Laia Acarin

Autonomous University of Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (44)159.44 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxia/ischemia (HI) is a prevalent reason for neonatal brain injury with inflammation being an inevitable phenomenon following such injury; but there is a scarcity of data regarding the signaling pathway involved and the effector molecules. The signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT3) is known to modulate injury following imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in peripheral and central nervous system injury making it a potential molecule for study. The current study investigates the temporal expression of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1ra, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13 and phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) after carotid occlusion and hypoxia (8% O2, 55 min) in postnatal day 7 C57BL/6 mice from 3 h to 21 days after hypoxia. Protein array illustrated notable changes in cytokines expressed in both hemispheres in a time-dependent manner. The major pro-inflammatory cytokines showing immediate changes between ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres were IL-6 and IL-1β. The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 demonstrated a delayed augmentation with no prominent differences between hemispheres, while IL-1ra showed two distinct peaks of expression spread over time. We also illustrate for the first time the spatiotemporal activation of pSTAT3 (Y705 phosphorylation) after a neonatal HI in mice brain. The main regions expressing pSTAT3 were the hippocampus and the corpus callosum. pSTAT3+ cells were mostly a subpopulation of activated astrocytes (GFAP+) and microglia/macrophages (F4/80+) seen only in the ipsilateral hemisphere at most time points studied (till 7 days after hypoxia). The highest expression of pSTAT3+ cells was observed to be around 24-48 h, where the presence of pSTAT3+ astrocytes and pSTAT3+ microglia/macrophages was seen by confocal micrographs. In conclusion, our study highlights a synchronized expression of some pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, especially in the long term not previously defined. It also points towards a significant role of STAT3 signaling following micro- and astrogliosis in the pathophysiology of neonatal HI-related brain injury. In the study, a shift from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory cytokine profile was also noted as the injury progressed. We suggest that while designing efficient neuroprotective therapies using inflammatory molecules, the time of intervention and balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines must be considered.
    Developmental Neuroscience 04/2013; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During postnatal development, microglia, the resident innate immune cells of the central nervous system are constantly monitoring the brain parenchyma, cleaning the cell debris, the synaptic contacts overproduced and also maintaining the brain homeostasis. In this context, the postnatal microglia need some control over the innate immune response. One such molecule recently described to be involved in modulation of immune response is TREM2 (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2). Although some studies have observed TREM2 mRNA in postnatal brain, the regional pattern of the TREM2 protein has not been described. We therefore characterized the distribution of TREM2 protein in mice brain from Postnatal day (P) 1 to 14 by immunostaining. In our study, TREM2 protein was expressed only in microglia/macrophages and is developmentally downregulated in a region-dependent manner. Its expression persisted in white matter, mainly in caudal corpus callosum, and the neurogenic subventricular zone for a longer time than in grey matter. Additionally, the phenotypes of the TREM2+ microglia also differ; expressing CD16/32, MHCII and CD86 (antigen presentation markers) and CD68 (phagocytic marker) in different regions as well as with different intensity till P7. The mannose receptor (CD206) colocalized with TREM2 only at P1-P3 in the subventricular zone and cingulum, while others persisted at low intensities till P7. Furthermore, the spatiotemporal expression pattern and characterization of TREM2 indicate towards its other plausible roles in phagocytosis, progenitor's fate determination or microglia phenotype modulation during postnatal development. Hence, the increase of TREM2 observed in pathologies may recapitulate their function during postnatal development, as a better understanding of this period may open new pathway for future therapies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72083. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The zinc finger protein A20 is an ubiquitinating/deubiquitinating enzyme essential for the termination of inflammatory reactions through the inhibition of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) signaling. Moreover, it also shows anti-apoptotic activities in some cell types and proapoptotic/pronecrotic effects in others. Although it is known that the regulation of inflammatory and cell death processes are critical in proper brain functioning and that A20 mRNA is expressed in the CNS, its role in the brain under physiological and pathological conditions is still unknown. METHODS: In the present study, we have evaluated the effects of A20 overexpression in mixed cortical cultures in basal conditions: the in vivo pattern of endogenous A20 expression in the control and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) excitotoxically damaged postnatal day 9 immature rat brain, and the post-injury effects of A20 overexpression in the same lesion model. RESULTS: Our results show that overexpression of A20 in mixed cortical cultures induced significant neuronal death by decreasing neuronal cell counts by 45±9%. In vivo analysis of endogenous A20 expression showed widespread expression in gray matter, mainly in neuronal cells. However, after NMDA-induced excitotoxicity, neuronal A20 was downregulated in the neurodegenerating cortex and striatum at 10-24 hours post-lesion, and it was re-expressed at longer survival times in reactive astrocytes located mainly in the lesion border. When A20 was overexpressed in vivo 2 hours after the excitotoxic damage, the lesion volume at 3 days post-lesion showed a significant increase (20.8±7.0%). No A20-induced changes were observed in the astroglial response to injury. CONCLUSIONS: A20 is found in neuronal cells in normal conditions and is also expressed in astrocytes after brain damage, and its overexpression is neurotoxic for cortical neurons in basal mixed neuron-glia culture conditions and exacerbates postnatal brain excitotoxic damage.
