MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate dendritogenesis and plasticity. However, the biological function of miRNAs in axons has not been extensively investigated. Here, using rat primary cortical neurons cultured in a microfluidic chamber, we found that the distal axons of the neurons expressed the miR-17-92 cluster and that proteins which regulate production and activity of mature miRNAs, Dicer and Argonaute 2, respectively, were present in the distal axons. Overexpression of the miR-17-92 cluster in cortical neurons substantially increased axonal outgrowth, whereas distal axonal attenuation of endogenous miR-19a, a key miRNA of the miR-17-92 cluster, with the miRNA hairpin inhibitor suppressed axonal outgrowth. Moreover, overexpression of the miR-17-92 cluster reduced phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) proteins and elevated phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in the distal axons. In contrast, distal axonal attenuation of miR-19a increased PTEN proteins and inactivated mTOR in the axons, but did not affect these protein levels in the cell bodies. Overexpression of PTEN and attenuation of endogenous PTEN prevailed over the enhancement and inhibitory effects of the miR-19a on axonal outgrowth, respectively. Axonal application of LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, or rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, abolished axonal outgrowth enhanced by overexpression of the miR-17-92 cluster. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that axonal alteration of miR-17-92 cluster expression regulates axonal outgrowth and that local modulation of PTEN protein levels by miR-19a likely contributes to the axonal outgrowth.
To overcome the limitations of conventional diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging resulting from the assumption of a Gaussian diffusion model for characterizing voxels containing multiple axonal orientations, Shannon's entropy was employed to evaluate white matter structure in human brain and in brain remodeling after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a rat.
Thirteen healthy subjects were investigated using a Q-ball based DTI data sampling scheme. FA and entropy values were measured in white matter bundles, white matter fiber crossing areas, different gray matter (GM) regions and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Axonal densities' from the same regions of interest (ROIs) were evaluated in Bielschowsky and Luxol fast blue stained autopsy (n = 30) brain sections by light microscopy. As a case demonstration, a Wistar rat subjected to TBI and treated with bone marrow stromal cells (MSC) 1 week after TBI was employed to illustrate the superior ability of entropy over FA in detecting reorganized crossing axonal bundles as confirmed by histological analysis with Bielschowsky and Luxol fast blue staining.
Unlike FA, entropy was less affected by axonal orientation and more affected by axonal density. A significant agreement (r = 0.91) was detected between entropy values from in vivo human brain and histologically measured axonal density from post mortum from the same brain structures. The MSC treated TBI rat demonstrated that the entropy approach is superior to FA in detecting axonal remodeling after injury. Compared with FA, entropy detected new axonal remodeling regions with crossing axons, confirmed with immunohistological staining.
Entropy measurement is more effective in distinguishing axonal remodeling after injury, when compared with FA. Entropy is also more sensitive to axonal density than axonal orientation, and thus may provide a more accurate reflection of axonal changes that occur in neurological injury and disease.
Neurorestorative therapy targets multiple types of parenchymal cells in the intact tissue of the injured brain tissue to increase neurogenesis, angiogenesis, oligodendrogenesis, and axonal remodeling during recovery from neurological injury. In our laboratory, we tested thymosin β4 (Tβ4) as a neurorestorative agent to treat models of neurological injury. This review discusses our results demonstrating that Tβ4 improves neurological functional outcome in a rat model of embolic stroke, a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, and a rat model of traumatic brain injury. Tβ4 is a pleiotropic peptide exhibiting many actions in several different types of tissues. One mechanism associated with improvement of neurological improvement from Tβ4 treatment is oligodendrogenesis involving the differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells to mature myelin-secreting oligodendrocytes. Moreover, our preclinical data provide a basis for movement of Tβ4 into clinical trials for treatment of these devastating neurological diseases and injuries.
thymosin β4; stroke; multiple sclerosis; traumatic brain injury; rat
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. No effective pharmacological treatments are available for TBI because all Phase II/III TBI clinical trials have failed. This highlights a compelling need to develop effective treatments for TBI. Endogenous neurorestoration occurs in the brain after TBI, including angiogenesis, neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, oligodendrogenesis and axonal remodeling, which may be associated with spontaneous functional recovery after TBI. However, the endogenous neurorestoration following TBI is limited. Treatments amplifying these neurorestorative processes may promote functional recovery after TBI. Thymosin beta4 (Tβ4) is the major G-actin-sequestering molecule in eukaryotic cells. In addition, Tβ4 has other properties including anti-apoptosis and anti-inflammation, promotion of angiogenesis, wound healing, stem/progenitor cell differentiation, and cell migration and survival, which provide the scientific foundation for the corneal, dermal, and cardiac wound repair multicenter clinical trials. Here, we describe Tβ4 as a neuroprotective and neurorestorative candidate for treatment of TBI.
