• Tapas C Nag

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in the developing and adult human retina

      Shashi Wadhwa Tapas C Nag

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      Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) catalyzes the formation of nitric oxide (NO) from L-arginine. In this study, the cellular localization of neuronal NOS (nNOS) activity in the human retina since fetal development was examined by immunohistochemistry. No detectable staining in the fetal retina was present at 14 weeks of gestation (wg), the earliest age group examined. A centro-peripheral gradient of development of nNOS immunoreactivity was evident at 16–17 wg, with the midperipheral retina showing nNOS immunoreactivity in most of the cell types and the inner plexiform layer while the peripheral part demonstrated moderate immunoreactivity only in the ganglion cell layer and photoreceptor precursors. A transient increase in nNOS immunoreactivity in the ganglion cells and Müller cell endfeet between 18–19 and 24–25 wg was observed at the time when programmed cell death in the ganglion cell layer, loss of optic nerve fibres as well as increase in glutamate immunoreactivity and parvalbumin (a calcium binding protein) immunoreactivity in the ganglion cells was reported. These observations indicate that programmed cell death of ganglion cells in the retina may be linked to glutamate toxicity and NO activity, as also suggested by others in the retina and cerebral cortex.

      The presence of nNOS immunoreactivity in the photoreceptors from 16–17 weeks of fetal life to adulthood indicates other functions, besides their involvement in photoreceptor function of transduction and information processing.

    • Expression of the neurotrophin receptors Trk A and Trk B in adult human astrocytoma and glioblastoma

      Shashi Wadhwa Tapas C Nag Anupam Jindal Rahul Kushwaha Ashok K Mahapatra Chitra Sarkar

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      Neurotrophins and their receptors of the Trk family play a critical role in proliferation, differentiation and survival of the developing neurons. There are reports on their expression in neoplasms too, namely, the primitive neuroectodermal tumours of childhood, and in adult astrocytic gliomas. The involvement of Trk receptors in tumour pathogenesis, if any, is not known. With this end in view, the present study has examined 10 tumour biopsy samples (identified as astrocytoma, pilocytic astrocytoma and glioblastoma) and peritumoral brain tissue of adult patients, for the presence of Trk A and Trk B receptors, by immunohistochemistry. The nature of the tumour samples was also confirmed by their immunoreactivity (IR) to glial fibrillary acidic protein. In the peritumoral brain tissue, only neurons showed IR for Trk A and Trk B. On the contrary, in the tumour sections, the IR to both receptors was localized in the vast majority of glia and capillary endothelium. There was an obvious pattern of IR in these gliomas: high levels of IR were present in the low-grade (type I and II) astrocytoma; whereas in the advanced malignant forms (WHO grade IV giant cell glioblastoma and glio-blastoma multiforme) the IR was very weak. These findings suggest that Trk A and Trk B are involved in tumour pathogenesis, especially in the early stage, and may respond to signals that elicit glial proliferation, and thus contribute to progression towards malignancy.

    • Role of sound stimulation in reprogramming brain connectivity

      Sraboni Chaudhury Tapas C Nag Suman Jain Shashi Wadhwa

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      Sensory stimulation has a critical role to play in the development of an individual. Environmental factors tend to modify the inputs received by the sensory pathway. The developing brain is most vulnerable to these alterations and interacts with the environment to modify its neural circuitry. In addition to other sensory stimuli, auditory stimulation can also act as external stimuli to provide enrichment during the perinatal period. There is evidence that suggests that enriched environment in the form of auditory stimulation can play a substantial role in modulating plasticity during the prenatal period. This review focuses on the emerging role of prenatal auditory stimulation in the development of higher brain functions such as learning and memory in birds and mammals. The molecular mechanisms of various changes in the hippocampus following sound stimulation to effect neurogenesis, learning and memory are described. Sound stimulation can also modify neural connectivity in the early postnatal life to enhance higher cognitive function or even repair the secondary damages in various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Thus, it becomes imperative to examine in detail the possible ameliorating effects of prenatal sound stimulation in existing animal models of various psychiatric disorders, such as autism.

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