Adenylyl cyclase type 3, a marker of primary cilia, is reduced in primary cell culture and in lumbar spinal cord in situ in G93A SOD1 mice.
ABSTRACT: 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:(1) Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a multifactorial non-cell autonomous disease where activation of microglia and astrocytes largely contributes to motor neurons death. Heat shock proteins have been demonstrated to promote neuronal survival and exert a strong anti-inflammatory action in glia. Having previously shown that the pharmacological increase of the histamine content in the central nervous system (CNS) of SOD1-G93A mice decreases neuroinflammation, reduces motor neuron death, and increases mice life span, here we examined whether this effect could be mediated by an enhancement of the heat shock response. (2) Methods: Heat shock protein expression was analyzed in vitro and in vivo. Histamine was provided to primary microglia and NSC-34 motor neurons expressing the SOD1-G93A mutation. The brain permeable histamine precursor histidine was chronically administered to symptomatic SOD1-G93A mice. Spine density was measured by Golgi-staining in motor cortex of histidine-treated SOD1-G93A mice. (3) Results: We demonstrate that histamine activates the heat shock response in cultured SOD1-G93A microglia and motor neurons. In SOD1-G93A mice, histidine augments the protein content of GRP78 and Hsp70 in spinal cord and cortex, where the treatment also rescues type I motor neuron dendritic spine loss. (4) Conclusion: Besides the established histaminergic neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, the induction of the heat shock response in the SOD1-G93A model by histamine confirms the importance of this pathway in the search for successful therapeutic solutions to treat ALS.
Project description:Reduced axonal mitochondrial transport has been observed in major neurodegenerative diseases, including fALS patients and SOD1(G93A) mice. However, it is unclear whether this defect plays a critical role in axonal degeneration or simply reflects sequelae of general transport alteration. Using genetic mouse models combined with time-lapse imaging of live neurons, we previously discovered that axon-targeted syntaphilin (SNPH) acts as a docking receptor specific for axonal mitochondria. Deletion of the snph gene in mice results in a substantially higher proportion of axonal mitochondria in the mobile state without any effect on the transport of other axonal organelles. Here we address whether increased (rescued) axonal mitochondrial mobility changes the disease course by crossing fALS-linked transgenic SOD1(G93A) and snph(-/-) knock-out mice. We found that a 2-fold increase in axonal mitochondrial mobility in SOD1(G93A)/snph(-/-) mice did not affect the onset of ALS-like symptoms. Both SOD1(G93A) and SOD1(G93A)/snph(-/-) mice exhibit similar weight loss, deterioration in motor function and motor neuron loss, significant gliosis, and a lifespan of 152-154 days. Thus, for the first time, our study provides genetic and pathological evidence that the impairment of mitochondrial transport seen in SOD1(G93A) mice plays a minimal role in the rapid-onset of fALS-linked pathology.
Project description:Here we report an in vitro model system for studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from mice carrying normal or mutant transgenic alleles of the human SOD1 gene were used to generate motor neurons by in vitro differentiation. These motor neurons could be maintained in long-term coculture either with additional cells that arose during differentiation or with primary glial cells. Motor neurons carrying either the nonpathological human SOD1 transgene or the mutant SOD1(G93A) allele showed neurodegenerative properties when cocultured with SOD1(G93A) glial cells. Thus, our studies demonstrate that glial cells carrying a human SOD1(G93A) mutation have a direct, non-cell autonomous effect on motor neuron survival. More generally, our results show that ESC-based models of disease provide a powerful tool for studying the mechanisms of neural degeneration. These phenotypes displayed in culture could provide cell-based assays for the identification of new ALS drugs.
Project description:Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleiotropic peptide with autocrine neuroprotective and paracrine anti-inflammatory properties in various models of acute neuronal damage and neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, we examined a possible beneficial role of endogenous PACAP in the superoxide dismutase 1, SOD1(G93A), mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a lethal neurodegenerative disease particularly affecting somatomotor neurons. In wild-type mice, somatomotor and visceromotor neurons in brain stem and spinal cord were found to express the PACAP specific receptor PAC1, but only visceromotor neurons expressed PACAP as a potential autocrine source of regulation of these receptors. In SOD1(G93A) mice, only a small subset of the surviving somatomotor neurons showed induction of PACAP mRNA, and somatomotor neuron degeneration was unchanged in PACAP-deficient SOD1(G93A) mice. Pre-ganglionic sympathetic visceromotor neurons were found to be resistant in SOD1(G93A) mice, while pre-ganglionic parasympathetic neurons degenerated during ALS disease progression in this mouse model. PACAP-deficient SOD1(G93A) mice showed even greater pre-ganglionic parasympathetic neuron loss compared to SOD1(G93A) mice, and additional degeneration of pre-ganglionic sympathetic neurons. Thus, constitutive expression of PACAP and PAC1 may confer neuroprotection to central visceromotor neurons in SOD1(G93A) mice via autocrine pathways. Regarding the progression of neuroinflammation, the switch from amoeboid to hypertrophic microglial phenotype observed in SOD1(G93A) mice was absent in PACAP-deficient SOD1(G93A) mice. Thus, endogenous PACAP may promote microglial cytodestructive functions thought to drive ALS disease progression. This hypothesis was consistent with prolongation of life expectancy and preserved tongue motor function in PACAP-deficient SOD1(G93A) mice, compared to SOD1(G93A) mice. Given the protective role of PACAP expression in visceromotor neurons and the opposing effect on microglial function in SOD1(G93A) mice, both PACAP agonism and antagonism may be promising therapeutic tools for ALS treatment, if stage of disease progression and targeting the specific auto- and paracrine signaling pathways are carefully considered.
