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See detailMechanism of the medium-duration afterhyperpolarization in rat serotonergic neurons
Alix, Philippe ULg; Venkatesan, Kumar; Scuvée-Moreau, Jacqueline et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2014), 39(2), 186-196

Most serotonergic neurons display a prominent medium-duration afterhyperpolarization (mAHP), which is mediated by small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels. Recent ex vivo and in vivo experiments ... [more ▼]

Most serotonergic neurons display a prominent medium-duration afterhyperpolarization (mAHP), which is mediated by small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels. Recent ex vivo and in vivo experiments have suggested that SK channel blockade increases the firing rate and/or bursting in these neurons. The purpose of this study was therefore to characterize the source of Ca2+ which activates the mAHP channels in serotonergic neurons. In voltage clamp experiments, an outward current was recorded at -60 mV after a depolarizing pulse to + 100 mV. A supra-maximal concentration of the SK channel blockers apamin or (-)- bicuculline methiodide blocked this outward current. This current was also sensitive to the broad Ca2+ channel blocker Co2+ and was partially blocked by both ω-conotoxin and mibefradil, which are blockers of N-type and T-type Ca2+ channels, respectively. Neither blockers of other voltage-gated Ca2+ channels nor DBHQ, an inhibitor of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release, had any effect on the SK current. [less ▲]

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See detailc-fos down-regulation inhibits testosterone-dependent male sexual behavior and the associated learning
Niessen, Neville-Andrew ULg; Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Ball, Gregory et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2013)

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See detailDistinct Neuroendocrine mechanisms control neural activity underlying sex differences in sexual motivation and performance
Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Corbisier de Méaultsart, Céline; Ball, Gregory et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2013), 37(5), 735-42

Sexual behavior can be usefully parsed into an appetitive and a consummatory component. Both appetitive and consummatory male-typical sexual behaviors (respectively, ASB and CSB) are activated in male ... [more ▼]

Sexual behavior can be usefully parsed into an appetitive and a consummatory component. Both appetitive and consummatory male-typical sexual behaviors (respectively, ASB and CSB) are activated in male Japanese quail by testosterone (T) acting in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), but never observed in females. This sex difference is based on a demasculinization (= organizational effect) by estradiol during embryonic life for CSB, but a differential activation by T in adulthood for ASB. Males expressing rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements (RCSMs; a form of ASB) or allowed to copulate display increased Fos expression in POM. We investigated Fos brain responses in females exposed to behavioral tests after various endocrine treat- ments. T-treated females displayed RCSM, but never copulated when exposed to another female. Accordingly they showed an increased Fos expression in POM after ASB but not CSB tests. Females treated with the aromatase inhibitor Vorozole in ovo and T in adulthood displayed both male-typical ASB and CSB, and Fos expression in POM was increased after both types of tests. Thus, the neural circuit mediating ASB is present or can develop in both sexes, but is inactive in females unless they are exposed to exogenous T. In contrast, the neural mechanism mediating CSB is not normally present in females, but can be pre- served by blocking the embryonic production of estrogens. Overall these data confirm the difference in endocrine controls and probably neural mechanisms supporting ASB and CSB in quail, and highlight the complexity of mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailDissociation between unconscious motor response facilitation and conflict in medial frontal areas.
D'Ostilio, Kevin ULg; GARRAUX, Gaëtan ULg

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2012), 35(2), 332-340

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See detailThe role of melanin-concentrating hormone in conditioned reward learning
Sherwood, Andrew; Wosiki-Kuhn, Marlena; Nguyen, Truc et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2012), 36

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See detailSleep slow wave changes during the middle years of life
Carrier, J.; Viens, I.; Poirier, G. et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2011), 33(4), 758-66

Slow waves (SW; < 4 Hz and > 75 muV) during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in humans are characterized by hyperpolarization [surface electroencephalogram (EEG) SW negative phase], during which ... [more ▼]

