There is growing appreciation that resident glial cells can initiate and/or regulate inflammation following trauma or infection in the central nervous system (CNS). We have previously demonstrated the ability of microglia and astrocytes to respond to bacterial pathogens or their products by rapid production of inflammatory mediators, followed by the production of the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin (IL)210. IL-19, another member of the IL-10 family of cytokines, has been studied in the context of a number of inflammatory conditions in the periphery and is known to modulate immune cell activity. In the present study, we demonstrate the constitutive and/or inducible expression of IL-19 and its cognate receptor subunits, IL-19Rα and IL-19Rβ (also known as IL-20R1 and IL-20R2, and IL-20RA and IL-20RB), in mouse brain tissue, and by primary murine and human astrocytes. We also provide evidence for the presence of a novel truncated IL-19Rα transcript variant in mouse brain tissue, but not glial cells, that shows reduced expression following bacterial infection. Importantly, IL-19R functionality in GLIA is indicated by the ability of IL-19 to regulate signaling component expression in these cells. Furthermore, while IL-19 itself had no effect on glial cytokine production, IL-19 treatment of bacterially infected or Toll-like receptor ligand stimulated astrocytes significantly attenuated pro-inflammatory cytokine production. The bacterially induced production of IL-19 by these resident CNS cells, the constitutive expression of its cognate receptor subunits, and the immunomodulatory effects of this cytokine, suggest a novel mechanism by which astrocytes can regulate CNS inflammation.
inflammation; bacterial meningitis; IL-20R; innate immunity; glia
During dentate gyrus development the early embryonic radial glial scaffold is replaced by a secondary glial scaffold around birth. In contrast to neocortical and early dentate gyrus radial glial cells these postnatal glial cells are severely altered with regard to position and morphology in reeler mice lacking the secreted protein Reelin. In this study we focus on the functional impact of these defects. Most radial glial cells throughout the nervous system serve as scaffolds for migrating neurons and precursor cells for both neurogenesis and gliogenesis. Precursor cell function has been demonstrated for secondary radial glial cells but the exact function of these late glial cells in granule cell migration and positioning is not clear. No data exist concerning the interplay between granule neurons and late radial glial cells during dentate gyrus development. Here we show that despite the severe morphological defects in the reeler dentate gyrus the precursor function of secondary radial glial cells is not impaired during development in reeler mice. In addition, selective ablation of Disabled-1, an intracellular adaptor protein essential for Reelin signaling, in neurons but not in glial cells allowed us to distinguish effects of Reelin signaling on radial glial cells from possible secondary effects based on defective granule cells positioning.
gliogenesis; hippocampus; reeler; development; differentiation
Advances in stem cell biology have raised great expectations that diseases and injuries of the central nervous system (CNS) may be ameliorated by the development of non-hematopoietic stem cell medicines. Yet, the application of adult stem cells as CNS therapeutics is challenging and the interpretation of some of the outcomes ambiguous. In fact, the initial idea that stem cell transplants work only via structural cell replacement has been challenged by the observation of consistent cellular signaling between the graft and the host. Cellular signaling is the foundation of coordinated actions and flexible responses, and arises via networks of exchanging and interacting molecules that transmit patterns of information between cells. Sustained stem cell graft-to-host communication leads to remarkable trophic effects on endogenous brain cells and beneficial modulatory actions on innate and adaptive immune responses in vivo, ultimately promoting the healing of the injured CNS. Among a number of adult stem cell types, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) are being extensively investigated for their ability to signal to the immune system upon transplantation in experimental CNS diseases. Here, we focus on the main cellular signaling pathways that grafted MSCs and NPCs use to establish a therapeutically relevant cross talk with host immune cells, while examining the role of inflammation in regulating some of the bidirectionality of these communications. We propose that the identification of the players involved in stem cell signaling might contribute to the development of innovative, high clinical impact therapeutics for inflammatory CNS diseases.
