Degeneration of peripheral motor axons is a common feature of several debilitating diseases including complicated forms of hereditary spastic paraplegia. One such form is caused by loss of the mitochondrial energy-dependent protease paraplegin. Paraplegin-deficient mice display a progressive degeneration in several axonal tracts, characterized by the accumulation of morphological abnormal mitochondria. We show that adenoassociated virus–mediated (AAV-mediated) intramuscular delivery of paraplegin halted the progression of neuropathological changes and rescued mitochondrial morphology in the peripheral nerves of paraplegin-deficient mice. One single injection before onset of symptoms improved the motor performance of paraplegin-deficient mice for up to 10 months, indicating that the peripheral neuropathy contributes to the clinical phenotype. This study provides a proof of principle that gene transfer may be an effective therapeutic option for patients with paraplegin deficiency and demonstrates that AAV vectors can be successfully employed for retrograde delivery of an intracellular protein to spinal motor neurons, opening new perspectives for several hereditary axonal neuropathies of the peripheral nerves.
Marinella Pirozzi, Angelo Quattrini, Gennaro Andolfi, Giorgia Dina, Maria Chiara Malaguti, Alberto Auricchio, Elena I. Rugarli
Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by progressive weakness and spasticity of the lower limbs. Dominant mutations in the human SPG4 gene, encoding spastin, are responsible for the most frequent form of HSP. Spastin is an ATPase that binds microtubules and localizes to the spindle pole and distal axon in mammalian cell lines. Furthermore, its Drosophila homolog, Drosophila spastin (Dspastin), has been recently shown to regulate microtubule stability and synaptic function at the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction. Here we report the generation of a spastin-linked HSP animal model and show that in Drosophila, neural knockdown of Dspastin and, conversely, neural overexpression of Dspastin containing a conserved pathogenic mutation both recapitulate some phenotypic aspects of the human disease, including adult onset, locomotor impairment, and neurodegeneration. At the subcellular level, neuronal expression of both Dspastin RNA interference and mutant Dspastin cause an excessive stabilization of microtubules in the neuromuscular junction synapse. In addition, we provide evidence that administration of the microtubule targeting drug vinblastine significantly attenuates these phenotypes in vivo. Our findings demonstrate that loss of spastin function elicits HSP-like phenotypes in Drosophila, provide novel insights into the molecular mechanism of spastin mutations, and raise the possibility that therapy with Vinca alkaloids may be efficacious in spastin-associated HSP and other disorders related to microtubule dysfunction.
Genny Orso, Andrea Martinuzzi, Maria Giovanna Rossetto, Elena Sartori, Mel Feany, Andrea Daga
The hippocampal dentate gyrus in the adult mammalian brain contains neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) capable of generating new neurons, i.e., neurogenesis. Most drugs of abuse examined to date decrease adult hippocampal neurogenesis, but the effects of cannabis (marijuana or cannabinoids) on hippocampal neurogenesis remain unknown. This study aimed at investigating the potential regulatory capacity of the potent synthetic cannabinoid HU210 on hippocampal neurogenesis and its possible correlation with behavioral change. We show that both embryonic and adult rat hippocampal NS/PCs are immunoreactive for CB1 cannabinoid receptors, indicating that cannabinoids could act on CB1 receptors to regulate neurogenesis. This hypothesis is supported by further findings that HU210 promotes proliferation, but not differentiation, of cultured embryonic hippocampal NS/PCs likely via a sequential activation of CB1 receptors, Gi/o proteins, and ERK signaling. Chronic, but not acute, HU210 treatment promoted neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of adult rats and exerted anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects. X-irradiation of the hippocampus blocked both the neurogenic and behavioral effects of chronic HU210 treatment, suggesting that chronic HU210 treatment produces anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects likely via promotion of hippocampal neurogenesis.
