[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare, late-onset and fatal neurodegenerative disease including multisystem neurodegeneration and the formation of α-synuclein containing oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs), which present the hallmark of the disease. MSA is considered to be a sporadic disease; however certain genetic aspects have been studied during the last years in order to shed light on the largely unknown etiology and pathogenesis of the disease. Epidemiological studies focused on the possible impact of environmental factors on MSA disease development. This article gives an overview on the findings from genetic and epigenetic studies on MSA and discusses the role of genetic or epigenetic factors in disease pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence that the α-synucleinopathies Parkinson`s disease (PD) and the Parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P) overlap at multiple levels. Both disorders are characterized by deposition of abnormally phosphorylated fibrillar α-synuclein within the central nervous system suggesting shared pathophysiological mechanisms. Despite the considerable clinical overlap in the early disease stages, MSA-P, in contrast to PD, is fatal and rapidly progressive. Moreover recent clinical studies have shown that surrogate markers of disease progression can be quantified easily and may reliably predict its rapid course. We therefore posit that, MSA-P may be exploited as a filter barrier for PD associated α-synucleinopathies, to test disease-modifying therapeutic strategies targeting common pathophysiological mechanisms. This approach might reduce the number of PD negative phase III clinical trials, and, in turn, shift the available resources to earlier development stages, thereby increasing the number of candidate compounds validated.
Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 08/2014; · 4.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a fatal adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder of uncertain etiopathogenesis manifesting with autonomic failure, parkinsonism, and ataxia in any combination. The underlying neuropathology affects central autonomic, striatonigral and olivopontocerebellar pathways and it is associated with distinctive glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs, Papp-Lantos bodies) that contain aggregates of α-Synuclein. Current treatment options are very limited and mainly focused on symptomatic relief, whereas disease modifying options are lacking. Despite extensive testing, no neuroprotective drug treatment has been identified up to now; however, a neurorestorative approach utilizing autologous mesenchymal stem cells has shown remarkable beneficial effects in the cerebellar variant of MSA. Here, we review the progress made over the last decade in defining pathogenic targets in MSA and summarize insights gained from candidate disease-modifying interventions that have utilized a variety of well-established preclinical MSA models. We also discuss the current limitations that our field faces and suggest solutions for possible approaches in cause-directed therapies of MSA.
Progress in Neurobiology 07/2014; · 10.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased activity of L-type Ca2+ channels has been implicated in the pathogenesis of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previously we detected CaV1.2 α1-subunit-positive expression in reactive astrocytes surrounding the plaques of 12 month-old transgenic mice overexpressing hAβPP751 with the London (V717I) and Swedish (K670M/N671L) mutations. Here we examined whether increased CaV1.2 α1-subunit expression precedes plaque formation or is specifically associated with the increased amyloid-β (Aβ) load in the plaques. Quantitative RT-PCR expression profiling of all high voltage-gated Ca2+ channel subunits (α1, β, and α2δ) revealed no difference in the hippocampi of 2, 4, and 11 month-old wild type (wt) and transgenic (tg) mice. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that expression of CaV1.2 α1-subunit, but not of the auxiliary β4 Ca2+ channel subunit, specifically associated with Aβ-positive plaques in brains of 11 month tg mice. No difference in CaV1.2 α1-subunit labeling was found in 2 and 4 month-old wt and tg mice prior to plaque formation. The CaV1.2 α1-subunit-positive cells in 11 month-old tg mice also labeled with GFAP, but not with the microglia marker Iba1. In contrast, GFAP-positive cells induced by injection of quinolinic acid did not reveal any CaV1.2 α1-subunit immunoreactivity. Together these results indicate that the expression of CaV1.2 α1-subunits in reactive astrocytes in the tg AD mouse model is related to the increased amyloid-β load in the plaques rather than caused by effects on gene regulation or mechanisms preceding the manifestation of AD as seen by plaque formation.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 07/2013; · 3.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence suggests that olfaction is largely preserved in multiple system atrophy while most patients with Parkinson's disease are hyposmic. Consistent with these observations, recent experimental studies demonstrated olfactory deficits in transgenic Parkinson's disease mouse models, but corresponding data are lacking for MSA models.
Olfactory function and underlying neuropathological changes were investigated in a transgenic multiple system atrophy mouse model based on targeted oligodendroglial overexpression of α-synuclein as well as wild-type controls. The study was divided into (1) a pilot study investigating olfactory preference testing and (2) a long-term study characterizing changes in the olfactory bulb of aging transgenic multiple system atrophy mice.
