880 research outputs found

    mTOR-related cell-clearing systems in epileptic seizures, an update

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    Recent evidence suggests that autophagy impairment is implicated in the epileptogenic mechanisms downstream of mTOR hyperactivation. This holds true for a variety of genetic and acquired epileptic syndromes besides malformations of cortical development which are classically known as mTORopathies. Autophagy suppression is sufficient to induce epilepsy in experimental models, while rescuing autophagy prevents epileptogenesis, improves behavioral alterations, and provides neuroprotection in seizure-induced neuronal damage. The implication of autophagy in epileptogenesis and maturation phenomena related to seizure activity is supported by evidence indicating that autophagy is involved in the molecular mechanisms which are implicated in epilepsy. In general, mTOR-dependent autophagy regulates the proliferation and migration of inter-/neuronal cortical progenitors, synapse development, vesicular release, synaptic plasticity, and importantly, synaptic clustering of GABAA receptors and subsequent excitatory/inhibitory balance in the brain. Similar to autophagy, the ubiquitin–proteasome system is regulated downstream of mTOR, and it is implicated in epileptogenesis. Thus, mTOR-dependent cell-clearing systems are now taking center stage in the field of epilepsy. In the present review, we discuss such evidence in a variety of seizure-related disorders and models. This is expected to provide a deeper insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying seizure activit

    Potential antidepressant effects of scutellaria baicalensis, hericium erinaceus and rhodiola rosea

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    Recent studies focused on the pharmacology and feasibility of herbal compounds as a potential strategy to target a variety of human diseases ranging from metabolic to brain disorders. Accordingly, bioactive ingredients which are found within a variety of herbal compounds are reported to produce both neuroprotective and psychotropic activities which may help to combat mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and cognitive alterations. In the present manuscript, we focus on three herbs which appear effective in mitigating anxiety or depression with favourable risk-benefit profiles, namely Scutellaria baicalensis (S. baicalensis), Hericium erinaceus (H. erinaceus) and Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea). These three traditional folk medicinal herbs target the main biochemical events that are implicated in mental disorders, mimicking, to some extent, the mechanisms of action of conventional antidepressants and mood stabilizers with a wide margin of tolerability. In detail, they rescue alterations in neurotransmitter and neuro-endocrine systems, stimulate neurogenesis and the synthesis of neurotrophic factors, and they counteract oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation. Albeit the encouraging results that emerge from both experimental and clinical evidence, further studies are needed to confirm and better understand the mental-health promoting, and specifically, the antidepressant effects of these herbs

    Flaminio Rota, 16th Century Anatomist at the University of Bologna: A Biography on the Walls

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    Flaminio Rota was a 16th century anatomist and medical figure at the University of Bologna. He was highly praised, despite his poor scientific production. As a matter of fact, Rota competed with scientific activities in different anatomical arguments, but he did not publish any important research. Nevertheless, we know the principal results of his scientific activity because indirect information can be found in other publications, where some of his studies were emphasized by his contemporary colleagues. Henning Witte even mentioned Rota as a very famous Italian medical figure, together with Galilei and Santorio. On the other hand, Rota was a highly esteemed teacher. The best evidence of his recognition is well-documented in the Palace of Archiginnasio in Bologna, where Rota’s teaching activity was praised with six memorial epigraphs. In the south-eastern outskirts of Bologna, there is an 18th century villa, including a more ancient annex, that belonged to Rota. At this location, the upper parts of the walls and the ceiling are decorated with a pictorial cycle illustrating medical scenes. In this paper, we theorize regarding his scientific thinking by analyzing the pictorial cycle he commissioned

    Editorial: The functional anatomy of the reticular formation

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    Editorial on the research topic of a special issue on the functional anatomy of the reticular formatio

    Autophagy in trimethyltin-induced neurodegeneration

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    Autophagy is a degradative process playing an important role in removing misfolded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens. The autophagic process is important for balancing sources of energy at critical developmental stages and in response to nutrient stress. Recently, autophagy has been involved in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases although its beneficial (pro-survival) or detrimental (pro-death) role remains controversial. In the present review, we discuss the role of autophagy following intoxication with trimethyltin (TMT), an organotin compound that induces severe hippocampal neurodegeneration associated with astrocyte and microglia activation. TMT is considered a useful tool to study the molecular mechanisms occurring in human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and temporal lobe epilepsy. This is also relevant in the field of environmental safety, since organotin compounds are used as heat stabilizers in polyvinyl chloride polymers, industrial and agricultural biocides, and as industrial chemical catalysts

    MTOR modulates intercellular signals for enlargement and infiltration in glioblastoma multiforme

