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Although phenylketonuria (PKU) is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation, the cellular mechanisms underlying impaired brain function are still unclear. Using PAHenu2 mice (ENU2), the genetic mouse model of PKU, we previously demonstrated that high phenylalanine levels interfere with brain tryptophan hydroxylase activity by reducing the(More)
Coping is defined as the behavioral and physiological effort made to master stressful situations. The ability to cope with stress leads either to healthy or to pathogenic outcomes. The medial prefrontal cortex (mpFC) and amygdala are acknowledged as having a major role in stress-related behaviors, and mpFC has a critical role in the regulation of(More)
Evidence shows that maternal care and postnatal traumatic events can exert powerful effects on brain circuitry development but little is known about the impact of early postnatal experiences on processing of rewarding and aversive stimuli related to the medial prefrontal cortex (mpFC) function in adult life. In this study, the unstable maternal environment(More)
BACKGROUND Serotonin and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission is crucial in coping strategies. METHODS Here, using mice from 2 inbred strains widely exploited in behavioral neurochemistry, we investigated whether serotonin transmission in medial prefrontal cortex and GABA in basolateral amygdala determine strain-dependent liability to stress response(More)
Stress-related psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, are complex diseases that have genetic, and environmental causes. Stressful experiences increase the release of prefrontal amygdala neurotransmitters, a response that is relevant to cognitive, emotional, and behavioral coping. Moreover, exposure to stress elicits anxiety-like behavior and dendritic(More)
Serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NE) play important roles in brain postnatal maturation. Therefore, deficits in brain availability of biogenic amines during critical developmental phases might underlie neurodevelopmental disturbances associated with cognitive impairment. To test this hypothesis we evaluated brain availability of 5-HT, DA(More)
Adult early treated hyperphenylalaninaemic patients can show specific deficits of prefrontal cortical functions. The development of additional therapeutic strategies for these patients requires the understanding of the mechanisms involved in phenylalanine-dependent impairment of fronto-cortical functions. We tested the hypothesis of phenylalanine(More)
OBJECTIVE Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inherited metabolic disease characterized by plasma hyperphenylalaninemia and several neurological symptoms that can be controlled by rigorous dietetic treatment. The cellular mechanisms underlying impaired brain functions are still unclear. It has been proposed, however, that phenylalanine interference in cognitive(More)
Aberrations in the elaboration of both aversive and rewarding stimuli characterize several psychopathologies including anxiety, depression and addiction. Several studies suggest that different neurotrasmitters, within the corticolimbic system, are critically involved in the processing of positive and negative stimuli. Individual differences in this system,(More)
Coping is the necessary outcome of any stressful situation and the major determinant of stress resilience. Coping strategies can be divided into two broad categories, based on the presence (active) or absence (passive) of attempts to act upon the stressor. The role of brain serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) in coping behavior that is emerging from(More)