Transcription profiling of mouse laser capture microdissected SOD1 G93A motor neurons reveals cellular pathways involved in the adaptation and progression of motor neuron injury in the mouse model of familial ALS
ABSTRACT: Microarray analysis has been applied to the study of ALS in order to investigate gene expression in whole spinal cord homogenates of SOD1 G93A mice and human ALS cases, although the massive presence of glial cells and inflammatory factors has made it difficult to define which gene expression changes were motor neuron specific. Recently, laser capture microdissection (LCM), combined with microarray analysis, has allowed the identification of motor neuron specific changes in gene expression in human ALS cases. The aim of the present study is to combine LCM and microarray analysis to study how motor neurons in the spinal cord of transgenic SOD1 G93A mice and transgenic SOD1 WT respond to stimuli determined by the presence of the human mutant protein throughout the evolution of the stages in motor neuron injury Experiment Overall Design: Motor neurons have been isolated from the spinal cord of G93A mice and non transgenic littermates at different time points and the transcription expression profile of the isolated motor neurons has been analysed
Project description:Microarray analysis has been applied to the study of ALS in order to investigate gene expression in whole spinal cord homogenates of SOD1 G93A mice and human ALS cases, although the massive presence of glial cells and inflammatory factors has made it difficult to define which gene expression changes were motor neuron specific. Recently, laser capture microdissection (LCM), combined with microarray analysis, has allowed the identification of motor neuron specific changes in gene expression in human ALS cases. The aim of the present study is to combine LCM and microarray analysis to study how motor neurons in the spinal cord of transgenic SOD1 G93A mice and transgenic SOD1 WT respond to stimuli determined by the presence of the human mutant protein throughout the evolution of the stages in motor neuron injury Keywords: Murine motor neurons Overall design: Motor neurons have been isolated from the spinal cord of G93A mice and non transgenic littermates at different time points and the transcription expression profile of the isolated motor neurons has been analysed
Project description:Cellular abnormalities in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are not limited to motor neurons. Astrocyte dysfunction also occurs in human ALS and transgenic rodents expressing mutant human SOD1 protein (SOD1(G93A)). Here we investigated focal enrichment of normal astrocytes using transplantation of lineage-restricted astrocyte precursors, called glial-restricted precursors (GRPs). We transplanted GRPs around cervical spinal cord respiratory motor neuron pools, the principal cells whose dysfunction precipitates death in ALS. GRPs survived in diseased tissue, differentiated efficiently into astrocytes and reduced microgliosis in the cervical spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) rats. GRPs also extended survival and disease duration, attenuated motor neuron loss and slowed declines in forelimb motor and respiratory physiological functions. Neuroprotection was mediated in part by the primary astrocyte glutamate transporter GLT1. These findings indicate the feasibility and efficacy of transplantation-based astrocyte replacement and show that targeted multisegmental cell delivery to the cervical spinal cord is a promising therapeutic strategy for slowing focal motor neuron loss associated with ALS.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy results from diminished levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein in spinal motor neurons. Low levels of SMN also occur in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and genetic reduction of SMN levels exacerbates the phenotype of transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice. Here, we demonstrate that SMN protein is significantly reduced in the spinal cords of patients with sporadic ALS. To test the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS, we overexpressed SMN in 2 different strains of SOD1(G93A) mice. Neuronal overexpression of SMN significantly preserved locomotor function, rescued motor neurons, and attenuated astrogliosis in spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) mice. Despite this, survival was not prolonged, most likely resulting from SMN mislocalization and depletion of gems in motor neurons of symptomatic mice. Our results reveal that SMN upregulation slows locomotor deficit onset and motor neuron loss in this mouse model of ALS. However, disruption of SMN nuclear complexes by high levels of mutant SOD1, even in the presence of SMN overexpression, might limit its survival promoting effects in this specific mouse model. Studies in emerging mouse models of ALS are therefore warranted to further explore