Sudden tetraparesis represents a neurological emergency and is most often caused by traumatic spinal cord injury, spinal epidural bleeding or brainstem ischemia and less frequently by medial disc herniation or spinal ischemia.
Here we report the rare case of an 82-year-old Caucasian man who developed severe tetraparesis four days after radical cystoprostatectomy. An emergency diagnostic study for spinal cord affection was normal. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed acute bilateral ischemic strokes in the precentral gyri as the underlying cause.
This case report underlines the need to also consider unusual causes of tetraparesis in an emergency situation apart from spinal cord or brain stem injury in order not to leave severe symptomatology unclear and possibly miss therapeutic options.
Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome – a reversible subacute global encephalopathy clinically presenting with headache, altered mental status, visual symptoms such as hemianopsia or cortical blindness, motor symptoms, and focal or generalized seizures – is characterized by a subcortical vasogenic edema symmetrically affecting posterior brain regions. Complete reversibility of both clinical signs and magnetic resonance imaging lesions is regarded as a defining feature of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome. Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome is almost exclusively seen in the setting of a predisposing clinical condition, such as pre-eclampsia, systemic infections, sepsis and shock, certain autoimmune diseases, various malignancies and cytotoxic chemotherapy, transplantation and concomitant immunosuppression (especially with calcineurin inhibitors) as well as episodes of abrupt hypertension. We describe for the first time clinical, radiological and histological findings in a case of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome with an irreversible and fatal outcome occurring in the absence of any of the known predisposing clinical conditions except for a hypertensive episode.
A 58-year-old Caucasian woman presented with a two-week history of subacute and progressive occipital headache, blurred vision and imbalance of gait and with no evidence for raised arterial blood pressure during the two weeks previous to admission. Her past medical history was unremarkable except for controlled arterial hypertension. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated cortical and subcortical lesions with combined vasogenic and cytotoxic edema atypical for both venous congestion and arterial infarction. Routine laboratory and cerebrospinal fluid parameters were normal. The diagnosis of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome was established.
Within hours after admission the patient showed a rapidly decreasing level of consciousness, extension and flexion synergisms, bilaterally extensor plantar responses and rapid cardiopulmonary decompensation requiring ventilatory and cardiocirculatory support. Follow-up cerebral imaging demonstrated widespread and confluent cytotoxic edematous lesions in different arterial territories, global cerebral swelling, and subsequent upper and lower brainstem herniation. Four days after admission, the patient was declared dead because of brain death.
This case demonstrates that fulminant and fatal reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome may occur spontaneously, that is, in the absence of any of the known predisposing systemic conditions.
Blood pressure; Cerebral autoregulation; Generalized cerebral edema; Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome
Ephrin (Eph) signaling within the central nervous system is known to modulate axon guidance, synaptic plasticity, and to promote long-term potentiation. We investigated the potential involvement of EphA2 receptors in ischemic stroke-induced brain inflammation in a mouse model of focal stroke. Cerebral ischemia was induced in male C57Bl6/J wild-type (WT) and EphA2-deficient (EphA2−/−) mice by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO; 60 min), followed by reperfusion (24 or 72 h). Brain infarction was measured using triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. Neurological deficit scores and brain infarct volumes were significantly less in EphA2−/− mice compared with WT controls. This protection by EphA2 deletion was associated with a comparative decrease in brain edema, blood-brain barrier damage, MMP-9 expression and leukocyte infiltration, and higher expression levels of the tight junction protein, zona occludens-1. Moreover, EphA2−/− brains had significantly lower levels of the pro-apoptotic proteins, cleaved caspase-3 and BAX, and higher levels of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2 as compared to WT group. We confirmed that isolated WT cortical neurons express the EphA2 receptor and its ligands (ephrin-A1–A3). Furthermore, expression of all four proteins was increased in WT primary cortical neurons following 24 h of glucose deprivation, and in the brains of WT mice following stroke. Glucose deprivation induced less cell death in primary neurons from EphA2−/− compared with WT mice. In conclusion, our data provide the first evidence that the EphA2 receptor directly contributes to blood-brain barrier damage and neuronal death following ischemic stroke.
