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- Lentiviral-Induced High-Grade Gliomas in Rats: The Effects of PDGFB, HRAS-G12V, AKT, and IDH1-R132H. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr 22.
In human gliomas, the RTK/RAS/PI(3)K signaling pathway is nearly always altered. We present a model of experimental gliomagenesis that elucidates the contributions of genes involved in this pathway (PDGF-B ligand, HRAS-G12V, and AKT). We also examine the effect on gliomagenesis by the potential modifier gene, IDH1-R132H. Injections of lentiviral-encoded oncogenes induce de novo gliomas of varying penetrance, tumor progression, and histological grade depending on the specific oncogenes used. Our model mimics hallmark histological structures of high-grade glioma, such as pseudopalisades, glomeruloid microvascular proliferation, and diffuse tumor invasion. We use our model of gliomagenesis to test the efficacy of an experimental brain tumor gene therapy. Our model allowed us to test the contributions of oncogenes in the RTK/RAS/PI(3)K pathway, and their potential modification by over-expression of mutated IDH1, in glioma development and progression in rats. Our model constitutes a clinically relevant system to study gliomagenesis, the effects of modifier genes, and the efficacy of experimental therapeutics.
- Biomarkers of epileptogenesis: psychiatric comorbidities (?). [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):358-72.
The last decade has witnessed a significant shift on our understanding of the relationship between psychiatric disorders and epilepsy. While traditionally psychiatric disorders were considered as a complication of the underlying seizure disorder, new epidemiologic data, supported by clinical and experimental research, have suggested the existence of a bidirectional relation between the two types of conditions: not only are patients with epilepsy at greater risk of experiencing a psychiatric disorder, but patients with primary psychiatric disorders are at greater risk of developing epilepsy. Do these data suggest that some of the pathogenic mechanisms operant in psychiatric comorbidities play a role in epileptogenesis? The aim of this article is to review the epidemiologic data that demonstrate that primary psychiatric disorders are more frequent in people who develop epilepsy, before the onset of the seizure disorder than among controls. The next question looks at the available data of pathogenic mechanisms of primary mood disorders and their potential for facilitating the development and/or exacerbation in the severity of epileptic seizures. Finally, we review data derived from experimental studies in animal models of depression and epilepsy that support a potential role of pathogenic mechanisms of mood disorders in the development of epileptic seizures and epileptogenesis. The data presented in this article do not yet establish conclusive evidence of a pathogenic role of psychiatric comorbidities in epileptogenesis, but raise important research questions that need to be investigated in experimental, clinical, and population-based epidemiologic research studies.
- The P3 Event-Related Potential is a Biomarker for the Efficacy of Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Patients with Epilepsy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr 8.
Currently, the mechanism of action of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is not fully understood, and it is unclear which factors determine a patient's response to treatment. Recent preclinical experiments indicate that activation of the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system is critical for the antiepileptic effect of VNS. This study aims to evaluate the effect of VNS on noradrenergic signaling in the human brain through a noninvasive marker of locus coeruleus noradrenergic activity: the P3 component of the event-related potential. We investigated whether VNS differentially modulates the P3 component in VNS responders versus VNS nonresponders. For this purpose, we recruited 20 patients with refractory epilepsy who had been treated with VNS for at least 18 months. Patients were divided into 2 groups with regard to their reduction in mean monthly seizure frequency: 10 responders (>50 %) and 10 nonresponders (≤50 %). Two stimulation conditions were compared: VNS OFF and VNS ON. In each condition, the P3 component was measured during an auditory oddball paradigm. VNS induced a significant increase of the P3 amplitude at the parietal midline electrode, in VNS responders only. In addition, logistic regression analysis showed that the increase of P3 amplitude can be used as a noninvasive indicator for VNS responders. These results support the hypothesis that activation of the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system is associated with the antiepileptic effect of VNS. Modulation of the P3 amplitude should be further investigated as a noninvasive biomarker for the therapeutic efficacy of VNS in patients with refractory epilepsy.
- Spinal Stimulation for Pain: Future Applications. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr 3.
