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- Repeat-Associated Non-AUG Translation and Its Impact in Neurodegenerative Disease. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jul 9.
Nucleotide repeat expansions underlie numerous human neurological disorders. Repeats can trigger toxicity through multiple pathogenic mechanisms, including RNA gain-of-function, protein gain-of-function, and protein loss-of-function pathways. Traditionally, inference of the underlying pathogenic mechanism derives from the repeat location, with dominantly inherited repeats within transcribed noncoding sequences eliciting toxicity predominantly as RNA via sequestration of specific RNA binding proteins. However, recent findings question this assumption and suggest that repeats outside of annotated open reading frames may also trigger toxicity through a novel form of protein translational initiation known as repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation. To date, RAN translation has been implicated in 4 nucleotide repeat expansion disorders: spinocerebellar ataxia type 8; myotonic dystrophy type 1 with CTG•CAG repeats; C9orf72 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia with GGGGCC•GGCCCC repeats; and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome with CGG repeats. RAN translation contributes to hallmark pathological characteristics in these disorders by producing homopolymeric or dipeptide repeat proteins. Here, we review what is known about RAN translation, with an emphasis on how differences in both repeat sequence and context may confer different requirements for unconventional initiation. We then discuss how this new mechanism of translational initiation might function in normal physiology and lay out a roadmap for addressing the numerous questions that remain.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Journeying From Bench to Bedside. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jul 3.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a frequently fatal neuromuscular disorder and the most common inherited cause of infant mortality. SMA results from reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein. Although the disease was first described more than a century ago, a precise understanding of its genetics was not obtained until the SMA genes were cloned in 1995. This was followed in rapid succession by experiments that assigned a role to the SMN protein in the proper splicing of genes, novel animal models of the disease, and the eventual use of the models in the pre clinical development of rational therapies for SMA. These successes have led the scientific and clinical communities to the cusp of what are expected to be the first truly promising treatments for the human disorder. Yet, important questions remain, not the least of which is how SMN paucity triggers a predominantly neuromuscular phenotype. Here we review how our understanding of the disease has evolved since the SMA genes were identified. We begin with a brief description of the genetics of SMA and the proposed roles of the SMN protein. We follow with an examination of how the genetics of the disease was exploited to develop genetically faithful animal models, and highlight the insights gained from their analysis. We end with a discussion of ongoing debates, future challenges, and the most promising treatments to have emerged from our current knowledge of the disease.
- The Role for Alterations in Neuronal Activity in the Pathogenesis of Polyglutamine Repeat Disorders. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jul 2.
Polyglutamine diseases are a class of neurodegenerative diseases that share an expansion of a glutamine-encoding CAG tract in the respective disease genes as a central hallmark. In all of these diseases there is progressive degeneration in a select subset of neurons, and the mechanisms behind this degeneration remain unclear. Emerging evidence from animal models of disease has identified abnormalities in synaptic signaling and intrinsic excitability in affected neurons, which coincide with the onset of symptoms and precede apparent neuropathology. The appearance of these early changes suggests that altered neuronal activity might be an important component of network dysfunction and that these alterations in network physiology could contribute to symptoms of disease. Here we review abnormalities in neuronal function that have been identified in both animal models and patients, and highlight ways in which these changes in neuronal activity may contribute to disease symptoms. We then review the literature supporting an emerging role for abnormalities in neuronal activity as a driver of neurodegeneration. Finally, we identify common themes that emerge from studies of neuronal dysfunction in polyglutamine disease.
- Neuromodulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jul 1.
Neuromodulation shows increasing promise in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Development of tools and techniques including deep brain stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and electroconvulsive therapy may yield additional options for patients who fail to respond to standard treatments. This article reviews the motivation for and use of these treatments in OCD. We begin with a brief description of the illness followed by discussion of the circuit models thought to underlie the disorder. These circuits provide targets for intervention. Basal ganglia and talamocortical pathophysiology, including cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loops is a focus of this discussion. Neuroimaging findings and historical treatments that led to the use of neuromodulation for OCD are presented. We then present evidence from neuromodulation studies using deep brain stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, with targets including nucleus accumbens, subthalamic nucleus inferior thalamic peduncle, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area, and orbitofrontal cortex. Finally, we explore potential future neuromodulation approaches that may further refine and improve treatment.
- Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Drive Protective M2 Microglia Polarization After Brain Trauma. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 26.
Microglia/macrophages (M) are major contributors to postinjury inflammation, but they may also promote brain repair in response to specific environmental signals that drive classic (M1) or alternative (M2) polarization. We investigated the activation and functional changes of M in mice with traumatic brain injuries and receiving intracerebroventricular human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) or saline infusion. MSCs upregulated Ym1 and Arginase-1 mRNA (p < 0.001), two M2 markers of protective M polarization, at 3 and 7 d postinjury, and increased the number of Ym1(+) cells at 7 d postinjury (p < 0.05). MSCs reduced the presence of the lysosomal activity marker CD68 on the membrane surface of CD11b-positive M (p < 0.05), indicating reduced phagocytosis. MSC-mediated induction of the M2 phenotype in M was associated with early and persistent recovery of neurological functions evaluated up to 35 days postinjury (p < 0.01) and reparative changes of the lesioned microenvironment. In vitro, MSCs directly counteracted the proinflammatory response of primary murine microglia stimulated by tumor necrosis factor-α + interleukin 17 or by tumor necrosis factor-α + interferon-γ and induced M2 proregenerative traits, as indicated by the downregulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase and upregulation of Ym1 and CD206 mRNA (p < 0.01). In conclusion, we found evidence that MSCs can drive the M transcriptional environment and induce the acquisition of an early, persistent M2-beneficial phenotype both in vivo and in vitro. Increased Ym1 expression together with reduced in vivo phagocytosis suggests M selection by MSCs towards the M2a subpopulation, which is involved in growth stimulation and tissue repair.