The ability of CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T-cells (Treg) to produce interleukin (IL)-10 is important for the limitation of inflammation at environmental interfaces like colon or lung. Under steady state conditions, however, few Tregs produce IL-10 ex vivo. To investigate the origin and fate of IL-10 producing Tregs we used a superagonistic mouse anti-mouse CD28 mAb (CD28SA) for polyclonal in vivo stimulation of Tregs, which not only led to their numeric expansion but also to a dramatic increase in IL-10 production. IL-10 secreting Tregs strongly upregulated surface receptors associated with suppressive function as compared to non-producing Tregs. Furthermore, polyclonally expanding Tregs shifted their migration receptor pattern after activation from a CCR7+CCR5− lymph node-seeking to a CCR7−CCR5+ inflammation-seeking phenotype, explaining the preferential recruitment of IL-10 producers to sites of ongoing immune responses. Finally, we observed that IL-10 producing Tregs from CD28SA stimulated mice were more apoptosis-prone in vitro than their IL-10 negative counterparts. These findings support a model where prolonged activation of Tregs results in terminal differentiation towards an IL-10 producing effector phenotype associated with a limited lifespan, implicating built-in termination of immunosuppression.
Delayed cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a serious medical complication, characterized by constriction of cerebral arteries leading to varying degrees of cerebral ischemia. Numerous clinical and experimental studies have been performed in the last decades; however, the pathophysiologic mechanism of cerebral vasospasm after SAH still remains unclear. Among a variety of experimental SAH models, the double hemorrhage rat model involving direct injection of autologous arterial blood into the cisterna magna has been used most frequently for the study of delayed cerebral vasospasm following SAH in last years. Despite the simplicity of the technique, the second blood injection into the cisterna magna may result in brainstem injury leading to high mortality. Therefore, a modified double hemorrhage model of cisterna magna has been developed in rat recently. We describe here step by step the surgical technique to induce double SAH and compare the degree of vasospasm with other cisterna magna rat models using histological assessment of the diameter and cross-sectional area of the basilar artery.
Cerebral vasospasm; Cisterna magna; Double hemorrhage model; Rat; Subarachnoid hemorrhage
From November 2nd - 4th 2012, the 4th NEUROWIND e.V. meeting was held in Motzen, Brandenburg, Germany. Again more than 60 participants, predominantly at the doctoral student or postdoc level, gathered to share their latest findings in the fields of neurovascular research, neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. Like in the previous years, the symposium provided an excellent platform for scientific exchange and the presentation of innovative projects in the stimulating surroundings of the Brandenburg outback. This year’s keynote lecture on the pathophysiological relevance of neuronal networks was given by Christian Gerloff, Head of the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic of Hamburg-Eppendorf. Another highlight of the meeting was the awarding of the NEUROWIND e.V. prize for young scientists working in the field of experimental neurology. The award is donated by the Merck Serono GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany and is endowed with 20.000 Euro. This year the jury decided unanimously to adjudge the award to Michael Gliem from the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic of Düsseldorf (group of Sebastian Jander), Germany, for his outstanding work on different macrophage subsets in the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke published in the Annals of Neurology in 2012.
Patients with ulnar neuropathy of unclear etiology occasionally present with lesion extension from elbow to upper arm level on MRI. This study investigated whether MRI thereby distinguishes multifocal neuropathy from focal-compressive neuropathy at the elbow.
This prospective study was approved by the institutional ethics committee and written informed consent was obtained from all participants. 122 patients with ulnar mononeuropathy of undetermined localization and etiology by clinical and electrophysiological examination were assessed by MRI at upper arm and elbow level using T2-weighted fat-saturated sequences at 3T. Twenty-one patients were identified with proximal ulnar nerve lesions and evaluated for findings suggestive of disseminated neuropathy (i) subclinical lesions in other nerves, (ii) unfavorable outcome after previous decompressive elbow surgery, and (iii) subsequent diagnosis of inflammatory or other disseminated neuropathy. Two groups served as controls for quantitative analysis of nerve-to-muscle signal intensity ratios: 20 subjects with typical focal ulnar neuropathy at the elbow and 20 healthy subjects.
