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1.  An automated climbing apparatus to measure chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity in Drosophila melanogaster 
Fly  2013;7(3):187-192.
We have developed a novel model system in Drosophila melanogaster to study chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity in adult flies. Neurological deficits were measured using a manual geotactic climbing assay. The manual assay is commonly used; however, it is laborious, time-consuming, subject to human error and limited to observing one sample at a time. We have designed and built a new automated fly-counting apparatus that uses a “video capture-particle counting technology” to automatically measure 10 samples at a time, with 20 flies per sample. Climbing behavior was assessed manually, as in our previous studies, and with the automated apparatus within the same experiment yielding statistically similar results. Both climbing endpoints as well as the climbing rate can be measured in the apparatus, giving the assay more versatility than the manual assay. Automation of our climbing assay reduces variability, increases productivity and enables high throughput drug screens for neurotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4049852  PMID: 23695893
automated; Drosophila; geotactic; climbing; neurotoxicity; apparatus; chemotherapy; cisplatin
2.  Rituximab for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: A Story of Rapid Success in Translation 
Translational stories range from straightforward to complex. In this commentary, the story of the rapid and successful translation of rituximab therapy for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is examined. Development of this monoclonal antibody therapy began in the late 1980s. In 1994, rituximab received its first approval for the treatment of NHL by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rituximab has since been approved for additional indications and has transformed medical practice. However, the social and political implications of these rapid successes are only beginning to become clear. In this commentary, key events in the rapid translation of rituximab from the bench to bedside are highlighted and placed into this historical framework. To accomplish this, the story of rituximab is divided into the following six topics, which we believe to be widely applicable to case studies of translation: (1) underlying disease, (2) key basic science, (3) key clinical studies in translation, (4) FDA approval process, (5) changes to medical practice, and (6) the social and political influences on translation.
PMCID: PMC4264563  PMID: 24528902
oncology; hematology; hematopathology; lymphoma; leukemia; immunotherapy
3.  Bortezomib alters microtubule polymerization and axonal transport in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.09.001.
Bortezomib is part of a newer class of chemotherapeutic agents whose mechanism of action is inhibition of the proteasome-ubiquitination system. Primarily used in multiple myeloma, bortezomib causes a sensory-predominant axonal peripheral neuropathy in approximately 30% of patients. There are no established useful preventative agents for bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy (BIPN), and the molecular mechanisms of BIPN are unknown. We have developed an in vitro model of BIPN using rat dorsal root ganglia neuronal cultures. At clinically–relevant dosages, bortezomib produces a sensory axonopathy as evidenced by whole explant outgrowth and cell survival assays. This sensory axonopathy is associated with alterations in tubulin and results in accumulation of somatic tubulin without changes in microtubule ultrastructure. Furthermore, we observed an increased proportion of polymerized tubulin, but not total or acetylated tubulin, in bortezomib-treated DRG neurons. Similar findings are observed with lactacystin, an unrelated proteasome-inhibitor, which argues for a class effect of proteasome inhibition on dorsal root ganglion neurons. Finally, there is a change in axonal transport of mitochondria induced by bortezomib in a time-dependent fashion. In summary, we have developed an in vitro model of BIPN that recapitulates the clinical sensory axonopathy; this model demonstrates that bortezomib induces an alteration in microtubules and axonal transport. This robust model will be used in future mechanistic studies of BIPN and its prevention.
PMCID: PMC3844018  PMID: 24035926
bortezomib; chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; peripheral neuropathy; neurotoxicity; dorsal root ganglia; rat
4.  Key changes in denervated muscles and their impact on regeneration and reinnervation 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(20):1796-1809.
The neuromuscular junction becomes progressively less receptive to regenerating axons if nerve repair is delayed for a long period of time. It is difficult to ascertain the denervated muscle's residual receptivity by time alone. Other sensitive markers that closely correlate with the extent of denervation should be found. After a denervated muscle develops a fibrillation potential, muscle fiber conduction velocity, muscle fiber diameter, muscle wet weight, and maximal isometric force all decrease; remodeling increases neuromuscular junction fragmentation and plantar area, and expression of myogenesis-related genes is initially up-regulated and then down-regulated. All these changes correlate with both the time course and degree of denervation. The nature and time course of these denervation changes in muscle are reviewed from the literature to explore their roles in assessing both the degree of detrimental changes and the potential success of a nerve repair. Fibrillation potential amplitude, muscle fiber conduction velocity, muscle fiber diameter, mRNA expression levels of myogenic regulatory factors and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor could all reflect the severity and length of denervation and the receptiveness of denervated muscle to regenerating axons, which could possibly offer an important clue for surgical choices and predict the outcomes of delayed nerve repair.
