The pathology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by the decreased capacity of neurons to metabolize energy and sustain synaptic function, likely resulting in cognitive and emotional disorders. Based on the broad nature of the pathology, we have assessed the potential of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to counteract the effects of concussive injury on important aspects of neuronal function and cognition. Fluid percussion injury (FPI) or sham injury was performed, and rats were then maintained on a diet high in DHA (1.2% DHA) for 12 days. We found that DHA supplementation, which elevates brain DHA content, normalized levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), synapsin I (Syn-1), cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB), and calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), and improved learning ability in FPI rats. It is known that BDNF facilitates synaptic transmission and learning ability by modulating Syn-I, CREB, and CaMKII signaling. The DHA diet also counteracted the FPI-reduced manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Sir2 (a NAD+-dependent deacetylase). Given the involvement of SOD and Sir2 in promoting metabolic homeostasis, DHA may help the injured brain by providing resistance to oxidative stress. Furthermore, DHA normalized levels of calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2) and syntaxin-3, which may help preserve membrane homeostasis and function after FPI. The overall results emphasize the potential of dietary DHA to counteract broad and fundamental aspects of TBI pathology that may translate into preserved cognitive capacity.
brain-derived neurotrophic factor; plasticity; Sir2; superoxide dismutase; traumatic brain injury
Given that the spinal cord is capable of learning sensorimotor tasks and that dietary interventions can influence learning involving supraspinal centers, we asked whether the presence of omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the curry spice curcumin (Cur) by themselves or in combination with voluntary exercise could affect spinal cord learning in adult spinal mice. Using an instrumental learning paradigm to assess spinal learning we observed that mice fed a diet containing DHA/Cur performed better in the spinal learning paradigm than mice fed a diet deficient in DHA/Cur. The enhanced performance was accompanied by increases in the mRNA levels of molecular markers of learning, i.e., BDNF, CREB, CaMKII, and syntaxin 3. Concurrent exposure to exercise was complementary to the dietary treatment effects on spinal learning. The diet containing DHA/Cur resulted in higher levels of DHA and lower levels of omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) in the spinal cord than the diet deficient in DHA/Cur. The level of spinal learning was inversely related to the ratio of AA∶DHA. These results emphasize the capacity of select dietary factors and exercise to foster spinal cord learning. Given the non-invasiveness and safety of the modulation of diet and exercise, these interventions should be considered in light of their potential to enhance relearning of sensorimotor tasks during rehabilitative training paradigms after a spinal cord injury.
Nanotechnology has introduced many exciting new tools for the treatment of human diseases. One of the obstacles in its application to that end is the lack of a fundamental understanding of the interaction that occurs between nanoparticles and living cells. This report describes the quantitative analysis of the kinetics and endocytic pathways involved in the uptake of anatase titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles into prostate cancer PC-3M cells. The experiments were performed with TiO2 nanoconjugates—6 nm nanoparticles with surface conjugated fluorescent Alizarin Red S (ARS). Results obtained by flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry confirmed a complex nanoparticle-cell interaction involving a variety of endocytic mechanisms. The results demonstrated that a temperature, concentration, and time-dependent internalization of the TiO2 nanoparticles and nanoconjugates occurred via clathrin-mediated endocytosis, caveolin-mediated endocytosis, and macropinocytosis.
anatase; TiO2; nanoconjugate; endocytosis; Alizarin Red S
In addition to cognitive dysfunction, locomotor deficits are prevalent in traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients; however, it is unclear how a concussive injury can affect spinal cord centers. Moreover, there are no current efficient treatments that can counteract the broad pathology associated with TBI.
The authors have investigated potential molecular basis for the disruptive effects of TBI on spinal cord and hippocampus and the neuroprotection of a curcumin derivative to reduce the effects of experimental TBI.
The authors performed fluid percussion injury (FPI) and then rats were exposed to dietary supplementation of the curcumin derivative (CNB-001; 500 ppm). The curry spice curcumin has protective capacity in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, and the curcumin derivative has enhanced brain absorption and biological activity.
The results show that FPI in rats, in addition to reducing learning ability, reduced locomotor performance. Behavioral deficits were accompanied by reductions in molecular systems important for synaptic plasticity underlying behavioral plasticity in the brain and spinal cord. The post-TBI dietary supplementation of the curcumin derivative normalized levels of BDNF, and its downstream effectors on synaptic plasticity (CREB, synapsin I) and neuronal signaling (CaMKII), as well as levels of oxidative stress–related molecules (SOD, Sir2).
