Functional dyspepsia (FD) is associated with both chronic gastrointestinal distress and anxiety and depression. Here, we hypothesized that aberrant gastric signals, transmitted by the vagus nerve, may alter key brain regions modulating affective and pain behavior. Using a previously validated rat model of FD characterized by gastric hypersensitivity, depression- and anxiety-like behavior, we found that vagal activity in response to gastric distention was increased in FD rats. The FD phenotype was associated with gastric mast cell hyperplasia and increased expression of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the central amygdala. Subdiaphragmatic vagotomy reversed these changes and restored affective behavior to that of controls. Vagotomy partially attenuated pain responses to gastric distention, which may be mediated by central reflexes in the periaqueductal gray, as determined by local injection of lidocaine. Ketotifen, a mast cell stabilizer, reduced vagal hypersensitivity, normalized affective behavior and attenuated gastric hyperalgesia. In conclusion, vagal activity, partially driven by gastric mast cells, induces long-lasting changes in CRF signaling in the amygdala that may be responsible for enhanced pain and anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. Together, these results support a “bottom-up” pathway involving the gut-brain axis in the pathogenesis of both gastric pain and psychiatric co-morbidity in FD.
Zachary A. Cordner, Qian Li, Liansheng Liu, Kellie L. Tamashiro, Aditi Bhargava, Timothy H. Moran, Pankaj J. Pasricha
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor incoordination, mild cognitive decline, respiratory dysfunction, and early lethality. It is caused by the expansion of the polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in Ataxin-1 (ATXN1), which stabilizes the protein, leading to its toxic accumulation in neurons. Previously, we showed that serine 776 (S776) phosphorylation is critical for ATXN1 stability and contributes to its toxicity in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Still, the therapeutic potential of disrupting S776 phosphorylation on noncerebellar SCA1 phenotypes remains unstudied. Here, we report that abolishing S776 phosphorylation specifically on the polyQ-expanded ATXN1 of SCA1-knockin mice reduces ATXN1 throughout the brain and not only rescues the cerebellar motor incoordination but also improves respiratory function and extends survival while not affecting the hippocampal learning and memory deficits. As therapeutic approaches are likely to decrease S776 phosphorylation on polyQ-expanded and WT ATXN1, we further disrupted S776 phosphorylation on both alleles and observed an attenuated rescue, demonstrating a potential protective role of WT allele. This study not only highlights the role of S776 phosphorylation to regulate ATXN1 levels throughout the brain but also suggests distinct brain region–specific disease mechanisms and demonstrates the importance of developing allele-specific therapies for maximal benefits in SCA1.
Larissa Nitschke, Stephanie L. Coffin, Eder Xhako, Dany B. El-Najjar, James P. Orengo, Elizabeth Alcala, Yanwan Dai, Ying-Wooi Wan, Zhandong Liu, Harry T. Orr, Huda Y. Zoghbi
The metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGlu7) is a G protein-coupled receptor that has been recently linked to neurodevelopmental disorders. This association is supported by the identification of GRM7 variants in patients with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and severe developmental delay. One GRM7 mutation previously reported in two patients results in a single amino acid change, I154T, within the mGlu7 ligand-binding domain. Here, we report two new patients with this mutation who present with severe developmental delay and epilepsy. Functional studies of the mGlu7-I154T mutant reveal that this substitution results in significant loss of mGlu7 protein expression in HEK293A cells and in mice. We show that this occurs post-transcriptionally at the level of protein expression and trafficking. Similar to mGlu7 global knockout mice, mGlu7-I154T animals exhibit reduced motor coordination, deficits in contextual fear learning, and seizures. This provides the first functional evidence that a disease-associated mutation affecting the mGlu7 receptor is sufficient to cause neurological dysfunction in mice and further validates GRM7 as a disease-causing gene in the human population.
Nicole M. Fisher, Aqeela AlHashim, Aditi B. Buch, Hana Badivuku, Manar M. Samman, Kelly M. Weiss, Gabriela I. Cestero, Mark D. Does, Jerri M. Rook, Craig W. Lindsley, P. Jeffrey Conn, Rocco G. Gogliotti, Colleen M. Niswender
Hair cell loss is the leading cause of hearing and balance disorders in humans. It can be caused by many factors, including noise, aging, and therapeutic agents. Previous studies have shown the therapeutic potential of quinoxaline against drug-induced ototoxicity. Here, we screened a library of 68 quinoxaline derivatives for protection against aminoglycoside-induced damage of hair cells from the zebrafish lateral line. We identified Qx28 as the best quinoxaline derivative that provides robust protection against both aminoglycosides and cisplatin in zebrafish and mouse cochlear explants. FM1-43 and aminoglycoside uptake, as well as antibiotic efficacy studies, reveal that Qx28 is neither blocking the mechanotransduction channels nor interfering with aminoglycoside antibacterial activity, suggesting that it may be protecting the hair cells by directly counteracting the ototoxin’s mechanism of action. Only when animals were incubated with higher doses of Qx28 we observed a partial blockage of the mechanotransduction channels. Finally, we assessed the regulation of NF-κB pathway in vitro in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and in vivo in zebrafish larvae. Those studies showed that Qx28 protects hair cells by blocking NF-κB canonical pathway activation. Thus, Qx28 is a promising and versatile otoprotectant that can act across different species and toxins.
