[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric deficits as well as neurodegeneration and brain atrophy beginning in the striatum and the cortex and extending to other subcortical brain regions. The genetic cause is an expansion of the CAG repeat stretch in the HTT gene encoding huntingtin protein (htt). Here, we generated an HD transgenic rat model using a human bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), which contains the full-length HTT genomic sequence with 97 CAG/CAA repeats and all regulatory elements. BACHD transgenic rats display a robust, early onset and progressive HD-like phenotype including motor deficits and anxiety-related symptoms. In contrast to BAC and yeast artificial chromosome HD mouse models that express full-length mutant huntingtin, BACHD rats do not exhibit an increased body weight. Neuropathologically, the distribution of neuropil aggregates and nuclear accumulation of N-terminal mutant huntingtin in BACHD rats is similar to the observations in human HD brains. Aggregates occur more frequently in the cortex than in the striatum and neuropil aggregates appear earlier than mutant htt accumulation in the nucleus. Furthermore, we found an imbalance in the striatal striosome and matrix compartments in early stages of the disease. In addition, reduced dopamine receptor binding was detectable by in vivo imaging. Our data demonstrate that this transgenic BACHD rat line may be a valuable model for further understanding the disease mechanisms and for preclinical pharmacological studies.
Journal of Neuroscience 10/2012; 32(44):15426-15438. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: αB-crystallin is a member of the heat shock protein family that exerts cell protection under several stress-related conditions. Recent studies have revealed that αB-crystallin plays a beneficial role in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, brain ischemia, and Alexander disease. Whether αB-crystallin plays a role in modulating the secondary damage after CNS trauma is not known. We report here that αB-crystallin mediates protective effects after spinal cord injury. The levels of αB-crystallin are reduced in spinal cord tissue following contusion lesion. In addition, administration of recombinant human αB-crystallin for the first week after contusion injury leads to sustained improvement in locomotor skills and amelioration of secondary tissue damage. We also provide evidence that recombinant human αB-crystallin modulates the inflammatory response in the injured spinal cord, leading to increased infiltration of granulocytes and reduced recruitment of inflammatory macrophages. Furthermore, the delivery of recombinant human αB-crystallin promotes greater locomotor recovery even when the treatment is initiated 6 h after spinal cord injury. Our findings suggest that administration of recombinant human αB-crystallin may be a good therapeutic approach for treating acute spinal cord injury, for which there is currently no effective treatment.
Journal of Neuroscience 10/2012; 32(42):14478-88. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormal iron homeostasis is increasingly thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders. We have previously reported impaired iron homeostasis in a mouse model of spinal cord injury and in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Both these disorders are associated with CNS inflammation. However, what effect inflammation, and in particular, inflammatory cytokines have on iron homeostasis in CNS glia remains largely unknown. Here we report that the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α, and the anti-inflammatory cytokine TGF-β1 affect iron homeostasis in astrocytes and microglia in distinct ways. Treatment of astrocytes in vitro with TNF-α induced the expression of the iron importer "divalent iron transporter 1" (DMT1) and suppressed the expression of the iron exporter ferroportin (FPN). However, TGF-β1 had no effect on DMT1 expression but increased the expression of FPN in astrocytes. In microglia, on the other hand, both cytokines caused induction of DMT1 and suppression of FPN expression. Iron influx and efflux assays in vitro confirmed that iron homeostasis in astrocytes and microglia is differentially regulated by these cytokines. In particular, TNF-α caused an increase in iron uptake and retention by both astrocytes and microglia, while TGF-β1 promoted iron efflux from astrocytes but caused iron retention in microglia. These data suggest that these two cytokines, which are expressed in CNS inflammation in injury and disease, can have profound and divergent effects on iron homeostasis in astrocytes and microglia.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal cord injury (SCI) triggers inflammatory responses that involve neutrophils, macrophages/microglia and astrocytes and molecules that potentially cause secondary tissue damage and functional impairment. Here, we assessed the contribution of the calcium-dependent K⁺ channel KCNN4 (KCa3.1, IK1, SK4) to secondary damage after moderate contusion lesions in the lower thoracic spinal cord of adult mice. Changes in KCNN4 mRNA levels (RT-PCR), KCa3.1 protein expression (Western blots), and cellular expression (immunofluorescence) in the mouse spinal cord were monitored between 1 and 28 d after SCI. KCNN4 mRNA and KCa3.1 protein rapidly increased after SCI; double labeling identified astrocytes as the main cellular source accounting for this upregulation. Locomotor function after SCI, evaluated for 28 d in an open-field test using the Basso Mouse Scale, was improved in a dose-dependent manner by treating mice with a selective inhibitor of KCa3.1 channels, TRAM-34 (triarylmethane-34). Improved locomotor function was accompanied by reduced tissue loss at 28 d and increased neuron and axon sparing. The rescue of tissue by TRAM-34 treatment was preceded by reduced expression of the proinflammatory mediators, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β in spinal cord tissue at 12 h after injury, and reduced expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase at 7 d after SCI. In astrocytes in vitro, TRAM-34 inhibited Ca²⁺ signaling in response to metabotropic purinergic receptor stimulation. These results suggest that blocking the KCa3.1 channel could be a potential therapeutic approach for treating secondary damage after spinal cord injury.
