[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) metabolizes catecholaminergic neurotransmitters. Numerous studies have linked COMT to pivotal brain functions such as mood, cognition, response to stress, and pain. Both nociception and risk of clinical pain have been associated with COMT genetic variants, and this association was shown to be mediated via adrenergic pathways. Here we show that association studies between COMT polymorphic markers and pain phenotypes in two independent cohorts identified a functional marker, rs165774, situated in the 3' untranslated region of a newfound splice variant, (a)-COMT. Sequence comparisons showed that the (a)-COMT transcript is highly conserved in primates, and deep sequencing data demonstrated that (a)-COMT is expressed across several human tissues, including the brain. In silico analyses showed that the (a)-COMT enzyme features a distinct C-terminus structure, capable of stabilizing substrates in its active site. In vitro experiments demonstrated not only that (a)-COMT is catalytically active, but also that it displays unique substrate specificity, exhibiting enzymatic activity with dopamine but not epinephrine. They also established that the pain protective A allele of rs165774 coincides with lower COMT activity, suggesting contribution to decreased pain sensitivity through increased dopaminergic rather than decreased adrenergic tone, characteristic of reference isoforms. Our results provide evidence for an essential role of the (a)-COMT isoform in nociceptive signaling and suggest that genetic variations in (a)-COMT isoforms may contribute to individual variability in pain phenotypes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormalities in the enzymatic activity of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) contribute to chronic pain conditions, such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Thus, we sought to determine the effects of polymorphisms in COMT and functionally-related pain genes in the COMT pathway (estrogen receptor 1: ESR1, guanosine-5-triphosphate cyclohydrolase 1: GCH1, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase: MTHFR) on COMT enzymatic activity, musculoskeletal pain, and pain-related intermediate phenotypes among TMD cases and healthy controls. Results demonstrate that the COMT rs4680 (val(158)met) polymorphism is most strongly associated with outcome measures, such that individuals with the minor A allele (met) exhibit reduced COMT activity, increased TMD risk, and increased musculoskeletal pain. Epistatic interactions were observed between the COMT rs4680 polymorphism and polymorphisms in GCH1 and ESR1. Among individuals with the COMT met allele, those with two copies of the GCH1 rs10483639 minor G allele exhibit normalized COMT activity and increased mechanical pain thresholds. Among individuals with the COMT val allele, those with two copies of the ESR1 rs3020377 minor A allele exhibit reduced COMT activity, increased bodily pain, and poorer self-reported health. These data reveal that the GCH1 minor G allele confers a protective advantage among met carriers, while the ESR1 minor A allele is disadvantageous among val carriers.Furthermore, these data suggest that the ability to predict the downstream effects of genetic variation on COMT activity is critically important to understanding the molecular basis of chronic pain conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The misfolding and aggregation of α-synuclein (aSyn) eventually leads to an accumulation of toxic forms that disturb normal neuronal function and result in cell death. aSyn rich inclusions are seen in Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and other synucleinopathies. Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) can accelerate the aggregation process of aSyn and the inhibition of PREP leads to a decreased amount of aggregated aSyn in cell models and in aSyn transgenic mice. In this study, we investigated the effect of 5- and 28-day PREP inhibitor (KYP-2047) treatment on a mouse strain carrying a point mutation in the aSyn coding gene. Following PREP inhibition, we found a decrease in high molecular-weight oligomeric aSyn and a concomitant increase in the amount of the autophagosome marker, LC3BII, suggesting enhanced macroautophagy (autophagy) and aSyn clearance by KYP-2047. Moreover, 28-day treatment with KYP-2047 caused significant increases in striatal dopamine levels. In cell culture, overexpression of PREP reduced the autophagy. Furthermore, the inhibition of PREP normalized the changes on autophagy markers (LC3BII and p62) caused by an autophagy inhibition or aSyn overexpression, and induced the expression of beclin 1, a positive regulator of autophagy. Taken together, our results suggest that PREP inhibition accelerates the clearance of protein aggregates via increased autophagy and thus normalizes the cell functions in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, PREP inhibition may have future potential in the treatment of synucleinopathies.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Neurobiology of Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolyl oligopeptidase (POP) may be associated with neuromodulation and development of neurodegenerative diseases and it was recently shown to participate in the inflammatory cascade along with matrix metalloproteinases. Radiotracers, which can be used for non-invasive imaging, are needed for investigating the role of POP in normal physiology and in pathophysiological conditions in vivo. We synthesized two novel POP-specific (123)I-radiolabeled 4-phenylbutanoyl-l-prolyl-pyrrolidines of which 4-(4-[(123)I]iodophenyl)butanoyl-l-prolyl-2(S)-cyanopyrrolidine ([(123)I]2f, Ki = 4.2 nM) was selected. The selected compound has an electrophilic cyano group that is known to increase the dissociation time of POP inhibitors. [(123)I]2f was synthesized in high radiochemical yield and purity (87 ± 4%, >99%, respectively) and with a specific activity of 456 ± 98 GBq/μmol. [(123)I]2f was evaluated in healthy mice (C57Bl/6JRccHsd) by ex vivo biodistribution studies and SPECT imaging. Pretreatment with the known inhibitor 4-phenylbutanoyl-l-prolyl-(2S)-cyanopyrrolidine (KYP-2047, 2d, Ki = 0.023 nM) showed that binding of [(123)I]2f was POP specific. In addition, [(123)I]2f was evaluated in models of neuroinflammation and acute localized inflammation. A minor increase in binding of [(123)I]2f was observed in the inflamed region in the acute localized inflammation model. Similar increase in binding was not observed in the neuroinflammation model.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two new prolyl oligopeptidase (POP) inhibitors [123I]2e and [123I]2f were synthesized and evaluated as potential radiotracers for imaging POP with single photon emission tomography (SPECT).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is widely used in pre-clinical animal studies to induce degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons to create animal models of Parkinson's disease. The aim of our study was to evaluate the potential of combined single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) for the detection of differences in 6-OHDA-induced partial lesions in a dose- and time-dependent manner using the dopamine transporter (DAT) ligand 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-[123I]iodophenyl)tropane ([123I]β-CIT).
Rats were unilaterally lesioned with intrastriatal injections of 8 or 2 × 10 μg 6-OHDA. At 2 or 4 weeks post-lesion, 40 to 50 MBq [123I]β-CIT was administered intravenously and rats were imaged with small-animal SPECT/CT under isoflurane anesthesia. The striatum was delineated and mean striatal activity in the lesioned side was compared to the intact side. After the [123I]β-CIT SPECT/CT scan, the rats were tested for amphetamine-induced rotation asymmetry, and their brains were immunohistochemically stained for DAT and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). The fiber density of DAT- and TH-stained striata was estimated, and TH-immunoreactive cells in the rat substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) were stereologically counted.
The striatal uptake of [123I]β-CIT differed significantly between the lesion groups and the results were highly correlated to both striatal DAT- and TH-immunoreactive fiber densities and to TH-immunoreactive cell numbers in the rat SNpc. No clear progression of the lesion could be seen.
