Evidence suggests that Alzheimer disease (AD) begins as a disorder of synaptic function, caused in part by increased levels of amyloid β-peptide 1–42 (Aβ42). Both synaptic and cognitive deficits are reproduced in mice double transgenic for amyloid precursor protein (AA substitution K670N,M671L) and presenilin-1 (AA substitution M146V). Here we demonstrate that brief treatment with the phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor rolipram ameliorates deficits in both long-term potentiation (LTP) and contextual learning in the double-transgenic mice. Most importantly, this beneficial effect can be extended beyond the duration of the administration. One course of long-term systemic treatment with rolipram improves LTP and basal synaptic transmission as well as working, reference, and associative memory deficits for at least 2 months after the end of the treatment. This protective effect is possibly due to stabilization of synaptic circuitry via alterations in gene expression by activation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)/cAMP regulatory element–binding protein (CREB) signaling pathway that make the synapses more resistant to the insult inflicted by Aβ. Thus, agents that enhance the cAMP/PKA/CREB pathway have potential for the treatment of AD and other diseases associated with elevated Aβ42 levels.
Bing Gong, Ottavio V. Vitolo, Fabrizio Trinchese, Shumin Liu, Michael Shelanski, Ottavio Arancio
The most common form of human congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) is caused by mutations in the laminin-α2 gene. Loss of laminin-α2 function in this autosomal recessive type 1A form of CMD results in neuromuscular dysfunction and, often, early death. Laminin-α2–deficient skeletal muscles in both humans and mice show signs of muscle cell death by apoptosis. To examine the significance of apoptosis in CMD1A pathogenesis, we determined whether pathogenesis in laminin-α2–deficient (Lama2–/–) mice could be ameliorated by inhibiting apoptosis through either (a) inactivation of the proapoptosis protein Bax or (b) overexpression of the antiapoptosis protein Bcl-2 from a muscle-specific transgene. We found that both of these genetic interventions produced a several-fold increase in the lifespan of Lama2–/– mice. Bax inactivation also improved postnatal growth rate and myofiber histology and decreased fixed contractures of Lama2–/– mice. Thus, Bcl-2 family–mediated apoptosis contributes significantly to pathogenesis in the mouse model of CMD1A, and antiapoptosis therapy may be a possible route to amelioration of neuromuscular dysfunction due to laminin-α2 deficiency in humans.
Mahasweta Girgenrath, Janice A. Dominov, Christine A. Kostek, Jeffrey Boone Miller
Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are composed of abnormal aggregates of the cytoskeletal protein tau. Together with amyloid β (Aβ) plaques and neuronal and synaptic loss, NFTs constitute the primary pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD). Recent evidence also suggests that caspases are activated early in the progression of AD and may play a role in neuronal loss and NFT pathology. Here we demonstrate that tau is cleaved at D421 (ΔTau) by executioner caspases. Following caspase-cleavage, ΔTau facilitates nucleation-dependent filament formation and readily adopts a conformational change recognized by the early pathological tau marker MC1. ΔTau can be phosphorylated by glycogen synthase kinase-3β and subsequently recognized by the NFT antibody PHF-1. In transgenic mice and AD brains, ΔTau associates with both early and late markers of NFTs and is correlated with cognitive decline. Additionally, ΔTau colocalizes with Aβ1–42 and is induced by Aβ1–42 in vitro. Collectively, our data imply that Aβ accumulation triggers caspase activation, leading to caspase-cleavage of tau, and that this is an early event that may precede hyperphosphorylation in the evolution of AD tangle pathology. These results suggest that therapeutics aimed at inhibiting tau caspase-cleavage may prove beneficial not only in preventing NFT formation, but also in slowing cognitive decline.
Robert A. Rissman, Wayne W. Poon, Mathew Blurton-Jones, Salvatore Oddo, Reidun Torp, Michael P. Vitek, Frank M. LaFerla, Troy T. Rohn, Carl W. Cotman
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous degenerative eye disease. Mutations at Arg135 of rhodopsin are associated with a severe form of autosomal dominant RP. This report presents evidence that Arg135 mutant rhodopsins (e.g., R135L, R135G, and R135W) are hyperphosphorylated and bind with high affinity to visual arrestin. Mutant rhodopsin recruits the cytosolic arrestin to the plasma membrane, and the rhodopsin-arrestin complex is internalized into the endocytic pathway. Furthermore, the rhodopsin-arrestin complexes alter the morphology of endosomal compartments and severely damage receptor-mediated endocytic functions. The biochemical and cellular defects of Arg135 mutant rhodopsins are distinct from those previously described for class I and class II RP mutations, and, hence, we propose that they be named class III. Impaired endocytic activity may underlie the pathogenesis of RP caused by class III rhodopsin mutations.