stem cell–host interactions; neural stem cells; mesenchymal stem cells; immune modulation; inflammation
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by a progressive degeneration of substantia nigra (SN) dopaminergic neurons with age. We previously found that a single systemic lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 5 mg/kg, i.p.) injection caused a slow progressive loss of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH+IR) neurons in SN associated with increasing motor dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the role of NADPH oxidase (NOX) in inflammation-mediated SN neurotoxicity. A comparison of control (NOX2+/+) mice with NOX subunit gp91phox-deficient (NOX2−/−) mice 10 months after LPS administration (5 mg/kg, i.p.) resulted in a 39% (p<0.01) loss of TH+IR neurons in NOX2+/+ mice, whereas, NOX2−/− mice did not show a significant decrease. Microglia (Iba1+IR) showed morphological activation in NOX2+/+ mice, but not in NOX2−/− mice at 1 hour. Treatment of NOX2+/+ mice with LPS resulted in a 12 fold increase in NOX2 mRNA in midbrain and 5.5–6.5 fold increases in NOX2 protein (+IR) in SN compared to the saline controls. Brain reactive oxygen species (ROS), determined by hydroethidine histochemistry, was increased by LPS in SN between 1 hour and 20 months. Diphenyliodonium (DPI), a NOX inhibitor, blocked LPS-induced activation of microglia and production of ROS, TNFα, IL-1β, and MCP-1. Although LPS increased microglial activation and ROS at all ages studied, saline control NOX2+/+ mice showed age-related increases in microglial activation, NOX and ROS levels at 12 and 22 months of age. Together, these results suggest that NOX contributes to persistent microglial activation, ROS production and dopaminergic neurodegeneration that persist and continue to increase with age.
neuroimmune; senescence; Parkinson’s disease; substantia nigra; endotoxin
We have examined satellite glial cell (SGC) proliferation in trigeminal ganglia following chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve. Using BrdU labeling combined with immunohistochemistry for SGC specific proteins we positively confirmed proliferating cells to be SGCs. Proliferation peaks at approximately 4 days after injury and dividing SGCs are preferentially located around neurons that are immunopositive for ATF-3, a marker of nerve injury. After nerve injury there is an increase GFAP expression in SGCs associated with both ATF-3 immunopositive and immunonegative neurons throughout the ganglia. SGCs also express the non-glial proteins, CD45 and CD163, which label resident macrophages and circulating leukocytes, respectively. In addition to SGCs, we found some Schwann cells, endothelial cells, resident macrophages, and circulating leukocytes were BrdU immunopositive.
BrdU; immune cells; Trigeminal nerve; trigeminal ganglion; neuropathic pain; nerve injury
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are common sequelae of HIV infection, even when viral titers are well controlled by anti-retroviral therapy. Evidence in patients and animal models suggests that neurologic deficits are increased during chronic opiate exposure. We have hypothesized that CNS progenitor cells in both adult and developing CNS are affected by HIV infection, and that opiates exacerbate these effects. To examine this question, neural progenitors were exposed to HIV-1 Tat1-86 in the developing brain of inducible transgenic mice and in vitro. We examined whether Tat affected the proliferation or balance of progenitor populations expressing nestin, Sox2, and Olig2. Disease relevance was further tested by exposing human-derived progenitors to supernatant from HIV-1 infected monocytes. Studies concentrated on striatum, a region preferentially targeted by HIV and opiates. Results were similar among experimental paradigms. Tat or HIV exposure reduced the proliferation of undifferentiated (Sox2+) progenitors and oligodendroglial (Olig2+) progenitors. Co-exposure to morphine exacerbated the effects of Tat or HIV-1SF162 supernatant, but partially reversed HIV-1IIIB supernatant effects. Populations of Sox2+ and Olig2+ cells were also reduced by Tat exposure, although progenitor survival was unaffected. In rare instances, p24 immunolabeling was detected in viable human progenitors by confocal imaging. The vulnerability of progenitors is likely to distort the dynamic balance among neuron/glial populations as the brain matures, perhaps contributing to reports that neurologic disease is especially prevalent in pediatric HIV patients. Pediatric disease is atypical in developed regions, but remains a serious concern in resource-limited areas where infection occurs commonly at birth and through breast-feeding.