In the group of 21 patients with proximal ulnar nerve lesion extension, T2-w ulnar nerve signal was significantly (p<0.001) higher at upper arm level than in both control groups. A cut-off value of 1.92 for maximum nerve-to-muscle signal intensity ratio was found to be sensitive (86%) and specific (100%) to discriminate this group. Ten patients (48%) exhibited additional T2-w lesions in the median and/or radial nerve. Another ten (48%) had previously undergone elbow surgery without satisfying outcome. Clinical follow-up was available in 15 (71%) and revealed definitive diagnoses of multifocal neuropathy of various etiologies in four patients. In another eight, diagnoses could not yet be considered definitive but were consistent with multifocal neuropathy.
Proximal ulnar nerve T2 lesions at upper arm level are detected by MRI and indicate the presence of a non-focal disseminated neuropathy instead of a focal compressive neuropathy.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been suggested to play a major role in plasticity, neurogenesis and learning in the adult brain. The BDNF gene contains a common val66met polymorphism associated with decreased activity-dependent excretion of BDNF and a potential influence on behaviour, more specifically, on motor learning. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of the BDNF val66met polymorphism on short-term implicit associative learning and whether its influence is cognitive domain-specific (motor vs. language). A sample of 38 young healthy participants was genotyped, screened for background and neuropsychological differences, and tested with two associative implicit learning paradigms in two different cognitive domains, i.e., motor and vocabulary learning. Subjects performed the serial reaction time task (SRTT) to determine implicit motor learning and a recently established associative vocabulary learning task (AVL) for implicit learning of action and object words. To determine the influence of the BDNF polymorphism on domain-specific implicit learning, behavioural improvements in the two tasks were compared between val/val (n = 22) and met carriers (val/met: n = 15 and met/met: n = 1). There was no evidence for an impact of the BDNF val66met polymorphism on the behavioural outcome in implicit short-term learning paradigms in young healthy subjects. Whether this polymorphism plays a relevant role in long-term training paradigms or in subjects with impaired neuronal plasticity or reduced learning capacity, such as aged individuals, demented patients or patients with brain lesions, has to be determined in future studies.
Nox2 oxidase is one isoform in a family of seven NADPH oxidases that generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and thereby contribute to physiological and pathological processes including host defense, redox signaling and oxidative tissue damage. While alternative mRNA splicing has been shown to influence the activity of several Nox-family proteins, functionally relevant splice variants of Nox2 have not previously been identified. We immunoscreened several mouse tissues and cells for the presence of truncated Nox2 proteins and identified a 30 kDa protein in lung, spleen and macrophages. RT-PCR analysis of mRNA from primary and immortalised (RAW264.7) mouse macrophages, and from human alveolar macrophages, identified a truncated Nox2 transcript which, upon sequence analysis, was found to be a product of the ‘exon skipping’ mode of alternative splicing, lacking exons 4–10 of the Nox2 gene. The predicted protein is comparable in size to that identified by immunoscreening and contains two transmembrane helices and an extended cytosolic C-terminus with binding sites for NADPH and the Nox organiser protein p47phox. Importantly, selective siRNA-mediated knockdown of the transcript reduced expression of the 30 kDa protein in macrophages, and suppressed phorbol ester-stimulated ROS production by 50%. We thus provide the first evidence that Nox2 undergoes alternative mRNA splicing to yield a 30 kDa protein – herein termed Nox2β – that regulates NADPH oxidase activity in macrophages from mice and humans. The discovery of Nox2β paves the way for future examination of its role in physiological and pathological processes.
Docosahexaenoic acid, a major omega-3 essential fatty acid family member, improves behavioral deficit and reduces infarct volume and edema after experimental focal cerebral ischemia. We hypothesize that DHA elicits neuroprotection by inducing AKT/p70S6K phosphorylation, which in turn leads to cell survival and protects against ischemic stroke in young and aged rats.
Methods and Results
Rats underwent 2 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). DHA, neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) or vehicle (saline) was administered 3 h after onset of stroke. Neurological function was evaluated on days 1, 2, 3, and 7. DHA treatment improved functional recovery and reduced cortical, subcortical and total infarct volumes 7 days after stroke. DHA also reduced microglia infiltration and increased the number of astrocytes and neurons when compared to vehicle on days 1 and 7. Increases in p473 AKT and p308 AKT phosphorylation/activation were observed in animals treated with DHA 4 h after MCAo. Activation of other members of the AKT signaling pathway were also observed in DHA treated animals including increases in pS6 at 4 h and pGSK at 24 h. DHA or NPD1 remarkably reduced total and cortical infarct in aged rats. Moreover, we show that in young and aged rats DHA treatment after MCAo potentiates NPD1 biosynthesis. The phosphorylation of p308 AKT or pGSK was not different between groups in aged rats. However, pS6 expression was increased with DHA or NPD1 treatment when compared to vehicle.
