Recent evidence suggests that the functions of presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) are tightly regulated by protein kinases. We previously reported that cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) directly phosphorylates mGluR2 at a single serine residue (Ser843) on the C-terminal tail region of the receptor, and that phosphorylation of this site inhibits coupling of mGluR2 to GTP-binding proteins. This may be the mechanism by which the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin inhibits presynaptic mGluR2 function at the medial perforant path-dentate gyrus synapse. We now report that PKA also directly phosphorylates several group III mGluRs (mGluR4a, mGluR7a, and mGluR8a), as well as mGluR3 at single conserved serine residues on their C-terminal tails. Furthermore, activation of PKA by forskolin inhibits group III mGluR-mediated responses at glutamatergic synapses in the hippocampus. Interestingly, β-adrenergic receptor activation was found to mimic the inhibitory effect of forskolin on both group II and III mGluRs. These data suggest that a common PKA-dependent mechanism may be involved in regulating the function of multiple presynaptic group II and group III mGluRs. Such regulation is not limited to the pharmacological activation of adenylyl cyclase but can also be elicited by the stimulation of endogenous Gs-coupled receptors, such as β-adrenergic receptors.
β-adrenergic; cAMP-dependent protein kinase; mGluR4; mGluR7; mGluR8; phosphorylation
Amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its secreted form, sAPP, contribute to the development of neurons in hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory. Full-length APP binds the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP), which stimulates APP endocytosis. LRP also contributes to neurite growth. Furthermore, the receptor associated protein (RAP) binds LRP in a manner that blocks APP-LRP interactions. To elucidate APP contributions to neurite growth for full-length APP and sAPP, we cultured wild type (WT) and APP knockout (KO) neurons in sAPPα and/or RAP and measured neurite outgrowth at 1 day in vitro. Our data reveal that WT neurons had less axonal outgrowth including less axon branching. RAP treatment potentiated the inhibitory effects of APP. KO neurons had significantly more outgrowth and branching, especially in response to RAP, effects which were also associated with ERK2 activation. Our results affirm a major inhibitory role by full-length APP on all aspects of axonal and dendritic outgrowth, and show that RAP-LRP binding stimulated axon growth independently of APP. These findings support a major role for APP as an inhibitor of neurite growth and reveal novel signaling functions for LRP that may be disrupted by Alzheimer’s pathology or therapies aimed at APP processing.
Axon growth; axon branching; dendritic growth; dendritic branching; low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein
The microtubule-associated protein tau is abnormally hyperphosphorylated in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer disease and other tauopathies, and is believed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. While the mechanisms leading to abnormal tau phosphorylation remain elusive, the recent demonstration of reversible tau phosphorylation during hibernation provides an ideal physiological model to study this critical process in vivo. In this study, arctic ground squirrels (AGS) during hibernation were used to study mechanisms related to tau hyperphosphorylation. Our data demonstrate that tau is hyperphosphorylated at all six sites (S199, T205, S214, S262, S396, and S404) examined in hibernating AGS. Interestingly, only three of these sites (S199, S262, and S404) are dephosphorylated in aroused animals, suggesting a reversible phosphorylation at selective sites. Summer-active AGS demonstrated the lowest tau phosphorylation at all these sites. To explore the mechanisms underlying increased tau phosphorylation during hibernation, the expression level and enzyme activity of various potential tau kinases and protein phosphatases were examined. The kinetic analysis of enzyme activity at different temperatures revealed differential changes in enzyme activity with temperature decline. Specifically, increased protein kinase A activity, decreased protein phosphatase 2A activity, as well as substantial contribution from glycogen synthase kinase-3β, likely play a key role in increased tau phosphorylation during hibernation in AGS.
