Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is the key enzyme in the salvaging synthesis pathway of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Both NAMPT and NAD progressively decline upon aging and neurodegenerative diseases. The depletion of NAMPT induces mitochondrial dysfunction in motor neurons and causes bioenergetic stress in neurons. However, the roles of NAMPT in hippocampus neurons need to be further studied. Using floxed Nampt (Namptflox/flox) mice, we knocked out Nampt specifically in the hippocampus CA1 neurons by injecting rAAV-hSyn-Cre-APRE-pA. The depletion of NAMPT in hippocampus neurons induced cognitive deficiency in mice. Nevertheless, no morphological change of hippocampus neurons was observed with immunofluorescent imaging. Under the transmission electron microscope, we observed mitochondrial swollen and mitochondrial number decreasing in the cell body and the neurites of hippocampus neurons. In addition, we found the intracellular Aβ (6E10) increased in the hippocampus CA1 region. The intensity of Aβ42 remained unchanged, but it tended to aggregate. The GFAP level, an astrocyte marker, and the Iba1 level, a microglia marker, significantly increased in the mouse hippocampus. In the primary cultured rat neurons, NAMPT inhibition by FK866 decreased the NAD level of neurons at > 10⁻⁹ M. FK866 dropped the mitochondrial membrane potential in the cell body of neurons at > 10⁻⁹ M and in the dendrite of neurons at > 10⁻⁸ M. FK866 decreased the number and shortened the length of branches of neurons at > 10⁻⁷ M. Together, likely due to the injury of mitochondria, the decline of NAMPT level can be a critical risk factor for neurodegeneration.
Proline-rich transmembrane protein 2 (PRRT2) is a neuron-specific protein implicated in the control of neurotransmitter release and neural network stability. Accordingly, PRRT2 loss-of-function mutations associate with pleiotropic paroxysmal neurological disorders, including paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia, episodic ataxia, benign familial infantile seizures, and hemiplegic migraine. PRRT2 is a negative modulator of the membrane exposure and biophysical properties of Na ⁺ channels Na V 1.2/Na V 1.6 predominantly expressed in brain glutamatergic neurons. Na V channels form complexes with β-subunits that facilitate the membrane targeting and the activation of the α-subunits. The opposite effects of PRRT2 and β-subunits on Na V channels raises the question of whether PRRT2 and β-subunits interact or compete for common binding sites on the α-subunit, generating Na ⁺ channel complexes with distinct functional properties. Using a heterologous expression system, we have observed that β-subunits and PRRT2 do not interact with each other and act as independent non-competitive modulators of Na V 1.2 channel trafficking and biophysical properties. PRRT2 antagonizes the β4-induced increase in expression and functional activation of the transient and persistent Na V 1.2 currents, without affecting resurgent current. The data indicate that β4-subunit and PRRT2 form a push–pull system that finely tunes the membrane expression and function of Na V channels and the intrinsic neuronal excitability.
Modulation of microglial pro/anti-inflammatory states and autophagy are promising new therapies for ischemic stroke, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unexplored. The objective of the study is to determine the intrinsic role of PrPC (cellular prion protein) in the regulation of microglial inflammatory states and autophagy in ischemic stroke. PrPC was expressed in murine microglia, and an in vitro oxygen–glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R) model was established in microglia of different PRNP genotypes. During reperfusion following OGD, wild-type (WT) microglia had significantly increased pro/anti-inflammatory microglial percentages and related cytokine [interleukin [IL]-6, IL-10, IL-4, tumor necrosis factor, and interferon-gamma] release at reperfusion after 48 or 72 h. WT microglia also showed greater accumulation of the autophagy markers LC3B-II/I (microtubule-associated protein B-light chain 3), but not of p62 or LAMP1 (lysosome-associated membrane protein) at reperfusion after 24 h and 48 h. Inhibition of autophagy using 3-methyladenine or bafilomycin A1 aggravated the OGD/R-induced pro-inflammatory state, and the effect of 3-methyladenine was significantly stronger than that of bafilomycin A1. Concomitantly, PRNP knockout shortened the accumulation of LC3B-II/I, suppressed microglial anti-inflammatory states, and further aggravated the pro-inflammatory states. Conversely, PRNP overexpression had the opposite effects. Bafilomycin A1 reversed the effect of PrPC on microglial inflammatory state transformation. Moreover, microglia with PRNP overexpression exhibited higher levels of LAMP1 expression in the control and OGD/R groups and delayed the OGD/R-induced decrease of LAMP1 to reperfusion after 48 h. PrPC attenuates OGD/R-induced damage by skewing microglia toward an anti-inflammatory state via enhanced and prolonged activation of autophagy.
Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a member of the Galectin family, is expressed in various tissues and responsible for multiple biological activities. Previous studies reported that extracellular Gal-1 participated in axonal growth and repair, and Gal-1 knockout mice exhibited memory impairment. However, no study has demonstrated the direct contribution of intracellular Gal-1 upregulation in neurons to promoting axonal regeneration in the brain and recovering memory function. In the present study, we found that axonal growth is promoted by overexpression of Gal-1 via adeno-associated virus serotype 9 delivery in primary cultured hippocampal neurons. Moreover, Gal-1 was expressed on the membranes of growth cones in hippocampal neurons and interacted with a novel axonal guidance molecule, Secernin-1, which was secreted from prefrontal cortex (PFC) neurons. Gal-1-overexpression-driven axonal growth was enhanced when recombinant (extracellular) Secernin-1 was treated to the axonal site in a neuron device chamber. Direct binding of extracellular Secernin-1 with Gal-1 was detected through immunoprecipitation and immunocytochemistry, demonstrating that Gal-1 possibly works as an axonal guidance receptor for Secernin-1 in hippocampal neurons. In the PFC, the expression of Gal-1 in axonal shafts and terminals of hippocampal neurons was decreased in the 5XFAD mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Overexpression of Gal-1 in hippocampal neurons recovered memory deficits and induced axonal regeneration toward the PFC in 5XFAD mice. This study suggests that the enhanced interaction of Secernin-1 and Gal-1 can be harnessed as a therapeutic strategy for long-distance and direction-specific axonal regeneration in AD.
Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) is a nonselective cation channel that can be activated by diverse stimuli, such as heat, mechanical force, hypo-osmolarity, and arachidonic acid metabolites. TRPV4 is widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and participates in many significant physiological processes. However, accumulative evidence has suggested that deficiency, abnormal expression or distribution, and overactivation of TRPV4 are involved in pathological processes of multiple neurological diseases. Here, we review the latest studies concerning the known features of this channel, including its expression, structure, and its physiological and pathological roles in the CNS, proposing an emerging therapeutic strategy for CNS diseases.
