[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the principal organelle responsible for the proper folding/processing of nascent proteins and perturbed ER function leads to a state known as ER stress. Mammalian cells try to overcome ER stress through a set of protein signalling pathways and transcription factors termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). However, under unresolvable ER stress conditions, the UPR is hyperactivated inducing cell dysfunction and death. The accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients suggests that alterations in ER homeostasis might be implicated in the neurodegenerative events that characterize this disorder. This review discusses the involvement of ER stress in the pathogenesis of AD, focusing the processing and trafficking of the AD-related amyloid precursor protein (APP) during disease development. The potential role of ER as a therapeutic target in AD will also be debated.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2014; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the principal organelle responsible for the proper folding/processing of nascent proteins and perturbed ER function leads to a state known as ER stress. Mammalian cells try to overcome ER stress through a set of protein signalling pathways and transcription factors termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). However, under unresolvable ER stress conditions, the UPR is hyperactivated inducing cell dysfunction and death. The accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients suggests that alterations in ER homeostasis might be implicated in the neurodegenerative events that characterize this disorder. This review discusses the involvement of ER stress in the pathogenesis of AD, focusing the processing and trafficking of the AD-related amyloid precursor protein (APP) during disease development. The potential role of ER as a therapeutic target in AD will also be debated.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease. 01/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It was recently established that the stomach-derived ghrelin and the adipokine leptin promote learning and memory through actions within the hippocampus. Changes in the peripheral or brain levels of these peptides were described in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and were shown to correlate with the severity of cognitive decline. Furthermore, in vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated that leptin or ghrelin can ameliorate amyloid and tau pathologies as well as cognitive deficits. However, the exact role of these peptides in AD is far from being elucidated. To fill this gap, our working hypothesis was that leptin and ghrelin can exert a neuroprotective role in AD suppressing hippocampal dysfunction triggered by synapto- and neurotoxic amyloid-β oligomers (AβO). Using primary cultured hippocampal neurons, we demonstrated that both peptides reduce AβO-induced production of superoxide and mitochondrial membrane depolarization, improving cell survival, and inhibit cell death through a receptor-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, it was shown that in AβO-treated neurons both leptin and ghrelin prevent glycogen synthase kinase 3β activation. Therefore, the evidence gathered in this study revealed that leptin and ghrelin can act as neuroprotective agents able to rescue hippocampal neurons from AβO toxicity, thus highlighting their potential therapeutic role in AD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: According to World Health Organization estimates, type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an epidemic (particularly in under development countries) and a socio-economic challenge. This is even more relevant since increasing evidence points T2D as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), supporting the hypothesis that AD is a "type 3 diabetes" or "brain insulin resistant state". Despite the limited knowledge on the molecular mechanisms and the etiological complexity of both pathologies, evidence suggests that neurodegeneration/death underlying cognitive dysfunction (and ultimately dementia) upon long-term T2D may arise from a complex interplay between T2D and brain aging. Additionally, decreased brain insulin levels/signaling and glucose metabolism in both pathologies further suggests that an effective treatment strategy for one disorder may be also beneficial in the other. In this regard, one such promising strategy is a novel successful anti-T2D class of drugs, the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) mimetics (e.g. exendin-4 or liraglutide), whose potential neuroprotective effects have been increasingly shown in the last years. In fact, several studies showed that, besides improving peripheral (and probably brain) insulin signaling, GLP-1 analogues minimize cell loss and possibly rescue cognitive decline in models of AD, Parkinson's (PD) or Huntington's disease. Interestingly, exendin-4 is undergoing clinical trials to test its potential as an anti-PD therapy. Herewith, we aim to integrate the available data on the metabolic and neuroprotective effects of GLP-1 mimetics in the central nervous system (CNS) with the complex crosstalk between T2D-AD, as well as their potential therapeutic value against T2D-associated cognitive dysfunction.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a nosological entity or a translational state between normal aging and sporadic Alzheimer´s disease (AD). From brain tissue to peripheral blood samples, it is evident that the early markers of metabolic dysfunction observed in AD have also been found in MCI subjects. These observations obtained from MCI and AD subjects leave open the possibility that mitochondrial dysfunction-induced oxidative damage happening a priori of symptom onset, may trigger other pathological hallmarks, namely Aβ oligomerization. In this study, we used a citoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) model created by the repopulation of human teratocarcinoma (NT2) cells depleted of endogenous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with platelets from age-matched controls, MCI and AD subjects. We found mitochondrial deficits in MCI and AD cybrids as compared with controls, such as a decrease in cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity, a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and in mitochondrial cytochrome c content. Consequently, we analyzed parameters of oxidative damage and found that AD and MCI cybrids exhibit an increase in lipid peroxides, higher production of superoxide radicals, and higher content in protein carbonyls. Since our data clearly show alterations in mitochondrial-mediated oxidative damage in MCI cybrids we propose that mitochondrial dysfunction is an early event in idiopathic AD. Moreover, we found that mitochondrial Aβ oligomeric content increases in AD, which may exacerbate initial mitochondrial damage. Altogether, our data strongly supports a key role for mitochondria/mtDNA in aged-driven AD pathology.