thymosin beta4; traumatic brain injury; rat; neuroprotection; neurorestoration
Acute treatment of stroke with HDAC inhibitors has been shown to reduce ischemic cell damage; however, it is unclear whether delayed treatment with HDAC inhibitors will contribute to the brain repair and plasticity. In the present study, we investigated the effects of delayed treatment of stroke with a pan HDAC inhibitor, valproic acid (VPA), on white matter injury and neurogenesis during stroke recovery. Administration of VPA at a dose of 100 mg/kg for 7 days starting 24 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in rats significantly improved neurological outcome measured 7 to 28 days post-MCAo. In addition, the VPA treatment significantly increased oligodendrocyte survival and newly generated oligodendrocytes, which was associated with elevation of myelinated axonal density in the ischemic boundary 28 days after MCAo. VPA treatment also increased the expression of glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) in the ischemic boundary after stroke, and increased acetylated histone H4 expression in neuroblasts and the number of new neurons in striatal ischemic boundary region. This study provides new evidence that the delayed VPA treatment enhances white matter repair and neurogenesis in ischemic brain, which may contribute to improved functional outcome.
Valproic acid; oligodendrocyte; axon; neural progenitor cells; subventricular zone (SVZ); stroke
Background and purpose
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only approved therapy for acute ischemic stroke. However, tPA has a brief therapeutic window. Its side effects include intracerebral bleeding and neurotoxicity. Therefore, a combination therapy with tPA and agents that can extend the therapeutic window of tPA and/or counteract its side effects are warranted. Here, we studied whether 3K3A-APC, a neuroprotective analog of activated protein C (APC) with reduced anticoagulant activity, can enhance the therapeutic effects of tPA in models of ischemic stroke in rodents.
Human recombinant tPA (10 mg/kg), alone or in combination with human recombinant 3K3A-APC (2 mg/kg), was given intravenously 4 hours after proximal or distal transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in mice and embolic stroke in rats. 3K3A-APC was additionally administered for 3–4 consecutive days after stroke. The neuropathological and neurological analyses were performed at 1 to 7 days after stroke.
In all models, tPA alone had no effects on the infarct volume or behavior (i.e., neurological score, foot-fault, forelimb asymmetry, adhesive removal) compared to vehicle. tPA and 3K3A-APC combination therapy reduced the infarct volume 24 hours and 7 days after proximal or distal transient MCAo in mice and 7 days after embolic stroke in rats by 65%, 63% and 52%, respectively, improved significantly (P<0.05) behavior, and eliminated tPA-induced intracerebral microhemorrhages.
3K3A-APC extends the therapeutic window of tPA for ischemic stroke in rodents. Therefore, this combination therapy should also be considered for treating stroke in humans.
thrombolytic therapy; ischemic stroke; proteases; neuroprotection
Quantitative measurement of blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability using MRI and its application to cerebral ischemia are reviewed. Measurement of BBB permeability using MRI has been employed to evaluate ischemic damage during acute and subacute phases of stroke and to predict hemorrhagic transformation. There is also an emerging interest on the development and use of MRI to monitor vascular structural changes and angiogenesis during stroke recovery. In this review, we describe MRI BBB permeability and susceptibility-weighted MRI measurements and its applications to evaluate ischemic damage during the acute and subacute phases of stroke and vascular remodeling during stroke recovery.
Blood–brain barrier permeability; Blood-to-brain transfer constant; Hemorrhage; Angiogenesis; Vascular remodeling; Ischemia; Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI; MRI
Background and Purpose
Axonal remodeling is critical to brain repair after stroke. The present study investigated axonal outgrowth after stroke and the signaling pathways mediating axonal outgrowth in cortical neurons.
Using a rodent model of middle cerebral artery occlusion, we examined high molecular weight neurofilament (NFH) immunoreactive axons and myelin basic protein (MBP) positive oligodendrocytes in the peri-infarct area. In vitro, using cultured cortical neurons in a microfluidic chamber challenged by oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD), we investigated mechanisms selectively regulating axonal outgrowth after OGD.