[123I]β-CIT SPECT/CT is a valuable tool in predicting the condition of the rat midbrain dopaminergic pathway in the unilateral partial 6-OHDA lesion model of Parkinson's disease and it offers many advantages, allowing repeated non-invasive analysis of living animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) has been considered as a drug target for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In plasma, PREP has been found altered in several disorders of the central nervous system including multiple sclerosis (MS). Oxidative stress and the levels of an endogenous plasma PREP inhibitor have been proposed to decrease PREP activity in MS. In this work, we measured the circulating levels of PREP in patients suffering of relapsing remitting (RR), secondary progressive (SP), primary progressive (PP) MS, and in subjects with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). We found a significantly lower PREP activity in plasma of RRMS as well as in PPMS patients and a trend to reduced activity in subjects diagnosed with CIS, compared to controls. No signs of oxidative inactivation of PREP, and no correlation with the endogenous PREP inhibitor, identified as activated α-2-macroglobulin (α2M*), were observed in any of the patients studied. However, a significant decrease of α2M* was recorded in MS. In cell cultures, we found that PREP specifically stimulates immune active cells possibly by modifying the levels of fibrinogen β, thymosin β4, and collagen. Our results open new lines of research on the role of PREP and α2M* in MS, aiming to relate them to the diagnosis and prognosis of this devastating disease.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Biochemical pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) in presynaptic neurons remains controversial. This study utilized dopaminergic and noradrenergic toxins to assess the presence of COMT in the presynaptic neurons originating from the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area or locus coeruleus. Destruction of dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons was assessed by measuring the dopamine and noradrenaline content in the projection areas of these neurons. Additionally, COMT protein expression and activity were examined in several projection areas to determine whether there are any changes in COMT values. Colocalization studies were done to identify COMT-containing postsynaptic neurons. Despite successful lesioning of dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons, no changes in COMT protein expression or activity could be noted. These results strongly suggest that COMT is not present in presynaptic dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons. There was a high colocalization of COMT with the GABAergic marker of short neurons both in the striatum and cortex but only a weak, if any, with the cholinergic marker in the cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolyl oligopeptidase (EC 126.96.36.199, PREP) is a serine protease that hydrolyzes proline-containing peptides shorter than 30-mer but it has also nonhydrolytic functions. PREP has been shown to accelerate aggregation of wild-type α-synuclein (α-syn) under cell-free conditions, and PREP inhibitors can block this aggregation both in vitro and in vivo. α-syn is the main component of Lewy bodies in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Lewy body dementia. To clarify the possible interaction of PREP with other markers of neurodegenerative diseases, we studied colocalizations of PREP and (1) α-syn, (2) β-amyloid, (3) tau protein and (4) astroglial and microglial cells in human post-mortem brain samples from PD, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and in healthy control brain samples. In the substantia nigra of PD brains, an intense colocalization with PREP and α-syn was evident. PREP colocalized also with β-amyloid plaques in AD brains and with tau protein in AD and in healthy brains. PREP was also found in astroglial cells in PD, AD and control brains, but not in the microglia. Our findings are the first ones to demonstrate colocalization of PREP and pathological proteins in the human brain and support the view that, at least in spatial terms, PREP could be associated with pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) protein has been shown to protect the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway when given as intrastriatal infusions in rat and mouse models of Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, we assessed the neuroprotective effect of CDNF delivered with a recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV) serotype 2 vector in a rat 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) model of PD. AAV2 vectors encoding CDNF, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), or green fluorescent protein were injected into the rat striatum. Protein expression analysis showed that our AAV2 vector efficiently delivered the neurotrophic factor genes into the brain and gave rise to a long-lasting expression of the proteins. Two weeks after AAV2 vector injection, 6-OHDA was injected into the rat striatum, creating a progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Treatment with AAV2-CDNF resulted in a marked decrease in amphetamine-induced ipsilateral rotations while it provided only partial protection of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive cells in the rat substantia nigra pars compacta and TH-reactive fibers in the striatum. Results from this study provide additional evidence that CDNF can be considered a potential treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Brain and Behavior
