[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common adult-onset motor neuron disorder, is characterized by the progressive and selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Diagnosis of this disorder is based on clinical assessment, and the average survival time is less than 3 years. Injections of IgG from ALS patients into mice are known to specifically mark motor neurons. Moreover, IgG has been found in upper and lower motor neurons in ALS patients. These results led us to perform a case-control study using human protein microarrays to identify the antibody profiles of serum samples from 20 ALS patients and 20 healthy controls. We demonstrated high levels of 20 IgG antibodies that distinguished the patients from the controls. These findings suggest that a panel of antibodies may serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker for ALS.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e89596. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The expression pattern of aromatase (ARO), the enzyme converting androgens to estrogens, was analyzed in the olfactory bulb of adult male rats and was compared with the distribution of estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta), the main estrogen receptor isoform expressed in this brain region. A strong ARO immunolabeling obtained with a specificity tested antibody was observed in juxtaglomerular neurons of the glomerular layer and a weaker immunoreaction was detected in the mitral cell layer of the main olfactory bulb, while the granule cell layer of the main olfactory bulb as well as all layers in the accessory olfactory bulb showed faint immunolabeling. Fluorescence double labeling experiments revealed that ARO detected in juxtaglomerular neurons of the main olfactory bulb colocalized with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67), while no colocalization between ARO and the calcium binding proteins calretinin (CR) and calbindin (CB) was observed. Furthermore, the TH immunoreactive neurons expressed metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1) too. ERβ immunoreactivity, in contrast to ARO, was detected in all layers of both the main and accessory olfactory bulb. In the glomerular layer of the main olfactory bulb it was expressed in TH and GAD67 containing juxtaglomerular neurons, and it colocalized with CR, CB and even with glial fibrillary acidic protein too. Our morphological findings suggest that ARO expression is a novel feature of dopaminergic/GABAergic juxtaglomerular neurons in the adult rat main olfactory bulb, and raise the possibility that ARO activity may change in function of olfactory input via mGluR1. In situ estrogen production in the olfactory bulb in turn may modulate interglomerular circuits through ERbeta.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium accumulation induces the breakdown of cytoskeleton and axonal fragmentation in the late stages of Wallerian degeneration. In the early stages there is no evidence for any long-lasting, extensive increase in intra-axonal calcium but there does appear to be some redistribution. We hypothesized that changes in calcium distribution could have an early regulatory role in axonal degeneration in addition to the late executionary role of calcium. Schmidt-Lanterman clefts (SLCs), which allow exchange of metabolites and ions between the periaxonal and extracellular space, are likely to have an increased role when axon segments are separated from the cell body, so we used the oxalate-pyroantimonate method to study calcium at SLCs in distal stumps of transected wild-type and slow Wallerian degeneration (Wld(S)) mutant sciatic nerves, in which Wallerian degeneration is greatly delayed. In wild-type nerves most SLCs show a step gradient of calcium distribution, which is lost at around 20% of SLCs within 3mm of the lesion site by 4-24h after nerve transection. To investigate further the association with Wallerian degeneration, we studied nerves from Wld(S) rats. The step gradient of calcium distribution in Wld(S) is absent in around 20% of the intact nerves beneath SLCs but 4-24h following injury, calcium distribution in transected axons remained similar to that in uninjured nerves. We then used calcium indicators to study influx and buffering of calcium in injured neurites in primary culture. Calcium penetration and the early calcium increase in this system were indistinguishable between Wld(S) and wild-type axons. However, a significant difference was observed during the following hours, when calcium increased in wild-type neurites but not in Wld(S) neurites. We conclude that there is little relationship between calcium distribution and the early stages of Wallerian degeneration at the time points studied in vivo or in vitro but that Wld(S) neurites fail to show a later calcium rise that could be a cause or consequence of the later stages of Wallerian degeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transactive response DNA binding protein (TDP-43) proteinopathies describe a clinico-pathological spectrum of multi-system neurodegeneration that spans motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). We have identified four male patients who presented with the clinical features of a pure MND/ALS phenotype (without dementia) but