These studies define a mechanism by which TBI can compromise centers related to cognitive processing and locomotion. The findings also show the influence of the curcumin derivative on synaptic plasticity events in the brain and spinal cord and emphasize the therapeutic potential of this noninvasive dietary intervention for TBI.
traumatic brain injury; hippocampus; learning; BDNF; curcumin derivative
Omega-3 fatty acids (i.e., docosahexaenoic acid; DHA), similar to exercise, improve cognitive function, promote neuroplasticity, and protect against neurological lesion. In this study, we investigated a possible synergistic action between DHA dietary supplementation and voluntary exercise on modulating synaptic plasticity and cognition. Rats received DHA dietary supplementation (1.25% DHA) with or without voluntary exercise for 12 days. We found that the DHA-enriched diet significantly increased spatial learning ability, and these effects were enhanced by exercise. The DHA-enriched diet increased levels of pro-BDNF and mature BDNF, whereas the additional application of exercise boosted the levels of both. Furthermore, the levels of the activated forms of CREB and synapsin I were incremented by the DHA-enriched diet with greater elevation by the concurrent application of exercise. While the DHA diet reduced hippocampal oxidized protein levels, a combination of a DHA diet and exercise resulted in a greater reduction rate. The levels of activated forms of hippocampal Akt and CaMKII were increased by the DHA-enriched diet, and with even greater elevation by a combination of diet and exercise. Akt and CaMKII signaling are crucial step by which BDNF exerts its action on synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. These results indicate that the DHA diet enhance the effects of exercise on cognition and BDNF-related synaptic plasticity, a capacity that may be used to promote mental health and reduce risk of neurological disorders.
DHA; exercise; BDNF; omega-3 fatty acids; cognition
Reactive oxygen species induce neuronal damage, and their role in reducing synaptic plasticity and function is beginning to be understood. Vitamin E is a potent reactive oxygen species scavenger, which has the potential to reduce oxidative damage encountered after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) can facilitate synaptic function and support learning by modulating the CaMKII system, synapsin I, and cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB). The elevation of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Sir2 (silent information regulator 2) play an important role in resistance to oxidative stress.
We examined the possibility that vitamin E supplemented in the diet may help counteract the effects of TBI on the molecular substrates underlying synaptic plasticity and cognitive function in the hippocampus.
Rats were fed a regular diet with or without 500 IU/kg of vitamin E for 4 weeks (n = 6-8 per group) before a mild fluid percussion injury (FPI) was performed.
FPI increased protein oxidation as evidenced by elevated levels of protein carbonyls and reduced levels of SOD and Sir2. In addition, FPI resulted in poor performance in the Morris water maze, which was accompanied by reduced levels of BDNF and its downstream effectors on synaptic plasticity, synapsin I, CREB, and CaMKII. Supplementation of vitamin E in the diet counteracted all the observed effects of FPI.
These results suggest that vitamin E dietary supplementation can protect the brain against the effects of mild TBI on synaptic plasticity and cognition, using molecular systems associated with the maintenance of long-term plasticity, such as BDNF and Sir2.
traumatic brain injury; hippocampus; learning; BDNF; vitamin E
We describe the synthesis of peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoconjugates and the several novel methods developed to investigate the DNA hybridization behaviors of these constructs. PNAs are synthetic DNA analogs resistant to degradation by cellular enzymes, which hybridize to single strand DNA (ssDNA) with higher affinity than DNA oligonucleotides, invade double strand DNA (dsDNA), and form different PNA-DNA complexes. Previously, we developed a DNA-TiO2 nanoconjugate capable of hybridizing to target DNA intracellularly in a sequence-specific manner, with the ability to cleave DNA when excited by electromagnetic radiation, but susceptible to degradation which may lower its intracellular targeting efficiency and retention time. PNA-TiO2 nanoconjugates described herein hybridize to target ssDNA, oligonucleotide dsDNA, and supercoiled plasmid DNA under physiological-like ionic and temperature conditions, enabling rapid and inexpensive, sequence-specific precipitation of nucleic acids in vitro. When modified by the addition of imaging agents or peptides, hybridization capabilities of PNA-TiO2 nanoconjugates are enhanced which provides essential benefits for numerous in vitro and in vivo applications. The series of experiments shown here could not be done with either TiO2-DNA nanoconjugates or PNAs alone, and the novel methods developed will benefit studies of numerous other nanoconjugate systems.