Current Alzheimer research 06/2012; · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, affecting several million of people worldwide. Pathological changes in the AD brain include the presence of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, loss of neurons and synapses, and oxidative damage. These changes strongly associate with mitochondrial dysfunction and stress of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Mitochondrial dysfunction is intimately linked to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial-driven apoptosis, which appear to be aggravated in the brain of AD patients. Concomitantly, mitochondria are closely associated with ER, and the deleterious crosstalk between both organelles has been shown to be involved in neuronal degeneration in AD. Stimuli that enhance expression of normal and/or folding-defective proteins activate an adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR) that, if unresolved, can cause apoptotic cell death. ER stress also induces the generation of ROS that, together with mitochondrial ROS and decreased activity of several antioxidant defenses, promotes chronic oxidative stress. In this paper we discuss the critical role of mitochondrial and ER dysfunction in oxidative injury in AD cellular and animal models, as well as in biological fluids from AD patients. Progress in developing peripheral and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers related to oxidative stress will also be summarized.
International Journal of Cell Biology 01/2012; 2012:735206.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that leads to debilitating cognitive deficits. Recent evidence demonstrates that glutamate receptors are dysregulated by amyloid beta peptide (Aβ) oligomers, resulting in disruption of glutamatergic synaptic transmission which parallels early cognitive deficits. Although it is well accepted that neuronal death in AD is related to disturbed intracellular Ca(2+) (Ca(2+)(i)) homeostasis, little is known about the contribution of NMDARs containing GluN2A or GluN2B subunits on Aβ-induced Ca(2+)(i) rise and neuronal dysfunction. Thus, the main goal of this work was to evaluate the role of NMDAR subunits in dysregulation of Ca(2+)(i) homeostasis induced by Aβ 1-42 preparation containing both oligomers (in higher percentage) and monomers in rat cerebral cortical neurons. The involvement of NMDARs was evaluated by pharmacological inhibition with MK-801 or the selective GluN2A and GLUN2B subunit antagonists NVP-AAM077 and ifenprodil, respectively. We show that Aβ, like NMDA, increase Ca(2+)(i) levels mainly through activation of NMDARs containing GluN2B subunits. Conversely, GluN2A-NMDARs antagonism potentiates Ca(2+)(i) rise induced by a high concentration of Aβ (1μM), suggesting that GluN2A and GluN2B subunits have opposite roles in regulating Ca(2+)(i) homeostasis. Moreover, Aβ modulate NMDA-induced responses and vice versa. Indeed, pre-exposure to Aβ (1μM) decrease NMDA-evoked Ca(2+)(I) rise and pre-exposure to NMDA decrease Aβ response. Interestingly, simultaneous addition of Aβ and NMDA potentiate Ca(2+)(I) levels, this effect being regulated by GluN2A and GluN2B subunits in opposite manners. This study contributes to the understanding of the molecular basis of early AD pathogenesis, by exploring the role of GluN2A and GluN2B subunits in the mechanism of Aβ toxicity in AD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is the most prevalent polyglutamine expansion disorder. HD is caused by an expansion of CAG triplet in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, associated with striatal and cortical neuronal loss. Central and peripheral metabolic abnormalities and altered insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels have been described in HD. Thus, we hypothesized that restoration of IGF-1-mediated signaling pathways could rescue R6/2 mice from metabolic stress and behavioral changes induced by polyglutamine expansion. We analyzed the in vivo effect of continuous peripheral IGF-1 administration on diabetic parameters, body weight and motor behavior in the hemizygous R6/2 mouse model of HD. We used 9 week-old and age-matched wild-type mice, subjected to continuously infused recombinant IGF-I or vehicle, for 14 days. IGF-1 treatment prevented the age-related decrease in body weight in R6/2 mice. Although blood glucose levels were higher in R6/2 mice, they did not reach a diabetic state. Even though, IGF-1 ameliorated poor glycemic control in HD mice. This seemed to be associated with a decrease in blood insulin levels in R6/2 mice, which was increased following IGF-1 infusion. Similarly, blood IGF-1 levels decreased during aging in both wild-type and R6/2 mice, being significantly improved upon its continuous infusion. Although no significant differences were found in motor function in R6/2-treated mice, IGF-1 treatment highly improved paw clasping scores. In summary, these results suggest that IGF-1 has a protective role against HD-associated impaired glucose tolerance, by enhancing blood insulin levels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While the etiology of Parkinson's disease remains largely elusive, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that mitochondrial dysfunction occurs prior to the onset of symptoms in Parkinson's disease. Mitochondria are remarkably primed to play a vital role in neuronal cell survival since they are key regulators of energy metabolism (as ATP producers), of intracellular calcium homeostasis, of NAD(+)/NADH ratio, and of endogenous reactive oxygen species production and programmed cell death. In this paper, we focus on mitochondrial dysfunction-mediated alpha-synuclein aggregation. We highlight some of the findings that provide proof of evidence for a mitochondrial metabolism control in Parkinson's disease, namely, mitochondrial regulation of microtubule-dependent cellular traffic and autophagic lysosomal pathway. The knowledge that microtubule alterations may lead to autophagic deficiency and may compromise the cellular degradation mechanisms that culminate in the progressive accumulation of aberrant protein aggregates shields new insights to the way we address Parkinson's disease. In line with this knowledge, an innovative window for new therapeutic strategies aimed to restore microtubule network may be unlocked.