Jen-Zen Chuang, Carrie Vega, Wenjin Jun, Ching-Hwa Sung
Thrombolysis is widely used to intervene in acute ischemic stroke, but reestablishment of circulation may paradoxically initiate a reperfusion injury. Here we describe studies with mice lacking protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) showing that absence of this enzyme markedly reduces reperfusion injury following transient ischemia. This was associated with reduced infiltration of peripheral blood neutrophils into infarcted tissue and with impaired neutrophil adhesion, migration, respiratory burst, and degranulation in vitro. Total body irradiation followed by transplantation with bone marrow from PKCδ-null mice donors reduced infarct size and improved neurological outcome in WT mice, whereas marrow transplantation from WT donors increased infarction and worsened neurological scores in PKCδ-null mice. These results indicate an important role for neutrophil PKCδ in reperfusion injury and strongly suggest that PKCδ inhibitors could prove useful in the treatment of stroke.
Wen-Hai Chou, Doo-Sup Choi, Hong Zhang, Dezhi Mu, Tom McMahon, Viktor N. Kharazia, Clifford A. Lowell, Donna M. Ferriero, Robert O. Messing
Bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) have the capability under specific conditions of differentiating into various cell types such as osteocytes, chondrocytes, and adipocytes. Here we demonstrate a highly efficient and specific induction of cells with neuronal characteristics, without glial differentiation, from both rat and human MSCs using gene transfection with Notch intracellular domain (NICD) and subsequent treatment with bFGF, forskolin, and ciliary neurotrophic factor. MSCs expressed markers related to neural stem cells after transfection with NICD, and subsequent trophic factor administration induced neuronal cells. Some of them showed voltage-gated fast sodium and delayed rectifier potassium currents and action potentials compatible with characteristics of functional neurons. Further treatment of the induced neuronal cells with glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) increased the proportion of tyrosine hydroxylase–positive and dopamine-producing cells. Transplantation of these GDNF-treated cells showed improvement in apomorphine-induced rotational behavior and adjusting step and paw-reaching tests following intrastriatal implantation in a 6-hydroxy dopamine rat model of Parkinson disease. This study shows that a population of neuronal cells can be specifically generated from MSCs and that induced cells may allow for a neuroreconstructive approach.
Mari Dezawa, Hiroshi Kanno, Mikio Hoshino, Hirotomi Cho, Naoya Matsumoto, Yutaka Itokazu, Nobuyoshi Tajima, Hitoshi Yamada, Hajime Sawada, Hiroto Ishikawa, Toshirou Mimura, Masaaki Kitada, Yoshihisa Suzuki, Chizuka Ide
Uracil-DNA glycosylase (UNG) is involved in base excision repair of aberrant uracil residues in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Ung knockout mice generated by gene targeting are viable, fertile, and phenotypically normal and have regular mutation rates. However, when exposed to a nitric oxide donor, Ung–/– fibroblasts show an increase in the uracil/cytosine ratio in the genome and augmented cell death. After combined oxygen-glucose deprivation, Ung–/– primary cortical neurons have increased vulnerability to cell death, which is associated with early mitochondrial dysfunction. In vivo, UNG expression and activity are low in brains of naive WT mice but increase significantly after reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion. Moreover, major increases in infarct size are observed in Ung–/– mice compared with littermate control mice. In conclusion, our results provide compelling evidence that UNG is of major importance for tissue repair after brain ischemia.
