Accumulation of N-terminal fragments of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) in the cytoplasm, nuclei, and axons of neurons is a hallmark of Huntington's disease (HD), although how these fragments negatively impact neurons remains unclear. We followed the distribution of mHTT in the striata of transgenic R6/2-J2 HD mice as their motor function declined. The fraction of cells with diffuse, perinuclear or intranuclear mHTT changed in parallel with decreasing motor function. In transgenic mice, medium spiny neurons (MSNs) that exhibited perinuclear inclusions expressed cell cycle markers typically not seen in the striata of normal mice and these cells are preferentially lost as disease progresses. Electron microscopy reveals that perinuclear inclusions disrupt the nuclear envelope. The progression of perinuclear inclusions being accompanied by cell cycle activation and culminating in cell death was also observed in 1° cortical neurons. These observations provide a strong correlation between the subcellular location of mHTT, disruption of the nucleus, reentry into the cell cycle and eventual neuronal death. They also highlight the fact that the subcellular distribution of mHTT is highly dynamic such that the distribution of mHTT observed depends greatly on the stage of the disease being examined.
TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is a nuclear RNA-binding protein involved in many cellular pathways. TDP-43-positive inclusions are a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The major clinical presentation of ALS is muscle weakness due to the degeneration of motor neurons. Mislocalization of TDP-43 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is an early event of ALS. In this study, we demonstrate that cytoplasmic mislocalization of TDP-43 was accompanied by increased activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in motor neurons of ALS patients. The activation of AMPK in a motor neuron cell line (NSC34) or mouse spinal cords induced the mislocalization of TDP-43, recapitulating this characteristic of ALS. Down-regulation of AMPK-?1 or exogenous expression of a dominant-negative AMPK-?1 mutant reduced TDP-43 mislocalization. Suppression of AMPK activity using cAMP-simulating agents rescued the mislocalization of TDP-43 in NSC34 cells and delayed disease progression in TDP-43 transgenic mice. Our findings demonstrate that activation of AMPK-?1 plays a critical role in TDP-43 mislocalization and the development of ALS; thus, AMPK-?1 may be a potential drug target for this devastating disease.
Adenosine regulates important pathophysiological functions via four distinct adenosine receptor subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3). The A1 and A2A adenosine receptors (A1R and A2AR) are major targets of caffeine and have been extensively investigated. Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by an abnormal CAG expansion in the Huntingtin gene. Since the first genetic HD model was created almost two decades ago, tremendous progress regarding the function of the adenosine receptors in HD has been made. Chronic intake of caffeine was recently shown to be positively associated with the disease onset of HD. Moreover, genetic polymorphism of A2AR is believed to impact the age of onset. Given the importance of adenosine receptors as drug targets for human diseases, this review highlights the recent findings that delineate the roles of adenosine receptors in HD and discusses their potential for serving as drug targets and/or biomarkers for HD. Adenosine is a purine nucleoside that regulates important physiological functions via four different adenosine receptors (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3). These adenosine receptors have seven transmembrane domains and belong to the G protein-coupled receptor family. The functions of the A1 adenosine receptor (A1R) and A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) have been investigated relative to HD. In this review, we summarize the recent findings regarding the role of adenosine receptors in HD and discuss the potential application of adenosine receptors as drug targets and biomarkers for HD.
Adenosine is a naturally occurring nucleoside that is distributed ubiquitously throughout the body as a metabolic intermediary. In the brain, adenosine functions as an important upstream neuromodulator of a broad spectrum of neurotransmitters, receptors, and signaling pathways. By acting through four G-protein-coupled receptors, adenosine contributes critically to homeostasis and neuromodulatory control of a variety of normal and abnormal brain functions, ranging from synaptic plasticity, to cognition, to sleep, to motor activity to neuroinflammation, and cell death. This review begun with an overview of the gene and genome structure and the expression pattern of adenosine receptors (ARs). We feature several new developments over the past decade in our understanding of AR functions in the brain, with special focus on the identification and characterization of canonical and noncanonical signaling pathways of ARs. We provide an update on functional insights from complementary genetic-knockout and pharmacological studies on the AR control of various brain functions. We also highlight several novel and recent developments of AR neurobiology, including (i) recent breakthrough in high resolution of three-dimension structure of adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs) in several functional status, (ii) receptor-receptor heterodimerization, (iii) AR function in glial cells, and (iv) the druggability of AR. We concluded the review with the contention that these new developments extend and strengthen the support for A1 and A2ARs in brain as therapeutic targets for neurologic and psychiatric diseases.
Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurological disorder that is induced by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in exon 1 of the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. We previously reported that the abnormal activation of an important energy sensor, AMP-activated protein kinase ?1 (AMPK-?1), occurs in the brains of mice and patients with HD, which suggests that this abnormal activation may contribute to neuronal degeneration in HD. In the present study, we demonstrated that the elevated oxidative stress that was evoked by a polyQ-expanded mutant HTT (mHTT) caused the abnormal activation of AMPK-?1 and, subsequently, resulted in neurotoxicity in a striatal progenitor cell line (STHdh(Q109)) and in the striatum of a transgenic mouse model of HD (R6/2). The systematic administration of an antioxidant (N-acetyl-cysteine, NAC) to R6/2 mice suppressed the activation of AMPK-?1, reduced neuronal toxicity, which was assessed by the activation of caspases, increased neuronal density, ameliorated ventricle enlargement, and improved motor dysfunction. This beneficial effect of NAC in vivo appears to be direct because NAC also reduced the activation of AMPK-?1 and the death of STHdh(Q109) cells upon elevated oxidative stress. Moreover, the activation of AMPK enhanced the level of oxidative stress in STHdh(Q109) cells, in primary neurons of R6/2 mice, and in the striatum of two different HD mouse models (R6/2 and Hdh(150Q/+)), whereas the inhibition of AMPK reduced the level of oxidative stress. Collectively, our findings suggest that positive feedback regulation between the elevated oxidative stress and the activation of AMPK-?1 contributes to the progression of HD.
Neuroinflammation is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington's disease (HD). HD is an autosomal dominant genetic disease caused by an expanded CAG repeat in exon 1 of the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Previous studies demonstrated that levels of several proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-?, were higher in the plasma and brain tissues of mice and patients with HD, suggesting that inflammation may contribute to HD progression. To evaluate the pathological role of TNF-? in HD pathogenesis, we blocked TNF-? signaling using a dominant negative inhibitor of soluble TNF-? (XPro1595). XPro1595 effectively suppressed the inflammatory responses of primary astrocytes-enriched culture isolated from a transgenic mouse model (R6/2) and human astrocytes-enriched culture derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of HD patients evoked by lipopolysaccharide and cytokines, respectively. Moreover, XPro1595 protected the cytokine-induced toxicity of primary R6/2 neurons and human neurons derived from iPSCs of HD patients. To assess the beneficial effect of XPro1595 in vivo, an intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusion was provided with an osmotic minipump. ELISA analyses showed that i.c.v. infusion of XPro1595 decreased elevated levels of TNF? in the cortex and striatum, improved motor function, reduced caspase activation, diminished the amount of mutant HTT aggregates, increased neuronal density and decreased gliosis in brains of R6/2 mice. Moreover, reducing the peripheral inflammatory response by a systemic injection of XPro1595 improved the impaired motor function of R6/2 mice but did not affect caspase activation. Collectively, our findings suggest that an effective and selective anti-inflammatory treatment targeting the abnormal brain inflammatory response is a potential therapeutic strategy for HD.
TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) was identified as the major ubiquitinated component deposited in the inclusion bodies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) in 2006. Later on, numerous ALS-related mutations were found in either the glycine or glutamine/asparagine-rich region on the TDP-43 C-terminus, which hinted on the importance of mutations on the disease pathogenesis. However, how the structural conversion was influenced by the mutations and the biological significance of these peptides remains unclear. In this work, various peptides bearing pathogenic or de novo designed mutations were synthesized and displayed their ability to form twisted amyloid fibers, cause liposome leakage, and mediate cellular toxicity as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), circular dichroism (CD), Thioflavin T (ThT) assay, Raman spectroscopy, calcein leakage assay, and cell viability assay. We have also shown that replacing glycines with prolines, known to obstruct ?-sheet formation, at the different positions in these peptides may influence the amyloidogenesis process and neurotoxicity. In these cases, GGG308PPP mutant was not able to form beta-amyloid, cause liposome leakage, nor jeopardized cell survival, which hinted on the importance of the glycines (308-310) during amyloidogenesis.
Developing retinas display retinal waves, the patterned spontaneous activity essential for circuit refinement. During the first postnatal week in rodents, retinal waves are mediated by synaptic transmission between starburst amacrine cells (SACs) and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The neuromodulator adenosine is essential for the generation of retinal waves. However, the cellular basis underlying adenosine's regulation of retinal waves remains elusive. Here, we investigated whether and how the adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) regulates retinal waves and whether A(2A)R regulation of retinal waves acts via presynaptic SACs.
The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) is a G protein-coupled receptor and a major target of caffeine. The A2AR gene encodes alternative transcripts that are initiated from at least two independent promoters. The different transcripts of the A2AR gene contain the same coding region and 3-untranslated region and different 5-untranslated regions that are highly conserved among species. We report here that in addition to the production of the A2AR protein, translation from an upstream, out-of-frame AUG of the rat A2AR gene produces a 134-amino acid protein (designated uORF5). An anti-uORF5 antibody recognized a protein of the predicted size of uORF5 in PC12 cells and rat brains. Upregulation of A2AR transcripts by hypoxia led to increased levels of both the A2AR and uORF5 proteins. Moreover, stimulation of A2AR increased the level of the uORF5 protein via post-transcriptional regulation. Expression of the uORF5 protein suppressed the AP1-mediated transcription promoted by nerve growth factor, and modulated the expression of several proteins that were implicated in the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. Taken together, our results show that the rat A2AR gene encodes two distinct proteins (A2AR and uORF5) in an A2AR-dependent manner. Our study reveals a new example of the complexity of the mammalian genome and provides novel insights into the function of A2AR.
