Chronic manganese (Mn) exposure produces a neurological syndrome with psychiatric, cognitive, and parkinsonian features. Gene expression profiling in the frontal cortex of Cyno-mologous macaques receiving 3.3–5.0 mg Mn/kg weekly for 10 months showed that 61 genes were increased and four genes were decreased relative to controls from a total of 6766 genes. Gene changes were associated with cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, apoptosis, ubiquitin-proteasome system, protein folding, cholesterol homeostasis, axonal/vesicular transport, and inflammation. Amyloid-β (Aβ) precursor-like protein 1, a member of the amyloid precursor protein family, was the most highly up-regulated gene. Immunohistochemistry confirmed increased amyloid precursor-like protein 1 protein expression and revealed the presence of diffuse Aβ plaques in Mn-exposed frontal cortex. Cortical neurons and white matter fibers from Mn-exposed animals accumulated silver grains indicative of on-going degeneration. Cortical neurons also exhibited nuclear hypertrophy, intracytoplasmic vacuoles, and apoptosis stigmata. p53 immunolabeling was increased in the cytoplasm of neurons and in the nucleus and processes of glial cells in Mn-exposed tissue. In summary, chronic Mn exposure produces a cellular stress response leading to neurodegenerative changes and diffuse Aβ plaques in the frontal cortex. These changes may explain the subtle cognitive deficits previously demonstrated in these same animals.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; amyloid-β precursor-like protein 1; manganese; neurodegeneration; non-human primates; p53
Our previous studies demonstrated that p75NTR confers protection against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis upon PC12 cells; however, the mechanisms responsible for this effect are not known. The present studies reveal decreased mitochondrion membrane potential and increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in p75NTR-deficient PC12 cells as well as diminution of ROS generation after transfection of a full-length p75NTR construct into these cells. They also show that p75NTR deficiency attenuates activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase → phospho-Akt/protein kinase B pathway in PC12 cells by oxidative stress or neurotrophic ligands and inhibition of Akt phosphorylation decreases the glutathione (GSH) content in PC12 cells. In addition, decreased de novo GSH synthesis and increased GSH consumption are observed in p75NTR-deficient cells. These findings indicate that p75NTR regulates cellular handling of ROS to effect a survival response to oxidative stress.
Akt; GSH; neurotrophin signaling; oxidative stress
Alcohols and inhaled anesthetics modulate GABAA receptor (GABAAR) function via putative binding sites within the transmembrane regions (TMs). The relative position of the amino acids lining these sites could be either inter- or intra-subunit. We introduced cysteines in relevant TM locations and tested the proximity of cysteine pairs using oxidizing and reducing agents to induce or break disulfide bridges between cysteines, and thus change GABA-mediated currents in wild-type and mutant α1β2γ2 GABAARs expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. We tested for: (1) inter-subunit crosslinking: a cysteine located in α1TM1 [either α1(Q229C) or α1(L232C)] was paired with a cysteine in different positions of β2TM2 or TM3; (2) intra-subunit crosslinking: a cysteine located either in β2TM1 [β2(T225C)] or TM2 [β2(N265C)] was paired with a cysteine in different locations along β2TM3. Three inter-subunit cysteine pairs and four intra-subunits crosslinked. In three intra-subunit cysteine combinations, the alcohol effect was reduced by oxidizing agents, suggesting intra-subunit alcohol binding. We conclude that the structure of the alcohol binding site changes during activation and that potentiation or inhibition by binding at inter- or intra-subunit sites is determined by the specific receptor and ligand.
GABAA receptor; binding site; ethanol; crosslink; methanethiosulfonate; homology model
Biomarkers in CSF can offer improved diagnostic accuracy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study investigated whether the glycoprotein and putative tumor suppressor Dickkopf homolog 3 (Dkk-3) is secreted into CSF and evaluated its applicability as a diagnostic marker for AD. Using our highly specific immunoenzymometric assay, Dkk-3 levels were measured in plasma and/or CSF of patients suffering from depression, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or AD and compared with healthy subjects. Dkk-3 identity was verified by western blot and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS)/MS. High concentrations of Dkk-3 were detected in CSF compared with plasma (28.2 ± 1.3 vs. 1.22 ± 0.04 nmol/L, respectively). Consistently Dkk-3 expression was demonstrated in neurons of the cortex and epithelial cells of the choroid plexus, the major source of CSF. Significantly increased Dkk-3 levels in plasma and CSF were observed for AD patients compared with healthy subjects but not patients suffering from MCI or depression. In summary, our data indicate that elevated Dkk-3 levels are specifically associated with AD and might serve as a potential non-invasive AD biomarker in plasma.
