Analogous behavioral assays are needed across animal models and human patients to improve translational research. Here, we examined the extent to which performance in the Morris water maze — the most frequently used behavioral assay of spatial learning and memory in rodents — translates to humans. We designed a virtual version of the assay for human subjects that includes the visible-target training, hidden-target learning, and probe trials that are typically administered in the mouse version. We compared transgenic mice that express human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) to evaluate the sensitivity of performance measures in detecting deficits. Patients performed normally during visible-target training, while hAPP mice showed procedural learning deficits. In hidden-target learning and probe trials, hAPP mice and MCI-AD patients showed similar deficits in learning and remembering the target location. In addition, we have provided recommendations for selecting performance measures and sample sizes to make these assays sensitive to learning and memory deficits in humans with MCI-AD and in mouse models. Together, our results demonstrate that with careful study design and analysis, the Morris maze is a sensitive assay for detecting AD-relevant impairments across species.
Katherine L. Possin, Pascal E. Sanchez, Clifford Anderson-Bergman, Roland Fernandez, Geoffrey A. Kerchner, Erica T. Johnson, Allyson Davis, Iris Lo, Nicholas T. Bott, Thomas Kiely, Michelle C. Fenesy, Bruce L. Miller, Joel H. Kramer, Steven Finkbeiner
Recent studies have implicated chemokines in microglial activation and pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. C-X-C motif chemokine 13 (CXCL13) is a B lymphocyte chemoattractant that activates CXCR5. Using the spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model of neuropathic pain, we found that CXCL13 was persistently upregulated in spinal cord neurons after SNL, resulting in spinal astrocyte activation via CXCR5 in mice. shRNA-mediated inhibition of CXCL13 in the spinal cord persistently attenuated SNL-induced neuropathic pain. Interestingly, CXCL13 expression was suppressed by miR-186-5p, a microRNA that colocalized with CXCL13 and was downregulated after SNL. Spinal overexpression of miR-186-5p decreased CXCL13 expression, alleviating neuropathic pain. Furthermore, SNL induced CXCR5 expression in spinal astrocytes, and neuropathic pain was abrogated in
Bao-Chun Jiang, De-Li Cao, Xin Zhang, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Li-Na He, Chun-Hua Li, Wen-Wen Zhang, Xiao-Bo Wu, Temugin Berta, Ru-Rong Ji, Yong-Jing Gao
Deregulated protein and Ca2+ homeostasis underlie synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration in Huntington disease (HD); however, the factors that disrupt homeostasis are not fully understood. Here, we determined that expression of downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator (DREAM), a multifunctional Ca2+-binding protein, is reduced in murine in vivo and in vitro HD models and in HD patients. DREAM downregulation was observed early after birth and was associated with endogenous neuroprotection. In the R6/2 mouse HD model, induced DREAM haplodeficiency or blockade of DREAM activity by chronic administration of the drug repaglinide delayed onset of motor dysfunction, reduced striatal atrophy, and prolonged life span. DREAM-related neuroprotection was linked to an interaction between DREAM and the unfolded protein response (UPR) sensor activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6). Repaglinide blocked this interaction and enhanced ATF6 processing and nuclear accumulation of transcriptionally active ATF6, improving prosurvival UPR function in striatal neurons. Together, our results identify a role for DREAM silencing in the activation of ATF6 signaling, which promotes early neuroprotection in HD.
José R. Naranjo, Hongyu Zhang, Diego Villar, Paz González, Xose M. Dopazo, Javier Morón-Oset, Elena Higueras, Juan C. Oliveros, María D. Arrabal, Angela Prieto, Pilar Cercós, Teresa González, Alicia De la Cruz, Juan Casado-Vela, Alberto Rábano, Carmen Valenzuela, Marta Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Jia-Yi Li, Britt Mellström
Systemic inflammation causes malaise and general feelings of discomfort. This fundamental aspect of the sickness response reduces the quality of life for people suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases and is a nuisance during mild infections like common colds or the flu. To investigate how inflammation is perceived as unpleasant and causes negative affect, we used a behavioral test in which mice avoid an environment that they have learned to associate with inflammation-induced discomfort. Using a combination of cell-type–specific gene deletions, pharmacology, and chemogenetics, we found that systemic inflammation triggered aversion through MyD88-dependent activation of the brain endothelium followed by COX1-mediated cerebral prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) synthesis. Further, we showed that inflammation-induced PGE2 targeted EP1 receptors on striatal dopamine D1 receptor–expressing neurons and that this signaling sequence induced aversion through GABA-mediated inhibition of dopaminergic cells. Finally, we demonstrated that inflammation-induced aversion was not an indirect consequence of fever or anorexia but that it constituted an independent inflammatory symptom triggered by a unique molecular mechanism. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that PGE2-mediated modulation of the dopaminergic motivational circuitry is a key mechanism underlying the negative affect induced by inflammation.
