Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a large family of cation channels. The 28 TRP channel subtypes in rodent are divided into 6 subfamilies: TRPC1-7, TRPV1-6, TRPM1-8, TRPP2/3/5, TRPML1-3 and TRPA1. TRP channels are involved in peripheral olfactory transduction. Several TRPC channels are expressed in unidentified neurons in the main olfactory bulb (OB), but the expression of most TRP channels in the OB has not been investigated. The present study employed RT-PCR as an initial survey of the expression of channel mRNAs in the mouse OB and in 3 cell types: external tufted, mitral and granule cells. All TRP channel mRNAs except TRPV5 were detected in OB tissue. Single cell RT-PCR revealed that external tufted, mitral and granule cell populations expressed in aggregate 14 TRP channel mRNAs encompassing members of all 6 subfamilies. These different OB neuron populations expressed 7 to 12 channel mRNAs. Common channel expression was more similar among external tufted and mitral cells than among these cells and granule cells. These results indicate that a large number of TRP channel subtypes are expressed in OB neurons, providing the molecular bases for these channels to regulate OB neuron activity and central olfactory processing.
transient receptor potential (TRP) channel; olfactory bulb; external tufted cell; mitral cell; granule cell; RT-PCR
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease caused by dopamine depletion are associated with burst firing in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Moreover, regularization or suppression of STN neuronal activity is thought to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. We reported recently that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor stimulation of rat STN neurons evokes ATP-sensitive K+ (K-ATP) current via a Ca2+- and nitric oxide-dependent mechanism. The present studies were done to determine whether or not K-ATP channel function in STN neurons is altered in a model of chronic dopamine depletion. Brain slices were prepared from rats with unilateral dopamine depletion caused by intracerebral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injections. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings showed that NMDA evoked more outward current at −70 mV and greater positive slope conductance in STN neurons located ipsilateral to 6-OHDA treatment compared to neurons located contralateral. Moreover, extracellular, loose-patch recordings showed that NMDA increased spontaneous firing rate in STN neurons in slices from normal rats, whereas NMDA produced a tolbutamide-sensitive inhibition of firing rate in STN neurons located ipsilateral to 6-OHDA treatment. These results show that K-ATP channel function in STN neurons is up-regulated by chronic dopamine deficiency. We suggest that K-ATP channel activation in the STN might benefit symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
ATP-sensitive K+ channel; subthalamic nucleus; N-methyl-D-aspartate; sulfonylurea; tolbutamide; brain slice
Using a neuronal model of serum starved SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells, we showed previously that the phosphorylation of Akt and the mTOR substrates S6K and S6 through the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor VEGFR2 was enhanced by treatments with the phosphatase PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid (OA). These findings suggested that PP2A inhibition uncouples the regulation of Akt signaling by mTOR and affects cell survival. We therefore examined the effects of mTOR inhibition on Akt phosphorylation at sites threonine 308 (T308) and serine 473 (S473) and survival in OA treated cells. OA induced a loss in cell viability, the accumulation of hyperactivated Akt as monomeric and ubiquitinated forms and an increase in the total levels of ubiquitinated proteins. These events were exacerbated by treatments with an allosteric (rapamycin) but not an active-site inhibitor (PP242) of mTOR. Notably, rapamycin augmented the OA-induced hyperphosphorylation of Akt by suppressing a negative feedback loop of Akt activation through VEGFR2 and its downstream target phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). Treatments with the antioxidant N-acetlycysteine but not the pan caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK promoted survival. Unlike reports that rapamycin promotes survival through increased Akt activation, these findings show that rapamycin-induced hyperphosphorylation of Akt fails to rescue our neuronal model from an oxidative stress-induced and caspase-independent cell death mediated by PP2A inhibition. Moreover, the exacerbation of OA-induced events by rapamycin suggests that mTOR and PP2A work in concert to regulate cell survival, activated Akt and the levels of ubiquitinated proteins.