who had distinctive cortical and cerebellar pathology that was different from other TDP-43 proteinopathies. All patients initially presented with weakness of limbs and respiratory muscles and had a family history of MND/ALS. None had clinically identified cognitive decline or dementia during life and they died between 11 and 32 months after symptom onset. Neuropathological investigation revealed lower motor neuron involvement with TDP-43-positive inclusions typical of MND/ALS. In contrast, the cerebral pathology was atypical, with abundant star-shaped p62-immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and hippocampus, while TDP-43-positive inclusions were sparse. This pattern was also seen in the cerebellum where p62-positive, TDP-43-negative inclusions were frequent in granular cells. Western blots of cortical lysates, in contrast to those of sporadic MND/ALS and FTLD-TDP, showed high p62 levels and low TDP-43 levels with no high molecular weight smearing. MND/ALS-associated SOD1, FUS and TARDBP gene mutations were excluded; however, further investigations revealed that all four of the cases did show a repeat expansion of C9orf72, the recently reported cause of chromosome 9-linked MND/ALS and FTLD. We conclude that these chromosome 9-linked MND/ALS cases represent a pathological sub-group with abundant p62 pathology in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum but with no significant associated cognitive decline.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We tested the efficacy of treatment with talampanel in a mutant SOD1 mouse model of ALS by measuring intracellular calcium levels and loss of spinal motor neurons. We intended to mimic the clinical study; hence, treatment was started when the clinical symptoms were already present. The data were compared with the results of similar treatment started at a presymptomatic stage. Transgenic and wild-type mice were treated either with talampanel or with vehicle, starting in presymptomatic or symptomatic stages. The density of motor neurons was determined by the physical disector, and their intracellular calcium level was assayed electron microscopically. Results showed that motor neurons in the SOD1 mice exhibited an elevated calcium level, which could be reduced, but not restored, with talampanel only when the treatment was started presymptomatically. Treatment in either presymptomatic or symptomatic stages failed to rescue the motor neurons. We conclude that talampanel reduces motoneuronal calcium in a mouse model of ALS, but its efficacy declines as the disease progresses, suggesting that medication initiation in the earlier stages of the disease might be more effective.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma represents the third common cause of brain metastasis, having the highest propensity to metastasize to the brain of all primary neoplasms in adults. Since the central nervous system lacks a lymphatic system, the only possibility for melanoma cells to reach the brain is via the blood stream and the blood-brain barrier. Despite the great clinical importance, mechanisms of transmigration of melanoma cells through the blood-brain barrier are incompletely understood. In order to investigate this question we have used an in vitro experimental setup based on the culture of cerebral endothelial cells (CECs) and the A2058 and B16/F10 melanoma cell lines, respectively. Melanoma cells were able to adhere to confluent brain endothelial cells, a process followed by elimination of protrusions and transmigration from the luminal to the basolateral side of the endothelial monolayers. The transmigration process of certain cells was accelerated when they were able to use the routes preformed by previously transmigrated melanoma cells. After migrating through the endothelial monolayer several melanoma cells continued their movement beneath the endothelial cell layer. Melanoma cells coming in contact with brain endothelial cells disrupted the tight and adherens junctions of CECs and used (at least partially) the paracellular transmigration pathway. During this process melanoma cells produced and released large amounts of proteolytic enzymes, mainly gelatinolytic serine proteases, including seprase. The serine protease inhibitor Pefabloc® was able to decrease to 44-55% the number of melanoma cells migrating through CECs. Our results suggest that release of serine proteases by melanoma cells and disintegration of the interendothelial junctional complex are main steps in the formation of brain metastases in malignant melanoma.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e20758. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies provide increasing data indicating the prominent role of estrogens in protecting the nervous system against the noxious consequences of nerve injury. It is also clear that in the process of nerve injury and recovery not only the neurons, but the glial cells are also involved and they are important components of the protective mechanisms. In the present article the effect of 17β-estradiol on injury-induced microglia activation was studied in an animal model. Peripheral axotomy of the oculomotor neurons was achieved by the removal of the right eyeball including the extraocular muscles of ovariectomized adult mice. The time course and the extent of microglia activation was followed by the unbiased morphometric analysis of CD11b immunoreactive structures within the oculomotor nucleus. The first sign of microglia activation appeared after 24 h following injury, the maximal effect was found on the fourth day. In ovariectomized females hormone treatment (daily injection of 17β-estradiol, 5 μg/100 g b.w.) decreased significantly the microglia reaction at postoperative day 4. Our results show that microglia response to nerve injury is affected by estradiol, that is these cells may mediate some of the hormonal effects and may contribute to protective mechanisms resulting in the structural and functional recovery of the nervous system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor neurons that exhibit differences in vulnerability to degeneration have been identified in motor neuron disease and in its animal models. The oculomotor and hypoglossal neurons are regarded as the prototypes of the resistant and susceptible cell types, respectively. Because an increase in the level of intracellular calcium has been proposed as a feature amplifying degenerative processes, we earlier studied the calcium increase in these motor neurons after axotomy in Balb/c mice and demonstrated a correlation between the susceptibility to degeneration and the intracellular calcium increase, with an inverse relation with the calcium buffering capacity, characterized by the parvalbumin or calbindin-D(28k) content. Because the differential susceptibility of the cells might also be attributed to their different cellular environments, in the present experiments, with the aim of verifying directly that a higher calcium buffering capacity is indeed responsible for the enhanced resistance, motor neurons were studied in their original milieu in mice with a genetically increased parvalbumin level. The changes in intracellular calcium level of the hypoglossal and oculomotor neurons after axotomy were studied electron microscopically at a 21-day interval after axotomy, during which time no significant calcium increase was detected in the hypoglossal motor neurons, the response being similar to that of the oculomotor neurons. The hypoglossal motor neurons of the parental mice, used as positive controls, exhibited a transient, significant elevation of calcium. These data provide more direct evidence of the protective role of parvalbumin against the degeneration mediated by a calcium increase in the acute injury of motor neurons.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 06/2010; 518(11):1946-61. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the advent of ever newer microscopic techniques for the study of the distribution of macromolecules in biological tissues, the enzyme-based immunohistochemical (IHC) methods are still used widely and routinely. However, the acquisition of reliable conclusions from the pattern of the reaction products of IHC procedures is hindered by the regular need for subjective judgments, in view of frequent inconsistencies in staining intensity from section to section or in repeated experiments. Consequently, when numerical comparisons are required, light microscopic morphological descriptions are commonly supplemented with analytical data (e.g. from Western blot analyses); however, these cannot be directly associated with accurate structural information and can easily be contaminated with data from outside the region of interest. Alternatively, to eliminate the more or less subjective evaluation of the results of IHC staining, procedures should be developed that correct for the variability of staining through the use of objective criteria. This paper describes a simple procedure, based on digital image analysis methods and the use of an internal reference area on the analyzed sections, that reduces the operator input and hence subjectivity, and makes the relative changes in IHC staining intensity in different experiments comparable. The reference area is situated at a position of the section that is not affected by the experimental treatment, or a disease condition, and that can therefore be used to specify the baseline of the IHC staining. Another source of staining variability is the internal heterogeneity of the object to be characterized, which means that identical fields can never be analyzed. To compensate for this variability, details are given of a systematic random sampling paradigm, which provides simple numerical data describing the extent and strength of IHC staining throughout the entire volume to be characterized. In this integrated approach, the figures are derived by pooling relative IHC staining intensities from all sections of the series from a particular animal. The procedure (1) eliminates the problem arising from the personal assessment of the significance of the IHC staining intensity, (2) does not depend on the precise dissection of the tissue on a gross scale and (3) considerably reduces the consequences of limited, arbitrary sampling of the region of interest for IHC analysis. The quantification procedure is illustrated by data from an experiment in which inflammatory reactions in the murine spinal cord, measured as microglial activation, were followed by IHC after the lesion of the sciatic nerve.