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2011; 31(45):16298-308. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2) plays an important role in defense against bacterial infection by interfering with bacterial iron acquisition. Although Lcn2 is expressed in a number of aseptic inflammatory conditions, its role in these conditions remains unclear. We examined the expression and role of Lcn2 after spinal cord injury (SCI) in adult mice by using a contusion injury model. Lcn2 expression at the protein level is rapidly increased 12-fold at 1 d after SCI and decreases gradually thereafter, being three times as high as control levels at 21 d after injury. Lcn2 expression is strongly induced after contusion injury in astrocytes, neurons, and neutrophils. The Lcn2 receptor (Lcn2R), which has been shown to influence cell survival, is also expressed after SCI in the same cell types. Lcn2-deficient (Lcn2⁻/⁻) mice showed significantly better locomotor recovery after spinal cord contusion injury than wild-type (Lcn2⁺/⁺) mice. Histological assessments indicate improved neuronal and tissue survival and greater sparing of myelin in Lcn2⁻/⁻ mice after contusion injury. Flow cytometry showed a decrease in neutrophil influx and a small increase in the monocyte population in Lcn2⁻/⁻ injured spinal cords. This change was accompanied by a reduction in the expression of several pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase early after SCI in Lcn2⁻/⁻ mice compared with wild-type animals. Our results, therefore, suggest a role for Lcn2 in regulating inflammation in the injured spinal cord and that lack of Lcn2 reduces secondary damage and improves locomotor recovery after spinal cord contusion injury.
Journal of Neuroscience 09/2011; 31(38):13412-9. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in permanent loss of motor functions. A significant aspect of the tissue damage and functional loss may be preventable as it occurs, secondary to the trauma. We show that the phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) superfamily plays important roles in SCI. PLA(2) enzymes hydrolyze membrane glycerophospholipids to yield a free fatty acid and lysophospholipid. Some free fatty acids (arachidonic acid) give rise to eicosanoids that promote inflammation, while some lysophospholipids (lysophosphatidylcholine) cause demyelination. We show in a mouse model of SCI that two cytosolic forms [calcium-dependent PLA(2) group IVA (cPLA(2) GIVA) and calcium-independent PLA(2) group VIA (iPLA(2) GVIA)], and a secreted form [secreted PLA(2) group IIA (sPLA(2) GIIA)] are up-regulated. Using selective inhibitors and null mice, we show that these PLA(2)s play differing roles. cPLA(2) GIVA mediates protection, whereas sPLA(2) GIIA and, to a lesser extent, iPLA(2) GVIA are detrimental. Furthermore, completely blocking all three PLA(2)s worsens outcome, while the most beneficial effects are seen by partial inhibition of all three. The partial inhibitor enhances expression of cPLA(2) and mediates its beneficial effects via the prostaglandin EP1 receptor. These findings indicate that drugs that inhibit detrimental forms of PLA(2) (sPLA(2) and iPLA2) and up-regulate the protective form (cPLA2) may be useful for the treatment of SCI.