Rit, along with Rin and Drosophila Ric, comprises the Rit subfamily of Ras-related small GTPases. Although the cellular functions of many Ras family GTPases are well established, the physiological significance of Rit remains poorly understood. Loss of Rit sensitizes multiple mammalian cell lines and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from Rit−/− mice to oxidative stress-mediated apoptosis. However, whether Rit-mediated pro-survival signaling extends to other cell types, particularly neurons, is presently unknown. Here, to examine these issues we generated a transgenic mouse overexpressing constitutively active Rit (RitQ79L) exclusively in neurons, under control of the Synapsin I promoter. Active Rit-expressing hippocampal neurons display a dramatic increase in oxidative stress resistance. Moreover, pharmacological inhibitor studies demonstrate that p38 MAPK, rather than a MEK/ERK signaling cascade, is required for Rit-mediated protection. Together, the present studies identify a critical role for the Rit-p38 MAPK signaling cascade in promoting hippocampal neuron survival following oxidative stress.
Ras GTPase; Hippocampal neuron; Survival; Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS); Stress
The cognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia are considered a core feature of the disease. Neuregulin-1 is a risk gene for schizophrenia that is involved in many neurodevelopmental and synaptic plasticity-related processes relevant to schizophrenia. Here, we have utilized a rat model (Nrg1Tn), which is hypomorphic for the neuregulin-1 (Nrg1) gene, to test whether reduced Type II NRG1 in the rat brain leads to cognitive deficits relevant to schizophrenia. Wild-type and homozygous Nrg1Tn male rats were tested in memory tasks that evaluated spatial memory (Morris water maze) and visuospatial working and reference memory (Can test). Nrg1Tn rats were not impaired on the Morris water maze, but did show a deficit in the appetitive visuospatial discrimination test. Nrg1Tn rats committed more reference and working memory errors in this test. These results indicate that decreased Type II NRG1 in the brain may lead to deficits in visuospatial learning and memory.
Endogenous opioid peptides enkephalin and dynorphin are major co-transmitters of striatofugal pathways of the basal ganglia. They are involved in the genesis of levodopa-induced dyskinesia and in the modulation of direct and indirect striatal output pathways that are disrupted in Parkinson’s disease. One pharmacologic approach is to develop synthetic glycopeptides closely resembling endogenous peptides to restore their normal functions. Glycosylation promotes penetration of the blood-brain barrier. We investigated CNS penetration of the opioid glycopeptide MMP-2200, a mixed δ/μ-agonist based on leu-enkephalin, as measured by in vivo microdialysis and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis in awake, freely moving rats. The glycopeptide (10 mg/kg) reaches the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) rapidly after systemic (i.p.) administration and is stably detectable for the duration of the experiment (80 min). The detected level at the end of the experiment (around 250 pM) is about 10-fold higher than the level of the endogenous leu-enkephalin, measured simultaneously. This is one of the first studies to directly prove that glycosylation of an endogenous opioid peptide leads to excellent blood-brain barrier penetration after systemic injection, and explains robust behavioral effects seen in previous studies by measuring how much glycopeptide reaches the target structure, in this case the DLS.
striatum; leu-enkephalin; glycopeptide; blood-brain barrier penetration; mass spectrometry
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune demyelinating disease, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. In the last two decades, many therapeutic options for the treatment of MS have become available, however they are limited in terms of effectiveness and some remain plagued by safety issues. The currently available treatment options target relapsing remitting forms of MS and are not effective against the more progressive forms of the disease. These limitations highlight a significant unmet treatment need for MS. In experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) studies from our laboratory, we have previously shown, using a number of complement mutant and transgenic mice, that inhibition of the alternative complement pathway and the C3 convertase confers significant protection from disease. We report here that targeted inhibition of complement activation using complement receptor 2 (CR2)-conjugated inhibitors significantly attenuates EAE. Administration of CR2-Crry (blocks all complement pathways at C3 activation) and CR2-fH (specifically blocks the alternative pathway) just prior to and during the onset of EAE blocks progression of both acute and chronic disease. These data indicate that inhibition of complement may offer an effective therapeutic approach to treating both acute and chronic forms of demyelinating disease through blocking the alternative pathway or complement convertases.
experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; neuroimmunology complement; immunology; autoimmune disease
The supplementary motor area coordinates movements. Synkinesia is a rare disorder in which an involuntary movement occurs coordinated with a voluntary movement. Here, we test the hypothesis that the supplementary motor area is involved in involuntary coordination of movement. We collected functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from two patients with ipsilateral hand-foot synkinesia and two control participants while they performed rhythmic tasks. In synkinesia patients, both the supplementary motor area and the foot motor cortex were significantly activated during the hand motor task. This pattern was not seen in controls. Our findings suggest that the supplementary motor area plays a central role in involuntary coordination observed in synkinesia, and provides insight into how the supplementary motor area orchestrates movements.
