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1.  p53 is required for the developmental restriction in Müller glial proliferation in mouse retina 
Glia  2012;60(10):1579-1589.
Müller glia are normally mitotically quiescent cells, but in certain pathological states they can reenter the mitotic cell cycle. While several cell cycle regulators have been shown to be important in this process, a role for the tumor suppressor, p53, has not been demonstrated. Here, we investigated a role for p53 in limiting the ability of Müller glia to proliferate in the mature mouse retina. Our data demonstrate that müller glia undergo a developmental restriction in their potential to proliferate. Retinal explants or dissociated cultures treated with EGF become mitotically quiescent by the end of the second postnatal week. In contrast, Müller glia from adult trp53−/+ or trp53−/− mice displayed a greater ability to proliferate in response to EGF stimulation in vitro. The enhanced proliferative ability of trp53 deficient mice correlates with a decreased expression of the mitotic inhibitor Cdkn1a/p21cip and an increase in c-myc, a transcription factor that promotes cell cycle progression. These data show that p53 plays an essential role in limiting the potential of Müller glia to re-enter the mitotic cycle as the retina matures during postnatal development.
doi:10.1002/glia.22377
PMCID: PMC3422417  PMID: 22777914
cell cycle; proliferation; retina
2.  Delayed administration of a small molecule TrkB ligand promotes recovery after hypoxic- ischemic stroke 
Background and Purpose
Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, yet no drugs are available that are proven to improve recovery. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) stimulates neurogenesis and plasticity, processes that are implicated in stroke recovery. It binds to both the tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) and p75 neurotrophin (p75NTR) receptors. However, BDNF is not a feasible therapeutic agent, and no small molecule exists that can reproduce its binding to both receptors. We tested the hypothesis that a small molecule (LM22A-4) that selectively targets TrkB would promote neurogenesis and functional recovery after stroke.
Methods
Four-month-old mice were trained on motor tasks prior to stroke. After stroke, functional test results were used to randomize mice into two equally, and severely, impaired groups. Beginning 3 days after stroke, mice received LM22A-4 or saline vehicle daily for ten weeks.
Results
LM22A-4 treatment significantly improved limb swing speed and accelerated the return to normal gait accuracy after stroke. LM22A-4 treatment also doubled both the number of new mature neurons and immature neurons adjacent to the stroke. Drug-induced differences were not observed in angiogenesis, dendritic arborization, axonal sprouting, glial scar formation, or neuroinflammation.
Conclusion
A small molecule agonist of TrkB improves functional recovery from stroke and increases neurogenesis when administered beginning three days after stroke. These findings provide proof-of-concept that targeting of TrkB alone is capable of promoting one or more mechanisms relevant to stroke recovery. LM22A-4 or its derivatives might therefore serve as “pro-recovery” therapeutic agents for stroke.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.641878
PMCID: PMC3383889  PMID: 22535263
Stroke recovery; neurotrophin; small molecule
3.  Stratification substantially reduces behavioral variability in the hypoxic–ischemic stroke model 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):698-706.
Stroke is the most common cause of long-term disability, and there are no known drug therapies to improve recovery after stroke. To understand how successful recovery occurs, dissect candidate molecular pathways, and test new therapies, there is a need for multiple distinct mouse stroke models, in which the parameters of recovery after stroke are well defined. Hypoxic–ischemic stroke is a well-established stroke model, but behavioral recovery in this model is not well described. We therefore examined a panel of behavioral tests to see whether they could be used to quantify functional recovery after hypoxic–ischemic stroke. We found that in C57BL/6J mice this stroke model produces high mortality (approximately one-third) and variable stroke sizes, but is fast and easy to perform on a large number of mice. Horizontal ladder test performance on day 1 after stroke was highly and reproducibly correlated with stroke size (P < 0.0001, R2 = 0.7652), and allowed for functional stratification of mice into a group with >18% foot faults and 2.1-fold larger strokes. This group exhibited significant functional deficits for as long as 3 weeks on the horizontal ladder test and through the last day of testing on automated gait analysis (33 days), rotarod (30 days), and elevated body swing test (EBST) (36 days). No deficits were observed in an automated activity chamber. We conclude that stratification by horizontal ladder test performance on day 1 identifies a subset of mice in which functional recovery from hypoxic–ischemic stroke can be studied.
doi:10.1002/brb3.77
PMCID: PMC3489820  PMID: 23139913
Behavior; hypoxic–ischemic stroke; motor recovery; mouse model
4.  Presenilin 2 Is the Predominant γ-Secretase in Microglia and Modulates Cytokine Release 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15743.
Presenilin 1 (PS1) and Presenilin 2 (PS2) are the enzymatic component of the γ-secretase complex that cleaves amyloid precursor protein (APP) to release amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide. PS deficiency in mice results in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in the absence of accumulated Aβ. We hypothesize that PS influences neuroinflammation through its γ-secretase action in CNS innate immune cells. We exposed primary murine microglia to a pharmacological γ-secretase inhibitor which resulted in exaggerated release of TNFα and IL-6 in response to lipopolysaccharide. To determine if this response was mediated by PS1, PS2 or both we used shRNA to knockdown each PS in a murine microglia cell line. Knockdown of PS1 did not lead to decreased γ-secretase activity while PS2 knockdown caused markedly decreased γ-secretase activity. Augmented proinflammatory cytokine release was observed after knockdown of PS2 but not PS1. Proinflammatory stimuli increased microglial PS2 gene transcription and protein in vitro. This is the first demonstration that PS2 regulates CNS innate immunity. Taken together, our findings suggest that PS2 is the predominant γ-secretase in microglia and modulates release of proinflammatory cytokines. We propose PS2 may participate in a negative feedback loop regulating inflammatory behavior in microglia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015743
PMCID: PMC3012089  PMID: 21206757

Results 1-4 (4)