Astrocytes play active roles in the regulation of synaptic transmission. Neuronal excitation can evoke Ca(2+) transients in astrocytes, and these Ca(2+) transients can modulate neuronal excitability. Although only a subset of astrocytes appears to communicate with neurons, the types of astrocytes that can regulate neuronal excitability are poorly characterized. We found that ?30% of astrocytes in the brain express transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4), indicating that astrocytic subtypes can be classified on the basis of their expression patterns. When TRPV4(+) astrocytes are activated by ligands such as arachidonic acid, the activation propagates to neighboring astrocytes through gap junctions and by ATP release from the TRPV4(+) astrocytes. After activation, both TRPV4(+) and TRPV4(-) astrocytes release glutamate, which acts as an excitatory gliotransmitter to increase synaptic transmission through type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR). Our results indicate that TRPV4(+) astrocytes constitute a novel subtype of the population and are solely responsible for initiating excitatory gliotransmitter release to enhance synaptic transmission. We propose that TRPV4(+) astrocytes form a core of excitatory glial assembly in the brain and function to efficiently increase neuronal excitation in response to endogenous TRPV4 ligands.
Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4), a calcium-permeable channel, is highly expressed in the apical membrane of choroid plexus epithelial cells (CPECs) in the brain. The function of TRPV4 is unknown. Here, we show physical and functional interaction between TRPV4 and anoctamin 1 (ANO1) in HEK293T cells and CPECs. Chloride currents induced by a TRPV4 activator (GSK1016790A) were markedly increased in an extracellular calcium-dependent manner in HEK293T cells expressing TRPV4 with ANO1, but not with ANO4, ANO6, or ANO10, the mRNAs of which were expressed in the choroid plexus. We also found physical interaction between TRPV4 and ANO1 in both HEK293T cells and choroid plexus. We observed that ANO1 was activated at a warm temperature (37°C) in HEK293T cells and that the heat-evoked chloride currents were markedly enhanced after GSK1016790A application in CPECs. Simultaneous stimulation by warmth and hyposmosis induced chloride current activation in wild-type, but not in TRPV4-deficient, CPECs. Cell volume changes were induced by ANO1-mediated chloride currents in parallel with membrane potential changes, and the cell volume was significantly decreased at negative membrane potentials by TRPV4-induced ANO1 activation. Thus, physical and functional interactions between TRPV4 and ANO1 can modulate water transport in the choroid plexus.
?-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult mammalian central nervous system and plays modulatory roles in neural development. The vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) is an essential molecule for GABAergic neurotransmission due to its role in vesicular GABA release. Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) are GABAergic projection neurons that are indispensable for cerebellar function. To elucidate the significance of VGAT in cerebellar PCs, we generated and characterized PC-specific VGAT knockout (L7-VGAT) mice. VGAT mRNAs and proteins were specifically absent in the 40-week-old L7-VGAT PCs. The morphological characteristics, such as lamination and foliation of the cerebellar cortex, of the L7-VGAT mice were similar to those of the control littermate mice. Moreover, the protein expression levels and patterns of pre- (calbindin and parvalbumin) and postsynaptic (GABA-A receptor ?1 subunit and gephyrin) molecules between the L7-VGAT and control mice were similar in the deep cerebellar nuclei that receive PC projections. However, the L7-VGAT mice performed poorly in the accelerating rotarod test and displayed ataxic gait in the footprint test. The L7-VGAT mice also exhibited severer ataxia as VGAT deficits progressed. These results suggest that VGAT in cerebellar PCs is not essential for the rough maintenance of cerebellar structure, but does play an important role in motor coordination. The L7-VGAT mice are a novel model of ataxia without PC degeneration, and would also be useful for studying the role of PCs in cognition and emotion.
Thermosensitive transient receptor potential (thermo TRP) channels are important for sensory transduction. Among them, TRPV2 has an interesting characteristic of being activated by very high temperature (>52 °C). In addition to the heat sensor function, TRPV2 also acts as a mechanosensor, an osomosensor and a lipid sensor. It has been reported that TRPV2 is expressed in heart, intestine, pancreas and sensory nerves. In the central nervous system, neuronal TRPV2 expression was reported, however, glial expression and the precise roles of TRPV2 have not been determined. To explore the functional expression of TRPV2 in astrocytes, the expression was determined by histological and physiological methods. Interestingly, TRPV2 expression was detected in plasma membrane of astrocytes, and the astrocytic TRPV2 was activated by very high temperature (>50 °C) consistent with the reported characteristic. We revealed that the astrocytic TRPV2 was also activated by lysophosphatidylcholine, a known endogenous lipid ligand for TRPV2, suggesting that astrocytic TRPV2 might regulate neuronal activities in response to lipid metabolism. Thus, for the first time we revealed that TRPV2 is functionally expressed in astrocytes in addition to neurons.