    Neurological Research 12/2012; · 1.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CD200/CD200R inhibitory immune ligand-receptor system regulates microglial activation/quiescence in adult brain. Here, we investigated CD200/CD200R at different stages of postnatal development, when microglial maturation takes place. We characterized the spatiotemporal, cellular, and quantitative expression pattern of CD200 and CD200R in the developing and adult C57/BL6 mice brain by immunofluorescent labeling and Western blotting. CD200 expression increased from postnatal day 1 (P1) to P5-P7, when maximum levels were found, and decreased to adulthood. CD200 was located surrounding neuronal bodies, and very prominently in cortical layer I, where CD200(+) structures included glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)(+) astrocytes until P7. In the hippocampus, CD200 was mainly observed in the hippocampal fissure, where GFAP(+) /CD200(+) astrocytes were also found until P7. CD200(+) endothelium was seen in the hippocampal fissure and cortical blood vessels, notably from P14, showing maximum vascular CD200 in adults. CD200R(+) cells were a population of ameboid/pseudopodic Iba1(+) microglia/macrophages observed at all ages, but significantly decreasing with increasing age. CD200R(+) /Iba1(+) macrophages were prominent in the pial meninges and ventricle lining, mainly at P1-P5. CD200R(+) /Iba1(+) perivascular macrophages were observed in cortical and hippocampal fissure blood vessels, showing maximum density at P7, but being prominent until adulthood. CD200R(+) /Iba1(+) ameboid microglia in the cingulum at P1-P5 were the only CD200R(+) cells in the nervous tissue. In conclusion, the main sites of CD200/CD200R interaction seem to include the molecular layer and pial surface in neonates and blood vessels from P7 until adulthood, highlighting the possible role of the CD200/CD200R system in microglial development and renewal.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 02/2012; 520(12):2657-75. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the evolution of neonatal hypoxic/ischemic is essential for novel neuroprotective approaches. We describe the neuropathology and glial/inflammatory response, from 3 hours to 100 days, after carotid occlusion and hypoxia (8% O(2), 55 minutes) to the C57/BL6 P7 mouse. Massive tissue injury and atrophy in the ipsilateral (IL) hippocampus, corpus callosum, and caudate-putamen are consistently shown. Astrogliosis peaks at 14 days, but glial scar is still evident at day 100. Microgliosis peaks at 3-7 days and decreases by day 14. Both glial responses start at 3 hours in the corpus callosum and hippocampal fissure, to progressively cover the degenerating CA field. Neutrophils increase in the ventricles and hippocampal vasculature, showing also parenchymal extravasation at 7 days. Remarkably, delayed milder atrophy is also seen in the contralateral (CL) hippocampus and corpus callosum, areas showing astrogliosis and microgliosis during the first 72 hours. This detailed and long-term cellular response characterization of the ipsilateral and contralateral hemisphere after H/I may help in the design of better therapeutic strategies.
    Neurology research international. 01/2012; 2012:781512.
