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Browsing by study line "Neurotiede"

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  • Kallo, Henna (2021)
    During the brain development, GABAergic neurons, also referred as interneurons, migrate tangentially from the subpallium to the pallium. After intracortical dispersion, the interneurons start radial migration towards their final location in the cortex. Although the radial migration of interneurons is extensively studied, mechanisms guiding the migration remain relatively unknown. Here we studied how manipulation of cortical activity affects the radial migration and allocation of the cortical GABAergic neurons in the developing mouse brain. For this purpose, we utilized whisker trimming induced sensory deprivation in GAD67-GFP mice at postnatal days 2-5 (P2-P5) followed by cell counting in brain slices derived from P5 and P10-aged mice. In addition, we performed live-imaging of migrating neurons in organotypic cultures derived from P2 SST-TdTomato and 5HT3aR-GFP mice and cultured for 1 day in vitro. These two mouse lines roughly represent early- and late-born subpopulations of the GABAergic neurons. Live-imaging was accompanied by activity manipulations using different drugs and the Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD) technology. Analysis of the interneurons’ allocation on the barrel cortex after the unilateral sensory deprivation revealed misallocation of GAD67+ neurons on deep cortical layers of the contralateral hemisphere of the ablation group at P5. Analysis of the tracks from the live-imaged migrating interneurons revealed altered saltatory movement behaviour of 5HT3aR+ interneurons when clozapine-N-oxide (CNO) was used to activate the electroporated GFP-GCaMP3-mCherry-hM3Dq neurons located on L2/3 of the cortex. Moreover, we observed reduced motility of migrating interneurons in the organotypic cultures treated with a KCC2 inhibitor that alters GABAA-receptor mediated transmission. Altogether, our results suggest that activity is important in promoting the radial migration of late-born interneurons during the first days of the postnatal development.
  • Doutel Figueira, Joana Filipa (2022)
    The general question of this research is how beta oscillations are implicated in stopping an ongoing movement. Previous studies regarding movement cancellation have found a significant increase in beta activity in sensorimotor areas, especially in the form of transient increases in beta oscillations, called beta bursts. However, the functional role of beta band activity in stopping is still unclear, mainly because the behavioural tasks used cannot measure the exact timing when the subjects start the stopping process and therefore it is only possible to infer the stopping time. To resolve this, we used head-fixed rats running on a treadmill while performing a Go/NoGo task. In some NoGo trials, the rat starts to run, realizes the mistake and stops before crossing a fixed distance threshold. These are the events being analyzed, called near-mistake events (N=39,366). We found a single beta burst occurring prior to stopping in all five brain regions analyzed (from 44.2±20.1 ms to 55.8±16.0 ms) and positive correlations of beta burst number and power increase with movement speed before stopping. We also found a single alpha burst prior to and during stopping in all brain regions (from 45.9±20.1 ms to 57.1±19.3 ms), supporting previous studies’ findings of alpha band involvement in inhibitory motor actions. Our findings on beta bursts suggest a causality role in stopping an ongoing movement while our results of alpha bursts need to be further analyzed to understand its functional role.
  • Kantonistov, Mikhail (2023)
    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The symptoms appear in childhood and, if left untreated, can continue into adulthood affecting the quality of life. Currently, diagnosing a child's ADHD relies on subjective questionnaires filled out by a parent and an interview. The detection of changes in brain activity especially during everyday activities could bring important information that could help inform the diagnostics of ADHD. The changes in brain activity in persons diagnosed with ADHD during familiar, everyday events have been studied very little. However, ADHD brain imaging studies done during resting state and simple tasks have found changes in large-scale brain networks. These networks can be studied using functional connectivity approach, where the degree of synchronous activity in different brain regions is used to determine the connection strength between these regions. In this thesis, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the differences in the functional connectivity of the whole brain between children diagnosed with ADHD (n=17) and controls (n=19) were investigated during a virtual reality task that simulates everyday life (EPELI), watching natural-like videos, and resting state. Connectivity matrices were generated with the NiLearn Toolbox program using Seitzman and colleagues' (2018) 300-area parcellation. The connectivity of the whole brain was examined using Network-Based Statistics. During movie watching the ADHD group showed increased connectivity compared to the control group in a network that included several areas of the motor cortex. This may indicate a role for these regions in the hyperactivity symptoms of ADHD. The same network also included the right superior temporal gyrus, which has previously been linked to impulsivity symptoms in individuals diagnosed with ADHD. During the virtual reality task and resting state, no differences in connectivity were observed between the groups. However, differences between the experimental situations were revealed in several networks when the connectivity was compared within the groups. Many of these networks were very extensive and included several subcortical and cerebellar structures in addition to cortical areas. Both the control and ADHD groups showed increased connectivity in the resting state compared to EPELI. This could possibly be due to the differences in the participants' actions during the task performance. To the best of the author's knowledge, this study is the first to examine the functional connectivity of brains diagnosed with ADHD during naturalistic stimuli. The clear differences between the controls and the ADHD group during movie watching are promising for future naturalistic brain studies. Based on the results, network models are effective in studying the functional connectivity of ADHD under different conditions. However, consideration for similarity of activities during the virtual task could have led to the detection of larger differences.
