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J Neurosci [journal]
- Multifunctional Liposomes Reduce Brain β-Amyloid Burden and Ameliorate Memory Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Models. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):14022-31.
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the accumulation and deposition of plaques of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide in the brain. Given its pivotal role, new therapies targeting Aβ are in demand. We rationally designed liposomes targeting the brain and promoting the disaggregation of Aβ assemblies and evaluated their efficiency in reducing the Aβ burden in Alzheimer's disease mouse models. Liposomes were bifunctionalized with a peptide derived from the apolipoprotein-E receptor-binding domain for blood-brain barrier targeting and with phosphatidic acid for Aβ binding. Bifunctionalized liposomes display the unique ability to hinder the formation of, and disaggregate, Aβ assemblies in vitro (EM experiments). Administration of bifunctionalized liposomes to APP/presenilin 1 transgenic mice (aged 10 months) for 3 weeks (three injections per week) decreased total brain-insoluble Aβ1-42 (-33%), assessed by ELISA, and the number and total area of plaques (-34%) detected histologically. Also, brain Aβ oligomers were reduced (-70.5%), as assessed by SDS-PAGE. Plaque reduction was confirmed in APP23 transgenic mice (aged 15 months) either histologically or by PET imaging with [(11)C]Pittsburgh compound B (PIB). The reduction of brain Aβ was associated with its increase in liver (+18%) and spleen (+20%). Notably, the novel-object recognition test showed that the treatment ameliorated mouse impaired memory. Finally, liposomes reached the brain in an intact form, as determined by confocal microscopy experiments with fluorescently labeled liposomes. These data suggest that bifunctionalized liposomes destabilize brain Aβ aggregates and promote peptide removal across the blood-brain barrier and its peripheral clearance. This all-in-one multitask therapeutic device can be considered as a candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Characterization of ectopic colonies that form in widespread areas of the nervous system with neural stem cell transplants into the site of a severe spinal cord injury. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):14013-21.
We reported previously the formation of ectopic colonies in widespread areas of the nervous system after transplantation of fetal neural stem cells (NSCs) into spinal cord transection sites. Here, we characterize the incidence, distribution, and cellular composition of the colonies. NSCs harvested from E14 spinal cords from rats that express GFP were treated with a growth factor cocktail and grafted into the site of a complete spinal cord transection. Two months after transplant, spinal cord and brain tissue were analyzed histologically. Ectopic colonies were found at long distances from the transplant in the central canal of the spinal cord, the surface of the brainstem and spinal cord, and in the fourth ventricle. Colonies were present in 50% of the rats, and most rats had multiple colonies. Axons extended from the colonies into the host CNS. Colonies were strongly positive for nestin, a marker for neural precursors, and contained NeuN-positive cells with processes resembling dendrites, GFAP-positive astrocytes, APC/CC1-positive oligodendrocytes, and Ki-67-positive cells, indicating ongoing proliferation. Stereological analyses revealed an estimated 21,818 cells in a colony in the fourth ventricle, of which 1005 (5%) were Ki-67 positive. Immunostaining for synaptic markers (synaptophysin and VGluT-1) revealed large numbers of synaptophysin-positive puncta within the colonies but fewer VGluT-1 puncta. Continuing expansion of NSC-derived cell masses in confined spaces in the spinal cord and brain could produce symptoms attributable to compression of nearby tissue. It remains to be determined whether other cell types with self-renewing potential can also form colonies.
- The Rac1 Inhibitor NSC23766 Suppresses CREB Signaling by Targeting NMDA Receptor Function. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):14006-12.
NMDA receptor signaling plays a complex role in CREB activation and CREB-mediated gene transcription, depending on the subcellular location of NMDA receptors, as well as how strongly they are activated. However, it is not known whether Rac1, the prototype of Rac GTPase, plays a role in neuronal CREB activation induced by NMDA receptor signaling. Here, we report that NSC23766, a widely used specific Rac1 inhibitor, inhibits basal CREB phosphorylation at S133 (pCREB) and antagonizes changes in pCREB levels induced by NMDA bath application in rat cortical neurons. Unexpectedly, we found that NSC23766 affects the levels of neuronal pCREB in a Rac1-independent manner. Instead, our results indicate that NSC23766 can directly regulate NMDA receptors as indicated by their strong effects on both exogenous and synaptically evoked NMDA receptor-mediated currents in mouse and rat neurons, respectively. Our findings strongly suggest that Rac1 does not affect pCREB signaling in cortical neurons and reveal that NSC23766 could be a novel NMDA receptor antagonist.
- Temporal memory is shaped by encoding stability and intervening item reactivation. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13998-4005.
