Targeting p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Restores Subventricular Zone Neural Stem Cells and Corrects Neuromotor Deficits in Atm Knockout Mouse

Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas, USA.
STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE (Impact Factor: 5.71). 07/2012; 1(7):548-56. DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2011-0063
Source: PubMed


Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is a progressive degenerative disorder that results in major neurological disability. In A-T patients, necropsy has revealed atrophy of cerebellar cortical layers along with Purkinje and granular cell loss. We have previously identified an oxidative stress-mediated increase in phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the resultant downregulation of Bmi-1 and upregulation of p21 as key components of the mechanism causing defective proliferation of neural stem cells (NSCs) isolated from the subventricular zone (SVZ) of Atm(-/-) mice. However, the in vivo aspect of alteration in SVZ tissue and the functional significance of p38MAPK activation in NSCs for neuropathogenesis of ATM deficiency remain unknown. Here we show that the NSC population was abnormally decreased in the SVZ of 3-month-old Atm(-/-) mice; this decrease was accompanied by p38MAPK activation. However, after a 2-month treatment with the p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580, starting at 1 month old, Atm(-/-) mice showed restoration of normal levels of Bmi-1 and p21 with the rescue of NSC population in the SVZ. In addition, treated Atm(-/-) mice exhibited more Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. Most importantly, motor coordination of Atm(-/-) mice was significantly improved in the treatment group. Our results show for the first time in vivo evidence of depleted NSCs in the SVZ of Atm(-/-) mice and also demonstrate that pharmacologic inhibition of p38MAPK signaling has the potential to treat neurological defects of A-T. This study provides a promising approach targeting the oxidative stress-dependent p38 signaling pathway not only for A-T but also for other neurodegenerative disorders.

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    ABSTRACT: Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) is caused by a mutation in the ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) gene; the condition is associated with hyper-radiosensitivity, abnormal cell-cycle checkpoints, and genomic instability. AT patients also show cerebellar ataxia, possibly due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) sensitivity in neural cells. The ATM protein is a key regulator of the DNA damage response. Recently, several AT-like disorders have been reported. The genes responsible for them are predicted to encode proteins that interact with ATM in the DNA-damage response. Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia types 1-3 (AOA1, 2, and 3) result in a neurodegenerative and cellular phenotype similar to AT; however, the basis of this phenotypic similarity is unclear. Here, we show that the cells of AOA3 patients display aberrant ATM-dependent phosphorylation and apoptosis following γ-irradiation. The ATM-dependent response to H2O2 treatment was abrogated in AOA3 cells. Furthermore, AOA3 cells had reduced ATM activity. Our results suggest that the attenuated ATM-related response is caused by an increase in endogenous ROS in AOA3 cells. Pretreatment of cells with pyocyanin, which induces endogenous ROS production, abolished the ATM-dependent response. Moreover, AOA3 cells had decreased homologous recombination (HR) activity, and pyocyanin pretreatment reduced HR activity in HeLa cells. These results indicate that excess endogenous ROS represses the ATM-dependent cellular response and HR repair in AOA3 cells. Since the ATM-dependent cell-cycle checkpoint is an important block to carcinogenesis, such inactivation of ATM may lead to tumorigenesis as well as neurodegeneration. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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