  • Paranko, Birgitta (2019)
    Introduction and aims. Multiple different neurobiological alterations have been hypothesized to underlie Major Depression Disorder (MDD), but no unifying theory exists to explain the mechanisms of the disorder. The aberrant brain dynamics in MDD can be seen in the alterations of long-range temporal correlations (LRTCs), which have been proposed to be an indication of criticality in healthy brain. Alterations in LRTCs have been suggested to reflect deficiencies in excitation-inhibition (E/I) balance, neuromodulation or connectivity patterns, which have also been proposed to be the underlying mechanisms of MDD. There has been controversy whether the pathology is related to attenuated or increased LRTCs, and the sources of altered brain dynamics have not yet been localized. The aim of this study was to find in which frequency bands and where in the brain the neuronal LRTCs are altered in MDD on source level. In addition to analyzing the correlations between neuronal LRTCs and depression severity in parcel level, we studied correlations in functional networks to get a better understanding of the system level alterations in MDD. We also studied whether behavioral LRTCs correlate with depression severity or with behavioral performance. Methods. We investigated the long-range temporal correlations in a cohort of 19 depressed subjects by using magnetoencephalography (MEG) for recording brain activity during resting state and response inhibition task and performed DFA analysis on the amplitude envelopes of cortical oscillations. The depression severity was measured with BDI-21 questionnaire. Results and conclusions. We found the LRTCs to be positively correlated with depression severity in the alpha frequency band (8–12Hz) predominantly in the limbic system that underlies emotional control. This result was supported by the parcel level analysis in which correlations between alpha band LRTCs and depression severity were observed in the orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole, indicating that the hyper-activation of limbic system could explain the negative bias characteristic to depression. Positive correlations were also found in frontoparietal, ventral, and dorsal attentional networks that support cognitive control. Alpha band LRTCs correlated also with behavioral LRTCs during both resting state and task conditions. However, we observed more wide-spread correlations between alpha range LRTCs and depression severity than between neuronal LRTCs and behavioral LRTCs. Behavioral LRTCs correlated with depression severity, but not with behavioral performance. These results indicate that depression is characterized by vast alterations in the brain dynamics and imply that the wide range of different symptoms in MDD could be explained by alterations in the excitation/inhibition balance in the limbic system and cognitive networks.
  • Llach Pou, Maria (2019)
    Parvalbumin (PV) interneurons are GABAergic inhibitory neurons that shape neuronal network activity and plasticity. They are involved in both developmental and adult plasticity and have recently been divided into subpopulations that differ in birthdate, intrinsic properties and are involved in different types of learning; while late born PV neurons, expressing low levels of PV, are required for the acquisition of new information, early born PV neurons, expressing high levels of PV, are involved in the consolidation of the information. PV cells can be enwrapped with perineuronal nets (PNNs), an extracellular matrix structure that stabilizes synapses and indicates a mature state of the cell. The development of PNNs correlates with the closure of critical period of plasticity in development, and the enzymatic removal in adulthood can reopen those periods. Similarly, antidepressants like fluoxetine have been proven to reopen critical periods of plasticity in adulthood (iPlasticity) and decrease PNN structures in PV cells. However, whether the effect of fluoxetine is restricted to a subpopulation of PV interneurons is unknown. In addition, no previous studies have yet investigated the maturity state of the PV subpopulation by analyzing its PNN structures. In this thesis we aimed to elucidate differences in the maturity state of the subpopulations and the fluoxetine effect in those. To do that, we treated a cohort of adult mice with a chronic fluoxetine treatment previously reported to be capable of the reopening of critical periods. Following, we performed an immunohistochemistry analysis to detect PV and PNN levels in the CA3b hippocampal area. In addition, our mice line expressed TdTomato (TdT) in PV cells which allowed a more sensitive detection of PV neurons. After imaging the slices with a confocal microscope, we analyzed the PV and PNN intensity both by manual counting and with a semi-automatic macro script in ImageJ software that we developed and validated. The PV intensity of control mice was used to divide the cells in two groups; low PV and high PV expressing cells. PNNs in those subpopulations in both the control and fluoxetine treated group were analyzed and statistically compared. The low PV subpopulation showed a significantly low PNN intensity compared to the high PV subpopulation, indication a plastic or immature low PV subpopulation and a mature or consolidated high PV subpopulation. Interestingly, fluoxetine selectively decreased the PNN structures in the high PV subpopulation, by bringing the PNN intensity to comparable levels found in the low PV network. No effect of fluoxetine in the low PV network was detected. Fluoxetine induced a change towards a plastic state in the network believed to be involved in memory consolidation by decreasing its PNNs structures. This discovery gives new insights on the understanding of antidepressant plastic actions, suggesting that a chance for strong memories to change could be facilitated with the drug, and explain the antidepressant’s effects when combined with psychotherapy. However, supplementary experiments to compare and define PV subpopulations and a confirmation of the selective effect of fluoxetine are needed to confirm the preliminary hypothesis suggested by our data.