Michael Fritz, Anna M. Klawonn, Anna Nilsson, Anand Kumar Singh, Joanna Zajdel, Daniel Björk Wilhelms, Michael Lazarus, Andreas Löfberg, Maarit Jaarola, Unn Örtegren Kugelberg, Timothy R. Billiar, David J. Hackam, Chhinder P. Sodhi, Matthew D. Breyer, Johan Jakobsson, Markus Schwaninger, Günther Schütz, Jan Rodriguez Parkitna, Clifford B. Saper, Anders Blomqvist, David Engblom
According to the neurovascular hypothesis, impairment of low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein-1 (LRP1) in brain capillaries of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) contributes to neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) brain accumulation and drives Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. However, due to conflicting reports on the involvement of LRP1 in Aβ transport and the expression of LRP1 in brain endothelium, the role of LRP1 at the BBB is uncertain. As global
Steffen E. Storck, Sabrina Meister, Julius Nahrath, Julius N. Meißner, Nils Schubert, Alessandro Di Spiezio, Sandra Baches, Roosmarijn E. Vandenbroucke, Yvonne Bouter, Ingrid Prikulis, Carsten Korth, Sascha Weggen, Axel Heimann, Markus Schwaninger, Thomas A. Bayer, Claus U. Pietrzik
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a severe neurological disorder that is associated with prominent movement and balance impairments that are widely considered to be due to defects of cerebellar origin. Here, using the cerebellar-specific vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) paradigm, we determined that cerebellar function is only mildly impaired in the
Caroline F. Bruinsma, Martijn Schonewille, Zhenyu Gao, Eleonora M.A. Aronica, Matthew C. Judson, Benjamin D. Philpot, Freek E. Hoebeek, Geeske M. van Woerden, Chris I. De Zeeuw, Ype Elgersma
Valproic acid (VPA) has been widely used for decades to treat epilepsy; however, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the anticonvulsant effects of nonacute VPA treatment involve preservation of the M-current, a low-threshold noninactivating potassium current, during seizures. In a wide variety of neurons, activation of Gq-coupled receptors, such as the m1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, suppresses the M-current and induces hyperexcitability. We demonstrated that VPA treatment disrupts muscarinic suppression of the M-current and prevents resultant agonist-induced neuronal hyperexcitability. We also determined that VPA treatment interferes with M-channel signaling by inhibiting palmitoylation of a signaling scaffold protein, AKAP79/150, in cultured neurons. In a kainate-induced murine seizure model, administration of a dose of an M-channel inhibitor that did not affect kainate-induced seizure transiently eliminated the anticonvulsant effects of VPA. Retigabine, an M-channel opener that does not open receptor-suppressed M-channels, provided anticonvulsant effects only when administered prior to seizure induction in control animals. In contrast, treatment of VPA-treated mice with retigabine induced anticonvulsant effects even when administered after seizure induction. Together, these results suggest that receptor-induced M-current suppression plays a role in the pathophysiology of seizures and that preservation of the M-current during seizures has potential as an effective therapeutic strategy.
