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1.  Rates of β-amyloid accumulation are independent of hippocampal neurodegeneration 
Neurology  2014;82(18):1605-1612.
To test the hypotheses predicted in a hypothetical model of Alzheimer disease (AD) biomarkers that rates of β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation on PET imaging are not related to hippocampal neurodegeneration whereas rates of neurodegenerative brain atrophy depend on the presence of both amyloid and neurodegeneration in a population-based sample.
A total of 252 cognitively normal (CN) participants from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging had 2 or more serial visits with both amyloid PET and MRI. Subjects were classified into 4 groups based on baseline positive/negative amyloid PET (A+ or A−) and baseline hippocampal volume (N+ or N−). We compared rates of amyloid accumulation and rates of brain atrophy among the 4 groups.
At baseline, 148 (59%) were amyloid negative and neurodegeneration negative (A−N−), 29 (12%) amyloid negative and neurodegeneration positive (A−N+), 56 (22%) amyloid positive and neurodegeneration negative (A+N−), and 19 (8%) amyloid positive and neurodegeneration positive (A+N+). High rates of Aβ accumulation were found in those with abnormal amyloid at baseline and were not influenced by hippocampal neurodegeneration at baseline. In contrast, rates of brain atrophy were greatest in A+N+.
We describe a 2-feature biomarker approach to classifying elderly CN subjects that is complementary to the National Institute on Aging–Alzheimer's Association preclinical staging criteria. Our results support 2 key concepts in a model of the temporal evolution of AD biomarkers. First, the rate of Aβ accumulation is not influenced by neurodegeneration and thus may be a biologically independent process. Second, Aβ pathophysiology increases or catalyzes neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC4013810  PMID: 24706010
2.  Biologic implications of extracellular adenosine in hepatic ischemia and reperfusion injury 
The purine nucleoside adenosine is clinically employed in the treatment of supraventricular tachycardia. In addition, it has direct coronary vasodilatory effects, and may influence platelet aggregation. Experimental observations mechanistically link extracellular adenosine to cellular adaptation to hypoxia. Adenosine generation has been implicated in several pathophysiologic processes including angiogenesis, tumor defenses, and neurodegeneration. In solid organ transplantation, prolonged tissue ischemia and subsequent reperfusion injury may lead to profound graft dysfunction. Importantly, conditions of limited oxygen availability are associated with increased production of extracellular adenosine and subsequent tissue protection. Within the rapidly expanding field of adenosine biology, several enzymatic steps in adenosine production have been characterized and multiple receptor subtypes have been identified. In this review, we briefly examine the biologic steps involved in adenosine generation, and chronicle the current state of adenosine signaling in hepatic ischemia and reperfusion injury.
PMCID: PMC3805691  PMID: 23924168
Adenosine signaling; liver; ischemia; reperfusion
3.  Alterations in Adenosine Metabolism and Signaling in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9224.
Adenosine is generated in response to cellular stress and damage and is elevated in the lungs of patients with chronic lung disease. Adenosine signaling through its cell surface receptors serves as an amplifier of chronic lung disorders, suggesting adenosine-based therapeutics may be beneficial in the treatment of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Previous studies in mouse models of chronic lung disease demonstrate that the key components of adenosine metabolism and signaling are altered. Changes include an up-regulation of CD73, the major enzyme of adenosine production and down-regulation of adenosine deaminase (ADA), the major enzyme for adenosine metabolism. In addition, adenosine receptors are elevated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The focus of this study was to utilize tissues from patients with COPD or IPF to examine whether changes in purinergic metabolism and signaling occur in human disease. Results demonstrate that the levels of CD73 and A2BR are elevated in surgical lung biopsies from severe COPD and IPF patients. Immunolocalization assays revealed abundant expression of CD73 and the A2BR in alternatively activated macrophages in both COPD and IPF samples. In addition, mediators that are regulated by the A2BR, such as IL-6, IL-8 and osteopontin were elevated in these samples and activation of the A2BR on cells isolated from the airways of COPD and IPF patients was shown to directly induce the production of these mediators.
These findings suggest that components of adenosine metabolism and signaling are altered in a manner that promotes adenosine production and signaling in the lungs of patients with COPD and IPF, and provide proof of concept information that these disorders may benefit from adenosine-based therapeutics. Furthermore, this study provides the first evidence that A2BR signaling can promote the production of inflammatory and fibrotic mediators in patients with these disorders.
PMCID: PMC2821921  PMID: 20169073
4.  Endogenous Production of Extracellular Adenosine by Trabecular Meshwork Cells: Potential Role in Outflow Regulation 
To investigate the mechanisms for endogenous production of extracellular adenosine in trabecular meshwork (TM) cells and evaluate its physiological relevance to the regulation of aqueous humor outflow facility.
Extra-cellular levels of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and adenosine in porcine trabecular meshwork (PTM) cells treated with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), AMP, cAMP or forskolin with or without specific inhibitors of phosphodiesterases (IBMX) and CD73 (AMPCP) were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography fluorometry. Extracellular adenosine was also evaluated in cell cultures subjected to cyclic mechanical stress (CMS) (20% stretching; 1 Hz) and after disruption of lipid rafts with methyl-β-cyclodextrin. Expression of CD39 and CD73 in porcine TM cells and tissue were examined by Q-PCR and Western blot. The effect of inhibition of CD73 on outflow facility was evaluated in perfused living mouse eyes.