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    ABSTRACT: Antiinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-10 (IL-10) have been used to modulate and terminate inflammation and provide neuroprotection. Recently, we reported that the modular recombinant transfection vector NLSCt is an efficient tool for transgene overexpression in vivo, which induces neuroprotection as a result of its RGD-mediated integrin-interacting capacity. We here sought to evaluate the putative synergic neuroprotective action exerted by IL-10 overexpression using NLSCt as a transfection vector after an excitotoxic injury to the postnatal rat brain. For this purpose, lesion volume, neurodegeneration, astroglial and microglial responses, neutrophil infiltration, and proinflammatory cytokine production were analyzed at several survival times after intracortical NMDA injection in postnatal day 9 rats, followed by injection of NLSCt combined with the IL-10 gene, a control transgene, or saline vehicle solution. Our results show no combined neuroprotective effect between RGD-interacting vectors and IL-10 gene therapy; instead, IL-10 overexpression using NLSCt as transfection vector increased lesion volume and neuronal degeneration at 12 hr and 3 days postlesion. In parallel, NLSCt/IL-10 treated animals displayed increased density of neutrophils and microglia/macrophages, and a reduced astroglial content of GFAP and vimentin. Moreover, NLSCt/IL-10 treated animals did not show any variation in interleukin-1β or tumor necrosis factor-α expression but a slight increase in interleukin-6 content at 7 days postlesion. In conclusion, overexpression of IL-10 by using NLSCt transfection vector did not synergistically neuroprotect the excitotoxically damaged postnatal rat brain but induced changes in the astroglial and microglial and inflammatory cell response.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 09/2011; 90(1):143-59. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Brain aging is associated to several morphological and functional alterations that influence the evolution and outcome of CNS damage. Acute brain injury such as an excitotoxic insult induces initial tissue damage followed by associated inflammation and oxidative stress, partly attributed to neutrophil recruitment and the expression of oxidative enzymes such as myeloperoxidase (MPO), among others. However, to date, very few studies have focused on how age can influence neutrophil infiltration after acute brain damage. Therefore, to evaluate the age-dependent pattern of neutrophil cell infiltration following an excitotoxic injury, intrastriatal injection of N-methyl-d-aspartate was performed in young and aged male Wistar rats. Animals were sacrificed at different times between 12h post-lesion (hpl) to 14 days post-lesion (dpl). Cryostat sections were processed for myeloperoxidase (MPO) immunohistochemistry, and double labeling for either neuronal cells (NeuN), astrocytes (GFAP), perivascular macrophages (ED-2), or microglia/macrophages (tomato lectin histochemistry). Our observations showed that MPO + cells were observed in the injured striatum from 12 hpl (when maximum values were found) until 7 dpl, when cell density was strongly diminished. However, at all survival times analyzed, the overall density of MPO + cells was lower in the aged versus the adult injured striatum. MPO + cells were mainly identified as neutrophils (especially at 12 hpl and 1 dpl), but it should be noted that MPO + neurons and microglia/macrophages were also found. MPO + neurons were most commonly observed at 12 hpl and reduced in the aged. MPO + microglia/macrophages were the main population expressing MPO from 3 dpl, when density was also reduced in aged subjects. These results point to neutrophil infiltration as another important factor contributing to the different responses of the adult and aged brain to damage, highlighting the need of using aged animals for the study of acute age-related brain insults.
    Experimental gerontology 05/2011; 46(9):723-30. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inflammation is an important determinant of the severity and outcome of central nervous system injury. The endogenous anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) is upregulated in the injured adult central nervous system where it controls and terminates inflammatory processes. The developing brain, however, displays differences in susceptibility to insults and in associated inflammatory responses from the adult brain; the anatomic and temporal patterns of injury-induced IL-10 expression in the immature brain after excitotoxic injury are unknown. We analyzed the spaciotemporal gene and protein expression of IL-10 and its receptor (IL-10RI) in N-methyl-d-aspartate-induced excitotoxic injury in 9-day-old and control rats using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. In noninjected control brains, both molecules were expressed mainly in white matter on glial cells and blood vessels; IL-10 was also observed on blood vessels in gray matter and in glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive processes in the hippocampus and near leptomeningeal and ventricle surfaces. In N-methyl-d-aspartate-injected brains, IL-10 gene and protein expression were maximal at 72 hours postinjection; IL-10RI gene and protein expression peaked at 48 hours postinjection. Interleukin-10 and IL-10RI expression in injured areas was mainly found in reactive astrocytes and in microglia/macrophages. The expression patterns of IL-10 and IL-10R suggest possible developmental roles, and their upregulation after injury suggests that this expression may have anti-inflammatory effects in distinct anatomic sites in the immature brain.
    Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 05/2009; 68(4):391-403. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to evaluate proinflammatory cytokine levels and their producing cell types in the control aged rat brain and after acute excitotoxic damage, both adult and aged male Wistar rats were injected with N-methyl-D-aspartate in the striatum. At different survival times between 6 hr and 7 days after lesioning, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and by double immunofluorescence of cryostat sections by using cell-specific markers. Basal cytokine expression was attributed to astrocytes and was increased in the normal aged brain showing region specificity: TNF-alpha and IL-6 displayed age-dependent higher levels in the aged cortex, and IL-1beta and IL-6 in the aged striatum. After excitotoxic striatal damage, notable age-dependent differences in cytokine induction in the aged vs. the adult were seen. The adult injured striatum exhibited a rapid induction of all cytokines analyzed, but the aged injured striatum showed a weak induction of cytokine expression: IL-1beta showed no injury-induced changes at any time, TNF-alpha presented a late induction at 5 days after lesioning, and IL-6 was only induced at 6 hr after lesioning. At both ages, in the lesion core, all cytokines were early expressed by neurons and astrocytes, and by microglia/macrophages later on. However, in the adjacent lesion border, cytokines were found in reactive astrocytes. This study highlights the particular inflammatory response of the aged brain and suggests an important role of increased basal levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the reduced ability to induce their expression after damage.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 04/2009; 87(11):2484-97. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The burden of neurological diseases in western societies has accentuated the need to develop effective therapies to stop the progression of chronic neurological diseases. Recent discoveries regarding the role of the immune system in brain damage coupled with the development of new technologies to manipulate the immune response make immunotherapies an attractive possibility to treat neurological diseases. The wide repertoire of immune responses and the possibility to engineer such responses, as well as their capacity to promote tissue repair, indicates that immunotherapy might offer benefits in the treatment of neurological diseases, similar to the benefits that are being associated with the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. However, before applying such strategies to patients it is necessary to better understand the pathologies to be targeted, as well as how individual subjects may respond to immunotherapies, either in isolation or in combination. Due to the powerful effects of the immune system, one priority is to avoid tissue damage due to the activity of the immune system, particularly considering that the nervous system does not tolerate even the smallest amount of tissue damage.
    Clinical Immunology 07/2008; 128(3):294-305. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microglial and inflammatory responses to acute damage in aging are still poorly understood, although the aged brain responds differently to injury, showing poor lesion outcome. In this study, excitotoxicity was induced by intrastriatal injection of N-methyl-D-aspartate in adult (3-4 months) and aged (22-24 months) rats. Cryostat brain sections were processed for the analysis of microglial response by lectin histochemistry and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression by immunohistochemistry and confocal analysis. Aged injured animals showed more widespread area of microglial response at 12 hr postlesion (hpl) and greater microglia/macrophage density at 3 days postlesion (dpl). However, aged reactive microglia showed prevalence of ramified morphologies and fewer amoeboid/round forms. Aged injured animals presented a diminished area of COX2 expression, but a significantly larger density of COX2(+) cells, with higher numbers of COX2(+) neurons during the first 24 hpl and COX2(+) microglia/macrophages later. In contrast, the amount of COX2(+) neutrophils was diminished in the aged. iNOS was more rapidly induced in the aged injured striatum, with higher cell density at 12 hpl, when expression was mainly neuronal. From 1 dpl, both the iNOS(+) area and the density of iNOS(+) cells were reduced in the aged, with lower numbers of iNOS(+) neurons, microglia/macrophages, neutrophils, and astrocytes. In conclusion, excitotoxic damage in aging induces a distinct pattern of microglia/macrophage response and expression of inflammatory enzymes, which may account for the changes in lesion outcome in the aged, and highlight the importance of using aged animals for the study of acute age-related insults.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 07/2008; 86(14):3170-83. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian SVZ progenitors continuously generate new neurons in the olfactory bulb. After injury, changes in SVZ cell number suggest injury-induced migration. Studies that trace the migration of SVZ precursors into neurodegenerating areas are lacking. Previously, we showed a decrease in BrdU+SVZ cells following excitotoxic damage to the immature rat cortex. Here, we demonstrate that NMDA-induced injury forces endogenous Cell Tracker Green (CTG) labeled VZ/SVZ precursors out of the SVZ into the neurodegenerating cortex. CTG+/Nestin+/Filamin A+ precursors are closely associated with vimentin+/GFAP+/GLAST+ filaments and express both chemokine receptor CXCR4 and Robo1. In the cortex, SVZ-derived progenitors show a progressive expression of developing, migrating and mature neurons and glial markers. CTG+/GFAP+ astrocytes greatly outnumber CTG+/MAP2+/NeuN+ neurons. SVZ-derived progenitors differentiate into both tbr1+ cortical glutamatergic neurons and calretinin+ interneurons. But, there is little integration of these neurons into the existing circuitry, as seen by Fluorogold retrograde tracing from the internal capsule.