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three point mutations in the SNCA gene encoding α-synuclein (aSyn) have been associated with autosomal dominant forms of Parkinson's disease. To better understand the role of the A30P mutant aSyn, we compared two transgenic mouse strains: a knock-in mouse with an introduced A30P point mutation in the wild type gene (Snca(tm(A30P))) and a transgenic (Tg) mouse overexpressing the human A30P aSyn gene under the prion promoter [tg(Prnp-SNCA∗A30P)]. The brain aSyn load, motor performance, brain dopamine (DA) and sensitivity to 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) were studied in these mice. aSyn was evidently accumulating with age in all mice, particularly in tg(Prnp-SNCA∗A30P) Tg mice. There were no robust changes in basal locomotor activities of the mice of either line at 6 months, but after one year, tg(Prnp-SNCA∗A30P) Tg mice developed severe problems with vertical movements. However, the younger Tg mice had a reduced locomotor response to 1 mg/kg of D-amphetamine. Snca(tm(A30P)) mice with the targeted mutation (Tm) were slightly hyperactive at all ages. Less 6-OHDA was required in tg(Prnp-SNCA∗A30P) Tg (1 μg) than in WT (3 μg) mice for an ipsilateral rotational bias by D-amphetamine. That was not seen with Snca(tm(A30P)) strain. A small dose of 6-OHDA (0.33 μg) led to contralateral rotations and elevated striatal DA in Tg/Tm mice of both lines but otherwise 6-OHDA -induced striatal DA depletion was similar in all mice, indicating no A30P-aSyn -related toxin sensitivity. DOPAC/DA -ratio was elevated in tg(Prnp-SNCA∗A30P) mice, suggesting an enhanced DA turnover. This ratio and HVA/DA-ratio were declined in Snca(tm(A30P)) mice. Our results demonstrate that the two differently constructed A30P-aSyn mouse strains have distinct behavioural and biochemical characteristics, some of which are opposite. Since the two lines with the same background were not identically produced, the deviations found may be partially caused by factors other than aSyn -related genetic differences.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Iodine-123-β-CIT, a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) ligand for dopamine transporters (DATs), has been used for in vivo studies in humans, monkeys, and rats but has not yet been used extensively in mice. To validate the imaging and analysis methods for preclinical DAT imaging, wild-type healthy mice were scanned using 123I-β-CIT.
The pharmacokinetics and reliability of 123I-β-CIT in mice (n = 8) were studied with a multipinhole SPECT/CT camera after intravenous injection of 123I-β-CIT (38 ± 3 MBq). Kinetic imaging of three mice was continued for 7 h postinjection to obtain the time-activity curves in the striatum and cerebellum volumes. Five mice had repeated measures 4 h post-123I-β-CIT injection to provide an indication of test-retest reliability. The same five mice served as a basis for a healthy mean SPECT template.
Specific binding of 123I-β-CIT within the mouse striatum could be clearly visualized with SPECT. The kinetics of 123I-β-CIT was similar to that in previously published autoradiography studies. Binding potential mean values of the test-retest studies were 6.6 ± 15.7% and 6.6 ± 4.6%, respectively, and the variability was 9%. The SPECT template was aggregated from the first and second imaging of the test-retest animals. No significant difference between the templates (P > 0.05) was found. From the test template, a striatal volume of 22.3 mm3 was defined.
This study demonstrates that high-resolution SPECT/CT is capable of accurate, repeatable, and semiquantitative measurement of 123I-β-CIT DAT binding in the mouse brain. This methodology will enable further studies on DAT density and neuroprotective properties of drugs in mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Celiac disease is an autoimmune-mediated enteropathy characterized by adaptive and innate immune responses to dietary gluten in wheat, rye and barley in genetically susceptible individuals. Gluten-derived gliadin peptides are deamidated by transglutaminase 2 (TG2), leading to an immune response in the small-intestinal mucosa. TG2 inhibitors have therefore been suggested as putative drugs for celiac disease. In this proof-of-concept study we investigated whether two TG2 inhibitors, cell-impermeable R281 and cell-permeable R283, can prevent the toxic effects of gliadin in vitro and ex vivo.
Intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells were treated with peptic-tryptic-digested gliadin (PT-gliadin) with or without TG2 inhibitors and thereafter direct toxic effects (transepithelial resistance, cytoskeletal rearrangement, junction protein expression and phoshorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2) were determined. In an organ culture of celiac-patient-derived small-intestinal biopsies we measured secretion of TG2-autoantibodies into the culture medium and the densities of CD25- and interleukin (IL) 15-positive cells, forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and Ki-67-positive proliferating crypt cells.
Both TG2 inhibitors evinced protective effects against gliadin-induced detrimental effects in Caco-2 cells but the cell-impermeable R281 seemed slightly more potent. In addition, TG2 inhibitor R281 modified the gluten-induced increase in CD25- and IL15-positive cells, Tregs and crypt cell proliferation, but had no effect on antibody secretion in celiac-patient-derived biopsies.
