In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (21)

Articles by Lawrence Moon in JoVE

 JoVE Medicine

Performing Permanent Distal Middle Cerebral with Common Carotid Artery Occlusion in Aged Rats to Study Cortical Ischemia with Sustained Disability

1Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, University of London, 2Department of Neuroimaging, James Black Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, University of London, 3Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, Wellcome Surgical Institute, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, 4Research Service, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, 5Neurology Service, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, 6Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Neuroscience Research Institute, Loyola University Chicago, 7Department of Oncology, The Gray Institute for Radiation, Oncology and Biology, University of Oxford

JoVE 53106

Other articles by Lawrence Moon on PubMed

Chondroitinase ABC Promotes Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury

Nature. Apr, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11948352

The inability of axons to regenerate after a spinal cord injury in the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS) can lead to permanent paralysis. At sites of CNS injury, a glial scar develops, containing extracellular matrix molecules including chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs). CSPGs are inhibitory to axon growth in vitro, and regenerating axons stop at CSPG-rich regions in vivo. Removing CSPG glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains attenuates CSPG inhibitory activity. To test the functional effects of degrading chondroitin sulphate (CS)-GAG after spinal cord injury, we delivered chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) to the lesioned dorsal columns of adult rats. We show that intrathecal treatment with ChABC degraded CS-GAG at the injury site, upregulated a regeneration-associated protein in injured neurons, and promoted regeneration of both ascending sensory projections and descending corticospinal tract axons. ChABC treatment also restored post-synaptic activity below the lesion after electrical stimulation of corticospinal neurons, and promoted functional recovery of locomotor and proprioceptive behaviours. Our results demonstrate that CSPGs are important inhibitory molecules in vivo and suggest that their manipulation will be useful for treatment of human spinal injuries.

Limited Growth of Severed CNS Axons After Treatment of Adult Rat Brain with Hyaluronidase

Journal of Neuroscience Research. Jan, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12478611

Many chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) have been shown to influence CNS axon growth in vitro and in vivo. These interactions can be mediated through the core protein or through the chondroitin sulfate (CS) glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains. We have shown previously that degrading CS GAG side chains using chondroitinase ABC enhances dopaminergic nigrostriatal axon regeneration in vivo. We test the hypothesis that interfering with complete CSPGs also limit axon growth in vivo. Neurocan, versican, aggrecan, and brevican CSPGs may be anchored within extracellular matrix through binding to hyaluronan glycosaminoglycan. We examine whether degradation of hyaluronan using hyaluronidase might release these inhibitory CSPGs from the extracellular matrix and thereby enhance regeneration of cut nigrostriatal axons. Anesthetized adult rats were given knife cut lesions of the right hemisphere nigrostriatal tract and cannulae were secured transcranially thereby allowing repeated perilesional infusion of saline or saline containing hyaluronidase once daily for 10 days post-axotomy. Eleven days post-transection brains from animals under terminal anesthesia were recovered for histological evaluation. Effective delivery of substance was inferred from the observed reduction in perilesional immunoreactivity for neurocan and versican after treatment with hyaluronidase (relative to saline). Immunolabeling using antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase was used to examine the response of cut dopaminergic nigral neurons. After transection and treatment with saline, dopaminergic nigral neurons sprouted in a region lacking astrocytes, neurocan and versican. Axons did not regenerate into the lesion surround that contained astrocytes and abundant neurocan and versican. After transection and treatment with hyaluronidase, there was a significant increase in the number of cut dopaminergic nigral axons growing up to 800 microm anterior to the site of transection. However, cut dopaminergic nigral axons still did not regenerate into the lesion surround that contained reduced (albeit residual) neurocan and versican immunoreactivity. Thus, partial degradation of hyaluronan and chondroitin sulfate and depletion of hyaluronan-binding CSPGs enhances local sprouting of cut CNS axons, but long-distance regeneration fails in regions containing residual hyaluronan-binding CSPGs. Hyaluronan, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronan-binding CSPGs therefore likely contribute toward the failure of spontaneous axon regeneration in the injured adult mammalian brain and spinal cord.

