After contusion spinal cord injury (SCI), astrocytes become reactive and form a glial scar. While this reduces spreading of the damage by containing the area of injury, it inhibits regeneration. One strategy to improve the recovery after SCI is therefore to reduce the inhibitory effect of the scar, once the acute phase of the injury has passed. The pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is secreted immediately after injury and regulates scar formation; however, little is known about the role of IL-6 in the sub-acute phases of SCI. Interestingly, IL-6 also promotes axon regeneration, and therefore its induction in reactive astrocytes may improve regeneration after SCI. We found that IL-6 is expressed by astrocytes and neurons one week post-injury and then declines. Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes we delineated the molecular mechanisms that regulate IL-6 expression and secretion. IL-6 expression requires activation of p38 and depends on NF-κB transcriptional activity. Activation of these pathways in astrocytes occurs when the PI3K-mTOR-AKT pathway is inhibited. Furthermore, we found that an increase in cytosolic calcium concentration was necessary for IL-6 secretion. To induce IL-6 secretion in astrocytes, we used torin2 and rapamycin to block the PI3K-mTOR pathway and increase cytosolic calcium, respectively. Treating injured animals with torin2 and rapamycin for two weeks, starting two weeks after injury when the scar has been formed, lead to a modest effect on mechanical hypersensitivity, limited to the period of treatment. These data, taken together, suggest that treatment with torin2 and rapamycin induces IL-6 secretion by astrocytes and may contribute to the reduction of mechanical hypersensitivity after SCI.
Degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons causes the striatal dopamine deficiency responsible for the hallmark motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Intraparenchymal delivery of neurotrophic factors, such as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), is a possible future therapeutic approach. In animal PD models, GDNF can both ameliorate neurodegeneration and promote recovery of the dopamine system following a toxic insult. However, clinical studies have generated mixed results, and GDNF has not been efficacious in genetic animal models based on α-synuclein overexpression. We have tested the response to GDNF in a genetic mouse PD model with progressive degeneration of dopamine neurons caused by mitochondrial impairment. We find that GDNF, delivered to the striatum by either an adeno-associated virus or via miniosmotic pumps, partially alleviates the progressive motor symptoms without modifying the rate of neurodegeneration. These behavioral changes are accompanied by increased levels of dopamine in the midbrain, but not in striatum. At high levels, GDNF may instead reduce striatal dopamine levels. These results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of GDNF in a progressively impaired dopamine system.
Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF); Mitochondria; Parkinson’s disease (PD); Trophic support; Gene therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an efficient and relatively fast acting treatment for depression. However, one severe side effect of the treatment is retrograde amnesia, which in certain cases can be long-term. The mechanisms behind the antidepressant effect and the amnesia are not well understood. We hypothesized that ECT causes transient downregulation of key molecules needed to stabilize synaptic structure and to prevent Ca2+ influx, and a simultaneous increase in neurotrophic factors, thus providing a short time window of increased structural synaptic plasticity. Here we followed regulation of NgR1, NgR3, LOTUS, BDNF, and AMPA subunits GluR1 and GluR2 flip and flop mRNA levels in hippocampus at 2, 4, 12, 24, and 72 hours after a single episode of induced electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) in rats. NgR1 and LOTUS mRNA levels were transiently downregulated in the dentate gyrus 2, 4, 12 and 4, 12, 24 h after ECS treatment, respectively. GluR2 flip, flop and GluR1 flop were downregulated at 4 h. GluR2 flip remained downregulated at 12 h. In contrast, BDNF, NgR3 and GluR1 flip mRNA levels were upregulated. Thus, ECS treatment induces a transient regulation of factors important for neuronal plasticity. Our data provide correlations between ECS treatment and molecular events compatible with the hypothesis that both effects and side effects of ECT may be caused by structural synaptic rearrangements.
Nogo Receptor 1 (NgR1) mRNA is downregulated in hippocampal and cortical regions by increased neuronal activity such as a kainic acid challenge or by exposing rats to running wheels. Plastic changes in cerebral cortex in response to loss of specific sensory inputs caused by spinal cord injury are also associated with downregulation of NgR1 mRNA. Here we investigate the possible regulation by neuronal activity of the homologous receptors NgR2 and NgR3 as well as the endogenous NgR1 antagonist LOTUS and the ligand Nogo. The investigated genes respond to kainic acid by gene-specific, concerted alterations of transcript levels, suggesting a role in the regulation of synaptic plasticity, Downregulation of NgR1, coupled to upregulation of the NgR1 antagonist LOTUS, paired with upregulation of NgR2 and 3 in the dentate gyrus suggest a temporary decrease of Nogo/OMgp sensitivity while CSPG and MAG sensitivity could remain. It is suggested that these activity-synchronized temporary alterations may serve to allow structural alterations at the level of local synaptic circuitry in gray matter, while maintaining white matter pathways and that subsequent upregulation of Nogo-A and NgR1 transcript levels signals the end of such a temporarily opened window of plasticity.