We suggest that DHA induces cell survival, modulates the neuroinflammatory response and triggers long term restoration of synaptic circuits. Both DHA and NPD1 elicited remarkable protection in aged animals. Accordingly, activation of DHA signaling might provide benefits in the management of ischemic stroke both acutely as well as long term to limit ensuing disabilities.
The endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular and overall mortality. Moreover, elevated ADMA plasma concentrations are associated with the extent of hypertension. However, data from small-sized clinical trials and experimental approaches using murine transgenic models have revealed conflicting results regarding the impact of ADMA and its metabolizing enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) in the pathogenesis of hypertension.
Therefore, we investigated the role of ADMA and DDAH1 in hypertension-induced end organ damage using the uninephrectomized, deoxycorticosterone actetate salt, and angiotensin II-induced hypertension model in human DDAH1 (hDDAH1) overexpressing and wild-type (WT) mice. ADMA plasma concentrations differed significantly between hDDAH1 and WT mice at baseline, but did not significantly change during the induction of hypertension. hDDAH1 overexpression did not protect against hypertension-induced cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy. In addition, the hypertension-induced impairment of the endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of aortic segments ex vivo was not significantly attenuated by hDDAH1 overexpression. However, hDDAH1 mice displayed an attenuated hypertensive inflammatory response in renal tissue, resulting in less hypertensive renal injury.
Our data reveal that hDDAH1 organ-specifically modulates the inflammatory response in this murine model of hypertension. The lack of protection in cardiac and aortic tissues may be due to DDAH1 tissue selectivity and/or the extent of hypertension by the used combined model. However, our study underlines the potency of hDDAH1 overexpression in modulating inflammatory processes as a crucial step in the pathogenesis of hypertension, which needs further experimental and clinical investigation.
We assessed the neuroprotective potential of α2-adrenoceptors in ischemic stroke using mice with targeted deletions of individual α2-adrenoceptor subtypes (α2A−/−, α2B−/−, α2C−/−, α2A/C−/−). The effects of the α2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine were studied in parallel. Focal cerebral ischemia was induced with or without clonidine pretreatment by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Neurologic outcome and infarct volumes were evaluated on day 1. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and mean arterial pressure were determined. α2-Adrenoceptor null mice did not display larger infarct volumes compared with wild-type (WT) mice under basal conditions (P>0.05). In line with this finding, pretreatment with clonidine did not protect from ischemic brain damage in WT mice or α2A−/−, α2B−/−, and α2C−/− mice. Clonidine induced smaller infarct volumes only in α2A/C−/− mice (P<0.05), but this did not translate into improved neurologic function (P>0.05). Importantly, while clonidine caused a significant decrease in arterial blood pressure in all groups, it had no blood pressure lowering effect in α2A/C−/− mice, and this correlated with higher CBF and smaller infarct volumes in this group. In summary, we could not demonstrate a neuroprotective function of α2-adrenoceptors in focal cerebral ischemia. Careful controlling of physiological parameters relevant for stroke outcome is recommended in experimental stroke studies.
α2-adrenoceptors; blood pressure; clonidine; experimental stroke; hemodynamics; neuroprotection
The present antithrombotic drugs used to treat or prevent ischemic stroke have significant limitations: either they show only moderate efficacy (platelet inhibitors), or they significantly increase the risk for hemorrhages (thrombolytics, anticoagulants). Although most strokes are caused by thrombotic or embolic vessel occlusions, the pathophysiological role of platelets and coagulation is largely unclear. The introduction of novel transgenic mouse models and specific coagulation inhibitors facilitated a detailed analysis of molecular pathways mediating thrombus formation in models of acute ischemic stroke. Prevention of early platelet adhesion to the damaged vessel wall by blocking platelet surface receptors glycoprotein Ib alpha (GPIbα) or glycoprotein VI (GPVI) protects from stroke without provoking bleeding complications. In addition, downstream signaling of GPIbα and GPVI has a key role in platelet calcium homeostasis and activation. Finally, the intrinsic coagulation cascade, activated by coagulation factor XII (FXII), has only recently been identified as another important mediator of thrombosis in cerebrovascular disease, thereby disproving established concepts. This review summarizes the latest insights into the pathophysiology of thrombus formation in the ischemic brain. Potential clinical merits of novel platelet inhibitors and anticoagulants as powerful and safe tools to combat ischemic stroke are discussed.
