Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive inflammatory-demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Increasing evidence suggests that vulnerable neurons in MS exhibit fatal metabolic exhaustion over time, a phenomenon hypothesized to be caused by chronic hyperexcitability. Axonal Kv7 (outward rectifying) and oligodendroglial Kir4.1 (inward rectifying) potassium channels have important roles in regulating neuronal excitability at and around nodes of Ranvier. Here, we studied the spatial and functional relationship between neuronal Kv7 and oligodendroglial Kir4.1 channels and assessed the transcriptional and functional signatures of cortical and retinal projection neurons under physiological and inflammatory-demyelinating conditions. We found that both channels became dysregulated in MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) with Kir4.1 channels being chronically downregulated and Kv7 channel subunits being transiently upregulated during inflammatory demyelination. Further, we observed that pharmacological Kv7 channel opening with retigabine reduced neuronal hyperexcitability in human and EAE neurons, improved clinical EAE signs and rescued neuronal pathology in oligodendrocyte-Kir4.1-deficient mice. In summary, our findings indicate that neuron-oligodendrocyte compensatory interactions promote resilience through Kv7 and Kir4.1 channels and suggest pharmacological activation of nodal Kv7 channels as a neuroprotective strategy against inflammatory demyelination.
Hannah Kapell, Luca Fazio, Julia Dyckow, Sophia Schwarz, Andrés Cruz-Herranz, Christina Mayer, Joaquin Campos, Elisa D´Este, Wiebke Möbius, Christian Cordano, Anne-Katrin Pröbstel, Marjan Gharagozloo, Amel Zulji, Venu Narayanan Naik, Anna-Katharina Delank, Manuela Cerina, Thomas Müntefering, Celia Lerma-Martin, Jana K. Sonner, Jung H. Sin, Paul Disse, Nicole Rychlik, Khalida Sabeur, Manideep Chavali, Rajneesh Srivastava, Matthias Heidenreich, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Guiscard Seebohm, Christine Stadelmann, Bernhard Hemmer, Michael Platten, Thomas J. Jentsch, Maren Engelhardt, Thomas Budde, Klaus-Armin Nave, Peter A. Calabresi, Manuel A. Friese, Ari J. Green, Claudio Acuna, David H. Rowitch, Sven G. Meuth, Lucas Schirmer
Microglia, resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS), are essential to brain development, homeostasis, and disease. Microglial activation and proliferation are hallmarks of many CNS diseases including neuropathic pain. However, molecular mechanisms that govern the spinal neuro-immune axis in the setting of neuropathic pain remain incompletely understood. Here we show that genetic ablation or pharmacological blockade of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 4 (TRPV4) markedly attenuated neuropathic pain-like behaviors in a mouse model of spared nerve injury. Mechanistically, microglia-expressed TRPV4 mediated microglial activation and proliferation and promoted functional and structural plasticity of excitatory spinal neurons through releasing lipocalin-2. Our results suggest that microglial TRPV4 channels reside at the center of the neuro-immune axis in the spinal cord that transforms peripheral nerve injury into central sensitization and neuropathic pain, thereby identifying TRPV4 as a promising new target for the treatment of chronic pain.
Xueming Hu, Lixia Du, Shenbin Liu, Zhou Lan, Kaikai Zang, Jing Feng, Yonghui Zhao, Xingliang Yang, Zili Xie, Peter L. Wang, Aaron M. Ver Heul, Lvyi Chen, Vijay K. Samineni, Yan-Qing Wang, Kory J. Lavine, Robert W. Gereau, Gregory F. Wu, Hongzhen Hu
Treatment options for Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) have minimally advanced since 2004, while the annual deaths and economic toll have increased alarmingly. Phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) is associated with alcohol and nicotine dependence. PDE4 inhibitors were identified as a potential AUD treatment using a novel bioinformatics approach. We prioritized a newer PDE4 inhibitor, apremilast, as ideal for repurposing, (i.e. FDA approved for psoriasis, low incidence of adverse events, excellent safety profile), and tested it using multiple animal strains and models, as well as in a human Phase IIa study. We found that apremilast reduced binge-like alcohol intake and behavioral measures of alcohol motivation in mouse models of genetic risk for drinking to intoxication. Apremilast also reduced excessive alcohol drinking in models for stress-facilitated drinking and alcohol dependence. Using site-directed drug infusions and electrophysiology, we uncovered that apremilast may act to lessen drinking in mice by increasing neural activity in the nucleus accumbens, a key brain region in the regulation of alcohol intake. Importantly, apremilast (90 mg/d) reduced excessive drinking in non-treatment seeking individuals with AUD in a double blind, placebo-controlled study. These results demonstrate that apremilast suppresses excessive alcohol drinking across the spectrum of AUD severity.
