Blood-spinal cord barrier disruption contributes to early motor-neuron degeneration in ALS-model mice.
ABSTRACT: 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:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with unknown origins. Neurodegeneration in ALS mouse models occurs together with signs of disrupted blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) and regressed capillary network, but the molecular pathways contributing to these vascular pathologies remain unknown. We show that motor neurons of human sporadic ALS patients (n = 12) have increased gene expression of PDGFC and its activator PLAT and presymptomatic activation of the PDGF-CC pathway in SOD1 (G93A) mice leads to BSCB dysfunction. Decrease of Pdgfc expression in SOD1 (G93A) mice restored vascular barrier properties, reduced motor neuron loss and delayed symptom onset by up to 3 weeks. Similarly, lower expression levels of PDGFC or PLAT in motor neurons of sporadic ALS patients were correlated with older age at disease onset. PDGF-CC inhibition and restoration of BSCB integrity did not prevent capillary regression at disease end stage. Lower vessel density was found in spinal cords of sporadic ALS patients and the degree of regression in SOD1 (G93A) mice correlated with more aggressive progression after onset regardless of BSCB status. We conclude that PDGF-CC-induced BSCB dysfunction can contribute to timing of ALS onset, allow insight into disease origins and development of targeted novel therapies.
Project description:Blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) disruption is thought to contribute to motoneuron (MN) loss in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is currently unclear whether impairment of the BSCB is the cause or consequence of MN dysfunction and whether its restoration may be directly beneficial. We revealed that SOD1 G93A , FUS ?NLS , TDP43 G298S , and Tbk1 +/- ALS mouse models commonly shared alterations in the BSCB, unrelated to motoneuron loss. We exploit PSAM/PSEM chemogenetics in SOD1 G93A mice to demonstrate that the BSCB is rescued by increased MN firing, whereas inactivation worsens it. Moreover, we use DREADD chemogenetics, alone or in multiplexed form, to show that activation of Gi signaling in astrocytes restores BSCB integrity, independently of MN firing, with no effect on MN disease markers and dissociating them from BSCB disruption. We show that astrocytic levels of the BSCB stabilizers Wnt7a and Wnt5a are decreased in SOD1 G93A mice and strongly enhanced by Gi signaling, although further decreased by MN inactivation. Thus, we demonstrate that BSCB impairment follows MN dysfunction in ALS pathogenesis but can be reversed by Gi-induced expression of astrocytic Wnt5a/7a.
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:ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective motor neuron death resulting in muscle paralysis. Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are responsible for a subset of familial cases of ALS. Although evidence from transgenic mice expressing human mutant SOD1(G93A) suggests that axonal transport defects may contribute to ALS pathogenesis, our understanding of how these relate to disease progression remains unclear. Using an in vivo assay that allows the characterization of axonal transport in single axons in the intact sciatic nerve, we have identified clear axonal transport deficits in presymptomatic mutant mice. An impairment of axonal retrograde transport may therefore represent one of the earliest axonal pathologies in SOD1(G93A) mice, which worsens at an early symptomatic stage. A deficit in axonal transport may therefore be a key pathogenic event in ALS and an early disease indicator of motor neuron degeneration.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Electrophysiological measurements are used in longitudinal clinical studies to provide insight into the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the relationship between muscle weakness and motor unit (MU) degeneration. Here, we used a similar longitudinal approach in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1[G93A]) mouse model of ALS. METHODS:In vivo muscle contractility and MU connectivity assays were assessed longitudinally in SOD1(G93A) and wild type mice from postnatal days 35 to 119. RESULTS:In SOD1(G93A) males, muscle contractility was reduced by day 35 and preceded MU loss. Muscle contractility and motor unit reduction were delayed in SOD1(G93A) females compared with males, but, just as with males, muscle contractility reduction preceded MU loss. DISCUSSION:The longitudinal contractility and connectivity paradigm employed here provides additional insight into the SOD1(G93A) mouse model and suggests that loss of muscle contractility is an early finding that may precede loss of MUs and motor neuron death. Muscle Nerve 59:254-262, 2019.
