Synaptic plasticity is believed to be a cellular mechanism for memory formation in the brain. It has been known that the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) is required for persistent forms of memory and induction of synaptic plasticity. Application of mGluR agonists induces synaptic plasticity in the absence of electrical conditioning stimulation, such as high or low frequency stimulation. The direction of the mGluR-induced synaptic plasticity, i.e., either long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term-depression (LTD), is dependent on whether N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are co-activated with mGluRs. ATP has modulatory effects on neuronal functions and, in particular, there is increasing evidence that it plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity. LTP can be induced by application of ATP, and this effect is inhibited by NMDAR antagonist. Although cooperative effects of NMDARs and mGluRs and of NMDARs and extracellular ATP in synaptic plasticity have been revealed, the effect of extracellular ATP on mGluR-induced synaptic plasticity is unknown. In this article, we summarize published data on mGluR- and ATP-induced synaptic plasticity, and present new data showing that extracellular ATP facilitates both the LTP and LTD induced by mGluR activation.
Adipose stem cells (ASCs) are a source of regenerative cells available for autologous transplantation to hearts. We compared protective actions of ASC sheets on rat myocardial infarction (MI) in comparison with those of skeletal myoblast cell sheets. Their effects on infarcted hearts were evaluated by biological, histochemical as well as physiological analyses. ASC sheets secreted higher concentrations of angiogenic factors (HGF, VEGF, and bFGF; P < 0.05) under normoxic and hypoxic conditions than those of myoblast cell sheets, associated with reduction of cell apoptosis (P < 0.05). Like myoblast cell sheets, ASC sheets improved cardiac function (P < 0.05) and decreased the plasma level of ANP (P < 0.05) in MI hearts. ASC sheets restored cardiac remodeling characterized by fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy and impaired angiogenesis (P < 0.05), which was associated with increases in angiogenic factors (P < 0.05). In isolated perfused rat hearts, ASC sheets improved both systolic and diastolic functions, which was comparable to cardiac functions of myoblast cell sheets, while both cell sheets failed to restore cardiac contractile response to either isoproterenol, pimobendan or dibutyryl cAMP. These results indicated that ASC sheets improved cardiac function and remodeling of MI hearts mediated by their paracrine action and this improvement was comparable to those by myoblast cell sheets.
CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) β regulates chondrocyte differentiaion and proliferation during endochondral ossification. However, expression and function of other C/EBP family members in chondrocytes have not been fully understood. To understand the comprehensive regulation of chondrocyte differentiation by C/EBPs, we initially examined their expression levels. Among four members (C/EBPα, C/EBPβ, C/EBPδ and C/EBPε) with transactivation domain, expression of Cebpb and Cebpd was abundant compared to Cebpa, while Cebpe was hardly expressed in mouse isolated chondrocytes. Doxycycline (DOX)-inducible overexpression of each of the three C/EBPs (C/EBPα, C/EBPβ and C/EBPδ) in ATDC5 cells suppressed expressions of early differentiation markers including Col2a1, aggrecan and Sox9, enhanced those of late differentiation markers including Mmp13, Vegfa and Col10a1, and decelerated cell proliferation, indicating their overlapped functions in chondrocytes. In contrast, DOX-inducible overexpression of A-CEBP, which exerts a dominant-negative effect against all C/EBPs, increased expressions of early differentiation markers and decreased those of late differentiation markers. Finally, microarray and gene ontology analyses showed that A-CEBP altered many genes related with various events or tissues such as skeletal development, cartilage, cell cycle, inflammation and apoptosis. In conclusion, C/EBPα, C/EBPβ and C/EBPδ regulate proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes and possibly is involved with apoptosis and inflammation. C/EBPs may play a variety of roles in the homeostasis of joint cartilage under physiological and pathological conditions.
The existence of progenitor/mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) was demonstrated previously in human primary/deciduous teeth. In this study, we examined dental pulp cells from root portion (root cells) of primary teeth without discernible root resorption and compared them with pulp cells from the crown portion (crown cells). Root cells and crown cells were characterized and compared to each other based on progenitor/MSC characteristics and on their generation efficiency of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Root cells and crown cells included cells manifesting typical progenitor/MSC properties such as osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation potential and clonogenicity. Interestingly, root cells showed a higher expression level of embryonic stem cell marker, KLF4, than crown cells. Moreover, the number of colony-forming unit-fibroblast and cell proliferation rate were higher for root cells than crown cells, and the efficiency of generating iPS cells from root cells was approximately four times higher than that from crown cells. Taken together, these results suggest that root cells from primary teeth show the MSC-like properties and thus could be a potent alternative source for iPS cell generation and the subsequent transplantation therapy.
This study investigated the effect of bergamot essential oil (BEO) or linalool, a major volatile component of BEO, on the nociceptive response to formalin. Plantar subcutaneous injection of BEO or linalool into the ipsilateral hindpaw reduced both the first and late phases of the formalininduced licking and biting responses in mice. Plantar subcutaneous injection of BEO or linalool into the contralateral hindpaw did not yield an antinociceptive effect, suggesting that the antinociceptive effect of BEO or linalool in the formalin test occurred peripherally. Intraperitoneal and plantar subcutaneous injection pretreatment with naloxone hydrochloride, an opioid receptor antagonist, significantly attenuated both BEO- and linalool-induced antinociception. Pretreatment with naloxone methiodide, a peripherally acting opioid receptor antagonists, also significantly antagonized the antinociceptive effects of BEO and linalool. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of peripheral opioids in antinociception induced by BEO and linalool. These results suggest that activation of peripheral opioid receptors may play an important role in reducing formalin-induced nociception.
Ultraviolet (UV) treatment immediately prior to use is attracting attention as an effective surface conditioning method for titanium to improve osteoblast-affinity. The affinity of titanium to osteoblasts in two-dimensional plate culture has been well studied, but that in three-dimensional cultures remains unclear. Here, we examined the effect of UV treatment on titanium scaffolds, comprising micro-thin titanium fibers, used in bone engineering. Titanium scaffolds, with and without UV treatment, were seeded with rat bone marrow derived osteoblasts, and the number of cells attached to scaffolds and osteoblastic phenotype in the cultures were examined. UV treatment improved the wettability of scaffolds and significantly reduced the percentage of surface carbon. Along with these physicochemical changes in the scaffolds, cell attachment increased by a factor of 1.3 as compared to that of the untreated control. In addition, alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium deposition significantly increased by a factor of 2.3 and 2.0, respectively. Robust formation of mineralized structures consisting of clear peaks of calcium and phosphorus was observed in the UV-treated scaffolds. The observed increase in osteoblast affinity and capability of mineralized matrix formation indicates the potential use of UV-treated titanium scaffolds for bone engineering.
This study, using C57BL/6J mice with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes, aimed to determine whether Bifidobacterium species (spp.) both induces the expressions of proteins in the insulin signaling pathway and enhances the expressions of certain adipocytokines. The protein expressions of IκB kinase alpha (IKKα), IκB kinase beta (IKKβ), nuclear factor-kappaB inhibitor alpha (IκBα), and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway were also investigated. Oral administration of Bifidobacterium spp. reduced blood glucose levels significantly and increased the protein expressions of insulin receptor beta, insulin receptor substrate 1, protein kinase B (Akt/PKB), IKKα, and IκBα. Extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2) showed increased expression. Bifidobacterium spp. also induced the adiponectin expression and decreased both macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression. In addition, IKKβ, c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAP kinase expressions showed no significant changes in both groups. In conclusion, Bifidobacterium spp. may be the promising bacteria for treating diabetes.