Slow waves (SW; < 4 Hz and > 75 muV) during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in humans are characterized by hyperpolarization [surface electroencephalogram (EEG) SW negative phase], during which cortical neurons are silent, and depolarization (surface EEG positive phase), during which the cortical neurons fire intensively. We assessed the effects of age, sex and topography on the dynamics of SW characteristics in a large population (n = 87) of healthy young (23.3 +/- 2.4 years) and middle-aged (51.9 +/- 4.6 years) volunteers. Older subjects showed lower SW density and amplitude than young subjects. Age-related lower SW density in men was especially marked in prefrontal/frontal brain areas, where they originate more frequently. Older subjects also showed longer SW positive and negative phase durations. These last results indicate that, in young subjects, cortical neurons would synchronously enter the SW hyperpolarization and depolarization phases, whereas this process would take longer in older subjects, leading to lower slope and longer SW positive and negative phases. Importantly, after controlling for SW amplitude, middle-aged subjects still showed lower slope than young subjects in prefrontal, frontal, parietal and occipital derivations. Age-related effects on SW density, frequency and positive phase duration were more prominent at the beginning of the night, when homeostatic sleep pressure is at its highest. Age-related SW changes may be associated with changes in synaptic density and white matter integrity and may underlie greater sleep fragmentation and difficulty in recuperating and maintaining sleep under challenges in older subjects. [less ▲]

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See detailSex steroid-induced neuroplasticity and behavioral activation in birds
Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Charlier, Thierry ULg; Barker, Jennifer ULg et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2010), 32

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See detailM-type channels selectively control bursting in rat dopaminergic neurons
Drion, Guillaume ULg; Bonjean, Maxime; Waroux, Olivier ULg et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2010), 31

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See detailThe intimate relationship of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons with the polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule revisited across development and adult plasticity.
Franceschini, Isabelle; Desroziers, Elodie ULg; Caraty, Alain et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2010), 32(12), 2031-41

The neurohormone gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is critical for all the aspects of reproductive life in vertebrates. GnRH is secreted by a small number of neurons dispersed within the preoptic ... [more ▼]

The neurohormone gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is critical for all the aspects of reproductive life in vertebrates. GnRH is secreted by a small number of neurons dispersed within the preoptic-hypothalamic region. These neurons are derived from the embryonic olfactory pit. They then migrate along olfactory, vomeronasal and terminal nerves to their final destination. Classical approaches to study the regulation of GnRH secretion during the reproductive cycle have focused on the various neuronal inputs on GnRH neurons and their regulation by ovarian steroids. However, it is well known that steroids will change the microenvironment of neuronal networks and can induce plasticity and functional changes. In this review, we will focus on the intimate relationship of developing and adult GnRH neurons with the polysialylated form of neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM), a major molecular actor in the morphogenesis and adult plasticity of the nervous system. We will first recapitulate the spatiotemporal relationship between PSA-NCAM and migrating GnRH neurons during embryogenesis of various vertebrate species and discuss its importance for GnRH neuron development as shown by various loss of function studies. In the adult, we will review the relationships between PSA-NCAM and GnRH neurons across various physiological states, and open the discussion to the use of new model systems that can help to unravel the function and mechanism of action of PSA-NCAM on GnRH neuronal network activity and GnRH release. [less ▲]

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See detailSK Channel blockade promotes burst firing in dorsal raphe serotonergic neurons
Rouchet, Nathalie; Waroux, Olivier ULg; Lamy, Cédric et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 28(6), 1108-15

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See detailSK Channel blockade promotes burst firing in dorsal raphe serotonergic neurons
Rouchet, Nathalie ULg; Waroux, Olivier ULg; Lamy, Cédric ULg et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 28(6), 1108-15

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See detailDoublecortin as a Marker of Adult Neuroplasticity in the Canary Song Control Nucleus Hvc
Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Boseret, Géraldine ULg; Konkle, A. T. et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 27(4), 801-17

It is established that in songbirds the size of several brain song control nuclei varies seasonally, based on changes in cell size, dendritic branching and, in nucleus HVC, the incorporation of newborn ... [more ▼]

