Neuroprotection in a novel mouse model of multiple sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated, demyelinating and neurodegenerative disease that currently lacks any neuroprotective treatments. Innovative neuroprotective trial designs are required to hasten the translational process of drug development. An ideal target to monitor the efficacy of strategies aimed at treating multiple sclerosis is the visual system, which is the most accessible part of the human central nervous system. A novel C57BL/6 mouse line was generated that expressed transgenes for a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-specific T cell receptor and a retinal ganglion cell restricted-Thy1 promoter-controlled cyan fluorescent protein. This model develops spontaneous or induced optic neuritis, in the absence of paralytic disease normally associated with most rodent autoimmune models of multiple sclerosis. Demyelination and neurodegeneration could be monitored longitudinally in the living animal using electrophysiology, visual sensitivity, confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and optical coherence tomography all of which are relevant to human trials. This model offers many advantages, from a 3Rs, economic and scientific perspective, over classical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis models that are associated with substantial suffering of animals. Optic neuritis in this model led to inflammatory damage of axons in the optic nerve and subsequent loss of retinal ganglion cells in the retina. This was inhibited by the systemic administration of a sodium channel blocker (oxcarbazepine) or intraocular treatment with siRNA targeting caspase-2. These novel approaches have relevance to the future treatment of neurodegeneration of MS, which has so far evaded treatment.
Project description:The ability of a novel intranasally delivered amnion cell derived biologic to suppress inflammation, prevent neuronal damage and preserve neurologic function in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis animal model of multiple sclerosis was assessed. Currently, there are no existing optic nerve treatment methods for disease or trauma that result in permanent vision loss. Demyelinating optic nerve inflammation, termed optic neuritis, induces permanent visual dysfunction due to retinal ganglion cell damage in multiple sclerosis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. ST266, the biological secretome of Amnion-derived Multipotent Progenitor cells, contains multiple anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. Intranasally administered ST266 accumulated in rodent eyes and optic nerves, attenuated visual dysfunction, and prevented retinal ganglion cell loss in experimental optic neuritis, with reduced inflammation and demyelination. Additionally, ST266 reduced retinal ganglion cell death in vitro. Neuroprotective effects involved oxidative stress reduction, SIRT1-mediated mitochondrial function promotion, and pAKT signaling. Intranasal delivery of neuroprotective ST266 is a potential novel, noninvasive therapeutic modality for the eyes, optic nerves and brain. The unique combination of biologic molecules in ST266 provides an innovative approach with broad implications for suppressing inflammation in autoimmune diseases, and for preventing neuronal damage in acute neuronal injury and chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In multiple sclerosis (MS), neurodegeneration is the main reason for chronic disability. Alpha-lipoic acid (LA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant which has recently been demonstrated to reduce the rate of brain atrophy in progressive MS. However, it remains uncertain if it is also beneficial in the early, more inflammatory-driven phases. As clinical studies are costly and time consuming, optic neuritis (ON) is often used for investigating neuroprotective or regenerative therapeutics. We aimed to investigate the prospect for success of a clinical ON trial using an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-optic neuritis (EAE-ON) model with visual system readouts adaptable to a clinical ON trial.<h4>Methods</h4>Using an in vitro cell culture model for endogenous oxidative stress, we compared the neuroprotective capacity of racemic LA with the R/S-enantiomers and its reduced form. In vivo, we analyzed retinal neurodegeneration using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and the visual function by optokinetic response (OKR) in MOG<sub>35-55</sub>-induced EAE-ON in C57BL/6J mice. Ganglion cell counts, inflammation, and demyelination were assessed by immunohistological staining of retinae and optic nerves.<h4>Results</h4>All forms of LA provided equal neuroprotective capacities in vitro. In EAE-ON, prophylactic LA therapy attenuated the clinical EAE score and prevented the thinning of the inner retinal layer while therapeutic treatment was not protective on visual outcomes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A prophylactic LA treatment is necessary to protect from visual loss and retinal thinning in EAE-ON, suggesting that a clinical ON trial starting therapy after the onset of symptoms may not be successful.