Journal of Microscopy 05/2009; 234(1):103-12. · 1.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an inexorably progressive motoneuron disease, is accompanied by significantly increased markers of inflammation. These inflammatory constituents could protect, harm, do neither, or do both.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was performed in patients with sporadic ALS to suppress neuroinflammation and improve clinical outcomes after CNS engraftment.
Six patients with definite ALS received total body irradiation followed by peripheral blood HSCT infusion from human leukocyte antigen identically matched sibling donors. Disease progression and survival were assessed monthly and compared with matched historic database patients. Autopsy samples from brain and spinal cord were examined immunohistochemically and by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Donor-derived DNA in brain and spinal cord tissue was evaluated for the extent of chimerism.
No clinical benefits were evident. Four patients were 100% engrafted; postmortem tissue examination in two of the 100% engrafted patients demonstrated 16% to 38% donor-derived DNA at sites with motoneuron pathology, which may correspond to the observed increased CD68 or CD1a-positive cells. Neither donor DNA nor increased cell numbers were found in several unaffected brain regions. A third minimally engrafted patient had neither donor DNA nor increased infiltrating cells in the CNS.
This study demonstrates that peripheral cells derived from donor hematopoietic stem cells can enter the human CNS primarily at sites of motoneuron pathology and engraft as immunomodulatory cells. Although unmodified hematopoietic stem cells did not benefit these sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients, such cells may provide a cellular vehicle for future CNS gene therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor neurons with different susceptibility to degeneration have been identified in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Increase of intracellular calcium has been proposed as a mediator, amplifying the damage through a positive feedback of the known pathological processes. Accordingly, the potential of motor neurons to limit calcium increases during injury might be proportional to their viability. A basic mechanism of reducing calcium amplitudes depends on the calcium-buffering capacity, determined by the calcium-binding protein content. In this study, oculomotor and hypoglossal neurons, prototypes of resistant and vulnerable motor neurons in ALS were examined in axotomy experiments. Total calcium-, parvalbumin-, and calbindin-D28k levels of motor neurons of adult mice were characterized by electron microscopic histochemistry and light microscopic immunostaining. In hypoglossal neurons, compared with oculomotor neurons, larger and more enduring increases of calcium were detected. The perikarya of hypoglossal neurons remained immunonegative for both parvalbumin and calbindin-D28k. Qualitatively, no major cell loss was noted after axotomy, but a decreased neuronal marker staining at days 1-14 suggested a reversible injury of hypoglossal neurons. Oculomotor neurons were not stained for calbindin-D28k but stained for parvalbumin in control conditions, staining which increased at postoperative days 7-14 before returning to baseline. Neuronal marker staining did not change in these cells during the observed period. The higher level of parvalbumin in resistant motor neurons and their ability to up-regulate parvalbumin after injury, paralleled by a smaller increase of intracellular calcium suggest that parvalbumin may have a protective effect in these cells.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/2006; 499(1):17-32. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease affecting adult motoneurons, is caused by dominant mutations in the ubiquitously expressed Cu(2+)/Zn(2+) superoxide dismutase (SOD1). Recent studies suggest that glia may contribute to motoneuron injury in animal models of familial ALS. To determine whether the expression of mutant SOD1 (mSOD1(G93A)) in CNS microglia contributes to motoneuron injury, PU.1(-/-) mice that are unable to develop myeloid and lymphoid cells received bone marrow transplants resulting in donor-derived microglia. Donor-derived microglia from mice overexpressing mSOD1(G93A), an animal model of familial ALS, transplanted into PU.1(-/-) mice could not induce weakness, motoneuron injury, or an ALS-like disease. To determine whether expression of mSOD1(G93A) in motoneurons and astroglia, as well as microglia, was required to produce motoneuron disease, PU.1(-/-) mice were bred with mSOD1(G93A) mice. In mSOD1(G93A)/PU.1(-/-) mice, wild-type donor-derived microglia