Nervous System
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eLife ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
Susu Pan ◽  
Kaili Yin ◽  
Zhiwei Tang ◽  
Shuren Wang ◽  
Zhuo Chen ◽  

Emerging evidence suggests that the nervous system is involved in tumor development in the periphery, however, the role of central nervous system remains largely unknown. Here, by combining genetic, chemogenetic, pharmacological and electrophysiological approaches, we show that hypothalamic oxytocin (Oxt)-producing neurons modulate colitis-associated cancer (CAC) progression in mice. Depletion or activation of Oxt neurons could augment or suppress CAC progression. Importantly, brain treatment with celastrol, a pentacyclic triterpenoid, excites Oxt neurons and inhibits CAC progression, and this anti-tumor effect was significantly attenuated in Oxt neuron-lesioned mice. Furthermore, brain treatment with celastrol suppresses sympathetic neuronal activity in the celiac-superior mesenteric ganglion (CG-SMG), and activation of β2 adrenergic receptor abolishes the anti-tumor effect of Oxt neuron activation or centrally administered celastrol. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that hypothalamic Oxt neurons regulate CAC progression by modulating the neuronal activity in the CG-SMG. Stimulation of Oxt neurons using chemicals, eg. celastrol, might be a novel strategy for colorectal cancer treatment.

F1000Research ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
pp. 930
Niloofar Shahidi ◽  
Xuanzhi Lin ◽  
Yuda Munarko ◽  
Laila Rasmy ◽  
Tram Ngo

The Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program integrates biological and neural information to create anatomical and functional maps of the peripheral nervous system. The SPARC Portal hosts a dynamic storage for the datasets, models, and resources to help the researchers find and produce data. Currently, the SPARC Portal provides a primary search tool, which lacks some features to improve the search experience. To purposefully retrieve the required information from the stored datasets and resources, we have developed an Advanced QUery Architecture (AQUA) for the SPARC Portal. Near-real-time auto-completion of the queries, close-matches suggestions, and multiple filters to narrow or sort the results are the major features of AQUA with the goal to enhance the usability of the SPARC search engine. AQUA is available from:

2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Hikaru Yokoyama ◽  
Tatsuya Kato ◽  
Naotsugu Kaneko ◽  
Hirofumi Kobayashi ◽  
Motonori Hoshino ◽  

AbstractUnderwater walking is one of the most common hydrotherapeutic exercises. Therefore, understanding muscular control during underwater walking is important for optimizing training regimens. The effects of the water environment on walking are mainly related to the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic theories of buoyancy and drag force. To date, muscular control during underwater walking has been investigated at the individual muscle level. However, it is recognized that the human nervous system modularly controls multiple muscles through muscle synergies, which are sets of muscles that work together. We found that the same set of muscle synergies was shared between the two walking tasks. However, some task-dependent modulation was found in the activation combination across muscles and temporal activation patterns of the muscle synergies. The results suggest that the human nervous system modulates activation of lower-limb muscles during water walking by finely tuning basic locomotor muscle synergies that are used during land walking to meet the biomechanical requirements for walking in the water environment.

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 ◽  
Alex M. Thomson

More than a century of dedicated research has resulted in what we now know, and what we think we know, about synapses and neural circuits. This piece asks to what extent some of the major advances – both theoretical and practical – have resulted from carefully considered theory, or experimental design: endeavors that aim to address a question, or to refute an existing hypothesis. It also, however, addresses the important part that serendipity and chance have played. There are cases where hypothesis driven research has resulted in important progress. There are also examples where a hypothesis, a model, or even an experimental approach – particularly one that seems to provide welcome simplification – has become so popular that it becomes dogma and stifles advance in other directions. The nervous system rejoices in complexity, which should neither be ignored, nor run from. The emergence of testable “rules” that can simplify our understanding of neuronal circuits has required the collection of large amounts of data that were difficult to obtain. And although those collecting these data have been criticized for not advancing hypotheses while they were “collecting butterflies,” the beauty of the butterflies always enticed us toward further exploration.

2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009866
Nathan P. Crilly ◽  
Monica R. Mugnier

Trypanosoma brucei is a protozoan parasite that causes human and animal African trypanosomiases (HAT and AAT). In the mammalian host, the parasite lives entirely extracellularly, in both the blood and interstitial spaces in tissues. Although most T. brucei research has focused on the biology of blood- and central nervous system (CNS)-resident parasites, a number of recent studies have highlighted parasite reservoirs in the dermis and adipose tissue, leading to a renewed interest in tissue-resident parasite populations. In light of this renewed interest, work describing tissue-resident parasites can serve as a valuable resource to inform future investigations of tissue-resident T. brucei. Here, we review this body of literature, which describes infections in humans, natural hosts, and experimental animal models, providing a wealth of information on the distribution and biology of extravascular parasites, the corresponding immune response in each tissue, and resulting host pathology. We discuss the implications of these studies and future questions in the study of extravascular T. brucei.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Jiani Chen ◽  
Gangqi Fang ◽  
Lan Pang ◽  
Yifeng Sheng ◽  
Qichao Zhang ◽  

AbstractIntraspecific competition is a major force in mediating population dynamics, fuelling adaptation, and potentially leading to evolutionary diversification. Among the evolutionary arms races between parasites, one of the most fundamental and intriguing behavioural adaptations and counter-adaptations are superparasitism and superparasitism avoidance. However, the underlying mechanisms and ecological contexts of these phenomena remain underexplored. Here, we apply the Drosophila parasite Leptopilina boulardi as a study system and find that this solitary endoparasitic wasp provokes a host escape response for superparasitism avoidance. We combine multi-omics and in vivo functional studies to characterize a small set of RhoGAP domain-containing genes that mediate the parasite’s manipulation of host escape behaviour by inducing reactive oxygen species in the host central nervous system. We further uncover an evolutionary scenario in which neofunctionalization and specialization gave rise to the novel role of RhoGAP domain in avoiding superparasitism, with an ancestral origin prior to the divergence between Leptopilina specialist and generalist species. Our study suggests that superparasitism avoidance is adaptive for a parasite and adds to our understanding of how the molecular manipulation of host behaviour has evolved in this system.

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