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July's Featured Paper!

Hyperactive somatostatin interneurons contribute to excitotoxicity in neurodegenerative disorders

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Apr;19(4):557-9. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Wen Zhang, Lifeng Zhang, Bo Liang, David Schroeder, Zhong-wei Zhang, Gregory A Cox, Yun Li, & Da-Ting Lin

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are overlapping neurodegenerative disorders whose pathogenesis remains largely unknown. Using TDP-43(A315T) mice, an ALS and FTD model with marked cortical pathology, we found that hyperactive somatostatin interneurons disinhibited layer 5 pyramidal neurons (L5-PNs) and contributed to their excitotoxicity. Focal ablation of somatostatin interneurons efficiently restored normal excitability of L5-PNs and alleviated neurodegeneration, suggesting a new therapeutic target for ALS and FTD.

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Featured paper of the Month!

Genome-wide DNA hydroxymethylation identifies potassium channels in the nucleus accumbens as discriminators of methamphetamine addiction and abstinence

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 5. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.48

Cadet JL, Brannock C, Krasnova IN, Jayanthi S, Ladenheim B, McCoy MT, Walther D, Godino A, Pirooznia M, Lee RS

Epigenetic consequences of exposure to psychostimulants are substantial but the relationship of these changes to compulsive drug taking and abstinence is not clear. Here, we used a paradigm that helped to segregate rats that reduce or stop their methamphetamine (METH) intake (nonaddicted) from those that continue to take the drug compulsively (addicted) in the presence of footshocks. We used that model to investigate potential alterations in global DNA hydroxymethylation in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) because neuroplastic changes in the NAc may participate in the development and maintenance of drug-taking behaviors. We found that METH-addicted rats did indeed show differential DNA hydroxymethylation in comparison with both control and nonaddicted rats. Nonaddicted rats also showed differences from control rats. Differential DNA hydroxymethylation observed in addicted rats occurred mostly at intergenic sites located on long and short interspersed elements. Interestingly, differentially hydroxymethylated regions in genes encoding voltage (Kv1.1, Kv1.2, Kvb1 and Kv2.2)- and calcium (Kcnma1, Kcnn1 and Kcnn2)-gated potassium channels observed in the NAc of nonaddicted rats were accompanied by increased mRNA levels of these potassium channels when compared with mRNA expression in METH-addicted rats. These observations indicate that changes in differentially hydroxymethylated regions and increased expression of specific potassium channels in the NAc may promote abstinence from drug-taking behaviors. Thus, activation of specific subclasses of voltage- and/or calcium-gated potassium channels may provide an important approach to the beneficial treatment for METH addiction.

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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