and (2) DAT binding in response to intranasal VEH was lower when IN-DA application preceded VEH treatment. This finding is suggestive of Pavlovian conditioning of DA at the level of the DAT, since the DA treatment modified (decreased) the binding in response to the subsequent VEH treatment. VEH treatment also reduced motor and exploratory behaviors more when applied before, as compared to when it followed IN-DA application, also indicative of behavioral Pavlovian conditioning akin to that found upon application of various psychostimulant drugs.

Conclusions:

The Results: (a) demonstrate a direct central action of intranasally applied DA on the DAT in the dorsal striatum, indicating enhanced DA availability; and (b) provide first evidence of a Pavlovian conditioned DA response at the DAT. The latter results have relevance to understanding neurochemical mechanisms that underlie placebo action in the treatment of Parkinsonian patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00080DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4840254PMC
May 2016

Corrigendum: Relationship Between L-DOPA-Induced Reduction in Motor and Exploratory Activity and Striatal Dopamine D2 Receptor Binding in the Rat.

Front Behav Neurosci 2016 15;10:36. Epub 2016 Mar 15.

Clinic of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Düsseldorf Düsseldorf, Germany.

[This corrects the article on p. 352 in vol. 9, PMID: 26778989.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791392PMC
March 2016

A sphingolipid mechanism for behavioral extinction.

J Neurochem 2016 05 15;137(4):589-603. Epub 2016 Mar 15.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Clinic, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Reward-dependent instrumental behavior must continuously be re-adjusted according to environmental conditions. Failure to adapt to changes in reward contingencies may incur psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. When an expected reward is omitted, behavior undergoes extinction. While extinction involves active re-learning, it is also accompanied by emotional behaviors indicative of frustration, anxiety, and despair (extinction-induced depression). Here, we report evidence for a sphingolipid mechanism in the extinction of behavior. Rapid extinction, indicating efficient re-learning, coincided with a decrease in the activity of the enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (ASM), which catalyzes turnover of sphingomyelin to ceramide, in the dorsal hippocampus of rats. The stronger the decline in ASM activity, the more rapid was the extinction. Sphingolipid-focused lipidomic analysis showed that this results in a decline of local ceramide species in the dorsal hippocampus. Ceramides shape the fluidity of lipid rafts in synaptic membranes and by that way can control neural plasticity. We also found that aging modifies activity of enzymes and ceramide levels in selective brain regions. Aging also changed how the chronic treatment with corticosterone (stress) or intranasal dopamine modified regional enzyme activity and ceramide levels, coinciding with rate of extinction. These data provide first evidence for a functional ASM-ceramide pathway in the brain involved in the extinction of learned behavior. This finding extends the known cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity to a new class of membrane-located molecules, the sphingolipids, and their regulatory enzymes, and may offer new treatment targets for extinction- and learning-related psychopathological conditions. Sphingolipids are common lipids in the brain which form lipid domains at pre- and postsynaptic membrane compartments. Here we show a decline in dorsal hippocampus ceramide species together with a reduction of acid sphingomyelinase activity during extinction of conditioned behavior in rats. This reduction was associated with expression of re-learning-related behavior, but not with emotional behaviors. Read the Editorial Highlight for this article on page 485.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13537DOI Listing
May 2016

Relationship Between L-DOPA-Induced Reduction in Motor and Exploratory Activity and Striatal Dopamine D2 Receptor Binding in the Rat.

Front Behav Neurosci 2015 6;9:352. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

Clinic of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Düsseldorf Düsseldorf, Germany.

Purpose: The present study assessed the influence of L-DOPA administration on neostriatal dopamine (DA) D2 receptor binding in relation to motor and exploratory behaviors in the rat.

Methods: D2 receptor binding was measured in baseline, after challenge with the aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase inhibitor benserazide, and after challenge with either 5 or 10 mg/kg L-DOPA plus benserazide. Additional rats received injections of saline. For baseline and challenges, striatal equilibrium ratios (V[Formula: see text]) were computed as estimation of the binding potential. Motor and exploratory behaviors were assessed for 30 min in an open field prior to administration of [(123)I]IBZM. D2 receptor binding was measured with small animal SPECT 2 h after radioligand administration for 60 min.

Results: Both L-DOPA doses significantly reduced D2 receptor binding relative to baseline and led to significantly less ambulation, less head-shoulder motility, and more sitting relative to saline. Moreover, 10 mg/kg L-DOPA induced less head-shoulder motility, more sitting, and more grooming than 5 mg/kg L-DOPA. Analysis of time-behavior curves showed that L-DOPA-treated animals relative to saline exhibited a faster rate of decrease of ambulation frequency and a slower rate of decrease of both duration and frequency of head-shoulder motility from a lower maximum level.

