The Small-Molecule TrkB Agonist 7, 8-Dihydroxyflavone Decreases Hippocampal Newborn Neuron Death After Traumatic Brain Injury.
ABSTRACT: Previous studies in rodents have shown that after a moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a controlled cortical impact (CCI) device, the adult-born immature granular neurons in the dentate gyrus are the most vulnerable cell type in the hippocampus. There is no effective approach for preventing immature neuron death after TBI. We found that tyrosine-related kinase B (TrkB), a receptor of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), is highly expressed in adult-born immature neurons. We determined that the small molecule imitating BDNF, 7, 8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), increased phosphorylation of TrkB in immature neurons both in vitro and in vivo. Pretreatment with DHF protected immature neurons from excitotoxicity-mediated death in vitro, and systemic administration of DHF before moderate CCI injury reduced the death of adult-born immature neurons in the hippocampus 24 hours after injury. By contrast, inhibiting BDNF signaling using the TrkB antagonist ANA12 attenuated the neuroprotective effects of DHF. These data indicate that DHF may be a promising chemical compound that promotes immature neuron survival after TBI through activation of the BDNF signaling pathway.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the moderate level of impact induces massive cell death and results in extensive dendrite degeneration in the brain, leading to persistent cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunction. Our previous reports have shown that adult-born immature granular neurons in the dentate gyrus are the most vulnerable cell type in the hippocampus after receiving a moderate TBI with a controlled cortical impact (CCI) device. There is no effective approach to prevent immature neuron death or degeneration following TBI. Our recent study found that pretreatment of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), a small molecule imitating brain-derived neurotrophic factor, protected immature neurons in the hippocampus from death following TBI. In the present study, we systemically treated moderate CCI-TBI mice or sham surgery mice with DHF once a day for 2 weeks via intraperitoneal injection, and then assessed the immature neurons in the hippocampus the 2nd day after the last DHF injection. We found that post-injury treatment of DHF for 2 weeks not only increased the number of adult-born immature neurons in the hippocampus, but also promoted their dendrite arborization in the injured brain following TBI. Thus, DHF may be a promising compound that can promote neurogenesis and enhance immature neuron development following TBI.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is followed by a state of metabolic dysfunction, affecting the ability of neurons to use energy and support brain plasticity; there is no effective therapy to counteract the TBI pathology. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has an exceptional capacity to support metabolism and plasticity, which highly contrasts with its poor pharmacological profile. We evaluated the action of a flavonoid derivative 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), a BDNF receptor (TrkB) agonist with the pharmacological profile congruent for potential human therapies. Treatment with 7,8-DHF (5mg/kg, ip, daily for 7 days) was effective to ameliorate the effects of TBI on plasticity markers (CREB phosphorylation, GAP-43 and syntaxin-3 levels) and memory function in Barnes maze test. Treatment with 7,8-DHF restored the decrease in protein and phenotypic expression of TrkB phosphorylation after TBI. In turn, intrahippocampal injections of K252a, a TrkB antagonist, counteracted the 7,8-DHF induced TrkB signaling activation and memory improvement in TBI, suggesting the pivotal role of TrkB signaling in cognitive performance after brain injury. A potential action of 7,8-DHF on cell energy homeostasis was corroborated by the normalization in levels of PGC-1?, TFAM, COII, AMPK and SIRT1 in animals subjected to TBI. Results suggest a potential mechanism by which 7,8-DHF counteracts TBI pathology via activation of the TrkB receptor and engaging the interplay between cell energy management and synaptic plasticity. Since metabolic dysfunction is an important risk factor for the development of neurological and psychiatric disorders, these results set a precedent for the therapeutic use of 7,8-DHF in a larger context.