From Animal Models to Humans: Strategies for Promoting CNS Axon Regeneration and Recovery of Limb Function After Spinal Cord Injury

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy : JNPT. Jun, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16386163

There are currently no fully restorative therapies for human spinal cord injury (SCI). Here,we briefly review the different types of human SCI pathology as well as the most commonly used rodent and nonhuman primate models of SCI that are used to simulate these pathologies and to test potential therapies. We then discuss various high profile (sometimes controversial) experimental strategies that have reported CNS axon regeneration and functional recovery of limb movement using these animal models of SCI. We particularly focus upon strategies that have been tested both in rodents and in nonhuman primates, and highlight those which are currently transitioning to clinical tests or trials in humans. Finally we discuss ways in which animal studies might be improved and what the future may hold for physical therapists involved in rehabilitation of humans with SCI.

Poly (D,L-lactic Acid) Macroporous Guidance Scaffolds Seeded with Schwann Cells Genetically Modified to Secrete a Bi-functional Neurotrophin Implanted in the Completely Transected Adult Rat Thoracic Spinal Cord

Biomaterials. Jan, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16102815

Freeze-dried poly(D,L-lactic acid) macroporous scaffold filled with a fibrin solution containing Schwann cells (SCs) lentivirally transduced to produce and secrete D15A, a bi-functional neurotrophin with brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3 activity, and to express green fluorescent protein (GFP) were implanted in the completely transected adult rat thoracic spinal cord. Control rats were similarly injured and then implanted with scaffolds containing the fibrin solution with SCs lentivirally transduced to produce express GFP only or with the fibrin solution only. Transgene production and biological activity in vitro, SC survival within the scaffold in vitro and in vivo, scaffold integration, axonal regeneration and myelination, and hind limb motor function were analyzed at 1, 2, and 6 weeks after implantation. In vitro, lentivirally transduced SCs produced 87.5 ng/24 h/10(6) cells of D15A as measured by neurotrophin-3 activity in ELISA. The secreted D15A was biologically active as evidenced by its promotion of neurite outgrowth of dorsal root ganglion neurons in culture. In vitro, SCs expressing GFP were present in the scaffolds for up to 6 h, the end of a typical surgery session. Implantation of SC-seeded scaffolds caused modest loss of spinal nervous tissue. Reactive astrocytes and chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans were present in spinal tissue adjacent to the scaffold. Vascularization of the scaffold was ongoing at 1 week post-implantation. There were no apparent differences in scaffold integration and blood vessel formation between groups. A decreasing number of implanted (GFP-positive) SCs were found within the scaffold during the first 3 days after implantation. Apoptosis was identified as one of the mechanisms of cell death. At 1 week and later time points after implantation, few of the implanted SCs were present in the scaffold. Neurofilament-positive axons were found in the scaffold. At 6 weeks post-grafting, myelinated axons were observed within and at the external surface of the scaffold. Axons did not grow from the scaffold into the caudal cord. All groups demonstrated a similar improvement of hind limb motor function. Our findings demonstrated that few seeded SCs survived in vivo, which could account for the modest axonal regeneration response into and across the scaffold. For the development of SC-seeded macroporous scaffolds that effectively promote axonal regeneration in the injured spinal cord, the survival and/or total number of SCs in the scaffold needs to be improved.