striatum; neuroAIDs; morphine; Tat; HIV-1; precursor
Novel mutations in myelin and myelin-associated genes have provided important information on oligodendrocytes and myelin and the effects of their disruption on the normal developmental process of myelination of the central nervous system (CNS). We report here a mutation in the folliculin-interacting protein 2 (FNIP2) gene in the Weimaraner dog that results in hypomyelination of the brain and a tract-specific myelin defect in the spinal cord. This myelination disruption results in a notable tremor syndrome from which affected dogs recover with time. In the peripheral tracts of the lateral and ventral columns of the spinal cord, there is a lack of mature oligodendrocytes. A genome-wide association study of DNA from three groups of dogs mapped the gene to canine chromosome 15. Sequencing of all the genes in the candidate region identified a frameshift mutation in the FNIP2 gene that segregated with the phenotype. While the functional role of FNIP2 is not known, our data would suggest that production of truncated protein results in a delay or failure of maturation of a subpopulation of oligodendrocytes.
Weimaraner; hypomyelination; FNIP2; autosomal recessive
Cytokines and neuropeptides are modulators of neuroimmunoregulation in the central nervous system (CNS). The interaction of these modulators may have important implications in CNS diseases. We investigated whether interleukin-1β (IL-1β) modulates the expression of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R), the primary receptor for substance P (SP), a potent neuropeptide in the CNS. IL-1β upregulated NK-1R expression in human astroglioma cells (U87 MG) and primary rat astrocytes at both mRNA and protein levels. IL-1β treatment of U87 MG cells and primary rat astrocytes led to an increase in cytosolic Ca2+ in response to SP stimulation, indicating that IL-1β-induced NK-1R is functional. CP-96,345, a specific non-peptide NK-1R antagonist, inhibited SP-induced rise of [Ca2+]i in the astroglioma cells. Investigation of the mechanism responsible for IL-1β action revealed that IL-1β has the ability of activating nuclear factor-κb (NF-κB). Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a specific inhibitor of NF-κB activation, not only abrogated IL-1β-induced NF-κB promoter activation, but also blocked IL-1β-mediated induction of NK-1R gene expression. These findings provide additional evidence that there is a biological interaction between IL-1β and the neuropeptide SP in the CNS, which may have important implications in the inflammatory diseases in the CNS.
substance P; neurokinin-1 receptor; interleukin-1β; U87 MG; astrocytes
Müller glia, the major type of glia in the retina, are mitotically quiescent under normal condition, though they can be stimulated to proliferate in some pathological states. Among these stimuli, EGF is known to be a potent mitogen for Müller glia. However, the signaling pathways required for EGF-mediated proliferation of Müller glia are not clearly understood. In this study, postnatal day 12 (P12) or adult trp53−/− mouse retinas were explanted and cultured in the presence of EGF to stimulate Müller glial proliferation. Treatment with signaling inhibitors showed that activation of both MEK/ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT pathways is required for EGF-induced proliferation of Müller glia. Interestingly, BMP/Smad1/5/8 activation downstream of PI3K/AKT signaling was also necessary for robust Müller glial proliferation, though activation of BMP/Smad1/5/8 signaling alone failed to stimulate their proliferation. In dissociated Müller glial culture, treatment with EGF induced the upregulation of Bmp7, and this upregulation was blocked significantly by co-treatment with the BMP inhibitor dorsomorphin, suggesting that BMP/Smad1/5/8 activation is mediated at least in part by an autocrine mechanism in Müller glia. A better understanding of how BMP/Smad1/5/8 signaling is involved in glial proliferation may have important implications for proliferative disorders, as well as for retinal regeneration in mammalian retinas.
Microglia play crucial roles in increased inflammation in the CNS upon brain injuries and diseases. Extracellular ADP has been reported to induce microglia chemotaxis and membrane ruffle formation through P2Y12 receptor. In this study, we examined the role of ERK1/2 activation in ADP-induced microglia chemotaxis. ADP stimulation increases the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and paxillin phosphorylation at Tyr31 and Ser83. Inhibition of ERK1/2 significantly inhibited paxillin phosphorylation at Ser83 and the retraction of membrane ruffles, causing inefficient chemotaxis. Close examination of dynamics of focal adhesion formation with GFP-paxillin revealed that the disassembly of focal adhesions in U0126-treated cells was significantly impaired. Depletion of β-Arr2 with shRNA markedly reduced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Pax/Ser83, indicating that β-Arr2 is required for ERK1/2 activation upon ADP stimulation. A large fraction of phosphorylated ERK1/2 and β-Arr2 were translocated and co-localized at focal contacts in the newly forming lamellipodia. Examination of kinetics and rate constant of paxillin formation and disassembly revealed that the phosphorylation of paxillin at Tyr31 by c-Src appears to be involved in adhesion formation upon ADP stimulation while Ser83 required for adhesion disassembly.
