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1.  Cervical Dystonia: A Disorder of the Midbrain Network for Covert Attentional Orienting 
While the pathogenesis of cervical dystonia remains unknown, recent animal and clinical experimental studies have indicated its probable mechanisms. Abnormal temporal discrimination is a mediational endophenotype of cervical dystonia and informs new concepts of disease pathogenesis. Our hypothesis is that both abnormal temporal discrimination and cervical dystonia are due to a disorder of the midbrain network for covert attentional orienting caused by reduced gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition, resulting, in turn, from as yet undetermined, genetic mutations. Such disinhibition is (a) subclinically manifested by abnormal temporal discrimination due to prolonged duration firing of the visual sensory neurons in the superficial laminae of the superior colliculus and (b) clinically manifested by cervical dystonia due to disinhibited burst activity of the cephalomotor neurons of the intermediate and deep laminae of the superior colliculus. Abnormal temporal discrimination in unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with cervical dystonia represents a subclinical manifestation of defective GABA activity both within the superior colliculus and from the substantia nigra pars reticulata. A number of experiments are required to prove or disprove this hypothesis.
doi:10.3389/fneur.2014.00054
PMCID: PMC4009446  PMID: 24803911
cervical dystonia; temporal discrimination; covert attention; GABA; superior colliculus
2.  Pathogenic Parkinson’s disease mutations across the functional domains of LRRK2 alter the autophagic/lysosomal response to starvation☆ 
Highlights
•Mutations in the ROC, COR and Kinase domain of LRRK2 alter the autophagic response to starvation.•LC3-I/II ratio following starvation is altered by mutations, as well as p62 and WIPI2 positive puncta.•This occurs independently of any alteration in downstream targets of mTORC1.
LRRK2 is one of the most important genetic contributors to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Point mutations in this gene cause an autosomal dominant form of PD, but to date no cellular phenotype has been consistently linked with mutations in each of the functional domains (ROC, COR and Kinase) of the protein product of this gene. In this study, primary fibroblasts from individuals carrying pathogenic mutations in the three central domains of LRRK2 were assessed for alterations in the autophagy/lysosomal pathway using a combination of biochemical and cellular approaches. Mutations in all three domains resulted in alterations in markers for autophagy/lysosomal function compared to wild type cells. These data highlight the autophagy and lysosomal pathways as read outs for pathogenic LRRK2 function and as a marker for disease, and provide insight into the mechanisms linking LRRK2 function and mutations.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.10.159
PMCID: PMC3858825  PMID: 24211199
LRRK2, leucine rich repeat kinase 2; ROC, ras of complex proteins; COR, C-terminal of ROC; PD, Parkinson’s disease; ICC, Immunocytochemistry; LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; Autophagy; Lysosomes; Signaling pathways
3.  Creation of an Open-Access, Mutation-Defined Fibroblast Resource for Neurological Disease Research 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43099.
Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of many neurological disorders has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of mutations in genes linked to familial forms of these diseases. These have facilitated the generation of cell and animal models that can be used to understand the underlying molecular pathology. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the use of patient-derived cells, due to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells and their subsequent differentiation into neurons and glia. Access to patient cell lines carrying the relevant mutations is a limiting factor for many centres wishing to pursue this research. We have therefore generated an open-access collection of fibroblast lines from patients carrying mutations linked to neurological disease. These cell lines have been deposited in the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Repository at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and can be requested by any research group for use in in vitro disease modelling. There are currently 71 mutation-defined cell lines available for request from a wide range of neurological disorders and this collection will be continually expanded. This represents a significant resource that will advance the use of patient cells as disease models by the scientific community.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043099
PMCID: PMC3428297  PMID: 22952635
4.  G2019S leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 causes uncoupling protein-mediated mitochondrial depolarization 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(19):4201-4213.