Labeled Schwann Cell Transplantation: Cell Loss, Host Schwann Cell Replacement, and Strategies to Enhance Survival

Glia. Feb, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16267833

Although transplanted Schwann cells (SCs) can promote axon regeneration and remyelination and improve recovery in models of spinal cord injury, little is known about their survival and how they interact with host tissue. Using labeled SCs from transgenic rats expressing human placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP), SC survival in a spinal cord contusion lesion was assessed. Few PLAP SCs survived at 2 weeks after acute transplantation. They died early due to necrosis and apoptosis. Delaying transplantation until 7 days after injury improved survival. A second wave of cell death occurred after surviving cells had integrated into the spinal cord. Survival of PLAP SCs was enhanced by immunosuppression with cyclosporin; delayed transplantation in conjunction with immunosuppression resulted in the best survival. In all cases, transplantation of SCs resulted in extensive infiltration of endogenous p75+ cells into the injury site, suggesting that endogenous SCs may play an important role in the repair observed after SC transplantation.

Therapeutic Interventions After Spinal Cord Injury

Nature Reviews. Neuroscience. Aug, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16858391

Spinal cord injury (SCI) can lead to paraplegia or quadriplegia. Although there are no fully restorative treatments for SCI, various rehabilitative, cellular and molecular therapies have been tested in animal models. Many of these have reached, or are approaching, clinical trials. Here, we review these potential therapies, with an emphasis on the need for reproducible evidence of safety and efficacy. Individual therapies are unlikely to provide a panacea. Rather, we predict that combinations of strategies will lead to improvements in outcome after SCI. Basic scientific research should provide a rational basis for tailoring specific combinations of clinical therapies to different types of SCI.

CCL2 is a Key Mediator of Microglia Activation in Neuropathic Pain States

European Journal of Pain (London, England). Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 18554968

While neuroimmune interactions are increasingly recognized as important in nociceptive processing, the nature and functional significance of these interactions is not well defined. There are multiple reports that the activation of spinal microglia is a critical event in the generation of neuropathic pain behaviors but the mediators of this activation remain disputed. Here we show that the chemokine CCL2, produced by both damaged and undamaged primary sensory neurons in neuropathic pain states in rats, is released in an activity dependent manner from the central terminals of these fibres. We also demonstrate that intraspinal CCL2 in naïve rats leads to activation of spinal microglia and neuropathic pain-like behavior. An essential role for spinal CCL2 is demonstrated by the inhibition of neuropathic pain behavior and microglial activation by a specific neutralising antibody to CCL2 administered intrathecally. Thus, the neuronal expression of CCL2 provides a mechanism for immune activation, which in turn regulates the sensitivity of pain signaling systems in neuropathic pain states.

Sustained Sensorimotor Impairments After Endothelin-1 Induced Focal Cerebral Ischemia (stroke) in Aged Rats

Experimental Neurology. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19913535

Despite recent advances, stroke remains a leading cause of neurological disability with the vast majority of victims being the elderly, who exhibit more severe neurological deficits and a reduced capacity to recover from these disabilities in comparison to young stroke survivors. The objective of the present study was to develop a model of focal ischemic stroke in aged rats using endothelin-1 (ET-1) to produce low mortality rates as well as reliable, robust sensorimotor deficits that resemble functional impairments associated with stroke in humans. Here, we studied the functional and histological outcome following unilateral ET-1 infusions into the sensorimotor cortex of aged rats (20-23 months old). This procedure resulted in low mortality rates (13.3%) and no loss in body weight one week following surgery. Functional assessment was performed using a number of reliable behavioural tests: staircase test (fine motor function), horizontal ladder (skilled locomotion), bilateral tactile stimulation test (somatosensory function) and cylinder test (postural weight support). Following ET-1 induced stroke, all tests demonstrated large and sustained sensorimotor deficits in both forelimb and hindlimb function that failed to improve over the 28-day testing period. In addition, histological assessment revealed a substantial loss of retrogradely labelled corticospinal neurons in the ipsilesional hemisphere following stroke. Our results establish a model for the use of aged rats in future preclinical studies, which will enhance assessment of the long-term benefit of potential neural repair and regenerative strategies.

Will Stem Cell Therapies Be Safe and Effective for Treating Spinal Cord Injuries?

