Pregnane X receptor (PXR) activation: a mechanism for neuroprotection in a mouse model of Niemann-Pick C disease.
ABSTRACT: Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1) disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by neuronal lipid storage and progressive Purkinje cell loss in the cerebellum. We investigated whether therapeutic approaches to bypass the cholesterol trafficking defect in NPC1 disease might delay disease progression in the npc1(-/-) mouse model. We show that the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO) and T0901317, a synthetic oxysterol ligand, act in concert to delay onset of neurological symptoms and prolong the lifespan of npc1(-/-) mice. ALLO and T0901317 therapy preserved Purkinje cells, suppressed cerebellar expression of microglial-associated genes and inflammatory mediators, and reduced infiltration of activated microglia in the cerebellar tissue. To establish whether the mechanism of neuroprotection in npc1(-/-) mice involves GABA(A) receptor activation, we compared treatment of natural ALLO and ent-ALLO, a stereoisomer that has identical physical properties of natural ALLO but is not a GABA(A) receptor agonist. ent-ALLO provided identical functional and survival benefits as natural ALLO in npc1(-/-) mice, strongly supporting a GABA(A) receptor-independent mechanism for ALLO action. On the other hand, the efficacy of ALLO, ent-ALLO, and T0901317 therapy correlated with the ability of these compounds to activate pregnane X receptor-dependent pathways in vivo. These findings suggest that treatment with pregnane X receptor ligands may be useful clinically in delaying the progressive neurodegeneration in human NPC disease.
Project description:Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PC) are particularly vulnerable to ischemic injury and excitotoxicity, although the molecular basis of this sensitivity remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that ischemia causes rapid down-regulation of GABA(A) receptors in cerebellar PC, thereby increasing susceptibility to excitotoxicity. Oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) caused a decline in functional GABA(A) receptors, within the first hour of re-oxygenation. Decreased amplitude of miniature inhibitory post-synaptic potentials confirmed that OGD caused a significant decrease in functional synaptic GABA(A) receptors and quantitative Western blot analysis demonstrated the loss of GABA(A) receptor current was associated with a decline in total receptor protein. Interestingly, the potent neuroprotectant allopregnanolone (ALLO) prevented the decline in GABA(A) receptor current and protein. Consistent with our in vitro data, global ischemia in mice caused a significant decline in total cerebellar GABA(A) receptor protein and PC specific immunoreactivity. Moreover, ALLO provided strong protection of PC and prevented ischemia-induced decline in GABA(A) receptor protein. Our findings indicate that ischemia causes a rapid and sustained loss of GABA(A) receptors in PC, whereas ALLO prevents the decline in GABA(A) receptors and protects against ischemia-induced damage. Thus, interventions which prevent ischemia-induced decline in GABA(A) receptors may represent a novel neuroprotective strategy.
Project description:Allopregnanolone (ALLO) is a neurosteroid that has many functions in the brain, most notably neuroprotection and modulation of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission. Using a mouse model of cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, we have previously demonstrated that ALLO protects cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) from ischemia in a GABA(A) receptor-dependent manner. In this study we examined the effect of sex on ALLO neuroprotection, observing that low dose ALLO (2 mg/kg) provided greater neuroprotection in females compared to males. At a higher dose of ALLO (8 mg/kg), both sexes were significantly protected from ischemic damage. Using an acute cerebellar slice preparation, whole cell voltage clamp recordings were made from PCs. Spontaneous inhibitory post synaptic currents (IPSCs) were analyzed and the response to physiological ALLO (10 nM) was significantly greater in female PCs compared to male. In contrast, recordings of miniature IPSCs, did not exhibit a sex difference in response to ALLO, suggesting that ALLO affects males and females differentially through a mechanism other than binding postsynaptic GABA(A) receptors. We conclude that the female brain has greater sensitivity to ALLO mediated potentiation of GABAergic neurotransmission, contributing to increased neuroprotection.