PMCID: PMC4239769  PMID: 25422641
nerve regeneration; denervation; reinnervation; fibrillation potential; muscle fiber conduction velocity; muscle fiber diameter; maximal isometric force; neuromuscular junction; gene expression; neural regeneration
5.  Hemisection spinal cord injury in rat: The value of intraoperative somatosensory evoked potential monitoring 
Journal of neuroscience methods  2012;211(2):179-184.
Techniques used to produce partial spinal cord injuries in animal models have the potential for creating variability in lesions. The amount of tissue affected may influence the functional outcomes assessed in the animals. The recording of somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) may be a valuable tool for assessing the extent of lesion applied in animal models of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Intraoperative tibial SSEP recordings were assessed during surgically induced lateral thoracic hemisection SCI in Sprague-Dawley rats. The transmission of SSEPs, or lack thereof, was determined and compared against the integrity of the dosal funiculi on each side of the spinal cord upon histological sectioning. An association was found between the presence of an SSEP signal and presence of intact dorsal funiculus tissue. The relative risk is 4.50 (95% confidence interval: 1.83 to 11.08) for having an intact dorsal funiculus when the ipsilateral SSEP was present compared to when it was absent. Additionally, the amount of spared spinal cord tissue correlates with final functional assessments at nine weeks post injury: BBB (linear regression, R2 = 0.618, p <0.001) and treadmill test (linear regression, R2 = 0.369, p = 0.016). Therefore, we propose intraoperative SSEP monitoring as a valuable tool to assess extent of lesion and reduce variability between animals in experimental studies of SCI.
PMCID: PMC3491113  PMID: 22960163
electrophysiology; pathologic correlation; incomplete spinal cord injury; exercise; functional outcome
6.  A systematic review of animal models used to study nerve regeneration in tissue-engineered scaffolds 
Biomaterials  2012;33(32):8034-8039.
Research on biomaterial nerve scaffolds has been carried out for 50 years. Only three materials (collagen, polycaprolactone and polyglycollic acid) have progressed to clinical use. Pre-clinical animal models are critical for testing nerve scaffolds prior to implementation in clinical practice. We have conducted a systematic review of 416 reports in which animal models were used for evaluation of nerve regeneration into synthetic conduits. A valid animal model of nerve regeneration requires it to reproduce the specific processes that take place in regeneration after human peripheral nerve injury. No distinct animal species meets all the requirements for an ideal animal model. Certain models are well suited for understanding regenerative neurobiology while others are better for pre-clinical evaluation of efficacy. The review identified that more than 70 synthetic materials were tested in eight species using 17 different nerves. Nerve gaps ranged from 1 to 90 mm. More than 20 types of assessment methodology were used with no standardization of methods between any of the publications. The review emphasizes the urgent need for standardization or rationalization of animal models and evaluation methods for studying nerve repair.
PMCID: PMC3472515  PMID: 22889485
Peripheral nerve injury; peripheral nerve repair; nerve tube; nerve scaffold; biodegradable
7.  Comparison of polymer scaffolds in rat spinal cord: A step toward quantitative assessment of combinatorial approaches to spinal cord repair 
Biomaterials  2011;32(32):8077-8086.
The transected rat thoracic (T9/10) spinal cord model is a platform for quantitatively compa0ring biodegradable polymer scaffolds. Schwann cell-loaded scaffolds constructed from poly (lactic co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate) (PCLF), oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) hydrogel or positively charged OPF (OPF+) hydrogel were implanted into the model. We demonstrated that the mechanical properties (3-point bending and stiffness) of OPF and OPF+ hydrogels closely resembled rat spinal cord. After one month, tissues were harvested and analyzed by morphometry of neurofilament-stained sections at rostral, midlevel, and caudal scaffold. All polymers supported axonal growth. Significantly higher numbers of axons were found in PCLF (P < 0.01) and OPF+ (P < 0.05) groups, compared to that of the PLGA group. OPF+ polymers showed more centrally distributed axonal regeneration within the channels while other polymers (PLGA, PCLF and OPF) tended to show more evenly dispersed axons within the channels. The centralized distribution was associated with significantly more axons regenerating (P < 0.05). Volume of scar and cyst rostral and caudal to the implanted scaffold was measured and compared. There were significantly smaller cyst volumes in PLGA compared to PCLF groups. The model provides a quantitative basis for assessing individual and combined tissue engineering strategies.
