Hydrocephalus is a serious condition that impacts patients of all ages. The standards of care are surgical options to divert, or inhibit production of, cerebrospinal fluid; to date, there are no effective pharmaceutical treatments, to our knowledge. The causes vary widely, but one commonality of this condition is aberrations in salt and fluid balance. We have used a genetic model of hydrocephalus to show that ventriculomegaly can be alleviated by inhibition of the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4, a channel that is activated by changes in osmotic balance, temperature, pressure and inflammatory mediators. The TRPV4 antagonists do not appear to have adverse effects on the overall health of the WT or hydrocephalic animals.
Alexandra E. Hochstetler, Hillary M. Smith, Daniel C. Preston, Makenna M. Reed, Paul R. Territo, Joon W. Shim, Daniel Fulkerson, Bonnie L. Blazer-Yost
A critical response to lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) is the clearance of damaged lysosomes through a selective form of macroautophagy known as lysophagy. Although regulators of this process are emerging, whether organ and cell specific components contribute to the control of lysophagy remains incompletely understood. Here, we examine LMP and lysophagy in Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC), an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by the accumulation of unesterified cholesterol within late endosomes and lysosomes, leading to neurodegeneration and early death. We demonstrate that NPC patient fibroblasts show enhanced sensitivity to lysosomal damage as a consequence of lipid storage. Moreover, we describe a role for the glycan binding F-box protein Fbxo2 in CNS lysophagy. Fbxo2 functions as a component of the SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. Loss of Fbxo2 in mouse primary cortical cultures delays clearance of damaged lysosomes and decreases viability following lysosomal damage. Moreover, Fbxo2 deficiency in a mouse model of NPC exacerbates deficits in motor function, enhances neurodegeneration, and reduces survival. Collectively, our data identify a role for Fbxo2 in CNS lysophagy and establish its functional importance in NPC.
Elaine A. Liu, Mark L. Schultz, Chisaki Mochida, Chan Chung, Henry L. Paulson, Andrew P. Lieberman
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a developmental disorder caused by loss of maternally imprinted genes on 15q11-q13, including melanoma antigen gene family member L2 (MAGEL2). The clinical phenotypes of PWS suggest impaired hypothalamic neuroendocrine function; however, the exact cellular defects are unknown. Here, we report deficits in secretory granule (SG) abundance and bioactive neuropeptide production upon loss of MAGEL2 in humans and mice. Unbiased proteomic analysis of Magel2pΔ/m+ mice revealed a reduction in components of SG in the hypothalamus that was confirmed in 2 PWS patient–derived neuronal cell models. Mechanistically, we show that proper endosomal trafficking by the MAGEL2-regulated WASH complex is required to prevent aberrant lysosomal degradation of SG proteins and reduction of mature SG abundance. Importantly, loss of MAGEL2 in mice, NGN2-induced neurons, and human patients led to reduced neuropeptide production. Thus, MAGEL2 plays an important role in hypothalamic neuroendocrine function, and cellular defects in this pathway may contribute to PWS disease etiology. Moreover, these findings suggest unanticipated approaches for therapeutic intervention.
Helen Chen, A. Kaitlyn Victor, Jonathon Klein, Klementina Fon Tacer, Derek J.C. Tai, Celine de Esch, Alexander Nuttle, Jamshid Temirov, Lisa C. Burnett, Michael Rosenbaum, Yiying Zhang, Li Ding, James J. Moresco, Jolene K. Diedrich, John R. Yates III, Heather S. Tillman, Rudolph L. Leibel, Michael E. Talkowski, Daniel D. Billadeau, Lawrence T. Reiter, Patrick Ryan Potts
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a rare genetic disorder, characterized by the development of benign and malignant nerve tumors. Although all individuals with NF1 harbor genetic alterations in the same gene, the clinical manifestations of NF1 are extremely heterogeneous even among individuals who carry identical genetic defects. In order to deepen the understanding of phenotypic manifestations in NF1, we comprehensively characterized the prevalence of 18 phenotypic traits in 2051 adults with NF1 from the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s NF1 registry. We further investigated the coassociation of traits and found positive correlations between spinal neurofibromas and pain, spinal neurofibromas and scoliosis, spinal neurofibromas and optic gliomas, and optic gliomas and sphenoid wing dysplasia. Furthermore, with increasing numbers of cutaneous neurofibromas, the odds ratio of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor increased. Phenotypic clustering revealed 6 phenotypic patient cluster subtypes: mild, freckling predominant, neurofibroma predominant, skeletal predominant, late-onset neural severe, and early-onset neural severe, highlighting potential phenotypic subtypes within NF1. Together, our results support potential shared molecular pathogenesis for certain clinical manifestations and illustrate the utility of disease registries for understanding rare diseases.