PTM cells generated extracellular adenosine from extracellular ATP and AMP but not from extracellular cAMP. Increased intracellular cAMP mediated by forskolin led to a significant increase in extracellular adenosine production that was not prevented by IBMX. Inhibition of CD73 resulted, in all cases, in a significant decrease in extracellular adenosine. CMS induced a significant activation of extracellular adenosine production. Inhibition of CD73 activity with AMPCP in living mouse eyes resulted in a significant decrease in outflow facility.
These results support the concept that the extracellular adenosine pathway might play an important role in the homeostatic regulation of outflow resistance in the TM, and suggest a novel mechanism by which pathologic alteration of the TM, such as increased tissue rigidity, could lead to abnormal elevation of IOP in glaucoma.
This study demonstrated the presence of a functional ATP-extracellular adenosine pathway in TM cells and showed that inhibition of this pathway leads to a significant decrease in aqueous humor outflow facility in living mouse eyes.
PMCID: PMC3474588  PMID: 22997289
5.  Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration elicited by a bacterial metabolite in a C. elegans Parkinson's model 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(1):e984-.
Genetic and idiopathic forms of Parkinson's disease (PD) are characterized by loss of dopamine (DA) neurons and typically the formation of protein inclusions containing the alpha-synuclein (α-syn) protein. Environmental contributors to PD remain largely unresolved but toxins, such as paraquat or rotenone, represent well-studied enhancers of susceptibility. Previously, we reported that a bacterial metabolite produced by Streptomyces venezuelae caused age- and dose-dependent DA neurodegeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans and human SH-SY5Y neurons. We hypothesized that this metabolite from a common soil bacterium could enhance neurodegeneration in combination with PD susceptibility gene mutations or toxicants. Here, we report that exposure to the metabolite in C. elegans DA neurons expressing human α-syn or LRRK2 G2019S exacerbates neurodegeneration. Using the PD toxin models 6-hydroxydopamine and rotenone, we demonstrate that exposure to more than one environmental risk factor has an additive effect in eliciting DA neurodegeneration. Evidence suggests that PD-related toxicants cause mitochondrial dysfunction, thus we examined the impact of the metabolite on mitochondrial activity and oxidative stress. An ex vivo assay of C. elegans extracts revealed that this metabolite causes excessive production of reactive oxygen species. Likewise, enhanced expression of a superoxide dismutase reporter was observed in vivo. The anti-oxidant probucol fully rescued metabolite-induced DA neurodegeneration, as well. Interestingly, the stress-responsive FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 was activated following exposure to the metabolite. Through further mechanistic analysis, we discerned the mitochondrial defects associated with metabolite exposure included adenosine triphosphate impairment and upregulation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response. Metabolite-induced toxicity in DA neurons was rescued by complex I activators. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown of mitochondrial complex I subunits resulted in rescue of metabolite-induced toxicity in DA neurons. Taken together, our characterization of cellular responses to the S. venezuelae metabolite indicates that this putative environmental trigger of neurotoxicity may cause cell death, in part, through mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC4040705  PMID: 24407237
ROS; dopamine; neurotoxin; Streptomyces
6.  Ecto-5′-Nucleotidase (CD73)-Mediated Formation of Adenosine Is Critical for the Striatal Adenosine A2A Receptor Functions 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(28):11390-11399.
Adenosine is a neuromodulator acting through inhibitory A1 receptors (A1Rs) and facilitatory A2ARs, which have similar affinities for adenosine. It has been shown that the activity of intracellular adenosine kinase preferentially controls the activation of A1Rs, but the source of the adenosine activating A2ARs is unknown. We now show that ecto-5′-nucleotidase (CD73), the major enzyme able to convert extracellular AMP into adenosine, colocalizes with A2ARs in the basal ganglia. In addition to astrocytes, striatal CD73 is prominently localized to postsynaptic sites. Notably, CD73 coimmunoprecipitated with A2ARs and proximity ligation assays confirmed the close proximity of CD73 and A2ARs in the striatum. Accordingly, the cAMP formation in synaptosomes as well as the hypolocomotion induced by a novel A2AR prodrug that requires CD73 metabolization to activate A2ARs were observed in wild-type mice, but not in CD73 knock-out (KO) mice or A2AR KO mice. Moreover, CD73 KO mice displayed increased working memory performance and a blunted amphetamine-induced sensitization, mimicking the phenotype of global or forebrain-A2AR KO mice, as well as upon pharmacological A2AR blockade. These results show that CD73-mediated formation of extracellular adenosine is responsible for the activation of striatal A2AR function. This study points to CD73 as a new target that can fine-tune A2AR activity, and a novel therapeutic target to manipulate A2AR-mediated control of striatal function and neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC3724543  PMID: 23843511
7.  Antiadrenergic effects of adenosine on His-Purkinje automaticity. Evidence for accentuated antagonism. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1988;82(6):2127-2135.
