Neuropathic pain remains a pressing clinical problem. Here, we demonstrate that a local, intrathecal (i.t.) injection of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) following lumbar puncture alleviates early- and late-phase neuropathic pain symptoms, such as allodynia and hyperalgesia, for several weeks in murine chronic constriction injury (CCI) and spared nerve injury models. Moreover, i.t. BMSCs reduced CCI-induced spontaneous pain and axonal injury of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and inhibited CCI-evoked neuroinflammation in DRGs and spinal cord tissues. BMSCs secreted TGF-β1 into the cerebrospinal fluid, and neutralization of TGF-β1, but not IL-10, reversed the analgesic effect of BMSCs. Conversely, i.t. administration of TGF-β1 potently inhibited neuropathic pain. TGF-β1 acted as a powerful neuromodulator and rapidly (within minutes) suppressed CCI-evoked spinal synaptic plasticity and DRG neuronal hyperexcitability via TGF-β receptor 1–mediated noncanonical signaling. Finally, nerve injury upregulated CXCL12 in lumbar L4–L6 DRGs, and this upregulation caused migration of i.t.-injected BMSCs to DRGs through the CXCL12 receptor CXCR4, which was expressed on BMSCs. BMSCs that migrated from the injection site survived at the border of DRGs for more than 2 months. Our findings support a paracrine mechanism by which i.t. BMSCs target CXCL12-producing DRGs to elicit neuroprotection and sustained neuropathic pain relief via TGF-β1 secretion.
Gang Chen, Chul-Kyu Park, Rou-Gang Xie, Ru-Rong Ji
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a major public health concern that is a considerable risk factor for morbidity and disability; therefore, effective treatments are urgently needed. Here, we demonstrated that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist mifepristone reduces alcohol intake in alcohol-dependent rats but not in nondependent animals. Both systemic delivery and direct administration into the central nucleus of the amygdala, a critical stress-related brain region, were sufficient to reduce alcohol consumption in dependent animals. We also tested the use of mifepristone in 56 alcohol-dependent human subjects as part of a double-blind clinical and laboratory-based study. Relative to placebo, individuals who received mifepristone (600 mg daily taken orally for 1 week) exhibited a substantial reduction in alcohol-cued craving in the laboratory, and naturalistic measures revealed reduced alcohol consumption during the 1-week treatment phase and 1-week post-treatment phase in mifepristone-treated individuals. Mifepristone was well tolerated and improved liver-function markers. Together, these results support further exploration of GR antagonism via mifepristone as a therapeutic strategy for alcoholism.
Leandro F. Vendruscolo, David Estey, Vivian Goodell, Lauren G. Macshane, Marian L. Logrip, Joel E. Schlosburg, M. Adrienne McGinn, Eva R. Zamora-Martinez, Joseph K. Belanoff, Hazel J. Hunt, Pietro P. Sanna, Olivier George, George F. Koob, Scott Edwards, Barbara J. Mason
Estrogen receptor–α (ERα) activity in the brain prevents obesity in both males and females. However, the ERα-expressing neural populations that regulate body weight remain to be fully elucidated. Here we showed that single-minded–1 (SIM1) neurons in the medial amygdala (MeA) express abundant levels of ERα. Specific deletion of the gene encoding ERα (
Pingwen Xu, Xuehong Cao, Yanlin He, Liangru Zhu, Yongjie Yang, Kenji Saito, Chunmei Wang, Xiaofeng Yan, Antentor Othrell Hinton Jr., Fang Zou, Hongfang Ding, Yan Xia, Chunling Yan, Gang Shu, San-Pin Wu, Bin Yang, Yuxin Feng, Deborah J. Clegg, Richard DeMarchi, Sohaib A. Khan, Sophia Y. Tsai, Francesco J. DeMayo, Qi Wu, Qingchun Tong, Yong Xu
Multiple convergent lines of evidence implicate both α-synuclein (encoded by
Alevtina D. Zharikov, Jason R. Cannon, Victor Tapias, Qing Bai, Max P. Horowitz, Vipul Shah, Amina El Ayadi, Teresa G. Hastings, J. Timothy Greenamyre, Edward A. Burton
Therapeutic strategies that target disease-associated transcripts are being developed for a variety of neurodegenerative syndromes. Protein levels change as a function of their half-life, a property that critically influences the timing and application of therapeutics. In addition, both protein kinetics and concentration may play important roles in neurodegeneration; therefore, it is essential to understand in vivo protein kinetics, including half-life. Here, we applied a stable isotope-labeling technique in combination with mass spectrometric detection and determined the in vivo kinetics of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), mutation of which causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Application of this method to human SOD1-expressing rats demonstrated that SOD1 is a long-lived protein, with a similar half-life in both the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and the CNS. Additionally, in these animals, the half-life of SOD1 was longest in the CNS when compared with other tissues. Evaluation of this method in human subjects demonstrated successful incorporation of the isotope label in the CSF and confirmed that SOD1 is a long-lived protein in the CSF of healthy individuals. Together, the results of this study provide important insight into SOD1 kinetics and support application of this technique to the design and implementation of clinical trials that target long-lived CNS proteins.