Mika M. Tabata, Shufeng Li, Pamela Knight, Annette Bakker, Kavita Y. Sarin
Animal studies indicate that hypothalamic dysfunction plays a major role in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) development, and that insulin resistance and inflammation are important mechanisms involved in this disorder. However, it remains unclear how T2DM and antidiabetic treatments affect the human hypothalamus. Here, we characterized the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) immunoreactive (-ir) neurons, the neuropeptide-Y–ir (NPY-ir) neurons, the ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1–ir (iba1-ir) microglia, and the transmembrane protein 119–ir (TMEM119-ir) microglia in the infundibular nucleus (IFN) of human postmortem hypothalamus of 32 T2DM subjects with different antidiabetic treatments and 17 matched nondiabetic control subjects. Compared with matched control subjects, T2DM subjects showed a decrease in the number of POMC-ir neurons, but no changes in NPY-ir neurons or microglia. Interestingly, T2DM subjects treated with the antidiabetic drug metformin had fewer NPY-ir neurons and microglia than T2DM subjects not treated with metformin. We found that the number of microglia correlated with the number of NPY-ir neurons, but only in T2DM subjects. These results indicate that different changes in POMC and NPY neurons and microglial cells in the IFN accompany T2DM. In addition, T2DM treatment modality is associated with highly selective changes in hypothalamic neurons and microglial cells.
Martin J.T. Kalsbeek, Samantha E.C. Wolff, Nikita L. Korpel, Susanne E. la Fleur, Johannes A. Romijn, Eric Fliers, Andries Kalsbeek, Dick F. Swaab, Inge Huitinga, Elly M. Hol, Chun-Xia Yi
Electroconvulsive therapy is highly effective in neuropsychiatric disorders by unknown mechanisms. Microglial toxicity plays key role in neuroinflammatory and degenerative diseases, where there is critical shortage in therapies. This study examined the effects of electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) on chronic neuroinflammation and microglial neurotoxicity.Electric brain stimulation inducing full tonic-clonic seizures during chronic relapsing-progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) reduced spinal immune cell infiltration, reduced myelin and axonal loss, and prevented clinical deterioration. Using the transfer EAE model we examined the effect of ECS on systemic immune response in donor mice versus ECS effect on CNS innate immune activity in recipient mice. ECS did not affect encephalitogenicity of systemic T cells, but targeted the CNS directly to inhibit T-cell induced neuroinflammation. In vivo and ex-vivo assays indicated that ECS suppressed microglial neurotoxicity, by reducing iNOS expression, nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and by reducing CNS oxidative stress. Microglia from ECS treated EAE mice expressed less T cell stimulatory and chemoattractant factors. Our finding indicate that Electroconvulsive therapy targets the CNS innate immune system to reduce neuroinflammation by attenuating microglial neurotoxicity. These findings signify a novel therapeutic approach for chronic neuroinflammatory, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.
Smadar Goldfarb, Nina Fainstein, Tamir Ben-Hur
Spinal cord injury (SCI) remains a devastating condition with poor prognosis and very limited treatment options. Affected patients are severely restricted in their daily activities. Shock wave therapy (SWT) has shown potent regenerative properties in bone fractures, wounds, and ischemic myocardium via activation of the innate immune receptor TLR3. Here, we report on the efficacy of SWT for regeneration of SCI. SWT improved motor function and decreased lesion size in WT but not Tlr3–/– mice via inhibition of neuronal degeneration and IL6-dependent recruitment and differentiation of neuronal progenitor cells. Both SWT and TLR3 stimulation enhanced neuronal sprouting and improved neuronal survival, even in human spinal cord cultures. We identified tlr3 as crucial enhancer of spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish. Our findings indicate that TLR3 signaling is involved in neuroprotection and spinal cord repair and suggest that TLR3 stimulation via SWT could become a potent regenerative treatment option.