British Medical Bulletin. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21586446

A large number of different cells including embryonic and adult stem cells have been transplanted into animal models of spinal cord injury, and in many cases these procedures have resulted in modest sensorimotor benefits. In October 2010 the world's first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells began, using stem cells converted into oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Optimization of a 96-Well Electroporation Assay for Postnatal Rat CNS Neurons Suitable for Cost-Effective Medium-Throughput Screening of Genes That Promote Neurite Outgrowth

Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22207835

Following an injury, central nervous system (CNS) neurons show a very limited regenerative response which results in their failure to successfully form functional connections with their original target. This is due in part to the reduced intrinsic growth state of CNS neurons, which is characterized by their failure to express key regeneration-associated genes (RAGs) and by the presence of growth inhibitory molecules in CNS environment that form a molecular and physical barrier to regeneration. Here we have optimized a 96-well electroporation and neurite outgrowth assay for postnatal rat cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) cultured upon an inhibitory cellular substrate expressing myelin-associated glycoprotein or a mixture of growth inhibitory chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. Optimal electroporation parameters resulted in 28% transfection efficiency and 51% viability for postnatal rat CGNs. The neurite outgrowth of transduced neurons was quantitatively measured using a semi-automated image capture and analysis system. The neurite outgrowth was significantly reduced by the inhibitory substrates which we demonstrated could be partially reversed using a Rho Kinase inhibitor. We are now using this assay to screen large sets of RAGs for their ability to increase neurite outgrowth on a variety of growth inhibitory and permissive substrates.

Delayed Treatment with Chondroitinase ABC Promotes Sensorimotor Recovery and Plasticity After Stroke in Aged Rats

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Apr, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22396394

Stroke is the dominant cause of sensorimotor disability that primarily affects the elderly. We now show that neuroplasticity and functional recovery after stroke is constrained by inhibitory chondroitin sulphates. In two blinded, randomized preclinical trials, degradation of chondroitin sulphate using chondroitinase ABC reactivated neuroplasticity and promoted sensorimotor recovery after stroke in elderly rats. Three days after stroke, chondroitinase ABC was microinjected into the cervical spinal cord to induce localized plasticity of forelimb sensorimotor spinal circuitry. Chondroitinase ABC effectively removed chondroitin sulphate from the extracellular matrix and perineuronal nets. Three different tests of sensorimotor function showed that chondroitinase ABC promoted recovery of forelimb function. Anterograde and retrograde tracing showed that chondroitinase ABC also induced sprouting of the contralesional corticospinal tract in the aged treated hemicord. Chondroitinase ABC did not neuroprotect the peri-infarct region. We show for the first time delayed chondroitinase ABC treatment promotes neuroanatomical and functional recovery after focal ischaemic stroke in an elderly nervous system.

Lentiviral Vectors Encoding Short Hairpin RNAs Efficiently Transduce and Knockdown LINGO-1 but Induce an Interferon Response and Cytotoxicity in Central Nervous System Neurones

The Journal of Gene Medicine. May, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22499506

Knocking down neuronal LINGO-1 using short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) might enhance axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). Integration-deficient lentiviral vectors have great potential as a therapeutic delivery system for CNS injuries. However, recent studies have revealed that shRNAs can induce an interferon response resulting in off-target effects and cytotoxicity.

Peripheral Nervous System Genes Expressed in Central Neurons Induce Growth on Inhibitory Substrates

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22701605

Trauma to the spinal cord and brain can result in irreparable loss of function. This failure of recovery is in part due to inhibition of axon regeneration by myelin and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs). Peripheral nervous system (PNS) neurons exhibit increased regenerative ability compared to central nervous system neurons, even in the presence of inhibitory environments. Previously, we identified over a thousand genes differentially expressed in PNS neurons relative to CNS neurons. These genes represent intrinsic differences that may account for the PNS's enhanced regenerative ability. Cerebellar neurons were transfected with cDNAs for each of these PNS genes to assess their ability to enhance neurite growth on inhibitory (CSPG) or permissive (laminin) substrates. Using high content analysis, we evaluated the phenotypic profile of each neuron to extract meaningful data for over 1100 genes. Several known growth associated proteins potentiated neurite growth on laminin. Most interestingly, novel genes were identified that promoted neurite growth on CSPGs (GPX3, EIF2B5, RBMX). Bioinformatic approaches also uncovered a number of novel gene families that altered neurite growth of CNS neurons.