Project description:Tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) signaling is critical for promoting neuronal survival following brain damage. The present study investigated the effects and underlying mechanisms of TrkB activation by the TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mice subjected to controlled cortical impact received intraperitoneal 7,8-DHF or vehicle injection 10 min post-injury and subsequently daily for 3 days. Behavioral studies, histology analysis and brain water content assessment were performed. Levels of TrkB signaling-related molecules and apoptosis-related proteins were analyzed. The protective effect of 7,8-DHF was also investigated in primary neurons subjected to stretch injury. Treatment with 20 mg/kg 7,8-DHF attenuated functional deficits and brain damage up to post-injury day 28. 7,8-DHF also reduced brain edema, neuronal death, and apoptosis at day 4. These changes were accompanied by a significant decrease in cleaved caspase-3 and increase in Bcl-2/Bax ratio. 7,8-DHF enhanced phosphorylation of TrkB, Akt (Ser473/Thr308), and Bad at day 4, but had no effect on Erk 1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, 7,8-DHF increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and promoted cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) activation. This beneficial effect was attenuated by inhibition of TrkB or PI3K/Akt. 7,8-DHF also promoted survival and reduced apoptosis in cortical neurons subjected to stretch injury. Remarkably, delayed administration of 7,8-DHF at 3 h post-injury reduced brain tissue damage. Our study demonstrates that activation of TrkB signaling by 7,8-DHF protects against TBI via the PI3K/Akt but not Erk pathway, and this protective effect may be amplified via the PI3K/Akt-CREB cascades.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes cell death predominantly in the cerebral cortex, but there is additional secondary cell death in the hippocampus. We previously found that most of the dying cells in the mouse hippocampus are newborn immature granular neurons in a mouse model of lateral controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury with a moderate level of impact. It is not known how long this selective cell death in the hippocampal dentate gyrus lasts, and how it is induced. Using Fluoro-Jade B and immunohistochemistry, we show that most of the neuron death in the hippocampus occurs within 24 hours after TBI and that cell death continues at low level for at least another 2 weeks in this lateral CCI model. Most of the dying immature granular neurons did not exhibit morphologic characteristics of apoptosis, and only a small subpopulation of the dying cells was positive for apoptotic markers. In contrast, most of the dying cells coexpressed the receptor-interacting protein 1, a marker of necrosis, suggesting that immature neurons mainly died of necrosis. These results indicate that moderate TBI mainly triggers rapid necrotic death of immature neurons in the hippocampus in a mouse CCI model.
Project description:Neonatal seizures are commonly associated with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Phenobarbital (PB) resistance is common and poses a serious challenge in clinical management. Using a newly characterized neonatal mouse model of ischemic seizures, this study investigated a novel strategy for rescuing PB resistance. A small-molecule TrkB antagonist, ANA12, used to selectively and transiently block post-ischemic BDNF-TrkB signaling in vivo, determined whether rescuing TrkB-mediated post-ischemic degradation of the K(+)-Cl(-) co-transporter (KCC2) rescued PB-resistant seizures. The anti-seizure efficacy of ANA12 + PB was quantified by (i) electrographic seizure burden using acute continuous video-electroencephalograms and (ii) post-treatment expression levels of KCC2 and NKCC1 using Western blot analysis in postnatal day (P)7 and P10 CD1 pups with unilateral carotid ligation. ANA12 significantly rescued PB-resistant seizures at P7 and improved PB efficacy at P10. A single dose of ANA12 + PB prevented the post-ischemic degradation of KCC2 for up to 24 h. As anticipated, ANA12 by itself had no anti-seizure properties and was unable to prevent KCC2 degradation at 24 h without follow-on PB. This indicates that unsubdued seizures can independently lead to KCC2 degradation via non-TrkB-dependent pathways. This study, for the first time as a proof-of-concept, reports the potential therapeutic value of KCC2 modulation for the management of PB-resistant seizures in neonates. Future investigations are required to establish the mechanistic link between ANA12 and the prevention of KCC2 degradation.
Project description:Chronic activation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor TrkB is a potential method to prevent development of obesity, but the short half-life and nonbioavailable nature of BDNF hampers validation of the hypothesis. We report here that activation of muscular TrkB by the BDNF mimetic, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), is sufficient to protect the development of diet-induced obesity in female mice. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we found that 7,8-DHF treatment enhanced the expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in skeletal muscle, which resulted in increased systemic energy expenditure, reduced adiposity, and improved insulin sensitivity in female mice fed a high-fat diet. This antiobesity activity of 7,8-DHF is muscular TrkB-dependent as 7,8-DHF cannot mitigate diet-induced obesity in female muscle-specific TrkB knockout mice. Hence, our data reveal that chronic activation of muscular TrkB is useful in alleviating obesity and its complications.
Project description:Despite increasing awareness of the many important roles played by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activation of TrkB, a fuller understanding of this system and the use of potential TrkB-acting therapeutic agents has been limited by the lack of any identified small-molecule TrkB agonists that fully mimic the actions of BDNF at brain TrkB receptors in vivo. However, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) has recently been identified as a specific TrkB agonist that crosses the blood-brain barrier after oral or intraperitoneal administration. The authors combined pharmacological, biochemical, and behavioral approaches in a preclinical study examining the role of 7,8-DHF in modulating emotional memory in mice.The authors first examined the ability of systemic 7,8-DHF to activate TrkB receptors in the amygdala. They then examined the effects of systemic 7,8-DHF on acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear, using specific and well-characterized BDNF-dependent learning paradigms in several models using naive mice and mice with prior traumatic stress exposure.Amygdala TrkB receptors, which have previously been shown to be required for emotional learning, were activated by systemic 7,8-DHF (at 5 mg/kg i.p.). 7,8-DHF enhanced both the acquisition of fear and its extinction. It also appeared to rescue an extinction deficit in mice with a history of immobilization stress.These data suggest that 7,8-DHF may be an excellent agent for use in understanding the effects of TrkB activation in learning and memory paradigms and may be attractive for use in reversing learning and extinction deficits associated with psychopathology.
