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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease.
Shunmoogum A. Patten, Dina Aggad, Jose Martinez, Elsa Tremblay, Janet Petrillo, Gary A.B. Armstrong, Alexandre La Fontaine, Claudia Maios, Meijiang Liao, Sorana Ciura, Xiao-Yan Wen, Victor Rafuse, Justin Ichida, Lorne Zinman, Jean-Pierre Julien, Edor Kabashi, Richard Robitaille, Lawrence Korngut, J. Alexander Parker, Pierre Drapeau
Total views: 2081
BACKGROUND. Noninvasive detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with high specificity and sensitivity can greatly facilitate identification of at-risk populations for earlier, more effective intervention. AD patients exhibit a myriad of retinal pathologies, including hallmark amyloid β-protein (Aβ) deposits. METHODS. Burden, distribution, cellular layer, and structure of retinal Aβ plaques were analyzed in flat mounts and cross sections of definite AD patients and controls (n = 37). In a proof-of-concept retinal imaging trial (n = 16), amyloid probe curcumin formulation was determined and protocol was established for retinal amyloid imaging in live patients. RESULTS. Histological examination uncovered classical and neuritic-like Aβ deposits with increased retinal Aβ42 plaques (4.7-fold; P = 0.0063) and neuronal loss (P = 0.0023) in AD patients versus matched controls. Retinal Aβ plaque mirrored brain pathology, especially in the primary visual cortex (P = 0.0097 to P = 0.0018; Pearson’s r = 0.84–0.91). Retinal deposits often associated with blood vessels and occurred in hot spot peripheral regions of the superior quadrant and innermost retinal layers. Transmission electron microscopy revealed retinal Aβ assembled into protofibrils and fibrils. Moreover, the ability to image retinal amyloid deposits with solid-lipid curcumin and a modified scanning laser ophthalmoscope was demonstrated in live patients. A fully automated calculation of the retinal amyloid index (RAI), a quantitative measure of increased curcumin fluorescence, was constructed. Analysis of RAI scores showed a 2.1-fold increase in AD patients versus controls (P = 0.0031). CONCLUSION. The geometric distribution and increased burden of retinal amyloid pathology in AD, together with the feasibility to noninvasively detect discrete retinal amyloid deposits in living patients, may lead to a practical approach for large-scale AD diagnosis and monitoring. FUNDING. National Institute on Aging award (AG044897) and The Saban and The Marciano Family Foundations.
Yosef Koronyo, David Biggs, Ernesto Barron, David S. Boyer, Joel A. Pearlman, William J. Au, Shawn J. Kile, Austin Blanco, Dieu-Trang Fuchs, Adeel Ashfaq, Sally Frautschy, Gregory M. Cole, Carol A. Miller, David R. Hinton, Steven R. Verdooner, Keith L. Black, Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui
Total views: 1529
Vascular calcification is a risk factor that predicts adverse cardiovascular complications of several diseases including atherosclerosis. Reduced dietary potassium intake has been linked to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and incidental stroke, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Using the ApoE-deficient mouse model, we demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that reduced dietary potassium (0.3%) promoted atherosclerotic vascular calcification and increased aortic stiffness, compared with normal (0.7%) potassium–fed mice. In contrast, increased dietary potassium (2.1%) attenuated vascular calcification and aortic stiffness. Mechanistically, reduction in the potassium concentration to the lower limit of the physiological range increased intracellular calcium, which activated a cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB) signal that subsequently enhanced autophagy and promoted vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification. Inhibition of calcium signals and knockdown of either CREB or ATG7, an autophagy regulator, attenuated VSMC calcification induced by low potassium. Consistently, elevated autophagy and CREB signaling were demonstrated in the calcified arteries from low potassium diet–fed mice as well as aortic arteries exposed to low potassium ex vivo. These studies established a potentially novel causative role of dietary potassium intake in regulating atherosclerotic vascular calcification and stiffness, and uncovered mechanisms that offer opportunities to develop therapeutic strategies to control vascular disease.
Yong Sun, Chang Hyun Byon, Youfeng Yang, Wayne E. Bradley, Louis J. Dell’Italia, Paul W. Sanders, Anupam Agarwal, Hui Wu, Yabing Chen
Total views: 1114
Environmental exposures pose a significant threat to human health. However, it is often difficult to study toxicological mechanisms in human subjects due to ethical concerns. Plant-derived aristolochic acids are among the most potent nephrotoxins and carcinogens discovered to date, yet the mechanism of bioactivation in humans remains poorly understood. Microphysiological systems (organs-on-chips) provide an approach to examining the complex, species-specific toxicological effects of pharmaceutical and environmental chemicals using human cells. We microfluidically linked a kidney-on-a-chip with a liver-on-a-chip to determine the mechanisms of bioactivation and transport of aristolochic acid I (AA-I), an established nephrotoxin and human carcinogen. We demonstrate that human hepatocyte-specific metabolism of AA-I substantially increases its cytotoxicity toward human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells, including formation of aristolactam adducts and release of kidney injury biomarkers. Hepatic biotransformation of AA-I to a nephrotoxic metabolite involves nitroreduction, followed by sulfate conjugation. Here, we identify, in a human tissue-based system, that the sulfate conjugate of the hepatic NQO1-generated aristolactam product of AA-I (AL-I-NOSO3) is the nephrotoxic form of AA-I. This conjugate can be transported out of liver via MRP membrane transporters and then actively transported into kidney tissue via one or more organic anionic membrane transporters. This integrated microphysiological system provides an ex vivo approach for investigating organ-organ interactions, whereby the metabolism of a drug or other xenobiotic by one tissue may influence its toxicity toward another, and represents an experimental approach for studying chemical toxicity related to environmental and other toxic exposures.