Conclusions: The reductions of striatal D2 receptor binding after L-DOPA may be conceived to reflect elevated concentrations of synaptic DA. L-DOPA-treated animals showed less ambulation and less head-shoulder motility than saline-treated animals, indicating an association between less behavioral activity and increased availability of striatal DA. The faster rate of decrease of ambulation frequency and the lower maximum levels of both head-shoulder motility duration and frequency may be interpreted in terms of influence of increased DA availability on behavioral habituation to a novel environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00352DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4701934PMC
January 2016

Progesterone reduces brain mitochondrial dysfunction after transient focal ischemia in male and female mice.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2016 Mar 14;36(3):562-8. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

U1195 Inserm and University Paris-Sud, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France

This study investigated the effect of intranasal administration of progesterone on the early brain mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction and oxidative damage after transient middle cerebral occlusion in male and female mice. We showed that progesterone (8 mg/kg at 1 h post-middle cerebral occlusion) restored the mitochondrial reduced glutathione pool and the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-linked respiration in both sexes. Progesterone also reversed the decrease of the flavin adenine dinucleotide-linked respiration, which was only observed in females. Our findings point to a sex difference in stroke effects on the brain respiratory chain and suggest that the actions of progesterone on mitochondrial function may participate in its neuroprotective properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X15610338DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4794096PMC
March 2016

Analytical challenges for measuring steroid responses to stress, neurodegeneration and injury in the central nervous system.

Steroids 2015 Nov 21;103:42-57. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

U1195 Inserm and University Paris-Sud, Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.

Levels of steroids in the adult central nervous system (CNS) show marked changes in response to stress, degenerative disorders and injury. However, their analysis in complex matrices such as fatty brain and spinal cord tissues, and even in plasma, requires accurate and precise analytical methods. Radioimmunoassays (RIA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, even with prepurification steps, do not provide sufficient specificity, and they are at the origin of many inconsistent results in the literature. The analysis of steroids by mass spectrometric methods has become the gold standard for accurate and sensitive steroid analysis. However, these technologies involve multiple purification steps prone to errors, and they only provide accurate reference values when combined with careful sample workup. In addition, the interpretation of changes in CNS steroid levels is not an easy task because of their multiple sources: the endocrine glands and the local synthesis by neural cells. In the CNS, decreased steroid levels may reflect alterations of their biosynthesis, as observed in the case of chronic stress, post-traumatic stress disorders or depressive episodes. In such cases, return to normalization by administering exogenous hormones or by stimulating their endogenous production may have beneficial effects. On the other hand, increases in CNS steroids in response to acute stress, degenerative processes or injury may be part of endogenous protective or rescue programs, contributing to the resistance of neural cells to stress and insults. The aim of this review is to encourage a more critical reading of the literature reporting steroid measures, and to draw attention to the absolute need for well-validated methods. We discuss reported findings concerning changing steroid levels in the nervous system by insisting on methodological issues. An important message is that even recent mass spectrometric methods have their limits, and they only become reliable tools if combined with careful sample preparation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.steroids.2015.08.013DOI Listing
November 2015

Intranasal delivery of progesterone after transient ischemic stroke decreases mortality and provides neuroprotection.

Neuropharmacology 2015 Oct 14;97:394-403. Epub 2015 Jun 14.

U1195 Inserm and University Paris-Sud, 80 rue du Général Leclerc, 94276 Kremlin-Bicêtre, France. Electronic address:

Progesterone is a potential neuroprotective agent for cerebral stroke. One of the STAIR's recommendations is to test different routes of delivery of therapeutic agents. Here, we investigated the neuroprotective efficacy of intranasal delivery of progesterone in oleogel. Male mice were subjected to transient middle cerebral occlusion (MCAO) for 1 h. Mice received intranasal or intraperitoneal administrations of progesterone (8 mg/kg) at 1, 6, and 24 h post-MCAO. Plasma and brain levels of steroids were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry 2 and 24 h after the last administration of progesterone. Behavioral and histopathological analyzes were performed at 48 h post-MCAO. For blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability analysis, mice received one intranasal administration of progesterone or placebo at reperfusion and Evans Blue and sodium fluorescein extravasations were assessed at 4 h post-MCAO. Two hours after its nasal administration, progesterone reached elevated levels in brain and plasma and was bioconverted to its 5α-reduced metabolites and to 20α-dihydroprogesterone. However, brain levels of progesterone and its metabolites were about half those measured after intraperitoneal injections, whereas levels of 11-deoxycorticosterone and corticosterone were 5-times lower. In contrast, after 24 h, higher levels of progesterone were measured in brain and plasma after intranasal than after intraperitoneal delivery. Intranasal progesterone decreased the mortality rate, improved motor functions, reduced infarct, attenuated neuronal loss, and decreased the early BBB disruption. This study demonstrates a good bioavailability, a prolonged absorption and a good neuroprotective efficacy of intranasal delivery of progesterone, thus potentially offering an efficient, safe, non-stressful and very easy mode of administration in stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.06.002DOI Listing
October 2015

Progesterone receptors: a key for neuroprotection in experimental stroke.