With continuous progress and rapid technological advancement of neuromodulation it is conceivable that within next decade or so, our approach to the electrical stimulation of the spinal cord used in treatment of chronic pain will change radically. The currently used spinal cord stimulation (SCS), with its procedural invasiveness, bulky devices, simplistic stimulation paradigms, and frustrating decline in effectiveness over time will be replaced by much more refined and individually tailored modality. Better understanding of underlying mechanism of action will allow us to use SCS in a more rational way, selecting patient-specific targets and techniques that properly fit each patient with chronic pain based on pain characteristics, distribution, and cause. Based on the information available today, this article will summarize emerging applications of SCS in the treatment of pain and theorize on further developments that may be introduced in the foreseeable future. An overview of clinical and technological innovations will serve as a basis for better understanding of SCS landscape for the next several years.
- Prestroke Statins, Progression of White Matter Hyperintensities, and Cognitive Decline in Stroke Patients with Confluent White Matter Hyperintensities. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr 2.
Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMH) are a consequence of cerebral small vessel disease. Statins have been shown to reduce recurrent stroke among patients with various stroke subtypes, including lacunar stroke, which also arises from small vessel disease. In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that prestroke statin use would reduce the progression of WMH and/or cognitive decline among stroke patients with confluent WMH. Patients (n = 100) were participants of the VITAmins To Prevent Stroke magnetic resonance imaging substudy. All patients had confluent WMH on magnetic resonance imaging at baseline. Eighty-one patients completed the 2-year follow-up. We assessed general cognition and executive function using the mini-mental state examination and Mattis dementia rating scale-initiation/perseveration subscale, respectively. We compared the change in volume of WMH and cognition between prestroke statin use and prestroke nonstatin use groups. We also evaluated the effects of prestroke statin use on incident lacunes and microbleeds. The prestroke statin use group (n = 51) had less WMH volume progression (1.54 ± 4.52 cm(3) vs 5.01 ± 6.00 cm(3), p = 0.02) compared with the prestroke nonstatin use group (n = 30). Multivariate linear regression modeling identified prestroke statin use as an independent predictor of WMH progression (β = -0.31, p = 0.008). Prestroke statin use was also associated with less decline (Mattis dementia rating scale-initiation/perseveration subscale; β = 0.47, p = 0.001). No association was observed with changes in mini-mental state examination scores. There were no between group differences on incident lacunes or incident microbleeds. Prestroke statin use may reduce WMH progression and decline in executive function in stroke patients with confluent WMH.
- The Potential of Antiseizure Drugs and Agents that Act on Novel Molecular Targets as Antiepileptogenic Treatments. [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):385-400.
A major goal of contemporary epilepsy research is the identification of therapies to prevent the development of recurrent seizures in individuals at risk, including those with brain injuries, infections, or neoplasms; status epilepticus; cortical dysplasias; or genetic epilepsy susceptibility. In this review we consider the evidence largely from preclinical models for the antiepileptogenic activity of a diverse range of potential therapies, including some marketed antiseizure drugs, as well as agents that act by immune and inflammatory mechanisms; reduction of oxidative stress; activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors γ pathways; effects on factors related to thrombolysis, hematopoesis, and angiogenesis; inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reducatase; brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling; and blockade of α2 adrenergic and cannabinoid receptors. Antiepileptogenesis refers to a therapy of which the beneficial action is to reduce seizure frequency or severity outlasting the treatment period. To date, clinical trials have failed to demonstrate that antiseizure drugs have such disease-modifying activity. However, studies in animal models with levetiracetam and ethosuximide are encouraging, and clinical trials with these agents are warranted. Other promising strategies are inhibition of interleukin 1β signaling by drugs such as VX-765; modulation of sphingosine 1-phosphate signaling by drugs such as fingolimod; activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin by drugs such as rapamycin; the hormone erythropoietin; and, paradoxically, drugs such as the α2 adrenergic receptor antagonist atipamezole and the CB1 cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A (rimonabant) with proexcitatory activity. These approaches could lead to a new paradigm in epilepsy drug therapy where treatment for a limited period prevents the occurrence of spontaneous seizures, thus avoiding lifelong commitment to symptomatic treatment.