Shih-Yu Chang, Elijah J. Weber, Viktoriya S. Sidorenko, Alenka Chapron, Catherine K. Yeung, Chunying Gao, Qingcheng Mao, Danny Shen, Joanne Wang, Thomas A. Rosenquist, Kathleen G. Dickman, Thomas Neumann, Arthur P. Grollman, Edward J. Kelly, Jonathan Himmelfarb, David L. Eaton
Total views: 1107
Expansion of novel therapeutics to all patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) requires personalized CFTR modulator therapy. We have developed nasospheroids, a primary cell culture–based model derived from individual CF patients and healthy subjects by a minimally invasive nasal biopsy. Confocal microscopy was utilized to measure CFTR activity by analyzing changes in cross-sectional area over time that resulted from CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement. Both the rate of change over time and AUC were calculated. Non-CF nasospheroids with active CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement showed a reduction in cross-sectional area, whereas no changes were observed in CF spheroids. Non-CF spheroids treated with CFTR inhibitor lost responsiveness for CFTR activation. However, nasospheroids from F508del CF homozygotes that were treated with lumacaftor and ivacaftor showed a significant reduction in cross-sectional area, indicating pharmacologic rescue of CFTR function. This model employs a simple measurement of size corresponding to changes in CFTR activity and is applicable for detection of small changes in CFTR activity from individual patients in vitro. Advancements of this technique will provide a robust model for individualized prediction of CFTR modulator efficacy.
Jennifer S. Guimbellot, Justin M. Leach, Imron G. Chaudhry, Nancy L. Quinney, Susan E. Boyles, Michael Chua, Inmaculada Aban, Ilona Jaspers, Martina Gentzsch
Total views: 1070
Currently, there is a limited ability to interactively study developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology. We therefore combined light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) with virtual reality (VR) to provide a hybrid platform for 3D architecture and time-dependent cardiac contractile function characterization. By taking advantage of the rapid acquisition, high axial resolution, low phototoxicity, and high fidelity in 3D and 4D (3D spatial + 1D time or spectra), this VR-LSFM hybrid methodology enables interactive visualization and quantification otherwise not available by conventional methods, such as routine optical microscopes. We hereby demonstrate multiscale applicability of VR-LSFM to (a) interrogate skin fibroblasts interacting with a hyaluronic acid–based hydrogel, (b) navigate through the endocardial trabecular network during zebrafish development, and (c) localize gene therapy-mediated potassium channel expression in adult murine hearts. We further combined our batch intensity normalized segmentation algorithm with deformable image registration to interface a VR environment with imaging computation for the analysis of cardiac contraction. Thus, the VR-LSFM hybrid platform demonstrates an efficient and robust framework for creating a user-directed microenvironment in which we uncovered developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology with high spatiotemporal resolution.
Yichen Ding, Arash Abiri, Parinaz Abiri, Shuoran Li, Chih-Chiang Chang, Kyung In Baek, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Elias Sideris, Yilei Li, Juhyun Lee, Tatiana Segura, Thao P. Nguyen, Alexander Bui, René R. Sevag Packard, Peng Fei, Tzung K. Hsiai
Total views: 803
Although recent evidence has pointed to the role of organ- and pathogenesis-specific macrophage subsets, it is still unclear which subsets are critically involved in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Using melanocortin-4 receptor–deficient (MC4R-KO) mice fed Western diet (WD), which exhibit liver phenotypes similar to those of human NASH, we found a histological structure, termed hepatic crown-like structure (hCLS), in which CD11c+ macrophages surround dead/dying hepatocytes, a prominent feature of NASH. Here, we demonstrate that hCLS-constituting macrophages could be a novel macrophage subset that drives hepatocyte death-triggered liver fibrosis. In an “inducible NASH model,” hepatocyte death induces hCLS formation and liver fibrosis sequentially in the short term. In combination with the long-term WD feeding model, we also showed that resident macrophages are a major cellular source of CD11c+ macrophages constituting hCLS, which exhibited gene expression profiles distinct from CD11c– macrophages scattered in the liver. Moreover, depletion of CD11c+ macrophages abolished hCLS formation and fibrogenesis in NASH. Our clinical data suggest the role of CD11c+ macrophages in the disease progression from simple steatosis to NASH. This study sheds light on the role of resident macrophages, in addition to recruited macrophages, in the pathogenesis of NASH.