PMCID: PMC3163757  PMID: 21803415
OPF; PLGA; PCLF; axon regeneration; spinal cord injury; Schwann cell
8.  Accuracy of Motor Axon Regeneration Across Autograft, Single Lumen, and Multichannel Poly(lactic-co-glycolic Acid) (PLGA) Nerve Tubes 
Neurosurgery  2008;63(1):144-155.
Accuracy of motor axon regeneration becomes an important issue in the development of a nerve tube for motor nerve repair. Dispersion of regeneration across the nerve tube may lead to misdirection and polyinnervation. In this study, we present a series of methods to investigate the accuracy of regeneration, which we used to compare regeneration across autografts and single lumen poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nerve tubes. We also present the concept of the multichannel nerve tube that may limit dispersion by separately guiding groups of regenerating axons.
Simultaneous tracing of the tibial and peroneal nerves with fast blue (FB) and diamidino yellow (DY), 8 weeks after repair of a 1-cm nerve gap in the rat sciatic nerve, was performed to determine the percentage of double-projecting motoneurons. Sequential tracing of the peroneal nerve with DY 1 week before and FB 8 weeks after repair was performed to determine the percentage of correctly directed peroneal motoneurons.
In the cases in which there was successful regeneration across single lumen nerve tubes, more motoneurons had double projections to both the tibial and peroneal nerve branches after single lumen nerve tube repair (21.4%) than after autograft repair (5.9%). After multichannel nerve tube repair, this percentage was slightly reduced (16.9%), although not significantly. The direction of regeneration was nonspecific after all types of repair.
Retrograde tracing techniques provide new insights into the process of regeneration across nerve tubes. The methods and data presented in this study can be used as a basis in the development of a nerve tube for motor nerve repair.
PMCID: PMC3463233  PMID: 18728579
misdirection; axon targeting; double labeling; peripheral nerve regeneration; rat sciatic nerve model; retrograde tracing
9.  The Regulation of Apoptosis by the Downstream Regulatory Element Antagonistic Modulator/Potassium Channel Interacting Protein 3 (DREAM/KChIP3) Through Interactions with Hexokinase I 
The EF-hand protein, DREAM/KChIP3 (henceforth referred to as DREAM), regulates apoptosis by incompletely understood mechanisms. We demonstrate that in the presence of Ca2+, DREAM interacts with hexokinase I, a protein known to bind mitochondria and regulate apoptosis. A mutant DREAM protein construct incapable of binding Ca2+ does not associate with hexokinase I. The amino-terminal portion of DREAM is required for binding to hexokinase I, as a DREAM construct lacking the first 94 amino terminal residues fails to bind hexokinase I. Expression of DREAM in neuroblastoma cells enhances cisplatin mediated caspase-3 activity. Simultaneous expression of hexokinase I in such cells reduces DREAM-stimulated apoptosis. DREAM overexpression in neuroblastoma cells reduces hexokinase I localization on isolated mitochondria. The interaction of DREAM with hexokinase I may be important in the regulation of neuronal apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3640266  PMID: 23524266
Apoptosis; DREAM; calsenilin; KChIP3; hexokinase I; neuronal calcium sensor proteins; EF-hand proteins; calcium
10.  Controlled release of vascular endothelial growth factor using poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid microspheres: In vitro characterization and application in polycaprolactone fumarate nerve conduits 
Acta biomaterialia  2011;8(2):511-518.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenic stimulator. Controlled release of such stimulators may enhance and guide the vascularization process, and when applied in a nerve conduit may play a role in nerve regeneration. We report the fabrication and in vitro characterization of VEGF encapsulating poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) microspheres and the in vivo application of nerve conduits supplemented with VEGF-containing microspheres. PLGA microspheres containing VEGF were prepared by the double emulsion-solvent evaporation technique. This yielded 83.16% of the microspheres with a diameter < 53 µm. VEGF content measured by ELISA indicated 93.79 ±10.64% encapsulation efficiency. Release kinetics were characterized by an initial burst release of 67.6±8.25% within the first 24 hours, followed by consistent release of approximately 0.34% per day for 4 weeks. Bioactivity of the released VEGF was tested by human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) proliferation assay. VEGF released at all time points enhanced HUVEC proliferation confirming that VEGF retained its bioactivity through the 4-week time period. When the microsphere delivery system was placed in a biosynthetic nerve scaffold, robust nerve regeneration was observed. This study established a novel system for controlled release of growth factors and enables in vivo studies of nerve conduits conditioned with this system.