Ipsilateral synkinesia; fMRI; Supplementary motor area; Hand-foot coordination; Motor cortex
Activated microglia containing IL-1α-immunoreactive (IL-1α+) product were increased 3-fold in number in the acute phase following head injury, a risk factor for later development of Alzheimer's disease, and this increase was correlated with a 7-fold increase in the number of neurons with elevated β-amyloid precursor protein (β-APP) levels (R = 0.78; P < 0.05). Furthermore, clusters of β-APP+ dystrophic neurites present in these patients were invariably associated with activated IL-1α+ microglia. These findings suggest that early overexpression of IL-1α: and β-APP is a priming event for later neuropathological changes evident at end stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Interleukin-1α; β-Amyloid precursor protein; Head injury; Alzheimer's disease
Recent research suggests an involvement of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene products in modulating cocaine reward and addiction-like behaviors in rodents. In this study, we investigated whether cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) alters POMC gene expression in the brain or pituitary of rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were conditioned with 4 injections of 0, 10 or 30 mg/kg cocaine (i.p.) over 8 days and tested 4 days after the last conditioning session. Another group received the same pattern of cocaine injections without conditioning. POMC mRNA levels in the hypothalamus (including arcuate nucleus), amygdala and anterior pituitary, as well as plasma ACTH and corticosterone levels were measured. Cocaine place conditioning at 10 and 30 mg/kg doses increased POMC mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner in the hypothalamus, with no effect in the amygdala. Cocaine CPP had no effect on POMC mRNA levels in the anterior pituitary or on plasma ACTH or corticosterone levels. In rats that received cocaine at 30 mg/kg without conditioning, there was no such effect on hypothalamic POMC mRNA levels. Alteration of POMC gene expression in the hypothalamus is region-specific after cocaine place conditioning, and dose-dependent. The increased POMC gene expression in the hypothalamus suggests that it is involved in the reward/learning process of cocaine-induced conditioning.
POMC; hypothalamus; cocaine; conditioned place preference
To investigate the mechanism underlying the anxiolytic properties of riluzole, a glutamate-modulating agent, we previously studied the effect of this drug on hippocampal N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) and volume in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In the same cohort, we now extend our investigation to the occipital cortex, a brain region that was recently implicated in the antidepressant effect of riluzole.
Fourteen medication-free adult patients with GAD received 8-week of open-label riluzole. Ten healthy subjects served as a comparison group. The healthy group did not receive riluzole treatment. Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy at baseline and at the end of Week 8. Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) were used as the primary and secondary outcome measures, respectively.
At baseline, we found clusters of increased cortical thickness in the occipital region in GAD compared to healthy subjects. In the right hemisphere, eight weeks of treatment reduced occipital cortical thickness in the GAD group (t = 3.67, p = 0.004). In addition, the improvement in HAM-A scores was negatively correlated with post-treatment right occipital NAA (r = − 0.68, p = 0.008), and with changes in NAA levels (r = − 0.53, p = 0.051). In the left hemisphere, we found positive associations between changes in occipital cortical thickness and improvement in HAM-A (r = 0.60, p = 0.04) and PSWQ (r = 0.62, p = 0.03).
These pilot findings implicate the occipital cortex as a brain region associated with pathology and clinical improvement in GAD. In addition, the region specific effect of riluzole implies a distinct pathophysiology in the occipital cortex – compared to other, previously studied, frontolimbic brain structures.
