Cellular Mechanisms Involved in Stress-Induced Coma and CNS Spreading Depression in the Locust

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Rodgers, Corinne Ivy
Anoxia , Central Pattern Generator , Coma , Locust , Potassium , Spreading Depression , Ventilation
Spreading depression (SD) is an interesting and important phenomenon due to its role in mammalian pathologies such as migraine, seizures, and stroke. Until recently investigations of the mechanisms involved in SD have mostly utilized mammalian cortical tissue, however in my thesis I demonstrated that SD-like events occur in the CNS of an invertebrate model, Locusta migratoria. Locusts enter comas in response to stress during which neural and muscular systems shut down until the stress is removed, and this is believed to be an adaptive strategy to survive extreme environmental conditions. Using the ventilatory central pattern generator (vCPG) as a model circuit I was able to show that stress-induced arrest of vCPG function is associated with SD-like events in the locust metathoracic ganglion (MTG) that closely resemble cortical SD (CSD) in many respects, including mechanism of induction, extracellular potassium ion ([K+]o) changes, and propagation in areas equivalent to mammalian grey matter. SD-like events in the locust were characterized as abrupt [K+]o increases associated with electrical activity silence in the locust CNS that propagate to other areas within the MTG. In this thesis I described the generation of comas by several cellular stressors (hyperthermia, metabolic stressors, Na+/K+-ATPase inhibition, and KCl) and the associated SD-like events in the locust, provide a description of the similarities to CSD, and show how they can be manipulated both by stress preconditioning and pharmacologically. I showed that hyperthermic vCPG arrest can be preconditioned by prior heat shock (HS) treatment and induced-thermotolerance was associated with an increased rate of [K+]o clearance associated with vCPG recovery that was not linked to changes in ATP levels or total Na+/K+-ATPase activity. I also provided evidence for the involvement of the stress-sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in stress-induced comas in the locust. AMPK activation was linked to a switch in motor pattern behavior following recovery from anoxia-induced vCPG arrest and exacerbated repetitive SD-like events induced by ouabain (Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor). I suggested that locust SD-like events are adaptive by conserving energy and preventing cellular damage, and I provided a model for the mechanism of SD onset and recovery in the locust nervous system.
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