Michiko Itoh, Takayoshi Suganami, Hideaki Kato, Sayaka Kanai, Ibuki Shirakawa, Takeru Sakai, Toshihiro Goto, Masahiro Asakawa, Isao Hidaka, Hiroshi Sakugawa, Koji Ohnishi, Yoshihiro Komohara, Kenichi Asano, Isao Sakaida, Masato Tanaka, Yoshihiro Ogawa
Total views: 724
Neutrophils contribute to demyelinating autoimmune diseases, yet their phenotype and functions have been elusive to date. Here, we demonstrate that ICAM1 surface expression distinguishes extra- from intravascular neutrophils in the mouse CNS during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Transcriptomic analysis of these 2 subpopulations indicated that neutrophils, once extravasated, acquire macrophage-like properties, including the potential for immunostimulation and MHC class II–mediated antigen presentation. In corroboration, super-resolution (3D stimulated emission-depletion [STED]) microscopy revealed neutrophils forming synapses with T and B cells in situ. Further, neutrophils specifically express the aspartic retroviral-like protease ASPRV1, which increases in the CNS during EAE and severe cases of multiple sclerosis. Without ASPRV1, mice immunized with a new B cell–dependent myelin antigen (but not with the traditional myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide) develop a chronic phase of EAE that is less severe and even completely fades in many individuals. Therefore, ICAM1+ macrophage–like neutrophils can play both shared and nonredundant roles in autoimmune demyelination, among them perpetuating inflammation via ASPRV1.
Ryder F. Whittaker Hawkins, Alexandre Patenaude, Aline Dumas, Rajiv Jain, Yodit Tesfagiorgis, Steven Kerfoot, Takeshi Matsui, Matthias Gunzer, Patrice E. Poubelle, Catherine Larochelle, Martin Pelletier, Luc Vallières
Total views: 711
Despite initial remission after successful treatments, B lymphoma patients often encounter relapses and resistance causing high mortality. Thus, there is a need to develop therapies that prevent relapse by providing long-term protection and, ultimately, lead to functional cure. In this study, our goal was to develop a simple, clinically relevant, and easily translatable therapeutic vaccine that provides durable immune protection against aggressive B cell lymphoma and identify critical immune biomarkers that are predictive of long-term survival. In a delayed-treatment, aggressive, murine model of A20 B lymphoma that mimics human diffuse large B cell lymphoma, we show that therapeutic A20 lysate vaccine adjuvanted with an NKT cell agonist, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), provides long-term immune protection against lethal tumor challenges and the antitumor immunity is primarily CD8 T cell dependent. Using experimental and computational methods, we demonstrate that the initial strength of germinal center reaction and the magnitude of class-switching into a Th1 type humoral response are the best predictors for the long-term immunity of B lymphoma lysate vaccine. Our results not only provide fundamentally insights for successful immunotherapy and long-term protection against B lymphomas, but also present a simple, therapeutic vaccine that can be translated easily due to the facile and inexpensive method of preparation.
Pallab Pradhan, Jardin Leleux, Jiaying Liu, Krishnendu Roy
Total views: 695
Myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating disease of unknown etiology, with hallmark symptoms including postexertional malaise and poor recovery. Metabolic dysfunction is a plausible contributing factor. We hypothesized that changes in serum amino acids may disclose specific defects in energy metabolism in ME/CFS. Analysis in 200 ME/CFS patients and 102 healthy individuals showed a specific reduction of amino acids that fuel oxidative metabolism via the TCA cycle, mainly in female ME/CFS patients. Serum 3-methylhistidine, a marker of endogenous protein catabolism, was significantly increased in male patients. The amino acid pattern suggested functional impairment of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), supported by increased mRNA expression of the inhibitory PDH kinases 1, 2, and 4; sirtuin 4; and PPARδ in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from both sexes. Myoblasts grown in presence of serum from patients with severe ME/CFS showed metabolic adaptations, including increased mitochondrial respiration and excessive lactate secretion. The amino acid changes could not be explained by symptom severity, disease duration, age, BMI, or physical activity level among patients. These findings are in agreement with the clinical disease presentation of ME/CFS, with inadequate ATP generation by oxidative phosphorylation and excessive lactate generation upon exertion.
Øystein Fluge, Olav Mella, Ove Bruland, Kristin Risa, Sissel E. Dyrstad, Kine Alme, Ingrid G. Rekeland, Dipak Sapkota, Gro V. Røsland, Alexander Fosså, Irini Ktoridou-Valen, Sigrid Lunde, Kari Sørland, Katarina Lien, Ingrid Herder, Hanne Thürmer, Merete E. Gotaas, Katarzyna A. Baranowska, Louis M.L.J. Bohnen, Christoph Schäfer, Adrian McCann, Kristian Sommerfelt, Lars Helgeland, Per M. Ueland, Olav Dahl, Karl J. Tronstad
Total views: 616