Making sense of previous experience requires remembering the order in which events unfolded in time. Prior work has implicated the hippocampus and medial temporal lobe cortex in memory for temporal information associated with individual episodes. However, the processes involved in encoding and retrieving temporal information across extended sequences is relatively poorly understood. Here we used fMRI during the encoding and retrieval of extended sequences to test specific predictions about the type of information used to resolve temporal order and the role of the hippocampus in this process. Participants studied sequences of images of celebrity faces and common objects followed by a recency discrimination test. The main conditions of interest were pairs of items that had been presented with three intervening items, half of which included an intervening category shift. During encoding, hippocampal pattern similarity across intervening items was associated with subsequent successful order memory. To test for evidence of associative retrieval, we trained a classifier to discriminate encoding patterns associated with faces versus objects and applied the classifier on fMRI patterns during recency discrimination. We found evidence that the category content of intervening items was reactivated during recency judgments, and this was related to hippocampal encoding-retrieval similarity. A follow-up behavioral priming experiment revealed additional evidence for intervening item reinstatement during temporal order judgments. Reinstatement did not differ according to whether the items occurred within a single context or across context boundaries. Thus, these data suggest that inter-item associative encoding and retrieval mediated by the hippocampus contribute to temporal order memory.
- KIS, a Kinase Associated with Microtubule Regulators, Enhances Translation of AMPA Receptors and Stimulates Dendritic Spine Remodeling. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13988-97.
Local regulation of protein synthesis allows a neuron to rapidly alter the proteome in response to synaptic signals, an essential mechanism in synaptic plasticity that is altered in many neurological diseases. Synthesis of many synaptic proteins is under local control and much of this regulation occurs through structures termed RNA granules. KIS is a protein kinase that associates with stathmin, a modulator of the tubulin cytoskeleton. Furthermore, KIS is found in RNA granules and stimulates translation driven by the β-actin 3'UTR in neurites. Here we explore the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying the action of KIS on hippocampal synaptic plasticity in mice. KIS downregulation compromises spine development, alters actin dynamics, and reduces postsynaptic responsiveness. The absence of KIS results in a significant decrease of protein levels of PSD-95, a postsynaptic scaffolding protein, and the AMPAR subunits GluR1 and GluR2 in a CPEB3-dependent manner. Underlying its role in spine maturation, KIS is able to suppress the spine developmental defects caused by CPEB3 overexpression. Moreover, either by direct or indirect mechanisms, KIS counteracts the inhibitory activity of CPEB3 on the GluR2 3'UTR at both mRNA translation and polyadenylation levels. Our study provides insights into the mechanisms that mediate dendritic spine morphogenesis and functional synaptic maturation, and suggests KIS as a link regulating spine cytoskeleton and postsynaptic activity in memory formation.
- Numb regulates the polarized delivery of cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels in rod photoreceptor cilia. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13976-87.
The development and maintenance of protein compartmentalization is essential for neuronal function. A striking example is observed in light-sensing photoreceptors, in which the apical sensory cilium is subdivided into an inner and outer segment, each containing specific proteins essential for vision. It remains unclear, however, how such polarized protein localization is regulated. We report here that the endocytic adaptor protein Numb localizes to the inner, but not the outer segment of mouse photoreceptor cilia. Rod photoreceptor-specific inactivation of numb in vivo leads to progressive photoreceptor degeneration, indicating an essential role for Numb in photoreceptor cell biology. Interestingly, we report that loss of Numb in photoreceptors does not affect the localization of outer segment disk membrane proteins, such as rhodopsin, Peripherin-rds, Rom-1, and Abca4, but significantly disrupts the localization of the rod cyclic nucleotide-gated (Cng) channels, which accumulates on the inner segment plasma membrane in addition to its normal localization to the outer segments. Mechanistically, we show that Numb interacts with both subunits of the Cng channel and promotes the trafficking of Cnga1 to the recycling endosome. These results suggest a model in which Numb prevents targeting of Cng channels to the inner segment, by promoting their trafficking through the recycling endosome, where they can be sorted for specific delivery to the outer segment. This study uncovers a novel mechanism regulating polarized protein delivery in light-sensing cilia, raising the possibility that Numb plays a part in the regulation of protein trafficking in other types of cilia.
- Resting-State Functional Connectivity Changes in Aging apoE4 and apoE-KO Mice. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13963-75.