The effects of adenosine on the human His-Purkinje system (HPS) were studied in nine patients with complete atrioventricular (AV) block. Adenosine had minimal effect on the control HPS cycle length, but in the presence of isoproterenol increased it from 906 +/- 183 to 1,449 +/- 350 ms, P less than 0.001. Aminophylline, a competitive adenosine antagonist, completely abolished this antiadrenergic effect of adenosine. In isolated guinea pig hearts with surgically induced AV block, isoproterenol decreased the HPS rate by 36%, whereas in the presence of 1,3-dipropyl-8-phenyl-xanthine, a potent adenosine antagonist, the HPS rate decreased by 48% and was associated with an increased release of adenosine. Therefore, by blocking the effects of adenosine at the receptor level, the physiologic negative feedback mechanism by which adenosine antagonizes the effects of catecholamines was uncoupled. The results of this study indicate that adenosine's effects on the human HPS are primarily antiadrenergic and are thus consistent with the concept of accentuated antagonism. These effects of adenosine may serve as a counterregulatory metabolic response that improves the O2 supply-demand ratio perturbed by enhanced sympathetic tone. Some catecholamine-mediated ventricular arrhythmias that occur during ischemia or enhanced adrenergic stress may be due to an imbalance in this negative feedback system.
PMCID: PMC442796  PMID: 3198769
8.  Therapeutic epilepsy research: from pharmacological rationale to focal adenosine augmentation 
Biochemical pharmacology  2009;78(12):1428-1437.
Epilepsy is a common seizure disorder affecting approximately 70 million people worldwide. Current pharmacotherapy is neuron-centered, frequently accompanied by intolerable side-effects, and fails to be effective in about one third of patients. Therefore, new therapeutic concepts are needed. Recent research suggests an astrocytic basis of epilepsy, presenting the possibility of novel therapeutic targets. In particular, dysfunction of the astrocyte-controlled, endogenous, adenosine-based seizure control system of the brain is implicated in seizure generation. Thus, astrogliosis – a pathological hallmark of the epileptic brain – is associated with upregulation of the adenosine-removing enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK), resulting in focal adenosine deficiency. Both astrogliotic upregulation of ADK in epilepsy and transgenic overexpression of ADK are associated with seizures, and inhibition of ADK prevents seizures in a mouse model of pharmacoresistant epilepsy. These findings link adenosine deficiency with seizures and predict that adenosine augmentation therapies (AATs) will likely be effective in preventing seizures. Given the widespread systemic and central side effects of systemically administered AATs, focal AATs (i.e., limited to the astrogliotic lesion) are a necessity. This Commentary will discuss the pharmacological rationale for the development of focal AATs. Additionally, several AAT strategies will be discussed: (1) adenosine released from silk-based brain implants; (2) adenosine released from locally implanted encapsulated cells; (3) adenosine released from stem cell-derived brain implants; and (4) adenosine augmenting gene therapies. Finally, new developments and therapeutic challenges in using focal AATs for epilepsy therapy will critically be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC2766433  PMID: 19682439
9.  Adenosine Receptor–Mediated Adhesion of Endothelial Progenitors to Cardiac Microvascular Endothelial Cells 
Circulation research  2007;102(3):356-363.
Intracoronary delivery of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) is an emerging concept for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Enhancement of EPC adhesion to vascular endothelium could improve cell retention within targeted organs. Because extracellular adenosine is elevated at sites of ischemia and stimulates neovascularization, we examined the potential role of adenosine in augmenting EPC retention to cardiac microvascular endothelium. Stimulation of adenosine receptors in murine embryonic EPCs (eEPCs) and cardiac endothelial cells (cECs) rapidly, within minutes, increased eEPC adhesion to cECs under static and flow conditions. Similarly, adhesion of human adult culture-expanded EPCs to human cECs was increased by stimulation of adenosine receptors. Furthermore, adenosine increased eEPC retention in isolated mouse hearts perfused with eEPCs. We determined that eEPCs and cECs preferentially express functional A1 and A2B adenosine receptor subtypes, respectively, and that both subtypes are involved in the regulation of eEPC adhesion to cECs. We documented that the interaction between P-selectin and its ligand (P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1) plays a role in adenosine-dependent eEPC adhesion to cECs and that stimulation of adenosine receptors in cECs induces rapid cell surface expression of P-selectin. Our results suggest a role for adenosine in vasculogenesis and its potential use to stimulate engraftment in cell-based therapies.
PMCID: PMC2803108  PMID: 18032734
adenosine; adenosine receptors; endothelium; adhesion molecules
10.  Effect of A2B Adenosine Receptor Gene Ablation on Proinflammatory Adenosine Signaling in Mast Cells1 
Pharmacological studies suggest that A2B adenosine receptors mediate proinflammatory effects of adenosine in human mast cells in part by up-regulating production of Th2 cytokines and angiogenic factors. This concept has been recently challenged by the finding that mast cells cultured from bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) of A2B knockout mice display an enhanced degranulation in response to FcεRI stimulation. This finding was interpreted as evidence of anti-inflammatory functions of A2B receptors and it was suggested that antagonists with inverse agonist activity could promote activation of mast cells. In this report, we demonstrate that genetic ablation of the A2B receptor protein has two distinct effects on BMMCs, one is the previously reported enhancement of Ag-induced degranulation, which is unrelated to adenosine signaling; the other is the loss of adenosine signaling via this receptor subtype that up-regulates IL-13 and vascular endothelial growth factor secretion. Genetic ablation of A2B receptors had no effect on A3 adenosine receptor-dependent potentiation of Ag-induced degranulation in mouse BMMCs, but abrogated A2B adenosine receptor-dependent stimulation of IL-13 and vascular endothelial growth factor secretion. Adenosine receptor antagonists MRS1706 and DPCPX with known inverse agonist activity at the A2B subtype inhibited IL-13 secretion induced by the adenosine analog NECA, but did not mimic the enhanced Ag-induced degranulation observed in A2B knockout BMMCs. Thus, our study confirmed the proinflammatory role of adenosine signaling via A2B receptors and the anti-inflammatory actions of A2B antagonists in mouse BMMCs.
