Publications by authors named "Patricia Murtra"

10 Publications

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DREAM controls the on/off switch of specific activity-dependent transcription pathways.

Mol Cell Biol 2014 Mar 23;34(5):877-87. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

National Center of Biotechnology, CSIC and CIBERNED, Madrid, Spain.

Changes in nuclear Ca(2+) homeostasis activate specific gene expression programs and are central to the acquisition and storage of information in the brain. DREAM (downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator), also known as calsenilin/KChIP-3 (K(+) channel interacting protein 3), is a Ca(2+)-binding protein that binds DNA and represses transcription in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. To study the function of DREAM in the brain, we used transgenic mice expressing a Ca(2+)-insensitive/CREB-independent dominant active mutant DREAM (daDREAM). Using genome-wide analysis, we show that DREAM regulates the expression of specific activity-dependent transcription factors in the hippocampus, including Npas4, Nr4a1, Mef2c, JunB, and c-Fos. Furthermore, DREAM regulates its own expression, establishing an autoinhibitory feedback loop to terminate activity-dependent transcription. Ablation of DREAM does not modify activity-dependent transcription because of gene compensation by the other KChIP family members. The expression of daDREAM in the forebrain resulted in a complex phenotype characterized by loss of recurrent inhibition and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus and impaired learning and memory. Our results indicate that DREAM is a major master switch transcription factor that regulates the on/off status of specific activity-dependent gene expression programs that control synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.00360-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023831PMC
March 2014

LMN diet, rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, improves mouse cognitive decline associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease.

Behav Brain Res 2012 Mar 22;228(2):261-71. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Instituto de Neurociencias, Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

We examined whether LMN diet, reported to induce neurogenesis in adult mice, was able to antagonize the age-related behavioural impairment and neuropathology in wild type (WT) mice and Tg2576 mice, a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thirteen-month-old mice (once the amyloid (Aβ) plaques were formed) were fed with the LMN diet for 5 months, and in the last 2 months of the regimen they received a battery of behavioural tests. In general, both aging and (to a higher extent) Tg2576 genotype deteriorated sensorimotor reflexes, exploratory behaviour in the hole board, activity (but not anxiety) in the elevated plus-maze, ambulation in the home cage during the dark phase, and spatial learning in the Morris water maze. LMN diet did not affect the detrimental effects observed in sensorimotor reflexes, but clearly reversed the effects of both aging and Tg2576 genotype. This behavioural amelioration was correlated with a 70% increase in cellular proliferation in subventricular zone (SVZ) of the brain, but did not correlate with a decrease of amyloid plaques. In contrast, administration of LMN diet to 10 months old mice (before the plaques are formed) strongly suggested a putative delay in the formation of plaques, as indicated by a decreasing tendency of soluble and fibrillar Aβ levels in hippocampus which correlated with a decrease in Aβ (1-40, 1-42) plasma content. Herein we describe for the first time that LMN diet rich in polyphenols, dry fruits and cocoa, was able to decrease behavioural deterioration caused by aging and Tg2576 genotype and to delay the Aβ plaque formation. These results corroborate the increasing importance of polyphenols as human dietary supplements in amelioration of the cognitive impairment during aging and neurological disorders such as AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2011.11.014DOI Listing
March 2012

Overexpression of the CHRNA5/A3/B4 genomic cluster in mice increases the sensitivity to nicotine and modifies its reinforcing effects.