The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) is a G-protein-coupled receptor that contains a long cytoplasmic carboxyl terminus (A2AR-C). We report here that Gas-2 like 2 (G2L2) is a new interacting partner of A2AR-C. The interaction between A2AR and G2L2 was verified by GST pull-down, co-immunoprecipitation, immunocytochemical staining, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Expression of G2L2 increased the intracellular cAMP content evoked by A2AR in an A2AR-C-dependent manner. Immunoprecipitation and pull-down assays demonstrated that G2L2 selectively bound to A2AR-C and the inactive form of G?s to facilitate the recruitment of the trimeric G protein complex to the proximal position of A2AR for efficient activation. Collectively, G2L2 is a new effector that controls the action of A2AR by modulating its ability to regulate the G?s-mediated cAMP contents.
Visceral functions are regulated by a basal sympathetic nerve discharge (SND), also known as sympathetic tone. We demonstrate herein that AC6 existed in tyrosine hydroxylase-positive rostral ventrolateral medulla neurons in the brainstem. Adenylyl cyclase (AC) assays showed lower basal and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide-evoked AC activities in the brainstem of AC6-null mice, indicating that AC6 is a prominent AC isozyme in the brainstem. Furthermore, two independent lines of AC6-null mice exhibited a much higher SND, recorded from splanchnic sympathetic nerves of neonatal brainstem-spinal cord preparations, than wildtype mice. An assay of urine noradrenaline confirmed this observation. Collectively, AC6 plays a critical role in the regulation of sympathetic tone.
Cerebral microvascular aberrations have recently become recognized as a source of pathologies in neurodegenerative disorders, but this concept has not been fully examined with respect to Huntingtons disease (HD). A novel in vivo technique, three-dimensional microscopic magnetic resonance angiography (?MRA), allows visualization of the neurovascular system in exquisite detail and provides quantitative structural and functional information. This technique was applied in the present study, in parallel with immunohistological analysis and behavioral assessment, to a well-characterized mouse model of HD (R6/2). Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging was used to examine the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The ?MRA findings revealed an increase in vessel volume fraction and cerebral blood volume in the brains of R6/2 mice at the age of 7weeks when no apparent motor dysfunction was detected. Collagen IV immunostaining disclosed an enhancement in vessel density, but not in vessel size of the microvasculature in the mouse HD brain. This change in neurovasculature worsened with disease progression, with no apparent disruption in the BBB. Most importantly, immunohistological assays of human tissues revealed that the vessel densities in the cortex, caudate/putamen, and substantia nigra were higher in HD patients than in non-HD human subjects. The early onset of such vessel aberrations could be used as a biomarker for the early diagnosis of HD.
The coupling between neuronal activity and vascular responses is controlled by the neurovascular unit (NVU), which comprises multiple cell types. Many different types of dysfunction in these cells may impair the proper control of vascular responses by the NVU. Magnetic resonance imaging, which is the most powerful tool available to investigate neurovascular structures or functions, will be discussed in the present article in relation to its applications and discoveries. Because aberrant angiogenesis and vascular remodeling have been increasingly reported as being implicated in brain pathogenesis, this review article will refer to this hallmark event when suitable.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is an autosomal disease caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. The resultant mutant HTT protein (mHTT) forms aggregates in various types of cells, including neurons and glial cells and preferentially affects brain function. We found that two HD mouse models (Hdh(150Q) and R6/2) were more susceptible than wild-type (WT) mice to lipopolysaccharide-evoked systemic inflammation and produced more proinflammatory cytokines in the brain. Such an enhanced inflammatory response in the brain was not observed in N171- 82Q mice that express mHTT only in neurons, but not in glial cells. Thus, HD glia might play an important role in chronic inflammation that accelerates disease progression in HD mice. Intriguingly, enhanced activation of nuclear factor (NF)-?B-p65 (p65), a transcriptional mediator of inflammatory responses, was observed in astrocytes of patients and mice with HD. Results obtained using primary R6/2 astrocytes suggest that these cells exhibited higher I?B kinase (IKK) activity that caused prolongation of NF-?B activation, thus upregulating proinflammatory factors during inflammation. R6/2 astrocytes also produced a more-damaging effect on primary R6/2 neurons than did WT astrocytes during inflammation. Blockage of IKK reduced the neuronal toxicity caused by R6/2 astrocytes and ameliorated several HD symptoms of R6/2 mice (e.g. decreased neuronal density, impaired motor coordination and poor cognitive function). Collectively, our results indicate that enhancement of the p65-mediated inflammatory response in astrocytes contributes to HD pathogenesis. Therapeutic interventions aimed at preventing neuronal inflammation may be an important strategy for treating HD.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Brain-type creatine kinase (CKB) is an enzyme involved in energy homeostasis via the phosphocreatine-creatine kinase system. Although downregulation of CKB was previously reported in brains of HD mouse models and patients, such regulation and its functional consequence in HD are not fully understood. In the present study, we demonstrated that levels of CKB found in both the soma and processes were markedly reduced in primary neurons and brains of HD mice. We show for the first time that mutant HTT (mHTT) suppressed the activity of the promoter of the CKB gene, which contributes to the lowered CKB expression in HD. Exogenous expression of wild-type CKB, but not a dominant negative CKB mutant, rescued the ATP depletion, aggregate formation, impaired proteasome activity, and shortened neurites induced by mHTT. These findings suggest that negative regulation of CKB by mHTT is a key event in the pathogenesis of HD and contributes to the neuronal dysfunction associated with HD. In addition, besides dietary supplementation with the CKB substrate, strategies aimed at increasing CKB expression might lead to the development of therapeutic treatments for HD.
