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Experimental neurology [journal]
- Neuroprotective dimethyl fumarate synergizes with immunomodulatory interferon beta to provide enhanced axon protection in autoimmune neuroinflammation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 11.
Despite recent advances in development of treatments for multiple sclerosis, there is still an unmet need for more effective and also safe therapies. Based on the modes of action of interferon-beta (IFN-β) and dimethyl fumarate (DMF), we hypothesized that anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects may synergize in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).EAE was induced in C57BL/6 mice by immunization with MOG35-55-peptide. Murine IFN-β was injected s.c. every other day at 10.000IU, and DMF was provided at 15mg/kg by oral gavage twice daily. Control mice received PBS injections and were treated by oral gavage with the vehicle methylcellulose. Mice were scored daily by blinded observers and histological, FACS and cytokine studies were performed to further elucidate the underlying mechanism of action.Combination therapy significantly ameliorated EAE disease course in comparison to controls and monotherapy with IFN-β. Histological analyses showed a significant effect on axon preservation with almost twice as much axons present in inflamed lesions as compared to control. Remarkably, the effect on axonal preservation was more pronounced under combination therapy than with both monotherapies. Neither monotherapy nor combination therapy demonstrated modulation of cytokines and frequency of antigen presenting cells.Combination of IFN-β and DMF resulted in greater beneficial effects with improved tissue protection as compared to the respective monotherapies. Further combination studies of these safe therapies in human disease are warranted.
- The Neuroanatomy of Sexual Dimorphism in Opioid Analgesia. [REVIEW]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 11.
The influence of sex has been neglected in clinical studies on pain and analgesia, with the vast majority of research conducted exclusively in males. However, both preclinical and clinical studies indicate that males and females differ in both the anatomical and physiological composition of central nervous system circuits that are involved in pain processing and analgesia. These differences influence not only the response to noxious stimuli, but also the ability of pharmacological agents to modify this response. Morphine is the most widely prescribed opiate for the alleviation of persistent pain in the clinic; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that morphine is less potent in women compared to men. This review highlights recent research identifying neuroanatomical and physiological dimorphisms underlying sex differences in pain and opioid analgesia, focusing on the endogenous descending pain modulatory circuit.
- Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor promotes increased phenotypic marker expression in femoral sensory and motor-derived Schwann cell cultures. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 11.
Schwann cells (SCs) secrete growth factors and extracellular matrix molecules that promote neuronal survival and help guide axons during regeneration. Transplantation of SCs is a promising strategy for enhancing peripheral nerve regeneration. However, we and others have shown that after long-term in vitro expansion, SCs revert to a de-differentiated state similar to the phenotype observed after injury. In vivo, glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) may guide the differentiation of SCs to remyelinate regenerating axons. Therefore, we hypothesized that exogenous GDNF may guide the differentiation of SCs into their native phenotypes in vitro through stimulation of GDNF family receptor (GFR)α-1. When activated in SCs, GFRα-1 promotes phosphorylation of Fyn, a Src family tyrosine kinase responsible for mediating downstream signaling for differentiation and proliferation. In this study, SCs harvested from the sensory and motor branches of rat femoral nerve were expanded in vitro and then cultured with 50 or 100ng/mL of GDNF. The exogenous GDNF promoted differentiation of sensory and motor-derived SCs back to their native phenotypes, as demonstrated by decreased proliferation after 7days and increased expression of S100Ββ and phenotype-specific markers. Furthermore, inhibiting Fyn with Src family kinase inhibitors, PP2 and SU6656, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of Fyn reduced GDNF-stimulated differentiation of sensory and motor-derived SCs. These results demonstrate that activating Fyn is necessary for GDNF-stimulated differentiation of femoral nerve-derived SCs into their native phenotypes in vitro. Therefore GDNF could be incorporated into SC-based therapies to promote differentiation of SCs into their native phenotype to improve functional nerve regeneration.
- Laquinimod, an upcoming oral immunomodulatory agent for treatment of multiple sclerosis. [REVIEW]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 11.