the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal adult-onset neurodegenerative disease that causes degeneration of motor neurons and paralysis. Approximately 20% of familial ALS cases have been linked to mutations in the copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene, but it is unclear how mutations in the protein result in motor neuron degeneration. Transgenic (tg) mice expressing mutated forms of human SOD1 (hSOD1) develop clinical and pathological features similar to those of ALS. We used tg mice expressing hSOD1-G93A, hSOD1-G37R, and hSOD1-wild-type to investigate a new subcellular pathology involving mutant hSOD1 protein prominently localizing to the nuclear compartment and disruption of the architecture of nuclear gems. We developed methods for extracting relatively pure cell nucleus fractions from mouse CNS tissues and demonstrate a low nuclear presence of endogenous SOD1 in mouse brain and spinal cord, but prominent nuclear accumulation of hSOD1-G93A, -G37R, and -wild-type in tg mice. The hSOD1 concentrated in the nuclei of spinal cord cells, particularly motor neurons, at a young age. The survival motor neuron protein (SMN) complex is disrupted in motor neuron nuclei before disease onset in hSOD1-G93A and -G37R mice; age-matched hSOD1-wild-type mice did not show SMN disruption despite a nuclear presence. Our data suggest new mechanisms involving hSOD1 accumulation in the cell nucleus and mutant hSOD1-specific perturbations in SMN localization with disruption of the nuclear SMN complex in ALS mice and suggest an overlap of pathogenic mechanisms with spinal muscular atrophy.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused by selective motor neuron degeneration. Abnormal protein aggregation and impaired protein degradation pathways may contribute to the disease pathogenesis. Although it has been reported that autophagy is altered in patients and animal model of ALS, little is known about the role of autophagy in motor neuron degeneration in this disease. Our previous study shows that rapamycin, an MTOR-dependent autophagic activator, accelerates disease progression in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS. In the present report, we have assessed the role of the MTOR-independent autophagic pathway in ALS by determining the effect of the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose on disease onset and progression, and on motor neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice. We have found that trehalose significantly delays disease onset prolongs life span, and reduces motor neuron loss in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) mice. Most importantly, we have documented that trehalose decreases SOD1 and SQSTM1/p62 aggregation, reduces ubiquitinated protein accumulation, and improves autophagic flux in the motor neurons of SOD1(G93A) mice. Moreover, we have demonstrated that trehalose can reduce skeletal muscle denervation, protect mitochondria, and inhibit the proapoptotic pathway in SOD1(G93A) mice. Collectively, our study indicated that the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose is neuroprotective in the ALS model and autophagosome-lysosome fusion is a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of ALS.
Project description:Humans with ALS and transgenic rodents expressing ALS-associated superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutations develop spontaneous blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) breakdown, causing microvascular spinal-cord lesions. The role of BSCB breakdown in ALS disease pathogenesis in humans and mice remains, however, unclear, although chronic blood-brain barrier opening has been shown to facilitate accumulation of toxic blood-derived products in the central nervous system, resulting in secondary neurodegenerative changes. By repairing the BSCB and/or removing the BSCB-derived injurious stimuli, we now identify that accumulation of blood-derived neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron in the spinal cord leads to early motor-neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice at least in part through iron-dependent oxidant stress. Using spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions, motor-neuron dysfunction and injury were found to be proportional to the degree of BSCB disruption at early disease stages in SOD1(G93A) mice. Early treatment with an activated protein C analog restored BSCB integrity that developed from spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions in SOD1(G93A) mice and eliminated neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron deposits. Restoration of BSCB integrity delayed onset of motor-neuron impairment and degeneration. Early chelation of blood-derived iron and antioxidant treatment mitigated early motor-neuronal injury. Our data suggest that BSCB breakdown contributes to early motor-neuron degeneration in ALS mice and that restoring BSCB integrity during an early disease phase retards the disease process.