In the present study, the effect of 6-((4-fluorophenyl) selanyl)-9H-purine (FSP) was tested against memory impairment and sensitivity to nociception induced by intracerebroventricular injection of amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) (25–35 fragment), 3 nmol/3 μl/per site in mice. Memory impairment was determined by the object recognition task (ORT) and nociception by the Von-Frey test (VFT). Aβ caused neuroinflammation with upregulation of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) (in hippocampus), nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), and the proinflammatory cytokines interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Additionally, Aβ increased oxidant levels and lipid peroxidation in cerebral cortex and hippocampus, but decreased heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and peroxiredoxin-1 (Prdx1) expression in the hippocampus. Anti-neuroinflammatory effects of FSP were demonstrated by a decrease in the expression of GFAP and NF-κB in the hippocampus, as well as a decrease in proinflammatory cytokines in both the hippocampus and cerebral cortex FSP protected against oxidative stress by decreasing oxidant levels and lipid peroxidation and by increasing HO-1 and Prdx1 expressions in the hippocampus of mice. Moreover, FSP prevented the activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf-2) in the hippocampus of mice induced by Aβ. In conclusion, treatment with FSP attenuated memory impairment, nociception sensitivity by decreasing oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Neuropathic pain is a common chronic condition, which remains poorly understood. Many patients receiving treatment continue to experience severe pain, due to limited diagnostic/treatment management programmes. The development of objective clinical diagnostic/treatment strategies requires identification of robust biomarkers of neuropathic pain. To this end, we looked to identify biomarkers of chronic neuropathic pain by assessing gene expression profiles in an animal model of neuropathic pain, and differential gene expression in patients to determine the potential translatability. We demonstrated cross-species validation of several genes including those identified through bioinformatic analysis by assessing their expression in blood samples from neuropathic pain patients, according to conservative assessments of significance measured using Bonferroni-corrected p-values. These include CASP5 (p = 0.00226), CASP8 (p = 0.00587), CASP9 (p = 2.09 × 10⁻⁹), FPR2 (p = 0.00278), SH3BGRL3 (p = 0.00633), and TMEM88 (p = 0.00038). A ROC analysis revealed several combinations of genes to show high levels of discriminatory power in the comparison of neuropathic pain patients and control participants, of which the combination SH3BGRL3, TMEM88, and CASP9 achieved the highest level (AUROC = 0.923). The CASP9 gene was found to be common in five combinations of three genes revealing the highest levels of discriminatory power. In contrast, the gene combination PLAC8, ROMO1, and A3GALT2 showed the highest levels of discriminatory power in the comparison of neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain (AUROC = 0.919), when patients were grouped by S-LANSS scores. Molecules that demonstrate an active role in neuropathic pain have the potential to be developed into a biological measure for objective diagnostic tests, or as novel drug targets for improved pain management.
Despite the extensive use of the cuprizone (CPZ) demyelination animal model, there is little evidence regarding the effects of CPZ on a cellular level. Initial studies have suggested that oligodendrocytes (OL) are the main cell targets for CPZ toxicity. However, recent data have revealed additional effects on neural stem cells and progenitor cells (NSC/NPC), which constitute a reservoir for OL regeneration during brain remyelination. We cultured NSC/NPC as neurospheres to investigate CPZ effects on cell mechanisms which are thought to be involved in demyelination and remyelination processes in vivo. Proliferating NSC/NPC cultures exposed to CPZ showed overproduction of intracellular reactive oxygen species and increased progenitor migration at the expense of a significant inhibition of cell proliferation. Although NSC/NPC survival was not affected by CPZ in proliferative conditions, we found that CPZ-treated cultures undergoing cell differentiation were more prone to cell death than controls. The commitment and cell differentiation towards neural lineages did not seem to be affected by CPZ, as shown by the conserved proportions of OL, astrocytes, and neurons. Nevertheless, when CPZ treatment was performed after cell differentiation, we detected a significant reduction in the number and the morphological complexity of OL, astrogliosis, and neuronal damage. We conclude that, in addition to damaging mature OL, CPZ also reduces NSC/NPC proliferation and activates progenitor migration. These results shed light on CPZ direct effects on NSC proliferation and the progression of in vitro differentiation.
Inflammation has been associated with numerous neurological disorders. Inflammatory environments trigger a series of cellular and physiological alterations in the brain. However, how inflammatory milieu affects neuronal physiology and how neuronal alterations progress in the inflammatory environments are not fully understood. In this study, we examined the effects of pro-inflammatory milieu on mitochondrial functions and neuronal activities in the hypothalamic POMC neurons. Treating mHypoA-POMC/GFP1 with the conditioned medium collected from LPS activated macrophage were employed to mimic the inflammatory milieu during hypothalamic inflammation. After a 24-h treatment, intracellular ROS/RNS levels were elevated, and the antioxidant enzymes were reduced. Mitochondrial respiration and mitochondrial functions, including basal respiratory rate, spared respiration capacity, and maximal respiration, were all significantly compromised by inflammatory milieu. Moreover, pro-inflammatory cytokines altered mitochondrial dynamics in a time-dependent manner, resulting in the elongation of mitochondria in POMC neurons after a 24-h treatment. Additionally, the increase of C-Fos and Pomc genes expression indicated that the neurons were activated upon the stimulation of inflammatory environment. This neuronal activation of were confirmed on the LPS-challenged mice. Collectively, a short-term to midterm exposure to inflammatory milieu stimulated metabolic switch and neuronal activation, whereas chronic exposure triggered the elevation of oxidative stress, the decrease of the mitochondrial respiration, and the alterations of mitochondrial dynamics.
We investigated the effect of low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) on gene expression related to alcohol dependence and histological effects on brain tissue. We also aimed at determining the miRNA-mRNA relationship and their pathways in alcohol dependence-induced expression changes after focused ultrasound therapy. We designed a case–control study for 100 days of observation to investigate differences in gene expression in the short-term stimulation group (STS) and long-term stimulation group (LTS) compared with the control sham group (SG). The study was performed in our Experimental Research Laboratory. 24 male high alcohol-preferring rats 63 to 79 days old, weighing 270 to 300 g, were included in the experiment. LTS received 50-day LIFU and STS received 10-day LIFU and 40-day sham stimulation, while the SG received 50-day sham stimulation. In miRNA expression analysis, it was found that LIFU caused gene expression differences in NAc. Significant differences were found between the groups for gene expression. Compared to the SG, the expression of 454 genes in the NAc region was changed in the STS while the expression of 382 genes was changed in the LTS. In the LTS, the expression of 32 genes was changed in total compared to STS. Our data suggest that LIFU targeted on NAc may assist in the treatment of alcohol dependence, especially in the long term possibly through altering gene expression. Our immunohistochemical studies verified that LIFU does not cause any tissue damage. These findings may lead to new studies in investigating the efficacy of LIFU for the treatment of alcohol dependence and also for other psychiatric disorders.
Sleep loss is often associated with cognitive dysfunction. Alterations in the structure and function of synapses in the hippocampus are thought to underlie memory storage. Paired immunoglobulin-like receptor B (PirB) plays a negative role in various neurological diseases by inhibiting axon regeneration and synaptic plasticity. However, the contributions of PirB to the mechanisms underlying the changes in synaptic plasticity after sleep loss that ultimately promote deficits in cognitive function have not been well elucidated. Here, we showed that chronic sleep restriction (CSR) mice displayed cognitive impairment and synaptic deficits accompanied by upregulation of PirB expression in the hippocampus. Mechanistically, PirB caused the dysregulation of actin through the RhoA/ROCK2/LIMK1/cofilin signalling pathway, leading to abnormal structural and functional plasticity, which in turn resulted in cognitive dysfunction. PirB knockdown alleviated synaptic deficits and cognitive impairment after CSR by inhibiting the RhoA/ROCK2/LIMK1/cofilin signalling pathway. Moreover, we found that fasudil, a widely used ROCK2 inhibitor, could mimic the beneficial effect of PirB knockdown and ameliorate synaptic deficits and cognitive impairment, further demonstrating that PirB induced cognitive dysfunction after CSR via the RhoA/ROCK2/LIMK1/cofilin signalling pathway. Our study sheds new light on the role of PirB as an important mediator in modulating the dysfunction of synaptic plasticity and cognitive function via the RhoA/ROCK2/LIMK1/cofilin signalling pathway, which indicated that hippocampal PirB is a promising therapeutic target for counteracting cognitive impairment after CSR.