β-amyloid (1–42); Alzheimer’s disease; CSF; Dickkopf-3; p-tau-181; tau
Neuronal dysfunction and degeneration are ultimately responsible for the neurocognitive impairment and dementia manifest in neuroAIDS. Despite overt neuronal pathology, HIV-1 does not directly infect neurons; rather, neuronal dysfunction or death is largely an indirect consequence of disrupted glial function and the cellular and viral toxins released by infected glia. A role for glia in HIV-1 neuropathogenesis is revealed in experimental and clinical studies examining substance abuse-HIV-1 interactions. Current evidence suggests that glia are direct targets of substance abuse and that glia contribute markedly to the accelerated neurodegeneration seen with substance abuse in HIV-1 infected individuals. Moreover, maladaptive neuroplastic responses to chronic drug abuse might create a latent susceptibility to CNS disorders such as HIV-1. In this review, we consider astroglial and microglial interactions and dysfunction in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and examine how drug actions in glia contribute to neuroAIDS.
Opiates; Cocaine; Methamphetamine; Alcohol; HIV encephalopathy; Neuroimmunology; AIDS
This study investigates involvement of β-catenin signalling in regulation of p-glycoprotein (p-gp) expression in endothelial cells derived from brain vasculature. Pharmacological interventions that enhance or that block β-catenin signalling were applied to primary rat brain endothelial cells and to immortalized human brain endothelial cells, hCMEC/D3, nuclear translocation of β-catenin being determined by immunocytochemistry and by western blot analysis to confirm effectiveness of the manipulations. Using the specific glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) inhibitor 6-bromoindirubin-3′-oxime enhanced β-catenin and increased p-gp expression including activating the MDR1 promoter. These increases were accompanied by increases in p-gp-mediated efflux capability as observed from alterations in intracellular fluorescent calcein accumulation detected by flow cytometry. Similar increases in p-gp expression were noted with other GSK-3 inhibitors, i.e. 1-azakenpaullone or LiCl. Application of Wnt agonist [2-amino-4-(3,4-(methylenedioxy) benzylamino)-6-(3-methoxyphenyl)pyrimidine] also enhanced β-catenin and increased transcript and protein levels of p-gp. By contrast, down-regulating the pathway using Dickkopf-1 or quercetin decreased p-gp expression. Similar changes were observed with multidrug resistance protein 4 and breast cancer resistance protein, both known to be present at the blood–brain barrier. These results suggest that regulation of p-gp and other multidrug efflux transporters in brain vasculature can be influenced by β-catenin signalling.
β-catenin; breast cancer resistant protein; glycogen synthase kinase-3; multidrug resistance protein 4; p-glycoprotein; brain endothelial cells
The ventrolateral thalamus (VL) is a primary relay point between the basal ganglia and the primary motor cortex (M1). Using dual probe microdialysis and locomotor behavior monitoring, we investigated the contribution of VL input into M1 during amphetamine (AMPH)-stimulated monoamine release and hyperlocomotion in rats. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) (10 uM) perfusion into the VL significantly lowered hyperactivity induced by AMPH (1 mg/kg i.p.). This behavioral response corresponded to reduced cortical glutamate and monoamine release. To determine which glutamate receptors the thalamocortical projections acted upon, we perfused either the AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist NBQX (10 μM) or the NMDA receptor antagonist (MK-801) intracortically followed by systemic AMPH. The results show that AMPA/kainate, and to a lesser extent NMDA receptors, mediated the observed effects. Since glutamate-monoamine interactions could possibly occur through local or circuit-based mechanisms, we isolated and perfused M1 tissue ex vivo to determine the extent of local glutamate-dopamine interactions. Taken together, these results demonstrate that AMPH generates hyperlocomotive states via thalamocortical signaling and that cortical AMPA receptors are an important mediator of these effects.
dopamine; microdialysis; glutamate; amphetamine; thalamus; motor cortex
Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS) induce misfolding and aggregation of the protein with the inherent propensity of mutant SOD1 to aggregate generally correlating, with a few exceptions, to the duration of illness in patients with the same mutation. One notable exception was the D101N variant, which has been described as wild-type-like. The D101N mutation is associated with rapidly progressing motor neuron degeneration but shows a low propensity to aggregate. By assaying the kinetics of aggregation in a well characterized cultured cell model, we show that the D101N mutant is slower to initiate aggregation than the D101G mutant. In this cell system of protein over-expression, both mutants were equally less able to acquire Zn than WT SOD1. Additionally, both of these mutants were equivalently less able to fold into the trypsin-resistant conformation that characterizes WT SOD1. A second major difference between the two mutants was that the D101N variant more efficiently formed a normal intramolecular disulfide bond. Overall, our findings demonstrate that the D101N and D101G variants exhibit clearly distinctive features, including a different rate of aggregation, and yet both are associated with rapidly progressing disease.