- Genetic epilepsy syndromes without structural brain abnormalities: clinical features and experimental models. [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):269-85.
Research in genetics of epilepsy represents an area of great interest both for clinical purposes and for understanding the basic mechanisms of epilepsy. Most mutations in epilepsies without structural brain abnormalities have been identified in ion channel genes, but an increasing number of genes involved in a diversity of functional and developmental processes are being recognized through whole exome or genome sequencing. Targeted molecular diagnosis is now available for different forms of epilepsy. The identification of epileptogenic mutations in patients before epilepsy onset and the possibility of developing therapeutic strategies tested in experimental models may facilitate experimental approaches that prevent epilepsy or decrease its severity. Functional analysis is essential for better understanding pathogenic mechanisms and gene interactions. In vitro experimental systems are either cells that usually do not express the protein of interest or neurons in primary cultures. In vivo/ex vivo systems are organisms or preparations obtained from them (e.g., brain slices), which should better model the complexity of brain circuits and actual pathophysiological conditions. Neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells generated from the skin fibroblasts of patients have recently allowed the study of mutations in human neurons having the genetic background of a given patient. However, there is remarkable complexity underlying epileptogenesis in the clinical dimension, as reflected by the fact that experimental models have not provided yet results having clinical translation and that, with a few exceptions concerning rare conditions, no new curative treatment has emerged from any genetic finding in epilepsy.
- Novel concepts in epileptogenesis and its prevention. [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):229-30.
- Mechanisms of Epileptogenesis in Pediatric Epileptic Syndromes: Rasmussen Encephalitis, Infantile Spasms, and Febrile Infection-related Epilepsy Syndrome (FIRES). [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):297-310.
The mechanisms of epileptogenesis in pediatric epileptic syndromes are diverse, and may involve disturbances of neurodevelopmental trajectories, synaptic homeostasis, and cortical connectivity, which may occur during brain development, early infancy, or childhood. Although genetic or structural/metabolic factors are frequently associated with age-specific epileptic syndromes, such as infantile spasms and West syndrome, other syndromes may be determined by the effect of immunopathogenic mechanisms or energy-dependent processes in response to environmental challenges, such as infections or fever in normally-developed children during early or late childhood. Immune-mediated mechanisms have been suggested in selected pediatric epileptic syndromes in which acute and rapidly progressive encephalopathies preceded by fever and/or infections, such as febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome, or in chronic progressive encephalopathies, such as Rasmussen encephalitis. A definite involvement of adaptive and innate immune mechanisms driven by cytotoxic CD8(+) T lymphocytes and neuroglial responses has been demonstrated in Rasmussen encephalitis, although the triggering factor of these responses remains unknown. Although the beneficial response to steroids and adrenocorticotropic hormone of infantile spasms, or preceding fever or infection in FIRES, may support a potential role of neuroinflammation as pathogenic factor, no definite demonstration of such involvement has been achieved, and genetic or metabolic factors are suspected. A major challenge for the future is discovering pathogenic mechanisms and etiological factors that facilitate the introduction of novel targets for drug intervention aimed at interfering with the disease mechanisms, therefore providing putative disease-modifying treatments in these pediatric epileptic syndromes.
- Origins of temporal lobe epilepsy: febrile seizures and febrile status epilepticus. [Journal Article]
- Neurotherapeutics 2014 Apr; 11(2):242-50.
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and hippocampal sclerosis (HS) commonly arise following early-life long seizures, and especially febrile status epilepticus (FSE). However, there are major gaps in our knowledge regarding the causal relationships of FSE, TLE, HS and cognitive disturbances that hamper diagnosis, biomarker development and prevention. The critical questions include: What is the true probability of developing TLE after FSE? Are there predictive markers for those at risk? A fundamental question is whether FSE is simply a marker of individuals who are destined to develop TLE, or if FSE contributes to the risk of developing TLE. If FSE does contribute to epileptogenesis, then does this happen only in the setting of a predisposed brain? These questions are addressed within this review, using information gleaned over the past two decades from clinical studies as well as animal models.