Birgit Zassler

University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria

Are you Birgit Zassler?

Claim your profile

Publications (6)16.73 Total impact

  • Birgit Zassler · Christian Humpel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain degenerate in Alzheimer's disease. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is so far the most potent molecule to counteract this neurodegeneration; however, the delivery of NGF into the brain is very difficult. The aim of the present study was to observe, if transplanted primary monocytes secreting NGF may counteract N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced cell death of cholinergic neurons of the basal nucleus of Meynert (nBM) in vivo. Monocytes were purified by indirect magnetic separation from rat blood. Recombinant NGF was introduced into cells using the novel protein-delivery reagent BioPORTERtrade mark and secretion of NGF was measured by ELISA. Monocytes secreted approximately 4000 pg NGF/day/1 x 10(6) cells. Injection of monocytes onto organotypic brain slices of the nBM in vitro protected cholinergic neurons against cell death. When monocytes were transplanted in vivo into the lateral ventricle, the cells survived for up to 7 days and counteracted the NMDA-induced cell death of cholinergic neurons. In conclusion, primary monocytes secreting recombinant NGF are useful to deliver NGF directly into the brain.
    No preview · Article · May 2006 · Experimental Neurology
  • Birgit Zassler · Ingolf E Blasig · Christian Humpel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Most brain tumors consist of transformed glia cells and are highly vascularized by capillary endothelial cells. The aim of the present study therefore was to deliver pro-apoptotic caspase-3 into malignant C6 glioma and immortalized rBCEC4 brain endothelial cells to induce cell death. Both cell lines were transfected with a reporter protein (beta-galactosidase) using lipid-mediated gene transfer (FuGENE6) or using the novel protein delivery reagent BioPORTER. beta-Galactosidase protein was successfully delivered into both cells, the protein expression peaked around day 2 and was transient. Delivery of caspase-3 induced TUNEL-positive cell death of both cell types. As a control, caspase-3 was also delivered to non-neoplastic primary astrocytes and endothelial cells and induced cell death. In conclusion BioPORTER-protein delivery of pro-apoptotic molecules may provide a potent tool to cause death of the cells in brain tumors, however, this method is limited due to its toxicity to non-malignant cells.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Journal of Neuro-Oncology
  • B Zassler · G Dechant · C Humpel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cholinergic neurons degenerate in Alzheimer's disease and dementia and neuroprotective substances are of high interest to counteract this cell death. The aim of the present study was to test the effect of urea and the nitric oxide synthetase inhibitor l-thiocitrulline on the survival of cholinergic neurons. Organotypic brain slices of the basal nucleus of Meynert were cultured for 2 weeks in the presence of 1-100 microM urea with or without NGF or other growth factors or with or without 1-10 microM of the NOS inhibitor L-thiocitrulline. A high number of cholinergic neurons survived in the presence of 0.1-100 ng/ml NGF. Urea or L-thiocitrulline alone did not exhibit neuroprotective activity; however, when brain slices were incubated with urea or L-thiocitrulline together with NGF there was a significant potentiating survival effect. Incubation of brain slices with NGF + urea + L-thiocitrulline did not further enhance the number of cholinergic neurons. NGF as well as urea did not stimulate expression of the enzyme choline acetyltransferase pointing to survival promoting effects. Urea did not modulate the NGF binding in PC12 cells indicating that this effect was indirect. It is concluded that urea may play a role as an indirect survival promoting molecule possibly involving the nitric oxide pathway.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Neuroscience
  • Birgit Zassler · Carla Weis · Christian Humpel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cell death of cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain plays an important role in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Inflammatory cytokines, such as, for example, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), may be involved in these neurodegenerative processes. The aim of this project was to study the role of TNF-alpha in the survival and nerve fiber growth of cholinergic neurons of the basal nucleus of Meynert in organotypic brain slices and in adult rats. Cholinergic neurons were visualized by immunohistochemistry for the enzyme choline acetyltransferase and nerve fibers by histochemistry for the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. When co-slices of basal nucleus of Meynert and neocortex were sensitized for 15 min with 30 mM potassium chloride and subsequently incubated for 1 week with 20 ng/ml TNF-alpha, cholinergic neurons and nerve fibers markedly degenerated. Incubation with different growth factors rescued the loss of cholinergic cell bodies and cholinergic nerve fibers. Injection of 30 mM potassium chloride and 50 ng TNF-alpha into four defined cortical regions of anesthetized adult rats resulted in predominant cell death of cholinergic neurons on the ipsilateral side. In conclusion, our data show that TNF-alpha potentiated cell death of cholinergic neurons possibly via retrograde axonal damage in vitro and in vivo. Cortical overactivation combined with an increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines may contribute to the cell death observed in Alzheimer's disease and ageing.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2003 · Molecular Brain Research
  • Birgit Zassler · Christine Schermer · Christian Humpel
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor plays an important role in the activation of microglia in the central nervous system. We have recently shown (see text) that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor activates the proliferation and subsequent migration of microglia from organotypic cortex brain slices. The aim of this study was to investigate whether this activation is modulated by different putative intracellular pathway inhibitors. Our data show that the protein kinase C inhibitor staurosporine enhanced the proliferation as well as the differentiation of slice-derived microglia, while the phosphoinositol-3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 markedly suppressed the proliferative activity. In conclusion, proliferation, migration, as well as differentiation of rat microglia are highly regulated by intracellular signaling cascades.
    No preview · Article · May 2003 · Pharmacology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microglial activation and proliferation occur in nearly all forms of brain injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) on proliferation and/or survival in a GMIR1 rat microglial cell line, which proliferates in response to granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Endogenous GDNF and its receptor, GFRalpha-1, were detected in GMIR1 cells by ELISA and immunohistochemistry/Western blot, respectively. Recombinant GDNF strongly enhanced GMIR1 cell numbers and BrdU-incorporation, an effect inhibited by GDNF blocking antibodies. Inhibition of cAMP/cGMP dependent protein kinase enhanced the GDNF-induced GMIR1 cell number. The results suggest that GDNF has synergistic survival promoting effects on microglia potentially via autocrine mechanisms.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2002 · Neuroscience Research