Matthias Endres, Detlev Biniszkiewicz, Robert W. Sobol, Christoph Harms, Michael Ahmadi, Andreas Lipski, Juri Katchanov, Philipp Mergenthaler, Ulrich Dirnagl, Samuel H. Wilson, Andreas Meisel, Rudolf Jaenisch
Cortical spreading depression (CSD) is a propagating wave of neuronal and glial depolarization and has been implicated in disorders of neurovascular regulation such as stroke, head trauma, and migraine. In this study, we found that CSD alters blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability by activating brain MMPs. Beginning at 3–6 hours, MMP-9 levels increased within cortex ipsilateral to the CSD, reaching a maximum at 24 hours and persisting for at least 48 hours. Gelatinolytic activity was detected earliest within the matrix of cortical blood vessels and later within neurons and pia arachnoid (≥3 hours), particularly within piriform cortex; this activity was suppressed by injection of the metalloprotease inhibitor GM6001 or in vitro by the addition of a zinc chelator (1,10-phenanthroline). At 3–24 hours, immunoreactive laminin, endothelial barrier antigen, and zona occludens-1 diminished in the ipsilateral cortex, suggesting that CSD altered proteins critical to the integrity of the BBB. At 3 hours after CSD, plasma protein leakage and brain edema developed contemporaneously. Albumin leakage was suppressed by the administration of GM6001. Protein leakage was not detected in MMP-9–null mice, implicating the MMP-9 isoform in barrier disruption. We conclude that intense neuronal and glial depolarization initiates a cascade that disrupts the BBB via an MMP-9–dependent mechanism.
Yasemin Gursoy-Ozdemir, Jianhua Qiu, Norihiro Matsuoka, Hayrunnisa Bolay, Daniela Bermpohl, Hongwei Jin, Xiaoying Wang, Gary A. Rosenberg, Eng H. Lo, Michael A. Moskowitz
Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by excessive deposition of amyloid β-peptides (Aβ peptides) in the brain. In the nonamyloidogenic pathway, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is cleaved by the α-secretase within the Aβ peptide sequence. Proteinases of the ADAM family (adisintegrin and metalloproteinase) are the main candidates as physiologically relevant α-secretases, but early lethality of knockout animals prevented a detailed analysis in neuronal cells. To overcome this restriction, we have generated transgenic mice that overexpress either ADAM10 or a catalytically inactive ADAM10 mutant. In this report we show that a moderate neuronal overexpression of ADAM10 in mice transgenic for human APP[V717I] increased the secretion of the neurotrophic soluble α-secretase–released N-terminal APP domain (APPsα), reduced the formation of Aβ peptides, and prevented their deposition in plaques. Functionally, impaired long-term potentiation and cognitive deficits were alleviated. Expression of mutant catalytically inactive ADAM10 led to an enhancement of the number and size of amyloid plaques in the brains of double-transgenic mice. The results provide the first in vivo evidence for a proteinase of the ADAM family as an α-secretase of APP, reveal activation of ADAM10 as a promising therapeutic target, and support the hypothesis that a decrease in α-secretase activity contributes to the development of AD.
Rolf Postina, Anja Schroeder, Ilse Dewachter, Juergen Bohl, Ulrich Schmitt, Elzbieta Kojro, Claudia Prinzen, Kristina Endres, Christoph Hiemke, Manfred Blessing, Pascaline Flamez, Antoine Dequenne, Emile Godaux, Fred van Leuven, Falk Fahrenholz
Recently, pathological prion protein PrPSc, the putative key constituent of infectious agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), was found in muscles of rodents experimentally infected with scrapie and in patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). For the assessment of risk scenarios originating from these findings (e.g., alimentary transmission of pathogens associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE] and chronic wasting disease [CWD] via tainted beef and game or iatrogenic dissemination of CJD agent through contaminated surgical instruments) more detailed information about the time course of PrPSc accumulation in muscles at preclinical and clinical stages of incubation is needed. Here we show that PrPSc in muscles of hamsters fed with scrapie can be detected prior to the onset of clinical symptoms, but that the bulk of PrPSc was deposited late in clinical disease. Additionally, regarding the question of how muscles become invaded, we report on the intramuscular location of PrPSc and substantial indications for centrifugal spread of infection from spinal motor neurons to myofibers. Our findings in a well-established animal model for TSEs contribute to a better assessment of the risks for public health emanating from “Prions in skeletal muscle” and provide new insights into the pathophysiological spread of TSE agents through the body.
Achim Thomzig, Walter Schulz-Schaeffer, Christine Kratzel, Jessica Mai, Michael Beekes