Neurology Central

SfN 2018: Day 2 Update

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Today’s news

SfN18: The adolescent brain, mental health and substance abuse

Pick of the posters

  • Szyszkowicz JK, Barnett Burns S, Kim I, Audet M-C, Turecki G, Luheshi GN. The gut microbiome as a key regulator of early life stress induced depression. In this poster, the researchers hypothesized that early life stress confers long-lasting changes in gut microbiome composition, intestinal and blood-brain barrier permeability, and promotes pro-inflammatory brain-immune interactions, ultimately resulting in an increased risk for depression. Their preliminary results suggest that limited bedding in the first week of life produces sex-specific alterations in social and exploratory behaviors. They also observed decreases in CRH expression in the hypothalamus, animal weight and fat distribution, as well as sex- and region-specific changes in cytokine expression along the GI tract. Additionally, they report a decrease in the expression of claudin-5 in both the colon and hypothalamus of these animals, suggesting impaired intestinal and blood-brain barrier permeability, respectively.
  • Park K, Lee SS, Liu Q et al. Identifying novel genes that regulate the circadian timing of sleep. In this poster, the investigators suggest that specific aspects of sleep timing in Drosophila can indeed be regulated by genes that are specifically expressed in the SCN in mammals, exhibiting the success of their top-down approach. By knocking down genes expressed in the nervous system and in clock pacemaker cells, they identified several candidate genes so far and will continue to complete their RNAi screenings.
  • Yaw AM, Glass JD, Caldwell HK. Impaired social interactions in the offspring of cocaine-exposed fathers. The researchers set out to examine the effects of paternal cocaine use in first-generation anxiety-like behaviors and social behaviors using their model of paternal oral cocaine self-administration. They hypothesized the cocaine-sired offspring would display increased anxiety-like behaviors and disrupted social behaviors. On the poster, the investigators mention that since the neuropeptide oxytocin is an important neuromodulator of social behaviors, they further hypothesized that in first-generation offspring, paternal cocaine use would alter oxytocin receptor binding in brain regions important to the neural regulation of social behavior.

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