hibernation; protein kinase A; protein phosphatase 2A; reversible phosphorylation; tau
Cholesteryl ester rich apolipoprotein B100 (apoB100) lipoproteins accumulate in Bruch’s membrane before the development of age-related macular degeneration. It is not known if these lipoproteins come from the circulation or local ocular tissue. Emerging, but incomplete evidence suggests that the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) can secrete lipoproteins. The purpose of this investigation was to determine 1) whether human RPE cells synthesize and secrete apoB100, and 2) whether this secretion is driven by cellular cholesterol, and if so, 3) whether statins inhibit this response. The established, human derived ARPE-19 cells challenged with 0–0.8mM oleic acid accumulated cellular cholesterol, but not triglycerides. Oleic acid increased the amount of apoB100 protein recovered from the medium by both Western blot analysis and 35S-radiolabeled immunoprecipitation while negative stain electron microscopy showed lipoprotein-like particles. Of nine statins evaluated, lipophilic statins induced HMG-CoA reductase mRNA expression the most. The lipophilic Cerivastatin (5µM) reduced cellular cholesterol by 39% and abrogated apoB100 secretion by 3-fold. In contrast, the hydrophilic statin Pravastatin had minimal effect on apoB100 secretion. These data suggest that ARPE-19 cells synthesize and secrete apoB100 lipoproteins, that this secretion is driven by cellular cholesterol, and that statins can inhibit apoB100 secretion by reducing cellular cholesterol.
age-related macular degeneration; apolipoprotein B100; basal deposits; Bruch’s membrane; drusen; retinal pigmented epithelium
Urate is the end product of purine metabolism and a major antioxidant circulating in humans. Recent data link higher levels of urate with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) and with a slower rate of its progression. In this study, we investigated the role of astrocytes in urate-induced protection of dopaminergic cells in a cellular model of PD. In mixed cultures of dopaminergic cells and astrocytes oxidative stress-induced cell death and protein damage were reduced by urate. By contrast, urate was not protective in pure dopaminergic cell cultures. Physical contact between dopaminergic cells and astrocytes was not required for astrocyte-dependent rescue as shown by conditioned medium experiments. Urate accumulation in dopaminergic cells and astrocytes was blocked by pharmacological inhibitors of urate transporters expressed differentially in these cells. The ability of a urate transport blocker to prevent urate accumulation into astroglial (but not dopaminergic) cells predicted its ability to prevent dopaminergic cell death. Transgenic expression of uricase reduced urate accumulation in astrocytes and attenuated the protective influence of urate on dopaminergic cells. These data indicate that urate might act within astrocytes to trigger release of molecule(s) that are protective for dopaminergic cells.
MES 23.5 cells; transporter; HPLC; cell viability; uricase; transgenic
Over-activated glial cells can produce neurotoxic oxidant molecules such as nitric oxide (NO·) and superoxide anion (O2·−). We have previously reported that transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) released by hippocampal cells modulates interferon-γ (IFNγ)-induced production of O2·− and NO· by glial cells. However, underlying molecular mechanisms are not completely understood, thereby, the aim of this work was to study the effect of TGFβ1 on IFNγ-induced signaling pathways. We found that co-stimulation with TGFβ1 decreased IFNγ-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), which correlated with a reduced O2·− and NO· production in mixed and purified glial cultures. Moreover, IFNγ caused a decrease in TGFβ1-mediated phosphorylation of P38, whereas pretreatment with ERK and P38 inhibitors decreased IFNγ-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 on serine727 and production of radical species. These results suggested that modulation of glial activation by TGFβ1 is mediated by deactivation of MAPKs. Notably, TGFβ1 increased the levels of MAPK phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), whose participation in TGFβ1-mediated modulation was confirmed by MKP-1 siRNA transfection in mixed and purified glial cultures. Our results indicate that the cross-talk between IFNγ and TGFβ1 might regulate the activation of glial cells and that TGFβ1 modulated IFNγ-induced production of neurotoxic oxidant molecules through STAT1, ERK and P38 pathways.