Riluzole; generalized anxiety disorder; biomarkers; glutamate; N-Acetylaspartate; occipital cortex; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; structural MRI
Hippocampal CA1 neurons are particularly sensitive to ischemic damage, such as experienced following cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In recent years transient receptor potential M2 (TRPM2) channels have been identified as mediators of ischemic damage. We previously demonstrated that neuroprotective strategies targeting TRPM2 channels preferentially protect male cortical neurons from ischemic injury both in vitro and in vivo. It is important to determine the role of TRPM2 in ischemic injury of hippocampal neurons as this population of neurons are particularly sensitive to ischemic injury and are therapeutic targets. Here we report significantly decreased neuronal cell death following in vitro ischemia preferentially in male hippocampal neurons using TRPM2 inhibitors or knockdown of TRPM2 expression. Electrophysiological characterization of sex-stratified cultures shows similar levels of functional TRPM2 channel expression in male and female hippocampal neurons under basal conditions. In contrast, recordings made during reperfusion following in vitro ischemia revealed that TRPM2 channels are activated only in male neurons, resulting in rapid and complete depolarization. These findings provide strong evidence for TRPM2 as a target for protection against cerebral ischemia in male brain and helps define a molecular cell death pathway that is differentially engaged in male and female neurons.
This study examined the role of group1 metabotropic glutamate receptor
mGluR5 and associated postsynaptic scaffolding protein Homer1b/c in behavioral
plasticity after three withdrawal treatments from cocaine self-administration.
Rats self-administered cocaine or saline for 14 days followed by a withdrawal
period during which rats underwent extinction training, remained in their home
cages, or were placed in the self-administration chambers in the absence of
extinction. Subsequently, the tissue level and distribution of proteins in the
synaptosomal fraction associated with the postsynaptic density were examined.
Cocaine self-administration followed by home cage exposure reduced the mGluR5
protein in nucleus accumbens (NA) shell and dorsolateral striatum. While
extinction training reduced mGluR5 protein in NAshell, NAcore and dorsolateral
striatum did not display any change. The scaffolding protein PSD95 increased in
NAcore of the extinguished animals. Extinction of drug seeking was associated
with a significant decrease in the synaptosomal mGluR5 protein in NAshell and an
increase in dorsolateral striatum, while that of NAcore was not modified.
Interestingly, both Homer1b/c and PSD95 scaffolding proteins were decreased in
the synaptosomal fraction after extinction training in NAshell but not NAcore.
Extinguished drug-seeking behavior was also associated with an increase in
mGluR5 receptor and actin proteins in dorsolateral striatum. Therefore,
extinction of cocaine seeking is associated with neuroadaptations in mGluR5
expression and distribution that are region-specific and consist of
extinction-induced reversal of cocaine-induced adaptations as well as emergent
extinction-induced alterations. Concurrent plasticity in the scaffolding
proteins further suggests that mGluR5 receptor neuroadaptations may have
implications for synaptic function.
Nucleus accumbens; dorsal striatum; receptor trafficking; PSD-95; actin; scaffolding protein
Heart rate is controlled by stimulatory sympathetic and inhibitory parasympathetic nerves innervating the sino-atrial node and cardiac conduction system. Sympathetic release of norepinephrine (NE) and parasympathetic release of acetylcholine (ACh) are controlled by the central nervous system, and by pre-synaptic inhibition of transmitter release within the atria. An increase in cardiac sympathetic transmission relative to parasympathetic transmission is pathological as it can lead to disturbances in heart rhythm, catecholaminergic toxicity and development of arrhythmias or fibrillation. Mice lacking the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75−/−) have elevated atrial NE but a low heart rate suggesting autonomic dysregulation. Similarly, mice whose sympathetic neurons lack the gp130 cytokine receptor (gp130 KO) have a normal heart rate but enhanced bradycardia after vagal nerve stimulation. What is unclear is whether cardiac autonomic disturbances in these animals reflect systemic alterations in nerve activity or whether localized defects in neurotransmitter stores or release are involved. To examine local stimulus-evoked release of neurotransmitters, we have developed a novel method for simultaneous quantification of both NE and ACh after ex-vivo atrial field stimulation. Using HPLC with electrochemical detection for NE, and HPLC with mass spectrometry for ACh, we found that following field stimulation NE release was impaired in p75−/− atria while ACh content and release was elevated in gp130 KO atria. Thus, alterations in localized transmitter release from atrial explants are consistent with in vivo deficits in heart rate control, suggesting peripheral alterations in autonomic transmission in these mice.