Endocrinology 2012 Aug 25;153(8):3747-57. Epub 2012 May 25.

Unité Mixte de Recherche 788 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale and University Paris-Sud, 80, rue du Général Leclerc, 94276 Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.

Progesterone receptors (PR) are expressed throughout the brain. However, their functional significance remains understudied. Here we report a novel role of PR as crucial mediators of neuroprotection using a model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion and PR knockout mice. Six hours after ischemia, we observed a rapid increase in progesterone and 5α-dihydroprogesterone, the endogenous PR ligands, a process that may be a part of the natural neuroprotective mechanisms. PR deficiency, and even haploinsufficiency, increases the susceptibility of the brain to stroke damage. Within a time window of 24 h, PR-dependent signaling of endogenous brain progesterone limits the extent of tissue damage and the impairment of motor functions. Longer-term improvement requires additional treatment with exogenous progesterone and is also PR dependent. The potent and selective PR agonist Nestorone is also effective. In contrast to progesterone, levels of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone, which modulates γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors, did not increase after stroke, but its administration protected both wild-type and PR-deficient mice against ischemic damage. These results show that 1) PR are linked to signaling pathways that influence susceptibility to stroke, and 2) PR are direct key targets for both endogenous neuroprotection and for therapeutic strategies after stroke, and they suggest a novel indication for synthetic progestins already validated for contraception. Although allopregnanolone may not be an endogenous neuroprotective agent, its administration protects the brain against ischemic damage by signaling mechanisms not involving PR. Collectively, our data clarify the relative roles of PR and allopregnanolone in neuroprotection after stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2012-1138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3979171PMC
August 2012

Progesterone synthesis in the nervous system: implications for myelination and myelin repair.

Front Neurosci 2012 8;6:10. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

UMR 788, INSERM and University Paris-Sud Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.

Progesterone is well known as a female reproductive hormone and in particular for its role in uterine receptivity, implantation, and the maintenance of pregnancy. However, neuroendocrine research over the past decades has established that progesterone has multiple functions beyond reproduction. Within the nervous system, its neuromodulatory and neuroprotective effects are much studied. Although progesterone has been shown to also promote myelin repair, its influence and that of other steroids on myelination and remyelination is relatively neglected. Reasons for this are that hormonal influences are still not considered as a central problem by most myelin biologists, and that neuroendocrinologists are not sufficiently concerned with the importance of myelin in neuron functions and viability. The effects of progesterone in the nervous system involve a variety of signaling mechanisms. The identification of the classical intracellular progesterone receptors as therapeutic targets for myelin repair suggests new health benefits for synthetic progestins, specifically designed for contraceptive use and hormone replacement therapies. There are also major advantages to use natural progesterone in neuroprotective and myelin repair strategies, because progesterone is converted to biologically active metabolites in nervous tissues and interacts with multiple target proteins. The delivery of progesterone however represents a challenge because of its first-pass metabolism in digestive tract and liver. Recently, the intranasal route of progesterone administration has received attention for easy and efficient targeting of the brain. Progesterone in the brain is derived from the steroidogenic endocrine glands or from local synthesis by neural cells. Stimulating the formation of endogenous progesterone is currently explored as an alternative strategy for neuroprotection, axonal regeneration, and myelin repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2012.00010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3274763PMC
October 2012

Intranasally applied L-DOPA alleviates parkinsonian symptoms in rats with unilateral nigro-striatal 6-OHDA lesions.

