Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: pathogenesis and clinical management.
ABSTRACT: Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, or Kennedy's disease, is an X-linked motor neuron disease caused by polyglutamine repeat expansion in the androgen receptor. The disease is characterised by weakness, atrophy and fasciculations in the limb and bulbar muscles. Affected males may have signs of androgen insensitivity, such as gynaecomastia and reduced fertility. Neurophysiological studies are typically consistent with diffuse denervation atrophy, and serum creatine kinase is usually elevated 2-5 times above normal. Progression of the disease is slow, and the focus of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) management is to prevent complications.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), also known as Kennedy's Disease, is a late-onset X-linked progressive neuromuscular disease, which predominantly affects males. The pathological hallmarks of the disease are selective loss of spinal and bulbar motor neurons, accompanied by weakness, atrophy and fasciculations of bulbar and limb muscles. SBMA is caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the gene that encodes the androgen receptor (AR) protein. Disease manifestation is androgen dependent and results principally from a toxic gain of AR function. There are currently no effective treatments for this debilitating disease. It is important to understand the course of the disease in order to target therapeutics to key pathological stages. This is especially relevant in disorders such as SBMA, for which disease can be identified before symptom onset, through family history and genetic testing. To fully characterise the role of muscle in SBMA, we undertook a longitudinal physiological and histological characterisation of disease progression in the AR100 mouse model of SBMA. Our results show that the disease first manifests in skeletal muscle, before any motor neuron degeneration, which only occurs in late-stage disease. These findings reveal that alterations in muscle function, including reduced muscle force and changes in contractile characteristics, are early pathological events in SBMA mice and suggest that muscle-targeted therapeutics may be effective in SBMA.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy is an X-linked motor neuron disease caused by polyglutamine expansion in the androgen receptor. Patients develop slowly progressive proximal muscle weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations. Affected individuals often show gynecomastia, testicular atrophy and reduced fertility as a result of mild androgen insensitivity. No effective disease-modifying therapy is currently available for this disease. Our recent studies have demonstrated that insulinlike growth factor (IGF)-1 reduces the mutant androgen receptor toxicity through activation of Akt in vitro, and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy transgenic mice that also overexpress a noncirculating muscle isoform of IGF-1 have a less severe phenotype. Here we sought to establish the efficacy of daily intraperitoneal injections of mecasermin rinfabate, recombinant human IGF-1 and IGF-1 binding protein 3, in a transgenic mouse model expressing the mutant androgen receptor with an expanded 97 glutamine tract. The study was done in a controlled, randomized, blinded fashion, and, to reflect the clinical settings, the injections were started after the onset of disease manifestations. The treatment resulted in increased Akt phosphorylation and reduced mutant androgen receptor aggregation in muscle. In comparison to vehicle-treated controls, IGF-1-treated transgenic mice showed improved motor performance, attenuated weight loss and increased survival. Our results suggest that peripheral tissue can be targeted to improve the spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy phenotype and indicate that IGF-1 warrants further investigation in clinical trials as a potential treatment for this disease.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, Kennedy's disease) is a motor neuron disease caused by polyglutamine repeat expansion in the androgen receptor. Although degeneration occurs in the spinal cord and muscle, the exact mechanism is not clear. Induced pluripotent stem cells from spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy patients provide a useful model for understanding the disease mechanism and designing effective therapy. Stem cells were generated from six patients and compared to control lines from three healthy individuals. Motor neurons from four patients were differentiated from stem cells and characterized to understand disease-relevant phenotypes. Stem cells created from patient fibroblasts express less androgen receptor than control cells, but show androgen-dependent stabilization and nuclear translocation. The expanded repeat in several stem cell clones was unstable, with either expansion or contraction. Patient stem cell clones produced a similar number of motor neurons compared to controls, with or without androgen treatment. The stem cell-derived motor neurons had immunoreactivity for HB9, Isl1, ChAT, and SMI-32, and those with the largest repeat expansions were found to have increased acetylated ?-tubulin and reduced HDAC6. Reduced HDAC6 was also found in motor neuron cultures from two other patients with shorter repeats. Evaluation of stably transfected mouse cells and SBMA spinal cord showed similar changes in acetylated ?-tubulin and HDAC6. Perinuclear lysosomal enrichment, an HDAC6 dependent process, was disrupted in motor neurons from two patients with the longest repeats. SBMA stem cells present new insights into the disease, and the observations of reduced androgen receptor levels, repeat instability, and reduced HDAC6 provide avenues for further investigation of the disease mechanism and development of effective therapy.