Heart; autonomic; HPLC-MS; HPLC-ED; sympathetic; parasympathetic
A large number of studies have provided evidence for the efficacy of psychological and other non-pharmacological interventions in the treatment of chronic pain. While these methods are increasingly used to treat pain, remarkably few studies focused on the exploration of their neural correlates. The aim of this article was to review the findings from neuroimaging studies that evaluated the neural response to distraction-based techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), clinical hypnosis, mental imagery, physical therapy/exercise, biofeedback, and mirror therapy. To date, the results from studies that used neuroimaging to evaluate these methods have not been conclusive and the experimental methods have been suboptimal for assessing clinical pain. Still, several different psychological and non-pharmacological treatment modalities were associated with increased painrelated activations of executive cognitive brain regions, such as the ventral- and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. There was also evidence for decreased pain-related activations in afferent pain regions and limbic structures. If future studies will address the technical and methodological challenges of today’s experiments, neuroimaging might have the potential of segregating the neural mechanisms of different treatment interventions and elucidate predictive and mediating factors for successful treatment outcomes. Evaluations of treatment-related brain changes (functional and structural) might also allow for sub-grouping of patients and help to develop individualized treatments.
Pain; neuroimaging; non-pharmacological; psychological modulation; analgesia
The neuronal PAS domain protein 4 (Npas4) is a transcription factor that is almost exclusively expressed in the mammalian brain. As an activity-dependent transcription factor, Npas4 regulates the transcription of discrete genes and transcriptionally controls the experience-dependent learning and memory. In this study, we explored the impact of the psychostimulant amphetamine (AMPH) on Npas4 protein expression in the rat striatum. We found that acute systemic injection of AMPH had a minimal effect on protein levels of Npas4 in the caudate putamen (CPu) and nucleus accumbens (NAc), while AMPH readily increased protein products of the immediate early gene c-Fos in these regions. In contrast, repeated administration of AMPH (5 mg/kg, once daily for 5 days) triggered a significant increase in Npas4 expression in the NAc, although repeated AMPH did not alter Npas4 in the CPu. These data demonstrate that Npas4 is an AMPH-sensitive transcription factor. It is inducible selectively in the NAc in response to repeated AMPH administration.
Immediate early gene; transcription factor; c-Fos; Le-PAS; NXF; PASD10; striatum; caudate
Microglia are resident macrophages in the central nervous system (CNS) that play a major role in neuroinflammation and pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases. Upon activation, microglia releases a multitude of pro-inflammatory factors that initiate and sustain an inflammatory response by activating various signalling pathways, including the NF-κB pathway in a feed forward cycle. In microglial cells, activation of NF-κB signalling is normally transient, while sustained NF-κB activation is associated with persistent neuroinflammation. RING finger protein 11 (RNF11), in association with A20 ubiquitin-editing complex, is one of the key negative regulators of NF-κB signalling pathway in neurons. In this study, we have demonstrated and confirmed this role of RNF11 in microglia, the immune cells of the CNS. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments showed that RNF11 and A20 interact in a microglial cell line, suggesting the presence of A20 ubiquitin-editing protein complex in microglial cells. Next, using targeted short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown and over-expression of RNF11, we established that RNF11 expression levels are inversely related to NF-κB activation, as evident from altered expression of NF-κB transcribed genes. Moreover our studies, illustrated that RNF11 confers protection against LPS-induced cell cytotoxicity. Thus our investigations clearly demonstrated that microglial RNF11 is a negative regulator of NF-κB signalling pathway and could be a strong potential target for modulating inflammatory responses in neurodegenerative diseases.
Inflammation; NF-κB; RNF11; Microglia; Cytotoxicity
Connexin 26 (Cx26, GJB2) mutations can induce congenital deafness and are responsible for ~50 % of nonsyndromic hearing loss in children. Mouse models show that Cx26 deficiency induces cochlear development disorder, hair cell loss, and spiral ganglion (SG) neuron degeneration. Hair cell loss and cell degeneration have been considered as a primary causer responsible for Cx26 deficiency associated hearing loss. In this study, by coincidental examination of cochlear postnatal development with recording of auditory brainstem response (ABR) and hair cell function, we found that occurrence of hearing loss in Cx26 knockout (KO) mice was ahead of hair cell loss and cochlear cell degeneration. ABR was absent at any frequencies (8 – 40 kHz) after birth. However, cochlear cells including SG neurons had no significant degeneration throughout postnatal development. Severe cochlear hair cell loss and SG neuron degeneration were only visible in middle and basal turns, i.e., in middle and high frequency regions, in the adult Cx26 KO mouse cochlea. Functional tests show that hair cells in Cx26 KO mice functioned normally; outer hair cells retained electromotility. These data suggest that cell degeneration is not a primary causer of Cx26 deficiency associated hearing loss. Some mechanisms other than cell degeneration, such as cochlear development disorders, may play an essential role in this common hereditary deafness.