In our pilot behavioral study, we observed no significant differences in investigation time in the olfactory preference test comparing transgenic with wild-type animals. These findings were accompanied by unaffected tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cell numbers in the olfactory bulb. Similarly, although a significant age-related increase in the amount of α-synuclein within the olfactory bulb was detected in the long-term study, progressive degeneration of the olfactory bulb could not be verified.
Our experimental data show preserved olfaction in a transgenic multiple system atrophy mouse model despite α-synucleinopathy in the olfactory bulb. These findings are in line with the human disorder supporting the concept of a primary oligodendrogliopathy with variable neuronal involvement.
PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64625. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a fatal, rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease with limited symptomatic treatment options. Discrimination of MSA from other degenerative disorders crucially depends on the presence of early and severe cardiovascular autonomic failure (CAF). We have previously shown that neuropathologic lesions in the central autonomic nuclei similar to the human disease are present in transgenic MSA mice generated by targeted oligodendroglial overexpression of α-syn using the PLP promoter. We here explore whether such lesions result in abnormalities of heart rate variability (HRV) and circadian rhythmicity which are typically impaired in MSA patients. HRV analysis was performed in five month old transgenic PLP-α-syn (tg) MSA mice and age-matched wild type controls. Decreased HRV and alterations in the circadian rhythmicity were detected in the tg MSA group. The number of choline-acetyltransferase-immunoreactive neurons in the nucleus ambiguus was significantly decreased in the tg group, whereas the levels of arginine-vasopressin neurons in the suprachiasmatic and paraventricular nucleus were not affected. Our finding of impaired HRV and circadian rhythmicity in tg MSA mice associated with degeneration of the nucleus ambiguus suggests that a cardinal non-motor feature of human MSA can be reproduced in the mouse model strengthening its role as a valuable testbed for studying selective vulnerability and assessing translational therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since their introduction in 1996, animal models of multiple system atrophy (MSA) have generated important insights into pathogenesis and interventional therapies. Toxin and genetic approaches have been used alone or in combination to replicate progressive motor and non-motor symptoms reflecting human neuropathology. Here, we review these developments and discuss the advantages and limitations of the MSA animal models, as well as their application in preclinical target validation.
Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, 01/2013: chapter Models of Multiple System Atrophy; Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α-Synuclein (AS)-positive inclusions are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and multiple system atrophy (MSA), all belonging to the category of α-synucleinopathies. α-Synucleinopathies represent progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterised by increasing incidences in the population over the age of 65. The relevance of glial reactivity and dysfunction in α-synucleinopathies is highlighted by numerous experimental evidences. Glial AS inclusion pathology is prominent in oligodendroglia of MSA (glial cytoplasmic inclusions) and is a common finding in astroglial cells of PD and DLB, resulting in specific dysfunctional responses. Involvement of AS-dependent astroglial and microglial activation in neurodegenerative mechanisms, and therefore in disease initiation and progression, has been suggested. The aim of this review is to summarise and discuss the multifaceted responses of glial cells in α-synucleinopathies. The beneficial, as well as detrimental, effects of glial cells on neuronal viability are taken into consideration to draw an integrated picture of glial roles in α-synucleinopathies. Furthermore, an overview on therapeutic approaches outlines the difficulties of translating promising experimental studies into successful clinical trials targeting candidate glial pathomechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive late onset neurodegenerative α-synucleinopathy with unclear pathogenesis. Recent genetic and pathological studies support a central role of α-synuclein (αSYN) in MSA pathogenesis. Oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions of fibrillar αSYN and dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system are suggestive of proteolytic stress in this disorder. To address the possible pathogenic role of oligodendroglial αSYN accumulation and proteolytic failure in MSA we applied systemic proteasome inhibition (PSI) in transgenic mice with oligodendroglial human αSYN expression and determined the presence of MSA-like neurodegeneration in this model as compared to wild-type mice. PSI induced open field motor disability in transgenic αSYN mice but not in wild-type mice. The motor phenotype corresponded to progressive and selective neuronal loss in the striatonigral and olivopontocerebellar systems of PSI-treated transgenic αSYN mice. In contrast no neurodegeneration was detected in PSI-treated