PMCID: PMC3972821  PMID: 22019759
microsphere; poly-lactic co-glycolic acid; vascular endothelial growth factor; bioactivity; biodegradation; nerve guide
11.  Sustained Delivery of Dibutyryl Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate to the Transected Spinal Cord Via Oligo [(Polyethylene Glycol) Fumarate] Hydrogels 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2011;17(9-10):1287-1302.
This study describes the use of oligo [(polyethylene glycol) fumarate] (OPF) hydrogel scaffolds as vehicles for sustained delivery of dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP) to the transected spinal cord. dbcAMP was encapsulated in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres, which were embedded within the scaffolds architecture. Functionality of the released dbcAMP was assessed using neurite outgrowth assays in PC12 cells and by delivery to the transected spinal cord within OPF seven channel scaffolds, which had been loaded with Schwann cells or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Our results showed that encapsulation of dbcAMP in microspheres lead to prolonged release and continued functionality in vitro. These microspheres were then successfully incorporated into OPF scaffolds and implanted in the transected thoracic spinal cord. Sustained delivery of dbcAMP inhibited axonal regeneration in the presence of Schwann cells but rescued MSC-induced inhibition of axonal regeneration. dbcAMP was also shown to reduce capillary formation in the presence of MSCs, which was coupled with significant functional improvements. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating PLGA microsphere technology for spinal cord transection studies. It represents a novel sustained delivery mechanism within the transected spinal cord and provides a platform for potential delivery of other therapeutic agents.
PMCID: PMC3079174  PMID: 21198413
12.  Cisplatin induced Mitochondrial DNA Damage In Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons 
Neurobiology of disease  2010;41(3):661-668.
Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapeutic agent that induces peripheral neuropathy in 30% of patients. Peripheral neuropathy is the dose limiting side effect, which has no preventative therapy. We have previously shown that cisplatin induces apoptosis in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons by covalently binding to nuclear DNA (nDNA), resulting in DNA damage, subsequent p53 activation and Bax-mediated apoptosis via the mitochondria. We now demonstrate that cisplatin also directly binds to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with the same binding affinity as nDNA. Cisplatin binds 1 platinum molecule per 2166 mtDNA base pairs and 1 platinum molecule per 3800 nDNA base pairs. Furthermore, cisplatin treatment inhibits mtDNA replication as detected by 5-bromo-2'-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation and inhibits transcription of mitochondrial genes. The relative reduction in mtDNA transcription is directly related to the distance the gene is located from the transcription initiation point, which implies that randomly formed platinum adducts block transcription. Cisplatin treated DRG neurons exhibit mitochondrial vacuolization and degradation in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, this data suggests that direct mtDNA damage may provide a novel, distinct mechanism for cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity separate from the established nDNA damage pathway.
PMCID: PMC3031677  PMID: 21145397
Chemotherapy: Neuropathy; DRG Neurons; Cisplatin; Mitochondria: DNA and DNA damage
13.  Development of Electrically Conductive Oligo(polyethylene Glycol) Fumarate-Polypyrrole Hydrogels for Nerve Regeneration 
Biomacromolecules  2010;11(11):2845-2853.
Electrically conductive hydrogel composites consisting of oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) and polypyrrole (PPy) were developed for applications in nerve regeneration. OPF-PPy scaffolds were synthesized using three different anions: naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid sodium salt (NSA), dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt (DBSA), and dioctyl sulfosuccinate sodium salt (DOSS). Scaffolds were characterized by ATR-FTIR, XPS, AFM, dynamic mechanical analysis, electrical resistivity measurements, and swelling experiments. OPF-PPy scaffolds were shown to consist of up to 25 mol% polypyrrole with a compressive modulus ranging from 265 to 323 kPa and a sheet resistance ranging from 6 to 30 × 103 Ohms/square. In vitro studies using PC12 cells showed OPF-PPy materials had no cytotoxicity and PC12 cells showed distinctly better cell attachment and an increase in the percent of neurite bearing cells on OPF-PPy materials compared to OPF. The neurite lengths of PC12 cells were significantly higher on OPF-PPyNSA and OPF-PPyDBSA. These results show that electrically conductive OPF-PPy hydrogels are promising candidates for future applications in nerve regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3947846  PMID: 20942380
hydrogel; electrical; conductive; nerve; tissue regeneration
The Salk inactivated poliovirus vaccine is one of the most rapid examples of bench-to-bedside translation in medicine. In the span of 6 years, the key basic lab discoveries facilitating the development of the vaccine were made, optimization and safety testing was completed in both animals and human volunteers, the largest clinical trial in history of 1.8 million children was conducted, and the results were released to an eagerly awaiting public. Such examples of rapid translation can not only offer clues to what factors can successfully drive and accelerate the translational process but also what mistakes can occur (and thus should be avoided) during such a swift process. In this commentary, we explore the translational path of the Salk polio vaccine from the key basic science discoveries to the 1954 Field Trials and delve into the scientific and sociopolitical factors that aided in its rapid development. Moreover, we look at the Cutter and Wyeth incidents after the vaccine’s approval and the errors that led to them.