A variety of observations support the hypothesis that deficiency of complex I [reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (NADH):ubiquinone oxidoreductase] of the mitochondrial respiratory chain plays a role in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, recent data from a study using mice with knockout of the complex I subunit NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase iron-sulfur protein 4 (Ndufs4) has challenged this concept as these mice show degeneration of non-dopamine neurons. In addition, primary dopamine (DA) neurons derived from such mice, reported to lack complex I activity, remain sensitive to toxins believed to act through inhibition of complex I. We tissue-specifically disrupted the Ndufs4 gene in mouse heart and found an apparent severe deficiency of complex I activity in disrupted mitochondria, whereas oxidation of substrates that result in entry of electrons at the level of complex I was only mildly reduced in intact isolated heart mitochondria. Further analyses of detergent-solubilized mitochondria showed the mutant complex I to be unstable but capable of forming supercomplexes with complex I enzyme activity. The loss of Ndufs4 thus causes only a mild complex I deficiency in vivo. We proceeded to disrupt Ndufs4 in midbrain DA neurons and found no overt neurodegeneration, no loss of striatal innervation and no symptoms of Parkinsonism in tissue-specific knockout animals. However, DA homeostasis was abnormal with impaired DA release and increased levels of DA metabolites. Furthermore, Ndufs4 DA neuron knockouts were more vulnerable to the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Taken together, these findings lend in vivo support to the hypothesis that complex I deficiency can contribute to the pathophysiology of PD.
Clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease have shown that transplants of embryonic mesencephalic dopamine neurons form new functional connections within the host striatum, but the therapeutic benefits have been highly variable. One obstacle has been poor survival and integration of grafted dopamine neurons. Activation of Akt, a serine/threonine kinase that promotes cell survival and growth, increases the ability of neurons to survive after injury and to regenerate lost neuronal connections. Because the lipid phosphatase, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) inhibits Akt, we generated a mouse with conditional knock-out of PTEN in dopamine neurons, leading to constitutive expression of Akt in these neurons. Ventral mesencephalic tissue from dopamine phosphatase and tensin homologue knock-out or control animals was then transplanted bilaterally into the dopamine depleted striata of MitoPark mice that express a parkinsonian phenotype because of severe respiratory chain dysfunction in dopamine neurons. After transplantation into MitoPark mice, PTEN-deficient dopamine neurons were less susceptible to cell death, and exhibited a more extensive pattern of fibre outgrowth compared to control grafts. Voltammetric measurements demonstrated that dopamine release and reuptake were significantly increased in the striata of animals receiving dopamine PTEN knock-out transplants. These animals also displayed enhanced spontaneous and drug-induced locomotor activity, relative to control transplanted MitoPark mice. Our results suggest that disinhibition of the Akt-signalling pathway may provide a valuable strategy to enhance survival, function and integration of grafted dopamine neurons within the host striatum and, more generally, to improve survival and integration of different forms of neural grafts.
transplantation; substantia nigra; striatal innervation; Akt; mTOR
We investigated whether imatinib (Gleevec®, Novartis), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, could improve functional outcome in experimental spinal cord injury. Rats subjected to contusion spinal cord injury were treated orally with imatinib for 5 days beginning 30 minutes after injury. We found that imatinib significantly enhanced blood-spinal cord-barrier integrity, hindlimb locomotor function, sensorimotor integration, and bladder function, as well as attenuated astrogliosis and deposition of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, and increased tissue preservation. These improvements were associated with enhanced vascular integrity and reduced inflammation. Our results show that imatinib improves recovery in spinal cord injury by preserving axons and other spinal cord tissue components. The rapid time course of these beneficial effects suggests that the effects of imatinib are neuroprotective rather than neurorestorative. The positive effects on experimental spinal cord injury, obtained by oral delivery of a clinically used drug, makes imatinib an interesting candidate drug for clinical trials in spinal cord injury.