IFNγ; mitogen-activated protein kinase; Neuroinflammation; nitric oxide; signal transducer and activator of transcription-type-1; TGFβ1
Mice with a mutation in the Clock gene (ClockΔ19) have a number of behavioral phenotypes that suggest alterations in dopaminergic transmission. These include hyperactivity, increased exploratory behavior, and increased reward value for drugs of abuse. However, the complex changes in dopaminergic transmission that underlie the behavioral abnormalities in these mice remain unclear. Here we find that a loss of CLOCK function increases dopamine release and turnover in striatum as indicated by increased levels of metabolites HVA and DOPAC, and enhances sensitivity to dopamine receptor antagonists. Interestingly, this enlarged dopaminergic tone results in downstream changes in dopamine receptor (DR) levels with a surprising augmentation of both D1- and D2-type DR protein, but a significant shift in the ratio of D1:D2 receptors in favor of D2 receptor signaling. These effects have functional consequences for both behavior and intracellular signaling, with alterations in locomotor responses to both D1-type and D2-type specific agonists and a blunted response to cAMP activation in the ClockΔ 19 mutants. Taken together, these studies further elucidate the abnormalities in dopaminergic transmission that underlie mood, activity, and addictive behaviors.
Neuroglobin is a hypoxia-inducible O2-binding protein with neuroprotective effects in cell and animal models of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The mechanism underlying neuroglobin’s cytoprotective action is unknown, although several possibilities have been proposed, including antioxidative and antiapoptotic effects. We used affinity purification-mass spectrometry methods to identify neuroglobin-interacting proteins in normoxic and hypoxic murine neuronal (HN33) cell lysates, and to compare these interactions with those of a structurally and functionally related protein, myoglobin. We report that the protein interactomes of neuroglobin and myoglobin overlap substantially and are modified by hypoxia. In addition, neuroglobin-interacting proteins include partners consistent with both antioxidative and antiapoptotic functions, as well as with a relationship to several neurodegenerative diseases.
hypoxia; ischemia; myoglobin; neuroglobin; proteome
NeuroD1 encodes a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor involved in the development of neural and endocrine structures, including the retina and pineal gland. To determine the effect of NeuroD1 knockout in these tissues, a Cre/loxP recombination strategy was used to target a NeuroD1 floxed gene and generate NeuroD1 conditional knockout (cKO) mice. Tissue specificity was conferred using Cre recombinase expressed under the control of the promoter of Crx, which is selectively expressed in the pineal gland and retina. At two months of age NeuroD1 cKO retinas have a dramatic reduction in rod- and cone-driven electroretinograms and contain shortened and disorganized outer segments; by four months NeuroD1 cKO retinas are devoid of photoreceptors. In contrast, the NeuroD1 cKO pineal gland appears histologically normal. Microarray analysis of two-month-old NeuroD1 cKO retina and pineal gland identified a subset of genes that were affected 2- to 100-fold; in addition, a small group of genes exhibit altered differential night/day expression. Included in the down-regulated genes are Aipl1, which is necessary to prevent retinal degeneration, and Ankrd33, which is selectively expressed in the outer segments. These findings suggest that NeuroD1 may act through Aipl1 and other genes to maintain photoreceptor homeostasis.
NeuroD1; microarray; retina; pineal gland; gene expression; transcriptome profiling
Hippocampal cultures infected with the ΔRR vector for the HSV-2 anti-apoptotic gene ICP10PK survive cell death triggered by a wide variety of insults. Survival includes robust protection of uninfected neurons, but the mechanism of this bystander activity is still unclear. Here we report that ICP10PK+ neurons release soluble factors that protect uninfected neurons from NMDA and MPP+-induced apoptosis. Release depends on ICP10PK-mediated activation of the Ras signaling pathways MEK/ERK and PI3-K/Akt, and it was not seen for cultures infected with the ICP10PK negative vector ΔPK. The released neuroprotective factors include vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fractalkine, the levels of which were significantly higher in conditioned media from hippocampal cultures infected with ΔRR (NCMΔRR) than ΔPK or phosphate-buffered saline (mock infection). VEGF neutralization inhibited the neuroprotective activity of NCMΔRR, indicating that the VEGF protective function is through neuron-neuron cross-talk. NCMΔRR also stimulated microglia to release increased levels of IL-10 and decreased levels of TNF-α that were protective for uninfected neurons. These release patterns were not seen for microglia given NCMΔRR in which fractalkine was neutralized, indicating that the fractalkine protective function is through bidirectional neuron-microglia communication. Collectively, the data indicate that ΔRR is a multiple target strategy to rescue neurons from excitotoxic injury.