wild-type controls. PSI treatment of transgenic αSYN mice was associated with significant ultrastructural alterations including accumulation of fibrillar human αSYN in the cytoplasm of oligodendroglia, which resulted in myelin disruption and demyelination characterized by increased g-ratio. The oligodendroglial and myelin pathology was accompanied by axonal degeneration evidenced by signs of mitochondrial stress and dysfunctional axonal transport in the affected neurites. In summary, we provide new evidence supporting a primary role of proteolytic failure and suggesting a neurodegenerative pathomechanism related to disturbed oligodendroglial/myelin trophic support in the pathogenesis of MSA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evidence from carefully conducted open label clinical trials suggested that therapeutic benefit can be achieved by grafting fetal dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons derived from ventral mesencephalon (VM) into the denervated striatum of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. However, two double-blind trials generated negative results reporting deleterious side effects such as prominent dyskinesias. Heterogeneous composition of VM grafts is likely to account for suboptimal clinical efficacy.We consider that gene expression patterns of the VM tissue needs to be better understood by comparing the genetic signature of the surviving and functioning grafts with the cell suspensions used for transplantation. In addition, it is crucial to assess whether the grafted cells exhibit the DAergic phenotype of adult substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). To investigate this further, we used a GFP reporter mouse as source of VM tissue that enabled the detection and dissection of the grafts 6 weeks post implantation. A comparative gene expression analysis of the VM cell suspension and grafts revealed that VM grafts continue to differentiate post-implantation. In addition, implanted grafts showed a mature SNpc-like molecular DAergic phenotype with similar expression levels of TH, Vmat2 and Dat. However, by comparing gene expression of the adult SNpc with dissected grafts we detected a higher expression of progenitor markers in the grafts. Finally, when compared to the VM cell suspension, post-grafting there was a higher expression of markers inherent to glia and other neuronal populations.In summary, our data highlight the dynamic development of distinctive DAergic and non-DAergic gene expression markers associated with the maturation of VM grafts in vivo. The molecular signature of VM grafts and its functional relevance should be further explored in future studies aimed at the optimization of DAergic cell therapy approaches in PD.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e50178. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare and fatal α-synucleinopathy characterized by a distinctive oligodendrogliopathy with glial cytoplasmic inclusions and associated neuronal multisystem degeneration. The majority of patients presents with a rapidly progressive parkinsonian disorder and atypical features such as early autonomic failure and cerebellar ataxia. We have previously reported that complete MSA pathology can be modeled in transgenic mice overexpressing oligodendroglial α-synuclein under conditions of oxidative stress induced by 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) including striatonigral degeneration, olivopontocerebellar atrophy, astrogliosis, and microglial activation. Here, we show that myeloperoxidase (MPO), a key enzyme involved in the production of reactive oxygen species by phagocytic cells, is expressed in both human and mouse MSA brains. We also demonstrate that in the MSA mouse model, MPO inhibition reduces motor impairment and rescues vulnerable neurons in striatum, substantia nigra pars compacta, cerebellar cortex, pontine nuclei, and inferior olives. MPO inhibition is associated with suppression of microglial activation but does not affect 3-NP induced astrogliosis in the same regions. Finally, MPO inhibition results in reduced intracellular aggregates of α-synuclein. This study suggests that MPO inhibition may represent a novel candidate treatment strategy against MSA-like neurodegeneration acting through its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
Neurotoxicity Research 12/2011; 21(4):393-404. · 3.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate innate immunity, and their dysregulation may play a role in α-synucleinopathies, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple system atrophy (MSA). The aim of this study was to define the role of TLR4 in α-synuclein-linked neurodegeneration. Ablation of TLR4 in a transgenic mouse model of MSA with oligodendroglial α-synuclein overexpression augmented motor disability and enhanced loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. These changes were associated with increased brain levels of α-synuclein linked to disturbed TLR4-mediated microglial phagocytosis of α-synuclein. Furthermore, tumor necrosis factor-α levels were increased in the midbrain and associated with a proinflammatory astroglial response. Our data suggest that TLR4 ablation impairs the phagocytic response of microglia to α-synuclein and enhances neurodegeneration in a transgenic MSA mouse model. The study supports TLR4 signaling as innate neuroprotective mechanism acting through clearance of α-synuclein.