Wen Jiang, Yun Zhang, Lan Xiao, Jamie Van Cleemput, Shao-Ping Ji, Guang Bai, Xia Zhang
Neurologic impairment in HIV-1–associated dementia (HAD) and other neuroinflammatory diseases correlates with injury to dendrites and synapses, but how such injury occurs is not known. We hypothesized that neuroinflammation makes dendrites susceptible to excitotoxic injury following synaptic activity. We report that platelet-activating factor, an inflammatory phospholipid that mediates synaptic plasticity and neurotoxicity and is dramatically elevated in the brain during HAD, promotes dendrite injury following elevated synaptic activity and can replicate HIV-1–associated dendritic pathology. In hippocampal slices exposed to a stable platelet-activating factor analogue, tetanic stimulation that normally induces long-term synaptic potentiation instead promoted development of calcium- and caspase-dependent dendritic beading. Chemical preconditioning with diazoxide, a mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel agonist, prevented dendritic beading and restored long-term potentiation. In contrast to models invoking excessive glutamate release, these results suggest that physiologic synaptic activity may trigger excitotoxic dendritic injury during chronic neuroinflammation. Furthermore, preconditioning may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for preventing excitotoxic injury while preserving physiologic plasticity.
Matthew J. Bellizzi, Shao-Ming Lu, Eliezer Masliah, Harris A. Gelbard
Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) within extracellular spaces of the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD). In sporadic, late-onset AD, there is little evidence for increased Aβ production, suggesting that decreased elimination from the brain may contribute to elevated levels of Aβ and plaque formation. Efflux transport of Aβ across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) contributes to Aβ removal from the brain. P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is highly expressed on the luminal surface of brain capillary endothelial cells and contributes to the BBB. In Pgp-null mice, we show that [125I]Aβ40 and [125I]Aβ42 microinjected into the CNS clear at half the rate that they do in WT mice. When amyloid precursor protein–transgenic (APP-transgenic) mice were administered a Pgp inhibitor, Aβ levels within the brain interstitial fluid significantly increased within hours of treatment. Furthermore, APP-transgenic, Pgp-null mice had increased levels of brain Aβ and enhanced Aβ deposition compared with APP-transgenic, Pgp WT mice. These data establish a direct link between Pgp and Aβ metabolism in vivo and suggest that Pgp activity at the BBB could affect risk for developing AD as well as provide a novel diagnostic and therapeutic target.
John R. Cirrito, Rashid Deane, Anne M. Fagan, Michael L. Spinner, Maia Parsadanian, Mary Beth Finn, Hong Jiang, Julie L. Prior, Abhay Sagare, Kelly R. Bales, Steven M. Paul, Berislav V. Zlokovic, David Piwnica-Worms, David M. Holtzman
Transverse myelitis (TM) is an immune-mediated spinal cord disorder associated with inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage. We investigated the soluble immune derangements present in TM patients and found that IL-6 levels were selectively and dramatically elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid and directly correlated with markers of tissue injury and sustained clinical disability. IL-6 was necessary and sufficient to mediate cellular injury in spinal cord organotypic tissue culture sections through activation of the JAK/STAT pathway, resulting in increased activity of iNOS and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Rats intrathecally infused with IL-6 developed progressive weakness and spinal cord inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage, which were blocked by PARP inhibition. Addition of IL-6 to brain organotypic cultures or into the cerebral ventricles of adult rats did not activate the JAK/STAT pathway, which is potentially due to increased expression of soluble IL-6 receptor in the brain relative to the spinal cord that may antagonize IL-6 signaling in this context. The spatially distinct responses to IL-6 may underlie regional vulnerability of different parts of the CNS to inflammatory injury. The elucidation of this pathway identifies specific therapeutic targets in the management of CNS autoimmune conditions.
Adam I. Kaplin, Deepa M. Deshpande, Erick Scott, Chitra Krishnan, Jessica S. Carmen, Irina Shats, Tara Martinez, Jennifer Drummond, Sonny Dike, Mikhail Pletnikov, Sanjay C. Keswani, Timothy H. Moran, Carlos A. Pardo, Peter A. Calabresi, Douglas A. Kerr
Deficiency in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a brain-essential omega-3 fatty acid, is associated with cognitive decline. Here we report that, in cytokine-stressed human neural cells, DHA attenuates amyloid-β (Aβ) secretion, an effect accompanied by the formation of NPD1, a novel, DHA-derived 10,17S-docosatriene. DHA and NPD1 were reduced in Alzheimer disease (AD) hippocampal cornu ammonis region 1, but not in the thalamus or occipital lobes from the same brains. The expression of key enzymes in NPD1 biosynthesis, cytosolic phospholipase A2 and 15-lipoxygenase, was altered in AD hippocampus. NPD1 repressed Aβ42-triggered activation of proinflammatory genes while upregulating the antiapoptotic genes encoding Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Bfl-1(A1). Soluble amyloid precursor protein-α stimulated NPD1 biosynthesis from DHA. These results indicate that NPD1 promotes brain cell survival via the induction of antiapoptotic and neuroprotective gene-expression programs that suppress Aβ42-induced neurotoxicity.