Matthew J. Crisp, Kwasi G. Mawuenyega, Bruce W. Patterson, Naveen C. Reddy, Robert Chott, Wade K. Self, Conrad C. Weihl, Jennifer Jockel-Balsarotti, Arun S. Varadhachary, Robert C. Bucelli, Kevin E. Yarasheski, Randall J. Bateman, Timothy M. Miller
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) carries a 50% mortality rate. The extravasated erythrocytes that surround the brain contain heme, which, when released from damaged red blood cells, functions as a potent danger molecule that induces sterile tissue injury and organ dysfunction. Free heme is metabolized by heme oxygenase (HO), resulting in the generation of carbon monoxide (CO), a bioactive gas with potent immunomodulatory capabilities. Here, using a murine model of SAH, we demonstrated that expression of the inducible HO isoform (HO-1, encoded by
Nils Schallner, Rambhau Pandit, Robert LeBlanc III, Ajith J. Thomas, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Brian S. Zuckerbraun, David Gallo, Leo E. Otterbein, Khalid A. Hanafy
The generation of potent opioid analgesics that lack the side effects of traditional opioids may be possible by targeting truncated splice variants of the μ-opioid receptor. μ-Opioids act through GPCRs that are generated from the
Zhigang Lu, Jin Xu, Grace C. Rossi, Susruta Majumdar, Gavril W. Pasternak, Ying-Xian Pan
Epidemiological studies show that patients with type-2-diabetes (T2DM) and individuals with a diabetes-independent elevation in blood glucose have an increased risk for developing dementia, specifically dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These observations suggest that abnormal glucose metabolism likely plays a role in some aspects of AD pathogenesis, leading us to investigate the link between aberrant glucose metabolism, T2DM, and AD in murine models. Here, we combined two techniques — glucose clamps and in vivo microdialysis — as a means to dynamically modulate blood glucose levels in awake, freely moving mice while measuring real-time changes in amyloid-β (Aβ), glucose, and lactate within the hippocampal interstitial fluid (ISF). In a murine model of AD, induction of acute hyperglycemia in young animals increased ISF Aβ production and ISF lactate, which serves as a marker of neuronal activity. These effects were exacerbated in aged AD mice with marked Aβ plaque pathology. Inward rectifying, ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels mediated the response to elevated glucose levels, as pharmacological manipulation of KATP channels in the hippocampus altered both ISF Aβ levels and neuronal activity. Taken together, these results suggest that KATP channel activation mediates the response of hippocampal neurons to hyperglycemia by coupling metabolism with neuronal activity and ISF Aβ levels.