NFH+ axons and MBP+ oligodendrocytes substantially increased in the peri-infarct area during stroke recovery, concomitantly with an increase in dendrites and spines identified by Golgi-Cox staining. In vitro, cortical neurons subjected to OGD exhibited significant increases in axonal outgrowth and in phosphorylated NFH protein levels, concurrently with downregulation of phosphatase tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), activation of Akt, and inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β(GSK-3β) in regenerated axons. Blockage of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) with pharmacological inhibitors suppressed Akt activation and attenuated phosphorylation of GSK-3β, which resulted in suppression of pNFH and axonal outgrowth after OGD, whereas GSK-3 inhibitors augmented axonal regeneration and elevated pNFH levels after OGD.
Stroke induces axonal outgrowth and myelination in rodent ischemic brain during stroke recovery, and the PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β signaling pathway mediates axonal regeneration of cortical neurons after OGD.
Stroke; Axonal outgrowth; High molecular weight neurofilament; GSK-3β; Akt
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administered within 4.5 hours of symptom onset restores cerebral blood flow and promotes neurological recovery of stroke patients. However, the narrow therapeutic time window and the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage after tPA treatment pose major hurdles to its clinical usage. In light of the failures of neuroprotective therapies in clinical trials, emerging concepts suggest that neuroprotection alone without restoration of tissue perfusion and vascular integrity may not be adequate for treatment of acute stroke. Here we review evidence of the use of adjuvant pharmacological agents to extend the therapeutic window for tPA via targeting the neurovascular unit and the underlying mechanisms of the combination therapy in experimental stroke.
Activation of the toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway exacerbates ischemic brain damage. The present study tested the hypothesis that combination treatment with VELCADE and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) modulates the TLR signaling pathway on cerebral vasculature, which leads to neuroprotection in aged rats after stroke.
Methods and Results
Focal cerebral ischemia acutely increased TLR2, TLR4, and interleukin-1 receptor activated kinases 1 (IRAK1) immunoreactivity on fibrin/fibrinogen positive vessels in aged rats. Monotherapy of tPA further amplified these signals. However, VELCADE in combination with tPA blocked stroke- and tPA-potentiated vascular TLR signals, leading to robust reduction of infarct volume compared with respective monotherapies. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of cerebral endothelial cells isolated by laser capture microdissection revealed that the combination treatment increased miR-l46a levels, which was inversely associated with the reduction of vascular IRAK1 immunoreactivity. In vitro, fibrin upregulated IRAK1 and TLR4 expression and downregulated miR-146a on primary human cerebral endothelial cells. VELCADE elevated miR-146 levels and abolished fibrin-increased IRAK1 proteins.
Stroke acutely activates the TLR signaling pathway on cerebral vasculature. Upregulation of miR-146a and inactivation of ischemia and tPA-potentiated TLR signaling pathway by VELCADE may play an important role in the neuroprotective effect of the combination therapy of VELCADE and tPA for acute stroke.
ischemia; endothelium; microRNA; thrombolysis; toll-like receptors
In this study, we seek to investigate the effects of simvastatin on proliferation, migration and apoptosis in human U251 and U87 glioma cells and the underlying molecular mechanism.
We used colony formation assay to test the cell proliferation, in vitro scratch assay to examine the cell migration, and caspase-3 activity assay, annexin V staining and cytochrome C release to evaluate the cell apoptosis. Lipid raft fractions were isolated from glioma cells. Total cholesterol content assay was used to test the change of cholesterol level in lipid raft fractions. Immunocytochemistry staining was performed to detect the changes of lipid rafts in cell membrane. Western blotting analysis was performed to examine the signal transduction both in cells and in lipid raft fractions.
Simvastatin inhibited proliferation and migration of U251 and U87 cells dose-dependently. Simvastatin induced an increase of caspase-3 activity, annexin V staining, and downregulated the PI3K/Akt pathway. Simvastatin also decreased cholesterol content in lipid raft fractions, suppressed caveolin-1 expression in the lipid rafts and induced Fas translocation into lipid rafts, suggesting that simvastatin may inhibit pro-survival PI3K/Akt pathway and trigger caspase-3-dependent apoptotic cell death through the modulation of lipid rafts.
