Long-term memory depends on the control of activity-dependent neuronal gene expression, which is regulated by epigenetic modifications. The epigenetic modification of histones is orchestrated by the opposing activities of two classes of regulatory complexes: permissive co-activators and silencing co-repressors. Much work has focused on co-activator complexes, but little is known about the co-repressor complexes that suppress the expression of plasticity-related genes. Here, we define a critical role for the co-repressor SIN3A in memory and synaptic plasticity, showing that postnatal neuronal deletion of Sin3a enhances hippocampal long-term potentiation and long-term contextual fear memory. SIN3A regulates the expression of genes encoding proteins in the post-synaptic density. Loss of SIN3A increases expression of the synaptic scaffold Homer1, alters the mGluR1α- and mGluR5-dependence of long-term potentiation, and increases activation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) in the hippocampus after learning. Our studies define a critical role for co-repressors in modulating neural plasticity and memory consolidation and reveal that Homer1/mGluR signaling pathways may be central molecular mechanisms for memory enhancement.
Morgan S. Bridi, Hannah Schoch, Cédrick Florian, Shane G. Poplawski, Anamika Banerjee, Joshua D. Hawk, Giulia S. Banks, Camille Lejards, Chang-Gyu Hahn, Karl Peter Giese, Robbert Havekes, Nelson Spruston, Ted Abel
Maintaining cellular proteostasis is essential for oligodendrocyte viability and function; however, its underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. The UPR, comprising three parallel branches IRE1, PERK, and ATF6α, is a major mechanism that maintains cellular proteostasis by facilitating protein folding, attenuating protein translation, and enhancing autophagy and ERAD. Here we reported that impaired UPR in oligodendrocytes via deletion of PERK and ATF6α did not affect developmental myelination, but caused late-onset mature oligodendrocyte dysfunction and death in young adult mice. The detrimental effects of the impaired UPR on mature oligodendrocytes were accompanied by autophagy impairment and intracellular PLP accumulation, and were rescued by PLP deletion. Data indicate that PLP is degraded by autophagy and that intracellular PLP accumulation is cytotoxic to oligodendrocytes. Thus, these findings imply that the UPR is required for maintaining cellular proteostasis and the viability and function of mature oligodendrocytes in adults by regulating autophagy of PLP.
Sarrabeth Stone, Shuangchan Wu, Klaus-Armin Nave, Wensheng Lin
Central poststroke pain (CPSP) is one of the neuropathic pain syndromes that can occur following stroke involving the somatosensory system. However, the underlying mechanism of CPSP remains largely unknown. Here, we established a CPSP mouse model by inducing a focal hemorrhage in the thalamic ventrobasal complex and confirmed the development of mechanical allodynia. In this model, microglial activation was observed in the somatosensory cortex, as well as in the injured thalamus. By using a CSF1 receptor inhibitor, we showed that microglial depletion effectively prevented allodynia development in our CPSP model. In the critical phase of allodynia development, c-fos–positive neurons increased in the somatosensory cortex, accompanied by ectopic axonal sprouting of the thalamocortical projection. Furthermore, microglial ablation attenuated both neuronal hyperactivity in the somatosensory cortex and circuit reorganization. These findings suggest that microglia play a crucial role in the development of CPSP pathophysiology by promoting sensory circuit reorganization.
Shin-ichiro Hiraga, Takahide Itokazu, Maki Hoshiko, Hironobu Takaya, Mariko Nishibe, Toshihide Yamashita
Successful reproduction is a fundamental physiological process that relies on the integration of sensory cues of attraction with appropriate emotions and behaviors and the reproductive axis. However, the factors responsible for this integration remain largely unexplored. Using functional neuroimaging, hormonal, and psychometric analyses, we demonstrate that the reproductive hormone kisspeptin enhances brain activity in response to olfactory and visual cues of attraction in men. Furthermore, the brain regions enhanced by kisspeptin correspond to areas within the olfactory and limbic systems that govern sexual behavior and perception of beauty as well as overlap with its endogenous expression pattern. Of key functional and behavioral significance, we observed that kisspeptin was most effective in men with lower sexual quality-of-life scores. As such, our results reveal a previously undescribed attraction pathway in humans activated by kisspeptin and identify kisspeptin signaling as a new therapeutic target for related reproductive and psychosexual disorders.