Our results suggest that TG2 inhibitors are able to reduce certain gliadin-induced effects related to responses in vitro and ex vivo.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) is a serine protease that hydrolyzes peptides shorter than 30-mer, and it has been connected with multiple physiological and pathological conditions. PREP has been mostly studied in the brain, but significant PREP activities have been measured in peripheral tissues. Moreover, increased PREP activities have been found in tumors. In this study, the authors studied the immunohistochemical distribution of PREP protein in human peripheral tissues and in ovarian and colorectal tumors. PREP was found to be widely distributed in human peripheral tissues and specifically in certain cells. The most intense PREP expression was seen in the testis, ovaries, liver, and some parts of the skin. At the cellular level, high PREP levels were seen as a rule in secreting epithelial cells and cells involved in reproduction. Increased PREP expression was seen in most of the tumors studied. PREP expression was higher in malignant than benign tumors, and in ovarian epithelial cancers, there was a trend for increased PREP staining with increased malignancy grade. Results suggest that PREP may be associated with secretory processes as well as in reproduction. A more abundant expression of PREP in malignant than benign tumors suggests that PREP may be associated with expansion and metastasis of tumors.
Preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) is an intracellular enzyme digesting small proline-containing peptides. Since PREP resides the same brain areas as neurotensin in the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways, we were interested to study if there is an intracellular interaction between them. A colocalization of PREP with neurotensin and neurotensin receptor 1 (NTS1) in the rat striatum, nucleus accumbens (NAcc), substantia nigra (SN) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) was studied with immunofluorescence. From the same brain areas, the levels of dopamine and its metabolites were measured 1 h after the injection of saline, NTS1 ligands (JMV-449; 5 μg) or antagonist (SR142948; 5 μg) to the rat striatum or NAcc. We also studied whether an intraperitoneal injection of a PREP inhibitor (KYP-2047; 5 mg/kg) affects the levels of dopamine and its metabolites alone or modifies the effects of the NTS1 ligands. PREP was highly colocalized with neurotensin and NTS1 in the VTA, and with NTS1 in the SN. Colocalization was moderate or low in other brain areas. When injected to the striatum, JMV-449 had a tendency to increase dopamine (p = 0.052) and metabolite levels in the striatum and SN, whereas SR142948 did not. After the injection to the NAcc, JMV-449 but not SR142948, increased dopamine levels in the VTA and dopamine metabolite levels in the NAcc and VTA. KYP-2047 decreased the dopamine levels in the striatum, but increased dopamine metabolite levels in the NAcc and VTA. Our results suggest a novel role for PREP in the modulation of dopaminergic transmission, which may be different in nigrostriatal and mesolimbic pathways.
No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Neurochemical Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In human studies, low COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) activity has been associated with increased sensitivity to acute clinical preoperative or postoperative pain. We explored the association between the COMT genotype and three chronic pain conditions: migrainous headache, fibromyalgia, or chronic widespread pain and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Furthermore, we evaluated whether COMT genotype affects the efficacy of opioids in chronic pain. After a systematic literature review, we carried out meta-analyses on the three chronic pain conditions. The efficacy of opioids was evaluated using a systematic review only. The meta-analyses showed that fibromyalgia or chronic widespread pain is the only type of chronic pain that could be associated with the COMT single nucleotide polymorphism rs4680 (Val158Met). Met158, which results in the low-activity variant of COMT, is the risk allele. In chronic clinical pain, the effect of the COMT polymorphism depends on the pain condition. Low COMT activity is not associated with migrainous headache or chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions, but it may increase the risk for fibromyalgia or chronic widespread pain. Low COMT activity increases opioid receptors and enhances opioid analgesia and adverse effects in some cancer pains. Findings from animal studies that have utilized COMT inhibitors elucidate the mechanism behind these findings. In rodent pain models, COMT inhibitors are pronociceptive, except for neuropathic pain models, where nitecapone was found to be antiallodynic. The complex interplay between enhanced adrenergic and dopaminergic activity in different parts of the nociceptive system probably explains the complicated actions of low COMT activity.
No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Pharmacogenetics and Genomics