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- ItemGrowth of malignant extracranial tumors alters microRNAome in the prefrontal cortext of TumorGraft mice(Impact Journals, 2017) Kovalchuk, Anna; Ilnytskyy, Yaroslav; Rodriquez-Juarez, Rocio; Katz, Amanda; Sidransky, David; Kolb, Bryan; Kovalchuk, OlgaA wide array of central nervous system complications, neurological deficits, and cognitive impairments occur and persist as a result of systemic cancer and cancer treatments. This condition is known as chemo brain and it affects over half of cancer survivors. Recent studies reported that cognitive impairments manifest before chemotherapy and are much broader than chemo brain alone, thereby adding in tumor brain as a component. The molecular mechanisms of chemo brain are underinvestigated, and the mechanisms of tumor brain have not been analyzed at all. The frequency and timing, as well as the long-term persistence, of chemo brain and tumor brain suggest they may be epigenetic in nature. MicroRNAs, small, single-stranded non-coding RNAs, constitute an important part of the cellular epigenome and are potent regulators of gene expression. miRNAs are crucial for brain development and function, and are affected by a variety of different stresses, diseases and conditions. However, nothing is known about the effects of extracranial tumor growth or chemotherapy agents on the brain microRNAome. We used the well-established TumorGraft TM mouse models of triple negative (TNBC) and progesterone receptor positive (PR+BC) breast cancer, and profiled global microRNAome changes in tumor-bearing mice upon chemotherapy, as compared to untreated tumor-bearing mice and intact mice. Our analysis focused on the prefrontal cortex (PFC), based on its roles in memory, learning, and executive functions, and on published data showing the PFC is a target in chemo brain. This is the first study showing that tumor presence alone significantly impacted the small RNAome of PFC tissues. Both tumor growth and chemotherapy treatment affected the small RNAome and altered levels of miRNAs, piRNAs, tRNAs, tRNA fragments and other molecules involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Amongst those, miRNA changes were the most pronounced, involving several miRNA families, such as the miR-200 family and miR-183/96/182 cluster; both were deregulated in tumor-bearing and chemotherapy-treated animals. We saw that miRNA deregulation was associated with altered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays an important role in cognition and memory and is one of the known miRNA targets. BDNF downregulation has been associated with an array of neurological conditions and could be one of the mechanisms underlying tumor brain and chemo brain. In the future our study could serve as a roadmap for further analysis of cancer and chemotherapy’s neural side effects, and differentially expressed miRNAs should be explored as potential tumor brain and chemo brain biomarkers.
- ItemLiver irradiation causes distal bystander effects in the rat brain and affects animal behavior(Impact Journals, 2016) Kovalchuk, Anna; Mychasiuk, Richelle; Muhammad, Arif; Hossain, Shakhawat; Ilnytskyy, Slava; Ghose, Abhijit; Kirby, Charles; Ghasroddashti3, Esmaeel; Kovalchuk, Olga; Kolb, BryanRadiation therapy can not only produce effects on targeted organs, but can also influence shielded bystander organs, such as the brain in targeted liver irradiation. The brain is sensitive to radiation exposure, and irradiation causes significant neurocognitive deficits, including deficits in attention, concentration, memory, and executive and visuospatial functions. The mechanisms of their occurrence are not understood, although they may be related to the bystander effects. We analyzed the induction, mechanisms, and behavioural repercussions of bystander effects in the brain upon liver irradiation in a well-established rat model. Here, we show for the first time that bystander effects occur in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus regions upon liver irradiation, where they manifest as altered gene expression and somewhat increased levels of fH2AX. We also report that bystander effects in the brain are associated with neuroanatomical and behavioural changes, and are more pronounced in females than in males.