Project description:Kennedy's disease, or spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), is an X-linked neuromuscular condition clinically characterised by weakness, atrophy and fasciculations of the limb and bulbar muscles, as a result of lower motor neuron degeneration. The disease is caused by an abnormally expanded triplet repeat expansions in the ubiquitously expressed androgen receptor gene, through mechanisms which are not entirely elucidated. Over the years studies from both humans and animal models have highlighted the involvement of cell populations other than motor neurons in SBMA, widening the disease phenotype. The most compelling aspect of these findings is their potential for therapeutic impact: muscle, for example, which is primarily affected in the disease, has been recently shown to represent a valid alternative target for therapy to motor neurons. In this review, we discuss the emerging study of the extra-motor neuron involvement in SBMA, which, besides increasingly pointing towards a multidisciplinary approach for affected patients, deepens our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and holds potential for providing new therapeutic targets for this disease.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy is an X-linked degenerative motor neuron disease caused by an abnormal expansion in the polyglutamine encoding CAG repeat of the androgen receptor gene. There is evidence implicating endoplasmic reticulum stress in the development and progression of neurodegenerative disease, including polyglutamine disorders such as Huntington's disease and in motor neuron disease, where cellular stress disrupts functioning of the endoplasmic reticulum, leading to induction of the unfolded protein response. We examined whether endoplasmic reticulum stress is also involved in the pathogenesis of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy. Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy mice that carry 100 pathogenic polyglutamine repeats in the androgen receptor, and develop a late-onset neuromuscular phenotype with motor neuron degeneration, were studied. We observed a disturbance in endoplasmic reticulum-associated calcium homeostasis in cultured embryonic motor neurons from spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy mice, which was accompanied by increased endoplasmic reticulum stress. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress reduced the endoplasmic reticulum-associated cell death pathway. Examination of spinal cord motor neurons of pathogenic mice at different disease stages revealed elevated expression of markers for endoplasmic reticulum stress, confirming an increase in this stress response in vivo. Importantly, the most significant increase was detected presymptomatically, suggesting that endoplasmic reticulum stress may play an early and possibly causal role in disease pathogenesis. Our results therefore indicate that the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway could potentially be a therapeutic target for spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy and related polyglutamine diseases.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), also known as Kennedy's disease, is a rare, X-linked, late onset neuromuscular disorder. The disease is caused by a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion in the first exon of the androgen receptor gene. It is characterized by slowly progressive lower motor neurons degeneration, primary myopathy and widespread multisystem involvement. Respiratory involvement is rare, and the condition is associated with a normal life expectancy. Despite a plethora of therapeutic studies in mouse models, no effective disease-modifying therapy has been licensed for clinical use to date. The development of sensitive monitoring markers for the particularly slowly progressing pathology of SBMA is urgently required to aid future clinical trials. A small number of outcome measures have been proposed recently, including promising biochemical markers, which show correlation with clinical disability and disease-stage and progression. Nevertheless, a paucity of SBMA-specific biomarker studies persists, delaying the development of monitoring markers for pharmaceutical trials. Collaborative efforts through international consortia and multicenter registries are likely to contribute to the characterization of the natural history of the condition, the establishment of disease-specific biomarker panels and ultimately contribute to the development of disease-modifying drugs.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy is an X-linked neuromuscular disease caused by an expanded repeat in the androgen receptor gene. The mutant protein is toxic to motor neurons and muscle. The toxicity is ligand-dependent and likely involves aberrant interaction of the mutant androgen receptor with other nuclear factors leading to transcriptional dysregulation. Various therapeutic strategies have been effective in transgenic animal models, and the challenge now is to translate these strategies into safe and effective treatment in patients.
Project description:Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, also known as Kennedy's disease) is one of nine neurodegenerative disorders that are caused by expansion of polyglutamine-encoding CAG repeats. Intracellular accumulation of abnormal proteins in these diseases, a pathological hallmark, is associated with defects in protein homeostasis. Enhancement of the cellular proteostasis capacity with small molecules has therefore emerged as a promising approach to treatment. Here, we characterize a novel curcumin analog, ASC-JM17, as an activator of central pathways controlling protein folding, degradation and oxidative stress resistance. ASC-JM17 acts on Nrf1, Nrf2 and Hsf1 to increase the expression of proteasome subunits, antioxidant enzymes and molecular chaperones. We show that ASC-JM17 ameliorates toxicity of the mutant androgen receptor (AR) responsible for SBMA in cell, fly and mouse models. Knockdown of the Drosophila Nrf1 and Nrf2 ortholog cap 'n' collar isoform-C, but not Hsf1, blocks the protective effect of ASC-JM17 on mutant AR-induced eye degeneration in flies. Our observations indicate that activation of the Nrf1/Nrf2 pathway is a viable option for pharmacological intervention in SBMA and potentially other polyglutamine diseases.
Project description:We examined the characteristics of dysphagia in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a hereditary neuromuscular disease causing weakness of limb, facial, and oropharyngeal muscles via a videofluoroscopic swallowing study, and investigated the plausibility of using these outcome measures for quantitative analysis.A videofluoroscopic swallowing study was performed on 111 consecutive patients with genetically confirmed spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy and 53 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Swallowing of 3-mL liquid barium was analyzed by the Logemann's Videofluorographic Examination of Swallowing worksheet.Of more than 40 radiographic findings, the most pertinent abnormal findings in patients with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, included vallecular residue after swallow (residue just behind the tongue base), nasal penetration, and insufficient tongue movement (P < 0.001 for each) compared with healthy controls. Quantitative analyses showed that pharyngeal residue after initial swallowing, oral residue after initial swallowing, multiple swallowing sessions, and the penetration-aspiration scale were significantly worse in these patients (P ? 0.005 for each) than in controls. In patients with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, laryngeal penetration was observed more frequently in those without subjective dysphagia.Dysphagia of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy was characterized by impaired tongue movement in the oral phase and nasal penetration followed by pharyngeal residues, which resulted in multiple swallowing sessions and laryngeal penetration. Although major limitations of reproducibility and radiation exposure still exist with videofluoroscopy, pharyngeal residue after initial swallowing and the penetration-aspiration scale might serve as potential outcome measures in clinical studies.
Project description:Kennedy Disease/Spinal Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (KD/SBMA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by genetic polyglutamine expansion of the androgen receptor. We have recently found that overexpression of wildtype androgen receptor in skeletal muscle of transgenic mice results in a KD/SBMA phenotype. This surprising result challenges the orthodox view that KD/SBMA requires expression of polyglutamine expanded androgen receptor within motoneurons. Theories relating to the etiology of this disease drawn from studies of human patients, cellular and mouse models are considered with a special emphasis on potential myogenic contributions to as well as the molecular etiology of KD/SBMA.