chemokines; cytokines; excitotoxicity; growth factors; microglia; SOD1
Several epidemiological and preclinical studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and can lower β-amyloid (Aβ) production and inhibit neuroinflammation. However, follow-up clinical trials, mostly using selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors, failed to show any beneficial effect in AD patients with mild to severe cognitive deficits. Recent data indicated that COX-1, classically viewed as the homeostatic isoform, is localized in microglia and is actively involved in brain injury induced by pro-inflammatory stimuli including Aβ, lipopolysaccharide, and interleukins. We hypothesized that neuroinflammation is critical for disease progression and selective COX-1 inhibition, rather than COX-2 inhibition, can reduce neuroinflammation and AD pathology. Here, we show that treatment of 20-month-old triple transgenic AD (3 × Tg-AD) mice with the COX-1 selective inhibitor SC-560 improved spatial learning and memory, and reduced amyloid deposits and tau hyperphosphorylation. SC-560 also reduced glial activation and brain expression of inflammatory markers in 3 × Tg-AD mice, and switched the activated microglia phenotype promoting their phagocytic ability. The present findings are the first to demonstrate that selective COX-1 inhibition reduces neuroinflammation, neuropathology, and improves cognitive function in 3 × Tg-AD mice. Thus, selective COX-1 inhibition should be further investigated as a potential therapeutic approach for AD.
3 × Tg-AD mice; Alzheimer's disease; COX-1; microglia; SC-560
AMP-activated protein kinase is activated when the catalytic α subunit is phosphorylated on Thr172 and therefore, phosphorylation of the α subunit is used as a measure of activation. However, measurement of α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation in vivo can be technically challenging. To determine the most accurate method for measuring α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation in the mouse brain, we compared different methods of sacrifice and tissue preparation. We found that freeze/thawing samples after homogenization on ice dramatically increased α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation in mice sacrificed by cervical dislocation. Sacrifice of mice by focused microwave irradiation, which rapidly heats the brain and causes enzymatic inactivation, prevented the freeze/thaw-induced increase in α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation and similar levels of phosphorylation were observed compared to mice sacrificed with cervical dislocation without freeze/thawing of samples. Sonication of samples in hot 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate blocked the freeze/thaw-induced increase in α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, but phosphorylation was higher in mice sacrificed by cervical dislocation compared to mice sacrificed by focused microwave irradiation. These results demonstrate that α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation is dependent on method of sacrifice and tissue preparation and that α-AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation can increase in a manner that does not reflect biological alterations.
AMPK; phosphorylation; microwave; brain
The organic cation transporter (OCT) 3 is widely expressed in various organs in humans, and involved in the disposition of many exogenous and endogenous compounds. Several lines of evidence have suggested that OCT3 expressed in the brain plays an important role in the regulation of neurotransmission. Relative to wild-type (WT) animals, Oct3 knockout (KO) mice have displayed altered behavioral and neurochemical responses to psychostimulants such as amphetamine (AMPH) and methamphetamine. In the present study, both in vitro and in vivo approaches were utilized to explore potential mechanisms underlying the disparate neuropharmacological effects observed following AMPH exposure in Oct3 KO mice. In vitro uptake studies conducted in OCT3 transfected cells indicated that dextroamphetamine (d-AMPH) is not a substrate of OCT3. However, OCT3 was determined to be a high-capacity and low-affinity transporter for the neurotransmitters dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5-HT). Inhibition studies demonstrated that d-AMPH exerts relatively weak inhibitory effects on the OCT3-mediated uptake of DA, NE, 5-HT, and the model OCT3 substrate 4-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide. The IC50 values were determined to be 41.5 ± 7.5 and 24.1 ± 7.0 μM for inhibiting DA and 5-HT uptake, respectively, while 50% inhibition of NE and 4-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide uptake was not achieved by even the highest concentration of d-AMPH applied (100 μM). Furthermore, the disposition of d-AMPH in various tissues including the brain, liver, heart, kidney, muscle, intestine, spleen, testis, uterus, and plasma were determined in both male and female Oct3 KO and WT mice. No significant difference was observed between either genotypes or sex in all tested organs and tissues. Our findings suggest that OCT3 is not a prominent factor influencing the disposition of d-AMPH. Additionally, based upon the inhibitory potency observed in vitro, d-AMPH is unlikely to inhibit the uptake of monoamines mediated by OCT3 in the brain. Differentiated neuropharmacological effects of AMPHs noted between Oct3 KO and WT mice appear to be due to the absence of Oct3 mediated uptake of neurotransmitters in the KO mice.
