[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The breast cancer susceptibility protein BRCA2 is essential for recombinational DNA repair. BRCA2 specifically binds to RAD51 via eight BRC repeat motifs and delivers RAD51 to double-stranded DNA breaks. In this study, a mammalian two-hybrid assay and competitive ELISA showed that the interaction between BRC repeat 4 (BRC4) and RAD51 was strengthened by the substitution of a single BRC4 amino acid from valine to isoleucine (V1532I). However, the cancer-associated V1532F mutant exhibited very weak interaction with RAD51. This study used a comparative analysis of BRC4 between animal species to identify V1532 as an important residue that interacts with RAD51.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spina bifida aperta (SBA) is an open neural tube defect that occurs during the embryonic period. We created SBA chicks by incising the roof plate of the neural tube in the embryo. The area of the dorsal funiculus was smaller in the SBA chicks than in the normal controls. Additionally, the SBA group had fewer nerve fibres in the dorsal funiculus than the normal controls. The pathway of the ascending sensory nerves was revealed by tracing the degenerated nerve fibres using osmification. We cut the sciatic nerve (L5) of the control and SBA chicks at the central end of the dorsal root ganglion 1 day after hatching and fixed the tissue 3 days later. Degenerated sensory nerve fibres were observed in the ipsilateral dorsal funiculus in the control chicks. In contrast, degenerated sensory nerve fibres were observed in the ipsilateral and contralateral dorsal, ventral and lateral funiculi of the spinal cord in the SBA chicks. Consequently, fewer sensory nerve fibres ascended to the thoracic dorsal funiculus in the SBA chicks than in the normal controls. This is the first report of abnormal changes in the ascending sensory nerve fibres in SBA.
Neuroscience Research 05/2011; 71(1):85-91. · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spina bifida aperta (SBA) is a congenital malformation of the spinal cord with complications such as spinal ataxia and bowel and bladder dysfunction. We have developed a chick model with surgery-induced SBA that shows spinal ataxia after hatching. In the present study, motor neurons in the early stages in chicks with and without SBA were observed by immunohistochemical staining with a monoclonal antibody against Islet-1, a motor neuron marker. Delay in migration and maturation of motor neurons was observed in SBA. Although the final numbers of Islet-1-positive neurons in these two groups were not different, a defect in the production and elimination of excess motor neurons in the early developmental stages in the SBA group may be involved in the pathological mechanism of the motor complications of this disease.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 11/2010; 73(4):447-52. · 0.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here we present the first evidence that muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) antigen can cause myasthenia in animals. MuSK is expressed at the postsynaptic membranes of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) and forms complexes with acetylcholine receptors (AChR) and rapsyn. MuSK is activated by agrin, which is released from motoneurons, and induces AChR clustering and subsequent formation of NMJ in embryos. Notably, autoantibodies against MuSK were found in a proportion of patients with generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) but without the characteristic AChR autoantibodies. However, MuSK autoantibodies had no known pathogenic potential, and animals immunized with purified MuSK proteins did not develop MG in former studies. In contrast, we have now injected rabbits with MuSK ectodomain protein in vivo and evoked a MG-like muscle weakness with a reduction of AChR clustering at the NMJ. Our results showed that MuSK is required for maintenance of synapses and that interference with that function by MuSK antibodies causes myasthenic weakness. In vitro, AChR clustering in myotubes is induced by agrin and agrin-independent inducers, which do not activate MuSK. Neither the receptor nor the activation mechanisms of AChR clustering induced by agrin-independent inducers has been identified with certainty, but MuSK autoantibodies in myasthenic animals inhibited both agrin and agrin-independent AChR clustering. MuSK plays multiple roles in pre-patterning of the postsynaptic membrane before innervation and formation of NMJ in embryos. Some of these mechanisms may also participate in the maintenance of mature NMJ. This model system would provide new knowledge about the molecular pathogenesis of MG and MuSK functions in mature NMJ.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2008; 1132:93-8. · 4.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prosaposin acts as a neurotrophic factor, in addition to its role as the precursor protein for saposins A, B, C, and D, which are activators for specific sphingolipid hydrolases in lysosomes. In rats, the prosaposin gene generates two alternative splicing forms of mRNA: Pro + 9 containing a 9-base insertion and Pro + 0 without. The expression of these mRNAs changes after brain injury. We examined the expression patterns of the alternative splicing forms of prosaposin mRNA in the rat facial nerve nucleus for 52 days following facial nerve transection. Pro + 0 mRNA increased within 3 days of transection, peaked after 5–10 days, and remained significantly elevated for 21 days. In contrast, the expression of Pro + 9 mRNA was constant throughout the regenerative period. Prosaposin mRNA expression increased not only in facial motoneurons, but also in microglia during facial nerve regeneration. Our findings indicate that the saposin B domain of prosaposin, which is the domain affected by alternative splicing, plays an important role in both neurons and microglia during neuroregeneration.