ALS; SOD1; aggregation; oxidation; stability
Methamphetamine and other drugs activate a small proportion of all neurons in the brain. We previously developed a FACS-based method to characterize molecular alterations induced selectively in activated neurons that express the neural activity marker Fos. However, this method requires pooling samples from many rats. We now describe a modified FACS-based method to characterize molecular alterations in Fos-expressing dorsal striatal neurons from a single rat using a multiplex pre-amplification strategy. Fos and NeuN (a neuronal marker) immunohistochemistry indicate that 6–7% of dorsal striatum neurons were activated 90 min after acute methamphetamine injections (5 mg/kg, i.p) while less than 1% of neurons were activated by saline injections. We used FACS to separate NeuN-labeled neurons into Fos-positive and Fos-negative neurons and assessed mRNA expression using RT-qPCR from as little as 5 Fos-positive neurons. Methamphetamine induced 3–20-fold increases of immediate early genes arc, homer-2, c-fos, fosB and its isoforms (ΔfosB and a novel isoform ΔfosB-2) in Fos-positive but not Fos-negative neurons. IEG mRNA induction was 10-fold lower or absent when assessed in unsorted samples from single dorsal striatum homogenates. Our modified method makes it feasible to study unique molecular alterations in neurons activated by drugs or drug-associated cues in complex addiction models.
flow cytometry; immediate early genes; gene expression
Leptin signaling has received considerable attention in the Alzheimer disease (AD) field. Within the past decade, the peptide hormone has been demonstrated to attenuate tau hyperphosphorylation in neuronal cells and to be modulated by amyloid-β. Moreover, a role in neuroprotection and neurogenesis within the hippocampus has been shown in animal models. To further characterize the association between leptin signaling and vulnerable regions in AD, we assessed the profile of leptin and the leptin receptor in AD and control patients. We analyzed leptin levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and the concentration and localization of leptin and leptin receptor in the hippocampus. Significant elevations in leptin levels in both CSF and hippocampal tissue of AD patients, compared to age-matched control cases, indicate a physiological upregulation of leptin in AD. However, the level of leptin receptor mRNA decreased in AD brain and the leptin receptor protein was localized to neurofibrillary tangles, suggesting a severe discontinuity in the leptin signaling pathway. Collectively, our results suggest that leptin resistance in the hippocampus may play a role in the characteristic changes associated with the disease. These findings are the first to demonstrate such dysregulated leptin-signaling circuitry and provide novel insights into the possible role of aberrant leptin signaling in AD.
Alzheimer disease; tau; leptin; leptin receptor; neurofibrillary tangles
Striatal-enriched tyrosine phosphatase (STEP) is an important regulator of neuronal synaptic plasticity, and its abnormal level or activity contributes to cognitive disorders. One crucial downstream effector and direct substrate of STEP is extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), which has important functions in spine stabilisation and action potential transmission. The inhibition of STEP activity toward phospho-ERK has the potential to treat neuronal diseases, but the detailed mechanism underlying the dephosphorylation of phospho-ERK by STEP is not known. Therefore, we examined STEP activity toward pNPP, phospho-tyrosine-containing peptides, and the full-length phospho-ERK protein using STEP mutants with different structural features. STEP was found to be a highly efficient ERK tyrosine phosphatase that required both its N-terminal regulatory region and key residues in its active site. Specifically, both KIM and KIS of STEP were required for ERK interaction. In addition to the N-terminal KIS region, S245, hydrophobic residues L249/L251, and basic residues R242/R243 located in the KIM region were important in controlling STEP activity toward phospho-ERK. Further kinetic experiments revealed subtle structural differences between STEP and HePTP that affected the interactions of their KIMs with ERK. Moreover, STEP recognised specific positions of a phospho-ERK peptide sequence through its active site, and the contact of STEP F311 with phospho-ERK V205 and T207 were crucial interactions. Taken together, our results not only provide the information for interactions between ERK and STEP, but will also help in the development of specific strategies to target STEP-ERK recognition, which could serve as a potential therapy for neurological disorders.