PMCID: PMC3628765  PMID: 18490720
11.  Past, present and future of A2A adenosine receptor antagonists in the therapy of Parkinson’s disease 
Pharmacology & therapeutics  2011;132(3):280-299.
Several selective antagonists for adenosine A2A receptors (A2AR) are currently under evaluation in clinical trials (phases I to III) to treat Parkinson’s disease, and they will probably soon reach the market. The usefulness of these antagonists has been deduced from studies demonstrating functional interactions between dopamine D2 and adenosine A2A receptors in the basal ganglia. At present it is believed that A2AR antagonists can be used in combination with the dopamine precursor L-DOPA to minimize the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s patients. However, a considerable body of data indicates that in addition to ameliorating motor symptoms, adenosine A2AR antagonists may also prevent neurodegeneration. Despite these promising indications, one further issue must be considered in order to develop fully optimized anti-parkinsonian drug therapy, namely the existence of receptor (hetero)dimers/oligomers of G protein-coupled receptors, a topic currently the focus of intense debate within the scientific community. Dopamine D2 receptors (D2Rs) expressed in the striatum are known to form heteromers with A2A adenosine receptors. Thus, the development of heteromer-specific A2A receptor antagonists represents a promising strategy for the identification of more selective and safer drugs.
PMCID: PMC3205226  PMID: 21810444
12.  The ADAR protein family 
Genome Biology  2012;13(12):252.
Adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing is a post-transcriptional process by which adenosines are selectively converted to inosines in double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) substrates. A highly conserved group of enzymes, the adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) family, mediates this reaction. All ADARs share a common domain architecture consisting of a variable number of amino-terminal dsRNA binding domains (dsRBDs) and a carboxy-terminal catalytic deaminase domain. ADAR family members are highly expressed in the metazoan nervous system, where these enzymes predominantly localize to the neuronal nucleus. Once in the nucleus, ADARs participate in the modification of specific adenosines in pre-mRNAs of proteins involved in electrical and chemical neurotransmission, including pre-synaptic release machineries, and voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels. Most RNA editing sites in these nervous system targets result in non-synonymous codon changes in functionally important, usually conserved, residues and RNA editing deficiencies in various model organisms bear out a crucial role for ADARs in nervous system function. Mutation or deletion of ADAR genes results in striking phenotypes, including seizure episodes, extreme uncoordination, and neurodegeneration. Not only does the process of RNA editing alter important nervous system peptides, but ADARs also regulate gene expression through modification of dsRNA substrates that enter the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway and may then act at the chromatin level. Here, we present a review on the current knowledge regarding the ADAR protein family, including evolutionary history, key structural features, localization, function and mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3580408  PMID: 23273215
ADAR; chromatin; deaminase; dsRNA binding proteins; inosine; miRNA; post-transcriptional modification; RNA editing; RNAi; RNA splicing; siRNA
13.  A Current Review of Cypermethrin-Induced Neurotoxicity and Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration 
Current Neuropharmacology  2012;10(1):64-71.
Cypermethrin, a class II pyrethroid pesticide, is used to control insects in the household and agricultural fields. Despite beneficial roles, its uncontrolled and repetitive applications lead to unintended effects in non-target organisms. Cypermethrin crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces neurotoxicity and motor deficits. Cypermethrin prolongs the opening of sodium channel, a major site of its action, leading to hyper-excitation of the central nervous system. In addition to sodium channel, cypermethrin modulates chloride, voltage-gated calcium and potassium channels, alters the activity of glutamate and acetylcholine receptors and adenosine triphosphatases and induces DNA damage and oxidative stress in the neuronal cells. Cypermethrin also modulates the level of neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid and dopamine. It is one of the most commonly used pesticides in neurotoxicology research not only because of its variable responses depending upon the doses, time and routes of exposure and strain, age, gender and species of animals used across multiple studies but also owing to its ability to induce the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. This article describes the effect of acute, chronic, developmental and adulthood exposures to cypermethrin in experimental animals. The article sheds light on cypermethrin-induced changes in the central nervous system, including its contribution in the onset of specific features, which are associated with the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Resemblances and dissimilarities of cypermethrin-induced nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration with sporadic and chemicals-induced disease models along with its advantages and pitfalls are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3286848  PMID: 22942879
Cypermethrin; model systems; neurotoxicity; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; pesticides.
14.  Mechanisms of Altered Redox Regulation in Neurodegenerative Diseases—Focus on S-Glutathionylation 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;16(6):543-566.
