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1.  Human A53T α-Synuclein Causes Reversible Deficits in Mitochondrial Function and Dynamics in Primary Mouse Cortical Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e85815.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. A key pathological feature of PD is Lewy bodies, of which the major protein component is α-synuclein (α-syn). Human genetic studies have shown that mutations (A53T, A30P, E46K) and multiplication of the α-syn gene are linked to familial PD. Mice overexpressing the human A53T mutant α-syn gene develop severe movement disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of α-syn toxicity are not well understood. Recently, mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked with multiple neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease. Here we investigated whether mitochondrial motility, dynamics and respiratory function are affected in primary neurons from a mouse model expressing the human A53T mutation. We found that mitochondrial motility was selectively inhibited in A53T neurons while transport of other organelles was not affected. In addition, A53T expressing neurons showed impairment in mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial respiratory function. Furthermore, we found that rapamycin, an autophagy inducer, rescued the decreased mitochondrial mobility. Taken together, these data demonstrate that A53T α-syn impairs mitochondrial function and dynamics and the deficit of mitochondrial transport is reversible, providing further understanding of the disease pathogenesis and a potential therapeutic strategy for PD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085815
PMCID: PMC3877382  PMID: 24392030
3.  Cartilage preservation by inhibition of Janus kinase 3 in two rodent models of rheumatoid arthritis 
Introduction
CP-690550 is a small molecule inhibitor of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3), a critical enzyme in the signaling pathway of multiple cytokines (interleukin (IL)-2, -7, -15 and -21) that are important in various T cell functions including development, activation and homeostasis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate CP-690550 in murine collagen-induced (CIA) and rat adjuvant-induced (AA) models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
CIA and AA were induced using standard protocols and animals received the JAK3 inhibitor via osmotic mini-pump infusion at doses ranging from 1.5–15 mg/kg/day following disease induction. Arthritis was assessed by clinical scores in the CIA models and paw swelling monitored using a plethysmometer in the AA model until study conclusion, at which time animals were killed and evaluated histologically.
Results
CP-690550 dose-dependently decreased endpoints of disease in both RA models with greater than 90% reduction observed at the highest administered dose. An approximate ED50 of approximately 1.5 mg/kg/day was determined for the compound based upon disease endpoints in both RA models examined and corresponds to CP-690550 serum levels of 5.8 ng/ml in mice (day 28) and 24 ng/ml in rats (day 24). The compound also reduced inflammatory cell influx and joint damage as measured histologically. Animals receiving a CP-690550 dose of 15 mg/k/d showed no histological evidence of disease.
Conclusion
The efficacy observed with CP-690550 in CIA and AA suggests JAK3 inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2365
PMCID: PMC2374467  PMID: 18234077
4.  Role of Thalamic Projection in NMDA Receptor-Induced Disruption of Cortical Slow Oscillation and Short-Term Plasticity 
NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonists, such as phencyclidine, ketamine, or dizocilpine (MK-801) are commonly used in psychiatric drug discovery in order to model several symptoms of schizophrenia, including psychosis and impairments in working memory. In spite of the widespread use of NMDAR antagonists in preclinical and clinical studies, our understanding of the mode of action of these drugs on brain circuits and neuronal networks is still limited. In the present study spontaneous local field potential (LFP), multi- (MUA) and single-unit activity, and evoked potential, including paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) in response to electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral subiculum were carried out in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in urethane anesthetized rats. Systemic administration of MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg, i.v.) decreased overall MUA, with a diverse effect on single-unit activity, including increased, decreased, or unchanged firing, and in line with our previous findings shifted delta-frequency power of the LFP and disrupted PPF (Kiss et al., 2011). In order to provide further insight to the mechanisms of action of NMDAR antagonists, MK-801 was administered intracranially into the mPFC and mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD). Microinjections of MK-801, but not physiological saline, localized into the MD evoked changes in both LFP parameters and PPF similar to the effects of systemically administered MK-801. Local microinjection of MK-801 into the mPFC was without effect on these parameters. Our findings indicate that the primary site of the action of systemic administration of NMDAR antagonists is unlikely to be the cortex. We presume that multiple neuronal networks, involving thalamic nuclei contribute to disrupted behavior and cognition following NMDAR blockade.
doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00014
PMCID: PMC3089990  PMID: 21556284
MK-801; paired-pulse facilitation; local field potential; unit activity; medial prefrontal cortex; localized drug microinjection; subiculum; schizophrenia

Results 1-4 (4)