It is established that in songbirds the size of several brain song control nuclei varies seasonally, based on changes in cell size, dendritic branching and, in nucleus HVC, the incorporation of newborn neurons. In the developing and adult mammalian brain, the protein doublecortin (DCX) is expressed in postmitotic neurons and, as a part of the microtubule machinery, required for neuronal migration. We recently showed that in adult canaries, DCX-immunoreactive (ir) cells are present throughout the telencephalon, but the link between DCX and the active neurogenesis observed in songbirds remained uncertain. We demonstrate here that DCX labels recently born cells in the canary telencephalon and that, in parallel with changes in HVC volume, the number of DCX-ir cells is increased specifically in the HVC of testosterone-treated males compared with castrates, and in castrated testosterone-treated males paired with a female as compared with males paired with another male. The numbers of elongated DCX-ir cells (presumptive migrating neurons) and round multipolar DCX-ir cells (differentiating neurons) were also affected by the sex of the subjects and their photoperiodic condition (photosensitive vs photostimulated vs photorefractory). Thus, in canaries the endocrine state, as well as the social or photoperiodic condition independently of variation in steroid hormone action, affects the number of cells expressing a protein involved in neuronal migration specifically in brain areas that incorporate new neurons in the telencephalon. The DCX gene may be one of the targets by which testosterone and social stimuli induce seasonal changes in the volume of song nuclei. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for a Role of Early Oestrogens in the Central Processing of Sexually Relevant Olfactory Cues in Female Mice
Pierman, S.; Douhard, Quentin ULg; Bakker, Julie ULg

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 27(2), 423-31

We previously found that female aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice showed less investigation of socially relevant odours as well as reduced sexual behaviour. We now ask whether these behavioural deficits ... [more ▼]

We previously found that female aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice showed less investigation of socially relevant odours as well as reduced sexual behaviour. We now ask whether these behavioural deficits might be due to an inadequate processing of odours in female ArKO mice. Therefore, we exposed female ArKO mice to same- and opposite-sex urinary odours and determined the expression of the immediate early gene c-Fos along the main and accessory olfactory projection pathways. We included ArKO males in the present study as we previously observed that they show female-typical detection thresholds of urinary odours, suggesting a role for perinatal oestrogens in these behavioural responses. No sex or genotype differences were observed in the olfactory bulb after urine exposure. By contrast, sex differences in c-Fos responses were observed in wild-type (WT) mice following exposure to male urine in the more central regions of the olfactory pathway; only WT females showed a significant Fos induction in the amygdala, central medial pre-optic area and ventromedial hypothalamus. However, ArKO females did not show a c-Fos response to male odours in the ventromedial hypothalamus, suggesting that the processing of male odours is affected in ArKO females and thus that oestrogens may be necessary for the development of neural responses to sexually relevant odours in female mice. By contrast, c-Fos responses to either male or oestrous female urine were very similar between ArKO and WT males, pointing to a central role of androgen vs. oestrogen signalling in the male circuits that control olfactory investigation and preferences. [less ▲]

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See detailSleep architecture of the melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 1-knockout mice
Adamantidis, Antoine ULg; Salvert, D.; Goutagny, R. et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 27(7), 1793-800

Growing amounts of data indicate involvement of the posterior hypothalamus in the regulation of sleep, especially paradoxical sleep (PS). Accordingly, we previously showed that the melanin-concentrating ... [more ▼]

Growing amounts of data indicate involvement of the posterior hypothalamus in the regulation of sleep, especially paradoxical sleep (PS). Accordingly, we previously showed that the melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)-producing neurons of the rat hypothalamus are selectively activated during a PS rebound. In addition, intracerebroventricular infusion of MCH increases total sleep duration, suggesting a new role for MCH in sleep regulation. To determine whether activation of the MCH system promotes sleep, we studied spontaneous sleep and its homeostatic regulation in mice with deletion of the MCH-receptor 1 gene (MCH-R1– ⁄ – vs. MCH-R1+ ⁄ +) and their behavioural response to modafinil, a powerful antinarcoleptic drug. Here, we show that the lack of functional MCH-R1 results in a hypersomniac-like phenotype, both in basal conditions and after total sleep deprivation, compared to wild-type mice. Further, we found that modafinil was less potent at inducing wakefulness in MCH-R1– ⁄ – than in MCH-R1+ ⁄ + mice. We report for the first time that animals with genetically inactivated MCH signaling exhibit altered vigilance state architecture and sleep homeostasis. This study also suggests that the MCH system may modulate central pathways involved in the wake-promoting effect of modafinil [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal rewiring of the songbird brain: an in vivo MRI study.
De Groof, Geert; Verhoye, Marleen; Van Meir, Vincent et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2008), 28(12), 2475-852474