PMCID: PMC2928990  PMID: 20718820
15.  Importance of the vasculature in cyst formation after spinal cord injury 
Journal of neurosurgery. Spine  2009;11(4):432-437.
Glial scar and cystic formation greatly contribute to the inhibition of axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury (SCI). Attempts to promote axonal regeneration are extremely challenging in this type of hostile environment. The objective of this study was to examine the surgical methods that may be used to assess the factors that influence the level of scar and cystic formation in SCI.
In the first part of this study, a complete transection was performed at vertebral level T9–10 in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats. The dura mater was either left open (control group) or was closed using sutures or hyaluronic acid. In the second part of the study, complete or subpial transection was performed, with the same dural closure technique applied to both groups. Histological analysis of longitudinal sections of the spinal cord was performed, and the percentage of scar and cyst formation was determined.
Dural closure using sutures resulted in significantly less glial scar formation (p = 0.0248), while incorporation of the subpial transection surgical technique was then shown to significantly decrease cyst formation (p < 0.0001).
In this study, the authors demonstrated the importance of the vasculature in cyst formation after spinal cord trauma and confirmed the importance of dural closure in reducing glial scar formation.
PMCID: PMC2981802  PMID: 19929340
traumatic spinal cord injury; vascular injury; glial cell response to injury
16.  Axon Regeneration through Scaffold into Distal Spinal Cord after Transection 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2009;26(10):1759-1771.
We employed Fast Blue (FB) axonal tracing to determine the origin of regenerating axons after thoracic spinal cord transection injury in rats. Schwann cell (SC)-loaded, biodegradable, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were implanted after transection. Scaffolds loaded with solubilized basement membrane preparation (without SCs) were used for negative controls, and nontransected cords were positive controls. One or 2 months after injury and scaffold implantation, FB was injected 0–15 mm caudal or about 5 mm rostral to the scaffold. One week later, tissue was harvested and the scaffold and cord sectioned longitudinally (30 μm) on a cryostat. Trans-scaffold labeling of neuron cell bodies was identified with confocal microscopy in all cell-transplanted groups. Large (30–50 μm diameter) neuron cell bodies were predominantly labeled in the ventral horn region. Most labeled neurons were seen 1–10 mm rostral to the scaffold, although some neurons were also labeled in the cervical cord. Axonal growth occurred bidirectionally after cord transection, and axons regenerated up to 14 mm beyond the PLGA scaffolds and into distal cord. The extent of FB labeling was negatively correlated with distance from the injection site to the scaffold. Electron microscopy showed myelinated axons in the transverse sections of the implanted scaffold 2 months after implantation. The pattern of myelination, with extracellular collagen and basal lamina, was characteristic of SC myelination. Our results show that FB labeling is an effective way to measure the origin of regenerating axons.
PMCID: PMC2763055  PMID: 19413501
axonal tracing; biodegradable polymers; Fast Blue; Schwann cells; spinal cord injury
17.  Neural Stem Cell– and Schwann Cell–Loaded Biodegradable Polymer Scaffolds Support Axonal Regeneration in the Transected Spinal Cord 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2009;15(7):1797-1805.
