Neuroinflammation is a pathological hallmark of ALS in both transgenic rodent models and patients, and is characterized by proinflammatory T lymphocytes and activated macrophages/microglia. In ALS mouse models, decreased regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) exacerbate the neuroinflammatory process, leading to accelerated motoneuron death and shortened survival; passive transfer of Tregs suppresses the neuroinflammation and prolongs survival. Treg numbers and FOXP3 expression are also decreased in rapidly progressing ALS patients. A key question is whether the marked neuroinflammation in ALS can be attributed to the impaired suppressive function of ALS Tregs in addition to their decreased numbers. To address this question, T lymphocyte proliferation assays were performed. Compared with control Tregs, ALS Tregs were less effective in suppressing responder T lymphocyte proliferation. Although both slowly and rapidly progressing ALS patients had dysfunctional Tregs, the greater the clinically assessed disease burden or the more rapidly progressing the patient, the greater the Treg dysfunction. Epigenetically, the percentage methylation of the Treg-specific demethylated region was greater in ALS Tregs. After in vitro expansion, ALS Tregs regained suppressive abilities to the levels of control Tregs, suggesting that autologous passive transfer of expanded Tregs might offer a novel cellular therapy to slow disease progression.
David R. Beers, Weihua Zhao, Jinghong Wang, Xiujun Zhang, Shixiang Wen, Dan Neal, Jason R. Thonhoff, Abdullah S. Alsuliman, Elizabeth J. Shpall, Katy Rezvani, Stanley H. Appel
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of infantile death and is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1 (
Kevin A. Kaifer, Eric Villalón, Erkan Y. Osman, Jacqueline J. Glascock, Laura L. Arnold, D.D.W. Cornelison, Christian L. Lorson
Decreased noradrenergic excitation of hypoglossal motoneurons during sleep causing hypotonia of pharyngeal dilator muscles is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a widespread disease for which treatment options are limited. Previous OSA drug candidates targeting various excitatory/inhibitory receptors on hypoglossal motoneurons have proved unviable in reactivating these neurons, particularly during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. To identify a viable drug target, we show that the repurposed α2-adrenergic antagonist yohimbine potently reversed the depressant effect of REM sleep on baseline hypoglossal motoneuron activity (a first-line motor defense against OSA) in rats. Remarkably, yohimbine also restored the obstructive apnea–induced long-term facilitation of hypoglossal motoneuron activity (hLTF), a much-neglected form of noradrenergic-dependent neuroplasticity that could provide a second-line motor defense against OSA but was also depressed during REM sleep. Corroborating immunohistologic, optogenetic, and pharmacologic evidence confirmed that yohimbine’s beneficial effects on baseline hypoglossal motoneuron activity and hLTF were mediated mainly through activation of pontine A7 and A5 noradrenergic neurons. Our results suggest a 2-tier (impaired first- and second-line motor defense) mechanism of noradrenergic-dependent pathogenesis of OSA and a promising pharmacotherapy for rescuing both these intrinsic defenses against OSA through disinhibition of A7 and A5 neurons by α2-adrenergic blockade.
Gang Song, Chi-Sang Poon
A role for oxidative stress in the brain has been suggested in the pathogenesis of diet-induced obesity (DIO), although the underlying neural regions and mechanisms remain incompletely defined. We tested the hypothesis that NADPH oxidase–dependent oxidative stress in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), a hypothalamic energy homeostasis center, contributes to the development of DIO. Cre/LoxP technology was coupled with selective PVN adenoviral microinjection to ablate
Heinrich E. Lob, Jiunn Song, Chansol Hurr, Alvin Chung, Colin N. Young, Allyn L. Mark, Robin L. Davisson
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) accelerates heart rate, increases cardiac contractility, and constricts resistance vessels. The activity of SNS efferent nerves is generated by a complex neural network containing neurons and glia. Gq G protein–coupled receptor (Gq-GPCR) signaling in glial fibrillary acidic protein–expressing (GFAP+) glia in the central nervous system supports neuronal function and regulates neuronal activity. It is unclear how Gq-GPCR signaling in GFAP+ glia affects the activity of sympathetic neurons or contributes to SNS-regulated cardiovascular functions. In this study, we investigated whether Gq-GPCR activation in GFAP+ glia modulates the regulatory effect of the SNS on the heart; transgenic mice expressing Gq-coupled DREADD (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) (hM3Dq) selectively in GFAP+ glia were used to address this question in vivo. We found that acute Gq-GPCR activation in peripheral GFAP+ glia significantly accelerated heart rate and increased left ventricle contraction. Pharmacological experiments suggest that the glial-induced cardiac changes were due to Gq-GPCR activation in satellite glial cells within the sympathetic ganglion; this activation led to increased norepinephrine (NE) release and beta-1 adrenergic receptor activation within the heart. Chronic glial Gq-GPCR activation led to hypotension in female
Alison Xiaoqiao Xie, Jakovin J. Lee, Ken D. McCarthy
The creation of a humanized chimeric mouse nervous system permits the study of human neural development and disease pathogenesis using human cells in vivo. Humanized glial chimeric mice with the brain and spinal cord being colonized by human glial cells have been successfully generated. However, generation of humanized chimeric mouse brains repopulated by human neurons to possess a high degree of chimerism have not been well studied. Here we created humanized neuronal chimeric mouse brains by neonatally engrafting the distinct and highly neurogenic human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)–derived rosette-type primitive neural progenitors. These neural progenitors predominantly differentiate to neurons, which disperse widely throughout the mouse brain with infiltration of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus at 6 and 13 months after transplantation. Building upon the hiPSC technology, we propose that this potentially unique humanized neuronal chimeric mouse model will provide profound opportunities to define the structure, function, and plasticity of neural networks containing human neurons derived from a broad variety of neurological disorders.