ERK1/2; paxillin phosphorylation; focal adhesion; chemotaxis; microglia
It has been hypothesized that neuroinflammation triggered during brain development can alter brain functions later in life. We investigated the contribution of inflammation to the alteration of normal brain circuitries in the context of neuroexcitotoxicity following neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions with ibotenic acid, a NMDA glutamate receptor agonist, in rats. Excitotoxic ibotenic acid lesions led to a significant and persistent astrogliosis and microglial activation, associated with the production of inflammatory mediators. This response was accompanied by a significant increase in metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5) expression within two distinct neuroinflammatory cell types; astrocytes and microglia. The participation of inflammation to the neurotoxin-induced lesion was further supported by the prevention of hippocampal neuronal loss, glial mGluR5 expression and some of the behavioral perturbations associated to the excitotoxic lesion by concurrent anti-inflammatory treatment with minocycline. These results indicate that neuroinflammation significantly contributes to long-lasting excitotoxic effects of the neurotoxin and to some behavioral phenotypes associated with this model. Thus, the control of the inflammatory response may prevent the deleterious effects of excitotoxic processes that are triggered during brain development, limiting the risk to develop some of the behavioral manifestations related to these processes in adulthood.
neonatal ventral hippocampus lesion; metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5); ibotenic acid; activated microglia; minocycline; astrocytes
Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is a pleiotropic cytokine expressed throughout the CNS. Previous studies demonstrated that TGF-β1 contributes to maintain neuronal survival, but mechanistically this effect is not well understood. We generated a CNS-specific TGF-β1-deficient mouse model to investigate the functional consequences of TGF-β1-deficiency in the adult mouse brain. We found that depletion of TGF-β1 in the CNS resulted in a loss of the astrocyte glutamate transporter (GluTs) proteins GLT-1 (EAAT2) and GLAST (EAAT1) and decreased glutamate uptake in the mouse hippocampus. Treatment with TGF-β1 induced the expression of GLAST and GLT-1 in cultured astrocytes and enhanced astroglial glutamate uptake. Similar to GLT-1-deficient mice, CNS-TGF-β1-deficient mice had reduced brain weight and neuronal loss in the CA1 hippocampal region. CNS-TGF-β1-deficient mice showed GluN2B-dependent aberrant synaptic plasticity in the CA1 area of the hippocampus similar to the glutamate transport inhibitor DL-TBOA and these mice were highly sensitive to excitotoxic injury. In addition, hippocampal neurons from TGF-β1-deficient mice had elevated GluN2B-mediated calcium signals in response to extrasynaptic glutamate receptor stimulation, whereas cells treated with TGF-β1 exhibited reduced GluN2B-mediated calcium signals. In summary, our study demonstrates a previously unrecognized function of TGF-β1 in the CNS to control extracellular glutamate homeostasis and GluN2B-mediated calcium responses in the mouse hippocampus.