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 07/2008; 38(2):170-82. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Following immature excitotoxic brain damage, distinct patterns of caspase activation have been described in neurons and glial cells. Neuronal cells show activation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway, caspase-3 cleavage and apoptotic cell death, while reactive astrocytes show caspase-3 cleavage that is not always correlated with enzymatic protease activity and does not generally terminate in cell death. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the astrocytic colocalization of cleaved caspase-3 and several anti-apoptotic proteins of the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins family (IAPs), such as survivin and cellular inhibitor of apoptosis-2 (cIAP-2), and the heat shock proteins (HSPs) family, Hsp25/27 and Hsc70/Hsp70, which can all prevent caspases from cleaving their substrates. At several survival times ranging from 4 h to 14 days after cortical excitotoxic damage induced by N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) injection at postnatal day 9 in rat pups, single and double immunohistochemical techniques were performed in free floating cryostat sections and sections were analyzed by confocal microscopy. Our results show that survivin and Hsp25/27 are primarily expressed in reactive astrocytes of the damaged cortex and the adjacent white matter. In addition, both molecules strongly colocalize with cleaved caspase-3. Survivin is primarily located in the nucleus, like cleaved caspase-3; while Hsp25/27 is cytoplasmic but very frequently found in cells showing nuclear caspase-3. cIAP-2 was mostly found in damaged neurons but also in some glial scar reactive astrocytes and showed fewer correlation with caspase-3. Hsc70/Hsp70 was only expressed in injured neurons and did not correlate with caspase-3. Thus, we conclude that primarily survivin and Hsp25/27 may participate in the inhibition of cleaved caspase-3 in reactive astrocytes and may be involved in protecting astrocytes after injury.
    Neuroscience 05/2008; 153(1):108-19. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although cleaved caspase-3 is known to be involved in apoptotic cell death mechanisms in neurons, it can also be involved in a nonapoptotic role in astrocytes after postnatal excitotoxic injury. Here we evaluate participation of upstream pathways activating caspase-3 in neurons and glial cells, by studying the intrinsic pathway via caspase-9, the extrinsic pathway via caspase-8, and activation of the p53-dependent pathway. N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) was injected intracortically in 9-day-old postnatal rats, which were sacrificed at several survival times between 4 hr postlesion (pl) and 7 days pl. We analyzed temporal and spatial expression of caspase-8, caspase-9, and p53 and correlation with neuronal and glial markers and caspase-3 activation. Caspase-9 was significantly activated at 10 hpl, strongly correlating with caspase-3. It was present mainly in damaged cortical and hippocampal neurons but was also seen in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in layer VI and corpus callosum (cc). Caspase-8 showed a diminished correlation with caspase-3. It was present in cortical neurons at 10-72 hpl, showing layer specificity, and also in astroglial and microglial nuclei, mainly in layer VI and cc. p53 Expression increased at 10-72 hpl but did not correlate with caspase-3. p53 Was seen in neurons of the degenerating cortex and in some astrocytes and microglial cells of layer VI and cc. In conclusion, after neonatal excitotoxicity, mainly the mitochondrial intrinsic pathway mediates neuronal caspase-3 and cell death. In astrocytes, caspase-3 is not widely correlated with caspase-8, caspase-9, or p53, except in layer VI-cc astrocytes, where activation of upstream cascades occurs.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 01/2008; 85(16):3545-56. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Integrin binding to extracellular matrix ligands, including those presenting RGD motifs, modulate diverse cellular processes. In the brain, many endogenous RGD-containing molecules are induced after damage. Previously, the gene therapy vector termed NLSCt, which displays an RGD motif, was shown to neuroprotect after immature brain excitotoxicity. We analyze whether neuroprotection is mediated by the RGD motif. RGD-containing synthetic peptide GPenGRGDSPCA (GPen) was injected 2 hours after N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated excitotoxicity to the postnatal day 9 rat brain. Damage and glial/inflammatory response were evaluated 3 days later. In addition, the neuroprotective effect of GPen and NLSCt after N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced cell death was also analyzed in vitro using neuron-purified and mixed neuron-glia primary cultures. To further characterize whether the neuroprotective effect was mediated by glial-derived soluble factors, we also tested the protective ability of conditioned media from RGD-treated microglia, astrocyte, or mixed glia cultures. Animals treated with GPen peptide showed functional improvement, a significant reduction in lesion volume up to 28%, and a decrease in the number of degenerating neurons. In addition, N-methyl-D-aspartate-injected animals treated with both RGD-containing molecules at the neuroprotective doses showed a significant increase in microglial reactivity and microglia/macrophage cell number, but no differences in neutrophil infiltration and the astroglial response. Finally, in vitro studies showed that the neuroprotective effect was observed in mixed neuron-glia, but not in neuron-purified cultures. Conditioned media from RGD-treated microglial, astroglial, and mixed-glial cultures were not protective. These results suggest that RGD-containing molecules neuroprotect by a glial-dependent mechanism.