Kolter B. Grigsby, Regina A. Mangieri, Amanda J. Roberts, Marcelo F. Lopez, Evan J. Firsick, Kayla G. Townsley, Alan Beneze, Jessica Bess, Toby K. Eisenstein, Joseph J. Meissler, John M. Light, Jenny Miller, Susan Quello, Farhad Shadan, Michael H. Skinner, Heather C. Aziz, Pamela Metten, Richard A. Morissett, John C. Crabbe, Marisa Roberto, Howard C. Becker, Barbara J. Mason, Angela R. Ozburn
Mutations in the human Progranulin (GRN) gene are a leading cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). While previous studies implicate aberrant microglial activation as a disease-driving factor in neurodegeneration in the thalamocortical circuit in Grn-/- mice, the exact mechanism for neurodegeneration in FTLD-GRN remains unclear. By performing comparative single-cell transcriptomics in the thalamus and frontal cortex of Grn-/- mice and patients with FTLD-GRN, we have uncovered a highly conserved astroglial pathology characterized by upregulation of gap junction protein GJA1, water channel AQP4, and lipid-binding protein APOE, and downregulation of glutamate transporter SLC1A2 that promoted profound synaptic degeneration across the two species. This astroglial toxicity could be recapitulated in mouse astrocyte-neuron cocultures and by transplanting induced pluripotent stem cell-derived astrocytes to cortical organoids, where Progranulin-deficient astrocytes promoted synaptic degeneration, neuronal stress, and TDP-43 proteinopathy. Together, these results reveal previously unappreciated astroglial pathology as a key mechanism in neurodegeneration in FTLD-GRN.
Elise Marsan, Dmitry Velmeshev, Arren Ramsey, Ravi K. Patel, Jiasheng Zhang, Mark Koontz, Madeline G. Andrews, Martina de Majo, Cristina Mora, Jessica Blumenfeld, Alissa N. Li, Salvatore Spina, Lea T. Grinberg, William Seeley, Bruce L. Miller, Erik M. Ullian, Matthew F. Krummel, Arnold Kriegstein, Eric J. Huang
Cortical neural dynamics mediate information processing for the cerebral cortex, implicated in fundamental biological processes, such as vision and olfaction, in addition to neurological and psychiatric diseases. Spontaneous pain is a key feature of human neuropathic pain. Whether spontaneous pain pushes cortical network into an aberrant state, and if so, whether it can be brought back to a ‘normal’ operating range to ameliorate pain are unknown. Using a clinically relevant mouse model of neuropathic pain with spontaneous pain-like behavior, we report that orofacial spontaneous pain activated a specific area within the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), displaying synchronized neural dynamics revealed by intravital two-photon calcium imaging. This synchronization was underpinned by local GABAergic interneuron hypoactivity. Pain-induced cortical synchronization could be attenuated by manipulating local S1 networks or clinically effective pain therapies. Specifically, both chemogenetic inhibition of pain-related c-Fos-expressing neurons, and selective activation of GABAergic interneurons, significantly attenuated S1 synchronization. Clinically effective pain therapies including carbamazepine and nerve root decompression could also dampen S1 synchronization. More importantly, restoring a ‘normal’ range of neural dynamics, through attenuating pain-induced S1 synchronization, alleviated pain-like behavior. These results suggest spontaneous pain pushes S1 regional network into a synchronized state, whereas reversal of this synchronization alleviates pain.