Amino Acids 2012 Aug 19;43(2):897-909. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

Genes and Disease Program, Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, 08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated pentameric ion channels that account for the effects of nicotine. Recent genetic studies have highlighted the importance of variants of the CHRNA5/A3/B4 genomic cluster in human nicotine dependence. Among these genetic variants those found in non-coding segments of the cluster may contribute to the pathophysiology of tobacco use through alterations in the expression of these genes. To discern the in vivo effects of the cluster, we generated a transgenic mouse overexpressing the human CHRNA5/A3/B4 cluster using a bacterial artificial chromosome. Transgenic mice showed increased functional α3β4-nAChRs in brain regions where these subunits are highly expressed under normal physiological conditions. Moreover, they exhibited increased sensitivity to the pharmacological effects of nicotine along with higher activation of the medial habenula and reduced activation of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area after acute nicotine administration. Importantly, transgenic mice showed increased acquisition of nicotine self-administration (0.015 mg/kg per infusion) and a differential response in the progressive ratio test. Our study provides the first in vivo evidence of the involvement of the CHRNA5/A3/B4 genomic cluster in nicotine addiction through modifying the activity of brain regions responsible for the balance between the rewarding and the aversive properties of this drug.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-011-1149-yDOI Listing
August 2012

Effects of the cell type-specific ablation of the cAMP-responsive transcription factor in noradrenergic neurons on locus coeruleus firing and withdrawal behavior after chronic exposure to morphine.

J Neurochem 2010 Nov 19;115(3):563-73. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Department of Molecular Biology of the Cell I, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

Repeated exposure to opiates leads to cellular and molecular changes and behavioral alterations reflecting a state of dependence. In noradrenergic neurons, cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent pathways are activated during opiate withdrawal, but their contribution to the activity of locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons and behavioral manifestations remains controversial. Here, we test whether the cAMP-dependent transcription factors cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) and cAMP-responsive element modulator (CREM) in noradrenergic neurons control the cellular markers and the physical signs of morphine withdrawal in mice. Using the Cre/loxP system we ablated the Creb1 gene in noradrenergic neurons. To avoid adaptive effects because of compensatory up-regulation of CREM, we crossed the conditional Creb1 mutant mice with a Crem-/- line. We found that the enhanced expression of tyrosine hydroxylase normally observed during withdrawal was attenuated in CREB/CREM mutants. Moreover, the withdrawal-associated cellular hyperactivity and c-fos expression was blunted. In contrast, naloxone-precipitated withdrawal signs, such as jumping, paw tremor, tremor and mastication were preserved. We conclude by a specific genetic approach that the withdrawal-associated hyperexcitability of noradrenergic neurons depends on CREB/CREM activity in these neurons, but does not mediate several behavioral signs of morphine withdrawal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06709.xDOI Listing
November 2010

Increased opioid dependence in a mouse model of panic disorder.

Front Behav Neurosci 2010 22;3:60. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Genes and Disease Program, Genomic Regulation Center-CRG, Barcelona Biomedical Research Park-PRBB and CIBER de Enfermedades Raras Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Panic disorder is a highly prevalent neuropsychiatric disorder that shows co-occurrence with substance abuse. Here, we demonstrate that TrkC, the high-affinity receptor for neurotrophin-3, is a key molecule involved in panic disorder and opiate dependence, using a transgenic mouse model (TgNTRK3). Constitutive TrkC overexpression in TgNTRK3 mice dramatically alters spontaneous firing rates of locus coeruleus (LC) neurons and the response of the noradrenergic system to chronic opiate exposure, possibly related to the altered regulation of neurotrophic peptides observed. Notably, TgNTRK3 LC neurons showed an increased firing rate in saline-treated conditions and profound abnormalities in their response to met(5)-enkephalin. Behaviorally, chronic morphine administration induced a significantly increased withdrawal syndrome in TgNTRK3 mice. In conclusion, we show here that the NT-3/TrkC system is an important regulator of neuronal firing in LC and could contribute to the adaptations of the noradrenergic system in response to chronic opiate exposure. Moreover, our results indicate that TrkC is involved in the molecular and cellular changes in noradrenergic neurons underlying both panic attacks and opiate dependence and support a functional endogenous opioid deficit in panic disorder patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/neuro.08.060.2009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831706PMC
July 2011

Transgenic mice overexpressing the full-length neurotrophin receptor TrkC exhibit increased catecholaminergic neuron density in specific brain areas and increased anxiety-like behavior and panic reaction.