titanium dioxide; peptide nucleic acid; nanoparticle; DNA; hybridization
Visualization of nanoparticles without intrinsic optical fluorescence properties is a significant problem when performing intracellular studies. Such is the case with titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles. These nanoparticles, when electronically linked to single stranded DNA oligonucleotides, have been proposed to be used both as gene knockout devices and as possible tumor imaging agents. By interacting with complementary target sequences in living cells, these photo-inducible TiO2-DNA nanoconjugates have the potential to cleave intracellular genomic DNA in a sequence specific and inducible manner. The nanoconjugates also become detectable by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the addition of gadolinium Gd(III) contrast agents. Herein we describe two approaches for labeling TiO2 nanoparticles and TiO2-DNA nanoconjugates with optically fluorescent agents. This permits, for the first time, direct quantification of fluorescently labeled TiO2 nanoparticle uptake in a large population of living cells (>104 cells). X-Ray Fluorescence Microscopy (XFM) was combined with fluorescent microscopy to determine the relative intracellular stability of the nanoconjugates. It was also used to quantify intracellular nanoparticles. Imaging the DNA component of the TiO2-DNA nanoconjugate by fluorescent confocal microscopy within the same cell showed an overlap with the titanium signal as mapped by XFM. This strongly implies the intracellular integrity of the TiO2-DNA nanoconjugates in malignant cells.
TiO2-DNA Nanoconjugate; Nanoparticle; X-Ray Fluorescence Microscopy; Titanium Dioxide
This work demonstrates the assembly of TiO2 nanoparticles with attached DNA oligonucleotides into a 3D mesh structure by allowing base pairing between oligonucleotides. A change of the ratio of DNA oligonucleotide molecules and TiO2 nanoparticles regulates the size of the mesh as characterized by UV-visible light spectra, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy images. This type of 3D mesh, based on TiO2-DNA oligonucleotide nanoconjugates, can be used for studies of nanoparticle assemblies in material science, energy science related to dye-sensitized solar cells, environmental science as well as characterization of DNA interacting proteins in the field of molecular biology. As an example of one such assembly, proliferating cell nuclear antigen protein (PCNA) was cloned, its activity verified, and the protein was purified, loaded onto double strand DNA oligonucleotide-TiO2 nanoconjugates, and imaged by atomic force microscopy. This type of approach may be used to sample and perhaps quantify and/or extract specific cellular proteins from complex cellular protein mixtures affinity based on their affinity for chosen DNA segments assembled into the 3D matrix.
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles; DNA; PCNA protein; atomic force microscopy; transmission electron microscopy; assembly; agarose; nanoconjugate
Nanoconjugates composed of TiO2 nanoparticles, DNA oligonucleotides and a gadolinium contrast agent were synthesized for use in magnetic resonance imaging. Transfection of cultured cancer cells with these nanoconjugates showed them to be superior to the free contrast agent of same formulation with regard to 1) intracellular accumulation, 2) retention and 3) subcellular localization. Our results have shown that 48 hours after treatment, the concentration of gadolinium in nanoconjugate treated cells was 1000 fold higher compared to cells treated with contrast agent alone. Consequently, T1-weighted contrast enhancements were observed in cells treated with nanoconjugates but not in cells treated by the contrast agent alone. This type of nanoconjugate with increased retention time, Gd accumulation and intracellular delivery may find its use in gadolinium neutron-capture cancer therapy.
nanoconjugates; magnetic resonance imaging; subcellular targeting
In the following review we discuss several types of nanoparticles (such as TiO2, quantum dots, and gold nanoparticles) and their impact on the ability to image biological components in fixed cells. The review also discusses factors influencing nanoparticle imaging and uptake in live cells in vitro. Due to their unique size-dependent properties nanoparticles offer numerous advantages over traditional dyes and proteins. For example, the photostability, narrow emission peak, and ability to rationally modify both the size and surface chemistry of Quantum Dots allow for simultaneous analyses of multiple targets within the same cell. On the other hand, the surface characteristics of nanometer sized TiO2allow efficient conjugation to nucleic acids which enables their retention in specific subcellular compartments. We discuss cellular uptake mechanisms for the internalization of nanoparticles and studies showing the influence of nanoparticle size and charge and the cell type targeted on nanoparticle uptake. The predominant nanoparticle uptake mechanisms include clathrin-dependent mechanisms, macropinocytosis, and phagocytosis.
Nanoparticle; Cellular uptake; Quantum dots; Titanium dioxide