    Annals of Neurology 10/2007; 62(3):251-61. · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caspase-3 has classically been defined as the main executioner of programmed cell death. However, recent data supports the participation of this protease in non-apoptotic cellular events including cell proliferation, cell cycle regulation, and cellular differentiation. In this study, astroglial cleavage of caspase-3 was analyzed following excitotoxic damage in postnatal rats to determine if its presence is associated with apoptotic cell death, cell proliferation, or cytoskeletal remodeling. A well-characterized in vivo model of excitotoxicity was studied, where damage was induced by intracortical injection of N-methyl-D-asparate (NMDA) in postnatal day 9 rats. Our results demonstrate that cleaved caspase-3 was mainly observed in the nucleus of activated astrocytes in the lesioned hemisphere as early as 4 h postlesion and persisted until the glial scar was formed at 7-14 days, and it was not associated with TUNEL labeling. Caspase-3 enzymatic activity was detected at 10 h and 1 day postlesion in astrocytes, and co-localized with caspase-cleaved fragments of glial fibrillary acidic protein (CCP-GFAP). However, at longer survival times, when astroglial hypertrophy was observed, astroglial caspase-3 did not generally correlate with GFAP cleavage, but instead was associated with de novo expression of vimentin. Moreover, astroglial caspase-3 cleavage was not associated with BrdU incorporation. These results provide further evidence for a nontraditional role of caspases in cellular function that is independent of cell death and suggest that caspase activation is important for astroglial cytoskeleton remodeling following cellular injury.
    Glia 08/2007; 55(9):954-65. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Excitotoxicity is well recognised as a mechanism underlying neuronal cell death in several brain injuries. To investigate age-dependent differences in neurodegeneration, edema formation and astrogliosis, intrastriatal N-methyl-d-aspartate injections were performed in young (3 months) and aged (22-24 months) male Wistar rats. Animals were sacrificed at different times between 12h and 14 days post-lesion (DPL) and cryostat sections were processed for Toluidine blue, Fluoro-Jade B staining, NeuN and GFAP immunohistochemistry. Our results show that both size of tissue injury and edema were reduced in the old subjects only up to 1DPL, correlating with a slower progression of neurodegeneration with peak numbers of degenerating neurons at 3DPL in the aged, contrasting with maximum neurodegeneration at 1DPL in the young. However, old animals showed an earlier onset of astroglial response, seen at 1DPL, and a larger area of astrogliosis at all time-points studied, including a greater glial scar. In conclusion, after excitotoxic striatal damage, progression of neurodegeneration is delayed in the aged but the astroglial response is earlier and exacerbated. Our results emphasize the importance of using aged animals and several survival times for the study of acute age-related brain insults.