Neurobiol Dis 2006 Nov 11;24(2):403-18. Epub 2006 Sep 11.

Genes and Disease Program, Genomic Regulation Center (CRG-UPF), Barcelona, Biomedical Research Park, E-08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Accumulating evidence has suggested that neurotrophins participate in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. We have developed transgenic mice overexpressing the full-length neurotrophin-3 receptor TrkC (TgNTRK3) in the central nervous system. TgNTRK3 mice show increased anxiety-like behavior and enhancement of panic reaction in the mouse defense test battery, along with an increase in the number and density of catecholaminergic (tyrosine hydroxylase positive) neurons in locus coeruleus and substantia nigra. Furthermore, treatment of TgNTRK3 mice with diazepam significantly attenuated the anxiety-like behaviors in the plus maze. These results provide evidence for the involvement of TrkC in the development of noradrenergic neurons in the central nervous system with consequences on anxiety-like behavior and panic reaction. Thus, changes in TrkC expression levels could contribute to the phenotypic expression of panic disorder through a trophic effect on noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus. Our results demonstrate that the elevated NT3-TrkC tone via overexpression of TrkC in the brain may constitute a molecular mechanism for the expression of anxiety and anxiety.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2006.07.015DOI Listing
November 2006

Expression of opioid receptors and c-fos in CB1 knockout mice exposed to neuropathic pain.

Neuropharmacology 2006 Jan 15;50(1):123-32. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital del Mar, IMIM, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

The development of neuropathic pain is associated with multiple changes in gene expression occurring in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal cord. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether the disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptor gene modulates the changes induced by neuropathic pain in the expression of mu- (MOR), delta- (DOR) and kappa-opioid receptors (KOR) mRNA levels in the DRG and spinal cord. The induction of c-fos expression in the lumbar and sacral regions of the spinal cord was also evaluated in these animals. Opioid receptors mRNA levels were determined by using real-time PCR and Fos protein levels by immunohistochemistry. Nerve injury significantly reduced the expression of MOR in the DRG and the lumbar section of the spinal cord from CB1 cannabinoid knockout (KO) mice and wild-type littermates (WT). In contrast, mRNA levels of DOR and KOR were not significantly changed in any of the different sections analysed. Furthermore, sciatic nerve injury evoked a similar increase of c-fos expression in lumbar and sacral regions of the spinal cord of both KO and WT. In all instances, no significant differences were observed between WT and KO mice. These data revealed specific changes induced by neuropathic pain in MOR expression and c-fos levels in the DRG and/or spinal cord that were not modified by the genetic disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.11.002DOI Listing
January 2006

Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol decreases somatic and motivational manifestations of nicotine withdrawal in mice.

Eur J Neurosci 2004 Nov;20(10):2737-48

Laboratori de Neurofarmacologia. Facultat de Ciències de la Salut i de la Vida. Universitat Pompeu Fabra. C/Dr Aiguader, 80. 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

The possible interactions between Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC) and nicotine remain unclear in spite of the current association of cannabis and tobacco in humans. The aim of the present study was to explore the interactions between these two drugs of abuse by evaluating the consequences of Delta9-THC administration on the somatic manifestations and the aversive motivational state associated with nicotine withdrawal in mice. Acute Delta9-THC administration significantly decreased the incidence of several nicotine withdrawal signs precipitated by mecamylamine or naloxone, such as wet-dog-shakes, paw tremor and scratches. In both experimental conditions, the global withdrawal score was also significantly attenuated by acute Delta9-THC administration. This effect of Delta9-THC was not due to possible adaptive changes induced by chronic nicotine on CB1 cannabinoid receptors, as the density and functional activity of these receptors were not modified by chronic nicotine administration in the different brain structures investigated. We also evaluated the consequences of Delta9-THC administration on c-Fos expression in several brain structures after chronic nicotine administration and withdrawal. c-Fos was decreased in the caudate putamen and the dentate gyrus after mecamylamine precipitated nicotine withdrawal. However, acute Delta9-THC administration did not modify c-Fos expression under these experimental conditions. Finally, Delta9-THC also reversed conditioned place aversion associated to naloxone precipitated nicotine withdrawal. Taken together, these results indicate that Delta9-THC administration attenuated somatic signs of nicotine withdrawal and this effect was not associated with compensatory changes on CB1 cannabinoid receptors during chronic nicotine administration. In addition, Delta9-THC also ameliorated the aversive motivational consequences of nicotine withdrawal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03714.xDOI Listing
November 2004