These results suggest that modulation of lipid rafts, Fas translocation and PI3K/Akt/caspase-3 pathway are involved in the antitumor effect of simvastatin and it may have a potential role in cancer prevention and treatment.
apoptosis; glioma; lipid rafts; PI3K/Akt pathway; simvastatin
In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the Angiopoietin 1 (Ang1)/Tie2 pathway mediates simvastatin-induced vascular integrity and migration of neuroblasts after stroke. Rats were subjected to 2 hrs of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and treated, starting 1 day after stroke with or without simvastatin (1 mg/kg, daily) for 7 days. Simvastatin treatment significantly decreased blood–brain barrier (BBB) leakage and concomitantly, increased Ang1, Tie2 and Occludin expression in the ischaemic border (IBZ) compared to the MCAo control group. Simvastatin also significantly increased doublecortin (DCX, a marker of migrating neuroblasts) expression in the IBZ compared to control MCAo rats. DCX was highly expressed around vessels. To further investigate the signalling pathway of simvastatin-induced vascular stabilization and angiogenesis, rat brain microvascular endothelial cell (RBMEC) culture was employed. The data show that simvastatin treatment of RBMEC increased Ang1 and Tie2 gene and protein expression and promoted phosphorylated-Tie2 activity. Simvastatin significantly increased endothelial capillary tube formation, an index of angiogenesis, compared to non-treated control. Inhibition of Ang1 or knockdown of Tie2 gene expression in endothelial cells significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced capillary tube formation. In addition, simvastatin significantly increased subventricular zone (SVZ) explant cell migration compared to non-treatment control. Inhibition of Ang1 significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced SVZ cell migration. Simvastatin treatment of stroke increases Ang1/Tie2 expression and thereby reduces BBB leakage and promotes vascular stabilization. Ang1/Tie2 expression induced by simvastatin treatment promotes neuroblast microvascular coupling after stroke.
stroke; angiopoietin 1; Tie2; simvastatin; vascular stabilization
This study was designed to investigate the potential beneficial effects of bone marrow stromal cell (MSC) treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice.
Twelve female C57BL/6J mice (weight, 21–26 g) were injured with controlled cortical impact and divided into 2 groups (n = 6 each). The experimental group was injected with MSCs (0.3 × 106) intravenously one day after TBI, whereas the control group was injected with saline. MSCs were harvested from male mice, and male to female transplantation performed to identify male donor cells within female recipient animals. This was achieved by localizing Y chromosomes within the female mice. Neurological function was assessed using the Morris water maze and Foot Fault tests. All mice were sacrificed 35 days after TBI. Brain sections were stained using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry to identify MSCs as well as to analyze vascular density following MSC treatment.
Both modalities of testing demonstrated significant improvement in neurological function in the MSC-treated group compared to the saline-treated control group (p < 0.05). Histologically, Y-chromosome labeled MSCs were easily identified in the injured brain, localized primarily around the lesion boundary zone. There was also significant increase in vascular density in the lesion boundary zone and hippocampus of MSC-treated mice compared to control mice.
This is the first study to show beneficial effects of MSC treatment after TBI in mice.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI); marrow stromal cells (MSCs); mice
Our previous studies found that simvastatin treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats had beneficial effects on spatial learning functions. In the current study we wanted to determine whether simvastatin suppressed neuronal cell apoptosis after TBI, and if so, the underlying mechanisms of this process.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was administered orally to rats starting at Day 1 after TBI and then daily for 14 days. Modified neurological severity scores (NSS) were employed to evaluate the sensory motor functional recovery. Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14 and 35 days after treatment and brain tissue was harvested for TUNEL staining, caspase-3 activity assay and Western blot analysis. Simvastatin significantly decreased NSS from Days 7 to 35 after TBI, significantly reduced the number of TUNEL-positive cells at Day 3, suppressed the caspase-3 activity at Days 1 and 3 after TBI, and increased phosphorylation of Akt as well as FOXO1, IκB and eNOS, which are the downstream targets of the pro-survival Akt signaling protein.
These data suggested that simvastatin reduces the apoptosis in neuronal cells and improves the sensory motor function recovery after TBI. These beneficial effects of simvastatin may be mediated through activation of Akt, FOXO1 and NF-κB signaling pathways, which suppress the activation of caspase-3 and apoptotic cell death, and thereby lead to neuronal function recovery after TBI.
simvastatin; apoptosis; Akt; FOXO1; IκB; traumatic brain injury
Background & Objective
Diabetes mellitus (DM) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of vascular complications including arteriosclerosis and ischemic stroke. Whether DM impacts intracranial aneurysm (IA) formation has not been extensively investigated. In this study, we tested the underlying mechanism of type one DM (T1DM) induced IA formation in rats.