  • Srinivasan, Rakenduvadhana (2019)
    Caged photolysable compounds have served to be pivotal to neuroscientific investigations; allowing the cognizing of molecular kinetics and properties of neuronal micro-machinery such as neurotransmitter receptors. Precision in terms of temporal and spatial resolution of neurotransmitter release endowed by photolysis has multitudinal applicabilities in the realm of GABAA receptors (GABAARs), their neuronal niche and effects on neuronal and network activity. Caged compounds, in their caged form, may display certain unideal traits such as undesired interactions with the system and antagonistic activity on the target receptor. This study aims to reevaluate the GABAAR antagonistic actions of caged Rubi-GABA, which was found to antagonize these receptors at significantly lower concentrations than those reported in the literature. Furthermore, this study electrophysiologically characterizes the possible antagonistic properties of a novel quinoline-derived UV-photolysable caged GABA compound, 8 DMAQ GABA, whose activity, in its caged form appears to have a much more favorable antagonism profile compared to the widely used RuBi-GABA. To assess the antagonistic effects of these compounds on GABAAR-mediated miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs) patch-clamp recordings were carried out in the whole-cell voltage clamp configuration on cortical layer 2/3 cortical pyramidal neurons in acute neocortical slices prepared from 16-18 day-old rat rats. The results of this study indicate a revised antagonism profile for caged Rubi-GABA, with marked GABAAR toxicity in the low micromolar range. The study also scrutinizes the photo-kinetic properties of both caged GABA compounds and reveals that the rate of GABA release from 8-DMAQ is slower than from RuBi-GABA.
  • Voipio, Mikko Emil Olavi (2020)
    Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signalling molecule in the brain. NO regulates the function of many proteins by e.g. interacting with tyrosine and cysteine residues, thus inducing post-translational modifications. In animal models, inhibition of NO production triggers behavioural effects similarly to those induced by antidepressant drugs. Receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TRKB) has been identified as a key player mediating antidepressant drug (AD) induced effects, and it’s a potential target for NO since it displays multiple potential sites for nitration. Preliminary results from our group indicate that TRKB nitration impairs its signalling, and AD uncouple many proteins from TRKB and reorganizes TRKB protein complex. We examined the effect of selective nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor N⍵-propyl-L-arginine (NPA) in mice submitted to the contextual fear conditioning and found out that inhibiting NO production with NPA has an antidepressant-like effect on mice. We also found out that AD fluoxetine prevents nitration of TRKB receptors in vivo and antidepressant drugs fluoxetine, phenelzine and imipramine disrupt the interactions of TRKB, NOS1 and NOS1 adaptor protein (CAPON) in co-immunoprecipitation assay. To understand the nature of TRKB and NOS1 interaction, we thus examined the protein domains in NOS1 and TRKB using Uniprot database, and we were unable to identify sites that could interact directly. Literature search for NOS1 adapting proteins followed by Uniprot data mining indicated CAPON as a potential candidate to mediate NOS1: TRKB interaction. Our data shows for the first time that antidepressant drugs disrupt TRKB:CAPON:NOS1 interaction, thus protecting TRKB from NOS1-induced nitration. ADs might induce their behavioural effects by preventing NO-induced impair in TRKB signalling
  • Enberg, Emma (2021)
