Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Department of

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Effects of acidosis on neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels: Nav1.1 and Nav1.3

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-10-26
Abstract: 

Voltage-gated sodium channels are key contributors to membrane excitability. These channels are expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Mutations and modulation of these channels underlie various physiological and pathophysiological manifestations. The effects of changes in extracellular pH on channel gating have been studied on several sodium channel subtypes. Among these, Nav1.5 is the most pH-sensitive channel, with Nav1.2 and Nav1.4 being mostly pH-resistant channels. However, pH effects have not been characterized on other sodium channel subtypes. In this study, we sought to determine whether Nav1.1 and Nav1.3 display resistance or sensitivity to changes in extracellular pH. These two sodium channel subtypes are predominantly found in inhibitory neurons. The expression of these channels highly depends on age and the developmental stage of neurons, with Nav1.3 being found mostly in neonatal neurons, and Nav1.1 being found in adult neurons. Our present results indicate that, during extracellular acidosis, both channels show a depolarization in the voltage-dependence of activation and moderate reduction in current density. Voltage-dependence of steady-state fast inactivation and recovery from fast inactivation were unchanged. We conclude that Nav1.1 and Nav1.3 have similar pH-sensitivities.

Document type: 
Article
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A Mixed Periodic Paralysis & Myotonia Mutant, P1158S, Imparts pH-Sensitivity in Skeletal Muscle Voltage-gated Sodium Channels

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Skeletal muscle channelopathies, many of which are inherited as autosomal dominant mutations, include myotonia and periodic paralysis. Myotonia is defined by a delayed relaxation after muscular contraction, whereas periodic paralysis is defined by episodic attacks of weakness. One sub-type of periodic paralysis, known as hypokalemic periodic paralysis (hypoPP), is associated with low potassium levels. Interestingly, the P1158S missense mutant, located in the third domain S4-S5 linker of the “skeletal muscle”, Nav1.4, has been implicated in causing both myotonia and hypoPP. A common trigger for these conditions is physical activity. We previously reported that Nav1.4 is relatively insensitive to changes in extracellular pH compared to Nav1.2 and Nav1.5. Given that intense exercise is often accompanied by blood acidosis, we decided to test whether changes in pH would push gating in P1158S towards either phenotype. Our results suggest that, unlike in WT-Nav1.4, low pH depolarizes the voltage-dependence of activation and steady-state fast inactivation, decreases current density, and increases late currents in P1185S. Thus, P1185S turns the normally pH-insensitive Nav1.4 into a proton-sensitive channel. Using action potential modeling we predict a pH-to-phenotype correlation in patients with P1158S. We conclude that activities which alter blood pH may trigger the noted phenotypes in P1158S patients.

Document type: 
Article

Inhibitory Effects of Cannabidiol on Voltage-Dependent Sodium Currents

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-09-14
Abstract: 

Cannabis sativa contains many related compounds known as phytocannabinoids. The main psychoactive and nonpsychoactive compounds are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), respectively. Much of the evidence for clinical efficacy of CBD-mediated antiepileptic effects has been from case reports or smaller surveys. The mechanisms for CBD's anticonvulsant effects are unclear and likely involve noncannabinoid receptor pathways. CBD is reported to modulate several ion channels, including sodium channels (Nav). Evaluating the therapeutic mechanisms and safety of CBD demands a richer understanding of its interactions with central nervous system targets. Here, we used voltage-clamp electrophysiology of HEK-293 cells and iPSC neurons to characterize the effects of CBD on Nav channels. Our results show that CBD inhibits hNav1.1–1.7 currents, with an IC50 of 1.9–3.8 μM, suggesting that this inhibition could occur at therapeutically relevant concentrations. A steep Hill slope of ∼3 suggested multiple interactions of CBD with Nav channels. CBD exhibited resting-state blockade, became more potent at depolarized potentials, and also slowed recovery from inactivation, supporting the idea that CBD binding preferentially stabilizes inactivated Nav channel states. We also found that CBD inhibits other voltage-dependent currents from diverse channels, including bacterial homomeric Nav channel (NaChBac) and voltage-gated potassium channel subunit Kv2.1. Lastly, the CBD block of Nav was temperature-dependent, with potency increasing at lower temperatures. We conclude that CBD's mode of action likely involves 1) compound partitioning in lipid membranes, which alters membrane fluidity affecting gating, and 2) undetermined direct interactions with sodium and potassium channels, whose combined effects are loss of channel excitability. 