GJB2; gap junction; connexin; hair cell loss; deafness; inner ear
Gene transfer to target delivery of neurotrophic factors to the primary sensory afferent for treatment of polyneuropathy, or of inhibitory neurotransmitters for relief of chronic pain, offers the possibility of a highly selective targeted release of bioactive molecules within the nervous system. Preclinical studies with non-replicating herpes simplex virus (HSV)-based vectors injected into the skin to transduce neurons in the dorsal root ganglion have demonstrated efficacy in reducing-pain related behaviors in animal models of inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and pain caused by cancer, and in preventing progression of sensory neuropathy caused by toxins, chemotherapeutic drugs or resulting from diabetes. Successful completion of the first phase 1 clinical trial of HSV-mediated gene transfer in patients with intractable pain from cancer has set the stage for further clinical trials of this approach.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadliest of adult primary brain tumors. Due to its invasive nature and sensitive location, complete resection remains virtually impossible. The resistance of GBM against chemotherapy and radiotherapy necessitate the development of novel therapies. Gene therapy is proposed for the treatment of brain tumors and has demonstrated pre-clinical efficacy in animal models. Here we review the various experimental therapies that have been developed for GBM including both cytotoxic and immune stimulatory approaches. We also review the combined conditional cytotoxic immune stimulatory therapy that our lab has developed which is dependent on the adenovirus mediated expression of the conditional cytotoxic gene, Herpes Simplex Type 1 Thymidine Kinase (TK) and the powerful DC growth factor Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L). Combined delivery of these vectors elicits tumor cell death and an anti-tumor adaptive immune response that requires TLR2 activation. The implications of our studies indicate that the combined cytotoxic and immunotherapeutic strategies are effective strategies to combat deadly brain tumors and warrant their implementation in human Phase I clinical trials for GBM.
Gene Therapy; Glioblastoma; Cytotoxic; Immunotherapy; viral vectors; TK; Flt3L
Proteasome impairment and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins are implicated in neurodegeneration associated with different forms of spinal cord injury. We show herein that elevating cAMP in rat spinal cord neurons increases 26S proteasome activity in a protein kinase A-dependent manner. Treating spinal cord neurons with dibutyryl-cAMP (db-cAMP) also raised the levels of various components of the UPP including proteasome subunits Rpt6 and β5, polyubiquitin shuttling factor p62/sequestosome1, E3 ligase CHIP, AAA-ATPase p97 and the ubiquitin gene ubB. Finally, db-cAMP reduced the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, proteasome inhibition, and neurotoxicity triggered by the endogenous product of inflammation prostaglandin J2. We propose that optimizing the effects of cAMP/PKA-signaling on the UPP could offer an effective therapeutic approach to prevent UPP-related proteotoxicity in spinal cord neurons.
cAMP; proteasome; p62/sequestosome1; CHIP; ubiquitin; prostaglandin J2
More than four decades ago, Dr. Judah Folkman hypothesized that angiogenesis was a critical process in tumor growth. Since that time, there have been significant advances in understanding tumor biology and groundbreaking research in cancer therapy that have validated his hypothesis. However, in spite of extensive research, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant primary brain tumor, has gained little in the way of improved median survival. There have been several angiogenesis targets that have resulted in drugs that are in clinical trials or FDA approved for clinical use in several cancers. GBM is a highly angiogenic tumor and several drugs are showing promise in clinical trials with one (bevacizumab), clinically approved for use. We will review several possible angiogenic targets in GBM as well as the vector methodologies used for delivery. In addition, GBMs present several therapeutic challenges related to structure, tumor immune microenvironment and resistance to angiogenesis. To overcome these challenges will require novel approaches to improve therapeutic gene expression and vector biodistribution in the glioma.