This illustration depicts the signalling pathway by PirB in mediating cognitive impairment and synaptic deficits in CSR mice. In the hippocampus of CSR mice, the expression level of PirB was significantly increased. In addition, CSR increases RhoA and ROCK2 levels and reduces levels of both LIMK1 and cofilin phosphorylation. PirB knockdown reverses cognitive impairment and synaptic plasticity disorders caused by CSR through the RhoA/ROCK2/LIMK1/cofilin signalling pathway
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is characterized by poor prognosis and high mortality rates. To date, satisfactory therapeutic approaches for ICH remain limited, so it is urgently needed to develop a safer and more effective prescription. Secondary inflammatory response has been acknowledged as an aggravating factor to neurological deterioration after ICH. As a component of inflammasome sensors, absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) plays an important role in the neuroinflammation process. Here, ozanimod, a novel selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator, has gained much attention, which alleviates the resultant neuroinflammation and improves functional recovery derived from ICH. In this study, ozanimod improved neurological functions of ICH mice via reduction of hematoma size. Furthermore, both microglial and AIM2 inflammasome activations were reversed by ozanimod, which are confirmed by the downregulation of related inflammatory proteins and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α), coupled with the upregulation of SIRT3, by leveraging the Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Additionally, we find that ozanimod decreases nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) expression. Notably, in vitro cell experiments induced by lipopolysaccharide confirms that the anti-inflammatory effect of ozanimod could be abolished by the SIRT3 inhibitor. In conclusion, these results indicate that ozanimod mitigates ICH-induced secondary inflammatory responses by modulating AIM2 inflammasome mediated by SIRT3/NF-κB/AIM2 pathway. This demonstrates ozanimod orchestrates ICH-induced neuroinflammation and could be a targeted therapy for improving prognosis of ICH.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) may contribute to the development of depression and its treatment. Here, we used the hypothesis-neutral approach of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to gain comprehensive understanding of the effects of a course of electroconvulsive stimulation (ECS), the animal model equivalent of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), on rat hippocampal miRNAs. Significant differential expression (p < 0.001) of six hippocampal miRNAs was noted following NGS, after correcting for multiple comparisons. Three of these miRNAs were upregulated (miR-132, miR-212, miR-331) and three downregulated (miR-204, miR-483, miR-301a). qRT-PCR confirmed significant changes in four of the six miRNAs (miR-132, miR-212, miR-204, miR-483). miR-483 was also significantly reduced in frontal cortex, though no other significant alterations were noted in frontal cortex, cerebellum, or whole blood. Assessing the translatability of the results, miR-132 and miR-483 were significantly reduced in whole blood samples from medicated patients with depression (n = 50) compared to healthy controls (n = 45), though ECT had no impact on miRNA levels. Notably, pre-ECT miR-204 levels moderately positively correlated with depression severity at baseline and moderately negatively correlated with mood score reduction post-ECT. miRNAs were also examined in cerebrospinal fluid and serum from a separate cohort of patients (n = 8) treated with ECT; no significant changes were noted post-treatment. However, there was a large positive correlation between changes in miR-212 and mood score post-ECT in serum. Though replication studies using larger sample sizes are required, alterations in miRNA expression may be informative about the mechanism of action of ECS/ECT and in turn might give insight into the neurobiology of depression.
Schizophrenia presents clinical and biological differences between males and females. This study investigated transcriptional profiles in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) using postmortem data from the largest RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) database on schizophrenic cases and controls. Data for 154 male and 113 female controls and 160 male and 93 female schizophrenic cases were obtained from the CommonMind Consortium. In the RNA-seq database, the principal component analysis showed that sex effects were small in schizophrenia. After we analyzed the impact of sex-specific differences on gene expression, the female group showed more significantly changed genes compared with the male group. Based on the gene ontology analysis, the female sex-specific genes that changed were overrepresented in the mitochondrion, ATP (phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate)-, and metal ion-binding relevant biological processes. An ingenuity pathway analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes related to schizophrenia in the female group were involved in midbrain dopaminergic and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurons and microglia. We used methylated DNA-binding domain-sequencing analyses and microarray to investigate the DNA methylation that potentially impacts the sex differences in gene transcription using a maternal immune activation (MIA) murine model. Among the sex-specific positional genes related to schizophrenia in the PFC of female offspring from MIA, the changes in the methylation and transcriptional expression of loci ACSBG1 were validated in the females with schizophrenia in independent postmortem samples by real-time PCR and pyrosequencing. Our results reveal potential genetic risks in the DLPFC for the sex-dependent prevalence and symptomology of schizophrenia.
Curcumin (CUR) and piperine (PIP) are very well-known phytochemicals that claimed to have many health benefits and have been widely used in foods and traditional medicines. This study investigated the therapeutic efficacy of these compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, poor oral bioavailability and permeability of curcumin are a major challenge for formulation scientists. In this research study, the researcher tried to enhance the bioavailability and permeability of curcumin by a nanotechnological approach. In this research study, we developed a CUR–PIP-loaded SNEDDS in various oils. Optimised formulation NF3 was subjected to evaluate its therapeutic effectiveness on AD animal model in comparison with untreated AD model and treated group (by market formulation donepezil). On the basis of characterisation results, it is confirmed that NF3 formulation is the best formulation. The optimised formulation shows a significant dose-dependent manner therapeutic effect on AD-induced model. Novel formulation CUR–PIP solid-SNEDDS was successfully developed and optimised. It is expected that the developed S-SNEDDS can be a potential, safe and effective carrier for the oral delivery of curcumin to the brain. To date, this article is the only study of CUR–PIP-loaded S-SNEDDS for the treatment of AD.
Phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) is an important anionic phospholipid found in eukaryotic cells and has been proven to serve as a beneficial factor in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. PtdSer resides in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane, where it is involved in regulating the AKT and PKC signaling pathways; however, it becomes exposed to the extracellular leaflet during neurodevelopmental processes and neurodegenerative diseases, participating in microglia-mediated synaptic and neuronal phagocytosis. In this paper, we review several characteristics of PtdSer, including the synthesis and translocation of PtdSer, the functions of cytoplasmic and exposed PtdSer, and different PtdSer-detection materials used to further understand the role of PtdSer in the nervous system.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a common and complex disorder resulting from repetitive alcohol drinking. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system, originating from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the midbrain, is involved in the rewarding effect of ethanol. The γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons in VTA appear to be key substrates of acute and chronic ethanol, which regulates DA neurotransmission indirectly in the mesocorticolimbic system. Despite significant research on the relationship between brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and reduced alcohol consumption in male rats involving tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), the mechanisms of BDNF-TrkB regulating alcohol behavior remain scarce. K+-Cl– cotransporter 2 (KCC2) plays a crucial role in synaptic function in GABAergic neurons by modulating intracellular chlorine homeostasis. Here, we found that 4-week intermittent alcohol exposure impaired the function of KCC2 in VTA, evidenced by a lower expression level of phosphorylated KCC2 and decreased ratio of phosphorylated KCC2 to total KCC2, especially 72 h after withdrawal from 4-week ethanol exposure in male rats. CLP290 (a KCC2 activator) reduced excessive alcohol consumption after alcohol withdrawal, whereas VU0240551 (a specific KCC2 inhibitor) further enhanced alcohol intake. Importantly, VU0240551 reversed the attenuating effects of BDNF and 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) on alcohol consumption after withdrawal. Moreover, intraperitoneal injection of 7,8-DHF upregulated KCC2 expression and phosphorylated KCC2 in VTA 72 h after withdrawal from ethanol exposure in male rats. Collectively, our data indicate that KCC2 may be critical in the regulating action of BDNF-TrkB on ethanol consumption in AUD.