Significance: Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of neurons. A common feature is oxidative stress, which arises when reactive oxygen species (ROS) and/or reactive nitrogen species (RNS) exceed amounts required for normal redox signaling. An imbalance in ROS/RNS alters functionality of cysteines and perturbs thiol–disulfide homeostasis. Many cysteine modifications may occur, but reversible protein mixed disulfides with glutathione (GSH) likely represents the common steady-state derivative due to cellular abundance of GSH and ready conversion of cysteine-sulfenic acid and S-nitrosocysteine precursors to S-glutathionylcysteine disulfides. Thus, S-glutathionylation acts in redox signal transduction and serves as a protective mechanism against irreversible cysteine oxidation. Reversal of protein-S-glutathionylation is catalyzed specifically by glutaredoxin which thereby plays a critical role in cellular regulation. This review highlights the role of oxidative modification of proteins, notably S-glutathionylation, and alterations in thiol homeostatic enzyme activities in neurodegenerative diseases, providing insights for therapeutic intervention. Recent Advances: Recent studies show that dysregulation of redox signaling and sulfhydryl homeostasis likely contributes to onset/progression of neurodegeneration. Oxidative stress alters the thiol–disulfide status of key proteins that regulate the balance between cell survival and cell death. Critical Issues: Much of the current information about redox modification of key enzymes and signaling intermediates has been gleaned from studies focused on oxidative stress situations other than the neurodegenerative diseases. Future Directions: The findings in other contexts are expected to apply to understanding neurodegenerative mechanisms. Identification of selectively glutathionylated proteins in a quantitative fashion will provide new insights about neuropathological consequences of this oxidative protein modification. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 16, 543–566.
I. Introduction
II. Neurodegenerative Diseases
A. Alzheimer 's disease
B. Parkinson's disease
C. Huntington's disease
D. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
E. Friedreich's ataxia
III. Production of Oxidants Within the Brain
A. Cytoplasmic sources of ROS
B. Mitochondrial sources of ROS
IV. Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Neurodegenerative Diseases
A. Inflammation and Parkinson's disease
B. Potential roles of glutaredoxin in inflammatory responses
V. Cellular Oxidant Defense and Sulfhydryl Homeostasis
A. Cellular functions of Grx
B. Glutaredoxin and neurodegeneration
C. Paradoxical pro-oxidant effects of therapy of Parkinson's disease
VI. Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis
A. Apoptosis signaling kinase 1 may be regulated directly or indirectly by Grx1, Trx1, and other effectors
1. Oxidation of negative and positive effectors of ASK1
B. Redox sensitivity of cytosolic proteins implicated in neuronal cell death
1. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase
2. Tyrosine hydroxylase
3. p53
C. Apoptosis and modification of mitochondrial permeability pore proteins
1. Voltage-dependent anion channel
2. Adenosine nucleotide transporter
3. Redox sensitivity of calcium transporters
D. Oxidative modifications affecting the proteasome system, protein aggregation, and mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration
VII. S-Glutathionylation and Plaque Formation
A. Actin
B. Tau
VIII. S-Glutathionylation of Proteins Involved with Mitochondrial Respiration
A. α-Ketoglutarate dehydrogenase
B. Mitochondrial NADP+-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase
C. Complex 1
D. Complex 2
E. ATP synthase
F. Succinyl CoA transferase
IX. Potential Approaches to Therapy of the Neurodegenerative Diseases
X. Conclusions
PMCID: PMC3270051  PMID: 22066468
15.  The pulmonary effects of intravenous adenosine in asthmatic subjects 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):139.
We have shown that intravenous adenosine in normal subjects does not cause bronchospasm, but causes dyspnea, most likely by an effect on vagal C fibers in the lungs [Burki et al. J Appl Physiol 2005; 98:180-5]. Since airways inflammation and bronchial hyperreactivity are features of asthma, it is possible that intravenous adenosine may be associated with an increased intensity of dyspnea, and may cause bronchospasm, as noted anecdotally in previous reports.
We compared the effects of placebo and 10 mg intravenous adenosine, in 6 normal and 6 asthmatic subjects.
Placebo injection had no significant (p > 0.05) effect on the forced expiratory spirogram, heart rate, minute ventilation (Ve), or respiratory sensation. Similarly, adenosine injection caused no significant changes (p > 0.05) in the forced expiratory spirogram; however, there was a rapid development of dyspnea as signified visually on a modified Borg scale, and a significant (p < 0.05) tachycardia in each subject (Asthmatics +18%, Normals + 34%), and a significant (p < 0.05) increase in Ve (Asthmatics +93%, Normals +130%). The intensity of dyspnea was significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the asthmatic subjects.
These data indicate that intravenous adenosine does not cause bronchospasm in asthmatic subjects, and supports the concept that adenosine-induced dyspnea is most likely secondary to stimulation of vagal C fibers in the lungs. The increased intensity of adenosine-induced dyspnea in the asthmatic subjects suggests that airways inflammation may have sensitized the vagal C fibers.
PMCID: PMC1693563  PMID: 17137511
16.  miRNAs and deregulated gene expression networks in neurodegeneration 
Brain research  2010;1338C:48-57.
Neurodegeneration is characterized by the progressive loss of neuronal cell types in the nervous system. Although the main cause of cell dysfunction and death in many neurodegenerative diseases is not known, there is increasing evidence that their demise is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors which affect key signaling pathways in cell function. This view is supported by recent observations that disease-compromised cells in late-stage neurodegeneration exhibit profound dysregulation of gene expression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) introduce a novel concept of regulatory control over gene expression and there is increasing evidence that they play a profound role in neuronal cell identity as well as multiple aspects of disease pathogenesis. Here, we review the molecular properties of brain cells derived from patients with neurodegenerative diseases, and discuss how a deregulated miRNA/mRNA expression networks could be a mechanism in neurodegeneration. In addition, we emphasize that the dysfunction of these regulatory networks might overlap between different cell systems and suggest that miRNA functions might be common between neurodegeneration and other disease entities.