Project description:Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1) is a neurodegenerative, lysosomal storage disorder due to mutation of the NPC1 gene. The NPC1 phenotype is characterized by progressive neuronal dysfunction, including cerebellar ataxia and dementia. There is histological evidence of neuroinflammation and progressive neuronal loss, with cerebellar Purkinje cells particularly vulnerable to loss of NPC1 function. Necroptosis was evaluated as a mechanism of neuronal loss. Receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIP1) and RIP3 are key components of the necrosomal complex that regulates necroptotic cell death. We report increased expression of RIP1 and RIP3 in NPC1 fibroblasts, NPC1 iPS cell-derived neuronal precursors, and in cerebellar tissue from both NPC1 mice and patients. Our data suggest a positive correlation between NPC1 neurological disease severity and assembly of the necrosome complex. Furthermore, we demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of RIP1 decreases cell death both in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of Npc1-mutant mice with necrostatin-1, an allosteric inhibitor of RIP1, significantly delayed cerebellar Purkinje cell loss, progression of neurological symptoms, and death. Collectively, our data identified necroptosis as a key component of the molecular network that contributes to neuronal loss in NPC1 and establish that inhibition of necroptosis is a potential therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Niemann-Pick disease, type C1, is a cholesterol storage disease where unesterified cholesterol accumulates intracellularly. In the cerebellum this causes neurodegeneration of the Purkinje neurons that die in an anterior-to-posterior and time-dependent manner. This results in cerebellar ataxia as one of the major outcomes of the disease. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) plays a significant role in the regulation of serum cholesterol levels by modulating LDL receptor levels on peripheral tissues. In the central nervous system, PCSK9 may have a similar effect on the closely related VLDL and ApoE2 receptors to regulate brain cholesterol. In addition, regulation of VLDLR and ApoER2 by PCSK9 may contribute to neuronal apoptotic pathways through Reelin, the primary ligand of VLDLR and ApoER2. Defects in reelin signaling results in cerebellar dysfunction leading to ataxia as seen in the Reeler mouse. Our recent findings that Pcsk9 is expressed ~8-fold higher in the anterior lobules of the cerebellum compared to the posterior lobule X, which is resistant to neurodegeneration, prompted us to ask whether PCSK9 could play a role in NPC1 disease progression. We addressed this question genetically, by characterizing NPC1 disease in the presence or absence of PCSK9. Analysis of double mutant Pcsk9-/-/Npc1-/- mice by disease severity scoring, motor assessments, lifespan, and cerebellar Purkinje cell staining, showed no obvious difference in NPC1 disease progression with that of Npc1-/- mice. This suggests that PCSK9 does not play an apparent role in NPC1 disease progression.
Project description:Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1) is a lysosomal disease characterized by endolysosomal storage of unesterified cholesterol and decreased cellular cholesterol bioavailability. A cardinal symptom of NPC1 is cerebellar ataxia due to Purkinje neuron loss. To gain an understanding of the cerebellar neuropathology we obtained single cell transcriptome data from control (Npc1+/+) and both three-week-old presymptomatic and seven-week-old symptomatic mutant (Npc1-/-) mice. In seven-week-old Npc1-/- mice, differential expression data was obtained for neuronal, glial, vascular, and myeloid cells. As anticipated, we observed microglial activation and increased expression of innate immunity genes. We also observed increased expression of innate immunity genes by other cerebellar cell types, including Purkinje neurons. Whereas neuroinflammation mediated by microglia may have both neuroprotective and neurotoxic components, the contribution of increased expression of these genes by non-immune cells to NPC1 pathology is not known. It is possible that dysregulated expression of innate immunity genes by non-immune cells is neurotoxic. We did not anticipate a general lack of transcriptomic changes in cells other than microglia from presymptomatic three-week-old Npc1-/- mice. This observation suggests that microglia activation precedes neuronal dysfunction. The data presented in this paper will be useful for generating testable hypotheses related to disease progression and Purkinje neurons loss as well as providing insight into potential novel therapeutic interventions.
Project description:: Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1) is a lysosomal disease characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia. In NPC1, a defect in cholesterol transport leads to endolysosomal storage of cholesterol and decreased cholesterol bioavailability. Purkinje neurons are sensitive to the loss of NPC1 function. However, degeneration of Purkinje neurons is not uniform. They are typically lost in an anterior-to-posterior gradient with neurons in lobule X being resistant to neurodegeneration. To gain mechanistic insight into factors that protect or potentiate Purkinje neuron loss, we compared RNA expression in cerebellar lobules III, VI, and X from control and mutant mice. An unexpected finding was that the gene expression differences between lobules III/VI and X were more pronounced than those observed between mutant and control mice. Functional analysis of genes with anterior to posterior gene expression differences revealed an enrichment of genes related to neuronal cell survival within the posterior cerebellum. This finding is consistent with the observation, in multiple diseases, that posterior Purkinje neurons are, in general, resistant to neurodegeneration. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate anterior to posterior transcriptome-wide changes in gene expression in the cerebellum. Our data can be used to not only explore potential pathological mechanisms in NPC1, but also to further understand cerebellar biology.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms by which environmental light conditions affect cerebellar development are incompletely understood. We showed that circadian disruption by light-at-night induced Purkinje cell death through pineal allopregnanolone (ALLO) activity during early life in chicks. Light-at-night caused the loss of diurnal variation of pineal ALLO synthesis during early life and led to cerebellar Purkinje cell death, which was suppressed by a daily injection of ALLO. The loss of diurnal variation of pineal ALLO synthesis induced not only reduction in pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), a neuroprotective hormone, but also transcriptional repression of the cerebellar Adcyap1 gene that produces PACAP, with subsequent Purkinje cell death. Taken together, pineal ALLO mediated the effect of light on early cerebellar development in chicks.