Weihua Ding, Lukas Fischer, Qian Chen, Ziyi Li, Liuyue Yang, Zerong You, Kun Hu, Xinbo Wu, Xue Zhou, Wei Chao, Peter Hu, Tewodros Mulugeta Dagnew, Daniel M. DuBreuil, Shiyu Wang, Suyun Xia, Caroline Bao, Shengmei Zhu, Lucy Chen, Changning Wang, Brian Wainger, Peng Jin, Jianren Mao, Guoping Feng, Mark T. Harnett, Shiqian Shen
Visceral pain (VP) is a global problem with complex etiologies and limited therapeutic options. Guanylyl cyclase C (GUCY2C), an intestinal receptor producing cyclic GMP which regulates luminal fluid secretion, has emerged as a therapeutic target for VP. Indeed, FDA-approved GUCY2C agonists ameliorate VP in patients with chronic constipation syndromes, although analgesic mechanisms remain obscure. Here, we reveal that intestinal GUCY2C is selectively enriched in neuropod cells, a type of enteroendocrine cell that synapses with submucosal neurons in mice and humans. GUCY2CHigh neuropod cells associate with co-cultured dorsal root ganglia neurons and induce hyperexcitability, reducing the rheobase and increasing the resulting number of evoked action potentials. Conversely, the GUCY2C agonist linaclotide eliminated neuronal hyperexcitability produced by GUCY2C-sufficient, but not GUCY2C-deficient, neuropod cells, an effect independent of bulk epithelial cells or extracellular cGMP. Genetic elimination of intestinal GUCY2C amplified nociceptive signaling and VP that was comparable to chemically-induced VP but refractory to linaclotide. Importantly, eliminating GUCY2C selectively in neuropod cells also increased nociceptive signaling and VP that was refractory to linaclotide. In the context of loss of GUCY2C hormones in patients with VP, these observations suggest a specific role for neuropod GUCY2C signaling in the pathophysiology and treatment of these pain syndromes.
Joshua R. Barton, Annie K. Londregan, Tyler D. Alexander, Ariana A. Entezari, Shely Bar-Ad, Lan Cheng, Angelo C. Lepore, Adam E. Snook, Manuel Covarrubias, Scott A. Waldman
Chronic pain often leads to depression, increasing patient suffering and worsening prognosis. While hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) appears to be critically involved, the molecular mechanisms underlying comorbid depressive symptoms in chronic pain remain elusive. T cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1 (Tiam1) is a Rac1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that promotes dendrite, spine, and synapse development during brain development. Here, we show that Tiam1 orchestrates synaptic structural and functional plasticity in ACC neurons via actin cytoskeleton reorganization and synaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) stabilization. This Tiam1-coordinated synaptic plasticity underpins ACC hyperactivity and drives chronic pain–induced depressive-like behaviors. Notably, administration of low-dose ketamine, an NMDAR antagonist emerging as a promising treatment for chronic pain and depression, induces sustained antidepressant-like effects in mouse models of chronic pain by blocking Tiam1-mediated maladaptive synaptic plasticity in ACC neurons. Our results reveal Tiam1 as a critical factor in the pathophysiology of chronic pain–induced depressive-like behaviors and the sustained antidepressant-like effects of ketamine.
Qin Ru, Yungang Lu, Ali Bin Saifullah, Francisco A. Blanco, Changqun Yao, Juan P. Cata, De-Pei Li, Kimberley F. Tolias, Lingyong Li
Remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia (RIH) is a severe but common postoperative clinical problem with elusive underlying neural mechanisms. Here, we discovered that glutamatergic neurons in the thalamic ventral posterolateral nucleus (VPLGlu) exhibited significantly elevated burst firing accompanied by upregulation of Cav3.1 T-type calcium channel expression and function in RIH model mice. In addition, we identified a glutamatergic neuronal thalamocortical circuit in the VPL projecting to hindlimb primary somatosensory cortex glutamatergic neurons (S1HLGlu) that mediated RIH. In vivo calcium imaging and multi-tetrode recordings revealed heightened S1HLGlu neuronal activity during RIH. Moreover, preoperative suppression of Cav3.1-dependent burst firing in VPLGlu neurons or chemogenetic inhibition of VPLGlu neuronal terminals in the S1HL abolished the increased S1HLGlu neuronal excitability while alleviating RIH. Our findings suggest that remifentanil induces postoperative hyperalgesia by upregulating T-type calcium channel-dependent burst firing in VPLGlu neurons to activate S1HLGlu neurons, thus revealing an ion channel–mediated neural circuit basis for RIH that can guide analgesic development.