T1DM was induced by streptozotocin injection. Rats were euthanized at 0, 4 and 10 weeks after T1DM induction. To evaluate cerebral vascular perfusion, Fluorescein isothiocyanate - dye was injected at 5 min prior to euthanasia. Vascular perfusion was measured by laser scanning confocal microscopy. Trichrome, Elastica van Gieson, alpha-smooth muscle actin (a-SMA) and receptor of advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) immunostaining were performed. The IA formation was classified by 0–3 stages: 0: Normal; 1: Endothelial damage; 2: Moderate protrusion; and 3: Saccular aneurysm formation.
T1DM significantly increased IA formation identified by the classification of aneurysmal changes compared with non-DM rats (p<0.05). However, T1DM induced IA formations were classified as stage 1 and stage 2, but not stage 3. Cerebral vascular perfusion was significantly decreased in T1DM rats compared to non-DM rats (p<0.01). DM10W rats exhibited a significant decrease of cerebral vascular perfusion compared to DM4W rats (p<0.05). T1DM rats also significantly increased the internal carotid artery (ICA) intimae and media thickness, and decreased the internal carotid artery diameter compared to non-DM rats. RAGE, MMP9 and TLR4 expression were significantly increased in T1DM rats compared to non-DM rats. The increased RAGE, TLR4 and MMP9 significantly correlated with IA formation (p<0.05).
T1DM increases IA formation. The increased RAGE, MMP9 and TLR4 expressions might contribute to IA formation in T1DM rats.
Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have potential therapeutic benefit for the treatment of neurological diseases and injury. MSCs interact with and alter brain parenchymal cells by direct cell-cell communication and/or by indirect secretion of factors and thereby promote functional recovery. In this study, we found that MSC treatment of rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) significantly increased microRNA 133b (miR-133b) level in the ipsilateral hemisphere. In vitro, miR-133b levels in MSCs and in their exosomes increased after MSCs were exposed to ipsilateral ischemic tissue extracts from rats subjected to MCAo. miR-133b levels were also increased in primary cultured neurons and astrocytes treated with the exosome-enriched fractions released from these MSCs. Knockdown of miR-133b in MSCs confirmed that the increased miR-133b level in astrocytes is attributed to their transfer from MSCs. Further verification of this exosome-mediated intercellular communication was performed using a cel-miR-67 luciferase reporter system and an MSC-astrocyte coculture model. Cel-miR-67 in MSCs was transferred to astrocytes via exosomes between 50 and 100 nm in diameter. Our data suggest that the cel-miR-67 released from MSCs was primarily contained in exosomes. A gap junction intercellular communication inhibitor arrested the exosomal microRNA communication by inhibiting exosome release. Cultured neurons treated with exosome-enriched fractions from MSCs exposed to 72 hours post-MCAo brain extracts significantly increased the neurite branch number and total neurite length. This study provides the first demonstration that MSCs communicate with brain parenchymal cells and may regulate neurite outgrowth by transfer of miR-133b to neural cells via exosomes.
MicroRNA 133b; Exosomes; Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells; Neurite outgrowth; Stroke
Bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) improve neurologic recovery after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). To examine whether in vivo blockage of the endogenous sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway affects grafted MSC-induced neurologic benefits, MCAo mice were administered: vehicle (control); cyclopamine (CP)— a specific Shh pathway inhibitor; MSC; and MSC and cyclopamine (MSC-CP). Neurologic function was evaluated after MCAo. Electron microscopy and immunofluorescence staining were employed to measure synapse density, protein expression of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and Shh in parenchymal cells in the ischemic boundary zone (IBZ), respectively. Marrow stromal cell treatment significantly enhanced functional recovery after ischemia, concurrent with increases of synaptophysin, synapse density, and myelinated axons along the IBZ, and significantly increased tPA and Shh expression in astrocytes and neurons compared with control. After treatment with MSC-CP or CP, the above effects were reversed. Co-culture of MSCs with cortical neurons confirmed the effect of Shh on MSC-mediated neurite outgrowth. Our data support the hypothesis that the Shh pathway mediates brain plasticity via tPA and thereby functional recovery after treatment of stroke with MSCs.