Project description:Recent studies have implicated enhanced Nox2-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) by microglia in the pathogenesis of motor neuron death observed in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this context, ALS mutant forms of SOD1 enhance Rac1 activation, leading to increased Nox2-dependent microglial ROS production and neuron cell death in mice. It remains unclear if other genetic mutations that cause ALS also function through similar Nox-dependent pathways to enhance ROS-mediate motor neuron death. In the present study, we sought to understand whether alsin, which is mutated in an inherited juvenile form of ALS, functionally converges on Rac1-dependent pathways acted upon by SOD1(G93A) to regulate Nox-dependent ROS production. Our studies demonstrate that glial cell expression of SOD1(G93A) or wild type alsin induces ROS production, Rac1 activation, secretion of TNF?, and activation of NF?B, leading to decreased motor neuron survival in co-culture. Interestingly, coexpression of alsin, or shRNA against Nox2, with SOD1(G93A) in glial cells attenuated these proinflammatory indicators and protected motor neurons in co-culture, although shRNAs against Nox1 and Nox4 had little effect. SOD1(G93A) expression dramatically enhanced TNF?-mediated endosomal ROS in glial cells in a Rac1-dependent manner and alsin overexpression inhibited SOD1(G93A)-induced endosomal ROS and Rac1 activation. SOD1(G93A) expression enhanced recruitment of alsin to the endomembrane compartment in glial cells, suggesting that these two proteins act to modulate Nox2-dependent endosomal ROS and proinflammatory signals that modulate NF?B. These studies suggest that glial proinflammatory signals regulated by endosomal ROS are influenced by two gene products known to cause ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder with no effective treatment. Fasudil hydrochloride (fasudil), a potent rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, is useful for the treatment of ischaemic diseases. In previous reports, fasudil improved pathology in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and spinal muscular atrophy, but there is no evidence in that it can affect ALS. We therefore investigated its effects on experimental models of ALS.In mice motor neuron (NSC34) cells, the neuroprotective effect of hydroxyfasudil (M3), an active metabolite of fasudil, and its mechanism were evaluated. Moreover, the effects of fasudil, 30 and 100 mg·kg(-1), administered via drinking water to mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1(G93A)) mice were tested by measuring motor performance, survival time and histological changes, and its mechanism investigated.M3 prevented motor neuron cell death induced by SOD1(G93A). Furthermore, M3 suppressed both the increase in ROCK activity and phosphorylated phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), and the reduction in phosphorylated Akt induced by SOD1(G93A). These effects of M3 were attenuated by treatment with a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002). Moreover, fasudil slowed disease progression, increased survival time and reduced motor neuron loss, in SOD1(G93A) mice. Fasudil also attenuated the increase in ROCK activity and PTEN, and the reduction in Akt in SOD1(G93A) mice.These findings indicate that fasudil may be effective at suppressing motor neuron degeneration and symptom progression in ALS. Hence, fasudil may have potential as a therapeutic agent for ALS treatment.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons. Despite substantial research, the causes of ALS remain unclear. Glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) was identified as an ALS-related factor using DNA microarray analysis with mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1(G93A)) mice. GPNMB was greatly induced in the spinal cords of ALS patients and a mouse model as the disease progressed. It was especially expressed in motor neurons and astrocytes. In an NSC34 cell line, glycosylation of GPNMB was inhibited by interaction with SOD1(G93A), increasing motor neuron vulnerability, whereas extracellular fragments of GPNMB secreted from activated astrocytes attenuated the neurotoxicity of SOD1(G93A) in neural cells. Furthermore, GPNMB expression was substantial in the sera of sporadic ALS patients than that of other diseased patients. This study suggests that GPNMB can be a target for therapeutic intervention for suppressing motor neuron degeneration in ALS.
Project description:In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and animal models of ALS, including SOD1-G93A mice, disassembly of the neuromuscular synapse precedes motor neuron loss and is sufficient to cause a decline in motor function that culminates in lethal respiratory paralysis. We treated SOD1-G93A mice with an agonist antibody to MuSK, a receptor tyrosine kinase essential for maintaining neuromuscular synapses, to determine whether increasing muscle retrograde signaling would slow nerve terminal detachment from muscle. The agonist antibody, delivered after disease onset, slowed muscle denervation, promoting motor neuron survival, improving motor system output, and extending the lifespan of SOD1-G93A mice. These findings suggest a novel therapeutic strategy for ALS, using an antibody format with clinical precedence, which targets a pathway essential for maintaining attachment of nerve terminals to muscle.
Project description:Accumulating evidence shows alterations in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) in ALS patients and in animal models of disease, mainly by endothelial cell (EC) damage. Repair of the altered barrier in the CNS by replacement of ECs via cell transplantation may be a new therapeutic approach for ALS. Recently, we demonstrated positive effects towards BSCB repair by intravenous administration of unmodified human bone marrow CD34+ (hBM34+) cells at different doses into symptomatic ALS mice. However, particular benefits of these transplanted cells on microvascular integrity in symptomatic ALS mice are still unclear. The aim of the present study was to determine the structural and functional spinal cord capillary integrity in symptomatic ALS mice after intravenous administration of hBM34+ cells. The G93A mice at 13?weeks of age intravenously received one of three different cell doses (5?×?104, 5?×?105, or 1?×?106) and were euthanized at 17?weeks of age (4?weeks post-transplant). Control groups were media-treated and non-carrier mutant SOD1 gene mice. Capillary ultrastructural (electron microscopy), immunohistochemical (laminin and HuNu), and histological (myelin and capillary density) analyses were performed in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords. Capillary permeability in the spinal cords was determined by Evans Blue (EB) injection. Results showed significant restoration of ultrastructural capillary morphology, improvement of basement membrane integrity, enhancement of axonal myelin coherence, and stabilization of capillary density in the spinal cords primarily of ALS mice receiving the high dose of 1?×?106 cells. Moreover, substantial reduction of parenchymal EB levels was determined in these mice, confirming our previous results on capillary permeability. Additionally, transplanted cells were detected in blood smears of sacrificed late symptomatic mice by HuNu marker. Altogether, these results provide novel evidence that unmodified bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell treatment at optimal dose might be beneficial for structural and functional repair of the damaged BSCB in advanced stage of ALS, potentially resulting in delayed disease progression by increased motor neuron survival.