3-5-Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is an important second messenger which regulates neurite outgrowth. We demonstrate here that type VI adenylyl cyclase (AC6), an enzyme which catalyzes cAMP synthesis, regulates neurite outgrowth by direct interaction with a binding protein (Snapin) of Snap25 at the N terminus of AC6 (AC6-N). We first showed that AC6 expression increased during postnatal brain development. In primary hippocampal neurons and Neuro2A cells, elevated AC6 expression suppressed neurite outgrowth, whereas the downregulation or genetic removal of AC6 promoted neurite extension. An AC6 variant (AC6-N5) that contains the N terminus of AC5 had no effect, indicating the importance of AC6-N. The downregulation of endogenous Snapin or the overexpression of a Snapin mutant (Snap(?33-51)) that does not bind to AC6, or another Snapin mutant (Snapin(S50A)) that does not interact with Snap25, reversed the inhibitory effect of AC6. Pulldown assays and immunoprecipitation-AC assays revealed that the complex formation of AC6, Snapin, and Snap25 is dependent on AC6-N and the phosphorylation of Snapin. The overexpression of Snap25 completely reversed the action of AC6. Collectively, in addition to cAMP production, AC6 plays a complex role in modulating neurite outgrowth by redistributing localization of the SNARE apparatus via its interaction with Snapin.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. The resultant mutant Htt protein (mHtt) forms aggregates in the brain (e.g., cortex and striatum), and causes devastating neuronal degeneration. Transcriptional dysfunction caused by mHtt is critical for HD. We recently demonstrated that a crucial transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR?) played a major function in the energy homeostasis observed in HD and that PPAR? is a potentially neuroprotective target for this disease. We report here that the transcript level of PPAR? was markedly downregulated in the cortex of a transgenic mouse model of HD (R6/2). Treatment of R6/2 mice with an agonist of PPAR? (thiazolidinedione, TZD) resulted in a beneficial effect on PPAR?. By reducing Htt aggregates and thereby ameliorating the recruitment of PPAR? into Htt aggregates, TZD treatment also elevated the availability of PPAR? level and subsequently normalized the expression of downstream genes (including PGC-1? and several mitochondrial genes) in the cortex. The above protective effects appeared to be exerted by a direct activation of the PPAR? agonist (rosiglitazone) because rosiglitazone protected a neuroblastoma cell line (N2A) from mHtt-evoked mitochondrial deficiency. Our results reveal that TZD and rosiglitazone may play a protective role in HD, and support the view that PPAR? is a potential therapeutic target in HD.
Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a major energy sensor that maintains cellular energy homeostasis. Huntingtons disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of CAG repeats in the huntingtin (Htt) gene. In this paper, we report that activation of the ?1 isoform of AMPK (AMPK-?1) occurred in striatal neurons of humans and mice with HD. Overactivation of AMPK in the striatum caused brain atrophy, facilitated neuronal loss, and increased formation of Htt aggregates in a transgenic mouse model (R6/2) of HD. Such nuclear accumulation of AMPK-?1 was activity dependent. Prevention of nuclear translocation or inactivation of AMPK-?1 ameliorated cell death and down-regulation of Bcl2 caused by mutant Htt (mHtt). Conversely, enhanced expression of Bcl2 protected striatal cells from the toxicity evoked by mHtt and AMPK overactivation. These data demonstrate that aberrant activation of AMPK-?1 in the nuclei of striatal cells represents a new toxic pathway induced by mHtt.