cyclopamine; marrow stromal cells; MCAo; neurite outgrowth; sonic hedgehog
Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) decrease the expression of transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) in astrocytes and subsequently decrease astrocytic plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) level in an autocrine manner. Since activated microglia/macrophages are also a source of TGFβ1 after stroke, we therefore tested whether MSCs regulate TGFβ1 expression in microglia/macrophages and subsequently alters PAI-1 expression after ischemia. TGFβ1 and its downstream effector phosphorylated SMAD 2/3 (p-SMAD 2/3) were measured in mice subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). MSC treatment significantly decreased TGFβ1 protein expression in both astrocytes and microglia/macrophages in the ischemic boundary zone (IBZ) at day 14 after stroke. However, the p-SMAD 2/3 was only detected in astrocytes and decreased after MSC treatment. In vitro, RT-PCR results showed that the TGFβ1 mRNA level was increased in both astrocytes and microglia/macrophages in an astrocyte-microglia/macrophage co-culture system after oxygen-glucose deprived (OGD) treatment. MSCs treatment significantly decreased the above TGFβ1 mRNA level under OGD conditions, respectively. OGD increased the PAI-1 mRNA in astrocytes in the astrocyte-microglia/macrophage co-culture system, and MSC administration significantly decreased this level. PAI-1 mRNA was very low in microglia/macrophages compared with that in astrocytes under different conditions. Western blot results also verified that MSC administration significantly decreased p-SMAD 2/3 and PAI-1 level in astrocytes in astrocyte-microglia/macrophage co-culture system under OGD conditions. Our in vivo and in vitro data, in concert, suggest that MSCs decrease TGFβ1 expression in microglia/macrophages in the IBZ which contribute to the down-regulation of PAI-1 level in astrocytes.
Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells; Microglia/macrophages; Astrocytes: transforming growth factor β1; Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1; Stroke
Previous studies have demonstrates that statins improve neurological outcome and promote neurovascular recovery after ICH. This study is designed to examine whether simvastatin and atorvastatin affect levels of growth factors and activate the Akt signaling pathway during the recovery phase after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in rats. Sixty (60) male Wistar rats were subjected to ICH by stereotactic injection of 100 μL of autologous blood into the striatum and were treated with or without simvastatin or atorvastatin. Neurological functional outcome was evaluated by behavioral tests (mNSS and corner turn test) at different time points after ICH. Brain extracts were utilized for Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analyses to measure vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) expression, and nerve growth factor (NGF). Western blot was used to measure the changes in the Akt-mediated signaling pathway. Both the simvastatin- and atorvastatin-treated animals had significant neurological improvement at 2 weeks post-ICH. Simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment increased the expression of BDNF, VEGF and NGF in both low- and high-dose groups at 7 days after ICH (p < 0.05). Phosphorylation of Akt, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and cAMP response element-binding proteins (CREB) were also increased at 7 days after statin treatment.
These results suggest that the therapeutic effects of statins after experimental ICH may be mediated by the transient induction of BDNF, VEGF and NGF expression and the activation of the Akt-mediated signaling pathway.
Statin; growth factor; experimental; intracerebral hemorrhage
Functional recovery after brain injury in animals is improved by marrow stromal cells (MSC) which stimulate neurite reorganization. However, MRI measurement of neurite density changes after injury has not been performed. In this study, we investigate the feasibility of MRI measurement of neurite density in an animal model of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with and without MSC treatment.
Fifteen male Wistar rats, were treated with saline (n = 6) or MSCs (n = 9) and were sacrificed at 6 weeks after controlled cortical impact (CCI). Healthy non-CCI rats (n = 5), were also employed. Ex-vivo MRI scans were performed two days after the rats were sacrificed. Multiple-shell hybrid diffusion imaging encoding scheme and spherical harmonic expansion of a two-compartment water diffusion displacement model were used to extract neurite related parameters. Bielshowski and Luxol Fast blue was used for staining axons and myelin, respectively. Modified Morris water maze and neurological severity score (mNSS) test were performed for functional evaluation. The treatment effects, the correlations between neurite densities measured by MRI and histology, and the correlations between MRI and functional variables were calculated by repeated measures analysis of variance, the regression correlation analysis tests, and spearman correlation coefficients.
Neurite densities exhibited a significant correlation (R2>0.80, p<1E−20) between MRI and immuno-histochemistry measurements with 95% lower bound of the intra-correlation coefficient (ICC) as 0.86. The conventional fractional anisotropy (FA) correlated moderately with histological neurite density (R2 = 0.59, P<1E−5) with 95% lower bound of ICC as 0.76. MRI data revealed increased neurite reorganization with MSC treatment compared with saline treatment, confirmed by histological data from the same animals. mNSS were significantly correlated with MRI neurite density in the hippocampus region.