Neuroscience Research 02/2008; · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) is critical for the synaptic clustering of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and plays multiple roles in the organization and maintenance of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). MuSK is activated by agrin, which is released from motoneurons, and induces AChR clustering at the postsynaptic membrane. Although autoantibodies against the ectodomain of MuSK have been found in a proportion of patients with generalized myasthenia gravis (MG), it is unclear whether MuSK autoantibodies are the causative agent of generalized MG. In the present study, rabbits immunized with MuSK ectodomain protein manifested MG-like muscle weakness with a reduction of AChR clustering at the NMJs. The autoantibodies activated MuSK and blocked AChR clustering induced by agrin or by mediators that do not activate MuSK. Thus MuSK autoantibodies rigorously inhibit AChR clustering mediated by multiple pathways, an outcome that broadens our general comprehension of the pathogenesis of MG.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 05/2006; 116(4):1016-24. · 13.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We created chicks with spina bifida aperta (SBA) by incising the roof plate of the neural tube of embryos at Hamburger and Hamilton stage 18 or 19. Incision over the length of three somites caused spina bifida occulta (SBO)-like malformation in 47% of the hatchlings. Incision over the length of five and seven somites caused SBA-like malformation in 100% of the hatchlings. The SBO chicks exhibited no symptoms, whereas the SBA chicks exhibited paralysis of a leg muscle and imbalance between an agonist and an antagonist leg muscles. Lesions in these SBA chicks were located in the spinal segments that give rise to motor neurons that innervated the dysfunctional muscles. Histological analysis revealed that there were fewer small spinal neurons (interneurons) at the site of the lesion in SBA chicks than in the normal chicks and that there was no such difference in the number of the large spinal neurons (motor neurons). Leg dysfunctions in this model of SBA may be attributable to the smaller number of interneurons in the spinal segments that contain motor neurons that innervate the dysfunctional muscle. This model may facilitate studies of the pathological mechanisms that lead to leg dysfunctions in SBA chicks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haptoglobin (Hp), a hemoglobin-binding protein, is known as an acute phase protein and increases during the acute phase of inflammation in most mammals. We reported previously in brown bears that the mean Hp concentrations were higher in blood samples obtained in winter than those in spring. To examine a possible relation of the seasonal variations of Hp to hibernation, in the present study, we measured the plasma concentrations of Hp as well as some other acute phase proteins (alpha(2)-macroglobulin, alpha(1)-antitrypsin, C-reactive protein) in 6 European brown bears (Ursus arctos), from which blood samples were obtained at 5-6 different months of year including February, the time of hibernation. The Hp concentrations showed clear seasonal variations, being highest in February. The alpha(2)-macroglobulin concentrations also showed a similar but much smaller rise in February, but those of alpha(1)-antitrypsin and C-reactive protein did not show any seasonal variations. Our results suggest that the seasonal variation of plasma Hp concentration in brown bears is associated with a hibernation-specific mechanism more than that of acute phase response.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A Molecular & Integrative Physiology 01/2006; 142(4):472-7. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cajal's initial glomeruli (IG) and Dogiel's pericellular nests (PCNs) were first described from methylene blue preparations of healthy animal tissues around the beginning of the last century. Since that time, although many reports have been published concerning these structures, few have focused on their development and phylogeny in healthy animals. The aim of this study was to examine the phylogenetic development of the sensory neurons in Cajal's IG (also called axonal glomeruli) and Dogiel's PCNs in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of the healthy adult frog, chick, rat, and rabbit. The three-dimensional architecture of the neurons was observed in ganglia by scanning electron microscopy after removal of the connective tissue. The neurons in the DRG of fish are known to be bipolar, but DRG neurons in the species examined here were found to be pseudounipolar, with single stem processes. The proportion of neurons having IG or PCNs increased with increasing phylogenetic complexity in the species examined here. Cajal's initial glomeruli, the convolution of the stem process near the parent cell body: In frogs, the ganglia were small and the neuronal stem processes were very short and straight. In chicks, the stem processes were longer; sometimes very long, tortuous processes were observed. However, no neurons with typical IG were observed in either species. Typical IG were observed in rats and rabbits; their occurrence