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cocaine and heroin are co-abused by humans, in a combination known as speedball. Besides pharmacodynamic interactions between the two drugs, a chemical interaction was described to occur in cocaine:heroin solutions, involving the formation of a cocaine:morphine adduct, which may have speciﬁc biological effects. We have described that cocaine and heroin induce neurotoxicity in rat cortical neurons.We compared the neurotoxic effects of the drugs per se with the effects of their sequential and simultaneous combinations.
Cortical neurons exposed to the mixture presented a higher increase in intracellular calcium concentration, mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death by necrosis, in contrast with cells sequentially exposed to heroin and cocaine, which released cytochrome c to the cytosol and presented higher loss of metabolic viability. These results suggest that cocaine:morphine adducts affect neuronal mitochondrial function. We studied the direct effects of cocaine, morphine and their combination in isolated rat liver mitochondrial function. Cocaine and cocaine:morphine combination promoted the increase in proton leak, respiratory chain complex I inhibition and the decrease in mitochondrial potential. Our results indicate that molecular interactions between cocaine and opioids affect the toxicity of speedball.
This work was supported by FCT (POCI/FCF/58330/2004) and University of Coimbra (III/34/2008).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction has been widely implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Evidence shows a mitochondrial-mediated impairment of autophagy that potentiates amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition. Accordingly, recent data obtained from AD models, in which mitochondrial alterations are a prominent feature, demonstrated abnormalities in microtubule network, involving tubulin and tau post-translational modifications. In this review we will discuss mitochondrial-regulated processes where mitochondrial malfunction is likely to start a sequence of events leading to sirtuin-2 activation, microtubule network breakdown, and impairment of the autophagic pathway. Because sirtuin-2 activity depends on cellular NAD+ availability, mitochondrial regulation of NAD+ levels may contribute to an increase in sirtuin-mediated tubulin deacetylation. A vicious cycle become installed which potentiates tau hyperphosphorylation, together with Aβ overproduction and deposition. Overall, targeting microtubule network constitutes a promising strategy for pharmacological therapy in AD.
Current Alzheimer research 01/2011; 8(5):563-72. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial metabolism is a highly orchestrated phenomenon in which many enzyme systems cooperate in a variety of pathways to dictate cellular fate. As well as its vital role in cellular energy metabolism (ATP production), mitochondria are powerful organelles that regulate reactive oxygen species production, NAD+/NADH ratio and programmed cell death. In addition, mitochondrial abnormalities have been well recognized to contribute to degenerative diseases, like Parkinson's disease (PD). Particularly a deficiency in the mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I and cristae disruption have been consistently described in PD. Moreover, the products of PD-familial genes, including alpha-synuclein, Parkin, PINK1, DJ-1, LRRK2 and HTR2A, were shown to localize to the mitochondria under certain conditions. It seems that PD has a mitochondrial component so events that would modulate normal mitochondrial functions may compromise neuronal survival. However, it remains an open question whether alterations of these pathways lead to different aspects of PD or whether they converge at a point that is the common denominator of PD pathogenesis. In this review we will focus on mitochondrial metabolic control and its implications on sirtuins activation, microtubule dynamics and autophagic-lysosomal pathway. We will address mitochondrial metabolism modulation as a new promising therapeutic tool for PD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. With over 26 million patients in 2006, AD is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease worldwide. Different hypotheses have been suggested to explain the pathogenesis of AD, like those involving inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction or oxidative stress. Many of these studies have addressed amyloid plaque formation, tau hyperphosphorylation and apoptotic neuronal loss, the three main histopathological hallmarks of this disease. Increasing evidences, however, suggest another feature that can also be considered a neuropathological marker for AD: ectopic cell cycle re-entry. Cell cycle events have been frequently registered in the brains of AD patients. Although the exact starting point of cell cycle re-entry remains unclear, a number of subsequent cascades, which include events such as kinase upregulation, DNA replication and cytoskeletal alterations, have already been described. There are also increasing reports suggesting that cell cycle reactivation in mature neurons occurs as part of the apoptotic process. Upon a brief overview of the different theories and models addressing cell cycle reactivation in AD, we will describe possible mechanisms that trigger cell cycle re-entry, with special attention to links between this feature and the main neuropathological markers of AD. Finally, we will also analyze possible similarities between cell cycle dysregulation in AD and in other pathologies, such as Prion-Related Encephalopathies.