Biodegradable polymer scaffolds provide an excellent approach to quantifying critical factors necessary for restoration of function after a transection spinal cord injury. Neural stem cells (NSCs) and Schwann cells (SCs) support axonal regeneration. This study examines the compatibility of NSCs and SCs with the poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid polymer scaffold and quantitatively assesses their potential to promote regeneration after a spinal cord transection injury in rats. NSCs were cultured as neurospheres and characterized by immunostaining for nestin (NSCs), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) (astrocytes), βIII-tubulin (immature neurons), oligodendrocyte-4 (immature oligodendrocytes), and myelin oligodendrocyte (mature oligodendrocytes), while SCs were characterized by immunostaining for S-100. Rats with transection injuries received scaffold implants containing NSCs (n = 17), SCs (n = 17), and no cells (control) (n = 8). The degree of axonal regeneration was determined by counting neurofilament-stained axons through the scaffold channels 1 month after transplantation. Serial sectioning through the scaffold channels in NSC- and SC-treated groups revealed the presence of nestin, neurofilament, S-100, and βIII tubulin–positive cells. GFAP-positive cells were only seen at the spinal cord–scaffold border. There were significantly more axons in the NSC- and SC- treated groups compared to the control group. In conclusion, biodegradable scaffolds with aligned columns seeded with NSCs or SCs facilitate regeneration across the transected spinal cord. Further, these multichannel biodegradable polymer scaffolds effectively serve as platforms for quantitative analysis of axonal regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2792101  PMID: 19191513
18.  Peripheral neuropathies from chemotherapeutics and targeted agents: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;14(Suppl 4):iv45-iv54.
Peripheral neuropathies induced by chemotherapy (CIPN) are an increasingly frequent problem. Contrary to hema­tologic adverse effects, which can be treated with hematopoetic growth factors, neither prophylaxis nor spe­cific treatment is available, and only symptomatic treatment can be offered. Neurotoxic drugs are becoming a major dose-limiting factor. The epidemiology is still unclear. Several drug-dependent pathogenetic mechanisms exist. CIPN are predominately sensory, length-dependent neuropathies that develop after a typical cumulative dose. Usually, the appearance of CIPN is dose dependent, although in at least 2 drugs (oxaliplatin and taxanes), immediate toxic effects occur. The most frequent substances causing CIPN are platin compounds, vinka alkaloids, taxanes, and bortezomib and thalidomide. The role of synergistic neurotoxicity caused by previously given chemo­therapies and concomitant chemotherapies and the role pre-existent neuropathy on the development of a CIPN is not clear. As the number of long-term cancer survivors increases and a new focus on long-term effects of chemotherapy-induced neuropathies emerge, concepts of rehabili­tation need to be implemented to improve the patients’ functions and quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3480245  PMID: 23095830
cancer treatment; chemotherapy induced neuropathy; long-term effects; neurotoxicity
19.  Rigid Fixation of the Spinal Column Improves Scaffold Alignment and Prevents Scoliosis in the Transected Rat Spinal Cord 
Spine  2008;33(24):E914-E919.
Study Design
A controlled study to evaluate a new technique for spinal rod fixation after spinal cord injury in rats. Alignment of implanted tissue-engineered scaffolds was assessed radiographically and by magnetic resonance imaging.
To evaluate the stability of implanted scaffolds and the extent of kyphoscoliotic deformities after spinal fixation.
Summary of Background Data
Biodegradable scaffolds provide an excellent platform for the quantitative assessment of cellular and molecular factors that promote regeneration within the transected cord. Successful delivery of scaffolds to the damaged cord can be hampered by malalignment following transplantation, which in turn, hinders the assessment of neural regeneration.
Radio-opaque barium sulfate-impregnated poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid scaffolds were implanted into spinal transection injuries in adult rats. Spinal fixation was performed in one group of animals using a metal rod fixed to the spinous processes above and below the site of injury, while the control group received no fixation. Radiographic morphometry was performed after 2 and 4 weeks, and 3-dimensional magnetic resonance microscopy analysis 4 weeks after surgery.
Over the course of 4 weeks, progressive scoliosis was evident in the unfixed group, where a Cobb angle of 8.13 ± 2.03° was measured. The fixed group demonstrated significantly less scoliosis, with a Cobb angle measurement of 1.89 ± 0.75° (P = 0.0004). Similarly, a trend for less kyphosis was evident in the fixed group (7.33 ± 1.68°) compared with the unfixed group (10.13 ± 1.46°). Quantitative measurements of the degree of malalignment of the scaffolds were also significantly less in the fixed group (5 ± 1.23°) compared with the unfixed group (11 ± 2.82°) (P = 0.0143).
Radio-opaque barium sulfate allows for visualization of scaffolds in vivo using radiographic analysis. Spinal fixation was shown to prevent scoliosis, reduce kyphosis, and reduce scaffold malalignment within the transected rat spinal cord. Using a highly optimized model will increase the potential for finding a therapy for restoring function to the injured cord.