The FASEB Journal 08/2011; 25(12):4240-52. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prostaglandin D(2) (PGD(2) ) is a potent inflammatory mediator, which is implicated in both the initiation and resolution of inflammation in peripheral non-neural tissues. Its role in the central nervous system has not been fully elucidated. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with an acute inflammatory response, which contributes to secondary tissue damage that worsens functional loss. We show here, with the use of hematopoietic prostaglandin D synthase (HPGDS) deficient mice and a HPGDS selective inhibitor (HQL-79), that PGD(2) plays a detrimental role after SCI. We also show that HPGDS is expressed in macrophages in the injured mouse spinal cord and contributes to the increase in PGD(2) in the contused spinal cord. HPGDS(-/-) mice also show reduced secondary tissue damage and reduced expression of the proinflammatory chemokine CXCL10 as well as an increase in IL-6 and TGFβ-1 expression in the injured spinal cord. This was accompanied by a reduction in the expression of the microglia/macrophage activation marker Mac-2 and an increase in the antioxidant metallothionein III. Importantly, HPGDS deficient mice exhibit significantly better locomotor recovery after spinal cord contusion injury than wild-type (Wt) mice. In addition, systemically administered HPGDS inhibitor (HQL-79) also enhanced locomotor recovery after SCI in Wt mice. These data suggest that PGD(2) generated via HPGDS has detrimental effects after SCI and that blocking the activity of this enzyme can be beneficial.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The inflammatory response is thought to contribute to secondary damage after spinal cord injury (SCI). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play an important role in the onset and resolution of inflammation. Arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 PUFA, contributes to the initiation of inflammatory responses, whereas docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 PUFA, has antiinflammatory effects. Therefore, decreasing AA and increasing DHA levels after SCI might be expected to attenuate inflammation after SCI and promote tissue protection and functional recovery. We show here that daily oral administration of fenretinide after spinal cord contusion injury led to a significant decrease in AA and an increase in DHA levels in plasma and injured spinal cord tissue. This was accompanied by a significant reduction in tissue damage and improvement in locomotor recovery. Fenretinide also reduced the expression of proinflammatory genes and the levels of oxidative stress markers after SCI. In addition, in vitro studies demonstrated that fenretinide reduced TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) expression by reactive microglia. These results demonstrate that fenretinide treatment after SCI can reduce inflammation and tissue damage in the spinal cord and improve locomotor recovery. These beneficial effects may be mediated via the ability of fenretinide to modulate PUFA homeostasis. Since fenretinide is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of cancers, this drug might be a good candidate for the treatment of acute SCI in humans.
Journal of Neuroscience 03/2010; 30(9):3220-6. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CNS injury-induced hemorrhage and tissue damage leads to excess iron, which can cause secondary degeneration. The mechanisms that handle this excess iron are not fully understood. We report that spinal cord contusion injury (SCI) in mice induces an "iron homeostatic response" that partially limits iron-catalyzed oxidative damage. We show that ceruloplasmin (Cp), a ferroxidase that oxidizes toxic ferrous iron, is important for this process. SCI in Cp-deficient mice demonstrates that Cp detoxifies and mobilizes iron and reduces secondary tissue degeneration and functional loss. Our results provide new insights into how astrocytes and macrophages handle iron after SCI. Importantly, we show that iron chelator treatment has a delayed effect in improving locomotor recovery between 3 and 6 weeks after SCI. These data reveal important aspects of the molecular control of CNS iron homeostasis after SCI and suggest that iron chelator therapy may improve functional recovery after CNS trauma and hemorrhagic stroke.
Journal of Neuroscience 12/2008; 28(48):12736-47. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal cord injury affects thousands of people every year, however, treatment options are currently limited and none are universally accepted. Inflammation has been shown to play a critical role in propagating secondary damage which exacerbates the initial trauma, therefore modulating the inflammatory response after injury has therapeutic potential. As prostaglandins are powerful inflammatory mediators in the periphery, I have examined the role of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) after spinal cord injury. My thesis provides evidence that PGD2 produced from hematopoietic prostaglandin D synthase plays a detrimental role in locomotor recovery. Blocking HPGDS or its receptor DP1, leads to reduced secondary damage, accompanied by changes in the immune response as well as improved locomotor recovery. My thesis provides new data about the inflammatory response that follows spinal cord injury as well as providing insight into possible therapeutic treatments for the future. Les lésions médullaires touchent des milliers de personnes chaque année. Cependant, il n'existe pas encore de consensus sur le traitement à adopter et les stratégies thérapeutiques offertes restent limitées. Il est à présent clairement établi que la réaction inflammatoire qui succède au traumatisme initial joue un rôle critique dans le développement de lésions secondaires. C'est pourquoi la modulation de la réponse inflammatoire possède un potentiel thérapeutique non négligeable. Etant donné que les prostaglandines sont de puissants médiateurs de l'inflammation dans le système périphérique, j'ai étudié le rôle de la prostaglandine D2 (PGD2) dans un modèle expérimental de lésion médullaire. Ma thèse démontre que PGD2, produite par l'hématopoïétique prostaglandine D synthase joue un rôle déterminant dans la récupération fonctionnelle. Bloquer HPGDS ou son récepteur DP1 entraîne une réduction des lésions secondaires, un changement de la réponse immunitaire ainsi qu'une amélioration de la récupération fonctionnelle. Ma thèse fournit de nouvelles données sur la réponse inflammatoire consécutive aux lésions de la moelle épinière, elle ouvre également une fenêtre sur de potentielles stratégies thérapeutiques.