Yan Jin, Yu Mao, Danyang Chen, Yingju Tai, Rui Hu, Chen-Ling Yang, Jing Zhou, Lijian Chen, Xuesheng Liu, Erwei Gu, Chunhui Jia, Zhi Zhang, Wenjuan Tao
BACKGROUND Soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2) plays an important role in the clearance of pathological amyloid-β (Aβ) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study aimed to explore sTREM2 as a central and peripheral predictor of the conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD.METHODS sTREM2 and Aβ1–42 levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and florbetapir-PET (AV45) images were analyzed for healthy control (HCs), patients with MCI, and patients with AD from the ADNI database. Peripheral plasma sTREM2 and Aβ1–42 levels were determined for our Neurology database of Ruijin Hospital for Alzheimer’s Disease (NRHAD) cohort, and patients with MCI were reevaluated at follow-up visits to assess for progression to AD. The association between CSF and plasma sTREM2 levels was analyzed in data from the Chinese Alzheimer’s Biomarker and Lifestyle (CABLE) database.RESULTS The results showed that patients with MCI who had low levels of CSF sTREM2 and Aβ1–42 were more likely to develop AD. Among participants with positive Aβ deposition, as assessed by AV45 imaging, elevated CSF sTREM2 levels were associated with a decreased risk of MCI-to-AD conversion. Meanwhile, in the NRHAD cohort, individuals in the MCI group with high sTREM2 levels in plasma were at a greater risk for AD, whereas low Aβ1–42 with high sTREM2 levels in plasma were associated with a faster cognitive decline. In addition, CSF sTREM2 levels were highly correlated with plasma sTREM2 levels in the CABLE database.CONCLUSION These findings suggest that sTREM2 may be useful as a potential predictive biomarker of MCI-to-AD conversion.FUNDING This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 82001341, 82071415, 81873778, and 82201392); the Shanghai Sailing Program (grant no. 22YF1425100); and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project (grant no. 2021M702169).
Aonan Zhao, Yang Jiao, Guanyu Ye, Wenyan Kang, Lan Tan, Yuanyuan Li, Yulei Deng, Jun Liu, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)
Our understanding of neuropathic itch is limited, due to the lack of relevant animal models. Patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) suffer from severe itching. Here we characterize a mouse model of chronic itch with remarkable lymphoma growth, immune cell accumulation, and persistent pruritus. Intradermal CTCL inoculation produces time-dependent changes in nerve innervations in lymphoma-bearing skin. In the early-phase (20 days), CTCL causes hyper-innervations in the epidermis. However, chronic itch is associated with loss of epidermal nerve fibers in the late-phases (40 and 60 days). CTCL is also characterized by marked nerve innervations in mouse lymphoma. Blockade of C-fibers reduced pruritus at early- and late-phases, whereas blockade of A-fibers only suppressed late-phase itch. Intrathecal gabapentin injection reduced late-phase but not early-phase pruritus. IL-31 is upregulated in mouse lymphoma, while its receptor Il31ra was persistently upregulated in Trpv1-expressing sensory neurons in CTCL mice. Intratumoral anti-IL-31 treatment effectively suppressed CTCL-induced scratching and alloknesis (mechanical itch). Finally, intrathecal administration of TLR4 antagonist attenuated pruritus in early and late phases and in both sexes. Collectively, we have established a mouse model of neuropathic and cancer itch with relevance to human disease. Our findings also suggest distinct mechanisms underlying acute, chronic, and neuropathic itch.
Ouyang Chen, Qianru He, Qingjian Han, Kenta Furutani, Yun Gu, Madelynne Olexa, Ru-Rong Ji