coagulation; FXII; glycoprotein Ib; platelets; Stim; von Willebrand factor
Ischemic postconditioning (IPOC), or relief of ischemia in a stuttered manner, has emerged as an innovative treatment strategy to reduce programmed cell death, attenuate ischemic injuries, and improve neurological outcomes. However, the mechanisms involved have not been completely elucidated. Recent studies indicate that autophagy is a type of programmed cell death that plays elusive roles in controlling neuronal damage and metabolic homeostasis. This study aims to determine the role of autophagy in IPOC-induced neuroprotection against focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
A focal cerebral ischemic model with permanent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion plus transient common carotid artery (CCA) occlusion was established. The autophagosomes and the expressions of LC3/Beclin 1/p62 were evaluated for their contribution to the activation of autophagy. We found that autophagy was markedly induced with the upregulation of LC3/Beclin 1 and downregulation of p62 in the penumbra at various time intervals following ischemia. IPOC, performed at the onset of reperfusion, reduced infarct size, mitigated brain edema, inhibited the induction of LC3/Beclin 1 and reversed the reduction of p62 simultaneously. Rapamycin, an inducer of autophagy, partially reversed all the aforementioned effects induced by IPOC. Conversely, autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) attenuated the ischemic insults, inhibited the activation of autophagy, and elevated the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, to an extent comparable to IPOC.
The present study suggests that inhibition of the autophagic pathway plays a key role in IPOC-induced neuroprotection against focal cerebral ischemia. Thus, pharmacological inhibition of autophagy may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of stroke.
After stroke, the brain has shown to be able to achieve spontaneous functional recovery despite severe cerebral damage. This phenomenon is poorly understood. To address this issue, focal transient ischemia was induced by 60 min middle cerebral artery occlusion in Wistar rats. The evolution of stroke was followed using two magnetic resonance imaging modalities: diffusion spectrum imaging (acquired before, one and four weeks after stroke) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (acquired before and five weeks after stroke). To confirm the imaging observations, immunohistochemical staining for myelin, astrocytes and macrophages/microglia was added. At four weeks after stroke, a focal alteration of the diffusion anisotropy was observed between the ipsilesional ventricle and the lesion area. Using tractography this perturbation was identified as reorganization of the ipsilesional internal capsule. Functional imaging at five weeks after ischemia demonstrated activation of the primary sensorimotor cortex in both hemispheres in all rats except one animal lacking a functional response in the ipsilesional cortex. Furthermore, fiber tracking showed a transhemispheric fiber connection through the corpus callosum, which-in the rat without functional recovery-was lost. Our study shows the influence of the internal capsule reorganization, combined with inter-hemispheric connections though the corpus callosum, on the functional activation of the brain from stroke. In conclusion, tractography opens a new door to non-invasively investigate the structural correlates of lack of functional recovery after stroke.