Walter J. Lukiw, Jian-Guo Cui, Victor L. Marcheselli, Merete Bodker, Anja Botkjaer, Katherine Gotlinger, Charles N. Serhan, Nicolas G. Bazan
Cold hyperalgesia is a well-documented symptom of inflammatory and neuropathic pain; however, the underlying mechanisms of this enhanced sensitivity to cold are poorly understood. A subset of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels mediates thermosensation and is expressed in sensory tissues, such as nociceptors and skin. Here we report that the pharmacological blockade of TRPA1 in primary sensory neurons reversed cold hyperalgesia caused by inflammation and nerve injury. Inflammation and nerve injury increased TRPA1, but not TRPM8, expression in tyrosine kinase A–expressing dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Intrathecal administration of anti–nerve growth factor (anti-NGF), p38 MAPK inhibitor, or TRPA1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide decreased the induction of TRPA1 and suppressed inflammation- and nerve injury–induced cold hyperalgesia. Conversely, intrathecal injection of NGF, but not glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor, increased TRPA1 in DRG neurons through the p38 MAPK pathway. Together, these results demonstrate that an NGF-induced TRPA1 increase in sensory neurons via p38 activation is necessary for cold hyperalgesia. Thus, blocking TRPA1 in sensory neurons might provide a fruitful strategy for treating cold hyperalgesia caused by inflammation and nerve damage.
Koichi Obata, Hirokazu Katsura, Toshiyuki Mizushima, Hiroki Yamanaka, Kimiko Kobayashi, Yi Dai, Tetsuo Fukuoka, Atsushi Tokunaga, Makoto Tominaga, Koichi Noguchi
Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) appears to play a key pathogenic role in Alzheimer disease (AD). Immune therapy in mouse models of AD via Aβ immunization or passive administration of Aβ antibodies markedly reduces Aβ levels and reverses behavioral impairment. However, a human trial of Aβ immunization led to meningoencephalitis in some patients and was discontinued. Here we show that nasal vaccination with a proteosome-based adjuvant that is well tolerated in humans plus glatiramer acetate, an FDA-approved synthetic copolymer used to treat multiple sclerosis, potently decreases Aβ plaques in an AD mouse model. This effect did not require the presence of antibody, as it was observed in B cell–deficient (Ig μ–null) mice. Vaccinated animals developed activated microglia that colocalized with Aβ fibrils, and the extent of microglial activation correlated strongly with the decrease in Aβ fibrils. Activation of microglia and clearing of Aβ occurred with the adjuvant alone, although to a lesser degree. Our results identify a novel approach to immune therapy for AD that involves clearing of Aβ through the utilization of compounds that have been safely tested on or are currently in use in humans.
Dan Frenkel, Ruth Maron, David S. Burt, Howard L. Weiner
The abnormal accumulation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in the form of senile (or amyloid) plaques is one of the main characteristics of Alzheimer disease (AD). Both cholesterol and Cu2+ have been implicated in AD pathogenesis and plaque formation. Aβ binds Cu2+ with very high affinity, forming a redox-active complex that catalyzes H2O2 production from O2 and cholesterol. Here we show that Aβ:Cu2+ complexes oxidize cholesterol selectively at the C-3 hydroxyl group, catalytically producing 4-cholesten-3-one and therefore mimicking the activity of cholesterol oxidase, which is implicated in cardiovascular disease. Aβ toxicity in neuronal cultures correlated with this activity, which was inhibited by Cu2+ chelators including clioquinol. Cell death induced by staurosporine or H2O2 did not elevate 4-cholesten-3-one levels. Brain tissue from AD subjects had 98% more 4-cholesten-3-one than tissue from age-matched control subjects. We observed a similar increase in the brains of Tg2576 transgenic mice compared with nontransgenic littermates; the increase was inhibited by in vivo treatment with clioquinol, which suggests that brain Aβ accumulation elevates 4-cholesten-3-one levels in AD. Cu2+-mediated oxidation of cholesterol may be a pathogenic mechanism common to atherosclerosis and AD.
Luigi Puglielli, Avi L. Friedlich, Kenneth D.R. Setchell, Seiichi Nagano, Carlos Opazo, Robert A. Cherny, Kevin J. Barnham, John D. Wade, Simon Melov, Dora M. Kovacs, Ashley I. Bush