Stroke in the developing brain is an important cause of neurological morbidity. We determined the impact of human cord blood-derived CD34(+)-enriched mononuclear cells (CBSC) intraperitoneally injected 48?h after an ischemic stroke at postnatal day 12 by evaluating poststroke neurogenic niche proliferation, glial response, and recovery in CD1 mice. Percent brain atrophy was quantified from Nissl-stained sections. Density of BrdU, Iba-1, and GFAP staining were quantified in the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone (SVZ). Immunohistochemistry for human nuclear antibody, human mitochondrial antibody, and human CD34(+) cells was done on injured and uninjured brains from CBSC- and vehicle-treated mice. Developmental neurobehavioral milestones were evaluated pre- and post-treatment. No significant differences in stroke severity were noted between CBSC and vehicle-treated injured animals. With a 1×10(5) CBSC dose, there was a significant increase in subgranular zone (SGZ) proliferation in the CBSC-versus vehicle-treated stroke-injured male mice. SVZ glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression was increased contralaterally in injured females treated with CBSC but suppressed in injured males. Significant negative correlations between severity of the stroke-injury and spleen weights, and between spleen weights and SGZ proliferation, and a positive correlation between GFAP expression and severity of brain injury were noted in the vehicle-treated injured mice but not in the CBSC-treated mice. GFAP expression and SVZ proliferation were positively correlated. In conclusion, neurogenic niche proliferation and glial brain responses to CBSC after neonatal stroke may involve interactions with the spleen and are sex dependent.
New genetic investigation techniques, including next-generation sequencing, epigenetic profiling, cell lineage mapping, targeted genetic manipulation of specific neuronal cell types, stem cell reprogramming, and optogenetic manipulations within epileptic networks are progressively unraveling the mysteries of epileptogenesis and ictogenesis. These techniques have opened new avenues to discover the molecular basis of epileptogenesis and to study the physiologic effects of mutations in epilepsy-associated genes on a multilayer level, from cells to circuits. This manuscript reviews recently published applications of these new genetic technologies in the study of epilepsy, as well as work presented by the authors at the genetic session of the XII Workshop on the Neurobiology of Epilepsy (WONOEP 2013) in Quebec, Canada. Next-generation sequencing is providing investigators with an unbiased means to assess the molecular causes of sporadic forms of epilepsy and has revealed the complexity and genetic heterogeneity of sporadic epilepsy disorders. To assess the functional impact of mutations in these newly identified genes on specific neuronal cell types during brain development, new modeling strategies in animals, including conditional genetics in mice and in utero knock-down approaches, are enabling functional validation with exquisite cell-type and temporal specificity. In addition, optogenetics, using cell-type-specific Cre recombinase driver lines, is enabling investigators to dissect networks involved in epilepsy. In addition, genetically encoded cell-type labeling is providing new means to assess the role of the nonneuronal components of epileptic networks such as glial cells. Furthermore, beyond its role in revealing coding variants involved in epileptogenesis, next-generation sequencing can be used to assess the epigenetic modifications that lead to sustained network hyperexcitability in epilepsy, including methylation changes in gene promoters and noncoding ribonucleic acid (RNA) involved in modifying gene expression following seizures. In addition, genetically based bioluminescent reporters are providing new opportunities to assess neuronal activity and neurotransmitter levels both in vitro and in vivo in the context of epilepsy. Finally, genetically rederived neurons generated from patient induced pluripotent stem cells and genetically modified zebrafish have become high-throughput means to investigate disease mechanisms and potential new therapies. Genetics has changed the field of epilepsy research considerably, and is paving the way for better diagnosis and therapies for patients with epilepsy.
Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2) cause most cases of Rett syndrome (RTT). Currently there is no cure for RTT. Abnormal EEGs are found in 100% of RTT cases and are associated with severe sleep dysfunction, the cause of which is not well understood. Mice deficient in MeCP2 protein have been studied and characterized for their neuropathological and behavioral deficits to better understand RTT. With the goal to study the non-ictal EEG correlates in symptomatic Mecp2 KO mice (Mecp2(tm1.1Bird/y)), and determine novel EEG biomarkers of their reported progressive neurodegeneration, we used 24 h video-EEG/EMG with synchronous in-vivo cortical glutamate biosensor in the frontal cortex. We scored the EEG for activity states and spectral analysis was performed to evaluate correlations to the synchronous extracellular glutamate fluctuations underlying Mecp2 inactivation as compared to WT. Significant alterations in sleep structure due to dark cycle-specific long wake states and poor quality of slow-wave sleep were associated with a significant increase in glutamate loads per activity cycle. The dynamics of the activity-state-dependent physiological rise and fall of glutamate indicative of glutamate homeostasis were significantly altered in the KO mice. Colorimetric quantitation of absolute glutamate levels in frontal cortex also indicated the presence of significantly higher levels in KO. This study for the first time found evidence of uncompensated sleep deprivation-like EEG biomarkers that were associated with glutamate homeostatic dysfunction in the Mecp2 KO mice.