Project description:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) promotes neural stem/progenitor cell (NSC) proliferation in an attempt to initiate innate repair mechanisms. However, all immature neurons in the CNS are required to migrate from their birthplace to their final destination to develop into functional neurons. Here we assessed the destination of adult-born neurons following TBI. We found that a large percentage of immature neurons migrated past their normal stopping site at the inner granular cell layer (GCL), and became misplaced in the outer GCL of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. The aberrant migration of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus occurred 48?hours after TBI, and lasted for 8 weeks, resulting in a great number of newly generated neurons misplaced in the outer GCL in the hippocampus. Those misplaced neurons were able to become mature and differentiate into granular neurons, but located ectopically in the outer GCL with reduced dendritic complexity after TBI. The adult-born neurons at the misplaced position may make wrong connections with inappropriate nearby targets in the pre-existing neural network. These results suggest that although stimulation of endogenous NSCs following TBI might offer new avenues for cell-based therapy, additional intervention is required to further enhance successful neurogenesis for repairing the damaged brain.
Project description:Stress leads to brain pathology including hippocampal degeneration, cognitive dysfunction, and potential mood disorders. Hippocampal CA3, a most stress-vulnerable region, consists of pyramidal neurons that regulate cognitive functions e.g. learning and memory. These CA3 neurons express high levels of the neuroprotective protein, neurotrophic factor-?1 (NF-?1), also known as carboxypeptidase E (CPE), and receive contacts from granule cell projections that release BDNF which has neuroprotective activity. Whether NF-?1-CPE and/or BDNF are critical in protecting these CA3 neurons against severe stress-induced cell death is unknown. Here we show that social combined with the physical stress of maternal separation, ear tagging, and tail snipping at weaning in 3-week-old mice lacking NF-?1-CPE, led to complete hippocampal CA3 degeneration, despite having BDNF and active phosphorylated TrkB receptor levels similar to WT animals. Mice administered TrkB inhibitor, ANA12 which blocked TrkB phosphorylation showed no degeneration of the CA3 neurons after the weaning stress paradigm. Furthermore, transgenic knock-in mice expressing CPE-E342Q, an enzymatically inactive form, replacing NF-?1-CPE, showed no CA3 degeneration and exhibited normal learning and memory after the weaning stress, unlike NF-?1-CPE-KO mice. Mechanistically, we showed that radio-labeled NF-?1-CPE bound HT22 hippocampal cells in a saturable manner and with high affinity (Kd?=?4.37?nM). Subsequently, treatment of the HT22<sup>cpe-/-</sup> cells with NF-?1-CPE or CPE-E342Q equivalently activated ERK signaling and increased BCL2 expression to protect these neurons against H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub>-or glutamate-induced cytotoxicity. Our findings show that NF-?1-CPE is more critical compared to BDNF in protecting CA3 pyramidal neurons against stress-induced cell death and cognitive dysfunction, independent of its enzymatic activity.
Project description:Hippocampal injury-associated learning and memory deficits are frequent hallmarks of brain trauma and are the most enduring and devastating consequences following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Several reports, including our recent paper, showed that TBI brought on by a moderate level of controlled cortical impact (CCI) induces immature newborn neuron death in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. In contrast, the majority of mature neurons are spared. Less research has been focused on these spared neurons, which may also be injured or compromised by TBI. Here we examined the dendrite morphologies, dendritic spines, and synaptic structures using a genetic approach in combination with immunohistochemistry and Golgi staining. We found that although most of the mature granular neurons were spared following TBI at a moderate level of impact, they exhibited dramatic dendritic beading and fragmentation, decreased number of dendritic branches, and a lower density of dendritic spines, particularly the mushroom-shaped mature spines. Further studies showed that the density of synapses in the molecular layer of the hippocampal dentate gyrus was significantly reduced. The electrophysiological activity of neurons was impaired as well. These results indicate that TBI not only induces cell death in immature granular neurons, it also causes significant dendritic and synaptic degeneration in pathohistology. TBI also impairs the function of the spared mature granular neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. These observations point to a potential anatomic substrate to explain, in part, the development of posttraumatic memory deficits. They also indicate that dendritic damage in the hippocampal dentate gyrus may serve as a therapeutic target following TBI.