Laquinimod is a novel oral drug that is currently being evaluated for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Although the mode of action of laquinimod remains to be fully elucidated, current knowledge indicates laquinimod exerts beneficial activities both on the peripheral immune system and within the central nervous system (CNS). The immunomodulatory properties have been deciphered primarily from studies of laquinimod in the animal model of multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Data indicate that laquinimod has a primary effect on innate immunity. Laquinimod modulates the function of various myeloid antigen presenting cell populations, which then down-regulate proinflammatory T cell responses. Further, data also indicate that laquinimod acts directly on resident cells within the CNS to reduce demyelination and axonal damage. Results from clinical trials that tested laquinimod in RRMS demonstrated that it reduced relapse rate and the mean cumulative number of active lesions, and had a more marked reduction in disability progression than relapse rate. Laquinimod treatment was associated with an excellent safety and tolerability profile. These data indicate that laquinimod will offer a valuable new treatment option for RRMS patients.
- Galanin promotes neuronal differentiation from neural progenitor cells in vitro and contributes to the generation of new olfactory neurons in the adult mouse brain. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 11.
Galanin is a pleiotropic neuropeptide widely expressed in the nervous system. It plays a role in many diverse physiological functions - including nociception, cognition and metabolism regulation - and acts as neurotrophic/neuroprotective factor for several neuronal populations. In this article we sought to determine the role of galanin on neural stem cell function and its contribution to the plasticity of the nervous system. Here we show that galanin and its receptors are expressed in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) isolated from the developing striatum. Stimulation with galanin results in upregulation of Bcl-Xl, Bcl-2, Mash-1 and Olig-2 that are part of well known pro-survival/pro-neuronal signalling pathways. Accordingly, treatment with galanin increases the number of neurons upon differentiation from these progenitors. We then show that these effects are recapitulated in NPCs isolated from the adult subventricular zone (SVZ), where galanin increases the total number of neurons and the number of newly-generated neurons upon differentiation in vitro. The significance of these findings is highlighted in the adult brain where loss of galanin leads to a marked decrease in the rate of adult SVZ neurogenesis and a reduction in the number of newly generated cells in the olfactory bulb. Interestingly, Gal-KO mice display normal performances in simple tasks of olfactory detection and discrimination, which points to the existence of a certain degree of redundancy in SVZ neurogenesis. Our findings establish the role of galanin as a modulator of neural stem cell function and support the importance of galanin for brain plasticity and repair.
- Radial glial progenitors repair the zebrafish spinal cord following transection. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 8.
In mammals, spinal cord injury results in permanent sensory-motor loss due in part to a failure in reinitiating local neurogenesis. However, zebrafish show robust neuronal regeneration and functional recovery even after complete spinal cord transection. Postembryonic neurogenesis is dependent upon resident multipotent progenitors, which have been identified in multiple vertebrates. One candidate cell population for injury repair expresses Dbx1, which has been shown to label multipotent progenitors in mammals. In this study, we use specific markers to show that cells expressing a dbx1a:GFP reporter in the zebrafish spinal cord are radial glial progenitors that continue to generate neurons after embryogenesis. We also use a novel larval spinal cord transection assay to show that dbx1a:GFP(+) cells exhibit a proliferative and neurogenic response to injury, and contribute newly-born neurons to the regenerative blastema. Together, our data indicate that dbx1a:GFP(+) radial glia may be stem cells for the regeneration of interneurons following spinal cord injury in zebrafish.