Project description:Optic neuritis (ON), inflammation of the optic nerve, is strongly associated with multiple sclerosis. ON pathology is characterized by attack of autoreactive T cells against optic nerve antigens, resulting in demyelination, death of retinal ganglion cells, and cumulative visual impairment. A model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was utilized to study the onset and progression of ON and the neuroprotective efficacy of oral treatment with the calpain inhibitor SNJ 1945. EAE was actively induced in B10.PL mice with myelin basic protein on Days 0 and 2, and mice received twice daily oral dosing of SNJ 1945 from Day 9 until sacrificing (Day 26). Visual function was determined by electroretinogram recordings and daily measurement of optokinetic responses (OKR) to a changing pattern stimulus. Optic nerve and retinal histopathology was investigated by immunohistochemical and luxol fast blue staining. EAE mice manifested losses in OKR thresholds, a measurement of visual acuity, which began early in the disease course. There was a significant bias toward unilateral OKR impairment among EAE-ON eyes. Treatment with SNJ 1945, initiated after the onset of OKR threshold decline, improved visual acuity, pattern electroretinogram amplitudes, and paralysis, with attenuation of retinal ganglion cell death. Furthermore, calpain inhibition spared oligodendrocytes, prevented degradation of axonal neurofilament protein, and attenuated reactive astrocytosis. The trend of early, unilateral visual impairment in EAE-ON parallels the clinical presentation of ON exacerbations associated with multiple sclerosis. Calpain inhibition may represent an ideal candidate therapy for the preservation of vision in clinical ON. As in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, optic neuritis (ON) and early, primarily monocular loss in spatial acuity is observed in a rodent model (EAE, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis). Daily oral treatment with the calpain inhibitor SNJ 1945 preserves visual acuity and preserves retinal ganglion cells (Brn3a, brain-specific homeobox/POU domain protein 3A) and their axons (MOSP, myelin oligodendrocyte-specific protein). Calpain inhibition may represent a candidate therapy for the preservation of vision in ON.
Project description:Optic neuritis is an acute inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the optic nerve (ON) and is an initial symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Optic neuritis is characterized by ON degeneration and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss that contributes to permanent visual disability and lacks a reliable treatment. Here, we used the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS, a well-established model also for optic neuritis. In this model, C57BL6 mice, intraperitoneally injected with a fragment of the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), were found to develop inflammation, Müller cell gliosis, and infiltration of macrophages with increased production of oncomodulin (OCM), a calcium binding protein that acts as an atypical trophic factor for neurons enabling RGC axon regeneration. Immunolabeling of retinal whole mounts with a Brn3a antibody demonstrated drastic RGC loss. Dietary supplementation with Neuro-FAG (nFAG<sup>®</sup>), a balanced mixture of fatty acids (FAs), counteracted inflammatory and gliotic processes in the retina. In contrast, infiltration of macrophages and their production of OCM remained at elevated levels thus eventually preserving OCM trophic activity. In addition, the diet supplement with nFAG exerted a neuroprotective effect preventing MOG-induced RGC death. In conclusion, these data suggest that the balanced mixture of FAs may represent a useful form of diet supplementation to limit inflammatory events and death of RGCs associated to optic neuritis. This would occur without affecting macrophage infiltration and the release of OCM thus favoring the maintenance of OCM neuroprotective role.
Project description:The exact mechanisms and temporal sequence of neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis are still unresolved. The visual pathway including its unmyelinated retinal axons, can serve as a prototypic model of neurodegeneration in experimental optic neuritis. We conducted a longitudinal study combining retinal imaging through optical coherence tomography (OCT) with immunohistochemical analyses of retinal and optic nerve tissue at various time points in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).Inner retinal layer (IRL) thickness was measured in 30 EAE and 14 healthy control C57BL/6 J mice using OCT. Distribution of marker proteins was assessed by immunofluorescence staining and retinal mRNA levels were assayed using real-time PCR. Histological morphology was evaluated on light and electron microscopy images.Signs of inflammatory edema 11 days post immunisation coincided with IRL thickening, while neuro-axonal degeneration throughout the disease course contributed to IRL thinning observed after 20 days post immunisation. Retinal pathology, including axonal transport impairment, was observed early, prior to cellular infiltration (i.e. T-cells) in the optic nerve 11 days post immunisation. Yet, the effects of early retinal damage on OCT-derived readouts were outweighed by the initial inflammatory edema. Early microglial activation and astrocytosis was detected in the retina prior to retinal ganglion cell loss and persisted until 33 days post immunisation. Müller cell reactivity (i.e. aquaporin-4 and glutamine synthetase decrease) presented after 11 days post immunisation in the IRL. Severe neuro-axonal degeneration was observed in the optic nerve and retina until 33 days post immunisation.Initial signs of retinal pathology subsequent to early glial activity, suggests a need for prophylactic treatment of optic neuritis. Following early inflammation, Müller cells possibly respond to retinal pathology with compensatory mechanisms. Although the majority of the IRL damage observed is likely due to retrograde degeneration following optic neuritis, initial pathology, possibly due to gliosis, may contribute further to IRL thinning. These results add morphological substrate to our OCT findings. The extent and rapid onset of axonal and neuronal damage in this model appears relevant for testing interventions scaled to human optic neuritis.