Rett syndrome (RTT), associated with mutations in methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2), is linked to diverse neurological symptoms such as seizures, motor disabilities, and cognitive impairments. An altered GABAergic system has been proposed as one of many underlying pathologies of progressive neurodegeneration in several RTT studies. This study for the first time investigated the temporal- and location-specific alterations in the expression of ?-amino butyric acid (GABA) transporter 1 (GAT-1), vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT), and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67kD (GAD67) in wild type (WT) and knockout (KO) mice in the Mecp2(tm1.1Bird/y) mouse model of RTT. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) co-labeling of GAT-1 with vGAT identified GABAergic synapses that were quantitated for mid-sagittal sections in the frontal cortex (FC), hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), and striatum (Str). An age-dependent increase in the expression of synaptic GABA transporters, GAT-1, and vGAT, was observed in the FC and DG in WT brains. Mecp2 KO mice showed a significant alteration in this temporal profile that was location-specific, only in the FC. GAD67-positive cell densities also showed an age-dependent increase in the FC, but a decrease in the DG in WT mice. However, these densities were not significantly altered in the KO mice in the regions examined in this study. Therefore, the significant location-specific downregulation of synaptic GABA transporters in Mecp2 KO brains with unaltered densities of GAD67-positive interneurons may highlight the location-specific synaptic pathophysiology in this model of RTT.
Symmetrical dimethylation on arginine-3 of histone H4 (H4R3me2s) has been reported to occur at several repressed genes, but its specific regulation and genomic distribution remained unclear. Here, we show that the type-II protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 controls H4R3me2s in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). In these differentiated cells, we find that the genome-wide pattern of H4R3me2s is highly similar to that in embryonic stem cells. In both the cell types, H4R3me2s peaks are detected predominantly at G + C-rich regions. Promoters are consistently marked by H4R3me2s, independently of transcriptional activity. Remarkably, H4R3me2s is mono-allelic at imprinting control regions (ICRs), at which it marks the same parental allele as H3K9me3, H4K20me3 and DNA methylation. These repressive chromatin modifications are regulated independently, however, since PRMT5-depletion in MEFs resulted in loss of H4R3me2s, without affecting H3K9me3, H4K20me3 or DNA methylation. Conversely, depletion of ESET (KMT1E) or SUV420H1/H2 (KMT5B/C) affected H3K9me3 and H4K20me3, respectively, without altering H4R3me2s at ICRs. Combined, our data indicate that PRMT5-mediated H4R3me2s uniquely marks the mammalian genome, mostly at G + C-rich regions, and independently from transcriptional activity or chromatin repression. Furthermore, comparative bioinformatics analyses suggest a putative role of PRMT5-mediated H4R3me2s in chromatin configuration in the nucleus.
Stroke in the neonatal brain frequently results in neurologic impairments including cognitive disability. We investigated the effect of long-term sodium valproate (valproate) and trichostatin A (TSA) treatment upon post-stroke neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of stroke-injured immature mice. Decreased or abnormal integration of newborn DG neurons into hippocampal circuits can result in impaired visual-spatial function, abnormal modulation of mood-related behaviors, and the development of post-stroke epilepsy. Unilateral carotid ligation of P12 CD1 mice was followed by treatment with valproate, TSA, or vehicle for 2 weeks, bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) administration for measurement of neurogenesis, and perfusion at P42 or P60. Behavior testing was conducted from P38-42. No detrimental effects on behavior testing were noted with TSA treatment, but mildly impaired cognitive function was noted with valproate-treated injured animals compared to normal animals. Significant increases in DG neurogenesis with both TSA and valproate treatment were noted with later administration of BrdU. Increased mortality and impaired weight gain was noted in the valproate-treated ligated animals, but not in the TSA-treated animals. In summary, the impact of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition upon post-stroke subgranular zone neurogenesis is likely to depend on the age of the animal at the time point when neurogenesis is assessed, duration of HDAC inhibition before BrdU labeling, and/or the stage in the evolution of the injury.
Edwardsiella Tarda, a bacterium associated with fresh water ecosystems, can cause life-threatening illnesses in susceptible hosts. To date, very few cases of neonatal Edwardsiella Tarda sepsis have been reported in the literature, none from India. The author reports a 4-d-old preterm with E. tarda septicemia.