ERK; phosphorylation; phosphatase; synaptic plasticity; Striatal enriched tyrosine phosphatases (STEP); neurological disorders
Tolerance to the neurochemical and psychoactive effects of cocaine after repeated use is a hallmark of cocaine addiction in humans. However, comprehensive studies on tolerance to the behavioral, psychoactive, and neurochemical effects of cocaine following contingent administration in rodents are lacking. We outlined the consequences of extended access cocaine self-administration as it related to tolerance to the psychomotor activating, dopamine (DA) elevating, and DA transporter (DAT) inhibiting effects of cocaine. Cocaine self-administration (1.5 mg/kg/inj; 40 inj; 5 days), which resulted in escalation of first hour intake, caused reductions in evoked DA release and reduced maximal rates of uptake through the DAT as measured by slice voltammetry in the nucleus accumbens core. Further, we report reductions in cocaine-induced uptake inhibition as measured by fast scan cyclic voltammetry, and a corresponding increase in the dose of cocaine required for 50% inhibition of DA uptake (Ki) at the DAT. Cocaine tolerance at the DAT translated to reductions in cocaine-induced DA overflow as measured by microdialysis. Additionally, cocaine-induced elevations in locomotor activity and stereotypy were reduced, while rearing behavior was enhanced in animals with a history of cocaine self-administration. Here we demonstrate both neurochemical and behavioral cocaine tolerance in an extended-access rodent model of cocaine abuse, which allows for a better understanding of the neurochemical and psychomotor tolerance that develops to cocaine in human addicts.
Dopamine; Cocaine; Self-administration; Rat; Tolerance; Striatum
Studies of oxidative damage during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggest its central role in disease pathogenesis. To investigate levels of nucleic acid oxidation in both early and late stages of AD, levels of multiple base adducts were quantified in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from the superior and middle temporal gyri (SMTG), inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and cerebellum (CER) of age-matched normal control subjects, subjects with mild cognitive impairment, preclinical AD, late-stage AD, and non-AD neurological disorders (diseased control; DC) using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Median levels of multiple DNA adducts in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) elevated in the SMTG, IPL, and CER in multiple stages of AD and in DC subjects. Elevated levels of fapyguanine and fapyadenine in mitochondrial DNA suggest a hypoxic environment early in the progression of AD and in DC subjects. Overall, these data suggest that oxidative damage is an early event not only in the pathogenesis of AD, but is also present in neurodegenerative diseases in general.
nuclear DNA; mitochondrial DNA; mild cognitive impairment; preclinical Alzheimer’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease; neurodegenerative diseases
HIV-1 infects the brain and, despite antiretroviral therapy, many infected individuals suffer from HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). HAND is associated with dendritic simplification and synaptic loss. Prevention of synaptodendritic damage may ameliorate or forestall neurocognitive decline in latent HIV-1 infections. The HIV-1 transactivating protein (Tat) is produced during viral latency in the brain and may cause synaptodendritic damage. The present study examined the integrity of the dendritic network after exposure to HIV-1 Tat by labeling filamentous actin (F-actin)-rich structures (puncta) in primary neuronal cultures. After 24 hours of treatment, HIV-1 Tat was associated with the dendritic arbor and produced a significant reduction of F-actin-labeled dendritic puncta as well as loss of dendrites. Pretreatment with either of two plant-derived phytoestrogen compounds (daidzein and liquiritigenin), significantly reduced synaptodendritic damage following HIV-1 Tat treatment. Additionally, 6 days after HIV-1 Tat treatment, treatment with either daidzein or liquiritigenin enhanced recovery, via the estrogen receptor, from HIV-1 Tat-induced synaptodendritic damage. These results suggest that either liquiritigenin or daidzein may not only attenuate acute synaptodendritic injury in HIV-1, but also promote recovery from synaptodendritic damage.
Daidzein; Liquiritigenin; F-actin; HAND; Cell culture; Rat
Cadmium (Cd), a toxic environmental contaminant, induces neurodegenerative diseases. Celastrol, a plant-derived triterpene, has shown neuroprotective effects in various disease models. However, little is known regarding the effect of celastrol on Cd-induced neurotoxicity. Here, we show that celastrol protected against Cd-induced apoptotic cell death in neuronal cells. This is supported by the findings that celastrol strikingly attenuated Cd-induced viability reduction, morphological change, nuclear fragmentation, and condensation, as well as activation of caspase-3 in neuronal cells. Concurrently, celastrol remarkably blocked Cd-induced phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but not extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and p38, in neuronal cells. Inhibition of JNK by SP600125 or over-expression of dominant negative c-Jun potentiated celastrol protection against Cd-induced cell death. Furthermore, pre-treatment with celastrol prevented Cd down-regulation of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) and activation of phosphoinositide 3′-kinase/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in neuronal cells. Over-expression of wild-type PTEN enhanced celastrol inhibition of Cd-activated Akt/mTOR signaling and cell death in neuronal cells. The findings indicate that celastrol prevents Cd-induced neuronal cell death via targeting JNK and PTEN-Akt/mTOR network. Our results strongly suggest that celastrol may be exploited for the prevention of Cd-induced neurodegenerative disorders.
apoptosis; cadmium; Celastrol; c-Jun N-terminal kinase; mammalian target of rapamycin; phosphatase and tensin homolog on chromosome 10