The G2019S leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutation is the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD), clinically and pathologically indistinguishable from idiopathic PD. Mitochondrial abnormalities are a common feature in PD pathogenesis and we have investigated the impact of G2019S mutant LRRK2 expression on mitochondrial bioenergetics. LRRK2 protein expression was detected in fibroblasts and lymphoblasts at levels higher than those observed in the mouse brain. The presence of G2019S LRRK2 mutation did not influence LRRK2 expression in fibroblasts. However, the expression of the G2019S LRRK2 mutation in both fibroblast and neuroblastoma cells was associated with mitochondrial uncoupling. This was characterized by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and increased oxygen utilization under basal and oligomycin-inhibited conditions. This resulted in a decrease in cellular ATP levels consistent with compromised cellular function. This uncoupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was associated with a cell-specific increase in uncoupling protein (UCP) 2 and 4 expression. Restoration of mitochondrial membrane potential by the UCP inhibitor genipin confirmed the role of UCPs in this mechanism. The G2019S LRRK2-induced mitochondrial uncoupling and UCP4 mRNA up-regulation were LRRK2 kinase-dependent, whereas endogenous LRRK2 levels were required for constitutive UCP expression. We propose that normal mitochondrial function was deregulated by the expression of G2019S LRRK2 in a kinase-dependent mechanism that is a modification of the normal LRRK2 function, and this leads to the vulnerability of selected neuronal populations in PD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds244
PMCID: PMC3441120  PMID: 22736029
6.  Protection Afforded by Fluoroquinolones in Animal Models of Respiratory Infections with Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis 
Successful treatment of inhalation anthrax, pneumonic plague and tularemia can be achieved with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, and initiation of treatment is most effective when administered as soon as possible following exposure. Bacillus anthracis Ames, Yersinia pestis CO92, and Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 have equivalent susceptibility in vitro to ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin (minimal inhibitory concentration is 0.03 μg/ml); however, limited information is available regarding in vivo susceptibility of these infectious agents to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics in small animal models. Mice, guinea pig, and rabbit models have been developed to evaluate the protective efficacy of antibiotic therapy against these life-threatening infections. Our results indicated that doses of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin required to protect mice against inhalation anthrax were approximately 18-fold higher than the doses of levofloxacin required to protect against pneumonic plague and tularemia. Further, the critical period following aerosol exposure of mice to either B. anthracis spores or Y. pestis was 24 h, while mice challenged with F. tularensis could be effectively protected when treatment was delayed for as long as 72 h postchallenge. In addition, it was apparent that prolonged antibiotic treatment was important in the effective treatment of inhalation anthrax in mice, but short-term treatment of mice with pneumonic plague or tularemia infections were usually successful. These results provide effective antibiotic dosages in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits and lay the foundation for the development and evaluation of combinational treatment modalities.
doi:10.2174/1874285801004010034
PMCID: PMC2995158  PMID: 21127743
Anthrax; plague; tularemia; ciprofloxacin; levofloxacin; animal models.
7.  Phenotype, genotype, and worldwide genetic penetrance of LRRK2-associated Parkinson's disease: a case-control study 
Lancet Neurology  2008;7(7):583-590.
Summary
Background
Mutations in LRRK2, the gene that encodes leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, are a cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). The International LRRK2 Consortium was established to answer three key clinical questions: can LRRK2-associated PD be distinguished from idiopathic PD; which mutations in LRRK2 are pathogenic; and what is the age-specific cumulative risk of PD for individuals who inherit or are at risk of inheriting a deleterious mutation in LRRK2?
Methods
Researchers from 21 centres across the world collaborated on this study. The frequency of the common LRRK2 Gly2019Ser mutation was estimated on the basis of data from 24 populations worldwide, and the penetrance of the mutation was defined in 1045 people with mutations in LRRK2 from 133 families. The LRRK2 phenotype was defined on the basis of 59 motor and non-motor symptoms in 356 patients with LRRK2-associated PD and compared with the symptoms of 543 patients with pathologically proven idiopathic PD.
Findings
Six mutations met the consortium's criteria for being proven pathogenic. The frequency of the common LRRK2 Gly2019Ser mutation was 1% of patients with sporadic PD and 4% of patients with hereditary PD; the frequency was highest in the middle east and higher in southern Europe than in northern Europe. The risk of PD for a person who inherits the LRRK2 Gly2019Ser mutation was 28% at age 59 years, 51% at 69 years, and 74% at 79 years. The motor symptoms (eg, disease severity, rate of progression, occurrence of falls, and dyskinesia) and non-motor symptoms (eg, cognition and olfaction) of LRRK2-associated PD were more benign than those of idiopathic PD.
Interpretation
Mutations in LRRK2 are a clinically relevant cause of PD that merit testing in patients with hereditary PD and in subgroups of patients with PD. However, this knowledge should be applied with caution in the diagnosis and counselling of patients.
Funding
UK Medical Research Council; UK Parkinson's Disease Society; UK Brain Research Trust; Internationaal Parkinson Fonds; Volkswagen Foundation; National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute of Aging; Udall Parkinson's Disease Centre of Excellence; Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation Centre; Italian Telethon Foundation; Fondazione Grigioni per il Morbo di Parkinson; Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; Safra Global Genetics Consortium; US Department of Veterans Affairs; French Agence Nationale de la Recherche.
doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70117-0
PMCID: PMC2832754  PMID: 18539534

Results 1-8 (8)