PMCID: PMC2773001  PMID: 19011531
spine fixation; transection spinal cord injury; scaffold; scoliosis
20.  Axon Regeneration through Scaffold into Distal Spinal Cord after Transection 
Journal of neurotrauma  2009;26(10):1759-1771.
We employed Fast Blue (FB) axonal tracing to determine the origin of regenerating axons after thoracic spinal cord transection injury in rats. Schwann cell (SC)-loaded, biodegradable, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were implanted after transection. Scaffolds loaded with solubilized basement membrane preparation (without SCs) were used for negative controls, and nontransected cords were positive controls. One or 2 months after injury and scaffold implantation, FB was injected 0–15 mm caudal or about 5 mm rostral to the scaffold. One week later, tissue was harvested and the scaffold and cord sectioned longitudinally (30 μm) on a cryostat. Trans-scaffold labeling of neuron cell bodies was identified with confocal microscopy in all cell-transplanted groups. Large (30–50 μm diameter) neuron cell bodies were predominantly labeled in the ventral horn region. Most labeled neurons were seen 1–10 mm rostral to the scaffold, although some neurons were also labeled in the cervical cord. Axonal growth occurred bidirectionally after cord transection, and axons regenerated up to 14 mm beyond the PLGA scaffolds and into distal cord. The extent of FB labeling was negatively correlated with distance from the injection site to the scaffold. Electron microscopy showed myelinated axons in the transverse sections of the implanted scaffold 2 months after implantation. The pattern of myelination, with extracellular collagen and basal lamina, was characteristic of SC myelination. Our results show that FB labeling is an effective way to measure the origin of regenerating axons.
PMCID: PMC2763055  PMID: 19413501
axonal tracing; biodegradable polymers; Fast Blue; Schwann cells; spinal cord injury
21.  A Novel and Selective Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibitor Ameliorates Chemotherapy-Induced Painful Neuropathy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54161.
Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy is the principle dose limiting factor requiring discontinuation of many chemotherapeutic agents, including cisplatin and oxaliplatin. About 30 to 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy develop pain and sensory changes. Given that poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibition has been shown to provide neuroprotection, the current study was developed to test whether the novel PARP inhibitor compound 4a (analog of ABT-888) would attenuate pain in cisplatin and oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy in mice.
An established chemotherapy-induced painful neuropathy model of two weekly cycles of 10 intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections separated by 5 days rest was used to examine the therapeutic potential of the PARP inhibitor compound 4a. Behavioral testing using von Frey, paw radiant heat, cold plate, and exploratory behaviors were taken at baseline, and followed by testing at 3, 6, and 8 weeks from the beginning of drug treatment.
Cisplatin-treated mice developed heat hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia while oxaliplatin-treated mice exhibited cold hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. Co-administration of 50 mg/kg or 25 mg/kg compound 4a with platinum regimen, attenuated cisplatin-induced heat hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in a dose dependent manner. Similarly, co-administration of 50 mg/kg compound 4a attenuated oxaliplatin-induced cold hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. These data indicate that administration of a novel PARP inhibitor may have important applications as a therapeutic agent for human chemotherapy-induced painful neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3542321  PMID: 23326593
22.  Reformulating Polycaprolactone Fumarate to Eliminate Toxic Diethylene Glycol: Effects of Polymeric Branching and Autoclave Sterilization on Material Properties 
Acta biomaterialia  2011;8(1):133-143.
Polycaprolactone fumarate (PCLF) is a cross-linkable derivate of polycaprolactone diol that has been shown to be an effective nerve conduit material that supports regeneration across segmental nerve defects and has warranted future clinical trials. Degradation of the previously studied PCLF (PCLFDEG) releases toxic small molecules of diethylene glycol used as the initiator for the synthesis of polycaprolactone diol. In an effort to eliminate this toxic degradation product we present a strategy for the synthesis of PCLF from either propylene glycol (PCLFPPD) or glycerol (PCLFGLY). PCLFPPD is linear and resembles the previously studied PCLFDEG, while PCLFGLY is branched and exhibits dramatically different material properties. The synthesis and characterization of their thermal, rheological, and mechanical properties are reported. The results show that the linear PCLFPPD has material properties similar to the previously studied PCLFDEG. The branched PCLFGLY exhibits dramatically lower crystalline properties resulting in lower rheological and mechanical moduli, and is therefore a more compliant material. In addition, the question of an appropriate FDA approvable sterilization method is addressed. This study shows that autoclave sterilization on PCLF materials is an acceptable sterilization method for cross-linked PCLF and has minimal effect on the PCLF thermal and mechanical properties.
