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      Role of Late Maternal Thyroid Hormones in Cerebral Cortex Development: An Experimental Model for Human Prematurity

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          Hypothyroxinemia affects 35–50% of neonates born prematurely (12% of births) and increases their risk of suffering neurodevelopmental alterations. We have developed an animal model to study the role of maternal thyroid hormones (THs) at the end of gestation on offspring's cerebral maturation. Pregnant rats were surgically thyroidectomized at embryonic day (E) 16 and infused with calcitonin and parathormone (late maternal hypothyroidism [LMH] rats). After birth, pups were nursed by normal rats. Pups born to LMH dams, thyroxine treated from E17 to postnatal day (P) 0, were also studied. In developing LMH pups, the cortical lamination was abnormal. At P40, heterotopic neurons were found in the subcortical white matter and in the hippocampal stratum oriens and alveus. The Zn-positive area of the stratum oriens of hippocampal CA3 was decreased by 41.5% showing altered mossy fibers’ organization. LMH pups showed delayed learning in parallel to decreased phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (pCREB) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (pERK1/2) expression in the hippocampus. Thyroxine treatment of LMH dams reverted abnormalities. In conclusion, maternal THs are still essential for normal offspring's neurodevelopment even after onset of fetal thyroid function. Our data suggest that thyroxine treatment of premature neonates should be attempted to compensate for the interruption of the maternal supply.

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          Schizophrenia as a disorder of neurodevelopment.

          A combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental perturbations appear to be necessary for the expression of schizophrenia. In addition, the pathogenesis of the disease is hypothesized to be neurodevelopmental in nature based on reports of an excess of adverse events during the pre- and perinatal periods, the presence of cognitive and behavioral signs during childhood and adolescence, and the lack of evidence of a neurodegenerative process in most individuals with schizophrenia. Recent studies of neurodevelopmental mechanisms strongly suggest that no single gene or factor is responsible for driving a highly complex biological process. Together, these findings suggest that combinatorial genetic and environmental factors, which disturb a normal developmental course early in life, result in molecular and histogenic responses that cumulatively lead to different developmental trajectories and the clinical phenotype recognized as schizophrenia.
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            ZnT-3, a putative transporter of zinc into synaptic vesicles.

            The murine ZnT3 gene was cloned by virtue of its homology to the ZnT2 gene, which encodes a membrane protein that facilitates sequestration of zinc in endosomal vesicles. ZnT-3 protein is predicted to have six transmembrane domains and shares 52% amino acid identity with ZnT-2, with the homology extending throughout the two sequences. Human ZnT-3 cDNAs were also cloned; the amino acid sequence is 86% identical to murine ZnT-3. The mouse ZnT3 gene has 8 exons and maps to chromosome 5. Northern blot and reverse transcriptase-PCR analyses demonstrate that murine ZnT-3 expression is restricted to the brain and testis. In situ hybridization reveals that within the brain, ZnT-3 mRNA is most abundant in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Antibodies raised against the C-terminal tail of mouse ZnT-3 react with the projections from these neurons and produce a pattern similar to that obtained with Timm's reaction, which reveals histochemically reactive zinc within synaptic vesicles. We propose that ZnT-3 facilitates the accumulation of zinc in synaptic vesicles.
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              Neuregulin 1 and schizophrenia: genetics, gene expression, and neurobiology.

               A. Law,  P. Harrison (2006)
              Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a leading schizophrenia susceptibility gene. The NRG1 locus on chromosome 8p shows linkage to the disorder, and genetic association has been found between schizophrenia and various non-coding polymorphisms and haplotypes, especially at the 5' end of the NRG1 gene, in many but not all case-control and family studies. NRG1 is a pleiotropic growth factor, important in nervous system development and functioning; roles include the modulation of neuronal migration, synaptogenesis, gliogenesis, neuron-glia communication, myelination, and neurotransmission. Understanding the neurobiology of NRG1 and its involvement in schizophrenia is challenged by the complexity of the gene, which gives rise to multiple functionally distinct isoforms, including six "types" of NRG1 defined by 5' exon usage. Type IV and type I NRG1 may be particularly relevant to schizophrenia, with initial data showing altered expression of these isoforms in the disorder or in association with NRG1 risk alleles. We review the structure and functions of NRG1, consider the evidence for and against it being a schizophrenia susceptibility gene, and discuss mechanisms that might underlie the contribution of NRG1 to disease pathophysiology.

                Author and article information

                Cereb Cortex
                Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)
                Oxford University Press
                June 2010
                7 October 2009
                7 October 2009
                : 20
                : 6
                : 1462-1475
                [1 ]Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad Miguel Hernández and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Sant Joan d'Alacant, 03550 Alicante, Spain
                [2 ]Biochemistry Laboratory, Hospital Universitario Sant Joan, Sant Joan d'Alacant, 03550 Alicante, Spain Madrid
                [3 ]Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28029 Madrid, Spain
                [4 ]Center for Biomedical Research on Rare Diseases (CIBERER, U708), 28029 Madrid, Spain
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Pere Berbel, PhD, Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad Miguel Hernández-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Apartado de Correos 18, Sant Joan d'Alacant, 03550 Alicante, Spain. Email: pere.berbel@ 123456umh.es .
                © 2009 The Authors

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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