amphetamine; inhibitor; monoamine neurotransmitters; organic cation transporter 3; substrate
Concomitant therapies combining psychostimulants such as methylphenidate and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat several mental disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder/depression comorbidity. The neurobiological consequences of these drug combinations are poorly understood. Methylphenidate alone induces gene regulation that mimics partly effects of cocaine, consistent with some addiction liability. We previously showed that the SSRI fluoxetine potentiates methylphenidate-induced gene regulation in the striatum. The present study investigated which striatal output pathways are affected by the methylphenidate + fluoxetine combination, by assessing effects on pathway-specific neuropeptide markers. Results demonstrate that fluoxetine (5 mg/kg) potentiates methylphenidate (5 mg/kg)-induced expression of substance P and dynorphin, markers for direct pathway neurons. In contrast, no drug effects on the indirect pathway marker enkephalin were found. Because methylphenidate alone has minimal effects on dynorphin, the potentiation of dynorphin induction represents a more cocaine-like effect for the drug combination. On the other hand, the lack of an effect on enkephalin suggests a greater selectivity for the direct pathway compared with psychostimulants such as cocaine. Overall, the fluoxetine potentiation of gene regulation by methylphenidate occurs preferentially in sensorimotor striatal circuits, similar to other addictive psychostimulants. These results suggest that SSRIs may enhance the addiction liability of methylphenidate.
methylphenidate; psychostimulant; SSRI; striatum; dynorphin; substance P
Hibernation is an adaptation to overcome periods of resource limitation often associated with extreme climatic conditions. The hibernation season consists of prolonged bouts of torpor that are interrupted by brief interbout arousals. Physiological mechanisms regulating spontaneous arousals are poorly understood, but may be related to a need for gluconeogenesis or elimination of metabolic wastes. Glutamate is derived from glutamine through the glutamate-glutamine cycle and from glucose via the pyruvate carboxylase pathway when nitrogen balance favors formation of glutamine. The present study tests the hypothesis that activation of NMDA type glutamate receptors (NMDAR) maintains torpor in arctic ground squirrel (AGS; Urocitellus parryii).Administration of NMDAR antagonists MK-801 (5mg/kg,ip) that crosses blood-brain barrier and AP5 (5mg/kg,ip) that does not cross the blood brain barrier induced arousal in AGS. Central administration of MK-801 (0.2, 2, 20 or 200 μg; icv) to hibernating AGS failed to induce arousal. Results suggest that activation of NMDAR at a peripheral or circumventricular site is necessary to maintain prolonged torpor and that a decrease in glutamate at these sites may contribute to spontaneous arousal in AGS.
Hibernation; arctic ground squirrel; glutamate; NMDAR; MK-801; circumventricular organ
In vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's disease (PD) suggest that increased oxidant production leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons and subsequent cell death. However, it remains unclear if cell death in these models is caused by inhibition of mitochondrial function or oxidant production. The objective of the present study was to determine the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidant production in response to multiple PD neurotoxicant mimetics. MPP+ caused a dose-dependent decrease in the basal oxygen consumption rate (OCR) in dopaminergic N27 cells, indicating a loss of mitochondrial function. In parallel, we found that MPP+ only modestly increased oxidation of hydroethidine as a diagnostic marker of superoxide production in these cells. Similar results were found using rotenone as a mitochondrial inhibitor, or 6-hydroxydopamine as a mechanistically distinct PD neurotoxicant, but not with exposure to paraquat. Additionally, the Extracellular Acidification Rate, used as a marker of glycolysis, was stimulated to compensate for OCR inhibition after exposure to MPP+, rotenone, or 6-hydroxydopamine, but not paraquat. Together these data indicate that MPP+, rotenone and 6-hydroxydopamine dramatically shift bioenergetic function away from the mitochondria and towards glycolysis in N27 cells.
