Acetylcholine (ACh) can act on pre- and post-synaptic muscarinic receptors (mAChR) in the cortex to influence a myriad of cognitive processes. Two functionally-distinct regions of the prefrontal cortex—the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)—are differentially innervated by ascending cholinergic pathways yet, the nature and organization of prefrontal-cholinergic circuitry in primates are not well understood. Using multi-channel immunohistochemical labeling and high-resolution microscopy, we found regional and laminar differences in the subcellular localization and the densities of excitatory and inhibitory subpopulations expressing m1 and m2 muscarinic receptors, the two predominant cortical mAChR subtypes, in the supragranular layers of LPFC and ACC in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). The subset of m1+/m2+ expressing SMI-32+ pyramidal neurons labeled in layer 3 (L3) was denser in LPFC than in ACC, while m1+/m2+ SMI-32+ neurons co-expressing the calcium-binding protein, calbindin (CB) was greater in ACC. Further, we found between-area differences in laminar m1+ dendritic expression, and m2+ presynaptic localization on cortico-cortical (VGLUT1+) and sub-cortical inputs (VGLUT2+), suggesting differential cholinergic modulation of top-down vs. bottom-up inputs in the two areas. While almost all inhibitory interneurons—identified by their expression of parvalbumin (PV+), CB+, and calretinin (CR+)—expressed m1+, the localization of m2+ differed by subtype and area. The ACC exhibited a greater proportion of m2+ inhibitory neurons compared to the LPFC and had a greater density of presynaptic m2+ localized on inhibitory (VGAT+) inputs targeting proximal somatodendritic compartments and axon initial segments of L3 pyramidal neurons. These data suggest a greater capacity for m2+-mediated cholinergic suppression of inhibition in the ACC compared to the LPFC. The anatomical localization of muscarinic receptors on ACC and LPFC micro-circuits shown here contributes to our understanding of diverse cholinergic neuromodulation of functionally-distinct prefrontal areas involved in goal-directed behavior, and how these interactions maybe disrupted in neuropsychiatric and neurological conditions.
Neural activity has been implicated in the motility and outgrowth of glial cell processes throughout the central nervous system. Here we explore this phenomenon in Müller glia, which are specialized radial astroglia that are the predominant glial type of the vertebrate retina. Müller glia extend fine filopodia-like processes into retinal synaptic layers, in similar fashion to brain astrocytes and radial glia which exhibit perisynaptic processes. Using two-photon volumetric imaging, we found that during the second postnatal week, Müller glial processes were highly dynamic, with rapid extensions and retractions that were mediated by cytoskeletal rearrangements. During this same stage of development, retinal waves led to increases in cytosolic calcium within Müller glial lateral processes and stalks. These comprised distinct calcium compartments, distinguished by variable participation in waves, timing, and sensitivity to an M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist. However, we found that motility of lateral processes was unaffected by the presence of pharmacological agents that enhanced or blocked wave-associated calcium transients. Finally, we found that mice lacking normal cholinergic waves in the first postnatal week also exhibited normal Müller glial process morphology. Hence, outgrowth of Müller glial lateral processes into synaptic layers is determined by factors that are independent of neuronal activity.
There are currently no treatments that can slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). There is, however, a growing body of evidence that activation of the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M1-receptor) can not only restore memory loss in AD patients but in preclinical animal models can also slow neurodegenerative disease progression. The generation of an effective medicine targeting the M1-receptor has however been severely hampered by associated cholinergic adverse responses. By using genetically engineered mouse models that express a G protein–biased M1-receptor, we recently established that M1-receptor mediated adverse responses can be minimized by ensuring activating ligands maintain receptor phosphorylation/arrestin-dependent signaling. Here, we use these same genetic models in concert with murine prion disease, a terminal neurodegenerative disease showing key hallmarks of AD, to establish that phosphorylation/arrestin-dependent signaling delivers neuroprotection that both extends normal animal behavior and prolongs the life span of prion-diseased mice. Our data point to an important neuroprotective property inherent to the M1-receptor and indicate that next generation M1-receptor ligands designed to drive receptor phosphorylation/arrestin-dependent signaling would potentially show low adverse responses while delivering neuroprotection that will slow disease progression.