Hearing impairment following cochlear damage due to noise trauma, ototoxicity caused by aminoglycoside antibiotics, or age-related cochlear degeneration was linked to a common pathogenesis involving the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cochleae are more vulnerable to oxidative stress than other organs because of the high metabolic demands of their mechanosensory hair cells in response to sound stimulation. We recently showed that patients and mice with Huntingtons disease (HD) have hearing impairment and that the dysregulated phosphocreatine (PCr)-creatine kinase (CK) system may account for this auditory dysfunction. Given the importance of noninvasive biomarkers and the easy access of hearing tests, the symptom of hearing loss in HD patients may serve as a useful clinical indicator of disease onset and progression of HD. We also showed that dietary creatine supplementation rescued the impaired PCr-CK system and improved the expression of cochlear brain-type creatine kinase (CKB) in HD mice, thereby restoring their hearing. Because creatine is an antioxidant, we postulated that creatine might enhance expression of CKB by reducing oxidative stress. In addition to HD-related hearing impairment, inferior CKB expression and/or an impaired PCr-CK system may also play an important role in other hearing impairments caused by elevated levels of ROS. Most importantly, dietary supplements may be beneficial to patients with these hearing deficiencies.
Huntingtons Disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. The resultant mutant Htt protein (mHtt) forms aggregates in the brain and several peripheral tissues (e.g., the liver), and causes devastating widespread pathology. Since aggregates of mHtt have been found in the liver, defects in liver function might contribute to peripheral abnormalities in HD mice. We previously reported that two crucial transcription factors PPAR? (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-?) and C/EBP? (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein ?) are potential therapeutic targets of HD. We herein demonstrate that the transcript level of PPAR? was markedly downregulated in the livers of a transgenic mouse model of HD (R6/2). Treatment of R6/2 mice with an agonist of PPAR? (thiazolidinedione, TZD) normalized the reduced PPAR? transcript. By reducing Htt aggregates and thereby ameliorating the recruitment of PPAR? into Htt aggregates, TZD treatment also elevated the availability of the PPAR? level and subsequently normalized the expression of its downstream genes [including PGC-1? (PPAR coactivator-1?) and several mitochondrial genes] and C/EBP? in the liver. The aforementioned protective effects appeared to be exerted by a direct activation of the PPAR? agonist (rosiglitazone) because rosiglitazone reduced mHtt aggregates and rescued energy deficiency in a hepatoma cell line (HepG2). These findings show that the impairment of PPAR? contributes to the liver dysfunction observed in HD. Treatment with PPAR? agents (TZD and rosiglitazone) enhanced the function of PPAR?, and might lead to therapeutic benefits.
A novel compound, N?-(4-hydroxybenzyl)adenosine, isolated from Gastrodia elata and which has been shown to be a potential therapeutic agent for preventing and treating neurodegenerative disease, was found to target both the adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A) R) and the equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1). As A(2A) R and ENT1 are proximal in the synaptic crevice of striatum, where the mutant huntingtin aggregate is located, the dual-action compounds that concomitantly target these two membrane proteins may be beneficial for the therapy of Huntingtons disease. To design the desired dual-action compounds, pharmacophore models of the A(2A) R agonists and the ENT1 inhibitors were constructed. Accordingly, potentially active compounds were designed and synthesized by chemical modification of adenosine, particularly at the N? and C? positions, if the predicted activity was within an acceptable range. Indeed, some of the designed compounds exhibit significant dual-action properties toward both A(2A) R and ENT1. Both pharmacophore models exhibit good statistical correlation between predicted and measured activities. In agreement with competitive ligand binding assay results, these compounds also prevent apoptosis in serum-deprived PC12 cells, rendering a crucial function in neuroprotection and potential utility in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
We investigated the therapeutic potential of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) in Huntingtons disease (HD) mouse models. Ten weeks after intrastriatal injection of quinolinic acid (QA), mice that received hBM-MSC transplantation showed a significant reduction in motor function impairment and increased survival rate. Transplanted hBM-MSCs were capable of survival, and inducing neural proliferation and differentiation in the QA-lesioned striatum. In addition, the transplanted hBM-MSCs induced microglia, neuroblasts and bone marrow-derived cells to migrate into the QA-lesioned region. Similar results were obtained in R6/2-J2, a genetically-modified animal model of HD, except for the improvement of motor function. After hBM-MSC transplantation, the transplanted hBM-MSCs may integrate with the host cells and increase the levels of laminin, Von Willebrand Factor (VWF), stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), and the SDF-1 receptor Cxcr4. The p-Erk1/2 expression was increased while Bax and caspase-3 levels were decreased after hBM-MSC transplantation suggesting that the reduced level of apoptosis after hBM-MSC transplantation was of benefit to the QA-lesioned mice. Our data suggest that hBM-MSCs have neural differentiation improvement potential, neurotrophic support capability and an anti-apoptotic effect, and may be a feasible candidate for HD therapy.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. The expanded CAG repeats are translated into polyglutamine (polyQ), causing aberrant functions as well as aggregate formation of mutant Htt. Effective treatments for HD are yet to be developed.
