Abstract: Oligodendrocytes wrap neuronal axons to form myelin, an insulating sheath which is essential for nervous impulse conduction along axons. Axonal myelination is highly regulated by neuronal and astrocytic signals and the maintenance of myelin sheaths is a very complex process. Oligodendrocyte damage can cause axonal demyelination and neuronal injury, leading to neurological disorders. Demyelination in the cerebrum may produce cognitive impairment in a variety of neurological disorders, including human immunodeficiency virus type one (HIV-1)-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Although the combined antiretroviral therapy has markedly reduced the incidence of HIV-1-associated dementia, a severe form of HAND, milder forms of HAND remain prevalent even when the peripheral viral load is well controlled. HAND manifests as a subcortical dementia with damage in the brain white matter (e.g., corpus callosum), which consists of myelinated axonal fibers. How HIV-1 brain infection causes myelin injury and resultant white matter damage is an interesting area of current HIV research. In this review, we tentatively address recent progress on oligodendrocyte dysregulation and HAND pathogenesis.
Abstract: This article discusses the special features of odor-evoked memory and the current state-of-the-art in odor-evoked memory research to show how these unique experiences may be able to influence and benefit psychological and physiological health. A review of the literature leads to the conclusion that odors that evoke positive autobiographical memories have the potential to increase positive emotions, decrease negative mood states, disrupt cravings, and reduce physiological indices of stress, including systemic markers of inflammation. Olfactory perception factors and individual difference characteristics that would need to be considered in therapeutic applications of odor-evoked-memory are also discussed. This article illustrates how through the experimentally validated mechanisms of odor-associative learning and the privileged neuroanatomical relationship that exists between olfaction and the neural substrates of emotion, odors can be harnessed to induce emotional and physiological responses that can improve human health and wellbeing.
Abstract: Obesity is a chronic, progressive and prevalent disorder. Morbid obesity, in particular, is associated with numerous comorbidities and early mortality. In patients with morbid obesity, pharmacological and behavioral approaches often have limited results. Bariatric surgery is quite effective but is associated with operative failures and a non-negligible incidence of side effects. In the last decades, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been investigated as a neurosurgical modality to treat various neuropsychiatric disorders. In this article we review the rationale for selecting different brain targets, surgical results and future perspectives for the use of DBS in medically refractory obesity.
Abstract: The Sound of Vision project involves developing a sensory substitution device that is aimed at creating and conveying a rich auditory representation of the surrounding environment to the visually impaired. However, the feasibility of such an approach is strongly constrained by neural flexibility, possibilities of sensory substitution and adaptation to changed sensory input. We review evidence for such flexibility from various perspectives. We discuss neuroplasticity of the adult brain with an emphasis on functional changes in the visually impaired compared to sighted people. We discuss effects of adaptation on brain activity, in particular short-term and long-term effects of repeated exposure to particular stimuli. We then discuss evidence for sensory substitution such as Sound of Vision involves, while finally discussing evidence for adaptation to changes in the auditory environment. We conclude that sensory substitution enterprises such as Sound of Vision are quite feasible in light of the available evidence, which is encouraging regarding such projects.
Abstract: An important aspect of CNS disease and injury is the elevated expression of neuroimmune factors. These factors are thought to contribute to processes ranging from recovery and repair to pathology. The complexity of the CNS and the multitude of neuroimmune factors that are expressed in the CNS during disease and injury is a challenge to an understanding of the consequences of the elevated expression relative to CNS function. One approach to address this issue is the use of transgenic mice that express elevated levels of a specific neuroimmune factor in the CNS by a cell type that normally produces it. This approach can provide basic information about the actions of specific neuroimmune factors and can contribute to an understanding of more complex conditions when multiple neuroimmune factors are expressed. This review summarizes studies using transgenic mice that express elevated levels of IL-6, CCL2 or CXCL10 through increased astrocyte expression. The studies focus on the effects of these neuroimmune factors on synaptic function at the Schaffer collateral to CA1 pyramidal neuron synapse of the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a key role in cognitive function.
Abstract: The cytokines interleukin 13 and 4 share a common heterodimeric receptor and are important modulators of peripheral allergic reactions. Produced primarily by T-helper type 2 lymphocytes, they are typically considered as anti-inflammatory cytokines because they can downregulate the synthesis of T-helper type 1 pro-inflammatory cytokines. Their presence and role in the brain is only beginning to be investigated and the data collected so far shows that these molecules can be produced by microglial cells and possibly by neurons. Attention has so far been given to the possible role of these molecules in neurodegeneration. Both neuroprotective or neurotoxic effects have been proposed based on evidence that interleukin 13 and 4 can reduce inflammation by promoting the M2 microglia phenotype and contributing to the death of microglia M1 phenotype, or by potentiating the effects of oxidative stress on neurons during neuro-inflammation. Remarkably, the heterodimeric subunit IL-13Rα1 of their common receptor was recently demonstrated in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area and the substantia nigra pars compacta, suggesting the possibility that both cytokines may affect the activity of these neurons regulating reward, mood, and motor coordination. In mice and man, the gene encoding for IL-13Rα1 is expressed on the X chromosome within the PARK12 region of susceptibility to Parkinson’s disease (PD). This, together with finding that IL-13Rα1 contributes to loss of dopaminergic neurons during inflammation, indicates the possibility that these cytokines may contribute to the etiology or the progression of PD.