    Experimental Gerontology 05/2007; 42(4):343-54. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Precursor cells have been shown to be affected by oxidative stress, in vivo and vitro, but little is known about the expression of antioxidant mechanisms in neuronal/glial differentiation. We have characterized the expression of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD), one of the main antioxidant proteins involved in the breakdown of superoxide, in the immature rat dorsolateral subventricular zone (SVZ), rostral migratory stream (RMS) and hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ). Progenitor cells were identified immunohistochemically on cryostat sections by 5'Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation and expressing cells were further characterized using double labeling for progenitor markers. In the SVZ, only a subpopulation of BrdU+ cells, mostly found in the medial SVZ, expressed Cu/Zn SOD. These cells were mostly nestin+ and some were also vimentin+. In contrast, in the lateral SVZ few Cu/Zn SOD+/BrdU+ cells were found. These were primarily nestin+, vimentin-, showed some PSA-NCAM expression, but only a few were NG2+. In the RMS and SGZ virtually all BrdU+ progenitors were Cu/Zn SOD+ and expressed nestin and vimentin. Some RMS cells were also PSA-NCAM+. These findings show a heterogeneous expression of Cu/Zn SOD in restricted cell types in the germinative zones and suggest a role for antioxidant Cu/Zn SOD in progenitor cells of the immature rat brain.
    Neuroscience Letters 07/2006; 401(1-2):71-6. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Superoxide mediated oxidative stress is a key neuropathologic mechanism in acute central nervous system injuries. We have analyzed the neuroprotective efficacy of the transient overexpression of antioxidant enzyme Cu/Zn Superoxide dismutase (SOD) after excitotoxic injury to the immature rat brain by using a recently constructed modular protein vector for non-viral gene delivery termed NLSCt. For this purpose, animals were injected with the NLSCt vector carrying the Cu/Zn SOD or the control GFP transgenes 2 hours after intracortical N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) administration, and daily functional evaluation was performed. Moreover, 3 days after, lesion volume, neuronal degeneration and nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity were evaluated. Overexpression of Cu/Zn SOD transgene after NMDA administration showed improved functional outcome and a reduced lesion volume at 3 days post lesion. In secondary degenerative areas, increased neuronal survival as well as decreased numbers of degenerating neurons and nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity was seen. Interestingly, injection of the NLSCt vector carrying the control GFP transgene also displayed a significant neuroprotective effect but less pronounced. When the appropriate levels of Cu/Zn SOD are expressed transiently after injury using the non-viral modular protein vector NLSCt a neuroprotective effect is seen. Thus recombinant modular protein vectors may be suitable for in vivo gene therapy, and Cu/Zn SOD should be considered as an interesting therapeutic transgene.
    BMC Neuroscience 02/2006; 7:35. · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In the nervous system, as in other organs, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD) is a key antioxidant enzyme involved in superoxide detoxification in normal cellular metabolism and after cell injury. Although it has been suggested that immature brain has a different susceptibility to oxidative damage than adult brain, the distribution and cell-specific expression of this enzyme in immature brain and after postnatal brain damage has not been documented. METHODS: In this study, we used immunohistochemistry and western blot to analyze the expression of Cu/Zn SOD in intact immature rat brain and in immature rat brain after an NMDA-induced excitotoxic cortical injury performed at postnatal day 9. Double immunofluorescence labelling was used to identify Cu/Zn SOD-expressing cell populations. RESULTS: In intact immature brain, Cu/Zn SOD enzyme was widely expressed at high levels in neurons mainly located in cortical layers II, III and V, in the sub-plate, in the pyriform cortex, in the hippocampus, and in the hypothalamus. Glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cells only showed Cu/Zn SOD expression in the glia limitans and in scattered cells of the ventricle walls. No expression was detected in interfascicular oligodendroglia, microglia or endothelial cells. Following excitotoxic damage, neuronal Cu/Zn SOD was rapidly downregulated (over 2-4 hours) at the injection site before neurodegeneration signals and TUNEL staining were observed. Later, from 1 day post-lesion onward, an upregulation of Cu/Zn SOD was found due to increased expression in astroglia. A further increase was observed at 3, 5 and 7 days that corresponded to extensive induction of Cu/Zn SOD in highly reactive astrocytes and in the astroglial scar. CONCLUSION: We show here that, in the intact immature brain, the expression of Cu/Zn SOD was mainly found in neurons. When damage occurs, a strong and very rapid downregulation of this enzyme precedes neuronal degeneration, and is followed by an upregulation of Cu/Zn SOD in astroglial cells.
    Journal of Neuroinflammation 07/2005; 2(1):12. · 4.35 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
159.44 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1994–2013
    • Autonomous University of Barcelona
      • • Departamento de Biología Celular, Fisiología e Inmunología
      • • Departamento de Medicina
      • • Facultat de Medicina
      Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2001–2005
    • University of Barcelona
      • Departament de Medicina
      Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1996–1997
    • Loyola University Chicago
      • Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
      Chicago, IL, United States