The present studies demonstrated that neurite density can be estimated by MRI after TBI and MRI measurement of neurite density is a sensitive marker to MSC treatment response.
Our previous study demonstrates that delayed (initiated 24 hours post injury) erythropoietin (EPO) therapy for traumatic brain injury (TBI) significantly improves spatial learning. In this study, we investigated the impact of inhibition of EPO treatment-mediated neurogenesis on spatial learning after experimental TBI. Young male Wistar rats (318±7g) were subjected to unilateral controlled cortical impact injury. TBI rats received delayed EPO treatment (5,000 U/kg in saline) administered intraperitoneally once daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury and intracerebroventricular (icv) infusion of either a mitotic inhibitor cytosine-b-D-arabinofuranoside or vehicle (saline) for 14 days. Another 2 groups of TBI rats were treated intraperitoneally with saline and infused icv with either a mitotic inhibitor Ara-C or saline for 14 days. Animals receiving sham operation were infused icv with either Ara-C infusion or saline. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered to label dividing cells. Spatial learning was assessed using a modified Morris water maze test. Animals were sacrificed at 35 days after injury and brain sections stained for immunohistochemical analyses. As compared to the saline treatment, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that delayed EPO treatment significantly increased the number of BrdU-positive cells and new neurons co-stained with BrdU and NeuN (mature neuron marker) in the dentate gyrus in TBI rats. EPO treatment improved spatial learning after TBI. Ara-C infusion significantly abolished neurogenesis and spatial learning recovery after TBI and EPO treatment. Both EPO and Ara-C reduced the number of astrocytes and microglia/macrophages in the dentate gyrus after TBI. Our findings are highly suggestive for an important role of EPO-amplified dentate gyrus neurogenesis as one of the mechanisms underlying EPO therapeutic treatments after TBI, strongly indicating that strategies promoting endogenous neurogenesis may hold an important therapeutic potential for treatment of TBI.
astrocytes; erythropoietin; microglia; neurogenesis; spatial learning; traumatic brain injury
Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) is a regenerative multifunctional peptide. This study will test the hypothesis that Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery in rats after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact over the left parietal cortex. Young adult male Wistar rats with TBI were randomly divided into the following groups: 1) Saline group (n=7); 2) Tβ4-6 mg/kg group (n=8), and 3) Tβ4-30 mg/kg group (n=8). Tβ4 or saline was administered intraperitoneally starting at 6 hours post-injury and then repeated daily at 24 and 48 hours. An additional group of sham animals underwent surgery without injury (n=6). Sensorimotor function and spatial learning were assessed using a modified neurological severity score and Morris water maze tests, respectively. Animals were sacrificed 35 days after injury and brain sections processed to assess lesion volume, hippocampal cell loss, cell proliferation and neurogenesis after Tβ4 treatment.
Compared to saline, Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury significantly improved sensorimotor functional recovery and spatial learning, reduced cortical lesion volume and hippocampal cell loss, and enhanced cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the injured hippocampus. The high dose of Tβ4 showed better beneficial effects compared to the low-dose treatment.
Tβ4 treatment initiated 6 hours post-injury provides both neuroprotection and neurorestoration after TBI, indicating that Tβ4 has promising therapeutic potential in TBI patients. These data warrant further investigation of the optimal dose and therapeutic window of Tβ4 treatment for TBI and the associated underlying mechanisms.
neuroprotection; neurogenesis; rat; thymosin beta 4; traumatic brain injury
We assessed the effects of low dose methamphetamine treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats by employing MRI, immunohistology, and neurological functional tests. Young male Wistar rats were subjected to TBI using the controlled cortical impact model. The treated rats (n = 10) received an intravenous (iv) bolus dose of 0.42 mg/kg of methamphetamine at eight hours after the TBI followed by continuous iv infusion for 24 hrs. The control rats (n = 10) received the same volume of saline using the same protocol. MRI scans, including T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), were performed one day prior to TBI, and at 1 and 3 days post TBI, and then weekly for 6 weeks. The lesion volumes of TBI damaged cerebral tissue were demarcated by elevated values in T2 maps and were histologically identified by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. The fractional anisotropy (FA) values within regions-of-interest (ROI) were measured in FA maps deduced from DTI, and were directly compared with Bielschowsky’s silver and Luxol fast blue (BLFB) immunohistological staining. No therapeutic effect on lesion volumes was detected during 6 weeks after TBI. However, treatment significantly increased FA values in the recovery ROI compared with the control group at 5 and 6 weeks after TBI. Myelinated axons histologically measured using BLFB were significantly increased (p<0.001) in the treated group (25.84±1.41%) compared with the control group (17.05±2.95%). Significant correlations were detected between FA and BLFB measures in the recovery ROI (R = 0.54, p<0.02). Methamphetamine treatment significantly reduced modified neurological severity scores from 2 to 6 weeks (p<0.05) and foot-fault errors from 3 days to 6 weeks (p<0.05) after TBI. Thus, the FA data suggest that methamphetamine treatment improves white matter reorganization from 5 to 6 weeks after TBI in rats compared with saline treatment, which may contribute to the observed functional recovery.