MIRO1 and MIRO2 (mitochondrial Ras homolog gene family, member T1 and T2) also referred to as RHOT1 and RHOT2, belong to the mitochondrial Rho GTPase family and are involved in axonal transport of mitochondria in neurons. Because mitochondrial dysfunction is strongly implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD), MIRO1 and MIRO2 can be considered as new candidate genes for PD. We analyzed two non-synonymous polymorphisms and one synonymous polymorphism in MIRO1 and two non-synonymous polymorphisms in MIRO2, in a Swedish Parkinson case-control material consisting of 241 patients and 307 neurologically healthy controls. None of the analyzed polymorphisms in MIRO1 and MIRO2 were significantly associated with PD. Although we did not find a significant association with PD in our Swedish case-control material, we cannot exclude these Rho GTPases as candidate genes for PD or other neurodegenerative disorders.
Association; mitochondria; single nucleotide polymorphism.
Mutations in DJ-1 lead to a monogenic form of early onset recessive parkinsonism. DJ-1 can respond to oxidative stress, which has been proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis of sporadic Parkinson disease (PD). We have recently reported that DJ-1 interacts with mRNA in an oxidation dependent manner. Here, we confirm interaction of DJ-1 and RNA in human brain using immunoprecipitation followed by quantitative real time PCR. We confirmed previous reports that DJ-1 is more oxidized in cortex from cases of sporadic PD compared to controls. In the same samples, protein and RNA expression was measured for four DJ-1 target genes GPx4, MAPK8IP1, ND2 and ND5. While no alterations in mRNA expression were observed, an increase in protein expression was observed in PD cases for GPx4 and MAPK8IP1. In the same patients, we saw decreased mRNA and protein levels of two mitochondrial targets, ND2 and ND5. These results suggest that these proteins undergo regulation at the post-transcriptional level that may involve translational regulation by DJ-1.
Natural behaviors such as eating, drinking, reproduction and exercise activate brain reward pathways and consequently the individual engages in these behaviors to receive the reward. However, drugs of abuse are even more potent to activate the reward pathways. Rewarding behaviors and addictive drugs also affect other parts of the brain not directly involved in the mediation of reward. For instance, running increases neurogenesis in hippocampus and is beneficial as an antidepressant in a genetic animal model of depression and in depressed humans. Here we discuss and compare neurochemical and functional changes in the brain after addictive drugs and exercise with a focus on brain reward pathways and hippocampus.
Addiction; Depression; Exercise; Neurogenesis; Hippocampus
Heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations (mutations present only in a subset of cellular mtDNA copies) arise de novo during the normal ageing process or may be maternally inherited in pedigrees with mitochondrial disease syndromes. A pathogenic mtDNA mutation causes respiratory chain deficiency only if the fraction of mutated mtDNA exceeds a certain threshold level. These mutations often undergo apparently random mitotic segregation and the levels of normal and mutated mtDNA can vary considerably between cells of the same tissue. In human ageing, segregation of somatic mtDNA mutations leads to mosaic respiratory chain deficiency in a variety of tissues, such as brain, heart and skeletal muscle. A similar pattern of mutation segregation with mosaic respiratory chain deficiency is seen in patients with mitochondrial disease syndromes caused by inherited pathogenic mtDNA mutations. We have experimentally addressed the role of mosaic respiratory chain deficiency in ageing and mitochondrial disease by creating mouse chimeras with a mixture of normal and respiratory chain-deficient neurons in cerebral cortex. We report here that a low proportion (>20%) of respiratory chain-deficient neurons in the forebrain are sufficient to cause symptoms, whereas premature death of the animal occurs only if the proportion is high (>60–80%). The presence of neurons with normal respiratory chain function does not only prevent mortality but also delays the age at which onset of disease symptoms occur. Unexpectedly, respiratory chain-deficient neurons have adverse effect on normal adjacent neurons and induce trans-neuronal degeneration. In summary, our study defines the minimal threshold level of respiratory chain-deficient neurons needed to cause symptoms and also demonstrate that neurons with normal respiratory chain function ameliorate disease progression. Finally, we show that respiratory chain-deficient neurons induce death of normal neurons by a trans-neuronal degeneration mechanism. These findings provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of mosaic respiratory chain deficiency in ageing and mitochondrial disease.