Therapeutics Targeting Nogo-A Hold Promise for Stroke Restoration

CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23394537

Neurorestorative therapies for stroke aim to reverse disability by reparative mechanisms (rather than to thrombolyse or to neuroprotect). A substantial and persuasive body of pre-clinical evidence has come from the evaluation of antibodies against Nogo-A (a myelin-associated inhibitor of plasticity) in rat models of stroke. Particularly impressive is the benefit of this therapy in models of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) when given to elderly animals after a one week delay, in adult rats with co-morbidities, and in adult rats when treatment is delayed by up to 9 weeks after stroke (although antibodies against Nogo-A did not reverse disability in mice after proximal MCAO with reperfusion). We predict that antibodies against Nogo-A will improve outcome further when combined with suitable additional rehabilitation, and also that antibodies against Nogo-A will improve outcome in animal models of haemmorhagic stroke that affect the same brain regions as ischemic stroke caused by MCAO. Antibodies against Nogo-A have been shown to be safe in Phase I clinical trials for acute spinal cord injury, and this may eventually facilitate a trial in stroke.

Lentiviral Vector-mediated RNA Silencing in the Central Nervous System

Human Gene Therapy Methods. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24090197

RNA silencing is an established method for investigating gene function and has attracted particular interest because of the potential for generating RNA-based therapeutics. Using lentiviral vectors as an efficient delivery system that offers stable, long-term expression in postmitotic cells further enhances the applicability of an RNA-based gene therapy for the CNS. In this review we provide an overview of both lentiviral vectors and RNA silencing along with design considerations for generating lentiviral vectors capable of RNA silencing. We go on to describe the current preclinical data regarding lentiviral vector-mediated RNA silencing for CNS disorders and discuss the concerns of side effects associated with lentiviral vectors and small interfering RNAs and how these might be mitigated.

CategoryCompare, an Analytical Tool Based on Feature Annotations

Frontiers in Genetics. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24808906

Assessment of high-throughput-omics data initially focuses on relative or raw levels of a particular feature, such as an expression value for a transcript, protein, or metabolite. At a second level, analyses of annotations including known or predicted functions and associations of each individual feature, attempt to distill biological context. Most currently available comparative- and meta-analyses methods are dependent on the availability of identical features across data sets, and concentrate on determining features that are differentially expressed across experiments, some of which may be considered "biomarkers." The heterogeneity of measurement platforms and inherent variability of biological systems confounds the search for robust biomarkers indicative of a particular condition. In many instances, however, multiple data sets show involvement of common biological processes or signaling pathways, even though individual features are not commonly measured or differentially expressed between them. We developed a methodology, categoryCompare, for cross-platform and cross-sample comparison of high-throughput data at the annotation level. We assessed the utility of the approach using hypothetical data, as well as determining similarities and differences in the set of processes in two instances: (1) denervated skin vs. denervated muscle, and (2) colon from Crohn's disease vs. colon from ulcerative colitis (UC). The hypothetical data showed that in many cases comparing annotations gave superior results to comparing only at the gene level. Improved analytical results depended as well on the number of genes included in the annotation term, the amount of noise in relation to the number of genes expressing in unenriched annotation categories, and the specific method in which samples are combined. In the skin vs. muscle denervation comparison, the tissues demonstrated markedly different responses. The Crohn's vs. UC comparison showed gross similarities in inflammatory response in the two diseases, with particular processes specific to each disease.