The song control system (SCS) of songbirds displays a remarkable plasticity in species where song output changes seasonally. The mechanisms underlying this plasticity are barely understood and research ... [more ▼]

The song control system (SCS) of songbirds displays a remarkable plasticity in species where song output changes seasonally. The mechanisms underlying this plasticity are barely understood and research has primarily been focused on the song nuclei themselves, largely neglecting their interconnections and connections with other brain regions. We investigated seasonal changes in the entire brain, including the song nuclei and their connections, of nine male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). At two times of the year, during the breeding (April) and nonbreeding (July) seasons, we measured in the same subjects cellular attributes of brain regions using in vivo high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) at 7 T. An increased fractional anisotropy in the HVC-RA pathway that correlates with an increase in axonal density (and myelination) was found during the breeding season, confirming multiple previous histological reports. Other parts of the SCS, namely the occipitomesencephalic axonal pathway, which contains fiber tracts important for song production, showed increased fractional anisotropy due to myelination during the breeding season and the connection between HVC and Area X showed an increase in axonal connectivity. Beyond the SCS we discerned fractional anisotropy changes that correlate with myelination changes in the optic chiasm and axonal organization changes in an interhemispheric connection, the posterior commissure. These results demonstrate an unexpectedly broad plasticity in the connectivity of the avian brain that might be involved in preparing subjects for the competitive and demanding behavioral tasks that are associated with successful reproduction. [less ▲]

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See detailNeurotransmitters regulate cell migration in the telencephalon
Heng, J. I. T.; Moonen, Gustave ULg; Nguyen, Laurent ULg

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2007), 26(3), 537-546

The complex cytoarchitectonic organization of the adult mammalian telencephalon reflects the elaborate patterns of cell migration that contribute to its generation. The migration by neurons in the CNS can ... [more ▼]

The complex cytoarchitectonic organization of the adult mammalian telencephalon reflects the elaborate patterns of cell migration that contribute to its generation. The migration by neurons in the CNS can broadly be divided into two categories: radial and tangential. Experimental observations in the telencephalon have shown that glutamatergic projection neurons are born in the progenitor compartment of the dorsal telencephalon and migrate radially to integrate the cortical plate, whereas most gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons are generated in the ganglionic eminences and navigate through multiple tangential paths to settle into distinct telencephalic structures. Despite progress towards the understanding of the genetic determinants that specify the fate of neuronal progenitors, much remains unknown about the mechanisms that direct their migration into specific regions of the telencephalon. Interestingly, besides their function in synaptic transmission, neurotransmitters have been shown to promote several developmental processes that contribute to the establishment and maintenance of the CNS. In this respect, recent studies have highlighted a role for neurotransmitters through activation of their receptors in regulating cell migration in the telencephalon. This review summarizes and discusses the growing body of literature implicating neurotransmitters and their cognate receptors as part of a complex molecular machinery that regulate the migration of immature neurons in the telencephalon during development and in adulthood. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferential c-fos expression in the brain of male Japanese quail following exposure to stimuli that predict or do not predict the arrival of a female
Taziaux, Mélanie ULg; Lopez, J.; Cornil, Charlotte ULg et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2007), 25(9), 2835-2846

We investigated the effects of presenting a sexual conditioned stimulus on the expression of c-fos in male Japanese quail. Eight brain sites were selected for analysis based on previous reports of c-fos ... [more ▼]

