Here we discuss the role of diverse environmental manipulations affecting cognition with special regard to psychiatric conditions. We present evidence supporting a direct causal correlation between the valence of the environmental stimulation and some psychopathological traits and how the environment influences brain structure and function with special regard to oxidative stress and mitochondrial activity. Increasing experimental evidence supports a role for mitochondrial dysfunctions in neuropsychiatric disorders. Brain mitochondria are considered crucial mediators of allostasis, that is the capability to adapt to stress via a complex interaction between the autonomic, metabolic, and immune systems to maintain cellular homeostasis. In this process, mitochondria act as highly dynamic integrators by sensing and transducing stressors into adaptation mechanisms via metabolic stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and catecholamines. Alterations in cellular homeostasis induced by chronic stress are thought to predispose to disease by triggering the so-called "mitochondrial allostatic load". This process is characterized by functional and structural changes of the mitochondria, ultimately leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial DNA damage and apoptosis. In this review we discuss the role of diverse environmental manipulations to affect cognition with special regard to psychiatric conditions. How the environment influences brain structure and function, and the interactions between rearing conditions, oxidative stress and mitochondrial activity are fundamental questions that are still poorly understood. As will be discussed, increasing experimental evidence supports a role for mitochondrial dysfunctions in neuropsychiatric disorders. Brain mitochondria are considered crucial mediators of allostasis, that is the capability to adapt to stress via a complex interaction between the autonomic, metabolic, and immune systems to maintain cellular homeostasis. In this process, mitochondria act as highly dynamic integrators by sensing and transducing stressors into adaptation mechanisms via metabolic stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and catecholamines. Alterations in cellular homeostasis induced by chronic stress are thought to predispose to disease by triggering the so-called "mitochondrial allostatic load". This process is characterized by functional and structural changes of the mitochondria, ultimately leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial DNA damage and apoptosis. The brain requires considerable mitochondrial reserve not only to sustain basal neuronal needs but a also to provide increasing energy demands during stress. Consistently with these high energetic requirements, it is reasonable to hypothesise that the brain is particularly vulnerable to mitochondrial defects. Thus, even subtle metabolic alterations might have a substantial impact on cognitive functions. Over the last decade, several experimental evidence supported the hypothesis that a suboptimal mitochondrial function, which could be of genetic origin or acquired following adverse life events, is a key vulnerability factor for stress-related psychopathologies. Chronic psychological stress is a major promoter of anxiety as well as of oxidative damage, as shown in several studies. Recent evidence from mouse models harbouring mutations in mitochondrial genes demonstrated the role of mitochondria in modulating the response to acute psychological stress. However, it has yet to be determined whether mitochondrial dysfunctions are the cause or the consequence of anxiety. In this review, we discuss how adverse psychosocial environments can impact mitochondrial bioenergetics at the molecular level and we gather evidence from several studies linking energy metabolism and stress resilience/vulnerability. Moreover, we review recent findings supporting that metabolic dysfunction can underlie deficits in complex social behaviours. As will be discussed, aberrations in mitochondrial functionality have been found in the nucleus accumbens of highly anxious mice and mediate low social competitiveness. In addition, alterations in sociability can be reversed by enhancing mitochondrial functions. Recent evidence also demonstrated that a specific mutation in mitochondrial DNA, previously linked to autism spectrum disorder, produces autistic endophenotypes in mice by altering respiration chain and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Finally, we discuss a "Negative Enrichment" model that can explain some of the psychopathological conditions relevant to humans. Evidence of a direct causal correlation of valence of environmental stimulation and psychopathological traits will be presented, and possible molecular mechanisms that focus on oxidative stress. Collectively, the findings described here have been achieved with a wide set of behavioural and cognitive tasks with translational validity. Thus, they will be useful for future work aimed to elucidate the fine metabolic alterations in psychopathologies and devise novel approaches targeting mitochondria to alleviate these conditions.