Dendritic trafficking and translation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) transcripts play a key role in mediating synaptic plasticity. Recently, we demonstrated that siRNA-mediated knockdown of translin, an RNA-binding protein, impairs KCl-induced dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA in cultured hippocampal neurons. We have now assessed whether translin deletion impairs dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA in hippocampal neurons in vivo. We have found that translin and its partner protein, trax, undergo dendritic translocation in response to treatment with pilocarpine, a pro-convulsant muscarinic agonist that increases dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA in hippocampal neurons. In translin knockout mice, the basal level of dendritic BDNF mRNA is decreased in CA1 pyramidal neurons. However, translin deletion does not block pilocarpines ability to increase dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA indicating that the requirement for translin in this process varies with the stimulus employed to drive it. Consistent with this inference, we found that dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA induced by bath application of recombinant BDNF in cultured hippocampal neurons, is not blocked by siRNA-mediated knockdown of translin. Taken together, these in vivo and in vitro findings indicate that dendritic trafficking of BDNF mRNA can be mediated by both translin-dependent and -independent mechanisms.
Huntington disease (HD) is a degenerative disorder caused by expanded CAG repeats in exon 1 of the huntingtin gene (HTT). Patients with late-stage HD are known to have abnormal auditory processing, but the peripheral auditory functions of HD patients have yet to be thoroughly assessed. In this study, 19 HD patients (aged 40-59 years) were assessed for hearing impairment using pure-tone audiometry and assessment of auditory brainstem responses (ABRs). PTA thresholds were markedly elevated in HD patients. Consistent with this, elevated ABR thresholds were also detected in two mouse models of HD. Hearing loss thus appears to be an authentic symptom of HD. Immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated the presence of mutant huntingtin that formed intranuclear inclusions in the organ of Corti of HD mice, which might interfere with normal auditory function. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analyses further revealed reduced expression of brain creatine kinase (CKB), a major enzyme responsible for ATP regeneration via the phosphocreatine-creatine kinase (PCr-CK) system, in the cochlea of HD mice. Treatment with creatine supplements ameliorated the hearing impairment of HD mice, suggesting that the impaired PCr-CK system in the cochlea of HD mice may contribute to their hearing impairment. These data also suggest that creatine may be useful for treating the hearing abnormalities of patients with HD.
Neurodegenerative disorders are some of the most feared illnesses in modern society, with no effective treatments to slow or halt this neurodegeneration. Several decades after the earliest attempt to treat Parkinsons disease using caffeine, tremendous amounts of information regarding the potential beneficial effect of caffeine as well as adenosine drugs on major neurodegenerative disorders have accumulated. In the first part of this review, we provide general background on the adenosine receptor signaling systems by which caffeine and methylxanthine modulate brain activity and their role in relationship to the development and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. The demonstration of close interaction between adenosine receptor and other G protein coupled receptors and accessory proteins might offer distinct pharmacological properties from adenosine receptor monomers. This is followed by an outline of the major mechanism underlying neuroprotection against neurodegeneration offered by caffeine and adenosine receptor agents. In the second part, we discuss the current understanding of caffeine/methylxantheine and its major target adenosine receptors in development of individual neurodegenerative disorders, including stroke, traumatic brain injury Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons disease and multiple sclerosis. The exciting findings to date include the specific in vivo functions of adenosine receptors revealed by genetic mouse models, the demonstration of a broad spectrum of neuroprotection by chronic treatment of caffeine and adenosine receptor ligands in animal models of neurodegenerative disorders, the encouraging development of several A(2A) receptor selective antagonists which are now in advanced clinical phase III trials for Parkinsons disease. Importantly, increasing body of the human and experimental studies reveals encouraging evidence that regular human consumption of caffeine in fact may have several beneficial effects on neurodegenerative disorders, from motor stimulation to cognitive enhancement to potential neuroprotection. Thus, with regard to neurodegenerative disorders, these potential benefits of methylxanthines, caffeine in particular, strongly argue against the common practice by clinicians to discourage regular human consumption of caffeine in aging populations.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in exon 1 of the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Here, we report that the transcript of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR?), a transcription factor that is critical for energy homeostasis, was markedly downregulated in multiple tissues of a mouse model (R6/2) of HD and in lymphocytes of HD patients. Therefore, downregulation of PPAR? seems to be a pathomechanism of HD. Chronic treatment of R6/2 mice with an agonist of PPAR? (thiazolidinedione, TZD) rescued progressive weight loss, motor deterioration, formation of mutant Htt aggregates, jeopardized global ubiquitination profiles, reduced expression of two neuroprotective proteins (brain-derived neurotrophic factor and Bcl-2) and shortened life span exhibited by these mice. By reducing HTT aggregates and, thus, ameliorating the recruitment of PPAR? into HTT aggregates, chronic TZD treatment also elevated the availability of the PPAR? protein and subsequently normalized the expression of two of its downstream genes (the glucose transporter type 4 and PPAR? coactivator-1 alpha genes). The protective effects described above appear to have been exerted, at least partially, via direct activation of PPAR? in the brain, as TZD was detected in the brains of mice treated with TZD and because a PPAR? agonist (rosiglitazone) protected striatal cells from mHTT-evoked energy deficiency and toxicity. We demonstrated that the systematic downregulation of PPAR? seems to play a critical role in the dysregulation of energy homeostasis observed in HD, and that PPAR? is a potential therapeutic target for this disease.