TGF-β1; glutamate uptake; hippocampus; neuronal calcium; extrasynaptic; astrocytes
Insect glia represents a conspicuous and diverse population of cells and plays a role in controlling neuronal progenitor proliferation, axonal growth, neuronal differentiation and maintenance, and neuronal function. Genetic studies in Drosophila have elucidated many aspects of glial structure, function and development. Just as in vertebrates, it appears as if different classes of glial cells are specialized for different functions. Based on topology and cell shape, glial cells of the central nervous system fall into three classes (Fig. 1A–C): (i) surface glia that extend sheath-like processes to wrap around the entire brain; (ii) cortex glia (also called cell body-associated glia) that encapsulate neuronal somata and neuroblasts which form the outer layer (cortex) of the central nervous system; (iii) neuropile glia that are located at the interface between the cortex and the neuropile, the central domain of the nervous system formed by the highly branched neuronal processes and their synaptic contacts. Surface glia is further subdivided into an outer, perineurial layer, and an inner, subperineurial layer. Likewise, neuropile glia comprises a class of cells that remain at the surface of the neuropile (ensheathing glia), and a second class that forms profuse lamellar processes around nerve fibers within the neuropile (astrocyte-like or reticular glia). Glia also surrounds the peripheral nerves and sensory organs; here, one also recognizes perineurial and subperineurial glia, and a third type called “wrapping glia” that most likely corresponds to the ensheathing glia of the central nervous system. Much more experimental work is needed to determine how fundamental these differences between classes of glial cells are, or how and when during development they are specified. To aid in this work the following review will briefly summarize our knowledge of the classes of glial cells encountered in the Drosophila nervous system, and then survey their development from the embryo to adult.
Astrocytes have not been a major therapeutic target for the treatment of stroke, with most research emphasis on the neuron. Given the essential role that astrocytes play in maintaining physiological function of the central nervous system and the very rapid and sensitive reaction astrocytes have in response to cerebral injury or ischemic insult, we propose to replace the neurocentric view for treatment with a more nuanced astrocytic centered approach. In addition, after decades of effort in attempting to develop neuroprotective therapies, which target reduction of the ischemic lesion, there are no effective clinical treatments for stroke, aside from thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator, which is used in a small minority of patients. A more promising therapeutic approach, which may affect nearly all stroke patients, may be in promoting endogenous restorative mechanisms, which enhance neurological recovery. A focus of efforts in stimulating recovery post stroke is the use of exogenously administered cells. The present review focuses on the role of the astrocyte in mediating the brain network, brain plasticity, and neurological recovery post stroke. As a model to describe the interaction of a restorative cell-based therapy with astrocytes, which drives recovery from stroke, we specifically highlight the subacute treatment of stroke with multipotent mesenchymal stromal cell therapy.
stroke; marrow stromal cells; microRNA; exosomes; Shh; tPA; restoration; plasticity
Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disorder caused by deletion of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene that leads to loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord. Though motor neurons are selectively lost during SMA pathology, selective replacement of SMN in motor neurons does not lead to full rescue in mouse models. Due to the ubiquitous expression of SMN, it is likely that other cell types besides motor neurons are affected by its disruption and therefore may contribute to disease pathology. Here we show that astrocytes in SMAΔ7 mouse spinal cord and from SMA induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) exhibit morphological and cellular changes indicative of activation prior to overt motor neuron loss. Furthermore, our in vitro studies show mis regulation of basal calcium and decreased response to ATP stimulation indicating abnormal astrocyte function. Together, these data show for the first time early disruptions in astrocytes that may contribute to SMA disease pathology.
Motor neurons; stem cells; cell autonomous; astrocyte activation
Congenital hyperinsulinism/hyperammonemia (HI/HA) syndrome is caused by an activation mutation of glutamate dehydrogenase 1 (GDH1), a mitochondrial enzyme responsible for the reversible interconversion between glutamate and α-ketoglutarate. The syndrome presents clinically with hyperammonemia, significant episodic hypoglycemia, seizures, and a frequent incidences of developmental and learning defects. Clinical research has implicated that although some of the developmental and neurological defects may be attributed to hypoglycemia, some characteristics cannot be ascribed to low glucose and as hyperammonemia is generally mild and asymptomatic, there exists the possibility that altered GDH1 activity within the brain leads to some clinical changes. GDH1 is allosterically regulated by many factors, and has been shown to be inhibited by the ADP-ribosyltransferase sirtuin 4 (SIRT4), a mitochondrially localized sirtuin. Here we show that SIRT4 is localized to mitochondria within the brain. SIRT4 is highly expressed in glial cells, specifically astrocytes, in the postnatal brain and in radial glia during embryogenesis. Furthermore, SIRT4 protein decreases in expression during development. We show that factors known to allosterically regulate GDH1 alter gliogenesis in CTX8 cells, a novel radial glial cell line. We find that SIRT4 and GDH1 overexpression play antagonistic roles in regulating gliogenesis and that a mutant variant of GDH1 found in HI/HA patients accelerates the development of glia from cultured radial glia cells.