Project description:Allopregnanolone (ALLO) and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone (THDOC) are potent positive allosteric modulators of GABA action at GABA(A) receptors. ALLO and THDOC are synthesized in the brain from progesterone or deoxycorticosterone, respectively, by the sequential action of two enzymes: 5alpha-reductase (5alpha-R) type I and 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3alpha-HSD). This study evaluates 5alpha-R type I and 3alpha-HSD mRNA expression level in mouse brain by using in situ hybridization combined with glutamic acid decarboxylase 67/65, vesicular glutamate transporter 2, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and S100beta immunohistochemistry. We demonstrate that 5alpha-R type I and 3alpha-HSD colocalize in cortical, hippocampal, and olfactory bulb glutamatergic principal neurons and in some output neurons of the amygdala and thalamus. Neither 5alpha-R type I nor 3alpha-HSD mRNAs are expressed in S100beta- or glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive glial cells. Using glutamic acid decarboxylase 67/65 antibodies to mark GABAergic neurons, we failed to detect 5alpha-R type I and 3alpha-HSD in cortical and hippocampal GABAergic interneurons. However, 5alpha-R type I and 3alpha-HSD are significantly expressed in principal GABAergic output neurons, such as striatal medium spiny, reticular thalamic nucleus, and cerebellar Purkinje neurons. A similar distribution and cellular location of neurosteroidogenic enzymes was observed in rat brain. Taken together, these data suggest that ALLO and THDOC, which can be synthesized in principal output neurons, modulate GABA action at GABA(A) receptors, either with an autocrine or a paracrine mechanism or by reaching GABA(A) receptor intracellular sites through lateral membrane diffusion.
Project description:Pathways regulating neuronal vulnerability are poorly understood, yet are central to identifying therapeutic targets for degenerative neurological diseases. Here, we characterize mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by impaired cholesterol trafficking. To date, the relative contributions of neuronal and glial defects to neuron loss are poorly defined. Using gene targeting, we generate Npc1 conditional null mutant mice. Deletion of Npc1 in mature cerebellar Purkinje cells leads to an age-dependent impairment in motor tasks, including rotarod and balance beam performance. Surprisingly, these mice did not show the early death or weight loss that are characteristic of global Npc1 null mice, suggesting that Purkinje cell degeneration does not underlie these phenotypes. Histological examination revealed the progressive loss of Purkinje cells in an anterior-to-posterior gradient. This cell autonomous neurodegeneration occurs in a spatiotemporal pattern similar to that of global knockout mice. A subpopulation of Purkinje cells in the posterior cerebellum exhibits marked resistance to cell death despite Npc1 deletion. To explore this selective response, we investigated the electrophysiological properties of vulnerable and susceptible Purkinje cell subpopulations. Unexpectedly, Purkinje cells in both subpopulations displayed no electrophysiological abnormalities prior to degeneration. Our data establish that Npc1 deficiency leads to cell autonomous, selective neurodegeneration and suggest that the ataxic symptoms of NPC disease arise from Purkinje cell death rather than cellular dysfunction.
Project description:The feline model of Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1) recapitulates the clinical, neuropathological, and biochemical abnormalities present in children with NPC1. The hallmarks of disease are the lysosomal storage of unesterified cholesterol and multiple sphingolipids in neurons, and the spatial and temporal distribution of Purkinje cell death. In feline NPC1 brain, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) accumulations, indicating autophagosomes, were found within axons and presynaptic terminals. High densities of accumulated LC3 were seen in subdivisions of the inferior olive, which project to cerebellar regions that show the most Purkinje cell loss, suggesting that autophagic abnormalities in specific climbing fibers may contribute to the spatial pattern of Purkinje cell loss seen. Biweekly intrathecal administration of 2-hydroxypropyl-beta cyclodextrin (HPβCD) ameliorated neurological dysfunction, reduced cholesterol and sphingolipid accumulation, and increased lifespan in NPC1 cats. LC3 pathology was reduced in treated animals suggesting that HPβCD administration also ameliorates autophagic abnormalities. This study is the first to (i) identify specific brain regions exhibiting autophagic abnormalities in any species with NPC1, (ii) provide evidence of differential vulnerability among discrete brain nuclei and pathways, and (iii) show the amelioration of these abnormalities in NPC1 cats treated with HPβCD.