Dopamine and α-synuclein dysfunction in Smad3 null mice

Departamento de Neurobiología-Investigación, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, IRYCIS, Madrid, Spain.
Molecular Neurodegeneration (Impact Factor: 6.56). 10/2011; 6(1):72. DOI: 10.1186/1750-1326-6-72
Source: PubMed


Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra (SN). Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) levels increase in patients with PD, although the effects of this increment remain unclear. We have examined the mesostriatal system in adult mice deficient in Smad3, a molecule involved in the intracellular TGF-β1 signalling cascade.
Striatal monoamine oxidase (MAO)-mediated dopamine (DA) catabolism to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) is strongly increased, promoting oxidative stress that is reflected by an increase in glutathione levels. Fewer astrocytes are detected in the ventral midbrain (VM) and striatal matrix, suggesting decreased trophic support to dopaminergic neurons. The SN of these mice has dopaminergic neuronal degeneration in its rostral portion, and the pro-survival Erk1/2 signalling is diminished in nigra dopaminergic neurons, not associated with alterations to p-JNK or p-p38. Furthermore, inclusions of α-synuclein are evident in selected brain areas, both in the perikaryon (SN and paralemniscal nucleus) or neurites (motor and cingulate cortices, striatum and spinal cord). Interestingly, these α-synuclein deposits are detected with ubiquitin and P(S129)-α-synuclein in a core/halo cellular distribution, which resemble those observed in human Lewy bodies (LB).
Smad3 deficiency promotes strong catabolism of DA in the striatum (ST), decrease trophic and astrocytic support to dopaminergic neurons and may induce α-synuclein aggregation, which may be related to early parkinsonism. These data underline a role for Smad3 in α-synuclein and DA homeostasis, and suggest that modulatory molecules of this signalling pathway should be evaluated as possible neuroprotective agents.

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    • "As Smad3 null mice develop to adulthood [22], we took advantage of this genetic model to study the contribution of Smad3 to the adult DG. We previously showed that Smad3 promotes the postnatal survival of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: New neurons are continuously being generated in the adult hippocampus, a phenomenon that is regulated by external stimuli, such as learning, memory, exercise, environment or stress. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying neuron production and how they are integrated into existing circuits under such physiological conditions remain unclear. Indeed, the intracellular modulators that transduce the extracellular signals are not yet fully understood. We show that Smad3, an intracellular molecule involved in the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta signaling cascade, is strongly expressed by granule cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) of adult mice, although the loss of Smad3 in null mutant mice does not affect their survival. Smad3 is also expressed by adult progenitor cells in the subgranular zone (SGZ) and more specifically, it is first expressed by Type 2 cells (intermediate progenitor cells). Its expression persists through the distinct cell stages towards that of the mature neuron. Interestingly, proliferative intermediate progenitor cells die in Smad3 deficiency, which is associated with a large decrease in the production of newborn neurons in Smad3 deficient mice. Smad3 signaling appears to influence adult neurogenesis fulfilling distinct roles in the rostral and mid-caudal regions of the DG. In rostral areas, Smad3 deficiency increases proliferation and promotes the cell cycle exit of undifferentiated progenitor cells. By contrast, Smad3 deficiency impairs the survival of newborn neurons in the mid-caudal region of the DG at early proliferative stages, activating apoptosis of intermediate progenitor cells. Furthermore, long-term potentiation (LTP) after high frequency stimulation (HFS) to the medial perforant path (MPP) was abolished in the DG of Smad3-deficient mice. These data show that endogenous Smad3 signaling is central to neurogenesis and LTP induction in the adult DG, these being two forms of hippocampal brain plasticity related to learning and memory that decline with aging and as a result of neurological disorders.
    Cell Communication and Signaling 12/2013; 11(1):93. DOI:10.1186/1478-811X-11-93 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition, there is ample evidence that TGF-␤ promotes the survival of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra [53]. A preliminary study in knockout mice showed that disruption of the TGF-␤ signalling cascade in neurons promotes catabolism of DA in the striatum, decreased trophic and astrocytic support to dopaminergic neurons, as well as possibly inducing ␣-synuclein accumulation [54]. Recently, a radiotracer named [ 89 Zr]-fresolimumab was preclinically evaluated in vitro and in vivo for the detection and quantification of tumours that overexpress TGF␤ [55]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) has not yet been completely elucidated. However, during the past few years, significant progress has been made in understanding the intra- and extracellular mechanisms by which proteins such as alpha-synuclein and neuroinflammatory molecules may display impaired function and/or expression in PD. Recent developments in imaging techniques based on positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) now allow the non-invasive tracking of such molecular targets of known relevance to PD in vivo. This article summarizes recent PET and SPECT studies of new radiopharmaceuticals and discusses their potential role and perspectives for use in the fields of new drug development and early diagnosis for PD, as well to aid in differential diagnosis and monitoring of the progression of PD.
    08/2013; 3(3). DOI:10.3233/JPD-130207
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Inflammatory responses manifested by glial reactions, T cell infiltration, and increased expression of inflammatory cytokines, as well as other toxic mediators derived from activated glial cells, are currently recognized as prominent features of PD. The consistent findings obtained by various animal models of PD suggest that neuroinflammation is an important contributor to the pathogenesis of the disease and may further propel the progressive loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons. Furthermore, although it may not be the primary cause of PD, additional epidemiological, genetic, pharmacological, and imaging evidence support the proposal that inflammatory processes in this specific brain region are crucial for disease progression. Recent in vitro studies, however, have suggested that activation of microglia and subsequently astrocytes via mediators released by injured dopaminergic neurons is involved. However, additional in vivo experiments are needed for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved in PD pathogenesis. Further insight on the mechanisms of inflammation in PD will help to further develop alternative therapeutic strategies that will specifically and temporally target inflammatory processes without abrogating the potential benefits derived by neuroinflammation, such as tissue restoration.
    07/2012; 88:69-132. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-398314-5.00004-0
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