    Kiinnostus käyttää psykedeelejä, kuten lysergihapon dietyyliamidia (LSD) ja psilosybiiniä, erinäisten psykiatristen sairauksien hoidossa ei ole jättänyt huomiotta päihteiden väärinkäyttöä. Tutkimukset ovat osoittaneet alustavia positiivisia vaikutuksia LSD:n käyttämisessä erinäisten addiktioiden, kuten kokaiini-, nikotiini- ja alkoholiriippuvuuksien hoidossa. LSD:n on raportoitu auttaneen joitain alkoholismista kärsiviä pysymään raittiina jopa 6-12 kuukautta yksittäisen LSD annoksen jälkeen. Valitettavasti näitä tuloksia on hankala tulkita, ja vaikutusten taustalla olevat mekanismit tunnetaan huonosti. Tutkimme hiirimallimme avulla, kuinka yksittäinen LSD annos vaikuttaa ahmimiskäyttäytymiseen. Käytimme sukroosiliuosta ahmivaa eläinmallia palkkionottamiskäyttäytymisen mallintamiseen, mikä on yksi addiktioihin liittyvän käyttäytymisen tunnusmerkeistä. Tutkimuksemme tavoitteena oli selvittää vaikuttaako LSD palkkionottamiskäyttäytymiseen, ja siten mahdollisesti aivojen palkkiojärjestelmään. LSD -annostelu (0,05 ja 0,1 mg/kg, i.p.) vähensi akuutisti sukroosiliuoksen ahmimiskäyttäytymistä, mutta vaikutus loppui viikon kuluessa. Tästä havaitusta akuutista vaikutuksesta huolimatta erot ryhmien välillä eivät olleet tilastollisesti merkittäviä. Täten oletettiin, että nettovaikutukset aivojen palkkiojärjestelmään ovat epätodennäköisiä. Kuitenkin pelkän i.p. injektion (10 ml/kg) havaittiin vaikuttavan veden juomiseen. Havaitsimme merkittävän piikin veden juonnissa injektointipäivänä, mikä palautui normaalitasolle jo seuraavaan päivään mennessä. Nämä tulokset johtivat jatkotutkimukseemme, jossa osoitettiin injektion aiheuttavan piikin vedenjuontiin riippumatta siitä, injektoidaanko saliinia vai LSD:tä. Tätä vaikutusta ei enää havaittu, mikäli injektioita annettiin perättäisinä päivinä, mutta jopa yhden tai kahden päivän väli injektioiden välillä riitti palauttamaan injektion aiheuttaman piikin vedenjuontiin. Koska onnistuimme poistamaan vedenjuontiin aiheutuneen vaikutuksen toistetuilla saliini-injektioilla, eikä vaikutus palautunut injektoitaessa LSD:tä, voimme todeta, että vaikutus liittyi injektiotoimenpiteeseen. Keskeisin havaintomme tässä tutkimuksessa oli, ettei LSD:llä ole merkittävää akuuttia vaikutusta sukroosiliuoksen ahmimiskäyttäytymiseen tässä hiirimallissa.
  • Toissalo, Emilia (2022)
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons (MN), which causes progressive muscle weakness and paralysis. ALS leads to death typically from 2 to 4 years after diagnosis. It is important to find more effective treatment options for this devastating disease, as the current treatments can prolong the survival by only a few months. Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) belongs to an evolutionary conserved neurotrophic factor (NTF) family, whose mode of action differs from classical NTFs. MANF is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident protein and is secreted upon ER stress from the ER, and it can protect the cells from ER stress-induced cell death. MANF has shown to be neuroprotective and –restorative in Parkinson’s disease and stroke rodent models. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors can be used to express therapeutic genes in the target tissues for several months, which lessens the need for repetitive dosing. In this master’s thesis project, we aimed to investigate the neuroprotective effects of intrathecally injected AAV1-MANF gene therapy in a SOD1-G93A mouse model of ALS. We used two different MANF genes; full-length MANF and MANF with deleted ER retention signal (MANF-d), to assess the differences between normal and only secreted MANF. Red fluorescent protein (RFP) was used as a control and to further evaluate the transduction and expression of the viral vectors. Intrathecal injections were performed once on 13 weeks old mice, just before the disease onset. Clinical symptom analyses together with a set of behavioral tests were conducted once a week. Mice were sacrificed at the endpoint of the study when they could no longer use their hind limbs for forwarding propulsion. Immunohistochemical staining was performed on spinal cord paraffin samples, where MN count, microglia activation, and RFP expression were evaluated. AAV1-MANF and AAV1-MANF-d treatments improved the motor behavior of the SOD1-G93A mice one-week post- injection. More specifically, a statistically significant difference was seen in the turning times in the static rods test on two different diameter rods compared to control, but there was no difference between MANF groups. In addition, there was a notable difference between AAV1-MANF and the control group on week 16 rotarod scores. There were no statistically significant differences in other tests, survival of the mice, MN counts, or microglia activation between the groups. RFP expression was detected mainly in the ventral areas of the spinal cord with immunohistochemistry. Our results indicate the potential of MANF gene therapy in the treatment of ALS. Furthermore, we showed that intrathecal AAV1-MANF injections were well tolerated.