Lisa Yang, Lysia Demetriou, Matthew B. Wall, Edouard G.A. Mills, David Zargaran, Mark Sykes, Julia K. Prague, Ali Abbara, Bryn M. Owen, Paul A. Bassett, Eugenii A. Rabiner, Alexander N. Comninos, Waljit S. Dhillo
Decades ago, investigators reported that mice lacking DLX1 and DLX2, transcription factors expressed in the enteric nervous system (ENS), die with possible bowel motility problems. These problems were never fully elucidated. We found that mice lacking DLX1 and DLX2 (Dlx1/2-/- mice) had slower small bowel transit and reduced or absent neurally-mediated contraction complexes. In contrast, small bowel motility seemed normal in adult mice lacking DLX1 (Dlx1-/-). Even with detailed anatomic studies, we found no defects in ENS precursor migration, or neuron and glia density, in Dlx1/2-/- or Dlx1-/- mice. However, RNA sequencing of Dlx1/2-/- ENS revealed dysregulation of many genes, including vasoactive intestinal peptide (Vip). Our study reveals a novel connection between Dlx genes and Vip and highlights the observation that dangerous bowel motility problems can occur in the absence of easily identifiable ENS structural defects. These findings may be relevant for disorders like chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIPO) syndrome.
Christina M. Wright, James P. Garifallou, Sabine Schneider, Heather L. Mentch, Deepika R. Kothakapa, Beth A. Maguire, Robert O. Heuckeroth
Cell therapy raises high hopes for better treatment of brain disorders. However, the majority of transplanted cells often die soon after transplantation and those that survive initially continue to die in the subacute phase, diminishing the impact of transplantations. In this study, we genetically modified transplanted human neural stem cells (hNSCs), from two distant embryonic SCs lines (H9 and RC17) to express one of four prosurvival factors – Hif1a, Akt1, Bcl-2, or Bcl-xl – and studied how these modifications improve short- and long-term survival of transplanted hNSCs. All genetic modifications dramatically increased survival of the transplanted hNSCs. Importantly, three out of four modifications also enhanced the exit of hNSCs from the cell cycle, thus avoiding aberrant growth of the transplants. Bcl-xl expression provided the strongest protection of transplanted cells, reducing both immediate and delayed cell death, and stimulated hNSC differentiation towards neuronal and oligodendroglial lineages. By designing hNSCs with drug-controlled expression of Bcl-xl, we demonstrated that short-term expression of a prosurvival factor can ensure the long-term survival of transplanted cells. Importantly, transplantation of Bcl-xl expressing hNSCs into mice suffering from stroke improved behavioral outcome and recovery of motor activity in mice.
Irina Korshunova, Sina Rhein, Diego García-González, Ines Stölting, Ulrich Pfisterer, Anna Barta, Oksana Dmytriyeva, Agnete Kirkeby, Markus Schwaninger, Konstantin Khodosevich
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are potent neuroparalytic toxins that cause mortality through respiratory paralysis. The approved medical countermeasure for BoNT poisoning is infusion of antitoxin immunoglobulins. However, antitoxins have poor therapeutic efficacy in symptomatic patients; thus, there is an urgent need for treatments that reduce the need for artificial ventilation. We report that the US Food and Drug Administration–approved potassium channel blocker 3,4-diaminopyridine (3,4-DAP) reverses respiratory depression and neuromuscular weakness in murine models of acute and chronic botulism. In ex vivo studies, 3,4-DAP restored end-plate potentials and twitch contractions of diaphragms isolated from mice at terminal stages of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) botulism. In vivo, human-equivalent doses of 3,4-DAP reversed signs of severe respiratory depression and restored mobility in BoNT/A-intoxicated mice at terminal stages of respiratory collapse. Multiple-dosing administration of 3,4-DAP improved respiration and extended survival at up to 5 LD50 BoNT/A. Finally, 3,4-DAP reduced gastrocnemius muscle paralysis and reversed respiratory depression in sublethal models of serotype A–, B–, and E–induced botulism. These findings make a compelling argument for repurposing 3,4-DAP to symptomatically treat symptoms of muscle paralysis caused by botulism, independent of serotype. Furthermore, they suggest that 3,4-DAP is effective for a range of botulism symptoms at clinically relevant time points.
Edwin Vazquez-Cintron, James Machamer, Celinia Ondeck, Kathleen Pagarigan, Brittany Winner, Paige Bodner, Kyle Kelly, M. Ross Pennington, Patrick McNutt
Alcohol abuse is a major public health problem worldwide causing a wide range of preventable morbidity and mortality. In this translational study, we show that heavy drinking (HD) (≥6 standard drinks/day) is independently associated to a worse outcome of ischemic stroke patients. To study the underlying mechanisms of this deleterious effect of HD, we then performed an extensive analysis of the brain inflammatory responses of mice exposed or not to 10% alcohol before and after ischemic stroke. Inflammatory responses were analyzed at the parenchymal, perivascular and vascular levels by using transcriptomic, immunohistochemical, in vivo two-photon microscopy and molecular MRI analyses. Alcohol-exposed mice show, in the absence of any other insult, a neurovascular inflammatory priming [i.e., an abnormal inflammatory status including an increase in brain perivascular macrophages (PVM)] associated to exacerbated inflammatory responses after a secondary insult (ischemic stroke or LPS challenge). Similar to our clinical data, alcohol-exposed mice showed larger ischemic lesions. We show here that PVM are key players on this aggravating effect of alcohol, since their specific depletion blocks the alcohol-induced aggravation of ischemic lesions. This study opens new therapeutic avenues aiming at blocking alcohol-induced exacerbation of the neurovascular inflammatory responses triggered after ischemic stroke.