Activation of the sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) improves functional recovery in models of experimental stroke and is known to modulate microglia function. The present study was conducted to investigate if Sig-1R activation after experimental stroke affects mediators of the inflammatory response in the ischemic hemisphere. Male Wistar rats were subjected to transient occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO) and injected with the specific Sig-1R agonist 1-(3,4-dimethoxyphenethyl)-4-(3-phenylpropyl)piperazine dihydrochloride (SA4503) or saline for 5 days starting on day 2 after MCAO. Treatment did not affect the increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin 4 (IL-4), interleukin 5 (IL-5), and interleukin 13 (IL-13) in the infarct core and peri-infarct area after MCAO. In addition, treatment with SA4503 did not affect elevated levels of nitrite, TNF-α and IL-1β observed in primary cultures of microglia exposed to combined Hypoxia/Aglycemia, while the unspecific sigma receptor ligand 1,3-di-o-tolylguanidine (DTG) significantly decreased the production of nitrite and levels of TNF-α. Analysis of the ischemic hemisphere also revealed increased levels of ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1) levels in the infarct core of SA4503 treated animals. However, no difference in Iba1 immunoreactivity was detected in the infarct core. Also, levels of the proliferation marker proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and OX-42 were not increased in the infarct core in rats treated with SA4503. Together, our results suggest that sigma-1 receptor activation affects Iba1 expression in microglia/macrophages of the ischemic hemisphere after experimental stroke but does not affect post-stroke inflammatory mediators.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is an immune-mediated multisystemic disorder and the leading cause of morbidity after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Peripheral nervous system manifestations of GVHD are rare but often disabling. Whereas immune-mediated neuropathies are an established feature of GVHD, muscle cramps are not well characterized.
In a single-centre retrospective cohort we studied 27 patients (age 23 to 69 years) with GVHD (acute n = 6, chronic n = 21) who complained of symptoms suggestive of peripheral nervous system complications. Clinical, laboratory and neurophysiological findings were evaluated by descriptive statistics and regression analysis to detect factors associated with muscle cramps. Patient’s sera were examined for anti-neuronal antibodies.
Nine patients had polyneuropathy, 4 had muscle cramps, and 14 had both. Median onset of polyneuropathy and muscle cramps was 6 and 9 months after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, respectively. Neurophysiology revealed a predominantly axonal polyneuropathy in 20 of 26 patients. In 4 of 19 patients electromyography showed signs of myopathy or myositis. Muscle cramps were more frequent during chronic than acute GVHD and affected muscles other than calves in 15 of 18 patients. They typically occurred daily, lasted 1 to 10 minutes with medium to severe pain intensity, compromised daily activity or sleep in 12, and were refractory to therapy in 4 patients. Muscle cramps were less likely with tacrolimus treatment and signs of severe polyneuropathy, but more likely with myopathic changes in electromyography and with incipient demyelinating polyneuropathy, shown by increased high frequency attenuation of the tibial nerve. Serological studies revealed antinuclear or antimitochondrial antibodies in a subset of patients. Two of 16 patients had a serum reactivity against peripheral nervous tissue.
Muscle cramps are associated with chronic GVHD, often compromise daily activity, and correlate negatively with axonal polyneuropathy and positively with myopathy and incipient demyelination.
The two bradykinin receptors B1R and B2R are central components of the kallikrein–kinin system with different expression kinetics and binding characteristics. Activation of these receptors by kinins triggers inflammatory responses in the target organ and in most situations enhances tissue damage. We could recently show that blocking of B1R, but not B2R, protects from cortical cryolesion by reducing inflammation and edema formation. In the present study, we investigated the role of B1R and B2R in a closed head model of focal traumatic brain injury (TBI; weight drop). Increased expression of B1R in the injured hemispheres of wild-type mice was restricted to the later stages after brain trauma, i.e. day 7 (P<0.05), whereas no significant induction could be observed for the B2R (P>0.05). Mice lacking the B1R, but not the B2R, showed less functional deficits on day 3 (P<0.001) and day 7 (P<0.001) compared with controls. Pharmacological blocking of B1R in wild-type mice had similar effects. Reduced axonal injury and astroglia activation could be identified as underlying mechanisms, while inhibition of B1R had only little influence on the local inflammatory response in this model. Inhibition of B1R may become a novel strategy to counteract trauma-induced neurodegeneration.