The Use of an Adeno-associated Viral Vector for Efficient Bicistronic Expression of Two Genes in the Central Nervous System

Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24838969

Recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors are one of the most promising therapeutic delivery systems for gene therapy to the central nervous system (CNS). Preclinical testing of novel gene therapies requires the careful design and production of AAV vectors and their successful application in a model of CNS injury. One major limitation of AAV vectors is their limited packaging capacity (<5 kb) making the co-expression of two genes (e.g., from two promoters) difficult. An internal ribosomal entry site has been used to express two genes: However, the second transgene is often expressed at lower levels than the first. In addition to this, achieving high levels of transduction in the CNS can be challenging. In this chapter we describe the cloning of a bicistronic AAV vector that uses the foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A sequence to efficiently express two genes from a single promoter. Bicistronic expression of a therapeutic gene and a reporter gene is desirable so that the axons from transduced neurons can be tracked and, after CNS injury, the amount of axonal sprouting or regeneration quantified. We go on to describe how to perform a pyramidotomy model of CNS injury and the injection of AAV vectors into the sensorimotor cortex to provide efficient transduction and bicistronic gene expression in cortical neurons such that transduced axons are detectable in the dorsal columns of the spinal cord.

Experimental Design and Analysis and Their Reporting: New Guidance for Publication in BJP

British Journal of Pharmacology. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26114403

Let's Be Certain About Sartans (and Other Potential New Therapies for CNS Injury)

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26503939

Transcriptional Changes in Sensory Ganglia Associated with Primary Afferent Axon Collateral Sprouting in Spared Dermatome Model

Genomics Data. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26697387

Primary afferent collateral sprouting is a process whereby non-injured primary afferent neurons respond to some stimulus and extend new branches from existing axons. Neurons of both the central and peripheral nervous systems undergo this process, which contributes to both adaptive and maladaptive plasticity (e.g., [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]). In the model used here (the "spared dermatome" model), the intact sensory neurons respond to the denervation of adjacent areas of skin by sprouting new axon branches into that adjacent denervated territory. Investigations of gene expression changes associated with collateral sprouting can provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling this process. Consequently, it can be used to develop treatments to promote functional recovery for spinal cord injury and other similar conditions. This report includes raw gene expression data files from microarray experiments in order to study the gene regulation in spared sensory ganglia in the initiation (7 days) and maintenance (14 days) phases of the spared dermatome model relative to intact ("naïve") sensory ganglia. Data has been deposited into GEO (GSE72551).

Delayed Intramuscular Human Neurotrophin-3 Improves Recovery in Adult and Elderly Rats After Stroke

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26614754

There is an urgent need for a therapy that reverses disability after stroke when initiated in a time frame suitable for the majority of new victims. We show here that intramuscular delivery of neurotrophin-3 (NT3, encoded by NTF3) can induce sensorimotor recovery when treatment is initiated 24 h after stroke. Specifically, in two randomized, blinded preclinical trials, we show improved sensory and locomotor function in adult (6 months) and elderly (18 months) rats treated 24 h following cortical ischaemic stroke with human NT3 delivered using a clinically approved serotype of adeno-associated viral vector (AAV1). Importantly, AAV1-hNT3 was given in a clinically-feasible timeframe using a straightforward, targeted route (injections into disabled forelimb muscles). Magnetic resonance imaging and histology showed that recovery was not due to neuroprotection, as expected given the delayed treatment. Rather, treatment caused corticospinal axons from the less affected hemisphere to sprout in the spinal cord. This treatment is the first gene therapy that reverses disability after stroke when administered intramuscularly in an elderly body. Importantly, phase I and II clinical trials by others show that repeated, peripherally administered high doses of recombinant NT3 are safe and well tolerated in humans with other conditions. This paves the way for NT3 as a therapy for stroke.

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