Smad2 protein disruption in the central nervous system leads to aberrant cerebellar development and early postnatal ataxia in mice.
ABSTRACT: Smad2 is a critical mediator of TGF-? signals that are known to play an important role in a wide range of biological processes in various cell types. Its role in the development of the CNS, however, is largely unknown. Mice lacking Smad2 in the CNS (Smad2-CNS-KO) were generated by a Cre-loxP approach. These mice exhibited behavioral abnormalities in motor coordination from an early postnatal stage and mortality at approximately 3 weeks of age, suggestive of severe cerebellar dysfunction. Gross observation of Smad2-CNS-KO cerebella demonstrated aberrant foliations in lobule IX and X. Further analyses revealed increased apoptotic cell death, delayed migration and maturation of granule cells, and retardation of dendritic arborization of Purkinje cells. These findings indicate that Smad2 plays a key role in cerebellar development and motor function control.
Project description:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) is a genetic disease that causes degeneration of Purkinje cells, and recent evidence points to degeneration of Betz cells in the motor cortex. The relation between functional activity of motor cortex and symptom severity during a hand-grip motor control in vivo has not yet been investigated. This study explored both functional changes in the sensorimotor cortex and cerebellar regions and structural alterations in the cerebellum for SCA6 patients as compared to age-matched healthy controls using a multimodal imaging approach (task-based fMRI, task-based functional connectivity, and free-water diffusion MRI). Further, we tested their relation with the severity of ataxia symptoms. SCA6 patients had reduced functional activity in the sensorimotor cortex, supplementary motor area (SMA), cerebellar vermis, and cerebellar lobules I-VI (corrected P < 0.05). Reduced task-based functional connectivity between cortical motor regions (i.e., primary motor cortex and SMA) and cerebellar regions (i.e., vermis and lobules I-VI) was found in SCA6 (corrected P < 0.05). SCA6 had elevated free-water values throughout the cerebellum as compared with controls (corrected P < 0.05). Importantly, reduced functional activity in the sensorimotor cortex and SMA and increased free-water in the superior cerebellar peduncle and cerebellar lobule V were related to more severe symptoms in SCA6 (all pairs: R 2 ? 0.4 and corrected P < 0.05). Current results demonstrate that impaired functional activity in sensorimotor cortex and SMA and elevated free-water of lobule V and superior cerebellar peduncle are both related to symptom severity, and may provide candidate biomarkers for SCA6.
Project description:FOXC1 loss contributes to Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM), a common human cerebellar malformation. Previously, we found that complete Foxc1 loss leads to aberrations in proliferation, neuronal differentiation and migration in the embryonic mouse cerebellum (Haldipur et al., 2014). We now demonstrate that hypomorphic Foxc1 mutant mice have granule and Purkinje cell abnormalities causing subsequent disruptions in postnatal cerebellar foliation and lamination. Particularly striking is the presence of a partially formed posterior lobule which echoes the posterior vermis DW 'tail sign' observed in human imaging studies. Lineage tracing experiments in Foxc1 mutant mouse cerebella indicate that aberrant migration of granule cell progenitors destined to form the posterior-most lobule causes this unique phenotype. Analyses of rare human del chr 6p25 fetal cerebella demonstrate extensive phenotypic overlap with our Foxc1 mutant mouse models, validating our DWM models and demonstrating that many key mechanisms controlling cerebellar development are likely conserved between mouse and human.
Project description:A spontaneous mutation in the lysosomal acid phosphatase (Acp2) enzyme (nax: naked-ataxia) in experimental mice results in delayed hair appearance and severe cytoarchitectural impairments of the cerebellum, such as a Purkinje cell (PC) migration defect. In our previous investigation, our team showed that Acp2 expression plans a significant role in cerebellar development. On the other hand, the dopaminergic system is also a player in central nervous system (CNS) development, including cerebellar structure and function. In the current investigation, we have explored how Acp2 can be involved in the regulation of the dopaminergic pathway in the cerebellum via the regulation of dopamine receptor expression and patterning. We provided evidence about the distribution of different dopamine receptors in the developing cerebellum by comparing the expression of dopamine receptors on postnatal days (P) 5 and 17 between nax mice and wild-type (wt) littermates. To this aim, immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis were conducted using five antibodies against dopamine receptors (DRD1, -2, -3, -4, and -5) accompanied by RNAseq data. Our results revealed that DRD1, -3, and -4 gene expressions significantly increased in nax cerebella but not in wt, while gene expressions of all 5 receptors were evident in PCs of both wt and nax cerebella. DRD3 was strongly expressed in the PCs' somata and cerebellar nuclei neurons at P17 in nax mice, which was comparable to the expression levels in the cerebella of wt littermates. In addition, DRD3 was expressed in scattered cells in a granular layer reminiscent of Golgi cells and was observed in the wt cerebella but not in nax mice. DRD4 was expressed in a subset of PCs and appeared to align with the unique parasagittal stripes pattern. This study contributes to our understanding of alterations in the expression pattern of DRDs in the cerebellum of nax mice in comparison to their wt littermates, and it highlights the role of Acp2 in regulating the dopaminergic system.