glutamate dehydrogenase; sirtuin 4; gliogenesis; radial glia; CTX8 cell line
Developmental regulation of gliogenesis in the mammalian CNS is incompletely understood, in part due to a limited repertoire of lineage-specific genes. We used Aldh1l1-GFP as a marker for gliogenic radial glia and later-stage precursors of developing astrocytes and performed gene expression profiling of these cells. We then used this dataset to identify candidate transcription factors that may serve as glial markers or regulators of glial fate. Our analysis generated a database of developmental stage-related markers of Aldh1l1+ cells between murine embryonic day 13.5–18.5. Using these data we identify the bZIP transcription factor Nfe2l1 and demonstrate that it promotes glial fate under direct Sox9 regulatory control. Thus, this dataset represents a resource for identifying novel regulators of glial development.
astrocytes; gliogenesis; expression profiling; gene coexpression; Nfe2l1
We earlier documented that lovastatin (LOV)-mediated inhibition of small Rho GTPases activity protects vulnerable oligodendrocytes (OLs) in mixed glial cell cultures stimulated with Th1 cytokines and in a murine model of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the precise mechanism of OL protection remains unclear. We here employed genetic and biochemical approaches to elucidate the underlying mechanism that protects LOV treated OLs from Th1 (tumor necrosis factor-α) and Th17 (interleukin-17) cytokines toxicity in in vitro. Cytokines enhanced the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial membrane depolarization with corresponding lowering of glutathione (reduced) level in OLs and that were reverted by LOV. In addition, the expression of ROS detoxifying enzymes (catalase and superoxide-dismutase 2) and the transactivation of peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor (PPAR)-α/-β/-γ including PPAR-γ coactivator-1α were enhanced by LOV in similarly treated OLs. Interestingly, LOV-mediated inhibition of small Rho GTPases, i.e., RhoA and cdc42, and Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) activity enhanced the levels of PPAR ligands in OLs via extracellular signal regulated kinase (1/2)/p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase/cytoplasmic phospholipase 2/cyclooxygenase-2 signaling cascade activation. Small hairpin RNA transfection-based studies established that LOV mainly enhances PPAR-α and less so of PPAR-β and PPAR-γ transactivation that enhances ROS detoxifying defense in OLs. In support of this, the observed LOV-mediated protection was lacking in PPAR-α-deficient OLs exposed to cytokines. Collectively, these data provide unprecedented evidence that LOV-mediated inhibition of the Rho–ROCK signaling pathway boosts ROS detoxifying defense in OLs via PPAR-α-dependent mechanism that has implication in neurodegenerative disorders including MS.
lovastatin; EAE/MS; oligodendrocyte progenitors; PPAR-α; RhoA-ROCK; survival; differentiation
Sleep is an evolutionarily conserved phenomenon that is clearly essential for survival but we have limited understanding of how and why it is so important. ATP/adenosine signaling has been known to be important in the regulation of sleep and recent evidence suggests a critical role for gliotransmission in the modulation of sleep homeostasis. Here we review the regulation of ATP/adenosine in the nervous system and provide evidence of a critical role for astrocyte derived adenosine in the regulation of sleep homeostasis and the modulation of synaptic transmission. Further understanding of the role of glial cells in the regulation of sleep may provide new targets for pharmaceutical intervention in the treatment of brain dysfunctions, specifically those that are comorbid with sleep disruptions.