In Alzheimer disease (AD), Tau, an axonal microtubule-associated protein, becomes hyperphosphorylated, detaches from microtubules, accumulates, and self-aggregates in the somatodendritic (SD) compartment. The accumulation of hyperphosphorylated and aggregated Tau is also seen in other neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-Tau). Previous studies reported a link between filamin A (FLNA), an actin-binding protein found in the SD compartment, and Tau pathology. In the present study, we further explored this link. We confirmed the interaction of Tau with FLNA in neuroblastoma 2a (N2a) cells. This interaction was mediated by a domain located between the 157 and 383 amino acids (a.a.) of Tau. Our results also revealed that the overexpression of FLNA resulted in an intracellular accumulation of wild-type Tau and Tau mutants (P301L, V337M, and R406W) in N2a cells. Tau phosphorylation and cleavage by caspase-3 but not its aggregation were increased upon FLNA overexpression in N2a cells. In the parietal cortex of AD brain, insoluble FLNA was increased compared to control brain, but it did not correlate with Tau pathology. Interestingly, Tau binding to microtubules and F-actin was preserved upon FLNA overexpression in N2a cells. Lastly, our results revealed that FLNA also induced the accumulation of annexin A2, a Tau interacting partner involved in its axonal localization. Collectively, our data indicated that in Tauopathies, FLNA could contribute to Tau pathology by acting on Tau and annexin A2.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein (αSyn) into Lewy bodies. In addition to motor impairment, PD commonly presents with cognitive impairment, a non-motor symptom with poor outcome. Cortical αSyn pathology correlates closely with vascular risk factors and vascular degeneration in cognitive impairment. However, how the brain microvasculature regulates αSyn pathology and neurodegeneration remains unclear. Here, we constructed a rapidly progressive PD model by injecting alpha-synuclein preformed fibrils (αSyn PFFs) into the cerebral cortex and striatum. Brain capillaries in mice with cognitive impairment showed a reduction in diameter and length after 6 months, along with string vessel formation. The intracellular domain of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1-ICD) was upregulated in brain microvascular endothelium. LRP1-ICD promoted αSyn PFF uptake and exacerbated endothelial damage and neuronal apoptosis. Then, we overexpressed LRP1-ICD in brain capillaries using an adeno-associated virus carrying an endothelial-specific promoter. Endothelial LRP1-ICD worsened αSyn PFF-induced vascular damage, αSyn pathology, or neuron death in the cortex and hippocampus, resulting in severe motor and cognitive impairment. LRP1-ICD increased the synthesis of poly(adenosine 5′-diphosphate-ribose) (PAR) in the presence of αSyn PFFs. Inhibition of PAR polymerase 1 (PARP1) prevented vascular-derived injury, as did loss of PARP1 in the endothelium, which was further implicated in endothelial cell proliferation and inflammation. Together, we demonstrate a novel vascular mechanism of cognitive impairment in PD. These findings support a role for endothelial LRP1-ICD/PARP1 in αSyn pathology and neurodegeneration, and provide evidence for vascular protection strategies in PD therapy.
The detrimental impact of fructose, a widely used sweetener in industrial foods, was previously evidenced on various brain regions. Although adolescents are among the highest consumers of sweet foods, whether brain alterations induced by the sugar intake during this age persist until young adulthood or are rescued returning to a healthy diet remains largely unexplored. To shed light on this issue, just weaned rats were fed with a fructose-rich or control diet for 3 weeks. At the end of the treatment, fructose-fed rats underwent a control diet for a further 3 weeks until young adulthood phase and compared with animals that received from the beginning the healthy control diet. We focused on the consequences induced by the sugar on the main neurotrophins and neurotransmitters in the frontal cortex, as its maturation continues until late adolescence, thus being the last brain region to achieve a full maturity. We observed that fructose intake induces inflammation and oxidative stress, alteration of mitochondrial function, and changes of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin receptors, synaptic proteins, acetylcholine, dopamine, and glutamate levels, as well as increased formation of the glycation end-products Nε -carboxymethyllysine (CML) and Nε -carboxyethyllysine (CEL). Importantly, many of these alterations (BDNF, CML, CEL, acetylcholinesterase activity, dysregulation of neurotransmitters levels) persisted after switching to the control diet, thus pointing out to the adolescence as a critical phase, in which extreme attention should be devoted to limit an excessive consumption of sweet foods that can affect brain physiology also in the long term.
Treadmill exercise is widely considered an effective strategy for restoration of skilled motor function after spinal cord injury (SCI). However, the specific exercise intensity that optimizes recovery and the underlying mechanistic basis of this recovery remain unclear. To that end, we sought to investigate the effect of different treadmill exercise intensities on cortical mTOR activity, a key regulator of functional recovery following CNS trauma, in an animal model of C5 crush spinal cord injury (SCI). Following injury, animals were subjected to treadmill exercise for 4 consecutive weeks at three different intensities (low intensity [LEI]; moderate intensity [MEI]; and high intensity [HEI]). Motor function recovery was assessed by horizontal ladder test, cylinder rearing test, and electrophysiology, while neurotrophic factors and cortical mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway–related proteins were assessed by Western blotting. The activation of the cortical mTOR pathway and axonal sprouting was evaluated by immunofluorescence and the changes of plasticity in motor cortex neurons were assessed by Golgi staining. In keeping with previous studies, we found that 4 weeks of treadmill training resulted in improved skilled motor function, enhanced nerve conduction capability, increased neuroplasticity, and axonal sprouting. Importantly, we also demonstrated that when compared with the LEI group, MEI and HEI groups demonstrated elevated expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), phosphorylated ribosomal S6 protein (p-S6), and protein kinase B (p-Akt), consistent with an intensity-dependent activation of the mTOR pathway and neurotrophic factor expression in the motor cortex. We also observed impaired exercise endurance and higher mortality during training in the HEI group than in the LEI and MEI groups. Collectively, our findings suggest that treadmill exercise following SCI is an effective means of promoting recovery and highlight the importance of the cortical mTOR pathway and neurotrophic factors as mediators of this effect. Importantly, our findings also demonstrate that excessive exercise can be detrimental, suggesting that moderation may be the optimal strategy. These findings provide an important foundation for further investigation of treadmill training as a modality for recovery following spinal cord injury and of the underlying mechanisms.
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) has been confirmed to cause blood–brain barrier disruption and enter the brain tissue, resulting in non-negligible toxic effects. However, the neurotoxicity of MC-LR is mainly unknown. This study revealed that MC-LR disrupted the function of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in neurons, which inhibited the degradation of α-synuclein (α-syn), leading to its release from neurons for transport into microglia. α-Syn is the main component of Lewy bodies, which has been identified as one of the main pathological features of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In vitro, we observed that α-syn mediated by MC-LR activated HMC3 cells and polarized them towards M1 type. In addition, we confirmed that α-syn was transported into HMC3 cells through TLR4 receptors and activated the NLRP3 inflammasome, which in turn enhanced the maturation and release of IL-18 and IL-1β. In the mouse models of chronic MC-LR exposure, a large number of inflammatory factors (IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α) were deposited in brain tissue, and activation of NLRP3 in microglia was also observed in the midbrain. Collectively, MC-LR exposure promoted the pathological spread of α-syn from cell to cell, activated NLRP3 inflammasome in microglia, and generated neuroinflammation, in which the TLR4 receptor played a substantial effect.
In our study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between microRNA (miRNA) expression levels and serum iron (Fe), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) levels in Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Total RNA was isolated from peripheral venous blood containing ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) of MS patients and controls. Total RNA was labeled with Cy3-CTP fluorescent dye. Hybridization of samples was performed on microarray slides and arrays were scanned. Data argument and bioinformatics analysis were performed. Atomic absorption spectrophotometer method was used to measure serum Fe, Cu, and Zn levels. In our study, in bioinformatics analysis, although differently expressed miRNAs were not detected between 16 MS patients and 16 controls, hsa-miR-744-5p upregulation was detected between 4 MS patients and 4 controls. This may be stem from the patient group consisting of MS patients who have never had an attack for 1 year. Serum iron levels were detected significantly higher in the 16 MS patients compared to the 16 controls. This may be stem from the increase in iron accumulation based on inflammation in MS disease. According to the findings in our study, hsa-miR-744-5p upregulation has been determined as an early diagnostic biomarker for the development together of insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus associated with insulin signaling, and Alzheimer’s diseases. Therefore, hsa-miR-744-5p is recommended as an important biomarker for the development together of diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, and MS disease. In addition, increased serum Fe levels may be suggested as an important biomarker for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and MS disease.