Neural stem cells (NSCs) are present in postnatal murine cerebellum. The detailed characteristics of these NSCs have never been reported. This study isolated NSC-like cells from postnatal mouse cerebellum. These cells proliferated in response to epidermal growth factor, expressed various NSC markers, and had the ability to self-renew. Neurosphere assays revealed that these cells could differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes, indicating multipotency as NSCs. Although possessing multipotency, most of these cells differentiated into astrocytes spontaneously in vitro. Both ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) facilitated expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and some other characteristics of mature astrocytes by these cells. However, the shape and expression of glutamine transporter GLT-1 of GFAP(+) cells generated in the presence of CNTF or BMP2 differed significantly, suggesting that CNTF and BMP2 induced differentiation of these NSCs into two distinct types of astrocytes.
We previously reported that CD44-positive cells were candidates for astrocyte precursor cells in the developing cerebellum, because cells expressing high levels of CD44 selected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) gave rise only to astrocytes in vitro. However, whether CD44 is a specific cell marker for cerebellar astrocyte precursor cells in vivo is unknown. In this study, we used immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and FACS to analyze the spatial and temporal expression of CD44 and characterize the CD44-positive cells in the mouse cerebellum during development. CD44 expression was observed not only in astrocyte precursor cells but also in neural stem cells and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) at early postnatal stages. CD44 expression in OPCs was shut off during oligodendrocyte differentiation. Interestingly, during development, CD44 expression was limited specifically to Bergmann glia and fibrous astrocytes among three types of astrocytes in cerebellum, and expression in astrocytes was shut off during postnatal development. CD44 expression was also detected in developing Purkinje and granule neurons but was limited to granule neurons in the adult cerebellum. Thus, at early developmental stages of the cerebellum, CD44 was widely expressed in several types of precursor cells, and over the course of development, the expression of CD44 became restricted to granule neurons in the adult.
DIP (diaphanous interacting protein)/WISH (WASP interacting SH3 protein) is a protein involved in cytoskeletal signaling which regulates actin cytoskeleton dynamics and/or microtubules mainly through the activity of Rho-related proteins. Although it is well established that: 1) spine-head volumes change dynamically and reflect the strength of the synapse accompanying long-term functional plasticity of glutamatergic synaptic transmission and 2) actin organization is critically involved in spine formation, the involvement of DIP/WISH in these processes is unknown.
The capsaicin receptor, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), acts as a polymodal detector of pain-producing chemical and physical stimuli in sensory neurons. Hyperglycemia and hypoxia are two main phenomena in diabetes associated with several complications. Although many studies on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats indicate that early diabetic neuropathy is associated with potentiation of TRPV1 activity in dorsal root ganglion neurons, its underlying mechanism and distinctive roles of hyperglycemia and hypoxia have not been completely clarified. Here, we show that hypoxic and high glucose conditions (overnight exposure) potentiate the TRPV1 activity without affecting TRPV1 expression in both native rat sensory neurons and human embryonic kidney-derived 293 cells expressing rat or human TRPV1. Surprisingly, hypoxia was found to be a more effective determinant than high glucose, and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1?) seemed to be involved. In addition, high glucose enhanced TRPV1 sensitization only when high glucose existed together with hypoxia. The potentiation of TRPV1 was caused by its phosphorylation of the serine residues, and translocation of protein kinase C (PKC)? was clearly observed in the cells exposed to the hypoxic conditions in both cell types, which was inhibited by 2-methoxyestradiol, a HIF-1? inhibitor. These data suggest that hypoxia is a new sensitization mechanism for TRPV1, which might be relevant to diabetes-related complications, and also for other diseases that are associated with acute hypoxia.
Molecules that have crucial functions in both nervous and vascular systems have attracted keen attention recently, and the name "angioneurins" has been proposed. The most striking example of angioneurins is vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF), which was originally identified as a key regulator of angiogenesis and has only recently been found to have important functions in the nervous system. In this study, we compared VEGF expression in the vasculature in the brain with that in the aorta and the vasculature in the kidney in mice. In larger vessels containing smooth muscle cells, VEGF was expressed by smooth muscle cells covering the lining of endothelial cells, both in and outside the brain. In cerebral capillaries lacking smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells were closely covered by VEGF-expressing foot processes of astrocytes, whereas capillaries were surrounded by VEGF-expressing processes of podocytes in the renal glomeruli. We also found that cultured cerebral microvessel endothelial cells do not express VEGF, whereas cultured cortical astrocytes do express VEGF.