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    Recently, exosomal release has been related to the acquisition of a malignant phenotype in glioblastoma cancer stem cells (GSCs). Remarkably, intriguing reports demonstrate that GSC-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) contribute to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumorigenesis via multiple pathways by regulating tumor growth, infiltration, and immune invasion. In fact, GSCs release tumor-promoting macrovesicles that can disseminate as paracrine factors to induce phenotypic alterations in glioma-associated parenchymal cells. In this way, GBM can actively recruit different stromal cells, which, in turn, may participate in tumor microenvironment (TME) remodeling and, thus, alter tumor progression. Vice versa, parenchymal cells can transfer their protein and genetic contents to GSCs by EVs; thus, promoting GSCs tumorigenicity. Moreover, GBM was shown to hijack EV-mediated cell-to-cell communication for self-maintenance. The present review examines the role of the mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in altering EVs/exosome-based cell-to-cell communication, thus modulating GBM infiltration and volume growth. In fact, exosomes have been implicated in GSC niche maintenance trough the modulation of GSCs stem cell-like properties, thus, affecting GBM infiltration and relapse. The present manuscript will focus on how EVs, and mostly exosomes, may act on GSCs and neighbor non tumorigenic stromal cells to modify their expression and translational profile, while making the TME surrounding the GSC niche more favorable for GBM growth and infiltration. Novel insights into the mTOR-dependent mechanisms regulating EV-mediated intercellular communication within GBM TME hold promising directions for future therapeutic applications

    Merging the multi‐target effects of phytochemicals in neurodegeneration: From oxidative stress to protein aggregation and inflammation

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    Wide experimental evidence has been provided in the last decade concerning the neuroprotective effects of phytochemicals in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. Generally, the neuroprotective effects of bioactive compounds belonging to different phytochemical classes are attributed to antioxidant, anti‐aggregation, and anti‐inflammatory activity along with the restoration of mitochondrial homeostasis and targeting alterations of cell‐clearing systems. Far from being independent, these multi‐target effects represent interconnected events that are commonly implicated in the pathogenesis of most neurodegenerative diseases, independently of etiology, nosography, and the specific misfolded proteins being involved. Nonetheless, the increasing amount of data applying to a variety of neurodegenerative disorders joined with the multiple effects exerted by the wide variety of plant‐derived neuroprotective agents may rather confound the reader. The present review is an attempt to provide a general guideline about the most relevant mechanisms through which naturally occurring agents may counteract neurodegeneration. With such an aim, we focus on some popular phytochemical classes and bioactive compounds as representative examples to design a sort of main highway aimed at deciphering the most relevant protective mechanisms which make phytochemicals potentially useful in counteracting neurodegeneration. In this frame, we emphasize the potential role of the cell‐clearing machinery as a kernel in the antioxidant, anti‐aggregation, anti‐inflammatory, and mitochondrial protecting effects of phytochemicals

    Autophagy-Based Hypothesis on the Role of Brain Catecholamine Response During Stress

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    Stressful events, similar to abused drugs, significantly affect the homeostatic balance of the catecholamine brain systems while activating compensation mechanisms to restore balance. In detail, norepinephrine (NE)- and dopamine (DA)-containing neurons within the locus coeruleus (LC) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), are readily and similarly activated by psychostimulants and stressful events involving neural processes related to perception, reward, cognitive evaluation, appraisal, and stress-dependent hormonal factors. Brain catecholamine response to stress results in time-dependent regulatory processes involving mesocorticolimbic circuits and networks, where LC-NE neurons respond more readily than VTA-DA neurons. LC-NE projections are dominant in controlling the forebrain DA-targeted areas, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial pre-frontal cortex (mPFC). Heavy and persistent coping demand could lead to sustained LC-NE and VTA-DA neuronal activity, that, when persisting chronically, is supposed to alter LC-VTA synaptic connections. Increasing evidence has been provided indicating a role of autophagy in modulating DA neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. This alters behavior, and emotional/cognitive experience in response to drug abuse and occasionally, to psychological stress. Thus, relevant information to address the role of stress and autophagy can be drawn from psychostimulants research. In the present mini-review we discuss the role of autophagy in brain catecholamine response to stress and its dysregulation. The findings here discussed suggest a crucial role of regulated autophagy in the response and adaptation of LC-NE and VTA-DA systems to stress

    Cell-clearing systems bridging repeat expansion proteotoxicity and neuromuscular junction alterations in ALS and SBMA

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    The coordinated activities of autophagy and the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) are key to preventing the aggregation and toxicity of misfold-prone proteins which manifest in a number of neurodegenerative disorders. These include proteins which are encoded by genes containing nucleotide repeat expansions. In the present review we focus on the overlapping role of autophagy and the UPS in repeat expansion proteotoxicity associated with chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) and androgen receptor (AR) genes, which are implicated in two motor neuron disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), respectively. At baseline, both C9ORF72 and AR regulate autophagy, while their aberrantly-expanded isoforms may lead to a failure in both autophagy and the UPS, further promoting protein aggregation and toxicity within motor neurons and skeletal muscles. Besides proteotoxicity, autophagy and UPS alterations are also implicated in neuromuscular junction (NMJ) alterations, which occur early in both ALS and SBMA. In fact, autophagy and the UPS intermingle with endocytic/secretory pathways to regulate axonal homeostasis and neurotransmission by interacting with key proteins which operate at the NMJ, such as agrin, acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), and adrenergic beta2 receptors (B2-ARs). Thus, alterations of autophagy and the UPS configure as a common hallmark in both ALS and SBMA disease progression. The findings here discussed may contribute to disclosing overlapping molecular mechanisms which are associated with a failure in cell-clearing systems in ALS and SBMA