In microglia, Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is well known to contribute to neuroinflammatory responses following brain ischemia. TLR4 is also expressed in neurons and can mediate the conduction of calcium (Ca²⁺) influx, but the mechanistic link between neuronal TLR4 signaling and brain ischemic injury is still poorly understood. Here, primary neuronal cell cultures from TLR4 knockout mice and mice with conditional TLR4 knockout in glutamatergic neurons (TLR4cKO) were used to establish ischemic models in vitro and in vivo, respectively. We found that deleting TLR4 would reduce the neuronal death and intracellular Ca²⁺ increasement induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) or lipopolysaccharide treatment. Infarct volume and functional deficits were also alleviated in TLR4cKO mice following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Furthermore, TLR4 and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 2B (NMDAR2B) were colocalized in neurons. Deletion of TLR4 in neurons rescued the upregulation of phosphorylated NMDAR2B induced by ischemia via Src kinase in vitro and in vivo. Downstream of NMDAR2B signaling, the interaction of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) with postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) was also disrupted in TLR4cKO mice following cerebral I/R. Taken together, our results demonstrate a novel molecular neuronal pathway in which TLR4 signaling in neurons plays a crucial role in neuronal death and provide a new target for neuroprotection after ischemic stroke.
Adult neurogenesis occurs mainly in the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles. Evidence supports the critical role of adult neurogenesis in various conditions, including cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Parkinson's disease (PD). Several factors can alter adult neurogenesis, including genetic, epigenetic, age, physical activity, diet, sleep status, sex hormones, and central nervous system (CNS) disorders, exerting either pro-neurogenic or anti-neurogenic effects. Compelling evidence suggests that any insult or injury to the CNS, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), infectious diseases, or neurodegenerative disorders, can provoke an inflammatory response in the CNS. This inflammation could either promote or inhibit neurogenesis, depending on various factors, such as chronicity and severity of the inflammation and underlying neurological disorders. Notably, neuroinflammation, driven by different immune components such as activated glia, cytokines, chemokines, and reactive oxygen species, can regulate every step of adult neurogenesis, including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, survival of newborn neurons, maturation, synaptogenesis, and neuritogenesis. Therefore, this review aims to present recent findings regarding the effects of various components of the immune system on adult neurogenesis and to provide a better understanding of the role of neuroinflammation and neurogenesis in the context of neurological disorders, including AD, PD, ischemic stroke (IS), seizure/epilepsy, TBI, sleep deprivation, cognitive impairment, and anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. For each disorder, some of the most recent therapeutic candidates, such as curcumin, ginseng, astragaloside, boswellic acids, andrographolide, caffeine, royal jelly, estrogen, metformin, and minocycline, have been discussed based on the available preclinical and clinical evidence.
Sphingosine receptors (S1PRs) are implicated in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders like obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The link between S1PRs and cognition in type 2 diabetes, as well as the mechanisms that underpin it, are yet unknown. Neuroinflammation is the common pathology shared among T2D and cognitive impairment. However, the interplay between the M1 and M2 polarization state of microglia, a primary driver of neuroinflammation, could be the driving factor for impaired learning and memory in diabetes. In the present study, we investigated the effects of fingolimod (S1PR1 modulator) on cognition in high-fat diet and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. We further assessed the potential pathways linking microglial polarization and cognition in T2D. Fingolimod (0.5 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg) improved M2 polarization and synaptic plasticity while ameliorating cognitive decline and neuroinflammation. Sphingolipid dysregulation was mimicked in vitro using palmitate in BV2 cells, followed by conditioned media exposure to Neuro2A cells. Mechanistically, type 2 diabetes induced microglial activation, priming microglia towards the M1 phenotype. In the hippocampus and cortex of type 2 diabetic mice, there was a substantial drop in pSTAT3, which was reversed by fingolimod. This protective effect of fingolimod on microglial M2 polarization was primarily suppressed by selective jmjd3 blockade in vitro using GSK-J4, revealing that jmjd3 was involved downstream of STAT3 in the fingolimod-enabled shift of microglia from M1 to M2 polarization state. This study suggested that fingolimod might effectively improve cognition in type 2 diabetes by promoting M2 polarization.
Musashi RNA-binding proteins (MSIs) retain a pivotal role in stem cell maintenance, tumorigenesis, and nervous system development. Recently, we showed in C. elegans that Musashi (MSI-1) actively promotes forgetting upon associative learning via a 3’UTR-dependent translational expression of the Arp2/3 actin branching complex. Here, we investigated the evolutionary conserved role of MSI proteins and the effect of their pharmacological inhibition on memory. Expression of human Musashi 1 (MSI1) and Musashi 2 (MSI2) under the endogenous Musashi promoter fully rescued the phenotype of msi-1(lf) worms. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of human MSI1 and MSI2 activity using (-)- gossypol resulted in improved memory retention, without causing locomotor, chemotactic, or learning deficits. No drug effect was observed in msi-1(lf) treated worms. Using Western blotting and confocal microscopy, we found no changes in MSI-1 protein abundance following (-)- gossypol treatment, suggesting that Musashi gene expression remains unaltered and that the compound exerts its inhibitory effect post-translationally. Additionally, (-)- gossypol suppressed the previously seen rescue of the msi-1(lf) phenotype in worms expressing human MSI1 specifically in the AVA neuron, indicating that (-)- gossypol can regulate the Musashi pathway in a memory-related neuronal circuit in worms. Finally, treating aged worms with (-)- gossypol reversed physiological age-dependent memory decline. Taken together, our findings indicate that pharmacological inhibition of Musashi might represent a promising approach for memory modulation.
Transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (TRPM7) is a ubiquitously expressed divalent cation channel that plays a key role in cell functions such as ion homeostasis, cell proliferation, survival, and cytoskeletal dynamics and mediates cells death in hypoxic and ischemic conditions. Previously, TRPM7 was found to play a role in the neurite outgrowth and maturation of primary hippocampal neurons. Either knockdown of TRPM7 with target-specific shRNA or blocking channel conductance by a specific blocker waixenicin A enhanced axonal outgrowth in the primary neuronal culture. In this study, we investigated whether and how TPRM7 is involved in hypoxia-altered neurite outgrowth patterns in E16 hippocampal neuron cultures. We demonstrate that short-term hypoxia activated the MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways, reduced TRPM7 activity, and enhanced axonal outgrowth of neuronal cultures. On the other hand, long-term hypoxia caused a progressive retraction of axons and dendrites that could be attenuated by the TRPM7-specific inhibitor waixenicin A. Further, we demonstrate that in the presence of astrocytes, axonal retraction in long-term hypoxic conditions was enhanced, and TRPM7 block by waixenicin A prevented this retraction. Our data demonstrate the effect of hypoxia on TRPM7 activity and axonal outgrowth/retraction in cultures with or without astrocytes present.
Astrocytes are key glial cells for the metabolic and functional support of the brain. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC), in particular the balance between mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis, is a major event for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an endogenous gasotransmitter that inhibits cell death and inflammation by targeting mitochondria. It is well established that CO promotes cytoprotection by increasing mitochondrial population and metabolism (oxidative phosphorylation). Thus, it is hypothesized that CO-induced cytoprotection may also be mediated by the balance between mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis. Herein, the carbon monoxide releasing molecule-A1 (CORM-A1) was used in primary cultures of astrocytes to assess CO role on mitochondrial turnover. PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy was stimulated by CORM-A1 following 1 h of treatment. While at 24 h after treatment, CORM-A1 increased mitochondrial population, which may indicate mitochondrial biogenesis. In fact, mitochondrial biogenesis was confirmed by the enhancement of PGC-1α expression that upregulates several mitochondrial transcription factors. Furthermore, inhibition of mitophagy by knocking down PINK1 expression reverted CO-induced mitochondrial biogenesis, indicating that mitochondrial turnover is dependent on modulation of mitophagy. Finally, CORM-A1 prevented astrocytic cell death induced by oxidative stress in a mitophagy-dependent manner. In fact, whenever PINK1 was knocked down, CORM-A1-induced cytoprotection was lost. In summary, CORM-A1 stimulates mitochondrial turnover, which in turn prevents astrocytic cell death. CO cytoprotection depends on increasing mitochondrial population and on eliminating dysfunctional mitochondria.
