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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (3)
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Articles by Wenhui Gong in JoVE
Myo-mechanische analyse van geïsoleerde Skeletal Muscle
Peter E. Oishi1,2, Sompob Cholsiripunlert3, Wenhui Gong2, Anthony J. Baker4, Harold S. Bernstein1,2,5
1Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco, 2Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, 3Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, 4Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 5Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine & Stem Cell Research, University of California San Francisco
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Other articles by Wenhui Gong on PubMed
Niemann-Pick Type C Disease Involves Disrupted Neurosteroidogenesis and Responds to Allopregnanolone
Nature Medicine. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15208706
Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) disease is a fatal, autosomal recessive, childhood neurodegenerative disease. The NP-C mouse recapitulates the cholesterol and sphingolipid storage, onset of neurological deficits, histopathological lesions, Purkinje cell loss and early death typical of the most severe form of human NP-C. Neurosteroids, steroids made in the brain, affect neuronal growth and differentiation, and modulate neurotransmitter receptors. Disordered cholesterol trafficking might disrupt neurosteroidogenesis, thereby contributing to the NP-C phenotype. Here we show that NP-C mouse brain contains substantially less neurosteroid than wild-type brain and has an age-related decrease in the ability to synthesize 5alpha-dihydroprogesterone and allopregnanolone. Immunohistochemical assessment confirms a decrease in expression of 5alpha-reductase and 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, especially in cerebellum. Neonatal administration of allopregnanolone delays the onset of neurological symptoms, increases Purkinje and granule cell survival, reduces cortical GM2 and GM3 ganglioside accumulation and doubles the lifespan of NP-C mice. Earlier administration increases effectiveness of treatment. Decreased production of allopregnanolone apparently contributes to the pathology of NP-C; thus, neurosteroid treatment may be useful in ameliorating progression of the disease.
Endocrine Research. Nov, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15666818
Many functions have been attributed to neurosteroids including actions as anxiolytics, roles in myelination, inhibitors of neuronal toxicity and ischemia, and roles in neuronal growth and differentiation. To understand the functions of neurosteroids during nervous system development, we used two mouse models: one, in which the cyp17 gene was ablated, thus ablating synthesis of the neurosteroid DHEA, and a second, in a mouse model of a human childhood fatal neurodegenerative disease, Niemann-Pick Type C (NP-C). Cyp17-/- mice died unexpectedly approximately embryonic day 7. Cyp17 was expressed in the embryonic endoderm at E7, where 17alpha hydroxylase and c17,20 lyase activities were found. Hormonal replacement was ineffective in rescuing the embryos. The function of P450c17 and/or its steroid products in early mouse development is unknown. In the second model, we used a naturally-occurring NP-C mutant mouse. Mutations in the npc1 gene results in lysosomal accumulation of cholesterol and gangliosides in humans and in the mouse, which also recapitulates the onset of neurological deficits, neuronal loss and death typical of the most severe form of the human disease. We showed that there is a substantial reduction in the synthesis of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO) at birth, which may lead to abnormal neural development. ALLO treatment was highly effective; ALLO-treated NP-C mice had substantially increased survival and delays in neurologic impairments, coinciding with marked improvements in neuronal survival, and reduction of gangliosides. These data suggest that neurosteroids play an important role in brain development and maturation and may be an effective therapy for NP-C and perhaps other lysosomal storage diseases.
Brain Research Reviews. Mar, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 17629950
The functions for neurosteroids during development and in response to nervous system injury are beginning to be identified. We focused on a mouse model in which we believed neurosteroid production would be altered, and which had a neurodegenerative phenotype. Niemann-Pick Type-C (NP-C) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in NPC1 (95%) or NPC2 (5%), resulting in lysosomal accumulation of unesterified cholesterol and glycolipids. The NIH mouse model of NP-C has a mutation in the NPC1 gene, and exhibits several pathological features of the most severe NP-C patients. How lysosomal storage and trafficking defects lead to neurodegeneration is unknown. We found that these mice had normal neurosteroidogenic enzyme activity during development, but lost this activity in the early neonatal period, prior to onset of neurological symptoms. Neurons that expressed P450scc, 3beta HSD, as well as those that expressed 3alpha HSD and 5alpha reductase were lost in adult NP-C brains, resulting in diminished concentrations of allopregnanolone. We treated NP-C mice with allopregnanolone and found that a single dose in the neonatal period resulted in a doubling of life span, substantial delay in onset of neurological symptoms, survival of cerebellar Purkinje and granule cell neurons, and reduction in cholesterol and ganglioside accumulation. The mechanism by which allopregnanolone elicited these effects is unknown. Our in vitro studies showed that Purkinje cell survival promoted by allopregnanolone was lost by treatment with bicuculline, suggesting GABA(A) receptors may play a role. We treated NP-C mice with a synthetic GABA(A) neurosteroid, ganaxolone (3alpha-hydroxy-3beta-methyl-5alpha-pregnan-20-one). Ganaxolone treatment of NP-C mice produced beneficial neurological effects, but these effects were not as robust as those obtained using allopregnanolone. Thus, allopregnanolone may elicit its effects through GABA(A) receptors and through other mechanisms. Additional studies also suggest that allopregnanolone may elicit its effects through pregnane-X-receptors (PXR). Our data suggest that mouse models of neurodegeneration may be beneficial in establishing both physiologic and pharmacologic actions of neurosteroids. These animal models further establish the wide range of functions of these compounds, which may ultimately be useful for treatment of human diseases.