  • Mäkelä, Alexandra (2023)
    During recent years obesity has been under extra scrutiny due to its globally rising prevalence, multifaceted effects on the human body and common occurrence of comorbidities. It is estimated that one third of the Finnish population over age 40 will be obese by 2028 (THL, 2022). Consequently, development of mitigation strategies has become a high priority in today’s societies leading to a rising need for new treatments. Several studies have shown how pathological adipogenesis has deleterious effect on brain functionality. The neuropathology of obesity could be explained by increased blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and glial activation. Pathologically activated astrocytes (astrogliosis) exhibit phenotypical and functional differences compared to healthy astrocytes, typically exhibiting enlarged cell bodies and swollen cytoskeleton. Astrogliosis has been mainly studied in the context of CNS diseases. Recent studies also shed light on the role of astrocytes in the progression of peripheral diseases including cancer metastasis or inflammation (Ma et al., 2023). However, the active astrocytic profile in obesity is relatively underexplored. In this study we report astroglial phenotypic shifts induced by high-fat diet (HFD) feeding and weight loss (WL). No significant change in GFAP expression was seen between mice that were given an HFD for different durations and their corresponding controls. However, we noted a non-significant trend for increased GFAP expression in response to shorter timepoints (5 days of diet change). This suggested an early astrocytic response to diet, which later normalizes over time. We reported healthy morphologies in astrocytes from chow group exhibiting typical simple thin cytoskeleton with long cell protrusions. Astrocytes in HFD-conditions exhibited reactive phenotypes evidenced by swollen cytoskeletal structures and high GFAP immunofluorescence, extensive lipid droplet (LD) accumulation and upregulated metabolic activity. These observations indicated stressful conditions caused by the diet. Astrocytes in WLconditions exhibited varying phenotypes displaying both reactive and healthy characteristics, slight increase of metabolic activity and lipid accumulation. In addition, we reported different immunofluorescence profiles between glial differentiation promoting marker Meteorin and ER stress regulated cytoprotective marker MANF between the experimental groups. These results show that HFD-induced obesity and consecutive weight loss induce a reactive-like phenotypic shift on astrocytes involving both morphological and functional changes.
  • Saure, Emma (2018)
    Background and objectives: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental neuropsychiatric disorders in which core symptoms are problems in communication and interaction as well as restrictive and repetitive behaviour and interests. ASD is 2-5 times more common in males than in females. In recent years, researchers have found, that there are differences between females and males in ASD symptoms, neuropsychological characteristics, comorbid problems, neurobiology and etiology. The purpose of this systematic review is to give a comprehensive picture about the role of female sex/gender in ASD. To establish this, the review covers symptoms of autism, neuropsychology, neurobiology, comorbidity, neurogenetics and neuroendocrinology. Research questions were the following: 1) Is there evidence of sex/gender differences in ASD symptoms and comorbidity disorders? 2) Are there sex/gender differences to be found in ASD etiology? 3) What kind of support different explanations about sex/gender bias have gotten in various research areas? The purpose of the study is also to integrate the existing theories into one model that takes account to different aspects of sex/gender differences in ASD. Methods: The protocol of this systematic review follows "The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses" (PRISMA) when applicable. Eligibly criteria and search terms were selected in a way that would offer the widest range of articles covering the subjects of this study. Literature search was conducted using the Medline and PsychINFO as search engines. The final sample consisted of a total of 129 articles. Data was extracted on all relevant variables of the study, that were the number of participants, age of participants, specific diagnoses, methods and results. Results: Sex/gender differences in ASD were found in all areas that were included in this systematic review. Females with high function ASD (HFASD) were found to have less problems in social communication and interaction and less repetitive and restricted behavior and interests than males with HFASD. In addition, HFASD were found to have better language skills than males with HFASD. However, females with ASD were found to have more sensory processing problems, mental health problems and epilepsy than males with ASD. Females with ASD were also found to have lower full-scale intelligence quotient than males with ASD. In the context of etiology, it has been found that there are sex/gender differences in neuroanatomy, susceptibility genes and hormone levels. Conclusions: Results from this systematic review suggest that females with HFASD are underdiagnosed. This results from etiological sex/gender differences that cause partially different clinical presentation of ASD between females and males. ASD research has also concentrated mostly on males with ASD while ignoring females with ASD. Underdiagnosing can have many unfavorable consequences for females with HFASD since if they do not have a diagnosis, they do not get support. In the future, it is crucial to pay attention to females with ASD in the clinical work and scientific research.