Transient receptor potential channel vanilloid 2 (TRPV2) can detect various stimuli such as temperature (>52 °C), stretch, and chemicals, including 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, probenecid, and lysophospholipids. Although expressed in many tissues, including sensory and motor neurons, TRPV2 expression and function in the gastrointestinal tract is poorly understood. Here, we show TRPV2 expression in the murine intestine and its involvement in intestinal function. Almost all mouse intestinal intrinsic sensory and inhibitory motor neurons, both cell bodies and nerve fibers, showed TRPV2 immunoreactivity. Several known TRPV2 activators increased cytosolic Ca²+ concentrations and evoked TRPV2-like current responses in dissociated myenteric neurons. Interestingly, mechanical stimuli activated inward currents in a strength-dependent manner, which were inhibited by a TRPV2 inhibitor tranilast. TRPV2 activation in isolated intestine inhibited spontaneous circular muscle contraction, which did not occur in the presence of the TRPV2 antagonist, tetrodotoxin or nitro oxide (NO) synthase pathway inhibitors. Also, increased intestinal NO production was observed in response to a TRPV2 agonist, and gastrointestinal transit in vivo was accelerated by TRPV2 agonists or an NO donor. In conclusion, TRPV2 may contribute to intestinal motility through NO production, and TRPV2 is a promising target for controlling intestinal movement.
Five basic tastes (bitter, sweet, umami, salty, and sour) are detected in the four taste areas where taste buds reside. Although molecular mechanisms for detecting bitter, sweet, and umami have been well clarified, those for sour and salty remain poorly understood. Several channels including acid-sensing ion channels have been proposed as candidate sour receptors, but they do not encompass all sour-sensing abilities in vivo. We recently reported a novel candidate for sour sensing, the polycystic kidney disease-2-like 1 (PKD2L1)-PKD1L3 channel complex. This channel is not a traditional ligand-gated channel and is gated open only after removal of an acid stimulus, called an off response. Here we show that off responses upon acid stimulus are clearly observed in native taste cells from circumvallate, but not fungiform papillae, of glutamate decarboxylase 67-green fluorescent protein (GAD67-GFP) knock-in mice, from which Type III taste cells can be visualized, using Ca(2+) imaging and patch clamp methods. Off responses were detected in most cells where PKD2L1 immunoreactivity was observed. Interestingly, the pH threshold for acid-evoked intracellular Ca(2+) increase was around 5.0, a value much higher than that observed in HEK293 cells expressing the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex. Thus, PKD2L1-PKD1L3-mediated acid-evoked off responses occurred both in HEK293 cells and in native taste cells, suggesting the involvement of the PKD2L1-PKD1L3 complex in acid sensing in vivo.
Thermosensitive TRP (thermo TRP) channels are well recognized for their contributions to sensory transduction, responding to a wide variety of stimuli including temperature, nociceptive stimuli, touch, and osmolarity. However, the precise roles for the thermo TRP channels during development have not been determined. To explore the functional importance of thermo TRP channels during neural development, the temporal expression was determined in embryonic mice. Interestingly, TRPV2 expression was detected in spinal motor neurons in addition to the dorsal root ganglia from embryonic day 10.5 and was localized in axon shafts and growth cones, suggesting that the channel is important for axon outgrowth regulation. We revealed that endogenous TRPV2 was activated in a membrane stretch-dependent manner in developing neurons by knocking down the TRPV2 function with dominant-negative TRPV2 and TRPV2-specific shRNA and significantly promoted axon outgrowth. Thus, for the first time we revealed that TRPV2 is an important regulator for axon outgrowth through its activation by membrane stretch during development.
Transient receptor potential V3 (TRPV3) and TRPV4 are heat-activated cation channels expressed in keratinocytes. It has been proposed that heat-activation of TRPV3 and/or TRPV4 in the skin may release diffusible molecules which would then activate termini of neighboring dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Here we show that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is such a candidate molecule released from keratinocytes upon heating in the co-culture systems. Using TRPV1-deficient DRG neurons, we found that increase in cytosolic Ca(2+)-concentration in DRG neurons upon heating was observed only when neurons were co-cultured with keratinocytes, and this increase was blocked by P2 purinoreceptor antagonists, PPADS and suramin. In a co-culture of keratinocytes with HEK293 cells (transfected with P2X(2) cDNA to serve as a bio-sensor), we observed that heat-activated keratinocytes secretes ATP, and that ATP release is compromised in keratinocytes from TRPV3-deficient mice. This study provides evidence that ATP is a messenger molecule for mainly TRPV3-mediated thermotransduction in skin.