It is well established that the cholesterol-transporter apolipoprotein ε (APOE) genotype is associated with the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, brain functional connectivity (FC) in apoE-ε4 carriers has been investigated by means of resting-state fMRI, showing a marked differentiation in several functional networks at different ages compared with carriers of other apoE isoforms. The causes of such hampered FC are not understood. We hypothesize that vascular function and synaptic repair processes, which are both impaired in carriers of ε4, are the major contributors to the loss of FC during aging. To test this hypothesis, we integrated several different MRI techniques with immunohistochemistry and investigated FC changes in relation with perfusion, diffusion, and synaptic density in apoE4 and apoE-knock-out (KO) mice at 12 (adult) and 18 months of age. Compared with wild-type mice, we detected FC deficits in both adult and old apoE4 and apoE-KO mice. In apoE4 mice, these changes occurred concomitant with increased mean diffusivity in the hippocampus, whereas perfusion deficits appear only later in life, together with reduced postsynaptic density levels. Instead, in apoE-KO mice FC deficits were mirrored by strongly reduced brain perfusion since adulthood. In conclusion, we provide new evidence for a relation between apoE and brain connectivity, possibly mediated by vascular risk factors and by the efficiency of APOE as synaptic modulator in the brain. Our results show that multimodal MR neuroimaging is an excellent tool to assess brain function and to investigate early neuropathology and aging effects in translational research.
- Impact of RTN3 Deficiency on Expression of BACE1 and Amyloid Deposition. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13954-62.
Reticulon 3 (RTN3) has previously been shown to interact with BACE1 and negatively regulate BACE1 activity. To what extent RTN3 deficiency affects BACE1 activity is an intriguing question. In this study, we aimed to address this by generating RTN3-null mice. Mice with complete deficiency of RTN3 grow normally and have no obviously discernible phenotypes. Morphological analyses of RTN3-null mice showed no significant alterations in cellular structure, although RTN3 is recognized as a protein contributing to the shaping of tubular endoplasmic reticulum. Biochemical analysis revealed that RTN3 deficiency increased protein levels of BACE1. This elevation of BACE1 levels correlated with enhanced processing of amyloid precursor protein at the β-secretase site. We also demonstrated that RTN3 deficiency in Alzheimer's mouse models facilitates amyloid deposition, further supporting an in vivo role of RTN3 in the regulation of BACE1 activity. Since it has been shown that RTN3 monomer is reduced in brains of Alzheimer's patients, our results suggest that long-lasting reduction of RTN3 levels has adverse effects on BACE1 activity and may contribute to Alzheimer's pathogenesis.
- Long-term in vivo imaging of dendritic spines in the hippocampus reveals structural plasticity. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13948-53.
Hippocampal function is important for learning and memory. During memory processing, hippocampal CA1 neurons play a crucial role by integrating excitatory synaptic input from CA3 and the entorhinal cortex. These neurons receive excitatory input almost exclusively on dendritic spines. The formation and elimination-structural plasticity-of dendritic spines reflect wiring changes within the hippocampal network. Despite the relevance of the hippocampus in learning and memory, most in vivo data on structural plasticity derive from cortical regions. We established a chronic hippocampal window approach using two-photon microscopy to visualize dendritic spines throughout all CA1 hippocampal layers and over a time course of weeks. Moreover, even granule cells in dentate gyrus could be reliably detected. We found that the spine density in stratum radiatum (∼1.1 per micrometer) remained stable over weeks. However, a small fraction (3.4%) of spines were formed and eliminated between imaging sessions, which demonstrated that spines of CA1 neurons exhibit structural plasticity in adult mice. In addition, we tested for possible inflammatory or behavioral side effects of hippocampal window implantation. Mice exhibited a transient increase in microgliosis and astrogliosis, which declined within a few weeks. We did not detect any difference in behavioral performance in an open-field and contextual fear-conditioning paradigm. In conclusion, hippocampal long-term two-photon imaging revealed structural plasticity of dendritic spines in CA1 pyramidal neurons. This approach may provide a powerful tool to analyze changes in neuronal network rewiring during hippocampal learning and memory processes in health and disease.
- Dynamic modulation of amygdala-hippocampal connectivity by emotional arousal. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 15; 34(42):13935-47.
Positive and negative emotional events are better remembered than neutral events. Studies in animals suggest that this phenomenon depends on the influence of the amygdala upon the hippocampus. In humans, however, it is largely unknown how these two brain structures functionally interact and whether these interactions are similar between positive and negative information. Using dynamic causal modeling of fMRI data in 586 healthy subjects, we show that the strength of the connection from the amygdala to the hippocampus was rapidly and robustly increased during the encoding of both positive and negative pictures in relation to neutral pictures. We also observed an increase in connection strength from the hippocampus to the amygdala, albeit at a smaller scale. These findings indicate that, during encoding, emotionally arousing information leads to a robust increase in effective connectivity from the amygdala to the hippocampus, regardless of its valence.