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    Gut vagal sensory signaling regulates hippocampus function through multi-order pathways. Suarez Andrea N,Hsu Ted M,Liu Clarissa M,Noble Emily E,Cortella Alyssa M,Nakamoto Emily M,Hahn Joel D,de Lartigue Guillaume,Kanoski Scott E Nature communications The vagus nerve is the primary means of neural communication between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the brain. Vagally mediated GI signals activate the hippocampus (HPC), a brain region classically linked with memory function. However, the endogenous relevance of GI-derived vagal HPC communication is unknown. Here we utilize a saporin (SAP)-based lesioning procedure to reveal that selective GI vagal sensory/afferent ablation in rats impairs HPC-dependent episodic and spatial memory, effects associated with reduced HPC neurotrophic and neurogenesis markers. To determine the neural pathways connecting the gut to the HPC, we utilize monosynaptic and multisynaptic virus-based tracing methods to identify the medial septum as a relay connecting the medial nucleus tractus solitarius (where GI vagal afferents synapse) to dorsal HPC glutamatergic neurons. We conclude that endogenous GI-derived vagal sensory signaling promotes HPC-dependent memory function via a multi-order brainstem-septal pathway, thereby identifying a previously unknown role for the gut-brain axis in memory control. 10.1038/s41467-018-04639-1
    Fat-brain connections: Adipocyte glucocorticoid control of stress and metabolism. de Kloet Annette D,Herman James P Frontiers in neuroendocrinology Glucocorticoids act via multiple mechanisms to mobilize energy for maintenance and restoration of homeostasis. In adipose tissue, glucocorticoids can promote lipolysis and facilitate adipocyte differentiation/growth, serving both energy-mobilizing and restorative processes during negative energy balance. Recent data suggest that adipose-dependent feedback may also be involved in regulation of stress responses. Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptor (GR) deletion causes increased HPA axis stress reactivity, due to a loss of negative feedback signals into the CNS. The fat-to-brain signal may be mediated by neuronal mechanisms, release of adipokines or increased lipolysis. The ability of adipose GRs to inhibit psychogenic as well as metabolic stress responses suggests that (1) feedback regulation of the HPA axis occurs across multiple bodily compartments, and (2) fat tissue integrates psychogenic stress signals. These studies support a link between stress biology and energy metabolism, a connection that has clear relevance for numerous disease states and their comorbidities. 10.1016/j.yfrne.2017.10.005
    Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Modulates Default Mode Network in Major Depressive Disorder. Fang Jiliang,Rong Peijing,Hong Yang,Fan Yangyang,Liu Jun,Wang Honghong,Zhang Guolei,Chen Xiaoyan,Shi Shan,Wang Liping,Liu Rupeng,Hwang Jiwon,Li Zhengjie,Tao Jing,Wang Yang,Zhu Bing,Kong Jian Biological psychiatry BACKGROUND:Depression is the most common form of mental disorder in community and health care settings and current treatments are far from satisfactory. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a Food and Drug Administration approved somatic treatment for treatment-resistant depression. However, the involvement of surgery has limited VNS only to patients who have failed to respond to multiple treatment options. Transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) is a relatively new, noninvasive VNS method based on the rationale that there is afferent/efferent vagus nerve distribution on the surface of the ear. The safe and low-cost characteristics of tVNS have the potential to significantly expand the clinical application of VNS. METHODS:In this study, we investigated how tVNS can modulate the default mode network (DMN) functional connectivity (FC) in mild or moderate major depressive disorder (MDD) patients. Forty-nine MDD patients were recruited and received tVNS or sham tVNS (stVNS) treatments. RESULTS:Thirty-four patients completed the study and were included in data analysis. After 1 month of tVNS treatment, the 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score reduced significantly in the tVNS group as compared with the stVNS group. The FC between the DMN and anterior insula and parahippocampus decreased; the FC between the DMN and precuneus and orbital prefrontal cortex increased compared with stVNS. All these FC increases are also associated with 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale reduction. CONCLUSIONS:tVNS can significantly modulate the DMN FC of MDD patients; our results provide insights to elucidate the brain mechanism of tVNS treatment for MDD patients. 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.03.025