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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) consists of a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by behavioural and executive impairment, language disorders and motor dysfunction. About 20-30 % of cases are inherited in a dominant manner. Mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau gene (MAPT) cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17T). Here we report a novel MAPT mutation (K298E) in exon 10 in a patient with FTDP-17T. Neuropathological studies of post-mortem brain showed widespread neuronal loss and gliosis and abundant deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau in neurons and glia. Molecular studies demonstrated that the K298E mutation affects both protein function and alternative mRNA splicing. Fibroblasts from a skin biopsy of the proband taken at post-mortem were directly induced into neurons (iNs) and expressed both 3-repeat and 4-repeat tau isoforms. As well as contributing new knowledge on MAPT mutations in FTDP-17T, this is the first example of the successful generation of iNs from skin cells retrieved post-mortem.
    Acta Neuropathologica 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: A severe complication of spinal cord injury is loss of bladder function (neurogenic bladder), which is characterized by loss of bladder sensation and voluntary control of micturition (urination), and spontaneous hyperreflexive voiding against a closed sphincter (detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia). A sacral anterior root stimulator at low frequency can drive volitional bladder voiding, but surgical rhizotomy of the lumbosacral dorsal roots is needed to prevent spontaneous voiding and dyssynergia. However, rhizotomy is irreversible and eliminates sexual function, and the stimulator gives no information on bladder fullness. We designed a closed-loop neuroprosthetic interface that measures bladder fullness and prevents spontaneous voiding episodes without the need for dorsal rhizotomy in a rat model. To obtain bladder sensory information, we implanted teased dorsal roots (rootlets) within the rat vertebral column into microchannel electrodes, which provided signal amplification and noise suppression. As long as they were attached to the spinal cord, these rootlets survived for up to 3 months and contained axons and blood vessels. Electrophysiological recordings showed that half of the rootlets propagated action potentials, with firing frequency correlated to bladder fullness. When the bladder became full enough to initiate spontaneous voiding, high-frequency/amplitude sensory activity was detected. Voiding was abolished using a high-frequency depolarizing block to the ventral roots. A ventral root stimulator initiated bladder emptying at low frequency and prevented unwanted contraction at high frequency. These data suggest that sensory information from the dorsal root together with a ventral root stimulator could form the basis for a closed-loop bladder neuroprosthetic.
    Science translational medicine 11/2013; 5(210):210ra155.
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological aggregation of alpha-synuclein as Lewy-bodies and neurites is a hallmark of a group of neurodegenerative disorders named alpha-synucleinopathies. It is becoming apparent that alpha-synuclein facilitates presynaptic neuronal function in the brain, and events leading to its aggregation produce marked disruption of neurotransmitter release mechanism. We discuss here the literature related to the function of alpha-synuclein at the neuronal synapse in synucleinopathies brains and corresponding animal models.
    CNS & neurological disorders drug targets 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: After spinal cord injury (SCi), re-establishing functional circuitry in the damaged central nervous system (CNS) faces multiple challenges including lost tissue volume, insufficient intrinsic growth capacity of adult neurons, and the inhibitory environment in the damaged CNS. Several treatment strategies have been developed over the past three decades, but successful restoration of sensory and motor functions will probably require a combination of approaches to address different aspects of the problem. Degradation of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans with the chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) enzyme removes a regeneration barrier from the glial scar and increases plasticity in the CNS by removing perineuronal nets. its mechanism of action does not clash or overlap with most of the other treatment strategies, making ChABC an attractive candidate as a combinational partner with other methods. in this article, we review studies in rat SCi models using ChABC combined with other treatments including cell implantation, growth factors, myelin-inhibitory molecule blockers, and ion channel expression. We discuss possible ways to optimize treatment protocols for future combinational studies. To date, combinational therapies with ChABC have shown synergistic effects with several other strategies in enhancing functional recovery after SCi. These combinatorial approaches can now be developed for clinical application.
    Neuroscience Bulletin 07/2013;
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    Journal of Neurology 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The early and accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the first step towards optimal patient management. The aim of this study was to investigate the major determinants of delayed diagnosis in PD. We recruited a population-representative cohort of 239 newly-diagnosed PD patients who underwent clinical and neuropsychological evaluation. Non-parametric methods were used to define the factors associated with diagnostic delay. The median time from motor symptom onset to primary care physician (PCP) presentation was considerably longer than the time from PCP presentation to PD diagnosis (11 vs. 1 months). Male sex and presenting motor phenotype were independently associated with delayed PCP presentation on Cox regression analysis. Patients presenting with gait disturbance experienced the longest delay, whilst those presenting with tremor had the shortest. In summary, male sex and presenting motor phenotype are key determinants of delayed diagnosis in PD.
    Journal of Neurology 04/2013;
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    Journal of Neurology 12/2012;
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    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Sodium channel blocking agents such as lamotrigine are potent agents for neuroprotection in several animal models of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disease. We therefore explored whether lamotrigine therapy was neuroprotective in a rat model of ocular hypertension characterized by axonal injury and selective loss of retinal ganglion cells. Twenty-seven male Wistar rats were injected subcutaneously twice daily with either lamotrigine (14 mg/kg/day) or vehicle. Two weeks after the first injection, experimental ocular hypertension was induced in one eye by 532 nm trabecular laser treatment. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was monitored by rebound tonometry and four weeks after the elevation of IOP the loss of optic nerve axons was quantified relative to eyes without either IOP elevation or lamotrigine exposure. In other animals with ocular hypertension, the optic nerves were examined by immunohistochemistry for the expression of the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) at 7 and 28 days. Four weeks after initiation of IOP elevation, no significant difference in axonal loss was observed between rats treated with lamotrigine (30.8% ± 10.5%) or vehicle (17.8% ± 5.7%) (P = 0.19, T-test). There was no significant difference in mean IOP, peak IOP and integral IOP exposure. Furthermore, optic nerve axon counts per unit integral IOP exposure were similar in both groups (P = 0.44). The optic nerves were not positive for the expression of iNOS. In conclusion, this study provides no evidence that lamotrigine is neuroprotective for RGC axons after four weeks of experimental ocular hypertension in the rat, in a model where axonal degeneration occurs in the absence of iNOS expression.
    Experimental Eye Research 09/2012; 104C:1-6.
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that the slow Wallerian degeneration mutation, whilst delaying axonal degeneration after optic nerve crush, does not protect retinal ganglion cell (RGC) bodies in adult rats. To test the effects of a combination approach protecting both axons and cell bodies we performed combined optic nerve crush and lens injury, which results in both enhanced RGC survival as well as axon regeneration past the lesion site in wildtype animals. As previously reported we found that the Wld(S) mutation does not protect RGC bodies after optic nerve crush alone. Surprisingly, we found that Wld(S) transgenic rats did not exhibit the enhanced RGC survival response after combined optic nerve crush and lens injury that was observed in wildtype rats. RGC axon regeneration past the optic nerve lesion site was, however, similar in Wld(S) and wildtypes. Furthermore, activation of retinal glia, previously shown to be associated with enhanced RGC survival and axon regeneration after optic nerve crush and lens injury, was unaffected in Wld(S) transgenic rats. RGC axon regeneration is similar between Wld(S) transgenic and wildtype rats, but Wld(S) transgenic rats do not exhibit enhanced RGC survival after combined optic nerve crush and lens injury suggesting that the neuroprotective effects of lens injury on RGC survival may be limited by the Wld(S) protein.
    BMC Neuroscience 06/2012; 13:56.
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