was much more frequent in rabbits. Pseudounipolarization, i.e., the transition from bipolar to pseudounipolar neurons, is thought to save space, limit the length of neuronal processes, and reduce conduction time. However, an explanation of the evolutionary advantage of the IG, which is formed by the excessive prolongation of the stem process, remains elusive. The cytological and electrophysiological importance of IG has been discussed. Dogiel's pericellular nests (PCNs), which resemble balls of yarn made of thin unmyelinated nerve fibers around DRG neurons, have been observed in the DRG of rats and rabbits, but not in frogs or chicks. This interesting structure shows not only ontogenetic development in healthy animals but also phylogenetic development among species. The nerve fibers in the PCNs were less than 1.2 mum in diameter and had some varicosities. An immunohistochemical study using anti-tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) antibody revealed that some PCNs contain TH-positive nerve fibers and varicosities. Such TH-positive PCNs disappear after sympathectomy. These results suggest that the PCNs are made up of autonomic nerve fibers.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 11/2005; 491(3):234-45. · 3.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several reports have been published on blood leptin concentrations in feral animals, including members of the Carnivora, using a commercially available multi-species radioimmunoassay (RIA) kit with anti-human leptin antibody. However, we observed weak immunoreactivity between recombinant canine leptin and anti-human leptin antibody, suggesting a limitation in the applicability of the RIA kit for leptin assays in Carnivora species. We tested the applicability of RIA and sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with anti-canine leptin antibody to assay blood leptin in the dog (Canis familiaris) and the raccoon (Procyon lotor). When RIA was used for recombinant canine leptin and dog sera, values were much lower than those determined by ELISA at higher concentrations (>10 ng/ml), while rather higher at lower concentrations (<2 ng/ml). A similar discrepancy between the two methods was found for serum leptin concentrations in raccoons. Clear seasonal variations were observed by ELISA, but not by RIA, with high values in autumn (3.46+/-0.45 ng/ml) and low values in spring and summer (0.71+/-0.07 ng/ml). Serum leptin concentrations in raccoons correlated positively with their body weight (r=0.753) and body mass index (r=0.755), corroborating our previous findings of a strong positive correlation between serum leptin concentrations and body fat content in dogs. Thus, the canine leptin ELISA is useful for assays of dog and raccoon leptin, and blood leptin is a good marker of nutritional condition in the species of Carnivora assayed in this study.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A Comparative Experimental Biology 08/2005; 303(7):527-33.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prosaposin is the precursor of saposins A, B, C and D, which are activators of sphingolipid hydrolases. In addition, unprocessed prosaposin functions as a neurotrophic factor in the central and peripheral nervous systems by acting to prevent neuronal apoptosis, to elongate neurites and to facilitate myelination. In this study, the expression pattern of prosaposin in the facial nerve nucleus after facial nerve transection was examined by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Prosaposin immunoreactivity in the neurons on the operated side facial nerve nucleus showed a biphasic pattern: it was significantly increased on day 3 after transection, decreased dramatically on day 7, started to increase gradually on day 14 and reached another peak on day 21 after transection. Significant increases in the levels of prosaposin mRNA were identified in the neurons on the operated side, suggesting that prosaposin was synthesized vigorously by the neurons themselves in the case of facial nerve transection. The diverse changes in prosaposin immunoreactivity during the process of facial nerve regeneration may reflect the diverse neurotrophic activities of prosaposin in facial motoneurons.
Neuroscience Research 08/2005; · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the developing central nervous system, apoptosis plays an important role in the normal organization of the neuronal circuit. The timing of neurogenesis, proliferation, and migration of the neurons in the developing olfactory bulb (OB) is well studied; however, the involvement of apoptosis in this process is not fully understood. In this study, we examined the changes in the distribution and the number of apoptotic cells in the rat OB during embryonic and postnatal periods, by using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick end-labeling (TUNEL) staining. Although the number of TUNEL-positive cells was relatively small during the embryonic period, it gradually increased after birth, and peaked on postnatal day 20 with statistical significance, especially in the granule cell layer of the main OB. This transient increase of TUNEL-positive cells on postnatal day 20 may be involved in a critical event during maturation of the OB.