Project description:Dysregulation of iron metabolism, and resultant cytotoxicity, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative processes. Iron accumulation promotes cytotoxicity through various mechanisms including oxidative stress and glutamate toxicity, and occurs in both MS patients and in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS. Divalent Metal Transporter1, a major iron importer in cells, is stimulated by signaling of Dexras1, a small G protein member of the Ras family. Dexras1 is activated by S-nitrosylation by nitric oxide (NO) produced by either inducible nitric oxide synthase in activated microglia/macrophages or neuronal nitric oxide synthase in neurons. Here we show Dexras1 exacerbates oxidative stress-induced neurodegeneration in experimental optic neuritis, an inflammatory demyelinating optic nerve condition that occurs in MS and EAE. Dexras1 deletion, as well as treatment with the iron chelator deferiprone, preserves vision and attenuates retinal ganglion cell (RGC) and axonal loss during EAE optic neuritis. These results suggest that iron entry triggered by NO-activated Dexras1 signaling is a potential mechanism of neuronal death in experimental optic neuritis. The current data suggest modulation of Dexras1 signaling and iron chelation are potential novel treatment strategies for optic neuritis and MS, and possibly other optic neuropathies as well.
Project description:No therapies exist to prevent neuronal deficits in multiple sclerosis (MS), because the molecular mechanism responsible for the progressive neurodegeneration is unknown. We previously showed that axon injury-induced neuronal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays an important role in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and optic nerve degeneration in traumatic and glaucomatous optic neuropathies. Optic neuritis, one of the most common clinical manifestations of MS, is readily modeled by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mouse. Using this in vivo model, we now show that ER stress is induced early in EAE and that modulation of ER stress by inhibition of eIF2?-CHOP and activation of XBP-1 in RGC specifically, protects RGC somata and axons and preserves visual function. This finding adds to the evidence that ER stress is a general upstream mechanism for neurodegeneration and suggests that targeting ER stress molecules is a promising therapeutic strategy for neuroprotection in MS.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Previous studies have shown that intranasally administered ST266, a novel biological secretome of amnion-derived multipotent progenitor cells containing multiple growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines, attenuated visual dysfunction and prevented retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss in experimental optic neuritis. Long-term effects and dose escalation studies examined here have not been reported previously. METHODS:Optic neuritis was induced in the multiple sclerosis model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). EAE and control mice were treated once or twice daily with intranasal placebo/vehicle or ST266 beginning after onset of optic neuritis for either 15 days or continuously until sacrifice. Visual function was assessed by optokinetic responses (OKRs). RGC survival and optic nerve inflammation and demyelination were measured. RESULTS:Both once and twice daily continuous intranasal ST266 treatment from disease onset to 56 days after EAE induction significantly increased OKR scores, decreased RGC loss, and reduced optic nerve inflammation and demyelination compared with placebo (saline, nonspecific protein solution, or cell culture media)-treated EAE mice. ST266 treatment given for just 15 days after disease onset, then discontinued, only delayed OKR decreases, and had limited effects on RGC survival and optic nerve inflammation 56 days after disease induction. CONCLUSIONS:ST266 is a potential neuroprotective therapy to prevent RGC damage, and intranasal delivery warrants further study as a novel mechanism to deliver protein therapies for optic neuropathies. Results suggest that once daily ST266 treatment is sufficient to sustain maximal benefits and demonstrate that neuroprotective effects promoted by ST266 are specific to the combination of factors present in this complex biologic therapy.
Project description:Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that preferentially targets the optic nerves and spinal cord. The clinical presentation may suggest multiple sclerosis (MS), but a highly specific serum autoantibody against the astrocytic water channel aquaporin-4 present in up to 80% of NMO patients enables distinction from MS. Optic neuritis may occur in either condition resulting in neuro-anatomical retinal changes. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has become a useful tool for analyzing retinal damage both in MS and NMO. Numerous studies showed that optic neuritis in NMO typically results in more severe retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell layer thinning and more frequent development of microcystic macular edema than in MS. Furthermore, while patients' RNFL thinning also occurs in the absence of optic neuritis in MS, subclinical damage seems to be rare in NMO. Thus, OCT might be useful in differentiating NMO from MS and serve as an outcome parameter in clinical studies.
Project description:A series of imidazol-1-ylethylindazole sodium channel ligands were developed and optimized for sodium channel inhibition and in vitro neuroprotective activity. The molecules exhibited displacement of a radiolabeled sodium channel ligand and selectivity for blockade of the inactivated state of cloned neuronal Nav channels. Metabolically stable analogue 6 was able to protect retinal ganglion cells during optic neuritis in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.