Neonatal stroke presents with seizures that are usually treated with phenobarbital. We hypothesized that anticonvulsants would attenuate ischemic injury, but that the dose-dependent effects of standard anticonvulsants would impact important age-dependent and injury-dependent consequences. In this study, ischemia induced by unilateral carotid ligation in postnatal day 12 (P12) CD1 mice was immediately followed by an i.p. dose of vehicle, low-dose or high-dose phenobarbital. Severity of acute behavioral seizures was scored. 5-Bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered from P18 to P20, behavioral testing performed, and mice perfused at P40. Atrophy quantification and counts of BrdU/NeuN-labeled cells in the dentate gyrus were performed. Blood phenobarbital concentrations were measured. 30mg/kg phenobarbital reduced acute seizures and chronic brain injury, and restored normal weight gain and exploratory behavior. By comparison, 60mg/kg was a less efficacious anticonvulsant, was not neuroprotective, did not restore normal weight gain, and impaired behavioral and cognitive recovery. Hippocampal neurogenesis was not different between treatment groups. These results suggest a protective effect of lower-dose phenobarbital, but a lack of this effect at higher concentrations after stroke in P12 mice.
Notch receptors (1-4) are membrane proteins that, on ligand stilumation, release their cytoplasmic domains to serve as transcription factors. Notch-2 promotes proliferation both during development and cancer, but its role in response to ischemic injury is less well understood. The purpose of this study was to understand whether Notch-2 is induced after neonatal stroke and to investigate its functional relevance.
Rodents eliminate antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) faster than humans, creating challenges for designing clinically relevant protocols. Half-lives of AEDs in immature mice are unknown. The pharmacokinetics of commonly used AEDs were examined in CD1 mice using a single-dose protocol at postnatal day 19. After intraperitoneal therapeutic dosing, blood serum concentrations spanning 1-48 h post-administration and corresponding brain tissue concentrations at 4 h were analyzed. Half-lives of valproate, phenobarbital, diazepam (and metabolites), phenytoin, and levetiracetam were 2.6, 15.8, 22.3, 16.3, and 3.2 h, respectively, compared to 0.8, 7.5, 7.7, 16.0, and 1.5 h reported for adult mice. Brain-to-blood ratios were comparable with adult ratios. AEDs tested had longer half-lives and maintained therapeutic plasma concentrations longer than reported in mature mice, making clinically relevant protocols feasible.
The development of acquired epilepsy after a perinatal hypoxic-ischemic (HI) insult was investigated in rats. After unilateral carotid ligation with hypoxia on postnatal day 7, cortical electroencephalographic and behavioral seizures were recorded with continuous radio-telemetry and video. Chronic recordings were obtained between 2 and 12 months of age in freely behaving HI-treated and sham control rats. The hypotheses were that the acquired epilepsy is directly associated with an ischemic infarct (i.e., no lesion, no epilepsy), and the resultant epilepsy is temporally progressive. Every HI-treated rat with a cerebral infarct developed spontaneous epileptiform discharges and recurrent seizures (100%); in contrast, no spontaneous epileptiform discharges or seizures were detected with continuous monitoring in the HI-treated rats without infarcts. The initial seizures at 2 months generally showed focal onset and were nonconvulsive. Subsequent seizures had focal onsets that propagated to the homotopic contralateral cortex and were nonconvulsive or partial; later seizures often appeared to have bilateral onset and were convulsive. Spontaneous epileptiform discharges were initially lateralized to ipsilateral neocortex but became bilateral over time. The severity and frequency of the spontaneous behavioral and electrographic seizures progressively increased over time. In every epileptic rat, seizures occurred in distinct clusters with seizure-free periods as long as a few weeks. The progressive increase in seizure frequency over time was associated with increases in cluster frequency and seizures within each cluster. Thus, prolonged, continuous seizure monitoring directly demonstrated that the acquired epilepsy after perinatal HI was progressive with seizure clusters and was consistently associated with a cerebral infarct.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells require a coordinated network of transcription factors to maintain pluripotency or trigger lineage specific differentiation. Central to these processes are the proteins Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2. Although the transcriptional targets of these factors have been extensively studied, very little is known about how the proteins themselves are regulated, especially at the post-translational level. Post-translational modifications are well documented to have broad effects on protein stability, activity, and cellular distribution. Here, we identify a key lysine residue in the nuclear export signal of Sox2 that is acetylated, and demonstrate that blocking acetylation at this site retains Sox2 in the nucleus and sustains expression of its target genes under hyperacetylation or differentiation conditions. Mimicking acetylation at this site promotes association of Sox2 with the nuclear export machinery. In addition, increased cellular acetylation leads to reduction in Sox2 levels by ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation, thus abrogating its ability to drive transcription of its target genes. Acetylation-mediated nuclear export may be a commonly used regulatory mechanism for many Sox family members, as this lysine is conserved across species and in orthologous proteins.