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Article
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Zebrafish as a Model of Mammalian Cardiac Function: Optically Mapping the Interplay of Temperature and Rate on Voltage and Calcium Dynamics

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-07-12
Abstract: 

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) heart is a viable model of mammalian cardiovascular function due to similarities in heart rate, ultrastructure, and action potential morphology. Zebrafish are able to tolerate a wide range of naturally occurring temperatures through altering chronotropic and inotropic properties of the heart. Optical mapping of cannulated zebrafish hearts can be used to assess the effect of temperature on excitation-contraction (EC) coupling and to explore the mechanisms underlying voltage (Vm) and calcium (Ca2+) transients. Applicability of zebrafish as a model of mammalian cardiac physiology should be understood in the context of numerous subtle differences in structure, ion channel expression, and Ca2+ handling. In contrast to mammalian systems, Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) plays a relatively small role in activating the contractile apparatus in teleosts, which may contribute to differences in restitution. The contractile function of the zebrafish heart is closely tied to extracellular Ca2+ which enters cardiomyocytes through L-type Ca2+ channel (LTCC), T-type Ca2+ channel (TTCC), and the sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX). Novel data found that despite large temperature effects on heart rate, Vm, and Ca2+ durations, the relationship between Vm and Ca2+ signals was only minimally altered in the face of acute temperature change. This suggests that zebrafish Vm and Ca2+ kinetics are largely rate-independent. In comparison to mammalian systems, zebrafish Ca2+ cycling is inherently more dependent on transsarcolemmal Ca2+ transport and less reliant on SR Ca2+ release. However, the compensatory actions of various components of the Ca2+ cycling machinery of the zebrafish cardiomyocytes, allow for maintenance of EC coupling over a wide range of environmental temperatures.

Document type: 
Article

The Critical Power Model as a Potential Tool for Anti-Doping

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-06
Abstract: 

Existing doping detection strategies rely on direct and indirect biochemical measurement methods focused on detecting banned substances, their metabolites, or biomarkers related to their use. However, the goal of doping is to improve performance, and yet evidence from performance data is not considered by these strategies. The emergence of portable sensors for measuring exercise intensities and of player tracking technologies may enable the widespread collection of performance data. How these data should be used for doping detection is an open question. Herein, we review the basis by which performance models could be used for doping detection, followed by critically reviewing the potential of the critical power (CP) model as a prototypical performance model that could be used in this regard. Performance models are mathematical representations of performance data specific to the athlete. Some models feature parameters with physiological interpretations, changes to which may provide clues regarding the specific doping method. The CP model is a simple model of the power-duration curve and features two physiologically interpretable parameters, CP and W0 . We argue that the CP model could be useful for doping detection mainly based on the predictable sensitivities of its parameters to ergogenic aids and other performance-enhancing interventions. However, our argument is counterbalanced by the existence of important limitations and unresolved questions that need to be addressed before the model is used for doping detection. We conclude by providing a simple worked example showing how it could be used and propose recommendations for its implementation.

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Article
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Intracortical Microstimulation Maps of Motor, Somatosensory, and Posterior Parietal Cortex in Tree Shrews (Tupaia Belangeri) Reveal Complex Movement Representations

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-02-01
Abstract: 

Long-train intracortical microstimulation (LT-ICMS) is a popular method for studying the organization of motor and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in mammals. In primates, LT-ICMS evokes both multi-joint and multiple body-part movements in primary motor, premotor, and posterior parietal cortex. In rodents LT-ICMS evokes complex movements of a single limb in motor cortex. Unfortunately, very little is known about motor/PPC organization in other mammals. Tree shrews are closely related to both primates and rodents and could provide insights into the evolution of complex movement domains in primates. The present study investigated the extent of cortex in which movements could be evoked with ICMS and the characteristics of movements elicited using both short-train (ST) and LT ICMS in tree shrews. We demonstrate that LT-ICMS and ST-ICMS maps are similar, with the movements elicited with ST-ICMS being truncated versions of those elicited with LT-ICMS. In addition, LT-ICMS evoked complex movements within motor cortex similar to those in rodents. More complex movements involving multiple body parts such as the hand and mouth were also elicited in motor cortex and PPC, as in primates. Our results suggest that complex movement networks present in PPC and motor cortex were present in mammals prior to the emergence of primates.