The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) is a G-protein-coupled receptor. We previously reported that the C terminus of the A2AR binds to translin-associated protein X (TRAX) and modulates nerve growth factor (NGF)-evoked neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Herein, we show that neuritogenesis of primary hippocampal neurons requires p53 because blockage of p53 suppressed neurite outgrowth. The impaired neuritogenesis caused by p53 blockage was rescued by activation of the A2AR (designated the A2A rescue effect) in a TRAX-dependent manner. Importantly, suppression of a TRAX-interacting protein (kinesin heavy chain member 2A, KIF2A) inhibited the A2A rescue effect, whereas overexpression of KIF2A caused a rescue effect. Expression of a KIF2A fragment (KIF2A514), which disturbed the interaction between KIF2A and TRAX, blocked the rescue effect. Transient colocalization of TRAX and KIF2A was detected in the nucleus of PC12 cells upon NGF treatment. These data suggest that functional interaction between KIF2A and TRAX is critical for the A2A rescue effect. Moreover, p53 blockage during NGF treatment prevented the redistribution of KIF2A from the nucleus to the cytoplasmic region. Expression of a nuclear-retained KIF2A variant (NLS-KIF2A) did not rescue the impaired neurite outgrowth as did the wild-type KIF2A. Therefore, redistribution of KIF2A to the cytoplasmic fraction is a prerequisite for neurite outgrowth. Collectively, we demonstrate that KIF2A functions downstream of p53 to mediate neuritogenesis of primary hippocampal neurons and PC12 cells. Stimulation of the A2AR rescued neuritogenesis impaired by p53 blockage via an interaction between TRAX and KIF2A.
Under optimal in vitro conditions, isolated spinal cords of neonatal Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats spontaneously generate sympathetic nerve discharge (SND). To aid future studies involving genetically modified mice, we established a preparation to assess SND generation within the mouse spinal cord. Brainstem-spinal cord-splanchnic nerve preparations of neonatal 129S6/SvEvTac (129S6) mice, C57BL/6 (B6) mice, Long-Evan (LE) rats, and SD rats were used. The contributions of the brainstem to splanchnic SND (sSND) were not significantly affected by cervical cord transections in LE and SD rats. However, the transections caused approximately a 70% reduction in sSND in both mice species. Power spectral analyses characterized distinct features of sSND oscillations. With intact brainstem-spinal cord, comparable maximal power peaks at approximately 1-2Hz were observed in mouse and rat spectra, although the spectral peak widths were broader in mice. Cervical cord transections reduced the maximal peak powers and the peak widths in mice but not in rats. For comparisons across animal groups, the amounts of sSND were normalized to ambient current noise and expressed in signal/noise units. Similar amounts of normalized sSND were recorded from mice and rats with intact brainstem-spinal cords. However, the level of mouse sSND was reduced following cervical cord transection, whereas rat sSND was not. Our results demonstrate a species related difference in sSND recorded from neonatal rat and mouse spinal cord preparations in vitro. The current experimental model is applicable to evaluate the SND strength in neonatal rodents of various genetic backgrounds.
Adenylyl cyclase (AC) type VI (AC6) is a calcium-inhibitable enzyme which produces cAMP upon stimulation. Herein, we characterized the specific role of AC6 in the kidneys using two AC6-knockout mouse lines. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that AC6 exists in the tubular parts of the nephron and collecting duct. Activities of AC evoked by forskolin or a selective agonist of the V2 vasopressin receptor were lower in the kidneys of AC6-null mice compared to those of wildtype mice. Results of a metabolic cage assay and dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) showed for the first time that AC6 plays a critical role in regulating water homeostasis.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder caused by expended CAG repeats in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. The resultant mutant Htt (mHtt) forms aggregates in neurons and causes neuronal dysfunctions. The major characteristic of HD is the selective loss of neurons in the striatum and cortex, which leads to movement disorders, dementia, and eventual death. Expression of mHtt was also found in non-neuronal cells in the brain, suggesting non-cell-autonomous neurotoxicity in HD. As was documented in many different neurodegenerative disorders, elevated inflammatory responses are also reported in HD. To date, effective treatments for this devastating disease remain to be developed. This review focuses on the importance of glial cells and inflammation in HD pathogenesis. Potential anti-inflammatory interventions for HD are also discussed.
Normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a neurodegenerative disorder that usually occurs late in adult life. Clinically, the cardinal features include gait disturbances, urinary incontinence, and cognitive decline.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. The resultant mutant Htt protein (mHtt) forms aggregates in the brain and several peripheral tissues (e.g. the liver) and causes devastating neuronal degeneration. Metabolic defects resulting from Htt aggregates in peripheral tissues also contribute to HD pathogenesis. Simultaneous improvement of defects in both the CNS and peripheral tissues is thus the most effective therapeutic strategy and is highly desirable. We earlier showed that an agonist of the A(2A) adenosine receptor (A(2A) receptor), CGS21680 (CGS), attenuates neuronal symptoms of HD. We found herein that the A(2A) receptor also exists in the liver, and that CGS ameliorated the urea cycle deficiency by reducing mHtt aggregates in the liver. By suppressing aggregate formation, CGS slowed the hijacking of a crucial transcription factor (HSF1) and two protein chaperons (Hsp27 and Hsp70) into hepatic Htt aggregates. Moreover, the abnormally high levels of high-molecular-mass ubiquitin conjugates in the liver of an HD mouse model (R6/2) were also ameliorated by CGS. The protective effect of CGS against mHtt-induced aggregate formation was reproduced in two cells lines and was prevented by an antagonist of the A(2A) receptor and a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor. Most importantly, the mHtt-induced suppression of proteasome activity was also normalized by CGS through PKA. Our findings reveal a novel therapeutic pathway of A(2A) receptors in HD and further strengthen the concept that the A(2A) receptor can be a drug target in treating HD.
Adenosine 3,5-cyclic mononucleotide (cAMP) is one of the most important second messengers which govern cellular signal transductions. Adenylyl cyclases (ACs), which are cAMP-synthesizing enzymes, are responsible for cAMP production during extracellular stimulation or intracellular metabolic alteration. In mammals, 9 transmembrane ACs and 1 soluble AC have been identified and characterized. In the past 2 decades, the biochemical properties of these ACs have been extensively studied. Genetic knockout and transgenic overexpression mouse models of at least 6 ACs have been produced, revealing their specific in vivo functions. An awareness of the importance of microdomains and cellular compartmentation for selective AC regulation has also been fostered. Most intriguingly, a handful of novel AC-binding proteins have recently been reported. Selective binding of ACs to their binding partners allows the precise compartmentalization of ACs and permits unique regulation. Based on recent studies on AC-interacting proteins (particularly Snapin and Ric8a), this review focuses on the importance and possible involvement of AC-interacting proteins in (1) the association of the cAMP signaling pathway with various cellular machineries and (2) the coordination of tightly regulated cAMP signaling by other signaling molecules.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of a CAG repeat in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. Abnormal regulation of the cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway occurs during HD progression. Here we found that lower PKA activity was associated with proteasome impairment in the striatum for two HD mouse models (R6/2 and N171-82Q) and in mutant HTT (mHTT)-expressing striatal cells. Because PKA regulatory subunits (PKA-Rs) are proteasome substrates, the mHTT-evoked proteasome impairment caused accumulation of PKA-Rs and subsequently inhibited PKA activity. Conversely, activation of PKA enhanced the phosphorylation of Rpt6 (a component of the proteasome), rescued the impaired proteasome activity, and reduced mHTT aggregates. The dominant-negative Rpt6 mutant (Rpt6(S120A)) blocked the ability of a cAMP-elevating reagent to enhance proteasome activity, whereas the phosphomimetic Rpt6 mutant (Rpt6(S120D)) increased proteasome activity, reduced HTT aggregates, and ameliorated motor impairment. Collectively, our data demonstrated that positive feedback regulation between PKA and the proteasome is critical for HD pathogenesis.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. When the number of CAG repeats exceeds 36, the translated polyglutamine-expanded Htt protein interferes with the normal functions of many types of cellular machinery and causes cytotoxicity. Clinical symptoms include progressive involuntary movement disorders, psychiatric signs, cognitive decline, dementia, and a shortened lifespan. The most severe brain atrophy is observed in the striatum and cortex. Besides the well-characterized neuronal defects, recent studies showed that the functions of mitochondria and several key players in energy homeostasis are abnormally regulated during HD progression. Energy dysregulation thus is now recognized as an important pathogenic pathway of HD. This review focuses on the importance of three key molecular determinants (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? coactivator-1?, AMP-activated protein kinase, and creatine kinase B) of cellular energy homeostasis and their possible involvement in HD pathogenesis.
Lengthy trinucleotide repeats encoding polyglutamine (polyQ) stretches characterize the variant proteins of Huntingtons disease and certain other inherited neurological disorders. Using a phenotypic screen to identify events that restore functionality to polyQ proteins in S. cerevisiae, we discovered that transcription elongation factor Spt4 is required to transcribe long trinucleotide repeats located either in ORFs or nonprotein-coding regions of DNA templates. Mutation of SPT4 selectively decreased synthesis of and restored enzymatic activity to expanded polyQ protein without affecting protein lacking long-polyQ stretches. RNA-seq analysis revealed limited effects of Spt4 on overall gene expression. Inhibition of Supt4h, the mammalian ortholog of Spt4, reduced mutant huntingtin protein in neuronal cells and decreased its aggregation and toxicity while not altering overall cellular mRNA synthesis. Our findings identify a cellular mechanism for transcription through repeated trinucleotides and a potential target for countermeasures against neurological disorders attributable to expanded trinucleotide regions.
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