The therapeutic application of neural stem cells (NSCs) in the central nerve system (CNS) injury is a promising strategy for combating irreversible neuronal loss. However, a variety of obvious inflammatory responses following nerve injury rapidly create an unfavorable microenvironment for survival and neuronal differentiation of NSCs in lesion area, limiting the efficacy of NSC-based therapy for CNS injury. It remained unknown how to effectively increase the neuronal differentiation efficiency of NSCs through transplantation. Here, we demonstrated that curcumin (CCM)-activated olfactory ensheathing cells (aOECs) effectively promoted neuronal differentiation of NSCs in the activated microglial inflammatory condition, and co-transplantation of aOECs and NSCs improved neurological recovery of rats after spinal cord injury (SCI), as evidenced by higher expression levels of neuronal markers and lower expression levels of glial markers in the differentiated cells, greater number of Tuj-1-positive cells as well as higher Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor scale, compared to the corresponding controls. Pathologically, hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining and immunostaining also showed that aOECs remarkably enhanced the in vivo neuronal differentiation of NSCs and migration, and nerve repair. Further analysis revealed that the underlying mechanisms of aOECs potentiating the neuronal conversion of NSCs under inflammatory environment were tightly associated with up-regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factors in OECs, and importantly, the activation of Wnt3/β-catenin pathway was likely involved in the mechanisms underlying the observed cellular events. Therefore, this study provides a promising strategy for SCI repair by co-transplantation of aOECs and NSCs.
Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is the only intervention approved for the treatment of neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), but its treatment window is narrow (within 6 h after birth), and its efficacy is not ideal. Thus, alternative treatments are urgently needed. Our previous studies showed that genistein-3′-sodium sulfonate (GSS), a derivative of genistein (Gen), has a strong neuroprotective effect in rats with ischaemic stroke, but its role in HIE is unclear. A hypoxia–ischaemia (HI) brain injury model was established in neonatal male Sprague‒Dawley (SD) rats. Twenty-four hours after reperfusion, rats treated with GSS were assessed for cerebral infarction, neurological function, and neuronal damage. RNA-Seq and bioinformatics analysis were used to explore differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and regulated signalling pathways, which were subsequently validated by Western blotting and immunofluorescence. In this study, we found that GSS not only significantly reduced the size of brain infarcts and alleviated nerve damage in rats with HIE but also inhibited neuronal loss and degeneration in neonatal rats with HIE. A total of 2170 DEGs, of which 1102 were upregulated and 1068 were downregulated, were identified in the GSS group compared with the HI group. In an analysis based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) categories, the downregulated DEGs were significantly enriched in the pathways “Phagosome”, “NF-κB signalling”, and “Complement and coagulation cascades”, amongst others. Meanwhile, the upregulated DEGs were significantly enriched in the pathways “Neurodegeneration”, “Glutamatergic synapse”, and “Calcium signalling pathway”, amongst others. These results indicate that GSS intervenes in the process of HIE-induced brain injury by participating in multiple pathways, which suggests potential candidate drugs for the treatment of HIE.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and is caused by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). However, the reason for the death of dopaminergic neurons remains unclear. An increase in α-synuclein (α-syn) expression is an important factor in the pathogenesis of PD. In the current study, we investigated the association between serine/arginine-rich protein-specific kinase 3 (Srpk3) and PD in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced PD mouse model and in SH-SY5Y cells treated with 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). Srpk3 expression was significantly downregulated, while tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression decreased and α-syn expression increased after 4 weeks of MPTP treatment. Dopaminergic cell reduction and α-syn expression increase were demonstrated by Srpk3 expression inhibition by siRNA in SH-SY5Y cells. Moreover, a decrease in Srpk3 expression upon siRNA treatment promoted dopaminergic cell reduction and α-syn expression increase in SH-SY5Y cells treated with MPP+ . These results suggested that Srpk3 expression decrease due to Srpk3 siRNA caused both TH level decrease and α-syn expression increase. This raises new possibilities for studying how Srpk3 controls dopaminergic cells and α-syn expression, which may be related to PD pathogenesis. Our results provide an avenue for understanding the role of Srpk3 in dopaminergic cell loss and α-syn upregulation in SN. Furthermore, this study supports a therapeutic possibility for PD in that the maintenance of Srpk3 expression inhibits dopaminergic cell reduction.
Membrane transporters such as ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and solute carrier (SLC) transporters expressed at the neurovascular unit (NVU) play an important role in drug delivery to the brain and have been demonstrated to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. However, our knowledge of quantitative changes in transporter absolute protein expression and functionality in vivo in NVU in AD patients and animal models is limited. The study aim was to investigate alterations in protein expression of ABC and SLC transporters in the isolated brain microvessels and brain prefrontal cortices of a widely used model of familial AD, 5xFAD mice (8 months old), using a sensitive liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry-based quantitative targeted absolute proteomic approach. Moreover, we examined alterations in brain prefrontal cortical and plasmatic levels of transporter substrates in 5xFAD mice compared to age-matched wild-type (WT) controls. ASCT1 (encoded by Slc1a4) protein expression in the isolated brain microvessels and brain prefrontal cortices of 5xFAD mice was twice higher compared to WT controls (p = 0.01). Brain cortical levels of ASCT1 substrate, serine, were increased in 5xFAD mice compared to WT animals. LAT1 (encoded by Slc7a5) and 4F2hc (encoded by Slc3a2) protein expressions were significantly altered in the isolated brain microvessels of 5xFAD mice compared to WT controls (p = 0.008 and p = 0.05, respectively). Overall, the study provides important information, which is crucial for the optimal use of the 5xFAD mouse model in AD drug development and for investigating novel drug delivery approaches. In addition, the findings of the study shed light on the novel potential mechanisms underlying AD pathogenesis.
How DNA is folded and packaged in nucleosomes is an essential regulator of gene expression. Abnormal patterns of chromatin folding are implicated in a wide range of diseases and disorders, including epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These disorders are thought to have a shared pathogenesis involving an imbalance in the number of excitatory-inhibitory neurons formed during neurodevelopment; however, the underlying pathological mechanism behind this imbalance is poorly understood. Studies are increasingly implicating abnormal chromatin folding in neural stem cells as one of the candidate pathological mechanisms, but no review has yet attempted to summarise the knowledge in this field. This meta-synthesis is a systematic search of all the articles on epilepsy, ASD, and chromatin folding. Its two main objectives were to determine to what extent abnormal chromatin folding is implicated in the pathogenesis of epilepsy and ASD, and secondly how abnormal chromatin folding leads to pathological disease processes. This search produced 22 relevant articles, which together strongly implicate abnormal chromatin folding in the pathogenesis of epilepsy and ASD. A range of mutations and chromosomal structural abnormalities lead to this effect, including single nucleotide polymorphisms, copy number variants, translocations and mutations in chromatin modifying. However, knowledge is much more limited into how abnormal chromatin organisation subsequently causes pathological disease processes, not yet showing, for example, whether it leads to abnormal excitation-inhibitory neuron imbalance in human brain organoids.