Neuroscience Research 11/2004; 50(2):219-25. · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proliferation and apoptosis of liver cancer cells are closely related phenomena. We investigated the correlation between overexpression of Bcl-xL, an anti-apoptosis-related protein of the Bcl-2 family, and the clinical course of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Specimens from 7 HCC patients were used for Western blotting and immunoelectron microscopy tests. Samples from 33 HCC patients who had undergone hepatectomies were used for immunohistochemical staining. The degrees of expression of Bcl-xL and Ki-67, as an index of HCC mitosis severity, were each classified into 2 groups.
With the use of Western blot analysis, enhanced immunoreactivity of Bcl-xL was found in cancerous specimens. Bcl-xL overexpression was found in cancer specimens in 21 of 33 patients (63.6%). The overall survival (P=.019) and disease-free survival (P=.030) rates of the group overexpressing Bcl-xL were definitely poorer. The Ki-67 higher labeling index LI > 10) group had a poorer survival rate (P=.016). There were significant correlations between Bcl-xL and overall survival and disease-free survival. Multivariate analyses revealed that Bcl-xL, tumor size, histologic portal invasion, and histologic metastatic foci were independent prognostic factors for overall survival and disease-free survival.
These results showed Bcl-xL in HCC specimens, suggesting that Bcl-xL was a significant prognostic factor for disease progression in human HCC.
Surgery 06/2004; 135(6):604-12. · 3.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Podocytes, renal glomerular visceral epithelial cells, have two kinds of processes, namely major processes containing microtubules (MTs) and foot processes with actin filaments (AFs). The present study investigated how MTs are organized by the Rho-ROCK signal transduction pathway during process formation of podocytes.
After induction of differentiation, podocytes of the conditionally immortalized mouse cell line were treated with Y-27632, a specific inhibitor of ROCK, and exoenzyme C3, an inhibitor of RhoA, as well as with forskolin whose effects include inhibition of RhoA, in order to inhibit the Rho-ROCK pathway.
Inhibition of ROCK significantly enhanced the formation of thick processes containing MT bundles. Y-27632 promoted process formation even in the presence of latrunculin A which disrupts AFs, strongly suggesting that ROCK directly regulates MT assembly. Treatment with Y-27632 increased MT stability, and stabilized MTs preferentially localized in podocyte processes. Moreover, when treated with a combination of Y-27632 and forskolin, and with Y-27632 and C3 as well, podocytes developed not only MT-based thick processes but also AF-based thin projections.
These data indicate a contribution of ROCK in MT organization to promote podocyte process formation, although it was originally thought to regulate AF assembly. AF-based thin projections seem to be induced mainly by inhibition of RhoA and ROCK. The present study reveals a significant role of the Rho-ROCK signal pathway in the reorganization of both MTs and AFs during process formation of podocytes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression patterns of glycoconjugates were examined by lectin histochemistry in the nasal cavity of the Japanese red-bellied newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster. Its nasal cavity consisted of two components, a flattened chamber, which was the main nasal chamber (MNC), and a lateral diverticulum called the lateral nasal sinus (LNS), which communicated medially with the MNC. The MNC was lined with the olfactory epithelium (OE), while the diverticulum constituting the LNS was lined with the vomeronasal epithelium (VNE). Nasal glands were observed beneath the OE but not beneath the VNE. In addition, a secretory epithelium was revealed on the dorsal boundary between the MNC and the LNS, which we refer to as the boundary secretory epithelium (BSE) in this study. The BSE seemed to play an important role in the construction of the mucous composition of the VNE. Among 21 lectins used in this study, DBA, SBA and Jacalin showed different staining patterns between the OE and the VNE. DBA staining showed remarkable differences between the OE and the VNE; there was intense staining in the free border and the supporting cells of the VNE, whereas there was no staining or weak staining in the cells of the OE. SBA and Jacalin showed different stainings in the receptor neurons for the OE and the VNE. Furthermore, UEA-I and Con A showed different stainings for the nasal glands. UEA-I showed intense staining in the BSE and in the nasal glands located in the ventral wall of the MNC (VNG), whereas Con A showed intense staining in the BSE and in the nasal glands located in the dorsal and medial wall of the MNC (DMNG). The DMNG were observed to send their excretory ducts into the OE, whereas no excretory ducts were observed from the VNG to the OE or the VNE. These results suggested that the secretion by the supporting cells as well as the BSE and the DMNG establishes that there are heterogeneous mucous environments in the OE and the VNE, although both epithelia are situated in the same nasal cavity.