AbstractPharmacovigilance aims at a better understanding of the molecular events triggered by medications to prevent adverse effects, which despite significant advances in our analytical repertoire plague the use of drugs until today. In this study, we find that clinically prescribed and commercially available pirenzepine may not be the correct compound. Pirenzepine can undergo an unexpected scaffold rearrangement from the pharmaceutical active ingredient (API) to a previously uncharacterized benzimidazole. The rearrangement occurs under highly acidic conditions, which were believed to favour the dihydrochloride formation of pirenzepine. The rearranged products of pirenzepine and the structurally related telenzepine have significantly decreased affinity for the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, the pharmacological target of these compounds. Fortunately, in situ rearrangement after oral application is no safety issue, as we show that reaction kinetics in gastric acid prevent rearrangement. The research community should consider appropriate measures to perform reliable receiving inspections in the commercial supply of well described and frequently used chemicals, in particular if experiments yield unexpected results.
To evaluate the impact of autoantibodies against the M2-muscarinic receptor (anti-M2-R) on the clinical outcomes of patients receiving the standard treatment for peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM).
A total of 107 PPCM patients who received standard heart failure (HF) treatment between January 1998 and June 2020 were enrolled in this study. According to anti-M2-R reactivity, they were classified into negative (n = 59) and positive (n = 48) groups, denoted as the anti-M2-R (−) and anti-M2-R (+) groups. Echocardiography, 6-min walk distance, serum digoxin concentration (SDC), and routine laboratory tests were performed regularly for 2 years. The all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and rehospitalisation rate for HF were compared between the two groups.
A total of 103 patients were included in the final data analysis, with 46 in the anti-M2-R (+) group and 57 in the anti-M2-R (−) group. Heart rate was lower in the anti-M2-R (+) group than in the anti-M2-R (−) group at the baseline (102.7 ± 6.1 bpm vs. 96.0 ± 6.4 bpm, p < 0.001). The initial SDC was higher in the anti-M2-R (+) group than in the anti-M2-R (−) group with the same dosage of digoxin (1.25 ± 0.45 vs. 0.78 ± 0.24 ng/mL, p < 0.001). The dosages of metoprolol and digoxin were higher in the anti-M2-R (−) patients than in the anti-M2-R (+) patients (38.8 ± 4.6 mg b.i.d. vs. 27.8 ± 5.3 mg b.i.d., p < 0.0001, respectively, for metoprolol; 0.12 ± 0.02 mg/day vs. 0.08 ± 0.04 mg/day, p < 0.0001, respectively, for digoxin). Furthermore, there was a greater improvement in cardiac function in the anti-M2-R (−) patients than in the anti-M2-R (+) patients. Multivariate analysis identified negativity for anti-M2-R as the independent predictor for the improvement of cardiac function. Rehospitalisation for HF was lower in the anti-M2-R (−) group, but all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality were the same.
There were no differences in all-cause mortality or cardiovascular mortality between the two groups. Rehospitalisation rate for HF decreased in the anti-M2-R (−) group. This difference may be related to the regulation of the autonomic nervous system by anti-M2-R.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) transmit extracellular signals to the inside by activation of intracellular effector proteins. Different agonists can promote differential receptor-induced signaling responses – termed bias – potentially by eliciting different levels of recruitment of effector proteins. As activation and recruitment of effector proteins might influence each other, thorough analysis of bias is difficult. Here, we compared the efficacy of seven agonists to induce G protein, G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2), as well as arrestin3 binding to the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M3 by utilizing FRET-based assays. In order to avoid interference between these interactions, we studied GRK2 binding in the presence of inhibitors of Gi and Gq proteins and analyzed arrestin3 binding to prestimulated M3 receptors to avoid differences in receptor phosphorylation influencing arrestin recruitment. We measured substantial differences in the agonist efficacies to induce M3R-arrestin3 versus M3R-GRK2 interaction. However, the rank order of the agonists for G protein- and GRK2-M3R interaction was the same, suggesting that G protein and GRK2 binding to M3R requires similar receptor conformations, whereas requirements for arrestin3 binding to M3R are distinct.
AbstractThe intrinsic efficacy of ligand binding to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) reflects the ability of the ligand to differentially activate its receptor to cause a physiological effect. Here we use attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy to examine the ligand-dependent conformational changes in the human M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M2R). We show that different ligands affect conformational alteration appearing at the C=O stretch of amide-I band in M2R. Notably, ATR-FTIR signals strongly correlated with G-protein activation levels in cells. Together, we propose that amide-I band serves as an infrared probe to distinguish the ligand efficacy in M2R and paves the path to rationally design ligands with varied efficacy towards the target GPCR.