American Journal Of Pathology 08/2011; 179(2):954-63. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) are adult onset neurodegenerative disorders characterised by prominent intracellular α-synuclein aggregates (α-synucleinopathies). The glial contribution to neurodegeneration in α-synucleinopathies was largely underestimated until recently. However, brains of PD and DLB patients exhibit not only neuronal inclusions such as Lewy bodies or Lewy neurites but also glial α-synuclein aggregates. Accumulating experimental evidence in PD models suggests that astrogliosis and microgliosis act as important mediators of neurodegeneration playing a pivotal role in both disease initiation and progression. In MSA, oligodendrocytes are intriguingly affected by aberrant cytoplasmic accumulation of α-synuclein (glial cytoplasmic inclusions, Papp-Lantos bodies). Converging evidence from human postmortem studies and transgenic MSA models suggests that oligodendroglial dysfunction both triggers and exacerbates neuronal degeneration. This review summarises the wide range of responsibilities of astroglia, microglia and oligodendroglia in the healthy brain and the changes in glial function associated with ageing. We then provide a critical analysis of the role of glia in α-synucleinopathies including putative mechanisms promoting a chronically diseased glial microenvironment which can lead to detrimental neuronal changes, including cell loss. Finally, major therapeutic strategies targeting glial pathology in α-synucleinopathies as well as current pitfalls for disease-modification in clinical trials are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are currently strong candidates for cell-based therapies. They are well known for their differentiation potential and immunoregulatory properties and have been proven to be potentially effective in the treatment of a large variety of diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders. Currently there is no treatment that provides consistent long-term benefits for patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), a fatal late onset α-synucleinopathy. Principally neuroprotective or regenerative strategies, including cell-based therapies, represent a powerful approach for treating MSA. In this study we investigated the efficacy of intravenously applied MSCs in terms of behavioural improvement, neuroprotection and modulation of neuroinflammation in the (PLP)-αsynuclein (αSYN) MSA model.
MSCs were intravenously applied in aged (PLP)-αSYN transgenic mice. Behavioural analyses, defining fine motor coordination and balance capabilities as well as stride length analysis, were performed to measure behavioural outcome. Neuroprotection was assessed by quantifying TH neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). MSC treatment on neuroinflammation was analysed by cytokine measurements (IL-1α, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, GM-CSF, INFγ, MCP-1, TGF-β1, TNF-α) in brain lysates together with immunohistochemistry for T-cells and microglia. Four weeks post MSC treatment we observed neuroprotection in the SNc, as well as downregulation of cytokines involved in neuroinflammation. However, there was no behavioural improvement after MSC application.
To our knowledge this is the first experimental approach of MSC treatment in a transgenic MSA mouse model. Our data suggest that intravenously infused MSCs have a potent effect on immunomodulation and neuroprotection. Our data warrant further studies to elucidate the efficacy of systemically administered MSCs in transgenic MSA models.
PLoS ONE 05/2011; 6(5):e19808. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder with a markedly reduced life expectancy. Failure of symptomatic treatment raises an urgent need for disease-modifying strategies. We have investigated the neuroprotective potential of erythropoietin in (proteolipid protein)-α-synuclein transgenic mice exposed to 3-nitropropionic acid featuring multiple system atrophy-like pathology including oligodendroglial α-synuclein inclusions and selective neuronal degeneration. Mice were treated with erythropoietin starting before (early erythropoietin) and after (late erythropoietin) intoxication with 3-nitropropionic acid. Nonintoxicated animals receiving erythropoietin and intoxicated animals treated with saline served as control groups. Behavioral tests included pole test, open field activity, and motor behavior scale. Immunohistochemistry for tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine and cyclic adenosine monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein (DARPP-32) was analyzed stereologically. Animals receiving erythropoietin before and after 3-nitropropionic acid intoxication scored significantly lower on the motor behavior scale and they performed better in the pole test than controls with no significant difference between early and late erythropoietin administration. Similarly, rearing scores were worse in 3-nitropropionic acid-treated animals with no difference between the erythropoietin subgroups. Immunohistochemistry revealed significant attenuation of 3-nitropropionic acid-induced loss of tyrosine hydroxylase and DARPP-32 positive neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta and striatum, respectively, in both erythropoietin-treated groups without significant group difference in the substantia nigra. However, at striatal level, a significant difference between early and late erythropoietin administration was observed. In the combined (proteolipid protein)-α-synuclein 3-nitropropionic acid multiple system atrophy mouse model, erythropoietin appears to rescue dopaminergic and striatal gabaergic projection neurons. This effect is associated with improved motor function. Further studies are warranted to develop erythropoietin as a potential interventional therapy in multiple system atrophy.