Anatomy and Embryology 05/2003; 206(5):349-56. · 1.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1995, we developed an animal model of transient homolateral facial nerve paralysis by inoculating Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) into the auricle of mice. This study examined the mechanism of facial nerve paralysis in this model histopathologically. Using the immunofluorescence technique with anti-HSV-1 antibody, the time course of viral spread and the site of viral replication were investigated over the entire course of the facial nerve. Furthermore, viral replication and nerve degeneration at the site of viral replication were observed by electron microscopy. On the 7th day after inoculation, facial paralysis was observed in more than 60% of mice. Immunofluorescence study revealed HSV-1 in the geniculate ganglion, the descending root, and the facial nucleus at this stage. On the 9th day, the descending root in the sections stained with osmium looked pale, because prominent demyelination had occurred in this region; electron micrographs showed many degenerated oligodendrocytes and large naked axons. In contrast, the facial nucleus neurons showed no remarkable degeneration, despite HSV-1 particles in their cytoplasm. From these findings, we concluded that facial nerve paralysis in this model is caused mainly by facial nerve demyelination in the descending root.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is known that proliferation and apoptosis are closely related phenomena in liver cancer cells. In this study, using surgical specimens from 42 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we investigated the expression and localization of Bcl-xL, an antiapoptosis-related protein of the Bcl-2 family. Using Western blotting, Bcl-xL expression was detected in both cancerous and non-cancerous specimens from all of the HCC patients, and elevated Bcl-xL levels were found in cancerous specimens from two thirds of the patients. In normal human liver specimens, Bcl-xL was found mainly in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes, although it was also found in the cytoplasm of bile duct cells in Glisson's capsule by immunohistochemical staining. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of Bcl-xL overexpression and localization in HCC specimens. Bcl-xL was found not only in the cytoplasm of HCC cells, but also in the nuclei of some HCC cells, suggesting that Bcl-xL is involved in the progression of HCC cells in vivo.
International Journal of Oncology 10/2002; 21(3):515-9. · 2.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Morphogenetic effects of various extracellular matrix proteins on the renal podocyte were investigated using the conditionally immortalized podocyte cell line. Podocytes were plated on glass coverslips and coated with the following matrix proteins: laminin-10/11, laminin-1, fibronectin, collagen type IV, collagen type I. Three hours after plating, podocytes on laminins developed prominent processes, while those on other matrix proteins started to elongate processes after two days. Vinculin-immunolabeling showed that podocytes plated on laminins possessed thin rod-shaped focal contacts, whereas those on fibronectin showed large dot-shaped focal contacts. Inhibition of serine/threonine protein kinases induced podocyte process formation in an extracellular matrix-independent manner. The present study reveals the significance of laminin on podocyte morphogenesis in vitro, and shows that different extracellular matrix proteins trigger different intracellular signals governing podocyte morphogenesis. Taken together with our previous studies, podocyte process formation is thought to be regulated by protein Ser/Thr phosphorylation.
Italian journal of anatomy and embryology = Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia 02/2001; 106(2 Suppl 1):423-30.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study presents the first direct evidence for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection in the neurons of the vestibular ganglion. Although many investigators have reported electron microscopic evidence of HSV-1 infection in sensory ganglia, HSV-1 infection in the vestibular ganglion has not been described. Vestibular ganglion neurons have a unique structure, with a loose myelin sheath instead of the satellite cell sheath that is seen in other ganglia. This loose myelin is slightly different from compact myelin which is known as too tight for HSV-1 to penetrate. The role of loose myelin in terms of HSV-1 infection is completely unknown. Therefore, in an attempt to evaluate the role of loose myelin in HSV-1 infection, we looked for HSV-1 particles, or any effects mediated by HSV-1, in the vestibular ganglion as compared with the geniculate ganglion. At the light microscopic level, some neurons with vacuolar changes were observed, mainly in the distal portion of the vestibular ganglion where the communicating branch from the geniculate ganglion enters. At the electron microscopic level, vacuoles, dilated rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi vesicles occupied by virus were observed in both ganglia neurons. In contrast, viral infections in Schwann and satellite cells were observed only in the geniculate ganglion, but not in the vestibular ganglion. These results suggest that loose myelin is an important barrier to HSV-1 infection, and it must play an important role in the prevention of viral spread from infected neurons to other cells.
Journal of Neurocytology 01/2001; 30(8):685-693. · 1.94 Impact Factor