- Angiotensin Receptor Type 2 Activation Induces Neuroprotection and Neurogenesis After Traumatic Brain Injury. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 24.
Angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AT2) agonists have been shown to limit brain ischemic insult and to improve its outcome. The activation of AT2 was also linked to induced neuronal proliferation and differentiation in vitro. In this study, we examined the therapeutic potential of AT2 activation following traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice, a brain pathology that displays ischemia-like secondary damages. The AT2 agonist CGP42112A was continuously infused immediately after closed head injury (CHI) for 3 days. We have followed the functional recovery of the injured mice for 35 days post-CHI, and evaluated cognitive function, lesion volume, molecular signaling, and neurogenesis at different time points after the impact. We found dose-dependent improvement in functional recovery and cognitive performance after CGP42112A treatment that was accompanied by reduced lesion volume and induced neurogenesis in the neurogenic niches of the brain and also in the injury region. At the cellular/molecular level, CGP42112A induced early activation of neuroprotective kinases protein kinase B (Akt) and extracellular-regulated kinases ½ (ERK½), and the neurotrophins nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor; all were blocked by treatment with the AT2 antagonist PD123319. Our results suggest that AT2 activation after TBI promotes neuroprotection and neurogenesis, and may be a novel approach for the development of new drugs to treat victims of TBI.
- Heterogeneity of Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 Mutations: Genetics, Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 24.
Variation within and around the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene is associated with familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we discuss the prevalence of LRRK2 substitutions in different populations and their association with PD, as well as molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathologically relevant LRRK2 mutations. Kinase activation was proposed as a universal molecular mechanism for all pathogenic LRRK2 mutations, but later reports revealed heterogeneity in the effect of mutations on different activities of LRRK2. One mutation (G2019S) increases kinase activity, whereas mutations in the Ras of complex proteins (ROC)-C-terminus of ROC (COR) bidomain impair the GTPase function of LRRK2. Some risk factor variants, including G2385R in the WD40 domain, actually decrease the kinase activity of LRRK2. We suggest a model where LRRK2 mutations exert different molecular mechanisms but interfere with normal cellular function of LRRK2 at different levels of the same downstream pathway. Finally, we discuss the current state of therapeutic approaches for LRRK2-related PD.
- Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Epilepsy: Circuits, Targets, and Trials. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 24.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proven remarkably safe and effective in the treatment of movement disorders. As a result, it is being increasingly applied to a range of neurologic and psychiatric disorders, including medically refractory epilepsy. This review will examine the use of DBS in epilepsy, including known targets, mechanisms of neuromodulation and seizure control, published clinical evidence, and novel technologies. Cortical and deep neuromodulation for epilepsy has a long experimental history, but only recently have better understanding of epileptogenic networks, precise stereotactic techniques, and rigorous trial design combined to improve the quality of available evidence and make DBS a viable treatment option. Nonetheless, underlying mechanisms, anatomical targets, and stimulation parameters remain areas of active investigation.
- PARP Inhibition Delays Progression of Mitochondrial Encephalopathy in Mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 17.
Mitochondrial disorders are deadly childhood diseases for which therapeutic remedies are an unmet need. Given that genetic suppression of the nuclear enzyme poly (adenine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase(PARP)-1 improves mitochondrial functioning, we investigated whether pharmacological inhibition of the enzyme affords protection in a mouse model of a mitochondrial disorder. We used mice lacking the Ndufs4 subunit of the respiratory complex I (Ndufs4 knockout [ KO] mice); these mice undergo progressive encephalopathy and die around postnatal day 50. Mice were treated daily with the potent PARP inhibitor N-(6-oxo-5,6-dihydrophenanthridin-2-yl)-(N,N-dimethylamino)acetamide hydrochloride (PJ34); neurological parameters, PARP activity, and mitochondrial homeostasis were evaluated. We found that mice receiving N-(6-oxo-5,6-dihydrophenanthridin-2-yl)-(N,N-dimethylamino)acetamide hydrochloride from postnatal day 30 to postnatal day 50 show reduced neurological impairment, and increased exploratory activity and motor skills compared with vehicle-treated animals. However, drug treatment did not delay or reduce death. We found no evidence of increased PARP activity within the brain of KO mice compared with heterozygous, healthy controls. Conversely, a 10-day treatment with the PARP inhibitor significantly reduced basal poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in different organs of the KO mice, including brain, skeletal muscle, liver, pancreas, and spleen. In keeping with the epigenetic role of PARP-1, its inhibition correlated with increased expression of mitochondrial respiratory complex subunits and organelle number. Remarkably, pharmacological targeting of PARP reduced astrogliosis in olfactory bulb and motor cortex, but did not affect neuronal loss of KO mice. In light of the advanced clinical development of PARP inhibitors, these data emphasize their relevance to treatment of mitochondrial respiratory defects.
- Gamma Knife for Functional Diseases. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Jun 7.