Project description:Background:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of CAG repeats in ATXN1 gene resulting in an expansion of polyglutamine repeats in the ATXN1 protein. Unfortunately, there has yet been any effective treatment so far for SCA1. This study investigated the feasibility of transplanting human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells (HUMSCs) into transgenic SCA1 mice containing an expanded uninterrupted allele with 82 repeats in the ATXN1-coding region. Methods:106 human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells were transplanted into the cerebella at 1?month of age. Results:HUMSCs displayed significant ameliorating effects in SCA1 mice in terms of motor behaviors in balance beam test and open field test as compared with the untransplanted SCA1 mice. HUMSCs transplantation effectively reduced the cerebellar atrophy, salvaged Purkinje cell death, and alleviated molecular layer shrinkage. Electrophysiological studies showed higher amplitudes of compound motor action potentials as indicated by increasing neuronal-muscular response strength to stimuli after stem cell transplantation. At 5?months after transplantation, HUMSCs scattering in the mice cerebella remained viable and secreted cytokines without differentiating into neuronal or glia cells. Conclusions:Our findings provide hope for a new therapeutic direction for the treatment of SCA1.
Project description:We have shown that lithium treatment improves motor coordination in a spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) disease mouse model (Sca1(154Q/+)). To learn more about disease pathogenesis and molecular contributions to the neuroprotective effects of lithium, we investigated metabolomic profiles of cerebellar tissue and plasma from SCA1-model treated and untreated mice. Metabolomic analyses of wild-type and Sca1(154Q/+) mice, with and without lithium treatment, were performed using gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry and BinBase mass spectral annotations. We detected 416 metabolites, of which 130 were identified. We observed specific metabolic perturbations in Sca1(154Q/+) mice and major effects of lithium on metabolism, centrally and peripherally. Compared to wild-type, Sca1(154Q/+) cerebella metabolic profile revealed changes in glucose, lipids, and metabolites of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and purines. Fewer metabolic differences were noted in Sca1(154Q/+) mouse plasma versus wild-type. In both genotypes, the major lithium responses in cerebellum involved energy metabolism, purines, unsaturated free fatty acids, and aromatic and sulphur-containing amino acids. The largest metabolic difference with lithium was a 10-fold increase in ascorbate levels in wild-type cerebella (p<0.002), with lower threonate levels, a major ascorbate catabolite. In contrast, Sca1(154Q/+) mice that received lithium showed no elevated cerebellar ascorbate levels. Our data emphasize that lithium regulates a variety of metabolic pathways, including purine, oxidative stress and energy production pathways. The purine metabolite level, reduced in the Sca1(154Q/+) mice and restored upon lithium treatment, might relate to lithium neuroprotective properties.
Project description:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by an abnormal expansion of CAG repeats in the Ataxin-1 (ATXN1) gene and characterized by motor deficits and cerebellar neurodegeneration. Even though mutant ATXN1 is expressed from an early age, disease onset usually occurs in patient's mid-thirties, indicating the presence of compensatory factors that limit the toxic effects of mutant ATXN1 early in disease. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor known to be important for the survival and function of cerebellar neurons. Using gene expression analysis, we observed altered BDNF expression in the cerebella of Purkinje neuron specific transgenic mouse model of SCA1, ATXN1[82Q] mice, with increased expression during the early stage and decreased expression in the late stage of disease. We therefore investigated the potentially protective role of BDNF in early stage SCA1 through intraventricular delivery of BDNF via ALZET osmotic pumps. Extrinsic BDNF delivery delayed onset of motor deficits and Purkinje neuron pathology in ATXN1[82Q] mice supporting its use as a novel therapeutic for SCA1.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Neuroanatomical differences in the cerebellum are among the most consistent findings in multiple system atrophy (MSA) patients. This study performed a detailed cerebellar morphology in MSA patients and its two subtypes: MSA-P (parkinson's symptoms predominate) and MSA-C (cerebellar symptoms predominant), and their relations to profiles of motor and cognitive deficits.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>Structure MRI data were acquired from 63 healthy controls and 61 MSA patients; voxel-based morphometry and the Spatially Unbiased Infratentorial Toolbox cerebellar atlas were performed to identify the cerebellar gray volume changes in MSA and its subtypes. Further, the gray matter changes were correlated with the clinical motor/cognitive scores.<h4>Results</h4>Patients with MSA exhibited widespread loss of cerebellar volume bilaterally, relative to healthy controls. In those with MSA-C, gray matter loss was detected from anterior (bilateral lobule IV-V) to posterior (bilateral crus I/II, bilateral lobule IX, left lobule VIII) cerebellar lobes. Lower anterior cerebellar volume negatively correlated with disease duration and motor performance, whereas posterior lobe integrity positively correlated with cognitive assessment. In patients with MSA-P, atrophy of anterior lobe (bilateral lobules IV-V) and posterior lobe in part (left lobule VI, bilateral IX) was evident; and in left cerebellar lobule IX, gray matter loss negatively correlated with motor scores. Direct comparison of MSA-P and MSA-C group outcomes showed divergence in right cerebellar crus II only.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our data suggest that volumetric abnormalities of cerebellum contribute substantially to motor and cognitive performance in patients with MSA. In patients with MSA-P and MSA-C, affected regions of cerebellum differed.