Project description:Mutations in the Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (SOD1) gene cause an inherited form of ALS with upper and lower motor neuron loss. The mechanism underlying mutant SOD1-mediated motor neuron degeneration remains unclear. While defects in mitochondrial dynamics contribute to neurodegeneration, including ALS, previous reports remain conflicted. Here, we report an improved technique to isolate, transfect, and culture rat spinal cord motor neurons. Using this improved system, we demonstrate that mutant SOD1(G93A) triggers a significant decrease in mitochondrial length and an accumulation of round fragmented mitochondria. The increase of fragmented mitochondria coincides with an arrest in both anterograde and retrograde axonal transport and increased cell death. In addition, mutant SOD1(G93A) induces a reduction in neurite length and branching that is accompanied with an abnormal accumulation of round mitochondria in growth cones. Furthermore, restoration of the mitochondrial fission and fusion balance by dominant-negative dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) expression rescues the mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced defects in mitochondrial morphology, dynamics, and cell viability. Interestingly, both SIRT3 and PGC-1? protect against mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death by mutant SOD1(G93A). This data suggests that impairment in mitochondrial dynamics participates in ALS and restoring this defect might provide protection against mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced neuronal injury.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating and fatal late-onset neurodegenerative disease. Familial cases of ALS (FALS) constitute approximately 10% of all ALS cases, and mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) is found in 15-20% of FALS. SOD1 mutations confer a toxic gain of unknown function to the protein that specifically targets the motor neurons in the cortex and the spinal cord. We have previously shown that the autosomal dominant Legs at odd angles (Loa) mutation in cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain (Dync1h1) delays disease onset and extends the life span of transgenic mice harboring human mutant SOD1(G93A). In this study we provide evidence that despite the lack of direct interactions between mutant SOD1 and either mutant or wild-type cytoplasmic dynein, the Loa mutation confers significant reductions in the amount of mutant SOD1 protein in the mitochondrial matrix. Moreover, we show that the Loa mutation ameliorates defects in mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential observed in SOD1(G93A) motor neuron mitochondria. These data suggest that the Loa mutation reduces the vulnerability of mitochondria to the toxic effects of mutant SOD1, leading to improved mitochondrial function in SOD1(G93A) motor neurons.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The primary cilium is a solitary organelle important in cellular signaling, that projects from the cell surface of most growth-arrested or post-mitotic cells including neurons in the central nervous system. We hypothesized that primary cilial dysfunction might play a role in the pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and as a first step, report on the prevalence of primary cilial markers on cultured motor neurons from the lumbar spinal cord of embryonic wildtype (WT) and transgenic G93A SOD1 mice, and on motor neurons in situ in the lumbar spinal cord. RESULTS: At 7 days in culture there is no difference in the proportion of G93A SOD1 and WT motor neurons staining for the cilial marker ACIII. However, at 21 days there is a large relative drop in the proportion of ciliated G93A SOD1 motor neurons. In situ, at 40 days there was a slight relative drop in the proportion of ciliated motor neurons in G93A SOD1 mice. At 98 days of age there was no change in motor neuron ciliation in WT mice, but there was motor neuron loss and a large reduction in the proportion of surviving motor neurons bearing a primary cilium in G93A SOD1 mice. CONCLUSIONS: In primary culture and in situ in G93A SOD1 mice there is a large reduction in the proportion of motor neurons bearing a primary cilium.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons, axon degeneration, and denervation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ). Here we show that death receptor 6 (DR6) levels are elevated in spinal cords from post-mortem samples of human ALS and from SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, and DR6 promotes motor neuron death through activation of the caspase 3 signaling pathway. Blocking DR6 with antagonist antibody 5D10 promotes motor neuron survival in vitro via activation of Akt phosphorylation and inhibition of the caspase 3 signaling pathway, after growth factor withdrawal, sodium arsenite treatment or co-culture with SOD1(G93A) astrocytes. Treatment of SOD1(G93A) mice at an asymptomatic stage starting on the age of 42 days with 5D10 protects NMJ from denervation, decreases gliosis, increases survival of motor neurons and CC1(+) oligodendrocytes in spinal cord, decreases phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) levels in serum, and promotes motor functional improvement assessed by increased grip strength. The combined data provide clear evidence for neuroprotective effects of 5D10. Blocking DR6 function represents a new approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders involving motor neuron death and axon degeneration, such as ALS.