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See detailDifferential Effects of Cocaine on Dopamine Neuron Firing in Awake and Anesthetized Rats
Koulchitsky, Stanislav ULg; DE BACKER, Benjamin ULg; Quertemont, Etienne ULg et al

in Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2012), 37

Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine), a natural alkaloid, is a powerful psychostimulant and a highly addictive drug. Unfortunately, the relationships between its behavioral and electrophysiological effects are ... [more ▼]

Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine), a natural alkaloid, is a powerful psychostimulant and a highly addictive drug. Unfortunately, the relationships between its behavioral and electrophysiological effects are not clear. We investigated the effects of cocaine on the firing of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons, both in anesthetized and awake rats, using pre-implanted multielectrode arrays and a recently developed telemetric recording system. In anesthetized animals, cocaine (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) produced a general decrease of the firing rate and bursting of DA neurons, sometimes preceded by a transient increase in both parameters, as previously reported by others. In awake rats, however, injection of cocaine led to a very different pattern of changes in firing. A decrease in firing rate and bursting was observed in only 14% of DA neurons. Most of the other DA neurons underwent increases in firing rate and bursting: these changes were correlated with locomotor activity in 52% of the neurons, but were uncorrelated in 29% of them. Drug concentration measurements indicated that the observed differences between the two conditions did not have a pharmacokinetic origin. Taken together, our results demonstrate that cocaine injection differentially affects the electrical activity of DA neurons in awake and anesthetized states. The observed increases in neuronal activity may in part reflect the cocaine-induced synaptic potentiation found ex vivo in these neurons. Our observations also show that electrophysiological recordings in awake animals can uncover drug effects, which are masked by general anesthesia. [less ▲]

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See detailSubchronic Alpha-Linolenic Acid Treatment Enhances Brain Plasticity and Exerts an Antidepressant Effect: A Versatile Potential Therapy for Stroke.
Blondeau, Nicolas; Nguemeni, C.; Debruyne, D. N. et al

in Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2009)

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to have therapeutic potential in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of action underlying these effects are not ... [more ▼]

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to have therapeutic potential in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of action underlying these effects are not well elucidated. We previously showed that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) reduced ischemic brain damage after a single treatment. To follow-up this finding, we investigated whether subchronic ALA treatment promoted neuronal plasticity. Three sequential injections with a neuroprotective dose of ALA increased neurogenesis and expression of key proteins involved in synaptic functions, namely, synaptophysin-1, VAMP-2, and SNAP-25, as well as proteins supporting glutamatergic neurotransmission, namely, V-GLUT1 and V-GLUT2. These effects were correlated with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels, both in vitro using neural stem cells and hippocampal cultures and in vivo, after subchronic ALA treatment. Given that BDNF has antidepressant activity, this led us to test whether subchronic ALA treatment could produce antidepressant-like behavior. ALA-treated mice had significantly reduced measures of depressive-like behavior compared with vehicle-treated animals, suggesting another aspect of ALA treatment that could stimulate functional stroke recovery by potentially combining acute neuroprotection with long-term repair/compensatory plasticity. Indeed, three sequential injections of ALA enhanced protection, either as a pretreatment, wherein it reduced post-ischemic infarct volume 24 h after a 1-hour occlusion of the middle cerebral artery or as post-treatment therapy, wherein it augmented animal survival rates by threefold 10 days after ischemia.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 29 July 2009; doi:10.1038/npp.2009.84. [less ▲]

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