Project description:A CAPN1 missense mutation in Parson Russell Terrier dogs is associated with spinocerebellar ataxia. We now report that homozygous or heterozygous CAPN1-null mutations in humans result in cerebellar ataxia and limb spasticity in four independent pedigrees. Calpain-1 knockout (KO) mice also exhibit a mild form of ataxia due to abnormal cerebellar development, including enhanced neuronal apoptosis, decreased number of cerebellar granule cells, and altered synaptic transmission. Enhanced apoptosis is due to absence of calpain-1-mediated cleavage of PH domain and leucine-rich repeat protein phosphatase 1 (PHLPP1), which results in inhibition of the Akt pro-survival pathway in developing granule cells. Injection of neonatal mice with the indirect Akt activator, bisperoxovanadium, or crossing calpain-1 KO mice with PHLPP1 KO mice prevented increased postnatal cerebellar granule cell apoptosis and restored granule cell density and motor coordination in adult mice. Thus, mutations in CAPN1 are an additional cause of ataxia in mammals, including humans.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) is involved in vascular formation through activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)1 and ALK5. ALK5, which is expressed ubiquitously, phosphorylates Smad2 and Smad3, whereas endothelial cell (EC)-specific ALK1 activates Smad1 and Smad5. Because ALK5 kinase activity is required for ALK1 to transduce TGF-? signaling via Smad1/5 in ECs, ALK5 knockout (KO) mice were not able to give us the precise mechanisms by which TGF-?/ALK5/Smad2/3 signaling is implicated in angiogenesis. To delineate the role of Smad2/3 signaling in endothelium, the Smad2 gene in Smad3 KO mice was selectively deleted in ECs using Tie2-Cre transgenic mice, termed EC-specific Smad2/3 double KO (EC-Smad2/3KO) mice. EC-Smad2/3KO embryos revealed hemorrhage leading to embryonic lethality around E12.5. EC-Smad2/3KO embryos exhibited no abnormality of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in both the yolk sac and the whole embryo, whereas vascular maturation was incomplete because of inadequate assembly of mural cells in the vasculature. Wide gaps between ECs and mural cells could be observed in the vasculature of EC-Smad2/3KO mice because of reduced expression of N-cadherin and sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1PR1) in ECs from those mice. These results indicated that Smad2/3 signaling in ECs is indispensable for maintenance of vascular integrity via the fine-tuning of N-cadherin, VE-cadherin, and S1PR1 expressions in the vasculature.
Project description:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 17 (SCA17) is a rare autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia but also a broad spectrum of other neuropsychiatric signs. As anatomical and structural studies have shown severe cerebellar atrophy in SCA17 and a differentiation of the human cerebellum into an anterior sensorimotor and posterior cognitive/emotional partition has been implicated, we aimed at investigating functional connectivity patterns of two cerebellar clusters of atrophy revealed by a morphometric analysis in SCA17 patients. In particular, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) revealed a large cluster of atrophy in SCA17 in the bilateral anterior cerebellum (lobule V) and another one in the left posterior cerebellum (lobules IX, VIIb, VIIIA, VIIIB). These two cerebellar clusters were used as seeds for functional connectivity analyses using task-based meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) and task-free resting state connectivity analysis. Results demonstrated first consistent functional connectivity throughout the cerebellum itself; the anterior cerebellar seed showed stronger connectivity to lobules V, VI and to some extent I-IV, and the posterior cerebellar seed to the posterior lobules VI-IX. Importantly, the cerebellar anterior seed also showed consistently stronger functional connectivity than the posterior one with pre- and motor areas as well as the primary somatosensory cortex. In turn, task-based task-independent functional connectivity analyses revealed that the cerebellar posterior seed was linked with fronto-temporo-parietal areas as well as partly the insula and the thalamus, i.e., brain regions implicated in cognitive and affective processes. Functional characterization of experiments activating either cerebellar seed further corroborated this notion, revealing mainly motor-related functions for the anterior cluster and predominantly cognitive functions were associated for the posterior one. The differential functional connectivity of the cerebellar anterior and posterior cluster highlights the manifold connections and dichotomy of the human cerebellum, providing additional valuable information about probably disrupted cerebellar-cerebral connections and reflecting the brunt of motor but also the broad spectrum of neuropsychiatric deficits in SCA17.