- Plasticity and alterations of trunk motor cortex following spinal cord injury and non-stepping robot and treadmill training. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Apr 3.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) induces significant reorganization in the sensorimotor cortex. Trunk motor control is crucial for postural stability and propulsion after low thoracic SCI and several rehabilitative strategies are aimed at trunk stability and control. However little is known about the effect of SCI and rehabilitation training on trunk motor representations and their plasticity in the cortex. Here, we used intracortical microstimulation to examine the motor cortex representations of the trunk in relation to other representations in three groups of chronic adult complete low thoracic SCI rats: chronic untrained, treadmill trained (but 'non-stepping') and robot assisted treadmill trained (but 'non-stepping') and compared with a group of normal rats. Our results demonstrate extensive and significant reorganization of the trunk motor cortex after chronic adult SCI which includes (1) expansion and rostral displacement of trunk motor representations in the cortex, with the greatest significant increase observed for rostral (to injury) trunk, and slight but significant increase of motor representation for caudal (to injury) trunk at low thoracic levels in all spinalized rats; (2) significant changes in coactivation and the synergy representation (or map overlap) between different trunk muscles and between trunk and forelimb. No significant differences were observed between the groups of transected rats for the majority of the comparisons. However, (3) the treadmill and robot-treadmill trained groups of rats showed a further small but significant rostral migration of the trunk representations, beyond the shift caused by transection alone. We conclude that SCI induces a significant reorganization of the trunk motor cortex, which is not qualitatively altered by non-stepping treadmill training or non-stepping robot assisted treadmill training, but is shifted further from normal topography by the training. This shift may potentially make subsequent rehabilitation with stepping longer or less successful.
- CD36 deletion improves recovery from spinal cord injury. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Mar 30.
CD36 is a pleiotropic receptor involved in several pathophysiological conditions, including cerebral ischemia, neurovascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis, and recent reports implicate its involvement in the endoplasmic reticulum stress response (ERSR). We hypothesized that CD36 signaling contributes to the inflammation and microvascular dysfunction following spinal cord injury. Following contusive injury, CD36(-/-) mice demonstrated improved hindlimb functional recovery and greater white matter sparing than CD36(+/+m)ice. CD36(-/-) mice exhibited a reduced macrophage, but not neutrophil, infiltration into the injury epicenter. Fewer infiltrating macrophages were either apoptotic or positive for the ERSR marker, phospho-ATF4. CD36(-/-) mice also exhibited significant improvements in injury heterodomain vascularity and function. These microvessels accumulated less of the oxidized lipid product 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (4HNE) and exhibited a reduced ERSR, as detected by vascular phospho-ATF4, CHOP and CHAC-1 expression. In cultured primary endothelial cells, deletion of CD36 diminished 4HNE-induced phospho-ATF4 and CHOP expression. A reduction in phospho-eIF2α and subsequent increase in KDEL-positive, ER-localized proteins suggest that 4HNE-CD36 signaling facilitates the detection of misfolded proteins upstream of eIF2α phosphorylation, ultimately leading to CHOP-induced apoptosis. We conclude that CD36 deletion modestly, but significantly, improves functional recovery from spinal cord injury by enhancing vascular function and reducing macrophage infiltration. These phenotypes may, in part, stem from reduced ER stress-induced cell death within endothelial and macrophage cells following injury.
- Functional reorganization of the forepaw cortical representation immediately after thoracic spinal cord hemisection in rats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Neurol 2014 Mar 28.
Spinal cord injury may produce long-term reorganization of cortical circuits. Little is known, however, about the early neurophysiological changes occurring immediately after injury. On the one hand, complete thoracic spinal cord transection of the spinal cord immediately decreases the level of cortical spontaneous activity and increases the cortical responses to stimuli delivered to the forepaw, above the level of the lesion. On the other hand, a thoracic spinal cord hemisection produces an immediate cortical hyperexcitability in response to preserved spinothalamic inputs from stimuli delivered to the hindpaw, below the level of the lesion. Here we show that a thoracic spinal cord hemisection also produces a bilateral increase of the responses evoked in the forepaw cortex by forepaw stimuli, associated with a bilateral decrease of cortical spontaneous activity. Importantly, the increased cortical forepaw responses are immediate in the cortex contralateral to the hemisection (significant within 30min after injury), but they are progressive in the cortex ipsilateral to the hemisection (reaching significance only 2.5h after injury). Conversely, the decreased cortical spontaneous activity is progressive both ipsilaterally and contralaterally to the hemisection (again reaching significance only 2.5h after injury). In synthesis, the present work reports a functional reorganization of the forepaw cortical representation immediately after thoracic spinal cord hemisection, which is likely important to fully understand the mechanisms underlying long-term cortical reorganization after incomplete spinal cord injuries.