The lateral hypothalamus (LH) has a heterogeneous cytoarchitectonic organization that has not been elucidated in detail. In this work, we analyzed within the framework of the prosomeric model the differential expression pattern of 59 molecular markers along the ventrodorsal dimension of the medial forebrain bundle in the mouse, considering basal and alar plate subregions of the LH. We found five basal (LH1–LH5) and four alar (LH6–LH9) molecularly distinct sectors of the LH with neuronal cell groups that correlate in topography with previously postulated alar and basal hypothalamic progenitor domains. Most peptidergic populations were restricted to one of these LH sectors though some may have dispersed into a neighboring sector. For instance, histaminergic Hdc-positive neurons were mostly contained within the basal LH3, Nts (neurotensin)- and Tac2 (tachykinin 2)-expressing cells lie strictly within LH4, Hcrt (hypocretin/orexin)-positive and Pmch (pro-melanin-concentrating hormone)-positive neurons appeared within separate LH5 subdivisions, Pnoc (prepronociceptin)-expressing cells were mainly restricted to LH6, and Sst (somatostatin)-positive cells were identified within the LH7 sector. The alar LH9 sector, a component of the Foxg1-positive telencephalo-opto-hypothalamic border region, selectively contained Satb2-expressing cells. Published studies of rodent LH subdivisions have not described the observed pattern. Our genoarchitectonic map should aid in systematic approaches to elucidate LH connectivity and function.
Coumarins are plant-derived polyphenolic compounds belonging to the benzopyrones family, possessing wide-ranging pharmaceutical applications including cytoprotection, which may translate into therapeutic potential for multiple diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here we demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of a new polyhydroxyl coumarin, N-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-(hydroxymethyl)propan-2-yl)-2-(7-hydroxy-2-oxo-2H-chromen-4-yl)acetamide (CT51), against the mitochondrial toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). MPP+’s mechanism of toxicity relates to its ability to inhibit complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (METC), leading to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) depletion, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and apoptotic cell death, hence mimicking PD-related neuropathology. Dopaminergic differentiated human neuroblastoma cells were briefly pretreated with CT51, followed by toxin exposure. CT51 significantly restored somatic cell viability and neurite processes; hence, the drug targets cell bodies and axons thereby preserving neural function and circuitry against PD-related damage. Moreover, MPP+ emulates the iron dyshomeostasis affecting dopaminergic neurons in PD-affected brains, whilst CT51 was previously revealed as an effective iron chelator that preferentially partitions to mitochondria. We extend these findings by characterising the drug’s interactive effects at the METC level. CT51 did not improve mitochondrial coupling efficiency. However, voltammetric measurements and high-resolution respirometry analysis revealed that CT51 acts as an antioxidant agent. Also, the neuronal protection afforded by CT51 associated with downregulating MPP+-induced upregulated expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α), a protein which regulates iron homeostasis and protects against certain forms of oxidative stress after translocating to mitochondria. Our findings support the further development of CT51 as a dual functioning iron chelator and antioxidant antiparkinsonian agent.
Hypoglycemia is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but the exact mechanisms have not been elucidated. Our previous study found that severe hypoglycemia could lead to cognitive dysfunction in a type 1 diabetes (T1D) mouse model. Thus, the aim of this study was to further investigate whether the mechanism of severe hypoglycemia leading to cognitive dysfunction is related to oxidative stress-mediated pericyte loss and blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage. A streptozotocin T1D model (150 mg/kg, one-time intraperitoneal injection), using male C57BL/6J mice, was used to induce hypoglycemia. Brain tissue was extracted to examine for neuronal damage, permeability of BBB was investigated through Evans blue staining and electron microscopy, reactive oxygen species and adenosine triphosphate in brain tissue were assayed, and the functional changes of pericytes were determined. Cognitive function was tested using Morris water maze. Also, an in vitro glucose deprivation model was constructed. The results showed that BBB leakage after hypoglycemia is associated with excessive activation of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction due to glucose deprivation/reperfusion. Interventions using the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant Mito-TEMPO in both in vivo and in vitro models reduced mitochondrial oxidative stress, decreased pericyte loss and apoptosis, and attenuated BBB leakage and neuronal damage, ultimately leading to improved cognitive function.
tRFs are small tRNA derived fragments that are emerging as novel therapeutic targets and regulatory molecules in the pathophysiology of various neurological disorders. These are derived from precursor or mature tRNA, forming different subtypes that have been reported to be involved in neurological disorders like stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, MELAS, autism, and Huntington’s disorder. tRFs were earlier believed to be random degradation debris of tRNAs. The significant variation in the expression level of tRFs in disease conditions indicates their salient role as key players in regulation of these disorders. Various animal studies are being carried out to decipher their exact role; however, more inputs are required to transform this research knowledge into clinical application. Future investigations also call for high-throughput technologies that could help to bring out the other hidden aspects of these entities. However, studies on tRFs require further research efforts to overcome the challenges posed in quantifying tRFs, their interactions with other molecules, and the exact mechanism of function. In this review, we are abridging the current understanding of tRFs, including their biogenesis, function, relevance in clinical therapies, and potential as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of these neurological disorders.
The mechanisms of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) are not clear and are difficult to study. An animal model resembling human TRD is the Wistar Kyoto rat strain. In the present study, we focused on selecting miRNAs that differentiate rats of the WKY strain from Wistar Han (WIS) rats in two divisions of the habenula, the lateral and medial (LHb and MHb, respectively). Based on our preliminary study and literature survey, we identified 32 miRNAs that could be potentially regulated in the habenula. Six miRNAs significantly differentiated WKY rats from WIS rats within the MHb, and three significantly differentiated WKY from WIS rats within the LHb. Then, we selected relevant transcripts regulated by those miRNAs, and their expression in the habenular nuclei was investigated. For mRNAs that differentiated WKY rats from WIS rats in the MHb (Cdkn1c, Htr7, Kcnj9, and Slc12a5), their lower expression correlated with a higher level of relevant miRNAs. In the LHb, eight mRNAs significantly differentiated WKY from WIS rats (upregulated Htr4, Drd2, Kcnj5, and Sstr4 and downregulated Htr2a, Htr7, Elk4, and Slc12a5). These data indicate that several important miRNAs are expressed in the habenula, which differentiates WKY rats from WIS rats and in turn correlates with alterations in the expression of target transcripts. Of particular note are two genes whose expression is altered in WKY rats in both LHb and MHb: Slc12a5 and Htr7. Regulation of KCC2 via the 5-HT7 receptor may be a potential target for the treatment of TRD.
Substantial evidence suggests that pyroptosis is involved in renal, cerebral, and myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury. However, whether pyroptosis is involved in ischemia–reperfusion injury of cochlear hair cells has not been explored. In this study, we examined the effects of melatonin on the oxygen–glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R) of hair cell-like House Ear Institute-Organ of Corti 1 (HEI-OC1) cells and cochlear hair cells in vitro to mimic cochlear ischemia–reperfusion injury in vivo. We found that melatonin treatment protected the HEI-OC1 and cochlear hair cells against OGD/R-induced cell pyroptosis and reduced the expression level of ROS in these cells. However, these effects were completely abolished by the application of luzindole (a non-selective melatonin receptor blocker) and largely offset by the use of ML385 (an nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) inhibitor). These findings suggest that melatonin alleviates OGD/R-induced pyroptosis of the hair cell-like HEI-OC1 cells and cochlear hair cells via the melatonin receptor 1A (MT-1) and melatonin receptor 1B (MT-2)/Nrf2 (NFE2L2)/ROS/NLRP3 pathway, which may provide credible evidence for melatonin being used as a potential drug for the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss in the future.
The peri- and post-menopausal periods have been described as the “window of vulnerability” for the development of depressive symptoms that impair women activities and quality of life. The etiopathogenesis of these symptoms is multifactorial and may confer resistance to traditional antidepressants. Attention is now directed toward phytochemicals for their pleiotropic functions and safer profiles. This study investigated the possible perturbation of the nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathways as an underlying mechanism of post-ovariectomy depression and highlighted the potential benefits of carnosic acid (CA) on the associated behavioral, biochemical, and histopathological alterations. Female Balb/c mice were randomly assigned to be sham-operated or ovariectomized (OVX). After 3 weeks, OVX mice received either a vehicle, CA (20 mg/kg/day), or tin protoporphyrin IX (SnPP-IX; a heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) inhibitor; 50 μmol/kg/day) for 3 weeks. Our findings revealed that OVX mice had depressive but not anxiety-like behavior. Suppressed Nrf2 and its downstream signaling, and augmented proinflammatory markers were observed in both the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. CA treatment alleviated depressive behavior, induced the expression of Nrf2, HO-1, thioredoxin-1, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and enhanced serotonin levels. CA also suppressed oxidative stress, reduced TNF-α, IL-1β, and iNOS mRNA expression, and ameliorated OVX-induced histopathological changes. SnPP-IX aggravated post-OVX behavioral, neurobiochemical, and histological deteriorations, and reduced CA-protective effects. In conclusion, Nrf2/HO-1 signaling suppression and the associated proinflammatory state are key mechanisms in post-OVX depression. CA exerts multifaceted neuroprotection in OVX mice and represents a promising candidate for clinical evaluation as an antidepressant.