PMCID: PMC2883630  PMID: 20380815
miRNAs; microarray; gene expression; enurodegeneration
17.  Pathological mechanisms underlying TDP-43 driven neurodegeneration in FTLD–ALS spectrum disorders 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(R1):R77-R87.
Aggregation of misfolded TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a striking hallmark of neurodegenerative processes that are observed in several neurological disorders, and in particular in most patients diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A direct causal link with TDP-43 brain proteinopathy was provided by the identification of pathogenic mutations in TARDBP, the gene encoding TDP-43, in ALS families. However, TDP-43 proteinopathy has also been observed in carriers of mutations in several other genes associated with both ALS and FTLD demonstrating a key role for TDP-43 in neurodegeneration. To date, and despite substantial research into the biology of TDP-43, its functioning in normal brain and in neurodegeneration processes remains largely elusive. Nonetheless, breakthroughs using cellular and animal models have provided valuable insights into ALS and FTLD pathogenesis. Accumulating evidence has redirected the research focus towards a major role for impaired RNA metabolism and protein homeostasis. At the same time, the concept that toxic TDP-43 protein aggregates promote neurodegeneration is losing its credibility. This review aims at highlighting and discussing the current knowledge on TDP-43 driven pathomechanisms leading to neurodegeneration as observed in TDP-43 proteinopathies. Based on the complexity of the associated neurological diseases, a clear understanding of the essential pathological modifications will be crucial for further therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3782069  PMID: 23900071
18.  Role of the Intracellular Nucleoside Transporter ENT3 in Transmitter and High K+ Stimulation of Astrocytic ATP Release Investigated Using siRNA Against ENT3 
ASN NEURO  2014;6(4):1759091414543439.
This study investigates the role of the intracellular adenosine transporter equilibrative nucleoside transporter 3 (ENT3) in stimulated release of the gliotransmitter adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from astrocytes. Within the past 20 years, our understanding of the importance of astrocytic handling of adenosine, its phosphorylation to ATP, and release of astrocytic ATP as an important transmitter has become greatly expanded. A recent demonstration that the mainly intracellular nucleoside transporter ENT3 shows much higher expression in freshly isolated astrocytes than in a corresponding neuronal preparation leads to the suggestion that it was important for the synthesis of gliotransmitter ATP from adenosine. This would be consistent with a previously noted delay in transmitter release of ATP in astrocytes but not in neurons. The present study has confirmed and quantitated stimulated ATP release in response to glutamate, adenosine, or an elevated K+ concentration from well-differentiated astrocyte cultures, measured by a luciferin–luciferase reaction. It showed that the stimulated ATP release was abolished by downregulation of ENT3 with small interfering RNA (siRNA), regardless of the stimulus. The concept that transmitter ATP in mature astrocytes is synthesized directly from adenosine prior to release is supported by the postnatal development of the expression of the vesicular transporter SLC17A9 in astrocytes. In neurons, this transporter carries ATP into synaptic vesicles, but in astrocytes, its expression is pronounced only in immature cells and shows a rapid decline during the first 3 postnatal weeks so that it has almost disappeared at the end of the third week in well-differentiated astrocytes, where its role has probably been taken over by ENT3.
PMCID: PMC4187002  PMID: 25298788
adenosine; ATP release; ENT3; gliotransmitter; glutamate; SLC17A9
19.  Anesthetic Cardioprotection: The Role of Adenosine 
Current pharmaceutical design  2014;20(36):5690-5695.
Brief periods of cardiac ischemia and reperfusion exert a protective effect against subsequent longer ischemic periods, a phenomenon coined ischemic preconditioning. Similar, repeated brief episodes of coronary occlusion and reperfusion at the onset of reperfusion, called post-conditioning, dramatically reduce infarct sizes. Interestingly, both effects can be achieved by the administration of any volatile anesthetic. In fact, cardio-protection by volatile anesthetics is an older phenomenon than ischemic pre- or post-conditioning. Although the mechanism through which anesthetics can mimic ischemic pre- or post-conditioning is still unknown, adenosine generation and signaling are the most redundant triggers in ischemic pre- or postconditioning. In fact, adenosine signaling has been implicated in isoflurane-mediated cardioprotection. Adenosine acts via four receptors designated as A1, A2a, A2b, and A3. Cardioprotection has been associated with all subtypes, although the role of each remains controversial. Much of the controversy stems from the abundance of receptor agonists and antagonists that are, in fact, capable of interacting with multiple receptor subtypes. Recently, more specific receptor agonists and new genetic animal models have become available paving way towards new discoveries. As such, the adenosine A2b receptor was shown to be the only 1 of the adenosine receptors whose cardiac expression is induced by ischemia in both mice and humans and whose function is implicated in ischemic pre- or post-conditioning. In the current review, we will focus on adenosine signaling in the context of anesthetic cardioprotection and will highlight new discoveries, which could lead to new therapeutic concepts to treat myocardial ischemia using anesthetic preconditioning.
PMCID: PMC4119865  PMID: 24502579
20.  Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction as determinants of ischemic neuronal death and survival 
Journal of neurochemistry  2009;109(Suppl 1):133-138.