Transient receptor potential channels have recently been implicated in physiological functions in a urogenital system. In this study, we investigated the role of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channels in a stretch sensing mechanism in mouse primary urothelial cell cultures. The selective TRPV4 agonist, 4alpha-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate (4alpha-PDD) evoked Ca(2+) influx in wild-type (WT) urothelial cells, but not in TRPV4-deficient (TRPV4KO) cells. We established a cell-stretch system to investigate stretch-evoked changes in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration and ATP release. Stretch stimulation evoked intracellular Ca(2+) increases in a stretch speed- and distance-dependent manner in WT and TRPV4KO cells. In TRPV4KO urothelial cells, however, the intracellular Ca(2+) increase in response to stretch stimulation was significantly attenuated compared with that in WT cells. Stretch-evoked Ca(2+) increases in WT urothelium were partially reduced in the presence of ruthenium red, a broad TRP channel blocker, whereas that in TRPV4KO cells did not show such reduction. Potent ATP release occurred following stretch stimulation or 4alpha-PDD administration in WT urothelial cells, which was dramatically suppressed in TRPV4KO cells. Stretch-dependent ATP release was almost completely eliminated in the presence of ruthenium red or in the absence of extracellular Ca(2+). These results suggest that TRPV4 senses distension of the bladder urothelium, which is converted to an ATP signal in the micturition reflex pathway during urine storage.
It has been long speculated that specific signals are transmitted from photoreceptors to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). However, such signals have not been identified. In this study, we examined the retinal expression and localization of acetylcholine-related molecules as putative candidates for these signals. Previous reports revealed that ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are present in the microvilli of RPE cells that envelope the tips of photoreceptor outer segments (OS). Secreted mammalian leukocyte antigen 6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor-related protein-1 (SLURP-1) is a positive allosteric modulator of the ?7 nAChR. Therefore, we first focused on the expression of SLURP-1. SLURP-1 mRNA was expressed in the outer nuclear layer, which is comprised of photoreceptor cell bodies. SLURP-1 immunoreactivity co-localized with rhodopsin and S-opsin in photoreceptor OS, while choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and high affinity choline transporter (CHT-1) were also expressed in photoreceptor OS. Immunoelectron microscopy identified that the majority of SLURP-1 was localized to the plasma membranes of photoreceptor OS. These results provide evidence that SLURP-1 is synthesized in photoreceptor cell bodies and transported to photoreceptor OS, where SLURP-1 may also be secreted. Our findings suggest that photoreceptor OS communicate via neurotransmitters such as ACh and SLURP-1, while RPE cells might receive these signals through ?7 nAChRs in their microvilli.
Ischemic insults affecting the internal capsule result in sensory-motor disabilities which adversely affect the patients life. Cerebral endothelial cells have been reported to exert a protective effect against brain damage, so the transplantation of healthy endothelial cells might have a beneficial effect on the outcome of ischemic brain damage. In this study, endothelin-1 (ET-1) was injected into the rat internal capsule to induce lacunar infarction. Seven days after ET-1 injection, microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) were transplanted into the internal capsule. Meningeal cells or 0.2% bovine serum albumin-Hanks balanced salt solution were injected as controls. Two weeks later, the footprint test and histochemical analysis were performed. We found that MVEC transplantation improved the behavioral outcome based on recovery of hind-limb rotation angle (P<0.01) and induced remyelination (P<0.01) compared with the control groups. Also the inflammatory response was repressed by MVEC transplantation, judging from fewer ED-1-positive activated microglial cells in the MVEC-transplanted group than in the other groups. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which MVECs ameliorate ischemic damage of the white matter may provide important information for the development of effective therapies for white matter ischemia.
Microglia are intrinsic immune cells in the brain. In response to neurodegenerative events, excessively activated microglia change their shapes and release various cytokines leading to the pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS) disease. Because the intracellular mechanisms of this process are still unclear, we have evaluated the functional roles of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel expressed in the microglia. Robust microglial activation after an injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the mouse cerebral ventricle was suppressed by concurrent administration of a selective TRPV4 agonist, 4?-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate (4?-PDD). When the mechanism was further investigated using cultured rat microglia intrinsically expressing functional TRPV4, release of tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) and expression of galectin-3 were both increased by LPS. These increases were significantly suppressed by cotreatment with 4?-PDD, and the inhibitory effects of 4?-PDD were abolished by knockdown of TRPV4 or TRPV4 antagonists. The amplitude of voltage-dependent K(+) current, which is augmented during microglial activation, was also suppressed by 4?-PDD treatment. Opening of TRPV4 channels with 4?-PDD induced membrane depolarization mainly by increasing Na(+) influx. In addition, mimicking depolarization with a high-K(+) solution suppressed LPS-induced TNF-? release and galectin-3 upregulation. Both depolarizing treatments with 4?-PDD and high-K(+) solution decreased store-operated Ca(2+) influx caused by thapsigargin. These results suggest that depolarization in response to opening of the TRPV4 channel attenuates the driving force for extracellular Ca(2+) and suppresses microglial activation.
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