Brain Res Bull 2012 Feb 15;87(2-3):340-5. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Düsseldorf, Universitaetstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

l-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) remains the most effective drug for therapy of Parkinson's disease. However, the current clinical route of L-DOPA administration is variable and unreliable because of problems with drug absorption and first-pass metabolism. Administration of drugs via the nasal passage has been proven an effective alternate route for a number of medicinal substances. Here we examined the acute behavioral and neurochemical effects of intranasally (IN) applied L-DOPA in rats bearing unilateral lesions of the medial forebrain bundle, with severe depletion (97%) of striatal dopamine. Turning behavior in an open field, footslips on a horizontal grid and postural motor asymmetry in a cylinder were assessed following IN L-DOPA or vehicle administration with, or without, benserazide pre-treatment. IN L-DOPA without benserazide pre-treatment mildly decreased ipsilateral turnings and increased contralateral turnings 10-20 min after the treatment. IN L-DOPA with saline pre-treatment reduced contralateral forelimb-slips on the grid while no effects were evident in the cylinder test. These results support the hypothesis that L-DOPA can bypass the blood-brain barrier by the IN route and alleviate behavioral impairments in the hemiparkinsonian animal model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainresbull.2011.11.004DOI Listing
February 2012

Brain distribution and behavioral effects of progesterone and pregnenolone after intranasal or intravenous administration.

Eur J Pharmacol 2010 Sep 8;641(2-3):128-34. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Neurosteroids hold great promise for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). We compared the uptake by 11 brain regions and appearance in blood of tritium-labeled pregnenolone and progesterone after intranasal and intravenous (IV) injection. Both neurosteroids appeared in blood and brain after either method of administration, but with important differences in uptake. Bioavailability based on appearance in arterial serum showed that about 23% and 14% of the intranasal administered doses of pregnenolone and progesterone, respectively, entered the blood. Brain levels were about two fold lower after intranasal administration for the two neurosteroids. With intranasal administration, brain levels of the two steroids did not vary over time (2-120 min), whereas brain levels were higher early (10 min or less) after i.v. administration. With i.v. administration, uptake by brain regions did not vary, whereas the olfactory bulb, hippocampus, and hypothalamus had high uptake rates after intranasal administration. Intranasal administration of prenenolone improved memory, whereas progesterone decreased anxiety, thus demonstrating that therapeutic levels of neurosteroids can be delivered to the brain by intranasal administration. The neurosteroids were rapidly degraded after i.v. or intranasal delivery, but pregnenolone was more resistant to degradation in the brain after intranasal administration and in serum after i.v. administration. These results show that either the i.v. or intranasal routes of administration can deliver neurosteroids to blood and brain, but that the two routes have significant differences with intranasal administration favoring some brain regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2010.05.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008321PMC
September 2010

Testosterone reduces amygdala-orbitofrontal cortex coupling.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2010 Jan;35(1):105-13

Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Kapittelweg 29, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Testosterone influences various aspects of affective behavior, which is mediated by different brain regions within the emotion circuitry. Previous neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that testosterone increases neural activity in the amygdala. To investigate whether this could be due to altered regulation of amygdala functioning which is thought to be mediated by the prefrontal cortex, we studied the effects of exogenous testosterone on the interaction between the amygdala and other brain regions. Healthy middle-aged women received a single nasal testosterone dose in a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover manner, and performed an emotional face matching task while their brain activity was measured with functional MRI. The results show that testosterone rapidly reduced functional coupling of the amygdala with the orbitofrontal cortex, and enhanced amygdala coupling with the thalamus. This suggests that testosterone may reduce the regulatory control over the amygdala, or that testosterone shifts amygdala output away from the orbitofrontal cortex towards the thalamus. Testosterone also reduced functional coupling with the contralateral amygdala. Because interhemispheric amygdala coupling is lower in men than in women, this result suggests that circulating testosterone may contribute to this sexual dimorphism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.09.007DOI Listing
January 2010

Intranasal application of dopamine reduces activity and improves attention in Naples High Excitability rats that feature the mesocortical variant of ADHD.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2009 Oct 28;19(10):693-701. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, II University of Naples, Naples, Italy.

Based on findings of a profound action of intranasally applied dopamine (DA) on dopamine release in the striatum, we examined the possibility that intranasal application of DA would influence indices of attention and activity in juvenile male rats of the Naples High Excitability line. This rat model features the main aspects of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Juvenile NHE rats received an intranasal application of either DA (0.075 mg/kg, 0.15 mg/kg and 0.3 mg/kg) or vehicle into both nostrils daily for 15 days. On day 14, 1 h after treatment, they were tested in the Làt maze, and one day later, in the eight arm radial maze. Activity in the Làt maze: The highest dose of DA (0.3 mg/kg) decreased horizontal (HA) and vertical (VA) activity during the first 10 min of the test. No effect was found for rearing duration (RD), which indexes non-selective attention (NSA). Activity in the radial maze: No treatment effects were found for HA and VA components, and for RD. Attention indices: The intermediate dose of DA (0.15 mg/kg) significantly improved the number of arms visited before the first repetitive arm entry in the radial maze, an index of selective spatial attention (SSA). In conclusion, intranasal application of DA reduced hyperactivity at the highest dose used, whereas the intermediate dose improved attention in an animal model of ADHD. These results suggest the potential of employing intranasal DA for therapeutic purposes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2009.02.005DOI Listing
October 2009

Testosterone supplementation for hypogonadal men by the nasal route.