mitochondria; glycolysis; reactive oxygen species; hydroethidine
Urocortin 3 (also known as stresscopin) is an endogenous ligand for the corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2 (CRF2). Despite predominant Gs-coupling of CRF2, promiscuous coupling with other G proteins has been also associated with the activation of this receptor. As urocortin 3 has been involved in central cardiovascular regulation at hypothalamic and medullary sites, we examined its cellular effects on cardiac vagal neurons of nucleus ambiguus, a key area for the autonomic control of heart rate. Urocortin 3 (1 nM to 1000 nM) induced a concentration-dependent increase in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration that was blocked by the CRF2 antagonist K41498. In the case of two consecutive treatments with urocortin 3, the second urocortin 3-induced Ca2+ response was reduced, indicating receptor desensitization. The effect of urocortin 3 was abolished by pretreatment with pertussis toxin and by inhibition of phospolipase C with U-73122. Urocortin 3 activated a Ca2+ influx via voltage-gated P/Q-type channels as well as Ca2+ release from endoplasmic reticulum. Urocortin 3 promoted Ca2+ release via inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate receptors but not ryanodine receptors. Our results indicate a novel Ca2+- mobilizing effect of urocortin 3 in vagal preganglionic neurons of nucleus ambiguus, providing a cellular mechanism for a previously reported role for this peptide in parasympathetic cardiac regulation.
calcium imaging; CRF2; endoplasmic reticulum; inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate receptors
Cooling temperatures may modify action potential firing properties to alter sensory modalities. Here we investigated how cooling temperatures modify action potential firing properties in two groups of rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTXs) Na+ channel-expressing neurons and tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTXr) Na+ channel-expressing neurons. We found that multiple action potential firing in response to membrane depolarization was suppressed in TTXs neurons but maintained or facilitated in TTXr neurons at cooling temperatures. We showed that cooling temperatures strongly inhibited A-type K+ currents (IA) and TTXs Na+ channels but had fewer inhibitory effects on TTXr Na+ channels and non-inactivating K+ currents (IK). We demonstrated that the sensitivity of A-type K+ channels and voltage-gated Na+ channels to cooling temperatures and their interplay determine somatosensory neuron excitability at cooling temperatures. Our results provide a putative mechanism by which cooling temperatures modify different sensory modalities including pain.
Cold; voltage-gated Na+ channels; voltage-gated K+ channels; dorsal root ganglions; pain
In the present study, we used the GTP cyclohydrolase I-deficient mice, ie., hph-1 mice, to test the hypothesis that the loss of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in cerebral microvessels causes endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) uncoupling resulting in increased superoxide anion production and inhibition of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) signaling. Both homozygous mutant (hph-1-/-) and heterozygous mutant (hph-1+/- mice) demonstrated reduction in GTP cyclohydrolase I activity and reduced bioavailability of BH4. In the cerebral microvessels of hph-1+/- and hph-1-/- mice, increased superoxide anion production was inhibited by supplementation of BH4 or NOS inhibitor - L-NAME, indicative of eNOS uncoupling. Expression of 3-nitrotyrosine was significantly increased, while NO production and cGMP levels were significantly reduced. Expressions of antioxidant enzymes namely CuZnSOD, MnSOD and catalase were not affected by uncoupling of eNOS. Reduced levels of BH4, increased superoxide anion production as well as inhibition of NO signaling were not different between the microvessels of male and female mice. The results of our study are the first to demonstrate that, regardless of gender, reduced BH4 bioavailability causes eNOS uncoupling, increases superoxide anion production, inhibits eNOS/cGMP signaling, and imposes significant oxidative stress in the cerebral microvasculature.