Shannon L. Macauley, Molly Stanley, Emily E. Caesar, Steven A. Yamada, Marcus E. Raichle, Ronaldo Perez, Thomas E. Mahan, Courtney L. Sutphen, David M. Holtzman
Microglia contribute to development, homeostasis, and immunity of the CNS. Like other tissue-resident macrophage populations, microglia express the surface receptor triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), which binds polyanions, such as dextran sulphate and bacterial LPS, and activates downstream signaling cascades through the adapter DAP12. Individuals homozygous for inactivating mutations in
Pietro Luigi Poliani, Yaming Wang, Elena Fontana, Michelle L. Robinette, Yoshinori Yamanishi, Susan Gilfillan, Marco Colonna
Edward J. Wild, Roberto Boggio, Douglas Langbehn, Nicola Robertson, Salman Haider, James R.C. Miller, Henrik Zetterberg, Blair R. Leavitt, Rainer Kuhn, Sarah J. Tabrizi, Douglas Macdonald, Andreas Weiss
Parkin and the glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor RET have both been independently linked to the dopaminergic neuron degeneration that underlies Parkinson’s disease (PD). In the present study, we demonstrate that there is genetic crosstalk between parkin and the receptor tyrosine kinase RET in two different mouse models of PD. Mice lacking both parkin and RET exhibited accelerated dopaminergic cell and axonal loss compared with parkin-deficient animals, which showed none, and RET-deficient mice, in which we found moderate degeneration. Transgenic expression of parkin protected the dopaminergic systems of aged RET-deficient mice. Downregulation of either parkin or RET in neuronal cells impaired mitochondrial function and morphology. Parkin expression restored mitochondrial function in GDNF/RET-deficient cells, while GDNF stimulation rescued mitochondrial defects in parkin-deficient cells. In both cases, improved mitochondrial function was the result of activation of the prosurvival NF-κB pathway, which was mediated by RET through the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Taken together, these observations indicate that parkin and the RET signaling cascade converge to control mitochondrial integrity and thereby properly maintain substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons and their innervation in the striatum. The demonstration of crosstalk between parkin and RET highlights the interplay in the protein network that is altered in PD and suggests potential therapeutic targets and strategies to treat PD.
Durga Praveen Meka, Anne Kathrin Müller-Rischart, Prakash Nidadavolu, Behnam Mohammadi, Elisa Motori, Srinivas Kumar Ponna, Helia Aboutalebi, Mahmoud Bassal, Anil Annamneedi, Barbara Finckh, Margit Miesbauer, Natalie Rotermund, Christian Lohr, Jörg Tatzelt, Konstanze F. Winklhofer, Edgar R. Kramer
Synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to modulate the strength of neuronal connections; however, the molecular factors that regulate this feature are incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrated that mice lacking brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor 1 (BAI1) have severe deficits in hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory that are accompanied by enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP), impaired long-term depression (LTD), and a thinning of the postsynaptic density (PSD) at hippocampal synapses. We showed that compared with WT animals, mice lacking
Dan Zhu, Chenchen Li, Andrew M. Swanson, Rosa M. Villalba, Jidong Guo, Zhaobin Zhang, Shannon Matheny, Tatsuro Murakami, Jason R. Stephenson, Sarah Daniel, Masaki Fukata, Randy A. Hall, Jeffrey J. Olson, Gretchen N. Neigh, Yoland Smith, Donald G. Rainnie, Erwin G. Van Meir
Synaptotagmin-1 (SYT1) is a calcium-binding synaptic vesicle protein that is required for both exocytosis and endocytosis. Here, we describe a human condition associated with a rare variant in
Kate Baker, Sarah L. Gordon, Detelina Grozeva, Margriet van Kogelenberg, Nicola Y. Roberts, Michael Pike, Edward Blair, Matthew E. Hurles, W. Kling Chong, Torsten Baldeweg, Manju A. Kurian, Stewart G. Boyd, Michael A. Cousin, F. Lucy Raymond
Premature birth is a major risk factor for multiple brain pathologies, notably periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), which is distinguished by bilateral necrosis of neural tissue around the ventricles and a sequela of neurological disturbances. The 2 hallmarks of brain pathologies of prematurity are a restricted gestational window of vulnerability and confinement of injury to a specific cerebral region. Here, we examined the proposition that both of these features are determined by the state of blood vessel immaturity. We developed a murine genetic model that allows for inducible and reversible VEGF blockade during brain development. Using this system, we determined that cerebral vessels mature in a centrifugal, wave-like fashion that results in sequential acquisition of a functional blood-brain barrier and exit from a VEGF-dependent phase, with periventricular vessels being the last to mature. This developmental program permitted selective ablation of periventricular vessels via episodic VEGF blockade within a specific, vulnerable gestational window. Enforced collapse of ganglionic eminence vessels and resultant periventricular neural apoptosis resulted in a PVL-like phenotype that recapitulates the primary periventricular lesion, ventricular enlargement, and the secondary cortical deficit in out-migrating GABAergic inhibitory interneurons. These findings provide an animal model that reproduces the temporal and spatial specificities of PVL and indicate that damage to VEGF-dependent, immature periventricular vessels contributes to PVL development.