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. Their primary physiological function is to generate adenosine triphosphate through oxidative phosphorylation via the electron transport chain. Reactive oxygen species generated from mitochondria have been implicated in acute brain injuries such as stroke and neurodegeneration. Recent studies have shown that mitochondrially-formed oxidants are mediators of molecular signaling, which is implicated in the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway that involves pro- and antiapoptotic protein binding, the release of cytochrome c, and transcription-independent p53 signaling, leading to neuronal death. Oxidative stress and the redox state of ischemic neurons are also implicated in the signaling pathway that involves phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and downstream signaling, which lead to neuronal survival. Genetically modified mice or rats that overexpress or are deficient in superoxide dismutase have provided strong evidence in support of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress as determinants of neuronal death/survival after stroke and neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC2679225  PMID: 19393019
apoptosis; ischemia; mitochondria; oxidative stress; p53; reactive oxygen species
21.  The synaptic vesicle SNARE neuronal Synaptobrevin promotes endolysosomal degradation and prevents neurodegeneration 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;196(2):261-276.
The synaptic v-SNARE n-Syb functions not only in synaptic vesicle exocytosis but also in delivery of protein-degrading enzymes to endosomes that are necessary to prevent protein aggregation and neurodegeneration.
Soluble NSF attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) are the core proteins in membrane fusion. The neuron-specific synaptic v-SNARE n-syb (neuronal Synaptobrevin) plays a key role during synaptic vesicle exocytosis. In this paper, we report that loss of n-syb caused slow neurodegeneration independent of its role in neurotransmitter release in adult Drosophila melanogaster photoreceptor neurons. In addition to synaptic vesicles, n-Syb localized to endosomal vesicles. Loss of n-syb lead to endosomal accumulations, transmembrane protein degradation defects, and a secondary increase in autophagy. Our evidence suggests a primary defect of impaired delivery of vesicles that contain degradation proteins, including the acidification-activated Cathepsin proteases and the neuron-specific proton pump and V0 adenosine triphosphatase component V100. Overexpressing V100 partially rescued n-syb–dependent degeneration through an acidification-independent endosomal sorting mechanism. Collectively, these findings reveal a role for n-Syb in a neuron-specific sort-and-degrade mechanism that protects neurons from degeneration. Our findings further shed light on which intraneuronal compartments exhibit increased or decreased neurotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3265959  PMID: 22270918
22.  Blockade of adenosine A2A receptors prevents interleukin-1β-induced exacerbation of neuronal toxicity through a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway 
Background and purpose
Blockade of adenosine A2A receptors (A2AR) affords robust neuroprotection in a number of brain conditions, although the mechanisms are still unknown. A likely candidate mechanism for this neuroprotection is the control of neuroinflammation, which contributes to the amplification of neurodegeneration, mainly through the abnormal release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin(IL)-1β. We investigated whether A2AR controls the signaling of IL-1β and its deleterious effects in cultured hippocampal neurons.
Hippocampal neuronal cultures were treated with IL-1β and/or glutamate in the presence or absence of the selective A2AR antagonist, SCH58261 (50 nmol/l). The effect of SCH58261 on the IL-1β-induced phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 was evaluated by western blotting and immunocytochemistry. The effect of SCH58261 on glutamate-induced neurodegeneration in the presence or absence of IL-1β was evaluated by nucleic acid and by propidium iodide staining, and by lactate dehydrogenase assay. Finally, the effect of A2AR blockade on glutamate-induced intracellular calcium, in the presence or absence of IL-1β, was studied using single-cell calcium imaging.
IL-1β (10 to 100 ng/ml) enhanced both JNK and p38 phosphorylation, and these effects were prevented by the IL-1 type 1 receptor antagonist IL-1Ra (5 μg/ml), in accordance with the neuronal localization of IL-1 type 1 receptors, including pre-synaptically and post-synaptically. At 100 ng/ml, IL-1β failed to affect neuronal viability but exacerbated the neurotoxicity induced by treatment with 100 μmol/l glutamate for 25 minutes (evaluated after 24 hours). It is likely that this resulted from the ability of IL-1β to enhance glutamate-induced calcium entry and late calcium deregulation, both of which were unaffected by IL-1β alone. The selective A2AR antagonist, SCH58261 (50 nmol/l), prevented both the IL-1β-induced phosphorylation of JNK and p38, as well as the IL-1β-induced deregulation of calcium and the consequent enhanced neurotoxicity, whereas it had no effect on glutamate actions.
These results prompt the hypothesis that the neuroprotection afforded by A2AR blockade might result from this particular ability of A2AR to control IL-1β-induced exacerbation of excitotoxic neuronal damage, through the control of MAPK activation and late calcium deregulation.
PMCID: PMC3439355  PMID: 22901528
Adenosine; A2A receptor; Interleukin 1β; Neurodegeneration; p38 MAPK; Calcium
23.  Adenosine Kinase of T. b. rhodesiense Identified as the Putative Target of 4-[5-(4-phenoxyphenyl)-2H-pyrazol-3-yl]morpholine Using Chemical Proteomics 
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), a major parasitic disease spread in Africa, urgently needs novel targets and new efficacious chemotherapeutic agents. Recently, we discovered that 4-[5-(4-phenoxyphenyl)-2H-pyrazol-3-yl]morpholine (compound 1) exhibits specific antitrypanosomal activity with an IC50 of 1.0 µM on Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (T. b. rhodesiense), the causative agent of the acute form of HAT.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this work we show adenosine kinase of T. b. rhodesiense (TbrAK), a key enzyme of the parasite purine salvage pathway which is vital for parasite survival, to be the putative intracellular target of compound 1 using a chemical proteomics approach. This finding was confirmed by RNA interference experiments showing that down-regulation of adenosine kinase counteracts compound 1 activity. Further chemical validation demonstrated that compound 1 interacts specifically and tightly with TbrAK with nanomolar affinity, and in vitro activity measurements showed that compound 1 is an enhancer of TbrAK activity. The subsequent kinetic analysis provided strong evidence that the observed hyperactivation of TbrAK is due to the abolishment of the intrinsic substrate-inhibition.