Marisa Zallocchi, Santanu Hati, Zhenhang Xu, William Hausman, Huizhan Liu, David Z. He, Jian Zuo
The CNS is regarded as an immunoprivileged organ, evading routine immune surveillance; however, the coordinated development of immune responses profoundly influences outcomes after brain injury. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are cytokine-producing cells that are critical for the initiation, modulation, and resolution of inflammation, but the functional relevance and mechanistic regulation of ILCs are unexplored after acute brain injury. We demonstrate increased proliferation of all ILC subtypes within the meninges for up to 1 year after experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) while ILCs were present within resected dura and elevated within cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of moderate-to-severe TBI patients. In line with energetic derangements after TBI, inhibition of the metabolic regulator, AMPK, increased meningeal ILC expansion, whereas AMPK activation suppressed proinflammatory ILC1/ILC3 and increased the frequency of IL-10–expressing ILC2 after TBI. Moreover, intracisternal administration of IL-33 activated AMPK, expanded ILC2, and suppressed ILC1 and ILC3 within the meninges of WT and Rag1–/– mice, but not Rag1–/– IL2rg–/– mice. Taken together, we identify AMPK as a brake on the expansion of proinflammatory, CNS-resident ILCs after brain injury. These findings establish a mechanistic framework whereby immunometabolic modulation of ILCs may direct the specificity, timing, and magnitude of cerebral immunity.
Babak Baban, Molly Braun, Hesam Khodadadi, Ayobami Ward, Katelyn Alverson, Aneeq Malik, Khoi Nguyen, Skon Nazarian, David C. Hess, Scott Forseen, Alexander F. Post, Fernando L. Vale, John R. Vender, Md. Nasrul Hoda, Omid Akbari, Kumar Vaibhav, Krishnan M. Dhandapani
Impairment of GABAergic system has been reported in epilepsy, autism, ADHD and schizophrenia. We recently demonstrated that Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) shapes directly the development of GABAergic system. Here, we show for the first time how the abnormal expression of ATM impacts the pathological condition of autism. We exploit two different animal models of autism, the Mecp2y/- mouse model of Rett syndrome, and mice prenatally exposed to valproic acid, and found increased ATM levels. Accordingly, the treatment with the specific ATM kinase inhibitor KU55933 (KU) normalises molecular, functional and behavioural defects in these mouse models such as the i) delayed GABAergic development, ii) hippocampal hyper-excitability, iii) low cognitive performances, iv) social impairments. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that KU administration to wild type hippocampal neurons leads to i) higher Egr4 activity on Kcc2b promoter, ii) increased expression of Mecp2, iii) potentiated GABA-transmission. These results provide evidences and molecular substrates for the pharmacological development of ATM inhibition in autism spectrum disorders.
Lara Pizzamiglio, Elisa Focchi, Clara Maria Cambria, Luisa Ponzoni, Silvia Ferrara, Francesco Bifari, Genni Desiato, Nicoletta Landsberger, Luca Murru, Maria Passafaro, Mariaelvina Sala, MIchela Matteoli, Elisabetta Menna, Flavia Antonucci
Paucity of the Glucose Transporter1 (Glut1) protein resulting from haploinsufficiency of the SLC2A1 gene arrests cerebral angiogenesis and disrupts brain function to cause Glucose Transporter1 Deficiency Syndrome (Glut1 DS). Restoring Glut1 to Glut1 DS model mice prevents disease but the precise cellular sites of action of the transporter, its temporal requirements and the mechanism(s) linking scarcity of the protein to brain cell dysfunction remain poorly understood. Here we show that Glut1 functions in a cell-autonomous manner in the cerebral microvasculature to affect endothelial tip cells and thus brain angiogenesis. Moreover, brain endothelial cell-specific Glut1 depletion not only triggers a severe neuro-inflammatory response in the Glut1 DS brain but also reduces levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and causes overt disease. Reduced BDNF correlated with fewer neurons in the Glut1 DS brain. Controlled depletion of the protein demonstrated that brain pathology and disease severity was greatest when Glut1 scarcity was induced neonatally, during brain angiogenesis. Reducing Glut1 at later stages had mild or little effect. Our results suggest that targeting brain endothelial cells during early development is important to ensure proper brain angiogenesis, prevent neuro-inflammation, maintain BDNF levels and preserve neuron numbers. This requirement will be essential for any disease-modifying therapeutic strategy for Glut1 DS.