Tamar Licht, Talia Dor-Wollman, Ayal Ben-Zvi, Gadiel Rothe, Eli Keshet
Astrocytes are integral components of the homeostatic neural network as well as active participants in pathogenesis of and recovery from nearly all neurological conditions. Evolutionarily, compared with lower vertebrates and nonhuman primates, humans have an increased astrocyte-to-neuron ratio; however, a lack of effective models has hindered the study of the complex roles of human astrocytes in intact adult animals. Here, we demonstrated that after transplantation into the cervical spinal cords of adult mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), human pluripotent stem cell–derived (PSC-derived) neural progenitors migrate a long distance and differentiate to astrocytes that nearly replace their mouse counterparts over a 9-month period. The human PSC-derived astrocytes formed networks through their processes, encircled endogenous neurons, and extended end feet that wrapped around blood vessels without altering locomotion behaviors, suggesting structural, and potentially functional, integration into the adult mouse spinal cord. Furthermore, in SCID mice transplanted with neural progenitors derived from induced PSCs from patients with ALS, astrocytes were generated and distributed to a similar degree as that seen in mice transplanted with healthy progenitors; however, these mice exhibited motor deficit, highlighting functional integration of the human-derived astrocytes. Together, these results indicate that this chimeric animal model has potential for further investigating the roles of human astrocytes in disease pathogenesis and repair.
Hong Chen, Kun Qian, Wei Chen, Baoyang Hu, Lisle W. Blackbourn IV, Zhongwei Du, Lixiang Ma, Huisheng Liu, Karla M. Knobel, Melvin Ayala, Su-Chun Zhang
Expansion of the polyglutamine (polyQ) tract within the androgen receptor (AR) causes neuromuscular degeneration in individuals with spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). PolyQ AR has diminished transcriptional function and exhibits ligand-dependent proteotoxicity, features that have both been implicated in SBMA; however, the extent to which altered AR transcriptional function contributes to pathogenesis remains controversial. Here, we sought to dissociate effects of diminished AR function from polyQ-mediated proteotoxicity by enhancing the transcriptional activity of polyQ AR. To accomplish this, we bypassed the inhibitory effect of AR SUMOylation (where SUMO indicates small ubiquitin-like modifier) by mutating conserved lysines in the polyQ AR that are sites of SUMOylation. We determined that replacement of these residues by arginine enhances polyQ AR activity as a hormone-dependent transcriptional regulator. In a murine model, disruption of polyQ AR SUMOylation rescued exercise endurance and type I muscle fiber atrophy; it also prolonged survival. These changes occurred without overt alterations in polyQ AR expression or aggregation, revealing the favorable trophic support exerted by the ligand-activated receptor. Our findings demonstrate beneficial effects of enhancing the transcriptional function of the ligand-activated polyQ AR and indicate that the SUMOylation pathway may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention in SBMA.