Chen Chen, Woo-Yang Kim, Peng Jiang
Counteracting the progressive neurological disability caused by neuronal and axonal loss is the major unmet clinical need in multiple sclerosis therapy. However, the mechanisms underlying irreversible neuroaxonal degeneration in multiple sclerosis and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are not well understood. A long-standing hypothesis holds that the distribution of voltage-gated sodium channels along demyelinated axons contributes to neurodegeneration by increasing neuroaxonal sodium influx and energy demand during CNS inflammation. Here, we tested this hypothesis in vivo by inserting a human gain-of-function mutation in the mouse NaV1.2-encoding gene
Benjamin Schattling, Walid Fazeli, Birgit Engeland, Yuanyuan Liu, Holger Lerche, Dirk Isbrandt, Manuel A. Friese
Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) is the most common, disruptive complication of Parkinson’s disease (PD) pharmacotherapy, yet despite decades of research, the changes in regional brain function underlying LID remain largely unknown. We previously found that the cerebral vasomotor and metabolic responses to levodopa are dissociated in PD subjects. Nonetheless, it is unclear whether levodopa-mediated dissociation is exaggerated in LID or distinguishes LID from non-LID subjects. To explore this possibility, we used dual-tracer positron emission tomography to quantify regional cerebral blood flow and metabolic activity in 28 PD subjects (14 LID, 14 non-LID), scanned before and during intravenous levodopa infusion. Levodopa-mediated dissociation was most prominent in the posterior putamen (
Vincent A. Jourdain, Chris C. Tang, Florian Holtbernd, Christian Dresel, Yoon Young Choi, Yilong Ma, Vijay Dhawan, David Eidelberg
Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for gene therapy of CNS disorders. However, host factors that influence the spread, clearance, and transduction efficiency of AAV vectors in the brain are not well understood. Recent studies have demonstrated that fluid flow mediated by aquaporin-4 (AQP4) channels located on astroglial end feet is essential for exchange of solutes between interstitial and cerebrospinal fluid. This phenomenon, which is essential for interstitial clearance of solutes from the CNS, has been termed glial-associated lymphatic transport or glymphatic transport. In the current study, we demonstrate that glymphatic transport profoundly affects various aspects of AAV gene transfer in the CNS. Altered localization of AQP4 in aged mouse brains correlated with significantly increased retention of AAV vectors in the parenchyma and reduced systemic leakage following ventricular administration. We observed a similar increase in AAV retention and transgene expression upon i.c.v. administration in AQP4–/– mice. Consistent with this observation, fluorophore-labeled AAV vectors showed markedly reduced flux from the ventricles of AQP4–/– mice compared with WT mice. These results were further corroborated by reduced AAV clearance from the AQP4-null brain, as demonstrated by reduced transgene expression and vector genome accumulation in systemic organs. We postulate that deregulation of glymphatic transport in aged and diseased brains could markedly affect the parenchymal spread, clearance, and gene transfer efficiency of AAV vectors. Assessment of biomarkers that report the kinetics of CSF flux in prospective gene therapy patients might inform variable treatment outcomes and guide future clinical trial design.
Giridhar Murlidharan, Andrew Crowther, Rebecca A. Reardon, Juan Song, Aravind Asokan
Microglia and monocytes play important roles in regulating brain remyelination. We developed DUOC-01, a cell therapy product intended for treatment of demyelinating diseases, from banked human umbilical cord blood (CB) mononuclear cells. Immunodepletion and selection studies demonstrated that DUOC-01 cells are derived from CB CD14+ monocytes. We compared the ability of freshly isolated CB CD14+ monocytes and DUOC-01 cells to accelerate remyelination of the brains of NOD/SCID/IL2Rγnull mice following cuprizone feeding–mediated demyelination. The corpus callosum of mice intracranially injected with DUOC-01 showed enhanced myelination, a higher proportion of fully myelinated axons, decreased gliosis and cellular infiltration, and more proliferating oligodendrocyte lineage cells than those of mice receiving excipient. Uncultured CB CD14+ monocytes also accelerated remyelination, but to a significantly lesser extent than DUOC-01 cells. Microarray analysis, quantitative PCR studies, Western blotting, and flow cytometry demonstrated that expression of factors that promote remyelination including PDGF-AA, stem cell factor, IGF1, MMP9, MMP12, and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 were upregulated in DUOC-01 compared to CB CD14+ monocytes. Collectively, our results show that DUOC-01 accelerates brain remyelination by multiple mechanisms and could be beneficial in treating demyelinating conditions.
Arjun Saha, Susan Buntz, Paula Scotland, Li Xu, Pamela Noeldner, Sachit Patel, Amy Wollish, Aruni Gunaratne, Tracy Gentry, Jesse Troy, Glenn K. Matsushima, Joanne Kurtzberg, Andrew E. Balber
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