Maoxue Tang, Sarah H. Park, Sabrina Petri, Hang Yu, Carlos B. Rueda, E. Dale Abel, Carla Y. Kim, Elizabeth M. C. Hillman, Fanghua Li, Yeojin Lee, Lei Ding, Smitha Jagadish, Wayne N. Frankel, Darryl C. De Vivo, Umrao R. Monani
Psychological stress affects maternal gastrointestinal (GI) permeability, leading to low-grade inflammation which can impact negatively on fetal development. We investigated a panel of circulating markers as a biological signature of this stress exposure in pregnant women with and without the stress-related GI disorder irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Markers of GI permeability and inflammation were measured in plasma from healthy (n = 104) and IBS cohorts (n = 105) of women at 15- and 20-weeks’ gestation. Biomarkers were evaluated with respect to their degree of association to levels of stress, anxiety and depression as indicated by responses from the Perceived Stress Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. High levels of stress were associated with elevations of soluble CD14, lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) and tumour necrosis factor-α, while anxiety associated with elevated concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) in otherwise healthy pregnancies. Prenatal depression was associated with higher levels of soluble CD14, LBP and CRP in the healthy cohort. High levels of prenatal anxiety and depression were also associated with lower concentrations of tryptophan and kynurenine respectively in the IBS cohort. These markers may represent a core maternal biological signature of active prenatal stress which can be used to inform intervention strategies via stress reduction techniques or other lifestyle approaches. Such interventions may need to be tailored to reflect underlying GI conditions such as IBS.
James M. Keane, Ali S. Khashan, Fergus P. McCarthy, Louise C. Kenny, James M. Collins, Sarah M. O’Donovan, Jillian R.M. Brown, John F. Cryan, Timothy G. Dinan, Gerard Clarke, Siobhain M. O'Mahony
Background. Neuronal hyper-excitability characterizes the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In animals, early misfolded tau and amyloid-beta (Aβ) protein accumulation, both central to AD neuropathology, promote cortical excitability and neuronal network dysfunction. In healthy humans, misfolded tau and Aβ aggregates are first detected, respectively, in the brainstem and frontomedial and temporobasal cortices, decades prior to the onset of AD cognitive symptoms. Whether cortical excitability is related to early brainstem tau, and its associated neuroinflammation, and cortical Aβ aggregations remains unknown. Methods. We probed frontal cortex excitability, using transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with electroencephalography, in a sample of 64 healthy late middle-aged individuals (50-69 y; 45 women). We assessed whole-brain [18F]THK5351 positron emission tomography (PET) uptake as a proxy measure of tau/neuroinflammation, and whole-brain Aβ burden with [18F]Flutemetamol or [18F]Florbetapir radiotracers. Results. We find that higher [18F]THK5351 uptake in a brainstem monoaminergic compartment is associated with increased cortical excitability (r = .29, p = .02). By contrast, [18F]THK5351 PET signal in the hippocampal formation, although strongly correlated with brainstem signal in whole-brain voxel-based quantification analyses (pFWE-corrected < .001), was not significantly associated with cortical excitability (r = .14, p = .25). Importantly, no significant association was found between early Aβ cortical deposits and cortical excitability (r = -.20, p = .11). Conclusion. These findings reveal potential brain substrates for increased cortical excitability in preclinical AD and may constitute functional in vivo correlates of early brainstem tau accumulation and neuroinflammation in humans. Trial registration. EudraCT 2016-001436-35. Funding. F.R.S.-FNRS Belgium, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, ULiège, Fondation Simone et Pierre Clerdent, European Regional Development Fund.
Maxime Van Egroo, Daphne O. Chylinski, Justinas Narbutas, Gabriel Besson, Vincenzo Muto, Christina Schmidt, Davide Marzoli, Paolo Cardone, Nora Vandeleene, Martin Grignard, André Luxen, Eric Salmon, Christian Lambert, Christine Bastin, Fabienne Collette, Christophe Phillips, Pierre Maquet, Mohamed Ali Bahri, Evelyne Balteau, Gilles Vandewalle
Kir5.1 is an inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channel subunit abundantly expressed in the kidney and brain. We previously established the physiologic consequences of a Kcnj16 (gene encoding Kir5.1) knockout in the Dahl SS rat (SSKcnj16-/-), which caused electrolyte/pH dysregulation and high salt diet-induced mortality. Since Kir channel gene mutations may alter neuronal excitability and are linked to human seizure disorders, we hypothesized that SSKcnj16-/- rats would exhibit neurological phenotypes, including increased susceptibility to seizures. SSKcnj16-/- rats exhibited increased light sensitivity (fMRI) and reproducible sound-induced tonic-clonic audiogenic seizures confirmed by electroencephalography. Repeated seizure induction altered behavior, exacerbated hypokalemia, and led to approximately 38% mortality in male SSKcnj16-/- rats. Dietary potassium supplementation did not prevent audiogenic seizures but mitigated hypokalemia and prevented mortality induced by repeated seizures. These results reveal a distinct, non-redundant role for Kir5.1 channels in the brain, introduce a novel rat model of audiogenic seizures, and suggest yet to be identified mutations in Kcnj16 may cause or contribute to seizure disorders.
Anna D. Manis, Oleg Palygin, Elena Isaeva, Vladislav Levchenko, Peter S. LaViolette, Tengis S. Pavlov, Matthew R. Hodges, Alexander Staruschenko
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