oxidative stress; endothelial dysfunction; cerebral microvasculature; GTP cyclohydrolase I
The α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) may be a potential target in pathophysiology of the auditory system, chronic pain and breast and lung cancers. Alpha-conotoxins, from the predatory marine snail Conus, are potent nicotinic antagonists, some of which are selective for the α9α10 nAChR. Here we report a two-order of magnitude species difference in the potency of α-conotoxin RgIA for the rat vs. human α9α10 nAChR. We investigated the molecular mechanism of this difference. Heterologous expression of the rat α9 with the human α10 subunit in Xenopus oocytes resulted in a receptor that was blocked by RgIA with potency similar to that of the rat α9α10 nAChR. Conversely, expression of the human α9 with that of the rat α10 subunit resulted in a receptor that was blocked by RgIA with potency approaching that of the human α9α10 receptor. Systematic substitution of residues found in the human α9 subunit into the homologous position in the rat α9 subunit revealed that a single point mutation, Thr56 to Ile56, primarily accounts for this species difference. Remarkably, although the α9 nAChR subunit has previously been reported to provide the principal (+) binding face for binding of RgIA, Thr56 is located in the (−) complementary binding face.
nicotinic; conotoxin; structure-activity; acetylcholine; point-mutant; species difference
Although biochemical and physiological evidence suggests a strong interaction between striatal CB1 cannabinoid (CB1R) and D2 dopamine (D2R) receptors, the mechanisms are poorly understood. We targeted medium spiny neurons of the indirect pathway using shRNA to knockdown either CB1R or D2R. Chronic reduction in either receptor resulted in deficits in gene and protein expression for the alternative receptor and concomitantly increased expression of the cannabinoid receptor interacting protein 1a (CRIP1a), suggesting a novel role for CRIP1a in dopaminergic systems. Both CB1R and D2R knockdown reduced striatal dopaminergic-stimulated [35S] GTPγS binding, and D2R knockdown reduced pallidal WIN55212-2-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding. Decreased D2R and CB1R activity was associated with decreased striatal phosphoERK. A decrease in mRNA for opioid peptide precursors pDYN and pENK accompanied knockdown of CB1Rs or D2Rs, and over-expression of CRIP1a. Down-regulation in opioid peptide mRNAs was followed in time by increased DOR1 but not MOR1 expression, leading to increased [D-Pen2, D-Pen5]-enkephalin-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding in the striatum. We conclude that mechanisms intrinsic to striatal medium spiny neurons or extrinsic via the indirect pathway adjust for changes in CB1R or D2R levels by modifying the expression and signaling capabilities of the alternative receptor as well as CRIP1a and the DELTA opioid system.
basal ganglia; cannabinoid receptor; enkephalin; gene expression; medium spiny neurons; mesolimbic dopamine pathway
The relationship between serotonin (5-HT) and major depressive disorder (MDD) has been extensively studied but certain aspects are still ambiguous. Given the evidence that 5-HT neurotransmission is reduced in depressed subjects, it is possible that one or more of the 5-HT regulators may be altered in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR) of depressed subjects. Candidates that regulate 5-HT synthesis and neuronal activity of 5-HT neurons include intrinsic regulators such as tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2), 5-HT autoreceptors, 5-HT transporter (SERT) and transcription factors, as well as afferent regulators such as estrogen and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The present study was designed to quantify mRNA concentrations of the above 5-HT regulators in an isolated population of 5-HT-containing DR neurons of MDD subjects and gender-matched psychiatrically normal control subjects. We found that mRNA concentrations of the 5-HT1D receptor and the transcription factors, NUDR and REST, were significantly increased in DR-captured neurons of female MDD subjects compared to female control subjects. No significant differences were found for the transcripts in male MDD subjects compared to male controls. This study reveals sex-specific alterations in gene expression of the presynaptic 5-HT1D autoreceptors and 5-HT-related transcription factors, NUDR and REST, in DR neurons of women with MDD.