Hee Yeon Kay, Derek L. Greene, Seungwoo Kang, Anastasia Kosenko, Naoto Hoshi
Primary pain and touch sensory neurons not only detect internal and external sensory stimuli, but also receive inputs from other neurons. However, the neuronal derived inputs for primary neurons have not been systematically identified. Using a monosynaptic rabies viruses–based transneuronal tracing method combined with sensory-specific Cre-drivers, we found that sensory neurons receive intraganglion, intraspinal, and supraspinal inputs, the latter of which are mainly derived from the rostroventral medulla (RVM). The viral-traced central neurons were largely inhibitory but also consisted of some glutamatergic neurons in the spinal cord and serotonergic neurons in the RVM. The majority of RVM-derived descending inputs were dual GABAergic and enkephalinergic (opioidergic). These inputs projected through the dorsolateral funiculus and primarily innervated layers I, II, and V of the dorsal horn, where pain-sensory afferents terminate. Silencing or activation of the dual GABA/enkephalinergic RVM neurons in adult animals substantially increased or decreased behavioral sensitivity, respectively, to heat and mechanical stimuli. These results are consistent with the fact that both GABA and enkephalin can exert presynaptic inhibition of the sensory afferents. Taken together, this work provides a systematic view of and a set of tools for examining peri- and extrasynaptic regulations of pain-afferent transmission.
Yi Zhang, Shengli Zhao, Erica Rodriguez, Jun Takatoh, Bao-Xia Han, Xiang Zhou, Fan Wang
Induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPS-derived) neural precursor cells may represent the ideal autologous cell source for cell-based therapy to promote remyelination and neuroprotection in myelin diseases. So far, the therapeutic potential of reprogrammed cells has been evaluated in neonatal demyelinating models. However, the repair efficacy and safety of these cells has not been well addressed in the demyelinated adult CNS, which has decreased cell plasticity and scarring. Moreover, it is not clear if these induced pluripotent–derived cells have the same reparative capacity as physiologically committed CNS-derived precursors. Here, we performed a side-by-side comparison of CNS-derived and skin-derived neural precursors in culture and following engraftment in murine models of adult spinal cord demyelination. Grafted induced neural precursors exhibited a high capacity for survival, safe integration, migration, and timely differentiation into mature bona fide oligodendrocytes. Moreover, grafted skin–derived neural precursors generated compact myelin around host axons and restored nodes of Ranvier and conduction velocity as efficiently as CNS-derived precursors while outcompeting endogenous cells. Together, these results provide important insights into the biology of reprogrammed cells in adult demyelinating conditions and support use of these cells for regenerative biomedicine of myelin diseases that affect the adult CNS.
Sabah Mozafari, Cecilia Laterza, Delphine Roussel, Corinne Bachelin, Antoine Marteyn, Cyrille Deboux, Gianvito Martino, Anne Baron-Van Evercooren
Hereditary retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), are characterized by the progressive loss of rod photoreceptors followed by loss of cones. While retinal gene therapy clinical trials demonstrated temporary improvement in visual function, this approach has yet to achieve sustained functional and anatomical rescue after disease onset in patients. The lack of sustained benefit could be due to insufficient transduction efficiency of viral vectors (“too little”) and/or because the disease is too advanced (“too late”) at the time therapy is initiated. Here, we tested the latter hypothesis and developed a mouse RP model that permits restoration of the mutant gene in all diseased photoreceptor cells, thereby ensuring sufficient transduction efficiency. We then treated mice at early, mid, or late disease stages. At all 3 time points, degeneration was halted and function was rescued for at least 1 year. Not only do our results demonstrate that gene therapy effectively preserves function after the onset of degeneration, our study also demonstrates that there is a broad therapeutic time window. Moreover, these results suggest that RP patients are treatable, despite most being diagnosed after substantial photoreceptor loss, and that gene therapy research must focus on improving transduction efficiency to maximize clinical impact.
Susanne F. Koch, Yi-Ting Tsai, Jimmy K. Duong, Wen-Hsuan Wu, Chun-Wei Hsu, Wei-Pu Wu, Luis Bonet-Ponce, Chyuan-Sheng Lin, Stephen H. Tsang
BACKGROUND: The disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (
METHODS: We measured cortical thickness, cortical surface area, subcortical volumes, and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in healthy controls (HC) (
RESULTS: Based on cortical thickness, 72% of the T– group were assigned to the HC group, 83% of the T+ group were assigned to the SCZ group, and 45% of the BP group were classified as belonging to the SCZ group, suggesting high specificity of this measurement in predicting brain-related phenotypes. Shared brain-related phenotypes between SCZ and T+ individuals were found for cortical thickness only. Finally, a classification accuracy of 73% was achieved when directly comparing the pattern of cortical thickness of T+ and T– individuals.
