MTOR-independent, autophagic enhancer trehalose prolongs motor neuron survival and ameliorates the autophagic flux defect in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: 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:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons. Abnormal protein aggregation and impaired protein degradation are believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease. Our previous studies showed that an autophagic flux defect is involved in motor neuron degeneration in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS. Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) is a class II deacetylase that promotes autophagy by inducing the fusion of autophagosomes to lysosomes. In the present study, we showed that HDAC6 expression was decreased at the onset of disease and became extremely low at the late stage in ALS mice. Using lentivirus-HDAC6 gene injection, we found that HDAC6 overexpression prolonged the lifespan and delayed the motor neuron degeneration in ALS mice. Moreover, HDAC6 induced the formation of autolysosomes and accelerated the degradation of SOD1 protein aggregates in the motor neurons of ALS mice. Collectively, our results indicate that HDAC6 has neuroprotective effects in an animal model of ALS by improving the autophagic flux in motor neurons, and autophagosome-lysosome fusion might be a therapeutic target for ALS.
Project description: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 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:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons, axon degeneration, and denervation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ). Here we show that death receptor 6 (DR6) levels are elevated in spinal cords from post-mortem samples of human ALS and from SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, and DR6 promotes motor neuron death through activation of the caspase 3 signaling pathway. Blocking DR6 with antagonist antibody 5D10 promotes motor neuron survival in vitro via activation of Akt phosphorylation and inhibition of the caspase 3 signaling pathway, after growth factor withdrawal, sodium arsenite treatment or co-culture with SOD1(G93A) astrocytes. Treatment of SOD1(G93A) mice at an asymptomatic stage starting on the age of 42 days with 5D10 protects NMJ from denervation, decreases gliosis, increases survival of motor neurons and CC1(+) oligodendrocytes in spinal cord, decreases phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) levels in serum, and promotes motor functional improvement assessed by increased grip strength. The combined data provide clear evidence for neuroprotective effects of 5D10. Blocking DR6 function represents a new approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders involving motor neuron death and axon degeneration, such as 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:Mutations in the Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (SOD1) gene cause an inherited form of ALS with upper and lower motor neuron loss. The mechanism underlying mutant SOD1-mediated motor neuron degeneration remains unclear. While defects in mitochondrial dynamics contribute to neurodegeneration, including ALS, previous reports remain conflicted. Here, we report an improved technique to isolate, transfect, and culture rat spinal cord motor neurons. Using this improved system, we demonstrate that mutant SOD1(G93A) triggers a significant decrease in mitochondrial length and an accumulation of round fragmented mitochondria. The increase of fragmented mitochondria coincides with an arrest in both anterograde and retrograde axonal transport and increased cell death. In addition, mutant SOD1(G93A) induces a reduction in neurite length and branching that is accompanied with an abnormal accumulation of round mitochondria in growth cones. Furthermore, restoration of the mitochondrial fission and fusion balance by dominant-negative dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) expression rescues the mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced defects in mitochondrial morphology, dynamics, and cell viability. Interestingly, both SIRT3 and PGC-1? protect against mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death by mutant SOD1(G93A). This data suggests that impairment in mitochondrial dynamics participates in ALS and restoring this defect might provide protection against mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced neuronal injury.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by the progressive degeneration of motor neurons. Mutations in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are found in approximately 20% of patients with familial ALS. Mutant SOD1 causes motor neuron death through an acquired toxic property. Although the molecular mechanism underlying this toxic gain-of-function remains unknown, evidence support the role of mutant SOD1 expression in nonneuronal cells in shaping motor neuron degeneration. We have previously found that in contrast to nontransgenic cells, SOD1(G93A)-expressing astrocytes induced apoptosis of cocultured motor neurons. This prompted us to investigate whether the effect on motor neuron survival was related to a change in the gene expression profile. Through high-density oligonucleotide microarrays, we found changes in the expression of genes involved in transcription, signaling, cell proliferation, extracellular matrix synthesis, response to stress, and steroid and lipid metabolism. The most up-regulated gene was decorin (Dcn), a small multifunctional extracellular proteoglycan. Down-regulated genes included the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (Igf-1r) and the RNA binding protein ROD1. Rod1 was also found down-regulated in purified motor neurons expressing SOD1(G93A). Changes in the expression of Dcn, Igf-1r, and Rod1 were found in the spinal cord of asymptomatic animals, suggesting these changes occur before overt neuronal degeneration and potentially influence astrocyte-motor neuron interaction in the course of the disease. The astrocyte-specific gene expression profile might contribute to the identification of possible candidates for cell type-specific therapies in ALS.
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: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:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal adult-onset neurodegenerative disease that causes degeneration of motor neurons and paralysis. Approximately 20% of familial ALS cases have been linked to mutations in the copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene, but it is unclear how mutations in the protein result in motor neuron degeneration. Transgenic (tg) mice expressing mutated forms of human SOD1 (hSOD1) develop clinical and pathological features similar to those of ALS. We used tg mice expressing hSOD1-G93A, hSOD1-G37R, and hSOD1-wild-type to investigate a new subcellular pathology involving mutant hSOD1 protein prominently localizing to the nuclear compartment and disruption of the architecture of nuclear gems. We developed methods for extracting relatively pure cell nucleus fractions from mouse CNS tissues and demonstrate a low nuclear presence of endogenous SOD1 in mouse brain and spinal cord, but prominent nuclear accumulation of hSOD1-G93A, -G37R, and -wild-type in tg mice. The hSOD1 concentrated in the nuclei of spinal cord cells, particularly motor neurons, at a young age. The survival motor neuron protein (SMN) complex is disrupted in motor neuron nuclei before disease onset in hSOD1-G93A and -G37R mice; age-matched hSOD1-wild-type mice did not show SMN disruption despite a nuclear presence. Our data suggest new mechanisms involving hSOD1 accumulation in the cell nucleus and mutant hSOD1-specific perturbations in SMN localization with disruption of the nuclear SMN complex in ALS mice and suggest an overlap of pathogenic mechanisms with spinal muscular atrophy.