  • Niemelä, Miska Aleksanteri (2022)
    Master's thesis project includes the backbone assignment of the human activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein C-lobe (hArc, Uniprot ID: Q7LC44), 7-fluoroindole-based tryptophan-labeling method, and comparing that with the 100% double-labeled and 20%(13C) fractionally labeled samples. The project focuses on the effects of 7-fluoroindole-based fluorotryptophan-labeling. hArc C-lobe has only one tryptophan, which makes the analysis easier. Typically fluorotryptophan-labeling is a costly method – fluorotryptophan itself is very expensive and attaching the fluorine to the tryptophan while expressing is expensive and complicated. Fluoroindolebased labeling circles around the problem, as indole and serine are used in procaryotic systems for tryptophan biosynthesis – meaning that fluoroindole, which is cheap, could be used as an alternative for previous methods. Fluoro-labeled tryptophan is used in protein NMR; for example, in binding studies – fluorine-probes are sensitive, and binding of ligand or protein would move these peaks, indicating binding. This project aims to get an insight into the application of this labeling method. The goal is to see if one could utilize one sample with both (1H, 15N, 13C) labeling and 7-fluorotryptophan labeling for binding and structural studies. However, fluorine is very electronegative, affecting surrounding structures and possibly sequentially nearby amino acids. This possible effect will be observed and determined by comparing the 1H15N-chemical shifts between well-established labeling methods and fluoroindolebased labeling. To determine what amino acids in the protein are affected, if they are affected, will be determined by using the backbone assignment results and the results from the sample comparisons.
  • Garnier Artiñano, Tomás (2021)
    Effective population coding is dependent on connectivity, active and passive postsynaptic membrane parameters but how it relates to information transfer and information representation in the brain is still poorly understood. Recently, Brendel et al. (2020) showed how spiking neuronal networks can efficiently represent a noise input signal. This "D_Model” successfully showed that spiking neural networks can recreate input signal representations and how these networks can be resilient to the loss of neurons. However, this model has multiple unphysiological characteristics, such as instantaneous firing and the lack of units related to physical values. The aim of the present study is to build upon the D_Model to add biological accuracy to it and study how information transfer is affected by biophysical parameters. We first modified the D_Model in the MATLAB environment to allow for the simultaneous firing of the neurons. Using our CxSystem2 simulator in a Python environment (Andalibi et al. 2019), we built a network replicating the one used in the D_Model. We quantified the information transfer of Leaky Integrate-and-Fire units that had identical physiological values for both inhibitory and excitatory units (Comrade class) as well as more biologically accurate physiological values (Bacon class). We used various information transfer metrics such as granger causality, transfer entropy, and reconstruction error to quantify the information transfer of the network. We examined the behaviour of the network while altering the values of the capacitance, synaptic delay, equilibrium potential, leak conductance, reset potential, and voltage threshold. Broad parameter searches showed that no single set of biophysical parameters maximised all information transfer metrics, but some ranges fully blocked information transfer by either saturating or stopping neuronal firing. This suggests theoretical boundaries on the possible electrophysiological values neurons can have. From narrow searches within electrophysiological ranges, we conclude that there is no single optimal set of physiological values for information transfer. We hypothesise that different neuronal types may specialise in transferring different aspects of information such as accuracy, efficiency, or to act as frequency filters.
  • Jalanko, Petri (2021)
    Physical fitness has declined during the last decades in adolescents. Furthermore, several studies have found a positive association between physical fitness and brain volume in adolescents, which is noteworthy since the adolescent brain undergoes substantial changes during growth and maturation. However, despite the importance of the cerebellum on adolescents' cognition and coordination, there remains a paucity of evidence on the associations between physical fitness and cerebellum characteristics. Thus, a cross-sectional approach was used to explore the relationship of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), power, speed-agility, coordination and overall neuromuscular performance index (NPI) with total gray matter (GM) volume of the cerebellum as well as lobules VI & VIIb, and crus I volume in 40 (22 girls; 18 boys) adolescents. Peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) was measured by the maximal ramp test on a cycle ergometer, lower limb power was determined with standing long jump (SLJ), speed-agility was assessed with the 10 x 5-m shuttle-run test, upper limb coordination was determined with the Box and Block Test (BBT) and NPI was calculated as the sum of SLJ, BBT and shuttle-run z-values. Lean mass (LM) and body fat percentage (BF%) were measured using a bioelectrical impedance analysis. Cerebellum GM volume, lobules VI & VIIb, and crus I volumes were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Results demonstrated that V̇O2peak/LM was negatively associated (β = -.045 P= .014) with cerebellum GM volume. No statistically significant associations were found between SLJ, shuttle-run, BBT scores or NPI and cerebellum characteristics in all participants. However, a poorer shuttle-run time was associated (β = -.363 P = .024) with smaller crus I volume in girls and V̇O2peak/LM was negatively associated (β = -.501 P = .031) with lobule VIIb volume in boys. These findings suggest that, in general, CRF and speed agility are associated with cerebellum characteristics in adolescents and there may be sex differences. The results extend our knowledge of the associations between physical fitness and brain volume, but more studies should be conducted to understand the relationship further.