Amorfrutin B is a selective modulator of the PPARγ receptor, which has recently been identified as an effective neuroprotective compound that protects brain neurons from hypoxic and ischemic damage. Our study demonstrated for the first time that a 6-h delayed post-treatment with amorfrutin B prevented hypoxia/ischemia-induced neuronal apoptosis in terms of the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, heterochromatin foci formation, and expression of specific genes and proteins. The expression of all studied apoptosis-related factors was decreased in response to amorfrutin B, both during hypoxia and ischemia, except for the expression of anti-apoptotic BCL2, which was increased. After post-treatment with amorfrutin B, the methylation rate of the pro-apoptotic Bax gene was inversely correlated with the protein level, which explained the decrease in the BAX/BCL2 ratio as a result of Bax hypermethylation. The mechanisms of the protective action of amorfrutin B also involved the inhibition of autophagy, as evidenced by diminished autophagolysosome formation and the loss of neuroprotective properties of amorfrutin B after the silencing of Becn1 and/or Atg7. Although post-treatment with amorfrutin B reduced the expression levels of Becn1, Nup62, and Ambra1 during hypoxia, it stimulated Atg5 and the protein levels of MAP1LC3B and AMBRA1 during ischemia, supporting the ambiguous role of autophagy in the development of brain pathologies. Furthermore, amorfrutin B affected the expression levels of apoptosis-focused and autophagy-related miRNAs, and many of these miRNAs were oppositely regulated by amorfrutin B and hypoxia/ischemia. The results strongly support the position of amorfrutin B among the most promising anti-stroke and wide-window therapeutics.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified to be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, we evaluated whether lncRNAs can be used to discriminate AD patients from controls and patients with other dementias, such as vascular, Parkinson’s disease, behavioral variant frontotemporal, and dementia with Lewy body. In this study, we used three datasets to measure the blood lncRNA levels. A pilot study (dataset 1, n = 40; controls, 20; AD, 20) was used to screen for differentially expressed lncRNAs. Dataset 2 (n = 174; controls, 86; AD, 88) was used to identify a lncRNA panel for the diagnostic model. Dataset 3 (n = 333; control, 60; AD, 54; vascular dementia, 53; Parkinson’s disease dementia, 55; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, 56; and dementia with Lewy body, 55) was used to validate the diagnostic model. In dataset 1, 12 upregulated and 15 downregulated lncRNAs were identified. In dataset 2, a panel of seven lncRNAs was found to have the ability to differentiate AD patients from controls. Finally, this panel was applied to dataset 3 to successfully distinguish AD from other dementias. This study proposes a panel of seven lncRNAs as specific and promising biomarker for AD diagnosis.
Acrylamide (ACR), a soft electrophile, is a typical environmental and food contaminant that presents potential health hazards and, consequently, is attracting increasing attention in the quest for its control. ACR neurotoxicity has been widely reported in experimental animals and attributed to neuroinflammation; however, the mechanisms involved therein require clarification. In this study, we used a neuron cell model to investigate the mechanisms of ACR-induced neuroinflammation and pyroptosis. The results showed that ACR treatment induced lytic cell death morphologically under both the canonical pyroptotic pathway (NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3)-apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing CARD (ASC)-cysteinyl aspartate specific proteinase 1 (caspase-1)-gasdermin D (GSDMD)-interleukin-1β (IL-1β)/interleukin-18 (IL-18)) and an alternative pyroptotic pathway (cysteinyl aspartate specific proteinase 3 (caspase-3)-gasdermin E (GSDME)-IL-1β/IL-18) in SH-SY5Y cells. Moreover, the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) production, cytokines release, and lytic cell death induced by ACR were diminished by caspase-1 and -3 inhibitors. Furthermore, the knockdown of caspase-1 by small interfering RNA attenuated ACR-induced lytic cell death, suggesting that canonical pyroptosis (the NLRP3-caspase 1-GSDMD-IL-1β signaling axis) played a primary role in the ACR-induced pyroptosis. Of the two pyroptotic-related pathways, the NLRP3 inflammasome cascade was activated first within the 6-h period of ACR exposure, while the activation of the alternative pyroptotic pathway was delayed. Collectively, these results indicate that ACR mainly induces NLRP3-related neuroinflammation and pyroptosis in SH-SY5Y cells, which is, thus, suggestive of an alternative mechanism for ACR-induced neurotoxicity.
Almost all brain cells contain cilia, antennae-like microtubule-based organelles. Yet, the significance of cilia, once considered vestigial organelles, in the higher-order brain functions is unknown. Cilia act as a hub that senses and transduces environmental sensory stimuli to generate an appropriate cellular response. Similarly, the striatum, a brain structure enriched in cilia, functions as a hub that receives and integrates various types of environmental information to drive appropriate motor response. To understand cilia’s role in the striatum functions, we used loxP/Cre technology to ablate cilia from the dorsal striatum of male mice and monitored the behavioral consequences. Our results revealed an essential role for striatal cilia in the acquisition and brief storage of information, including learning new motor skills, but not in long-term consolidation of information or maintaining habitual/learned motor skills. A fundamental aspect of all disrupted functions was the “time perception/judgment deficit.” Furthermore, the observed behavioral deficits form a cluster pertaining to clinical manifestations overlapping across psychiatric disorders that involve the striatum functions and are known to exhibit timing deficits. Thus, striatal cilia may act as a calibrator of the timing functions of the basal ganglia-cortical circuit by maintaining proper timing perception. Our findings suggest that dysfunctional cilia may contribute to the pathophysiology of neuro-psychiatric disorders, as related to deficits in timing perception.
Accumulating clinical and epidemiological studies indicate that learning and memory impairment is more prevalent among people with diabetes mellitus (DM). PTP1B is a member of protein tyrosine phosphatase family and participates in a variety of pathophysiological effects including inflammatory, insulin signaling pathway, and learning and memory. This study was aimed to investigate the effects of CA, a specific inhibitor of PTP1B, on spatial learning and memory impairment in diabetic mice caused by high-fat diet and injection of streptozotocin. We found that the protein expressions of PTP1B increased in hippocampal CA1, CA3, and PFC regions of diabetic mice. Network pharmacology results showed that PTP1B might be one of the key targets between diabetes and cognitive dysfunction, and CA might alleviate DM-induced cognitive dysfunction. Animal experiments showed that CA ameliorated DM-induced spatial learning and memory impairment, and improved glucose and lipid metabolic disorders. Moreover, administration of CA alleviated hippocampal structure damage and enhanced the expressions of synaptic proteins, including PSD-95, SYN-1, and SYP in diabetic mice. Furthermore, CA treatment not only significantly down-regulated the expressions of PTP1B and NLRP3 inflammatory related proteins (NLRP3, ASC, Caspase-1, COX-2, IL-1β, and TNF-α), but also significantly up-regulated the expressions of insulin signaling pathway–related proteins (p-IRS1, p-PI3K, p-AKT, and p-GSK-3β) in diabetic mice. Taken together, these results suggested that PTP1B might be a targeted strategy to rescue learning and memory deficits in DM, possibly through inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome and regulation of insulin signaling pathway.