Can Gollmann-Tepeköylü, Felix Nägele, Michael Graber, Leo Pölzl, Daniela Lobenwein, Jakob Hirsch, Angela An, Regina Irschick, Bernhard Röhrs, Christian Kremser, Hubert Hackl, Rosalie Huber, Serena Venezia, David Hercher, Helga Fritsch, Nikolaos Bonaros, Nadia Stefanova, Ivan Tancevski, Dirk Meyer, Michael Grimm, Johannes Holfeld
Background: Our objective is to investigate whether primary Sjogren’s syndrome (pSS) is associated with multiple system atrophy (MSA). Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study assessing rates of (a) MSA in a cohort of patients with pSS, and (b) and rates of pSS in a cohort of patients with MSA. These data were, compared to rates in respective control groups. We additionally reviewed the neuropathologic findings in two patients with pSS, cerebellar degeneration, parkinsonism, and autonomic dysfunction. Results: Our cohort of 308 pSS patients had a greater incidence of MSA compared with four large population-based studies and had had a significantly higher prevalence of at least probable MSA (1% vs. 0%, p = 0.02) compared to 776 patients in a control cohort of patients with other autoimmune disorders. Our cohort of 26 autopsy-proven MSA patients had a significantly higher prevalence of pSS compared with a cohort of 115 patients with other autopsy-proven neurodegenerative disorders (8% vs. 0%, p = 0.03). The two patients we described with pSS and progressive neurodegenerative disease showed classic MSA pathology at autopsy. Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence for an association between MSA and pSS that is specific to both pSS, among autoimmune disorders, and MSA, among neurodegenerative disorders. The two cases we describe of autopsy-proven MSA support that MSA pathology can explains neurologic disease in a subset of pSS patients. These findings together support the hypothesis that systemic autoimmune disease plays role in neurodegeneration. Study funding: The Michigan Brain Bank is supported in part through an NIH grant P30AG053760.
Kyle S. Conway, Sandra Camelo-Piragua, Amanda O. Fisher-Hubbard, William Perry, Vikram G. Shakkottai, Sriram Venneti
Evidence has mounted that insulin can be synthesized in various brain regions including the hypothalamus. However, the distribution and functions of insulin-expressing cells in the hypothalamus remain elusive. Herein, we show that in the mouse hypothalamus, the perikarya of insulin-positive neurons are located in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and their axons project to the median eminence; these findings define parvocellular neurosecretory PVN insulin neurons. Contrary to corticotrophin-releasing hormone expression, insulin expression in the PVN was inhibited by restraint stress (RS) in both adult and young mice. Acute RS–induced inhibition of PVN insulin expression in adult mice decreased both pituitary growth hormone (GH) mRNA level and serum GH concentration, which were attenuated by overexpression of PVN insulin. Notably, PVN insulin knockdown or chronic RS in young mice hindered normal growth via the down-regulation of GH gene expression and secretion, whereas PVN insulin overexpression in young mice prevented chronic RS–induced growth retardation by elevating GH production. Our results suggest that in both normal and stressful conditions, insulin synthesized in the parvocellular PVN neurons plays an important role in the regulation of pituitary GH production and body length, unveiling a physiological function of brain-derived insulin.
Jaemeun Lee, Kyungchan Kim, Jae Hyun Cho, Jin Young Bae, Timothy P. O’Leary, James D. Johnson, Yong Chul Bae, Eun-Kyoung Kim
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a neuromuscular disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the androgen receptor (AR). Using gene expression analysis and ChIP sequencing, we mapped transcriptional changes in genetically engineered patient stem cell–derived motor neurons. We found that transcriptional dysregulation in SBMA can occur through AR-mediated histone modification. We detected reduced histone acetylation, along with decreased expression of genes encoding compensatory metabolic proteins and reduced substrate availability for mitochondrial function. Furthermore, we found that pyruvate supplementation corrected this deficiency and improved mitochondrial function and SBMA motor neuron viability. We propose that epigenetic dysregulation of metabolic genes contributes to reduced mitochondrial ATP production. Our results show a molecular link between altered epigenetic regulation and mitochondrial metabolism that contributes to neurodegeneration.
Naemeh Pourshafie, Ester Masati, Eric Bunker, Alec R. Nickolls, Parisorn Thepmankorn, Kory Johnson, Xia Feng, Tyler Ekins, Christopher Grunseich, Kenneth H. Fischbeck
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