Adenosine; A1R; Sleep homeostasis; Memory consolidation
Myelinated axons are organized into specialized domains critical to their function in saltatory conduction, i.e. nodes, paranodes, juxtaparanodes, and internodes. Here, we describe the distribution and role of the 4.1B protein in this organization. 4.1B is expressed by neurons, and at lower levels by Schwann cells, which also robustly express 4.1G. Immunofluorescence and immuno-EM demonstrates 4.1B is expressed subjacent to the axon membrane in all domains except the nodes. Mice deficient in 4.1B have preserved paranodes, based on marker staining and EM in contrast to the juxtaparanodes, which are substantially affected in both the PNS and CNS. The juxtaparanodal defect is evident in developing and adult nerves and is neuron-autonomous based on myelinating cocultures in which wt Schwann cells were grown with 4.1B-deficient neurons. Despite the juxtaparanodal defect, nerve conduction velocity is unaffected. Preservation of paranodal markers in 4.1B deficient mice is associated with, but not dependent on an increase of 4.1R at the axonal paranodes. Loss of 4.1B in the axon is also associated with reduced levels of the internodal proteins, Necl-1 and Necl-2, and of alpha-2 spectrin. Mutant nerves are modestly hypermyelinated and have increased numbers of Schmidt-Lanterman incisures, increased expression of 4.1G, and express a residual, truncated isoform of 4.1B. These results demonstrate that 4.1B is a key cytoskeletal scaffold for axonal adhesion molecules expressed in the juxtaparanodal and internodal domains and, unexpectedly, that it regulates myelin sheath thickness.
nodes of Ranvier; myelin; axons; paranodes; cytoskeleton
Increasing evidence indicates the functional expression of ionotropic γ-aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAA-R) in astrocytes. However, it remains controversial in regard to the intracellular Cl− concentration ([Cl−]i) and the functional role of anion-selective GABAA-R in astrocytes. In gramicidin perforated-patch recordings from rat hippocampal CA1 astrocytes, GABA and GABAA-R specific agonist THIP depolarized astrocyte membrane potential (Vm), and the THIP induced currents reversed at the voltages between −75.3 to −78.3 mV, corresponding to a [Cl−]i of 3.1 – 3.9 mM that favors a passive distribution of Cl− anions across astrocyte membrane. Further analysis showed that GABAA-R induced Vm depolarization is ascribed to HCO3− efflux, while a passively distributed Cl− mediates no net flux or influx of Cl-that leads to an unchanged or hyperpolarized Vm. In addition to a rapidly activated GABAA-R current component, GABA and THIP also induced a delayed inward current (DIC) in 63% of astrocytes. The DIC became manifest after agonist withdrawal and enhanced in amplitude with increasing agonist application duration or concentrations. Astrocytic two-pore domain K+ channels (K2Ps), especially TWIK-1, appeared to underlie the DIC, because 1) acidic intracellular pH, as a result of HCO3− efflux, inhibited TWIK-1; 2) the DIC remained in the Cs+ recording solutions that inhibited conventional K+ channels and 3) the DIC was completely inhibited by 1 mM quinine but not by blockers for other cation/anion channels. Altogether, HCO3− efflux through activated GABAA-R depolarizes astrocyte Vm and induces a delayed inhibition of K2Ps K+ channels via intracellular acidification.
Astrocytes; GABAA receptors; bicarbonate; TWIK-1; patch clamp; hippocampus
Dysregulation of glutamate handling ensuing downregulation of expression and activity levels of the astroglial glutamate transporter EAAT2 is implicated in excitotoxic degeneration of motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously reported that EAAT2 (a.k.a. GLT-1) is cleaved by caspase-3 at its cytosolic carboxy-terminus domain. This cleavage results in impaired glutamate transport activity and generates a proteolytic fragment (CTE) that we found to be post-translationally conjugated by SUMO1. We show here that this sumoylated CTE fragment accumulates in the nucleus of spinal cord astrocytes of the SOD1-G93A mouse model of ALS at symptomatic stages of disease. Astrocytic expression of CTE, artificially tagged with SUMO1 (CTE-SUMO1) to mimic the native sumoylated fragment, recapitulates the nuclear accumulation pattern of the endogenous EAAT2-derived proteolytic fragment. Moreover, in a co-culture binary system, expression of CTE-SUMO1 in spinal cord astrocytes initiates extrinsic toxicity by inducing caspase-3 activation in motor neuron-derived NSC-34 cells or axonal growth impairment in primary motor neurons. Interestingly, prolonged nuclear accumulation of CTE-SUMO1 is intrinsically toxic to spinal cord astrocytes, although this gliotoxic effect of CTE-SUMO1 occurs later than the indirect, non-cell autonomous toxic effect on motor neurons. As more evidence on the implication of SUMO substrates in neurodegenerative diseases emerges, our observations strongly suggest that the nuclear accumulation in spinal cord astrocytes of a sumoylated proteolytic fragment of the astroglial glutamate transporter EAAT2 could participate to the pathogenesis of ALS and suggest a novel, unconventional role for EAAT2 in motor neuron degeneration.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; post-translational modification; SUMO; excitotoxicity
Paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury is devastating and persistent. One major reason for the inability of the body to heal this type of injury ensues from the local increase of glial cells leading to the formation of a glial scar, and the upregulation of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) at the site of injury through which axons are unable to regenerate. Experimental approaches to overcome this problem have accordingly focused on reducing the inhibitory properties of CSPGs, for example by using chondroitinase to remove the sugar chains and reduce the CSPGs to their core protein constituents, although this step alone does not provide dramatic benefits as a monotherapy. Using in vitro and in vivo approaches, we describe here a potentially synergistic therapeutic opportunity based on tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an extracellular protease that converts plasminogen (plg) into the active protease plasmin. We show that tPA and plg both bind to the CSPG protein NG2, which functions as a scaffold to accelerate the tPA-driven conversion of plg to plasmin. The binding occurs via the tPA and plg kringle domains to domain 2 of the NG2 CSPG core protein, and is enhanced in some settings after chondroitinase-mediated removal of the NG2 proteoglycan side chains. Once generated, plasmin then degrades NG2, both in an in vitro setting using recombinant protein, and in vivo models of spinal cord injury. Our finding that the tPA and plg binding is in some instances more efficient after exposure of the NG2 proteoglycan to chondroitinase treatment suggests that a combined therapeutic approach employing both chondroitinase and the tPA/plasmin proteolytic system could be of significant benefit in promoting axonal regeneration through glial scars after spinal cord injury.
glial scar; chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan; mouse
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small (~22 nucleotides) non-coding RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression at the post-translational level. It is estimated that 30–90% of human genes are regulated by microRNAs, which makes these molecules of great importance for cell growth, activation and differentiation. Microglia are CNS-resident cells of a myeloid lineage that play an important role in immune surveillance and are actively involved in many neurologic pathologies. Although the exact origin of microglia remains enigmatic, it is established that primitive macrophages from a yolk sac populate the brain and spinal cord in normal conditions throughout development. During various pathological events such as neuroinflammation, bone marrow derived myeloid cells also migrate into the CNS. Within the CNS, both primitive macrophages from the yolk sac and bone marrow derived myeloid cells acquire a specific phenotype upon interaction with other cell types within the CNS microenvironment. The factors that drive differentiation of progenitors into microglia and control the state of activation of microglia and bone marrow-derived myeloid cells within the CNS are not well understood. In this review we will summarize the role of microRNAs during activation and differentiation of myeloid cells. The role of miR-124 in the adaptation of microglia and macrophages to the CNS microenvironment will be further discussed. We will also summarize the role of microRNAs as modulators of activation of microglia and microphages. Finally, we will describe the role of miR-155 and miR-124 in the polarization of macrophages towards classically and alternatively activated phenotypes.
Microglia; macrophages; myeloid cells; microRNAs; activation; differentiation; neuroinflammation
Serum response factor (SRF) is a transcription factor that transactivates actin associated genes, and has been implicated in oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation. To date, it has not been investigated in cerebral ischemia. We investigated the dynamics of SRF expression after stroke in vivo and the role of SRF in oligodendrocyte differentiation in vitro. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that SRF was upregulated in OLs and OL precursor cells (OPCs) after stroke. Moreover, upregulation of SRF was concurrent with downregulation of the microRNAs (miRNAs) miR-9 and the miR-200 family in the ischemic white matter region, the corpus callosum. Inhibition of SRF activation by CCG-1423, a specific inhibitor of SRF function, blocked OPCs from differentiating into OLs. Over-expression of miR-9 and miR-200 in cultured OPCs suppressed SRF expression and inhibited OPC differentiation. Moreover, co-expression of miR-9 and miR-200 attenuated activity of a luciferase reporter assay containing the Srf 3′ untranslated region (UTR). Collectively, this study is the first to show that stroke upregulates SRF expression in OPCs and OLs, and that SRF levels are mediated by miRNAs and regulate OPC differentiation.