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      Opiate Analgesics as Negative Modulators of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis: Potential Implications in Clinical Practice

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          During the past decade, studies of the mechanisms and functional implications of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (ahNG) have significantly progressed. At present, it is proposed that adult born neurons may contribute to a variety of hippocampal-related functions, including specific cognitive aspects and mood regulation. Several groups focussed on the factors that regulate proliferation and fate determination of adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSC/NPC), including clinically relevant drugs. Opiates were the first drugs shown to negatively impact neurogenesis in the adult mammalian hippocampus. Since that initial report, a vast array of information has been collected on the effect of opiate drugs, by either modulating proliferation of stem/progenitor cells or interfering with differentiation, maturation and survival of adult born neurons. The goal of this review is to critically revise the present state of knowledge on the effect of opiate drugs on the different developmental stages of ahNG, as well as the possible underlying mechanisms. We will also highlight the potential impact of deregulated hippocampal neurogenesis on patients undergoing chronic opiate treatment. Finally, we will discuss the differences in the negative impact on ahNG among clinically relevant opiate drugs, an aspect that may be potentially taken into account to avoid long-term deregulation of neural plasticity and its associated functions in the clinical practice.

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          Most cited references 74

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          Milestones of neuronal development in the adult hippocampus.

          Adult hippocampal neurogenesis originates from precursor cells in the adult dentate gyrus and results in new granule cell neurons. We propose a model of the development that takes place between these two fixed points and identify several developmental milestones. From a presumably bipotent radial-glia-like stem cell (type-1 cell) with astrocytic properties, development progresses over at least two stages of amplifying lineage-determined progenitor cells (type-2 and type-3 cells) to early postmitotic and to mature neurons. The selection process, during which new neurons are recruited into function, and other regulatory influences differentially affect the different stages of development.
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            GABA regulates synaptic integration of newly generated neurons in the adult brain.

            Adult neurogenesis, the birth and integration of new neurons from adult neural stem cells, is a striking form of structural plasticity and highlights the regenerative capacity of the adult mammalian brain. Accumulating evidence suggests that neuronal activity regulates adult neurogenesis and that new neurons contribute to specific brain functions. The mechanism that regulates the integration of newly generated neurons into the pre-existing functional circuitry in the adult brain is unknown. Here we show that newborn granule cells in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus are tonically activated by ambient GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) before being sequentially innervated by GABA- and glutamate-mediated synaptic inputs. GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, initially exerts an excitatory action on newborn neurons owing to their high cytoplasmic chloride ion content. Conversion of GABA-induced depolarization (excitation) into hyperpolarization (inhibition) in newborn neurons leads to marked defects in their synapse formation and dendritic development in vivo. Our study identifies an essential role for GABA in the synaptic integration of newly generated neurons in the adult brain, and suggests an unexpected mechanism for activity-dependent regulation of adult neurogenesis, in which newborn neurons may sense neuronal network activity through tonic and phasic GABA activation.
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              Early determination and long-term persistence of adult-generated new neurons in the hippocampus of mice.

              New neurons are continually generated in the adult hippocampus, but the important question, whether adult neurogenesis is transient or leads to the lasting presence of new neurons, has not yet been answered. Dividing cells were labeled with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and were investigated by means of immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy at several time-points 1 day to 11 months thereafter. BrdU-labeled neurons remained stable in number and in their relative position in the granule cell layer over at least 11 months. This finding implies that the addition of new neurons is not transient and that their final number and localization are determined early. By contrast, expression of immature markers beta-III-tubulin and doublecortin in BrdU-labeled cells, peaked early after division and was not detectable after 4 weeks. In transgenic mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein under the nestin promoter none of the BrdU/nestin-positive cells early after division expressed the mature marker NeuN, confirming that no dividing neurons were detected. These new data suggest that new neurons are recruited early from the pool of proliferating progenitor cells and lead to a lasting effect of adult neurogenesis.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                09 May 2017
                : 8
                Laboratory of Neuroplasticity, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale Novara, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Maria Angela Sortino, University of Catania, Italy

                Reviewed by: Cesare Patrone, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Anna Maria Pittaluga, University of Genoa, Italy

                *Correspondence: Mariagrazia Grilli, mariagrazia.grilli@

                This article was submitted to Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                Copyright © 2017 Bortolotto and Grilli.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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