Stroke in term neonates remains a significant cause of long-term neurological morbidity. This study was designed to assess the relationships between ischemic stroke induced by permanent unilateral carotid ligation in P12 CD1 mice and the structural and functional outcomes in the young mice as a consequence. After P12 ischemic strokes, mice were behaviorally tested using accelerated rotorod, spontaneous alternation on a T-maze, open-field, and cylinder tests between P33 and P39. Brain injury was scored by histology at P40 with cresyl violet-stained coronal sections and computerized quantification of the ischemic injury. The ligation-injured mice were not different from controls on cylinder testing for asymmetric use of their forelimb, or on rotorod measures. In the spontaneous alternation task, however, injured mice demonstrated significantly lower rates of alternation indicating a deficit in working memory. Open-field testing repeated on two consecutive days revealed that the ligated mice were less active than the controls and that they failed to habituate to the open field environment between sessions indicating a learning deficit. Overall, our results demonstrate that ischemia induced by our neonatal stroke model produces behavioral deficits that are consistent with the brain injury.
Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2 form the core of a transcription factor network that maintains embryonic stem cells in the pluripotent state in both humans and mice. These critical factors have been implicated as both positive and negative regulators of transcription, varying by promoter and differentiation state of the cell. The Mediator complex, a ubiquitous conserved complex of approximately 30 subunits, facilitates transcription by coordinating RNA polymerase II binding to target promoters via gene-specific activators and can be divided into several functional subcomplexes. Med12 is part of a subcomplex of four proteins associated with the core Mediator complex and has been found to function both in repressing and activating transcription when recruited to target promoters. We identified an interaction between Med12 and Nanog and present evidence of involvement of Med12 in regulation of Nanog function. Gene expression analysis of embryonic stem cells knocked down for Med12 showed a similarity to Nanog knockdown, with increased expression of Nanog-repressed targets and decreased expression of Nanog-activated targets. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we found that Med12 and Nanog co-occupied Nanog target promoters in embryonic stem cells and that Med12 dissociated from target promoters upon differentiation with kinetics similar to Nanog. Our results indicate that Nanog and Med12 function in concert to regulate Nanog target genes and identify a novel role for Med12 in embryonic stem cell regulation.
Large networks of proteins govern embryonic stem (ES) cell pluripotency. Recent analysis of the critical pluripotency factors Oct4 and Nanog has identified their interaction with multiple transcriptional repression complexes, including members of the mSin3A-HDAC complex, suggesting that these factors could be involved in the regulation of Oct4/Nanog function. mSin3A is critical for embryonic development, but the mechanism by which the mSin3A-HDAC complex is able to regulate ES cell pluripotency is undefined. Herein we show that the mSin3A-HDAC complex positively regulates Nanog expression in ES cells through Sox2, a critical ES cell transcription factor and regulator of Nanog. We have identified the mSin3A-HDAC complex to be present at the Nanog promoter only under proliferating conditions concurrent with histone acetylation. We find that Sox2 associates with mSin3A-HDAC complex members both in vitro and in vivo, similar to the interactions found between Oct4/Nanog and the mSin3A-HDAC complex. Knockdown of mSin3A-HDAC complex members or HDAC inhibitor treatment reduces Nanog expression, and overexpression of mSin3A-HDAC complex subunits stimulates Nanog expression. Our data demonstrate that the mSin3A-HDAC complex can positively regulate Nanog expression under proliferating conditions and that this activity is complementary to mSin3A-mediated p53-dependent silencing of Nanog during differentiation.
Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) is defined by vascular malformations of the face, eye and brain and an underlying somatic mutation has been hypothesized. We employed isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ-8plex)-based liquid chromatography interfaced with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) approach to identify differentially expressed proteins between port-wine-derived and normal skin-derived fibroblasts of four individuals with SWS. Proteins were identified that were significantly up- or down-regulated (i.e., ratios >1.2 or <0.8) in two or three pairs of samples (n = 31/972 quantified proteins) and their associated p values reported. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) tool showed that the up-regulated proteins were associated with pathways that enhance cell proliferation; down-regulated proteins were associated with suppression of cell proliferation. The significant toxicologic list pathway in all four observations was oxidative stress mediated by Nrf2. This proteomics study highlights oxidative stress also consistent with a possible mutation in the RASA1 gene or pathway in SWS.
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