Aging Male 2008 Dec;11(4):171-8

M et P Pharma AG, Stans, Switzerland.

Although multiple forms of testosterone replacement therapy are available to treat hypogonadism, none is ideal. This article reports on the pharmacokinetics of an innovative nasal formulation of testosterone in hypogonadal men. The first study was undertaken in eight men with a baseline total testosterone (TT) of 130.8 +/- 87.4 ng/dL and examined the pharmacokinetics of nasal testosterone given in a single dose of 7.6 mg, 15.2 mg or 22.8 mg, respectively. The second study examined the pharmacokinetics of nasal testosterone (7.6 mg) given either twice or three times a day in 21 severely hypogonadal men (baseline TT in 20 patients <50 ng/dL, in one patient 152 ng/dL) for 14 days. The steady-state concentration of testosterone was within the normal range in all treatment groups, but only in the 3-times-a-day group was the 95% confidence interval completely within the physiological range. The average DHT level did not exceed the upper range of normal. The clinical global visual analogue scale improved in the whole group receiving testosterone (p < 0.001). All adverse events in both studies were of mild to moderate intensity and were evaluated as unlikely or not related to the administered study drug. No patients dropped out during treatment. Comparison with the normal circadian rhythm by computer modelling suggests that nasal testosterone can be used to mimic the normal diurnal pattern in eugonadal men. Thus, nasal testosterone can be administered safely to humans in doses that approximate serum concentrations in the normal physiological range.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13685530802351974DOI Listing
December 2008

Delivery of testosterone to the brain by intranasal administration: comparison to intravenous testosterone.

J Drug Target 2009 Feb;17(2):91-7

Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center-St Louis, MO 63106, USA.

Intranasal (i.n.) administration has emerged as a strategy to deliver therapeutics to the brain. Here, we compared i.n. and intravenous (i.v.) administration for testosterone. About 75% of the i.n. administered testosterone entered the blood. However, whole brain levels of testosterone were about twice as high after i.n. administration as after i.v. administration. About two-thirds of the testosterone entering the brain after i.n. administration did so by direct entry by nasal routes and the remainder indirectly by first entering the blood and then crossing the blood-brain barrier. All brain regions except the frontal cortex had higher levels of testosterone after i.n. administration than after i.v. administration, although the differences among brain regions varied much more for the i.n. route. The olfactory bulb, hypothalamus, striatum, and hippocampus had the highest levels after i.n. administration. The brain uptake pattern suggested a variety of distribution routes likely involving the cerebrospinal fluid, diffusion through brain tissue, and transport through nerve projections. Regional distribution patterns were similar after either i.n. or i.v. administration, suggesting that the dominant factor determining distribution/retention was the same for either route of administration. We conclude that the i.n. administration route delivers testosterone systemically and can target the brain, especially the olfactory bulb, hypothalamus, striatum, and hippocampus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10611860802382777DOI Listing
February 2009

Testosterone biases automatic memory processes in women towards potential mates.

Neuroimage 2008 Oct 15;43(1):114-20. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University Nijmegen, Kapittelweg 29, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Female mate choice involves the comparative evaluation of potential mates. Females use a pooled comparison of sampled males to maximize the perceived reproductive fitness of their partner, implying the memorization of sampled males. However, hormonal and reproductive states influence female choosiness, and women's preference and memory for masculinity. Here, we investigated whether testosterone biases memory processes in women towards male faces using functional MRI. A single nasal testosterone dose was administered to healthy women in their early follicular phase, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Testosterone increased the difference in reaction times to categorize male and female faces during encoding, without influencing subsequent recognition accuracy or response bias. The imaging results showed that testosterone shifted memory formation in the hippocampus and inferior temporal gyri from the encoding of female faces towards the encoding of male faces. In contrast, testosterone shifted memory formation in the left inferior frontal gyrus from the encoding of male faces towards the encoding of female faces. Furthermore, the hippocampal contribution to memory retrieval also shifted from female towards male faces. These results indicate that testosterone biases memory processes towards the relatively automatic encoding and retrieval of males in temporal brain regions and elaborate encoding of females in frontal brain regions, suggesting that testosterone may support female mate sampling and comparison by biasing automatic memory processes towards the encoding and retrieval of potential mates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.07.002DOI Listing
October 2008