We investigated the effects of presenting a sexual conditioned stimulus on the expression of c-fos in male Japanese quail. Eight brain sites were selected for analysis based on previous reports of c-fos expression in these areas correlated with sexual behaviour or learning. Males received either paired or explicitly unpaired presentations of an arbitrary stimulus and visual access to a female. Nine conditioning trials were conducted, one per day, for each subject. On the day following the ninth trial, subjects were exposed to the conditional stimulus (CS) for 5 min. Conditioning was confirmed by analysis of rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements (RCSM), an appetitive sexual behaviour, made in response to the CS presentation. Subjects in the paired condition performed significantly more RCSM than subjects in the unpaired group. Brains were collected 90 min following the stimulus exposure and stained by immunolhistochemistry for the FOS protein. Significant group differences in the number of FOS-immunoreactive (FOS-ir) cells were found in two brain regions, the nucleus taeniae of the amygdala (TnA) and the hippocampus (Hp). Subjects in the paired condition had fewer FOS-ir cells in both areas than subjects in the unpaired condition. These data provide additional support to the hypothesis that TnA is implicated in the expression of appetitive sexual behaviours in male quail and corroborate numerous previous reports of the involvement of the hippocampus in conditioning. Further, these data suggest that conditioned and unconditioned sexual stimuli activate different brain regions but have similar behavioural consequences. [less ▲]

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See detailAnimal models of migraine: looking at the component parts of a complex disorder
Bergerot, A.; Holland, P. R.; Akerman, S. et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2006), 24(6), 1517-1534

Animal models of human disease have been extremely helpful both in advancing the understanding of brain disorders and in developing new therapeutic approaches. Models for studying headache mechanisms ... [more ▼]

Animal models of human disease have been extremely helpful both in advancing the understanding of brain disorders and in developing new therapeutic approaches. Models for studying headache mechanisms, particularly those directed at migraine, have been developed and exploited efficiently in the last decade, leading to better understanding of the potential mechanisms of the disorder and of the action for antimigraine treatments. Model systems employed have focused on the pain-producing cranial structures, the large vessels and dura mater, in order to provide reproducible physiological measures that could be subject to pharmacological exploration. A wide range of methods using both in vivo and in vitro approaches are now employed; these range from manipulation of the mouse genome in order to produce animals with human disease-producing mutations, through sensitive immunohistochemical methods to vascular, neurovascular and electrophysiological studies. No one model system in experimental animals can explain all the features of migraine; however, the systems available have begun to offer ways to dissect migraine's component parts to allow a better understanding of the problem and the development of new treatment strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailNeuroanatomical specificity in the expression of the immediate early gene c-fos following expression of appetitive and consummatory male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail
Taziaux, Mélanie ULg; Cornil, Charlotte ULg; Dejace, C. et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2006), 23(7), 1869-1887

We investigated the neural sites related to the occurrence of appetitive (ASB) and consummatory (CSB) aspects of male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail. Castrated males treated with testosterone were ... [more ▼]

We investigated the neural sites related to the occurrence of appetitive (ASB) and consummatory (CSB) aspects of male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail. Castrated males treated with testosterone were exposed for 5 min to one of four experimental conditions: (i) free interaction with a female (CSB group); (ii) expression of rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements in response to the visual presentation of a female (ASB-F group); (iii) or a male (ASB-M group), and (iv) handling as a control manipulation. Brains were collected 90 min after the start of behavioural tests and stained by immunocytochemistry for the FOS protein. An increase in FOS expression was observed throughout the rostro-caudal extent of the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in CSB males, whereas the view of a female (ASB-F) induced an increased FOS expression in the rostral POM only. In the CSB group, there was also an increase in FOS expression in the bed nucleus striae terminalis, and both the CSB and ASB-F groups exhibited increased FOS expression in aspects of the ventro-lateral thalamus (VLT) related to visual processing. Moreover, both the CSB and ASB-M groups showed increased FOS expression in the lateral septum. These data provide additional support to the idea that there is a partial anatomical dissociation between structures involved in the control of both aspects of male sexual behaviour and independently provide data consistent with a previous lesion study that indicated that the rostral and caudal POM differentially control the expression of ASB and CSB in quail. [less ▲]

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