  • Kousa, Ilari (2023)
    This thesis presents a comprehensive exploration of cerebral palsy, acknowledged as the predominant childhood disability. Traditionally viewed through a narrow lens as primarily a motor disorder, recent investigations have broadened this perception significantly. Beyond motor impairments, cerebral palsy manifests an array of comorbidities spanning sensory, emotional, social, and cognitive domains, reshaping our comprehension of its profound impact on individuals' lives. Challenging the static characterization long associated with cerebral palsy, contemporary research has unveiled a compelling dimension - persistent neuroinflammation. Contradicting the notion of a stable condition, these findings suggest potential progressive aspects. The revelation of persistent neuroinflammation prompts a fundamental reconsideration of cerebral palsy's nature. Should its etiological significance be established, it could revolutionise our understanding, suggesting a dynamic condition evolving over time. Conducted through a rigorous search across Pubmed and MEDLINE databases, this thesis stems from an exhaustive exploration of 900 articles. The literature review was conducted in accordance with the PRISM framework. The literature review provides a comprehensive foundation covering the historical context,pathophysiology, and neuropathology of cerebral palsy. Furthermore, it delves deeply into the aforementioned non-classical perspectives, shedding light on the multifaceted nature of this neurological condition. By synthesising classical and contemporary viewpoints, this study endeavours to broaden the discourse surrounding cerebral palsy, fostering a more inclusive and nuanced comprehension of its complexities. This thesis seeks to bridge the gap between traditional views of cerebral palsy as solely a motor disorder and the evolving understanding of its diverse manifestations across various domains. By integrating insights from multiple disciplines and challenging existing paradigms, it aims to contribute to a more holistic framework for conceptualising cerebral palsy. This integrated perspective aims to enhance not only our theoretical understanding but also the practical implications for interventions and support strategies tailored to the multifaceted needs of individuals living with cerebral palsy.
  • Emre, Dusunceli (2022)
    The degree of neurogenesis in the adult hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) is the center of the discussion in the field of adult neurogenesis. Although there is an on-going controversy, accumulating evidence suggests that the neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult human DG are very few. The question remains open as to why there are so few NSCs in the adult human DG when compared with the rodent DG. In order to address these questions, it seems necessary to understand the developmental process of the NSCs in the adult human DG. In this thesis, the neural stem and progenitor cells in the fetal human DG are characterized. In addition to these findings, a semi-automatic method for counting and categorizing cells in their expressions of immunochemistry markers is developed.
  • Rönkkö, Julius (2020)
    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a collective name for inherited neuropathies affecting the peripheral nerves. CMT affects 1:2500 children and adults worldwide. The disease is genetically highly heterogeneous, and the pathogenic mechanisms are largely unknown. Thus far, there is no cure known for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Therefore, the study of the genetic factors involved in the disease and the understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms will benefit the development of strategies to prevent or treat these diseases. In this thesis, a new candidate gene for CMT was investigated in patient fibroblasts. The novel gene variant was originally found at University of Helsinki in a pair of Finnish brothers with CMT; and in later examinations, in their affected family members. The gene encodes an ER calcium channel receptor that is responsible for Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and plays an important role in the regulation of various cellular processes. In this thesis, I studied the effect of the variant in patient fibroblasts by Western blotting, quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR) and calcium imaging. I also knocked down the gene using siRNA in healthy fibroblasts to investigate if the loss of the receptor has a similar effect on calcium signaling as the patient variant. My results showed that siRNA treatment significantly decreased the targeted protein levels and delayed the ATP-evoked Ca2+ release from ER without profound effect on the amplitude of the release. Similar effects of the studied mutation were observed in one patient cell line, but not in the other. Patient cell line, which did not have alterations in the levels of the protein and Ca2+ release, had elevated levels of mRNA of the affected gene. The results suggest that the gene variant does not impair the total volume of the ATP-evoked Ca2+ release from ER. The possible effect of the studied mutation may be related to the decreased levels of the mutated protein, which at the functional level may affect the timing of total Ca2+ release from ER. However, the functional effect of the variant could not be confirmed with the fibroblast cells; further experiments are needed to clearly confirm the variant’s effect on calcium signaling.
