There is no treatment for the neurodegenerative disorder Huntington disease (HD). Cystamine is a candidate drug; however, the mechanisms by which it operates remain unclear. We show here that cystamine increases levels of the heat shock DnaJ-containing protein 1b (HSJ1b) that are low in HD patients. HSJ1b inhibits polyQ-huntingtin–induced death of striatal neurons and neuronal dysfunction in Caenorhabditis elegans. This neuroprotective effect involves stimulation of the secretory pathway through formation of clathrin-coated vesicles containing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Cystamine increases BDNF secretion from the Golgi region that is blocked by reducing HSJ1b levels or by overexpressing transglutaminase. We demonstrate that cysteamine, the FDA-approved reduced form of cystamine, is neuroprotective in HD mice by increasing BDNF levels in brain. Finally, cysteamine increases serum levels of BDNF in mouse and primate models of HD. Therefore, cysteamine is a potential treatment for HD, and serum BDNF levels can be used as a biomarker for drug efficacy.
Maria Borrell-Pagès, Josep M. Canals, Fabrice P. Cordelières, J. Alex Parker, José R. Pineda, Ghislaine Grange, Elzbieta A. Bryson, Martine Guillermier, Etienne Hirsch, Philippe Hantraye, Michael E. Cheetham, Christian Néri, Jordi Alberch, Emmanuel Brouillet, Frédéric Saudou, Sandrine Humbert
The role of activated microglia (MG) in demyelinating neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis is controversial. Here we show that high, but not low, levels of IFN-γ (a cytokine associated with inflammatory autoimmune diseases) conferred on rodent MG a phenotype that impeded oligodendrogenesis from adult neural stem/progenitor cells. IL-4 reversed the impediment, attenuated TNF-α production, and overcame blockage of IGF-I production caused by IFN-γ. In rodents with acute or chronic EAE, injection of IL-4–activated MG into the cerebrospinal fluid resulted in increased oligodendrogenesis in the spinal cord and improved clinical symptoms. The newly formed oligodendrocytes were spatially associated with MG expressing MHC class II proteins and IGF-I. These results point to what we believe to be a novel role for MG in oligodendrogenesis from the endogenous stem cell pool.
Oleg Butovsky, Gennady Landa, Gilad Kunis, Yaniv Ziv, Hila Avidan, Nadav Greenberg, Adi Schwartz, Igor Smirnov, Ayala Pollack, Steffen Jung, Michal Schwartz
Disruption of cholinergic neurotransmission contributes to the memory impairment that characterizes Alzheimer disease (AD). Since the amyloid cascade hypothesis of AD pathogenesis postulates that amyloid β (Aβ) peptide accumulation in critical brain regions also contributes to memory impairment, we assessed cholinergic function in transgenic mice where the human Aβ peptide is overexpressed. We first measured hippocampal acetylcholine (ACh) release in young, freely moving PDAPP mice, a well-characterized transgenic mouse model of AD, and found marked Aβ-dependent alterations in both basal and evoked ACh release compared with WT controls. We also found that Aβ could directly interact with the high-affinity choline transporter which may impair steady-state and on-demand ACh release. Treatment of PDAPP mice with the anti-Aβ antibody m266 rapidly and completely restored hippocampal ACh release and high-affinity choline uptake while greatly reducing impaired habituation learning that is characteristic of these mice. Thus, soluble “cholinotoxic” species of the Aβ peptide can directly impair cholinergic neurotransmission in PDAPP mice leading to memory impairment in the absence of overt neurodegeneration. Treatment with certain anti-Aβ antibodies may therefore rapidly reverse this cholinergic dysfunction and relieve memory deficits associated with early AD.
Kelly R. Bales, Eleni T. Tzavara, Su Wu, Mark R. Wade, Frank P. Bymaster, Steven M. Paul, George G. Nomikos
Accumulation and aggregation of amyloid β peptide 1–42 (Aβ42) in the brain has been hypothesized as triggering a pathological cascade that causes Alzheimer disease (AD). To determine whether selective targeting of Aβ42 versus Aβ40 or total Aβ is an effective way to prevent or treat AD, we compared the effects of passive immunization with an anti-Aβ42 mAb, an anti-Aβ40 mAb, and multiple Aβ1–16 mAbs. We established in vivo binding selectivity of the anti-Aβ42 and anti-Aβ40 mAbs using novel TgBRI-Aβ mice. We then conducted a prevention study in which the anti-Aβ mAbs were administered to young Tg2576 mice, which have no significant Aβ deposition, and therapeutic studies in which mAbs were administered to Tg2576 or CRND8 mice with modest levels of preexisting Aβ deposits. Anti-Aβ42, anti-Aβ40, and anti-Aβ1–16 mAbs attenuated plaque deposition in the prevention study. In contrast, anti-Aβ42 and anti-Aβ40 mAbs were less effective in attenuating Aβ deposition in the therapeutic studies and were not effective in clearing diffuse plaques following direct injection into the cortex. These data suggest that selective targeting of Aβ42 or Aβ40 may be an effective strategy to prevent amyloid deposition, but may have limited benefit in a therapeutic setting.
Yona Levites, Pritam Das, Robert W. Price, Marjorie J. Rochette, Lisa A. Kostura, Eileen M. McGowan, Michael P. Murphy, Todd E. Golde
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