Current Alzheimer research 07/2009; 6(3):205-12. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When first described by Alois Alzheimer in 1907, AD was seen as a disorder that causes dementia and characterized by two defining neuropathological lesions, later associated with all forms of AD. While the etiology of AD remains largely unclear, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that mitochondrial dysfunction occurs prior to the onset of symptoms in AD. Mitochondria are exceptionally poised to play a crucial role in neuronal cell survival or death because they are regulators of both energy metabolism and apoptotic pathways. This review is mainly focused in the discussion of evidence suggesting a clear association between mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy impairment and amyloid-beta accumulation in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. The knowledge that autophagic insufficiency may compromise the cellular degradation mechanisms that may culminate in the progressive accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, aberrant protein aggregates buildup and lysossomal burden shield new insights to the way we address Alzheimer's disease. In line with this knowledge an innovative window for new therapeutic strategies aimed to activate or ameliorate macroautophagy may be opened.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder primarily characterized by excessive deposition of amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides in the brain. One of the earliest neuropathological changes in AD is the presence of a high number of reactive astrocytes at sites of Abeta deposition. Disturbance of glutamatergic neurotransmission and consequent excitotoxicity is also believed as implicated in the progression of this dementia. Therefore, the study of astrocyte responses to Abeta, the main cellular type involved in the maintenance of synaptic glutamate concentrations, is crucial for understanding the pathogenesis of AD. This study aims to investigate the effect of Abeta on the astrocytic glutamate transporters, glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST), and their relative participation to glutamate clearance. In addition we have also investigated the involvement of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases in the modulation of GLT-1 and GLAST levels and activity and the putative contribution of oxidative stress induced by Abeta to the astrocytic glutamate transport function. Therefore, we used primary cultures of rat brain astrocytes exposed to Abeta synthetic peptides. The data obtained show that Abeta(1-40) peptide decreased astroglial glutamate uptake capacity in a non-competitive mode of inhibition, assessed in terms of tritium radiolabeled d-aspartate (d-[(3)H]aspartate) transport. The activity of GLT-1 seemed to be more affected than that of GLAST, and the levels of both transporters were decreased in Abeta(1-40)-treated astrocytes. We demonstrated that MAP kinases, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase, were activated in an early phase of Abeta(1-40) treatment and the whole pathways differentially modulated the glutamate transporters activity/levels. Moreover it was shown that oxidative stress induced by Abeta(1-40) may lead to the glutamate uptake impairment observed. Taken together, our results suggest that Abeta peptide downregulates the astrocytic glutamate uptake capacity and this effect may be in part mediated by oxidative stress and the differential activity and complex balance between the MAP kinase signaling pathways.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuroprotective effect of neuropeptide Y (NPY) receptor activation was investigated in organotypic mouse hippocampal slice cultures exposed to the glutamate receptor agonist alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA). Exposure of 2-week-old slice cultures, derived from 7-day-old C57BL/6 mice, to 8 microm AMPA, for 24 h, induced degeneration of CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cells, as measured by cellular uptake of propidium iodide (PI). A significant neuroprotection, with a reduction of PI uptake in CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cell layers, was observed after incubation with a Y(2) receptor agonist [NPY(13-36), 300 nm]. This effect was sensitive to the presence of the selective Y(2) receptor antagonist (BIIE0246, 1 microm), but was not affected by addition of TrkB-Fc or by a neutralizing antibody against brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Moreover, addition of a Y(1) receptor antagonist (BIBP3226, 1 microm) or a NPY-neutralizing antibody helped to disclose a neuroprotective role of endogenous NPY in CA1 region. Cultures exposed to 8 microm AMPA for 24 h, displayed, as measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, a significant increase in BDNF. In such cultures there was an up-regulation of neuronal TrkB immunoreactivity, as well as the presence of BDNF-immunoreactive microglial cells at sites of injury. Thus, an increase of AMPA-receptor mediated neurodegeneration, in the mouse hippocampus, was prevented by neuroprotective pathways activated by NPY receptors (Y(1) and Y(2)), which can be affected by BDNF released by microglia and neurons.
European Journal of Neuroscience 05/2008; 27(8):2089-102. · 3.75 Impact Factor