Antoine Drieu, Anastasia Lanquetin, Damien Levard, Martina Glavan, Francisco Campos, Aurélien Quenault, Eloïse Lemarchand, Mikael Naveau, Anne Lise Pitel, José Castillo, Denis Vivien, Marina Rubio
Friedreich ataxia is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease associated with a high diabetes prevalence. No treatment is available to prevent or delay disease progression. Friedreich ataxia is caused by intronic GAA trinucleotide repeat expansions in the frataxin-encoding FXN gene that reduce frataxin expression, impair iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, cause oxidative stress, and result in mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Here we examined the metabolic, neuroprotective and frataxin-inducing effects of glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogs in in vivo and in vitro models and in Friedreich ataxia patients. The GLP-1 analog exenatide improved glucose homeostasis of frataxin-deficient mice through enhanced insulin content and secretion in pancreatic β-cells. Exenatide induced frataxin and iron-sulfur cluster-containing proteins in β-cells and brain, and was protective to sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia. GLP-1 analogs also induced frataxin expression, reduced oxidative stress and improved mitochondrial function in Friedreich ataxia patients’ induced pluripotent stem cell-derived β-cells and sensory neurons. The frataxin-inducing effect of exenatide was confirmed in a pilot trial in Friedreich ataxia patients, showing modest frataxin induction in platelets over a 5-week treatment course. Taken together, GLP-1 analogs improve mitochondrial function in frataxin-deficient cells and induce frataxin expression. Our findings identify incretin receptors as a therapeutic target in Friedreich ataxia.
Mariana Igoillo-Esteve, Ana F. Oliveira, Cristina Cosentino, Federica Fantuzzi, Céline Demarez, Sanna Toivonen, Amélie Hu, Satyan Chintawar, Miguel Lopes, Nathalie Pachera, Ying Cai, Baroj Abdulkarim, Myriam Rai, Lorella Marselli, Piero Marchetti, Mohammad Tariq, Jean-Christophe Jonas, Marina Boscolo, Massimo Pandolfo, Décio L. Eizirik, Miriam Cnop
Chronic sympathoexcitation is implicated in ventricular arrhythmogenesis (VAs) following myocardial infarction (MI), but the critical neural pathways involved are not well understood. Cardiac adrenergic function is partly regulated by sympathetic afferent reflexes, transduced by spinal afferent fibers expressing the TRPV1 channel. The role of chronic TRPV1 afferent signaling in VAs is not known. We hypothesized that persistent TRPV1 afferent neurotransmission promotes VAs after MI. Using epicardial Resiniferatoxin (RTX) to deplete cardiac TRPV1-expressing fibers, we dissected the role of this neural circuit in VAs after chronic MI in a porcine model. We examined the underlying mechanisms using molecular approaches, immunohistochemistry, in vitro and in vivo cardiac electrophysiology, and simultaneous cardio-neural mapping. Epicardial RTX depleted cardiac TRPV1 afferent fibers and abolished functional responses to TRPV1 agonists. Ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation (VT/VF) was readily inducible in MI subjects by programmed electrical stimulation or cesium chloride administration, however, TRPV1 afferent depletion prevented VT/VF induced by either method. Mechanistically, TRPV1 afferent depletion neither altered cardiomyocyte action potentials and calcium transients; nor the expression of ion channels and calcium handling proteins. However, it attenuated fibrosis and mitigated electrical instability in the scar-border zone. In vivo recordings of cardiovascular-related stellate ganglion neurons (SGNs) revealed that MI enhances SGN function and disrupts integrated neural processing. Depleting TRPV1 afferents normalized these processes. Taken together, these data indicate that after MI, TRPV1 afferent-induced adrenergic dysfunction promotes fibrosis, adverse cardiac remodeling, and worsens border zone electrical heterogeneity, resulting in electrically unstable ventricular myocardium. We propose targeting TRPV1-expressing afferent to reduce VT/VF following MI.
Koji Yoshie, Pradeep S. Rajendran, Louis Massoud, Janki Mistry, M. Amer Swid, Xiaohui Wu, Tamer Sallam, Rui Zhang, Joshua I. Goldhaber, Siamak Salavatian, Olujimi A. Ajijola
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