Project description:BTBD10, an Akt interactor, activates Akt by decreasing the protein phosphatase 2A-mediated dephosphorylation and inactivation of Akt. Overexpression of BTBD10 suppresses motor neuron death that is induced by a familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutant, G93A-SOD1 in vitro. In this study, we further investigated the BTBD10-mediated suppression of motor neuron death. We found that the small interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of BTBD10 expression led to the death of cultured motor neurons. In Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), disruption of the btbd-10 gene caused not only loss of neurons, including both motor and touch-receptor neurons, but also a locomotion defect. In addition, we found that the expression of BTBD10 was generally decreased in the motor neurons from patients of sporadic ALS and transgenic mice overexpressing G93A-SOD1 (G93A-SOD1-transgenic mice). Collectively, these results suggest that the reduced expression of BTBD10 leads to motor neuron death both in vitro and in vivo.
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 progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting predominantly motor neurons. Recent studies suggest that the disease progression of ALS is non-cell-autonomous, although the interaction between neurons and glial cells in different disease stages is not entirely clear. Here, we demonstrate that the interferon (IFN) signaling pathway is activated in human SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, a rodent model of ALS. IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) increased in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) mice at a presymptomatic age. In addition, the up-regulated ISGs, and most likely their transcriptional activators, were found specifically in astrocytes surrounding motor neurons, suggesting that IFN signaling in astrocytes was triggered by specific pathologic changes in motor neurons. Furthermore, induction of ISGs in cultured astrocytes was highly sensitive to IFN, especially Type I IFN. ISGs in astrocytes were activated specifically by endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced neurodegeneration in vitro, implicating a similar process in the presymptomatic stage of SOD1 mutant mice. Finally, reduction or deletion of IFN? receptor 1 inhibited IFN signaling and increased the life-span of SOD1(G93A) mice. Thus, the activation of IFN signaling pathways represents an early "dialogue" between motor neurons and astrocytes in response to pathological changes in ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor neurons, resulting in progressive muscle weakness, paralysis, and death within 5 years of diagnosis. About 10% of cases are inherited, of which 20% are due to mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene. Riluzole, the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved ALS drug, prolongs survival by only a few months. Experiments in transgenic ALS mouse models have shown decreasing levels of mutant SOD1 protein as a potential therapeutic approach. We sought to develop an efficient adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated RNAi gene therapy for ALS.A single-stranded AAV9 vector encoding an artificial microRNA against human SOD1 was injected into the cerebral lateral ventricles of neonatal SOD1(G93A) mice, and impact on disease progression and survival was assessed.This therapy extended median survival by 50% and delayed hindlimb paralysis, with animals remaining ambulatory until the humane endpoint, which was due to rapid body weight loss. AAV9-treated SOD1(G93A) mice showed reduction of mutant human SOD1 mRNA levels in upper and lower motor neurons and significant improvements in multiple parameters including the numbers of spinal motor neurons, diameter of ventral root axons, and extent of neuroinflammation in the SOD1(G93A) spinal cord. Mice also showed previously unexplored changes in pulmonary function, with AAV9-treated SOD1(G93A) mice displaying a phenotype reminiscent of patient pathophysiology.These studies clearly demonstrate that an AAV9-delivered SOD1-specific artificial microRNA is an effective and translatable therapeutic approach for ALS.
Project description:ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons and atrophy of distal axon terminals in muscle, resulting in loss of motor function. Motor end plates denervated by axonal retraction of dying motor neurons are partially reinnervated by remaining viable motor neurons; however, this axonal sprouting is insufficient to compensate for motor neuron loss. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) promotes neuronal survival and axonal growth. Here, we reveal that forced expression of ATF3 in motor neurons of transgenic SOD1(G93A) ALS mice delays neuromuscular junction denervation by inducing axonal sprouting and enhancing motor neuron viability. Maintenance of neuromuscular junction innervation during the course of the disease in ATF3/SOD1(G93A) mice is associated with a substantial delay in muscle atrophy and improved motor performance. Although disease onset and mortality are delayed, disease duration is not affected. This study shows that adaptive axonal growth-promoting mechanisms can substantially improve motor function in ALS and importantly, that augmenting viability of the motor neuron soma and maintaining functional neuromuscular junction connections are both essential elements in therapy for motor neuron disease in the SOD1(G93A) mice. Accordingly, effective protection of optimal motor neuron function requires restitution of multiple dysregulated cellular pathways.
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.