Jason P. Chua, Satya L. Reddy, Zhigang Yu, Elisa Giorgetti, Heather L. Montie, Sarmistha Mukherjee, Jake Higgins, Richard C. McEachin, Diane M. Robins, Diane E. Merry, Jorge A. Iñiguez-Lluhí, Andrew P. Lieberman
A body of experimental evidence suggests that T cells mediate neuroprotection following CNS injury; however, the antigen specificity of these T cells and how they mediate neuroprotection are unknown. Here, we have provided evidence that T cell–mediated neuroprotection after CNS injury can occur independently of major histocompatibility class II (MHCII) signaling to T cell receptors (TCRs). Using two murine models of CNS injury, we determined that damage-associated molecular mediators that originate from injured CNS tissue induce a population of neuroprotective, IL-4–producing T cells in an antigen-independent fashion. Compared with wild-type mice, IL-4–deficient animals had decreased functional recovery following CNS injury; however, transfer of CD4+ T cells from wild-type mice, but not from IL-4–deficient mice, enhanced neuronal survival. Using a culture-based system, we determined that T cell–derived IL-4 protects and induces recovery of injured neurons by activation of neuronal IL-4 receptors, which potentiated neurotrophin signaling via the AKT and MAPK pathways. Together, these findings demonstrate that damage-associated molecules from the injured CNS induce a neuroprotective T cell response that is independent of MHCII/TCR interactions and is MyD88 dependent. Moreover, our results indicate that IL-4 mediates neuroprotection and recovery of the injured CNS and suggest that strategies to enhance IL-4–producing CD4+ T cells have potential to attenuate axonal damage in the course of CNS injury in trauma, inflammation, or neurodegeneration.
James T. Walsh, Sven Hendrix, Francesco Boato, Igor Smirnov, Jingjing Zheng, John R. Lukens, Sachin Gadani, Daniel Hechler, Greta Gölz, Karen Rosenberger, Thomas Kammertöns, Johannes Vogt, Christina Vogelaar, Volker Siffrin, Ali Radjavi, Anthony Fernandez-Castaneda, Alban Gaultier, Ralf Gold, Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Robert Nitsch, Frauke Zipp, Jonathan Kipnis
Tau is a highly abundant and multifunctional brain protein that accumulates in neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), most commonly in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and primary age-related tauopathy. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been linked to neurodegeneration; however, it is not clear whether miRNA dysregulation contributes to tau neurotoxicity. Here, we determined that the highly conserved brain miRNA miR-219 is downregulated in brain tissue taken at autopsy from patients with AD and from those with severe primary age-related tauopathy. In a
Ismael Santa-Maria, Maria E. Alaniz, Neil Renwick, Carolina Cela, Tudor A. Fulga, David Van Vactor, Thomas Tuschl, Lorraine N. Clark, Michael L. Shelanski, Brian D. McCabe, John F. Crary
Chemokines are important modulators of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. In the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and in AD animal models, the chemokine CXCL10 is found in high concentrations, suggesting a pathogenic role for this chemokine and its receptor, CXCR3. Recent studies aimed at addressing the role of CXCR3 in neurological diseases indicate potent, but diverse, functions for CXCR3. Here, we examined the impact of CXCR3 in the amyloid precursor protein (APP)/presenilin 1 (PS1) transgenic mouse model of AD. We found that, compared with control APP/PSI animals, plaque burden and Aβ levels were strongly reduced in CXCR3-deficient APP/PS1 mice. Analysis of microglial phagocytosis in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that CXCR3 deficiency increased the microglial uptake of Aβ. Application of a CXCR3 antagonist increased microglial Aβ phagocytosis, which was associated with reduced TNF-α secretion. Moreover, in CXCR3-deficient APP/PS1 mice, microglia exhibited morphological activation and reduced plaque association, and brain tissue from APP/PS1 animals lacking CXCR3 had reduced concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines compared with controls. Further, loss of CXCR3 attenuated the behavioral deficits observed in APP/PS1 mice. Together, our data indicate that CXCR3 signaling mediates development of AD-like pathology in APP/PS1 mice and suggest that CXCR3 has potential as a therapeutic target for AD.
Marius Krauthausen, Markus P. Kummer, Julian Zimmermann, Elisabet Reyes-Irisarri, Dick Terwel, Bruno Bulic, Michael T. Heneka, Marcus Müller
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 28 (SCA28) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations of the mitochondrial protease AFG3L2. The SCA28 mouse model, which is haploinsufficient for
Francesca Maltecca, Elisa Baseggio, Francesco Consolato, Davide Mazza, Paola Podini, Samuel M. Young Jr., Ilaria Drago, Ben A. Bahr, Aldamaria Puliti, Franca Codazzi, Angelo Quattrini, Giorgio Casari