astrocytes; β-APP; closed head injury; kinin receptors; R-715; TNF-α
After traumatic brain injury (TBI) elderly patients suffer from higher mortality rate and worse functional outcome compared to young patients. However, experimental TBI research is primarily performed in young animals. Aim of the present study was to clarify whether age affects functional outcome, neuroinflammation and secondary brain damage after brain trauma in mice. Young (2 months) and old (21 months) male C57Bl6N mice were anesthetized and subjected to a controlled cortical impact injury (CCI) on the right parietal cortex. Animals of both ages were randomly assigned to 15 min, 24 h, and 72 h survival. At the end of the observation periods, contusion volume, brain water content, neurologic function, cerebral and systemic inflammation (CD3+ T cell migration, inflammatory cytokine expression in brain and lung, blood differential cell count) were determined. Old animals showed worse neurological function 72 h after CCI and a high mortality rate (19.2%) compared to young (0%). This did not correlate with histopathological damage, as contusion volumes were equal in both age groups. Although a more pronounced brain edema formation was detected in old mice 24 hours after TBI, lack of correlation between brain water content and neurological deficit indicated that brain edema formation is not solely responsible for age-dependent differences in neurological outcome. Brains of old naïve mice were about 8% smaller compared to young naïve brains, suggesting age-related brain atrophy with possible decline in plasticity. Onset of cerebral inflammation started earlier and primarily ipsilateral to damage in old mice, whereas in young mice inflammation was delayed and present in both hemispheres with a characteristic T cell migration pattern. Pulmonary interleukin 1β expression was up-regulated after cerebral injury only in young, not aged mice. The results therefore indicate that old animals are prone to functional deficits and strong ipsilateral cerebral inflammation without major differences in morphological brain damage compared to young.
The 7th International Symposium on Neuroprotection and Neurorepair was held from May 2nd to May 5th, 2012 in Potsdam, Germany. The symposium, which directly continues the successful Magdeburg meeting series, attracted over 330 colleagues from 29 countries to discuss recent findings and advances in the field. The focus of the 2012 symposium was widened from stroke and traumatic brain injury to neurodegenerative diseases, notably dementia, and more generally the ageing brain. Thereby, emphasis was given on neurovascular aspects of neurodegeneration and stroke including the blood–brain barrier, recent findings regarding the pathomechanism of Alzheimer’s disease, and brain imaging approaches. In addition, neurobiochemical aspects of neuroprotection, the role of astrogliosis, the clinical progress of cell-based approaches as well as translational hurdles and opportunities were discussed in-depth. This review summarizes some of the most stimulating discussions and reports from the meeting.
Neuroprotection; Neurorepair; Cerebral ischemia; Alzheimer’s disease; Small vessel disease; Vascular dementia; Mitochondria; Astrogliosis; in vivo imaging; Translational research
Animal models are essential to study the pathophysiological changes associated with focal occlusive stroke and to investigate novel therapies. Currently used rodent models have yielded little clinical success, however large animal models may provide a more suitable alternative to improve clinical translation. We sought to develop a model of acute proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA) ischemic stroke in sheep, including both permanent occlusion and transient occlusion with reperfusion.
Materials and Methods
18 adult male and female Merino sheep were randomly allocated to one of three groups (n = 6/gp): 1) sham surgery; 2) permanent proximal MCA occlusion (MCAO); or 3) temporary MCAO with aneurysm clip. All animals had invasive arterial blood pressure, intracranial pressure and brain tissue oxygen monitoring. At 4 h following vessel occlusion or sham surgery animals were killed by perfusion fixation. Brains were processed for histopathological examination and infarct area determination. 6 further animals were randomized to either permanent (n = 3) or temporary MCAO (n = 3) and then had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 4 h after MCAO.
Evidence of ischemic injury in an MCA distribution was seen in all stroke animals. The ischemic lesion area was significantly larger after permanent (28.8%) compared with temporary MCAO (14.6%). Sham animals demonstrated no evidence of ischemic injury. There was a significant reduction in brain tissue oxygen partial pressure after permanent vessel occlusion between 30 and 210 mins after MCAO. MRI at 4 h demonstrated complete proximal MCA occlusion in the permanent MCAO animals with a diffusion deficit involving the whole right MCA territory, whereas temporary MCAO animals demonstrated MRA evidence of flow within the right MCA and smaller predominantly cortical diffusion deficits.
Proximal MCAO can be achieved in an ovine model of stroke via a surgical approach. Permanent occlusion creates larger infarct volumes, however aneurysm clip application allows for reperfusion.
Dabigatran etexilate (DE) is a new oral direct thrombin inhibitor. Clinical trials point towards a favourable risk-to-benefit profile of DE compared to warfarin. In this study, we evaluated whether hemorrhagic transformation (HT) occurs after experimental stroke under DE treatment as we have shown for warfarin.