  • Aksentjeff, Katri (2020)
    The progressive myoclonus epilepsy of Unverricht-Lundborg type (EPM1) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by loss-of-function mutations in the cystatin B gene (CSTB) with juvenile onset, stimulus sensitive action-activated myoclonus, generalized tonic-clonic seizures and ataxia. The cystatin B (CSTB) protein inhibits cysteine proteases, such as cathepsin L, which has been reported to cleave histone H3 N-terminal tails in mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation. We have shown previously that histone H3 cleavage is an irreversible epigenetic chromatin modification, which occurs in cystatin B-deficient (Cstb-/-) mice derived neural progenitor cells during differentiation. In this study, first, we used the wild-type E13.5 mice brain derived neural cells in culture to determine the effect of extrinsic signaling factors to our earlier developed ex vivo neurosphere cell model. We also confirmed that the histone H3 cleavage positive progenitor cells are primarily neuronal cells. Then, we used phenotype rescue of Cstb-/- neural progenitor cells and showed that CSTB is a negative regulator of histone H3 cleavage. In wt mouse neurosphere cryosections, we showed that cathepsin B and L are not expressed in the nucleus of neural cells before differentiation.
  • Korpikoski, Jaan (2024)
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive degeneration of upper and lower motoneurons (MN) within the central nervous system (CNS), leading to muscle atrophy and eventual paralysis. Cause of death is in most cases due to respiratory failures 3-5 years after diagnosis. ALS can occur idiopathically without any know causes or it can be associated with certain genetic mutations. One of these known factors is a point mutation in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene, particularly the G93A mutation is known to affect the functionality of SOD1. SOD1 is an enzyme that metabolizes reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the SOD1-G93A mutation limits this functionality and propagates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signalling cascades. Mutated SOD1 cannot be broken down by the cell, and hence it is associated with activation of protein degradation (ERAD) system with a prolonged ER stress signalling, followed by apoptotic cellular response. Although SOD1-G93A mutation has been widely studied, the basic mechanisms of the disease are not fully understood. Mesencephalic astrocyte derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an evolutionary conserved protein with trophic properties. MANF has been researched as novel treatment in a range of neurodegenerative diseases, such a Parkinson’s. MANF has been shown to promote cell survival but has limitation as an administered drug treatment. In this study we used transgenic SOD1-G93A mouse model with male mice to study the effects of a novel MANF variant for ALS. Disease progression and histology were used to assess the treatment efficacy.
  • Liiwand, Maj Britt (2022)
    Chronic stress has been linked to the pathogenesis of various disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress-induced hyperexcitability of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) has implications in anxiety-like behavior. Promising evidence points to the direction of GluK1 subunit containing kainate receptors (KARs) having a role in the modulation of GABAergic transmission in the lateral amygdala (LA). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether dysfunction of KARs contribute to stress-induced amygdala hyperexcitability and anxiogenesis in mice. Chronic restraint stress (CRS) is an animal model simulating chronic psychological stress. An in situ hybridization experiment was performed to investigate how CRS affects expression levels of GluK1 in the different neuronal populations in the LA. These data show that CRS leads to downregulation of GluK1 expression in the parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons specifically. Patch clamp recordings of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents showed that CRS did not affect synaptic GABAergic transmission to the principal neurons in the LA. Lastly, conditional knock-out (cKO) mice that have the Grik1 gene knocked out selectively in the PV-expressing interneurons showed no change in anxiety-like behavior after CRS while their wild-type counterparts demonstrated an increase in anxiety-like behavior observable in the elevated plus maze test. Thus, ablation of GluK1 in PV+ interneurons affects the stress-induced anxiogenesis. Due to low number of animals, it cannot be confirmed yet whether the deletion leads to stress resilience or a phenotype where even regular handling is an aversive experience comparable to physical restraint. GluK1 KAR modulation of PV+ interneuron excitability and its susceptibility to stress-related alterations is only a recently discovered phenomenon, and even though this study provides some insight into the underlying mechanism, further research is needed. Systematic characterization of the mechanism could provide a novel tool for understanding and treating stress-related pathological anxiety, possibly helping patients suffering from anxiety disorders resistant to current treatments available.