slowed motoneuron loss and prolonged disease duration and survival when compared with mice receiving mSOD1(G93A) expressing cells or mSOD1(G93A) mice. In vitro studies confirmed that wild-type microglia were less neurotoxic than similarly cultured mSOD1(G93A) microglia. Compared with wild-type microglia, mSOD1(G93A) microglia produced and released more superoxide and nitrite+nitrate, and induced more neuronal death. These data demonstrate that the expression of mSOD1(G93A) results in activated and neurotoxic microglia, and suggests that the lack of mSOD1(G93A) expression in microglia may contribute to motoneuron protection. This study confirms the importance of microglia as a double-edged sword, and focuses on the importance of targeting microglia to minimize cytotoxicity and maximize neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2006; 103(43):16021-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trauma or the tourniquet used in orthopedic surgery is often associated with ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury with a consequent decrease of muscle power. To explore whether components of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) are involved in this muscle dysfunction, NMJs were ultrastructurally characterized in the extensor digitorum longus muscle of rats at reperfusion times of 1, 24, 72, and 168 h after a 120-min arterial occlusion. Disorganization of the presynaptic membrane and mitochondrial injury was noted at 1 h, followed by fragmentation and partial engulfment of nerve terminals by Schwann cells at 24 and 72 h. The magnitude of degenerative changes declined at 168 h, suggesting the commencement of regeneration. The postsynaptic membrane remained intact throughout the whole period. In our previous study, deafferentation with pretreatment of the sciatic nerve with capsaicin, which reduces neurogenic inflammation and has a selective effect on nociceptive fibers, improved functional recovery of the muscle after I/R. The present results document a significantly delayed structural regeneration of the motor nerve terminals after combined capsaicin and I/R treatment. Since capsaicin treatment alone had no discernible effect on the structure of NMJs, the findings point to a possibly indirect effect of capsaicin on the motor nerves, which may predispose them to increased susceptibility unmasked only by a subsequent injury. The mismatch between the enhanced functional improvement of the muscle and delayed regeneration of the nerve after capsaicin pretreatment questions the efficient use of such deafferentation to protect the integrity of neuromuscular junctions in I/R injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated increased dendritic cells (potent antigen-presenting cells) and MCP-1 (monocyte, T-cell, and dendritic cell attracting chemokine) levels in ALS spinal cord tissue. Additionally, we presented data suggesting that dendritic cells might be contributing to the pathogenesis. To determine whether MCP-1 and dendritic cells are present in the mSOD1 mouse and how early in the disease process they are involved, we examined mSOD1 and control spinal cord tissue at different ages using real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Dendritic cells were present and transcripts elevated in mSOD1 spinal cord beginning at 110 days. MCP-1 mRNA and immunoreactivity were upregulated in mSOD1 neuronal and glial cells as early as 15 days, prior to any evidence of microglial activation. CD68+ cells were present at 39 days of age. Although it is not clear if these responses are protective or injurious, the early increased MCP-1 expression and CD68+ cell presence indicate early preexisting injury.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 04/2006; 31(3):427-37. · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunoglobulin G (IgG) samples isolated from the sera of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and control patients were injected intraperitoneally into mice. After 24 h the mice were processed for immune electron microscopic immunohistochemistry to localize IgG in their nervous system. The injected ALS IgG was observed in the axon terminals of the lower motor neurons (MNs), localized to the microtubules and enriched in the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER). In post-mortem spinal cord samples from ALS patients, IgG was similarly detected in the vicinity of the microtubules and in the RER of the MNs. IgG was neither found in the corresponding structures of MNs of mice injected with the control human IgG nor in post-mortem human control spinal cord samples. The data suggest that multiple antibodies directing to different structures of the MNs may play a role in their degeneration in ALS.