Emerging roles of brain metabolism in cognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric disorders

Morella, Ilaria M;Brambilla, Riccardo;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Here we discuss the role of diverse environmental manipulations affecting cognition with special regard to psychiatric conditions. We present evidence supporting a direct causal correlation between the valence of the environmental stimulation and some psychopathological traits and how the environment influences brain structure and function with special regard to oxidative stress and mitochondrial activity. Increasing experimental evidence supports a role for mitochondrial dysfunctions in neuropsychiatric disorders. Brain mitochondria are considered crucial mediators of allostasis, that is the capability to adapt to stress via a complex interaction between the autonomic, metabolic, and immune systems to maintain cellular homeostasis. In this process, mitochondria act as highly dynamic integrators by sensing and transducing stressors into adaptation mechanisms via metabolic stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and catecholamines. Alterations in cellular homeostasis induced by chronic stress are thought to predispose to disease by triggering the so-called "mitochondrial allostatic load". This process is characterized by functional and structural changes of the mitochondria, ultimately leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial DNA damage and apoptosis. In this review we discuss the role of diverse environmental manipulations to affect cognition with special regard to psychiatric conditions. How the environment influences brain structure and function, and the interactions between rearing conditions, oxidative stress and mitochondrial activity are fundamental questions that are still poorly understood. As will be discussed, increasing experimental evidence supports a role for mitochondrial dysfunctions in neuropsychiatric disorders. Brain mitochondria are considered crucial mediators of allostasis, that is the capability to adapt to stress via a complex interaction between the autonomic, metabolic, and immune systems to maintain cellular homeostasis. In this process, mitochondria act as highly dynamic integrators by sensing and transducing stressors into adaptation mechanisms via metabolic stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and catecholamines. Alterations in cellular homeostasis induced by chronic stress are thought to predispose to disease by triggering the so-called "mitochondrial allostatic load". This process is characterized by functional and structural changes of the mitochondria, ultimately leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial DNA damage and apoptosis. The brain requires considerable mitochondrial reserve not only to sustain basal neuronal needs but a also to provide increasing energy demands during stress. Consistently with these high energetic requirements, it is reasonable to hypothesise that the brain is particularly vulnerable to mitochondrial defects. Thus, even subtle metabolic alterations might have a substantial impact on cognitive functions. Over the last decade, several experimental evidence supported the hypothesis that a suboptimal mitochondrial function, which could be of genetic origin or acquired following adverse life events, is a key vulnerability factor for stress-related psychopathologies. Chronic psychological stress is a major promoter of anxiety as well as of oxidative damage, as shown in several studies. Recent evidence from mouse models harbouring mutations in mitochondrial genes demonstrated the role of mitochondria in modulating the response to acute psychological stress. However, it has yet to be determined whether mitochondrial dysfunctions are the cause or the consequence of anxiety. In this review, we discuss how adverse psychosocial environments can impact mitochondrial bioenergetics at the molecular level and we gather evidence from several studies linking energy metabolism and stress resilience/vulnerability. Moreover, we review recent findings supporting that metabolic dysfunction can underlie deficits in complex social behaviours. As will be discussed, aberrations in mitochondrial functionality have been found in the nucleus accumbens of highly anxious mice and mediate low social competitiveness. In addition, alterations in sociability can be reversed by enhancing mitochondrial functions. Recent evidence also demonstrated that a specific mutation in mitochondrial DNA, previously linked to autism spectrum disorder, produces autistic endophenotypes in mice by altering respiration chain and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Finally, we discuss a "Negative Enrichment" model that can explain some of the psychopathological conditions relevant to humans. Evidence of a direct causal correlation of valence of environmental stimulation and psychopathological traits will be presented, and possible molecular mechanisms that focus on oxidative stress. Collectively, the findings described here have been achieved with a wide set of behavioural and cognitive tasks with translational validity. Thus, they will be useful for future work aimed to elucidate the fine metabolic alterations in psychopathologies and devise novel approaches targeting mitochondria to alleviate these conditions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1463284
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