A disintegrin and metalloproteinase-17 (ADAM17) is involved in proteolytic ectodomain shedding of several membrane-bound growth factors and cytokines. The expression and activity of ADAM17 increase under some pathological conditions such as stroke and cancer. ADAM17 promotes neural progenitor cell migration and contributes to neurogenesis after stroke and breast cancer growth and invasion. In the present study, we sought to elucidate whether ADAM17 contributes to glioma progression. To this end, we examined the role of ADAM17 in the proliferation, invasion, and tube formation of U87 human glioma cells in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Stable transfection of the U87 cell line with either a plasmid for over-expression of human ADAM17, or a siRNA to ADAM17 was employed in this study to establish high or low ADAM17 expression in glioma cells, respectively. For study of mechanism, the ADAM17 inhibitor TAPI-2 and the PI3K-AKT inhibitor LY294002 were used to counteract high ADAM17 expression and the activated PI3K-AKT pathway, respectively.
Proliferation of glioma cells were tested by thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation assay, growth curve, and sulforhodamine B assay. Matrigel invasion assays were used to assess the ability of U87 cells to penetrate the extra-cellular matrix (ECM). A Matrigel tube formation assay was performed to test capillary tube formation ability. EGFR-PI3K-Akt pathway activation in U87 cells under different ADAM17 expression levels were tested by Western blot.
Our data show that ADAM17 promotes the U87 malignant phenotype by increased proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and in vivo tumor growth. Tumor growth in nude mice was significantly inhibited by ADAM17 inhibitor and A17-shRNA in vivo transfection. TGF-α, VEGF secretion and VEGF expression was increased by ADAM17 and counteracted by ADAM17 siRNA, TAPI-2, and LY294002 in U87 cells. ADAM17 activated, whereas ADAM17 siRNA, TAPI-2, and LY294002 deactivated the EGFR-PI3K-AKT signal pathway, which correlated with U87 cell malignant phenotype changes.
This study suggests ADAM17 contributes to glioma progression through activation of the EGFR-PI3K-AKT signal pathway.
ADAM17; TACE; Glioma; EGFR-PI3K-AKT; Proliferation; Invasion; Angiogenesis; Tumor growth; RNA interference
As a thrombolytic agent, application of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to ischemic stroke is limited by the narrow time window and side effects on brain edema and hemorrhage. This study examined whether tPA, administered by intranasal delivery directly targeting the brain and spinal cord, provides therapeutic benefit during the subacute phase after stroke. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to permanent right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Animals were treated intranasally with saline, 60 μg or 600 μg recombinant human tPA at 7 and 14 days after MCAo (n=8/group), respectively. An adhesive-removal test and a foot-fault test were used to monitor functional recovery. Biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) was injected into the left motor cortex to anterogradely label the corticorubral tract (CRT) and the corticospinal tract (CST). Naive rats (n=6) were employed as normal control. Animals were euthanized 8 weeks after stroke. Compared with saline treated animals, significant functional improvements were evident in rats treated with 600 μg tPA (p<0.05), but not in 60 μg tPA treated rats. Furthermore, 600 μg tPA treatment significantly enhanced both CRT and CST sprouting originating from the contralesional cortex sprouting into the denervated side of the red nucleus and cervical gray matter compared with control group (p<0.01), respectively. The behavioral outcomes were highly correlated with CRT and CST axonal remodeling. Our data suggest that delayed tPA intranasal treatment provides therapeutic benefits for neurological recovery after stroke by, at least in part, promoting neuronal remodeling in the brain and spinal cord.
functional recovery; middle cerebral artery occlusion; neuronal remodeling; tissue plasminogen activator