VEGF; Vasculostatin; oncolytic virus; Astrocytoma; glioma; brain tumor
Our Translational Gene Therapy Center has used small molecules for exon skipping and mutation suppression and gene transfer to replace or provide surrogate genes as tools for molecular-based approaches for the treatment of muscular dystrophies. Exon skipping is targeted at the pre-mRNA level allowing one or more exons to be omitted to restore the reading frame. In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), clinical trials have been performed with two different oligomers, a 2′O-methyl-ribo-oligonucleoside-phosphorothioate (2′OMe) and a phosphorodiamidate morpholino (PMO). Both have demonstrated early evidence of efficacy. A second molecular approach involves suppression of stop codons to promote readthrough of the DMD gene. We have been able to establish proof of principle for mutation suppression using the aminoglycoside, gentamicin. A safer, orally administered, alternative agent referred to as Ataluren (PTC124) has been used in clinical trials and is currently under consideration for approval by the FDA.
Using a gene therapy approach, we have completed two trials and have initiated a third. For DMD, we used a mini-dystrophin transferred in adeno-associated virus (AAV). In this trial an immune response was seen directed against transgene product, a quite unexpected outcome that will help guide further studies. For limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2D (alpha-sarcoglycan deficiency), the transgene was again transferred using AAV but in this study, a muscle specific creatine kinase promoter controlled gene expression that persisted for six months. A third gene therapy trial has been initiated with transfer of the follistatin gene in AAV directly to the quadriceps muscle. Two diseases with selective quadriceps muscle weakness are undergoing gene transfer including sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD). Increasing the size and strength of the muscle is the goal of this study. Most importantly, no adverse events have been encountered in any of these clinical trials.
exon skipping; mutation suppression; dystrophin; alpha-sarcoglycan; follistatin; adeno-associated virus
•Extensive dye-coupling occurs between mammalian spinal cord ependymal cells.•GABA depolarised all spinal cord ependymal cells tested.•GABA effects were mediated by GABAA receptors but not GABA uptake transporters.
The area surrounding the central canal of the postnatal mammalian spinal cord is a highly plastic region that exhibits many similarities to other postnatal neurogenic niches, such as the subventricular zone. Within this region, ependymal cells have been identified as neural stem cells however very little is known about their properties and how the local environment, including neurotransmitters, is capable of affecting them. The neurotransmitter GABA is present around the central canal and is known to affect cells within other postnatal neurogenic niches. This study used whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology and intracellular dye-loading in in vitro Wistar rat spinal cord slices to characterise ependymal cells and their ability to respond to GABA. Ependymal cells were defined by their passive response properties and low input resistances. Extensive dye-coupling was observed between ependymal cells; this was confirmed as gap junction coupling using the gap junction blocker, 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, which significantly increased the input resistance of ependymal cells. GABA depolarised all ependymal cells tested; the partial antagonism of this response by bicuculline and gabazine indicates that GABAA receptors contribute to this response. A lack of effect by baclofen suggests that GABAB receptors do not contribute to the GABAergic response. The ability of ependymal cells to respond to GABA suggests that GABA could be capable of influencing the proliferation and differentiation of cells within the neurogenic niche of the postnatal spinal cord.
Spinal cord; Ependymal cell; Gamma amino butyric acid; Gap junction; Electrophysiology
Recent advances have been made in our understanding of the deleterious effects of both ethanol and THC on adolescent behavior and brain development. However, very little is known about the combined effects of EtOH+THC during adolescence, a time in which these drugs are often used together.. The purpose of this experiment was to: 1) determine whether EtOH and/or THC induced greater working memory impairment in adolescent than adult male rats using the novel object recognition (NOR) task; and, 2) determine whether the EtOH+THC combination would produce a more potent additive effect in adolescents than adults when compared to these drugs alone. NOR was performed with a 24 hour delay under each of the four drug conditions: vehicle; 1.5g/kg ethanol; 1.0mg/kg THC; and 1.5g/kg EtOH+1.0mg/kg THC, at 72 hour intervals. The results show that there was an age effect on working memory in NOR after the EtOH+THC challenge. Specifically, adolescent animals showed a preference for the familiar object whereas adults showed no preference for the novel or familiar object, the latter being characteristic of a classic working memory deficit. These effects were not dependent on changes in exploration across session, global activity across drug condition, or total object exploration. These novel findings clearly indicate that further understanding of this age-drug interaction is crucial to elucidating the influence that adolescent EtOH+THC use may have on repeated drug use and abuse later in life.
Adolescence; Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol; Ethanol