44 male C57BL/6 mice were pretreated orally with 37.5 mg/kg DE, 75 mg/kg DE or saline and diluted thrombin time (dTT) and DE plasma concentrations were monitored. Ischemic stroke was induced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) for 1 h or 3 h. We assessed functional outcome and HT blood volume 24 h and 72 h after tMCAO.
After 1 h tMCAO, HT blood volume did not differ significantly between mice pretreated with DE 37.5 mg/kg and controls (1.5±0.5 µl vs. 1.8±0.5 µl, p>0.05). After 3 h tMCAO, DE-anticoagulated mice did also not show an increase in HT, neither at the dose of 37.5 mg/kg equivalent to anticoagulant treatment in the therapeutic range (1.3±0.9 µl vs. control 2.3±0.5 µl, p>0.05) nor at 75 mg/kg, clearly representing supratherapeutic anticoagulation (1.8±0.8 µl, p>0.05). Furthermore, no significant increase in HT under continued anticoagulation with DE 75 mg/kg could be found at 72 h after tMCAO for 1 h (1.7±0.9 µl vs. control 1.6±0.4 µl, p>0.05).
Our experimental data suggest that DE does not significantly increase hemorrhagic transformation after transient focal cerebral ischemia in mice. From a translational viewpoint, this indicates that a continuation of DE anticoagulation in case of an ischemic stroke might be safe, but clearly, clinical data on this question are warranted.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Cerebral edema, the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the brain parenchyma, contributes to elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) and is a common life-threatening neurological complication following TBI. Unfortunately, neurosurgical approaches to alleviate increased ICP remain controversial and medical therapies are lacking due in part to the absence of viable drug targets. In the present study, genetic inhibition (P2X7−/− mice) of the purinergic P2x7 receptor attenuated the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and reduced cerebral edema following controlled cortical impact, as compared to wild-type mice. Similarly, brilliant blue G (BBG), a clinically non-toxic P2X7 inhibitor, inhibited IL-1β expression, limited edemic development, and improved neurobehavioral outcomes after TBI. The beneficial effects of BBG followed either prophylactic administration via the drinking water for one week prior to injury or via an intravenous bolus administration up to four hours after TBI, suggesting a clinically-implementable therapeutic window. Notably, P2X7 localized within astrocytic end feet and administration of BBG decreased the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a reactive astrocyte marker, and attenuated the expression of aquaporin-4 (AQP4), an astrocytic water channel that promotes cellular edema. Together, these data implicate P2X7 as a novel therapeutic target to prevent secondary neurological injury after TBI, a finding that warrants further investigation.
The seroprevalence of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is very high among Brazilians (∼1∶200). HTLV-1 associated myelopathy or tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is the most common neurological complication of HTLV-1 infection. HAM/TSP can present with an acute/subacute form of longitudinally extensive myelitis, which can be confused with lesions seen in aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-Ab) positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) on MRI. Moreover, clinical attacks in patients with NMOSD have been shown to be preceded by viral infections in around 30% of cases.
To evaluate the frequency of AQP4-Ab in patients with HAM/TSP. To evaluate the frequency of HTLV-1 infection in patients with NMOSD.
Patients and Methods
23 Brazilian patients with HAM/TSP, 20 asymptomatic HTLV-1+ serostatus patients, and 34 with NMOSD were tested for AQP4-Ab using a standardized recombinant cell based assay. In addition, all patients were tested for HTLV-1 by ELISA and Western blotting.
20/34 NMOSD patients were positive for AQP4-Ab but none of the HAM/TSP patients and none of the asymptomatic HTLV-1 infected individuals. Conversely, all AQP4-Ab-positive NMOSD patients were negative for HTLV-1 antibodies. One patient with HAM/TSP developed optic neuritis in addition to subacute LETM; this patient was AQP4-Ab negative as well. Patients were found to be predominantly female and of African descent both in the NMOSD and in the HAM/TSP group; Osame scale and expanded disability status scale scores did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Our results argue both against a role of antibodies to AQP4 in the pathogenesis of HAM/TSP and against an association between HTLV-1 infection and the development of AQP4-Ab. Moreover, the absence of HTLV-1 in all patients with NMOSD suggests that HTLV-1 is not a common trigger of acute attacks in patients with AQP4-Ab positive NMOSD in populations with high HTLV-1 seroprevalence.