CONCLUSION: Together, the results of this study suggest that the
FUNDING: This work was supported by the National Health Service Research Scotland, the Scottish Translational Medicine Research Collaboration, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Wellcome Trust, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), and Pfizer.
Orla M. Doyle, Catherine Bois, Pippa Thomson, Liana Romaniuk, Brandon Whitcher, Steven C.R. Williams, Federico E. Turkheimer, Hreinn Stefansson, Andrew M. McIntosh, Mitul A. Mehta, Stephen M. Lawrie
Heterozygous mutations in the syntaxin-binding protein 1 (
Christopher Patzke, Yan Han, Jason Covy, Fei Yi, Stephan Maxeiner, Marius Wernig, Thomas C. Südhof
Aging and increased amyloid burden are major risk factors for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Effective therapies for these diseases are lacking. Here, we evaluated mouse models of age-associated memory impairment and amyloid deposition to study transcriptome and cell type–specific epigenome plasticity in the brain and peripheral organs. We determined that aging and amyloid pathology are associated with inflammation and impaired synaptic function in the hippocampal CA1 region as the result of epigenetic-dependent alterations in gene expression. In both amyloid and aging models, inflammation was associated with increased gene expression linked to a subset of transcription factors, while plasticity gene deregulation was differentially mediated. Amyloid pathology impaired histone acetylation and decreased expression of plasticity genes, while aging altered H4K12 acetylation–linked differential splicing at the intron-exon junction in neurons, but not nonneuronal cells. Furthermore, oral administration of the clinically approved histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat not only restored spatial memory, but also exerted antiinflammatory action and reinstated epigenetic balance and transcriptional homeostasis at the level of gene expression and exon usage. This study provides a systems-level investigation of transcriptome plasticity in the hippocampal CA1 region in aging and AD models and suggests that histone deacetylase inhibitors should be further explored as a cost-effective therapeutic strategy against age-associated cognitive decline.
Eva Benito, Hendrik Urbanke, Binu Ramachandran, Jonas Barth, Rashi Halder, Ankit Awasthi, Gaurav Jain, Vincenzo Capece, Susanne Burkhardt, Magdalena Navarro-Sala, Sankari Nagarajan, Anna-Lena Schütz, Steven A. Johnsen, Stefan Bonn, Reinhardt Lührmann, Camin Dean, André Fischer
The X-linked neurological disorder Rett syndrome (RTT) presents with autistic features and is caused primarily by mutations in a transcriptional regulator, methyl CpG–binding protein 2 (MECP2). Current treatment options for RTT are limited to alleviating some neurological symptoms; hence, more effective therapeutic strategies are needed. We identified the protein tyrosine phosphatase PTP1B as a therapeutic candidate for treatment of RTT. We demonstrated that the
Navasona Krishnan, Keerthi Krishnan, Christopher R. Connors, Meng S. Choy, Rebecca Page, Wolfgang Peti, Linda Van Aelst, Stephen D. Shea, Nicholas K. Tonks
Here we report inherited dysregulation of protein phosphatase activity as a cause of intellectual disability (ID). De novo missense mutations in 2 subunits of serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) were identified in 16 individuals with mild to severe ID, long-lasting hypotonia, epileptic susceptibility, frontal bossing, mild hypertelorism, and downslanting palpebral fissures. PP2A comprises catalytic (C), scaffolding (A), and regulatory (B) subunits that determine subcellular anchoring, substrate specificity, and physiological function. Ten patients had mutations within a highly conserved acidic loop of the
Gunnar Houge, Dorien Haesen, Lisenka E.L.M. Vissers, Sarju Mehta, Michael J. Parker, Michael Wright, Julie Vogt, Shane McKee, John L. Tolmie, Nuno Cordeiro, Tjitske Kleefstra, Marjolein H. Willemsen, Margot R.F. Reijnders, Siren Berland, Eli Hayman, Eli Lahat, Eva H. Brilstra, Koen L.I. van Gassen, Evelien Zonneveld-Huijssoon, Charlotte I. de Bie, Alexander Hoischen, Evan E. Eichler, Rita Holdhus, Vidar M. Steen, Stein Ove Døskeland, Matthew E Hurles, David R. FitzPatrick, the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) study, Veerle Janssens
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