The success of stent implantation in the restoration of blood flow through areas of vascular narrowing is limited by restenosis. Several recent studies have suggested that the local geometric environment created by a deployed stent may influence regional blood flow characteristics and alter distributions of wall shear stress (WSS) after implantation, thereby rendering specific areas of the vessel wall more susceptible to neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Stents are most frequently implanted in curved vessels such as the coronary arteries, but most computational studies examining blood flow patterns through stented vessels conducted to date use linear, cylindrical geometric models. It appears highly probable that restenosis occurring after stent implantation in curved arteries also occurs as a consequence of changes in fluid dynamics that are established immediately after stent implantation.
In the current investigation, we tested the hypothesis that acute changes in stent-induced regional geometry influence distributions of WSS using 3D coronary artery CFD models implanted with stents that either conformed to or caused straightening of the primary curvature of the left anterior descending coronary artery. WSS obtained at several intervals during the cardiac cycle, time averaged WSS, and WSS gradients were calculated using conventional techniques.
Implantation of a stent that causes straightening, rather than conforms to the natural curvature of the artery causes a reduction in the radius of curvature and subsequent increase in the Dean number within the stented region. This straightening leads to modest skewing of the velocity profile at the inlet and outlet of the stented region where alterations in indices of WSS are most pronounced. For example, time-averaged WSS in the proximal portion of the stent ranged from 8.91 to 11.7 dynes/cm2 along the pericardial luminal surface and 4.26 to 4.88 dynes/cm2 along the myocardial luminal surface of curved coronary arteries as compared to 8.31 dynes/cm2 observed throughout the stented region of a straight vessel implanted with an equivalent stent.
The current results predicting large spatial and temporal variations in WSS at specific locations in curved arterial 3D CFD simulations are consistent with clinically observed sites of restenosis. If the findings of this idealized study translate to the clinical situation, the regional geometry established immediately after stent implantation may predispose portions of the stented vessel to a higher risk of neointimal hyperplasia and subsequent restenosis.
The success of vascular stents in the restoration of blood flow is limited by restenosis. Recent data generated from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models suggest that the vascular geometry created by an implanted stent causes local alterations in wall shear stress (WSS) that are associated with neointimal hyperplasia (NH). Foreshortening is a potential limitation of stent design that may affect stent performance and the rate of restenosis. The angle created between axially aligned stent struts and the principal direction of blood flow varies with the degree to which the stent foreshortens after implantation.
In the current investigation, we tested the hypothesis that stent foreshortening adversely influences the distribution of WSS and WSS gradients using time-dependent 3D CFD simulations of normal arteries based on canine coronary artery measurements of diameter and blood flow. WSS and WSS gradients were calculated using conventional techniques in ideal (16 mm) and progressively foreshortened (14 and 12 mm) stented computational vessels.
Stent foreshortening increased the intrastrut area of the luminal surface exposed to low WSS and elevated spatial WSS gradients. Progressive degrees of stent foreshortening were also associated with strut misalignment relative to the direction of blood flow as indicated by analysis of near-wall velocity vectors.
The current results suggest that foreshortening may predispose the stented vessel to a higher risk of neointimal hyperplasia.
CFD; restenosis; neointimal hyperplasia; atherosclerosis; stent geometry
Glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) stimulates the survival of dopaminergic neurons. Little is known, however, about the possible immune sequelae of GDNF exposure or of exposure to other putative trophic factors. To address these questions, pieces of mesencephalic tissue, substantia nigra, from 15-day-old donor embryos were transplanted into the anterior chamber of the eye of adult male Sprague- Dawley recipient rats. At 5-day intervals, an aliquot (0.5 μg) of GDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), or cytochrome-C (CC) was injected into the anterior chamber of the eye of the recipients, and the sizes of the transplants were measured. GDNF increased transplant survival and growth. On day 42, all rats were sacrificed, and the grafts were evaluated by cresyl-violet staining and by immunohistochemistry using antibodies raised against neurofilament (NF), tyrosine hydroxylase, or glial fibrillary acidic
protein (GFAP), as well as the following monoclonai antibodies: OX-38 anti-CD4, OX-8 anti-CD8, OX-18 anti-MHC class I, OX-6 anti- MHC class II, OX-42 anti-CD11b, R-73 anti-α and anti-β T-cell receptor, and EDI raised against monocytes/macrophages. BDNF-treated grafts showed only weak immunoreactivity, and even weaker reactions were seen in grafts treated with NT-3, GDNF, or CC. No single immune system marker was significantly elevated in grafts from any treatment group. We used OX-42 and EDI to study possible alterations of microglial components. Ramified microglial cells were found in GDNF-treated grafts and to a lesser extent in NT-3 and BDNF-treated grafts. EDl-labeled reactive microglial components were found in NT-3- and BDNF-treated grafts. Additionally, large and rounded OX-42-positive phagocytic cells were found in NT-3-treated grafts. Together with our previous finding that GDNF treatment of spinal cord transplants activates immune responses and leads to microglial activation, our data dempnstrate that although treatment with GDNF and to some degree with BDNF can enhance immune responses to immunogenic grafts, such as fetal spinal cord grafts, but the trophic factors per se do not elicit any marked response in non-immunogenic grafts like substantia nigra.