PMCID: PMC3226927  PMID: 21911087
Polycaprolactone fumarate; polyester; sterilization; nerve regeneration
23.  Drosophila melanogaster: A new model to study cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity 
Neurobiology of disease  2011;43(2):330-337.
Platinum-based compounds are widely used and effective chemotherapeutic agents; however, sensory peripheral neuropathy is a dose-limiting and long term side effect for 20-30% of patients. A critical question is whether the mechanisms of cell death underlying clinical efficacy can be separated from the effects on neurons in order to develop strategies that prevent platinum-induced neuropathy. In rodent dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRG), cisplatin has been shown to bind and damage neuronal DNA, inducing apoptosis; however genetic manipulation in order to study mechanisms of this phenomenon in the rodent model system is costly and time-consuming. Drosophila melanogaster are commonly used to study neurological disorders, have DNA damage-apoptosis mechanisms homologous to mammalian systems, and have readily-available, inexpensive tools for rapid genetic manipulation. We therefore sought to develop adult Drosophila as a new model to study cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity. Adult Drosophila were exposed to 10, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400μg/ml cisplatin for 3 days and observed for fly survival and geotactic climbing behavior, cisplatin-DNA binding and cellular apoptosis. On day 3, 50μg/ml cisplatin reduced the number of flies able to climb above 2 cm to 43% while fly survival was maintained at 92%. 100% lethality was observed at 400μg/ml cisplatin. Whole fly platinum-genomic DNA adducts were measured and found to be comparable to adduct levels previously measured in rat DRG neurons. Brain, ovaries, kidney and heart harvested from cisplatin treated flies were stained for active caspase 3. Apoptosis was found in ovaries and brain but not in heart and kidney. Brain apoptosis was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Expression of the anti-apoptotic baculoviral protein, p35, in neurons using the Gal4-UAS system prevented cisplatin-induced apoptosis in the brain and restored climbing behavior. In conclusion, cisplatin-induced behavioral and apoptotic changes in Drosophila resemble those seen in mammals. Furthermore, the use of lethality and climbing assays combined with powerful gene manipulation, make Drosophila a suitable model to study mechanisms of cisplatin neurotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3131093  PMID: 21514385
chemotherapy; cisplatin; neuropathy; apoptosis; neurotoxicity; neuroprotection; model; Drosophila; behavior; genetics
24.  Translating Gene Transfer: A Stalled Effort 
The journey of gene transfer from laboratory to clinic has been slow and fraught with many challenges and barriers. Despite the development of the initial technology in the early 1970s, a standard clinical treatment involving “gene therapy” remains to be seen. Furthermore, much was written about the technology in the early 1990s, but since then, not much has been written about the journey of gene transfer. The translational path of gene transfer thus far, both pitfalls and successes, can serve as a study not only in navigating ethical and safety concerns, but also in the importance of scientist-public interactions. Here, we examine the translational progress of gene transfer and what can be gleaned from its history.
PMCID: PMC3170101  PMID: 21884516
25.  Material properties and electrical stimulation regimens through polycaprolactone fumarate-polypyrrole scaffolds as potential conductive nerve conduits 
Acta biomaterialia  2010;7(3):944-953.
Mechanical and electrical properties of polycaprolactone fumarate-polypyrrole (PCLF-PPy) scaffolds were studied under physiological conditions to evaluate their ability to maintain material properties necessary for application as conductive nerve conduits. PC12 cells cultured on PCLF-PPy scaffolds were stimulated with regimens of 10 μA of constant or 20 Hz frequency current passed through the scaffolds for 1 h/day. PC12 cellular morphologies were analyzed by fluorescence microscopy after 48 h. PCLF-PPy scaffolds exhibited excellent mechanical properties at 37°C which would allow suturing and flexibility. The surface resistivity of the scaffolds was 2kΩ and the scaffolds were electrically stable during application of electrical stimulation (ES). In vitro studies showed significant increases in percentage of neurite bearing cells, number of neurites per cell and neurite length in the presence of ES compared to no ES. Additionally, extending neurites were observed to align in the direction of the applied current. This study shows that electrically conductive PCLF-PPy scaffolds possess material properties necessary for application as nerve conduits. Additionally, the capability to significantly enhance and direct neurite extension by passing electrical current through PCLF-PPy scaffolds renders them even more promising as future therapeutic treatments for severe nerve injuries.
PMCID: PMC3031729  PMID: 20965280
Electrical Stimulation; Polypyrrole; Nerve; PCLF; PC12 cells

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