- ItemCorticosterone response to gestational stress and postpartum memory function in mice(Public Library of Science, 2017) Jafari, Zahra; Mehla, Jogender; Afrashteh, Navvab; Kolb, Bryan; Mohajerani, Majid H.Maternal stress is a common adversity during pregnancy. Gestational corticosterone alternations are thought to contribute to the etiology of postpartum behavioral disturbances. However, the impact of stress during pregnancy, in particular noise exposure, on gestational corticosterone fluctuations and spatial cognition in postpartum mice has not been fully understood yet. We hypothesized that noise exposure during pregnancy negatively affects gestational corticosterone levels and postpartum memory function in the dams similar to the physical stressors. Pregnant C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to either one of two stress conditions or a control condition. The noise stress (NS) was induced by presenting a loud intermittent 3000 Hz frequency on gestational days (GDs) 12, 14, and 16 for 24 hours, whereas the physical stress (PS) consisted of restraint and exposure to an elevated platform on GDs 12–16. Plasma corticosterone level was collected on GDs 11 and 17, and Morris water task (MWT) was carried out 30 days after parturition. Compared to the control group, the level of corticosterone in the stressed groups was significantly increased on GD17 relative to GD11. Significantly longer swim time and lower swim speed were observed in both stressed groups relative to the control group. Probe time was significantly shorter in the NS group than the other groups. The delta corticosterone level was significantly correlated with the swim time as well as the probe time in the three groups. Given the results, the adverse effects of gestational noise exposure on the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and postpartum spatial learning and memory function were as large as/ or a bit stronger than the physical stresses. The findings suggest the significance of conservation against loud noise exposure in daily living, as well as need to further notice to the different aspects of gestational stress in mothers’ behavior like offspring.
- ItemProfound and sexually dimorphic effects of clinically-relevant low dose scatter irradiation on the brain and behavior(Frontiers Media, 2016) Kovalchuk, Anna; Mychasiuk, Richelle; Muhammad, Arif; Hossain, Shakhawat; Ilnytskyy, Yaroslav; Ghose, Abhijit; Kirkby, Charles; Ghasroddashti, Esmaeel; Kolb, Bryan; Kovalchuk, OlgaIrradiated cells can signal damage and distress to both close and distant neighbors that have not been directly exposed to the radiation (naïve bystanders). While studies have shown that such bystander effects occur in the shielded brain of animals upon body irradiation, their mechanism remains unexplored. Observed effects may be caused by some blood-borne factors; however they may also be explained, at least in part, by very small direct doses received by the brain that result from scatter or leakage. In order to establish the roles of low doses of scatter irradiation in the brain response, we developed a new model for scatter irradiation analysis whereby one rat was irradiated directly at the liver and the second rat was placed adjacent to the first and received a scatter dose to its body and brain. This work focuses specifically on the response of the latter rat brain to the low scatter irradiation dose. Here, we provide the first experimental evidence that very low, clinically relevant doses of scatter irradiation alter gene expression, induce changes in dendritic morphology, and lead to behavioral deficits in exposed animals. The results showed that exposure to radiation doses as low as 0.115 cGy caused changes in gene expression and reduced spine density, dendritic complexity, and dendritic length in the prefrontal cortex tissues of females, but not males. In the hippocampus, radiation altered neuroanatomical organization in males, but not in females. Moreover, low dose radiation caused behavioral deficits in the exposed animals. This is the first study to show that low dose scatter irradiation influences the brain and behavior in a sex-specific way.
- ItemFactors influencing cerebral plasticity in the normal and injured brain(Frontiers Research Foundation, 2010) Kolb, Bryan; Teskey, G. Campbell; Gibb, Robbin L.An important development in behavioral neuroscience in the past 20 years has been the demonstration that it is possible to stimulate functional recovery after cerebral injury in laboratory animals. Rodent models of cerebral injury provide an important tool for developing such rehabilitation programs. The models include analysis at different levels including detailed behavioral paradigms, electrophysiology, neuronal morphology, protein chemistry, and epigenetics. A significant challenge for the next 20 years will be the translation of this work to improve the outcome from brain injury and disease in humans. Our goal in the article will be to synthesize the multidisciplinary laboratory work on brain plasticity and behavior in the injured brain to inform the development of rehabilitation programs.
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