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Article
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Improved Methods for Acrylic-Free Implants in Non-Human Primates for Neuroscience Research

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-08-30
Abstract: 

Traditionally, head fixation devices and recording cylinders have been implanted in nonhuman primates (NHP) using dental acrylic despite several shortcomings associated with acrylic. The use of more biocompatible materials such as titanium and PEEK is becoming more prevalent in NHP research. We describe a cost effective set of procedures that maximizes the integration of headposts and recording cylinders with the animal’s tissues while reducing surgery time. Nine rhesus monkeys were implanted with titanium headposts, and one of these was also implanted with a recording chamber. In each case, a three-dimensional printed replica of the skull was created based on computerized tomography scans. The titanium feet of the headposts were shaped, and the skull thickness was measured preoperatively, reducing surgery time by up to 70%. The recording cylinder was manufactured to conform tightly to the skull, which was fastened to the skull with four screws and remained watertight for 8.5 mo. We quantified the amount of regression of the skin edge at the headpost. We found a large degree of variability in the timing and extent of skin regression that could not be explained by any single recorded factor. However, there was not a single case of bone exposure; although skin retracted from the titanium, skin also remained adhered to the skull adjacent to those regions. The headposts remained fully functional and free of complications for the experimental life of each animal, several of which are still participating in experiments more than 4 yr after implant.

Document type: 
Article

Significant Role of the Cardiopostural Interaction in Blood Pressure Regulation During Standing

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Abstract: 

Cardiovascular and postural control systems have been studied independently despite the increasing evidence showing the importance of cardio-postural interaction in blood pressure regulation. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of cardio-postural interaction in relation to cardiac baroreflex in blood pressure regulation under orthostatic stress before and after mild exercise. Physiological variables representing cardiovascular control (heart rate and systolic blood pressure), lower limb muscle activation (electromyography), and postural sway (center of pressure derived from force and moment data during sway) were measured from 17 healthy participants (25±2 years; 8 females) during a sit-to stand test before and after sub-maximal exercise. The cardio-postural control (characterized by baroreflex-mediated muscle-pump effect in response to blood pressure changes, i.e., muscle-pump baroreflex) was assessed using wavelet transform coherence and causality analyses in relation to the baroreflex control of heart rate. Significant cardio-postural blood pressure control was evident counting for almost half of the interaction time with blood pressure changes that observed in the cardiac baroreflex (36.6-72.5% pre-exercise and 34.7-53.9% post-exercise). Thus, cardio-postural input to blood pressure regulation should be considered when investigating orthostatic intolerance. A reduction of both cardiac and muscle-pump baroreflexes in blood pressure regulation was observed post-exercise and was likely due to the absence of excessive venous pooling and a less stressed system after mild exercise. With further studies using more effective protocols evoking venous pooling and muscle-pump activity, the cardio-postural interaction could improve our understanding of the autonomic control system and ultimately lead to a more accurate diagnosis of cardio-postural dysfunctions.

Document type: 
Article

Functional Assessment of Cardiac Responses of Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio) to Acute and Chronic Temperature Change Using High-Resolution Echocardiography

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-01
Abstract: 

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an important organism as a model for understanding vertebrate cardiovascular development. However, little is known about adult ZF cardiac function and how contractile function changes to cope with fluctuations in ambient temperature. The goals of this study were to: 1) determine if high resolution echocardiography (HRE) in the presence of reduced cardiodepressant anesthetics could be used to accurately investigate the structural and functional properties of the ZF heart and 2) if the effect of ambient temperature changes both acutely and chronically could be determined non-invasively using HRE in vivo. Heart rate (HR) appears to be the critical factor in modifying cardiac output (CO) with ambient temperature fluctuation as it increases from 78 ± 5.9 bpm at 18°C to 162 ± 9.7 bpm at 28°C regardless of acclimation state (cold acclimated CA– 18°C; warm acclimated WA– 28°C). Stroke volume (SV) is highest when the ambient temperature matches the acclimation temperature, though this difference did not constitute a significant effect (CA 1.17 ± 0.15 μL at 18°C vs 1.06 ± 0.14 μl at 28°C; WA 1.10 ± 0.13 μL at 18°C vs 1.12 ± 0.12 μl at 28°C). The isovolumetric contraction time (IVCT) was significantly shorter in CA fish at 18°C. The CA group showed improved systolic function at 18°C in comparison to the WA group with significant increases in both ejection fraction and fractional shortening and decreases in IVCT. The decreased early peak (E) velocity and early peak velocity / atrial peak velocity (E/A) ratio in the CA group are likely associated with increased reliance on atrial contraction for ventricular filling.

Document type: 
Article
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