Dorsal raphe nucleus; Laser capture microdissection; Major depressive disorder; messenger RNA; Serotonin receptors; Transcription factors
Hemopexin provides neuroprotection in mouse models of stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage and protects neurons in vitro against heme or reactive oxygen species (ROS) toxicity via heme oxygenase-1 (HO1) activity. To model human brain neurons experiencing hemorrhages and inflammation, we used human neuroblastoma cells, heme–hemopexin complexes, and physiologically relevant ROS, for example, H2O2 and HOCl, to provide novel insights into the underlying mechanism whereby hemopexin safely maintains heme and iron homeostasis. Human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP), needed for iron export from neurons, is induced ~twofold after heme–hemopexin endocytosis by iron from heme catabolism via the iron-regulatory element of hAPP mRNA. Heme– hemopexin is relatively resistant to damage by ROS and retains its ability to induce the cytoprotective HO1 after exposure to tert-butylhydroperoxide, although induction is impaired, but not eliminated, by exposure to high concentrations of H2O2
in vitro. Apo-hemopexin, which predominates in non-hemolytic states, resists damage by H2O2 and HOCl, except for the highest concentrations likely in vivo. Heme– albumin and albumin are preferential targets for ROS; thus, albumin protects hemopexin in biological fluids like CSF and plasma where it is abundant. These observations provide strong evidence that hemopexin will be neuroprotective after traumatic brain injury, with heme release in the CNS, and during the ensuing inflammation. Hemopexin sequesters heme, thus preventing unregulated heme uptake that leads to toxicity; it safely delivers heme to neuronal cells; and it activates the induction of proteins including HO1 and hAPP that keep heme and iron at safe levels in neurons.
APP; heme; hemopexin; iron; neuroprotection; stroke
HSP70 is a member of the family of heat-shock proteins that are known to be up-regulated in neurons following injury and/ or stress. HSP70 over-expression has been linked to neuroprotection in multiple models, including neurodegenerative disorders. In contrast, less is known about the neuroprotective effects of HSP70 in neuronal apoptosis and with regard to modulation of programmed cell death (PCD) mechanisms in neurons. We examined the effects of HSP70 over-expression by transfection with HSP70-expression plasmids in primary cortical neurons and the SH-SY5Y neuronal cell line using four independent models of apoptosis: etoposide, staurosporine, C2-ceramide, and β-Amyloid. In these apoptotic models, neurons transfected with the HSP70 construct showed significantly reduced induction of nuclear apoptotic markers and/or cell death. Furthermore, we demonstrated that HSP70 binds and potentially inactivates Apoptotic protease-activating factor 1, as well as apoptosis-inducing factor, key molecules involved in development of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent PCD, respectively. Markers of caspase-dependent PCD, including active caspase-3, caspase-9, and cleaved PARP were attenuated in neurons over-expressing HSP70. These data indicate that HSP70 protects against neuronal apoptosis and suggest that these effects reflect, at least in part, to inhibition of both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent PCD pathways.
AIF; Apaf-1; apoptosis; HSP70; neurons; neuroprotection
Mitochondrial dysfunction represents a critical event during the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and expanding evidences demonstrate that an altered balance in mitochondrial fission/fusion is likely an important mechanism leading to mitochondrial and neuronal dysfunction/degeneration. In this study, we investigated whether DJ-1 is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and function in neuronal cells. Confocal and electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that M17 human neuroblastoma cells over-expressing wild-type DJ-1 (WT DJ-1 cells) displayed elongated mitochondria while M17 cells over-expressing PD-associated DJ-1 mutants (R98Q, D149A and L166P) (mutant DJ-1 cells) showed significant increase of fragmented mitochondria. Similar mitochondrial fragmentation was also noted in primary hippocampal neurons overexpressing PD-associated mutant forms of DJ-1. Functional analysis revealed that over-expression of PD-associated DJ- 1 mutants resulted in mitochondria dysfunction and increased neuronal vulnerability to oxidative stress (H2O2) or neurotoxin. Further immunoblot studies demonstrated that levels of dynamin-like protein (DLP1), also known as Drp1, a regulator of mitochondrial fission, was significantly decreased in WT DJ-1 cells but increased in mutant DJ-1 cells. Importantly, DLP1 knockdown in these mutant DJ-1 cells rescued the abnormal mitochondria morphology and all associated mitochondria/neuronal dysfunction. Taken together, these studies suggest that DJ-1 is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics through modulation of DLP1 expression and PD-associated DJ-1 mutations may cause PD by impairing mitochondrial dynamics and function.
DJ-1; Drp1; mitochondrial elongation; mitochondrial fragmentation; mitochondrial fusion; Parkinson disease