Movement Disorders 02/2011; 26(3):507-15. · 5.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The reticulon Nogo-B participates in cellular and immunological processes in murine macrophages. Since leukocytes are an essential part of the immune system in health and disease, we decided to investigate the expression of Nogo-A, Nogo-B and Nogo-C in different human immune cell subpopulations. Furthermore, we analyzed the localization of Nogo-B in human monocyte-derived macrophages by indirect immunofluorescence stainings to gain further insight into its possible function.
We describe an association of Nogo-B with cytoskeletal structures and the base of filopodia, but not with focal or podosomal adhesion sites of monocyte-derived macrophages. Nogo-B positive structures are partially co-localized with RhoA staining and Rac1 positive membrane ruffles. Furthermore, Nogo-B is associated with the tubulin network, but not accumulated in the Golgi region. Although Nogo-B is present in the endoplasmic reticulum, it can also be translocated to large cell protrusions or the trailing end of migratory cells, where it is homogenously distributed.
Two different Nogo-B staining patterns can be distinguished in macrophages: firstly we observed ER-independent Nogo-B localization in cell protrusions and at the trailing end of migrating cells. Secondly, the localization of Nogo-B in actin/RhoA/Rac1 positive regions supports an influence on cytoskeletal organization. To our knowledge this is the first report on Nogo-B expression at the base of filopodia, thus providing further insight into the distribution of this protein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disease of undetermined cause manifesting with progressive autonomic failure (AF), cerebellar ataxia and parkinsonism due to neuronal loss in multiple brain areas associated with (oligodendro)glial cytoplasmic alpha-synuclein (alpha SYN) inclusions (GCIs). Using proteolipid protein (PLP)-alpha-synuclein (alpha SYN) transgenic mice we have previously reported parkinsonian motor deficits triggered by MSA-like alpha SYN inclusions. We now extend these observations by demonstrating degeneration of brain areas that are closely linked to progressive AF and other non-motor symptoms in MSA, in (PLP)-alpha SYN transgenic mice as compared to age-matched non-transgenic controls. We show delayed loss of cholinergic neurons in nucleus ambiguus at 12 months of age as well as early neuronal loss in laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and Onuf's nucleus at 2 months of age associated with alpha SYN oligodendroglial overexpression. We also report that neuronal loss triggered by MSA-like alpha SYN inclusions is absent up to 12 months of age in the thoracic intermediolateral cell column suggesting a differential dynamic modulation of alpha SYN toxicity within the murine autonomic nervous system. Although the spatial and temporal evolution of central autonomic pathology in MSA is unknown our findings corroborate the utility of the (PLP)-alpha SYN transgenic mouse model as a testbed for the study of oligodendroglial alpha SYN mediated neurodegeneration replicating both motor and non-motor aspects of MSA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated that endogenous prodynorphin-derived peptides mediate anticonvulsant, antiepileptogenic and neuroprotective effects via kappa opioid receptors (KOP). Here we show acute and delayed neurodegeneration and its pharmacology after local kainic acid injection in prodynorphin knockout and wild-type mice and neuroprotective effect(s) of KOP activation in wild-type mice. Prodynorphin knockout and wild-type mice were injected with kainic acid (3 nmoles in 50 nl saline) into the stratum radiatum of CA1 of the right dorsal hippocampus. Knockout mice displayed significantly more neurodegeneration of pyramidal cells and interneurons than wild-type mice 2 days after treatment. This phenotype could be mimicked in wild-type animals by treatment with the KOP antagonist GNTI and rescued in knockout animals by the KOP agonist U-50488. Minor differences in neurodegeneration remained 3 weeks after treatment, mostly because of higher progressive neurodegeneration in wild-type mice compared with prodynorphin-deficient animals. In wild-type mice progressive neurodegeneration, but not acute neuronal loss, could be mostly blocked by U-50488 treatment. Our data suggest that endogenous prodynorphin-derived peptides sufficiently activate KOP receptors during acute seizures, and importantly in situations of reduced dynorphinergic signaling-like in epilepsy-the exogenous activation of KOP receptors might also have strong neuroprotective effects during excitotoxic events.