Cannabinoid receptor and WIN 55 212-2-stimulated [35S]-GTPgammaS binding in the brain of mu-, delta- and kappa-opioid receptor knockout mice.

Eur J Neurosci 2003 Oct;18(8):2197-202

Laboratori de Neurofarmacologia, Facultat de Ciències de la Saluti i de la Vida, Univeristat Pompeu Fabra, C/Doctor Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

Numerous studies have shown the existence of functional links between the endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems. However, extensive research is still needed to elucidate the biochemical mechanisms involved in this cannabinoid-opioid interaction. Mice lacking mu- (MOR), delta- (DOR) and kappa- (KOR) opioid receptors have been generated and some specific pharmacological effects induced by cannabinoids have been reported to be modified in these animals. In order to clarify further the possible mechanisms involved in this modification of cannabinoid responses we have now evaluated the expression and functional activity of cannabinoid receptors in different brain structures in these mutant animals. For this purpose, we have performed quantitative receptor autoradiography of CB1 cannabinoid receptors and activation of GTP-binding proteins by CB1 agonists in the brain of wild-type and homozygous MOR, DOR and KOR knockout mice. There were no significant differences in the levels of CB1 receptors in the brain of MOR mutant mice. In contrast, the efficacy of CB1 receptor activation by the cannabinoid agonist WIN 55 212-2 was dramatically reduced in the caudate-putamen of MOR knockout animals. The density of CB1 receptors as well as the stimulation of GTP-binding proteins by WIN 55 212-2 were significantly increased in the substantia nigra of mice deficient in DOR. Finally, there were no major changes in the levels and functional activity of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in any brain region in KOR knockout mice. Taken together, these results indicate that deletion of MOR and DOR causes alterations in cannabinoid receptor levels and functional activity in specific brain structures, which could explain some of the functional interactions observed between these two neuronal systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02951.xDOI Listing
October 2003

Neurokinin-1 receptor-expressing neurons in the amygdala modulate morphine reward and anxiety behaviors in the mouse.

J Neurosci 2003 Sep;23(23):8271-80

Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.

Mice lacking the neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor, the preferred receptor for the neuropeptide substance P (SP), do not show many of the behaviors associated with morphine reward. To identify the areas of the brain that might contribute to this effect, we assessed the behavioral effects of ablation of neurons expressing the NK1 receptor in specific regions of the mouse brain using the neurotoxin substance P-saporin. In a preliminary investigation, bilateral ablation of these neurons from the amygdala, but not the nucleus accumbens and dorsomedial caudate putamen, brought about reductions in morphine reward behavior. Subsequently, the effect of ablation of these neurons in the amygdala on anxiety behavior was assessed using the elevated plus maze (EPM), before conditioned place preference (CPP), and locomotor responses to morphine were measured. Loss of NK1 receptor-expressing neurons in the amygdala caused an increase in anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. It also brought about a reduction in morphine CPP scores and the stimulant effect of acute morphine administration relative to saline controls, without affecting CPP to cocaine. NK1 receptor-expressing neurons in the mouse amygdala therefore modulate morphine reward behaviors. These observations mirror those observed in NK1 receptor knock-out (NK1-/-) mice and suggest that the amygdala is an important area for the effects of SP and the NK1 receptor in the motivational properties of opiates, as well as the control of behaviors related to anxiety.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6740689PMC
September 2003
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