Christopher J Yuskaitis

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States

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Publications (6)23.16 Total impact

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    Christopher J Yuskaitis, Eleonore Beurel, Richard S Jope
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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited mental retardation and is one of the few known genetic causes of autism. FXS results from the loss of Fmr1 gene function; thus, Fmr1 knockout mice provide a model to study impairments associated with FXS and autism and to test potential therapeutic interventions. The inhibitory serine phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is lower in brain regions of Fmr1 knockout mice than wild-type mice and the GSK3 inhibitor lithium rescues several behavioral impairments in Fmr1 knockout mice. Therefore, we examined if the serine phosphorylation of GSK3 in Fmr1 knockout mice also was altered outside the brain and if administration of lithium ameliorated the macroorchidism phenotype. Additionally, since GSK3 regulates numerous functions of the immune system and immune alterations have been associated with autism, we tested if immune function is altered in Fmr1 knockout mice. The inhibitory serine phosphorylation of GSK3 was significantly lower in the testis and liver of Fmr1 knockout mice than wild-type mice, and chronic lithium treatment reduced macroorchidism in Fmr1 knockout mice. No alterations in peripheral immune function were identified in Fmr1 knockout mice. However, examination of glia, the immune cells of the brain, revealed reactive astrocytes in several brain regions of Fmr1 knockout mice and treatment with lithium reduced this in the striatum and cerebellum. These results provide further evidence of the involvement of dysregulated GSK3 in FXS, and demonstrate that lithium administration reduces macroorchidism and reactive astrocytes in Fmr1 knockout mice.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2010; 1802(11):1006-12. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nearly 1% of children in the United States exhibit autism spectrum disorders, but causes and treatments remain to be identified. Mice with deletion of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (Fmr1) gene are used to model autism because loss of Fmr1 gene function causes Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and many people with FXS exhibit autistic-like behaviors. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is hyperactive in brains of Fmr1 knockout mice, and inhibition of GSK3 by lithium administration ameliorates some behavioral impairment in these mice. We extended our studies of this association by testing whether GSK3 contributes to socialization behaviors. This used two mouse models with disrupted regulation of GSK3, Fmr1 knockout mice and GSK3 knockin mice, in which inhibitory serines of the two isoforms of GSK3, GSK3alpha and GSK3beta, are mutated to alanines, leaving GSK3 fully active. To assess sociability, test mice were introduced to a restrained stimulus mouse (S1) for 10 min, followed by introduction of a second restrained stimulus mouse (S2) for 10 min, which assesses social preference. Fmr1 knockout and GSK3 knockin mice displayed no deficit in sociability with the S1 mouse, but unlike wild-type mice neither demonstrated social preference for the novel S2 mouse. Fmr1 knockout mice displayed more anxiety-related behaviors during social interaction (grooming, rearing, and digging) than wild-type mice, which was ameliorated by inhibition of GSK3 with chronic lithium treatment. These results indicate that impaired inhibitory regulation of GSK3 in Fmr1 knockout mice may contribute to some socialization deficits and that lithium treatment can ameliorate certain socialization impairments. As discussed in the present work, these results suggest a role for GSK3 in social behaviors and implicate inhibition of GSK3 as a potential therapeutic.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(3):e9706. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of inherited mental retardation and a genetic cause of autism, results from mutated fragile X mental retardation-1 (Fmr1). This study examined the effects on glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) of treatment with a metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) antagonist, MPEP, and the GSK3 inhibitor, lithium, in C57Bl/6 Fmr1 knockout mice. Increased mGluR signaling may contribute to the pathology of FXS, and the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP increased inhibitory serine-phosphorylation of brain GSK3 selectively in Fmr1 knockout mice but not in wild-type mice. Inhibitory serine-phosphorylation of GSK3 was lower in Fmr1 knockout, than wild-type, mouse brain regions and was increased by acute or chronic lithium treatment, which also increased hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. Fmr1 knockout mice displayed alterations in open-field activity, elevated plus-maze, and passive avoidance, and these differences were ameliorated by chronic lithium treatment. These findings support the hypothesis that impaired inhibition of GSK3 contributes to the pathogenesis of FXS and support GSK3 as a potential therapeutic target.
    Biochemical pharmacology 09/2009; 79(4):632-46. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Significant advances have been made in understanding the underlying defects of and developing potential treatments for Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common heritable mental retardation. It has been shown that neuronal metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)-mediated signaling is affected in FX animal models, with consequent alterations in activity-dependent protein translation and synaptic spine functionality. We demonstrate here that a central metabolic regulatory enzyme, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is present in a form indicating elevated activity in several regions of the FX mouse brain. Furthermore, we show that selective GSK3 inhibitors, as well as lithium, are able to revert mutant phenotypes of the FX mouse. Lithium, in particular, remained effective with chronic administration, although its effects were reversible even when given from birth. The combination of an mGluR5 antagonist and GSK3 inhibitors was not additive. Instead, it was discovered that mGluR5 signaling and GSK3 activation in the FX mouse are coordinately elevated, with inhibition of mGluR5 leading to inhibition of GSK3. These findings raise the possibility that GSK3 is a fundamental and central component of FXS pathology, with a substantial treatment potential.
    Neuropharmacology 11/2008; 56(2):463-72. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    Christopher J Yuskaitis, Richard S Jope
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    ABSTRACT: Microglia play a prominent role in the brain's inflammatory response to injury or infection by migrating to affected locations, secreting inflammatory molecules, and phagocytosing damaged tissue. However, because severe or chronic neuroinflammation exacerbates many neurological conditions, controlling microglia actions may provide therapeutic benefits in a diverse array of diseases. Since glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) promotes inflammatory responses in peripheral immune cells, we investigated if inhibitors of GSK3 attenuated microglia responses to inflammatory stimuli. Treatment of BV-2 microglia with GSK3 inhibitors greatly reduced the migration of microglia in both a scratch assay and in a transwell migration assay. Treatment of BV-2 microglia with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated the production of interleukin-6 and increased the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and NO production. Each of these microglia responses to inflammatory stimulation were greatly attenuated by GSK3 inhibitors. However, GSK3 inhibitors did not cause a general impairment of microglia functions, as the LPS-induced stimulated expression of cyclooxygenase-2 was unaltered. Regulation of microglia functions were also evident in cultured mouse hippocampal slices where GSK3 inhibitors reduced cytokine production and microglial migration, and provided protection from inflammation-induced neuronal toxicity. These findings demonstrate that GSK3 promotes microglial responses to inflammation and that the utilization of GSK3 inhibitors provides a means to limit the inflammatory actions of microglia.
    Cellular Signalling 11/2008; 21(2):264-73. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    Richard S Jope, Christopher J Yuskaitis, Eléonore Beurel
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    ABSTRACT: Deciphering what governs inflammation and its effects on tissues is vital for understanding many pathologies. The recent discovery that glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) promotes inflammation reveals a new component of its well-documented actions in several prevalent diseases which involve inflammation, including mood disorders, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer. Involvement in such disparate conditions stems from the widespread influences of GSK3 on many cellular functions, with this review focusing on its regulation of inflammatory processes. GSK3 promotes the production of inflammatory molecules and cell migration, which together make GSK3 a powerful regulator of inflammation, while GSK3 inhibition provides protection from inflammatory conditions in animal models. The involvement of GSK3 and inflammation in these diseases are highlighted. Thus, GSK3 may contribute not only to primary pathologies in these diseases, but also to the associated inflammation, suggesting that GSK3 inhibitors may have multiple effects influencing these conditions.
    Neurochemical Research 01/2007; 32(4-5):577-95. · 2.13 Impact Factor