One of the limitations of many bridging
experiments in neural transplantation is that the
CNS tissues cannot be sutured. Fibrin glue is a
two-component system derived from whole
blood which, when mixed, reproduces the final
stage of blood coagulation and solidifies. Many
experimental studies of humans and animals
show that fibrin glue repair of peripheral nerves
is almost equivalent to microsurgical sutures. In
this study, we attempted to extend its use to
CNS tissues and transplants. Two techniques
were tried: (1) Bilateral parietal knife cuts were
performed by stereotaxic technique in six rats.
Fibrin glue was applied in the right-side cortical
lesion. Immunohistochemistry using antisera to
tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), glial fibrillary acidic
protein (GFAP), laminin and neurofilament
(NF) was essentially similar between the control
and treatment groups. The immunoreactivity of
each marker revealed no significant differences
between the two groups on days 1, 7 and 30.
There was no difference in terms of gliosis or
microvascular proliferation. (2) Embryonic day
16 fetal locus coeruleus was grafted together
with E16 cortex to the anterior chamber of sympathectomized
eyes. In the six eyes of the glue
treatment group, the parietal cortical piece and
the locus coeruleus piece were joined together
before grafting by immersing them in the
solution of fibrin glue. In the eight eyes of the
control group, pieces of parietal cortex and locus
coeruleus were introduced individually and approximated
by gently pressing the cornea. The
sizes of double grafts showed no significant
difference between groups during six weeks
postgrafting. The immunohistochemical pictures
using antisera against TH, GFAP and laminin
were similar in both groups. Catecholaminergic
fibers from the grafted locus coeruleus were
found bridging over into the parietal cortical
piece in both the control and treatment groups.
There was no significant difference in TH-positive
nerve fiber density between tissue glue joined
and control double intraocular grafts. In
conclusion, fibrin glue can be used as an adhesive
agent in CNS tissues without hampering
the outgrowth of neurites or causing adverse
tissue reactions in fetal or adult nervous tissues.
Trophic factors play an important role in the
development of neurons and glia. In order to
study the involvement of neurotrophins in
human cortical development, human fetal
parietal cortical tissue, obtained after early
elective abortions, was transplanted to cortical
cavities in immunosuppressed rats. Using in situ
hybridization it was demonstrated that nerve
growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor
and neurotrophin-3 mRNAs are expressed in
developing human cortical xenografts. We conclude
that neurotrophins may play a role in
human cortical development and rat-derived
astroglial cells could be involved in establishing
reciprocal “permissive sites”.
A variety of tests of sensorimotor function are used to characterize outcome after experimental spinal cord injury (SCI). These tests typically do not provide information about chemical and metabolic processes in the injured CNS. Here, we used 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to monitor long-term and short-term chemical changes in the CNS in vivo following SCI. The investigated areas were cortex, thalamus/striatum and the spinal cord distal to injury. In cortex, glutamate (Glu) decreased 1 day after SCI and slowly returned towards normal levels. The combined glutamine (Gln) and Glu signal was similarly decreased in cortex, but increased in the distal spinal cord, suggesting opposite changes of the Glu/Gln metabolites in cortex and distal spinal cord. In lumbar spinal cord, a marked increase of myo-inositol was found 3 days, 14 days and 4 months after SCI. Changes in metabolite concentrations in the spinal cord were also found for choline and N-acetylaspartate. No significant changes in metabolite concentrations were found in thalamus/striatum. Multivariate data analysis allowed separation between rats with SCI and controls for spectra acquired in cortex and spinal cord, but not in thalamus/striatum. Our findings suggest MRS could become a helpful tool to monitor spatial and temporal alterations of metabolic conditions in vivo in the brain and spinal cord after SCI. We provide evidence for dynamic temporal changes at both ends of the neuraxis, cortex cerebri and distal spinal cord, while deep brain areas appear less affected.
biochemical profile; experimental spinal cord injury; magnetic resonance; multivariate data analysis