The results suggest that TbrAK is the putative target of this compound, and that hyperactivation of TbrAK may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for the development of trypanocides.
Author Summary
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), a devastating and fatal parasitic disease endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, urgently needs novel targets and efficacious chemotherapeutic agents. Recently, we discovered that 4-[5-(4-phenoxyphenyl)-2H-pyrazol-3-yl]morpholine exhibits specific antitrypanosomal activity toward T. b. rhodesiense, the causative agent of the acute form of HAT. Here we applied a chemical proteomics approach to find the cellular target of this compound. Adenosine kinase, a key enzyme of the parasite purine salvage pathway, was isolated and identified as compound binding partner. Direct binding assays using recombinant protein, and tests on an adenosine kinase knock-down mutant of the parasite produced by RNA interference confirmed TbrAK as the putative target. Kinetic analyses showed that the title compound is an activator of adenosine kinase and that the observed hyperactivation of TbrAK is due to the abolishment of the intrinsic substrate-inhibition. Whereas hyperactivation as a mechanism of action is well known from drugs targeting cell signaling, this is a novel and hitherto unexplored concept for compounds targeting metabolic enzymes, suggesting that hyperactivation of TbrAK may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for the development of trypanocides.
PMCID: PMC2724708  PMID: 19707572
24.  Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease Begins as Episodes of Brain Ischemia and Ischemically Dysregulated Alzheimer’s Disease Genes 
Molecular Neurobiology  2013;48(3):500-515.
The study of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease etiology, now more than ever, needs an infusion of new concepts. Despite ongoing interest in Alzheimer’s disease, the basis of this entity is not yet clear. At present, the best-established and accepted “culprit” in Alzheimer’s disease pathology by most scientists is the amyloid, as the main molecular factor responsible for neurodegeneration in this disease. Abnormal upregulation of amyloid production or a disturbed clearance mechanism may lead to pathological accumulation of amyloid in brain according to the “amyloid hypothesis.” We will critically review these observations and highlight inconsistencies between the predictions of the “amyloid hypothesis” and the published data. There is still controversy over the role of amyloid in the pathological process. A question arises whether amyloid is responsible for the neurodegeneration or if it accumulates because of the neurodegeneration. Recent evidence suggests that the pathophysiology and neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease comprises more than amyloid accumulation, tau protein pathology and finally brain atrophy with dementia. Nowadays, a handful of researchers share a newly emerged view that the ischemic episodes of brain best describe the pathogenic cascade, which eventually leads to neuronal loss, especially in hippocampus, with amyloid accumulation, tau protein pathology and irreversible dementia of Alzheimer type. The most persuasive evidences come from investigations of ischemically damaged brains of patients and from experimental ischemic brain studies that mimic Alzheimer-type dementia. This review attempts to depict what we know and do not know about the triggering factor of the Alzheimer’s disease, focusing on the possibility that the initial pathological trigger involves ischemic episodes and ischemia-induced gene dysregulation. The resulting brain ischemia dysregulates additionally expression of amyloid precursor protein and amyloid-processing enzyme genes that, in addition, ultimately compromise brain functions, leading over time to the complex alterations that characterize advanced sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. The identification of the genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease induced by ischemia will enable to further define the events leading to sporadic Alzheimer’s disease-related abnormalities. Additionally, knowledge gained from the above investigations should facilitate the elaboration of the effective treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3825141  PMID: 23519520
Brain ischemia; Blood–brain barrier; Neuronal death; Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; Genes; Amyloid precursor protein; Presenilins; Apolipoproteins; Secretases
25.  GRK2 and group I mGluR mediate inflammation-induced sensitization to excitotoxic neurodegeneration 
Annals of neurology  2013;73(5):10.1002/ana.23868.
The concept of inflammation-induced sensitization is emerging in the field of perinatal brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis. However, mechanisms underpinning this process remain unidentified.
We combined in vivo systemic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) induced sensitization of neonatal and adult rodent cortical neurons to excitotoxic neurodegeneration with in vitro IL-1β sensitization of human and rodent neurons to excitotoxic neurodegeneration. Within these inflammation-induced sensitization models we assessed metabotropic glutamatergic receptor (mGluR) signaling and regulation.
We demonstrate for the first time that group I mGluRs mediate inflammation-induced sensitization to neuronal excitotoxicity in neonatal and adult neurons across species. Inflammation induced G protein–coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) down-regulation and genetic deletion of GRK2 mimicked the sensitizing effect of inflammation on excitotoxic neurodegeneration. Thus, we identify GRK2 as a potential molecular link between inflammation and mGluR-mediated sensitization.
Collectively, our findings indicate that inflammation-induced sensitization is universal across species and ages and that group I mGluRs and GRK2 represent new avenues for neuroprotection in perinatal and adult neurological disorders.
PMCID: PMC3837433  PMID: 23494575

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