Genetic ablation of IP3 receptor 2 increases cytokines and decreases survival of SOD1G93A mice.
ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective death of motor neurons. Disease pathophysiology is complex and not yet fully understood. Higher gene expression of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor 2 gene (ITPR2), encoding the IP3 receptor 2 (IP3R2), was detected in sporadic ALS patients. Here, we demonstrate that IP3R2 gene expression was also increased in spinal cords of ALS mice. Moreover, an increase of IP3R2 expression was observed in other models of chronic and acute neurodegeneration. Upregulation of IP3R2 gene expression could be induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in murine astrocytes, murine macrophages and human fibroblasts indicating that it may be a compensatory response to inflammation. Preventing this response by genetic deletion of ITPR2 from SOD1G93A mice had a dose-dependent effect on disease duration, resulting in a significantly shorter lifespan of these mice. In addition, the absence of IP3R2 led to increased innate immunity, which may contribute to the decreased survival of the SOD1G93A mice. Besides systemic inflammation, IP3R2 knockout mice also had increased IFN?, IL-6 and IL1? expression. Altogether, our data indicate that IP3R2 protects against the negative effects of inflammation, suggesting that the increase in IP3R2 expression in ALS patients is a protective response.
Project description:While the death of motor neuron is a pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), defects in other cell types or organs may also actively contribute to ALS disease progression. ALS patients experience progressive skeletal muscle wasting that may not only exacerbate neuronal degeneration, but likely has a significant impact on bone function. In our previous published study, we have discovered severe bone loss in an ALS mouse model with overexpression of ALS-associated mutation SOD1G93A (G93A). Here we further provide a mechanistic understanding of the bone loss in ALS animal and cellular models. Combining mitochondrial fluorescent indicators and confocal live cell imaging, we discovered abnormalities in mitochondrial network and dynamics in primary osteocytes derived from the same ALS mouse model G93A. Those mitochondrial defects occur in ALS mice after the onset of neuromuscular symptoms, indicating that mitochondria in bone cells respond to muscle atrophy during ALS disease progression. To examine whether ALS mutation has a direct contribution to mitochondrial dysfunction independent of muscle atrophy, we evaluated mitochondrial morphology and motility in cultured osteocytes (MLO-Y4) with overexpression of mitochondrial targeted SOD1G93A. Compared with osteocytes overexpressing the wild type SOD1 as a control, the SOD1G93A osteocytes showed similar defects in mitochondrial network and dynamic as that of the primary osteocytes derived from the ALS mouse model. In addition, we further discovered that overexpression of SOD1G93A enhanced the expression level of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a key protein promoting mitochondrial fission activity, and reduced the expression level of optic atrophy protein 1 (OPA1), a key protein related to mitochondrial fusion. A specific mitochondrial fission inhibitor (Mdivi-1) partially reversed the effect of SOD1G93A on mitochondrial network and dynamics, indicating that SOD1G93A likely promotes mitochondrial fission, but suppresses the fusion activity. Our data provide the first evidence that mitochondria show abnormality in osteocytes derived from an ALS mouse model. The accumulation of mutant SOD1G93A protein inside mitochondria directly causes dysfunction in mitochondrial dynamics in cultured MLO-Y4 osteocytes. In addition, the ALS mutation SOD1G93A-mediated dysfunction in mitochondrial dynamics is associated with an enhanced apoptosis in osteocytes, which could be a potential mechanism underlying the bone loss during ALS progression.
Project description:Mutations in autophagy genes can cause familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, the role of autophagy in ALS pathogenesis is poorly understood, in part due to the lack of cell type-specific manipulations of this pathway in animal models. Using a mouse model of ALS expressing mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1G93A), we show that motor neurons form large autophagosomes containing ubiquitinated aggregates early in disease progression. To investigate whether this response is protective or detrimental, we generated mice in which the critical autophagy gene Atg7 was specifically disrupted in motor neurons (Atg7 cKO). Atg7 cKO mice were viable but exhibited structural and functional defects at a subset of vulnerable neuromuscular junctions. By crossing Atg7 cKO mice to the SOD1G93A mouse model, we found that autophagy inhibition accelerated early neuromuscular denervation of the tibialis anterior muscle and the onset of hindlimb tremor. Surprisingly, however, lifespan was extended in Atg7 cKO; SOD1G93A double-mutant mice. Autophagy inhibition did not prevent motor neuron cell death, but it reduced glial inflammation and blocked activation of the stress-related transcription factor c-Jun in spinal interneurons. We conclude that motor neuron autophagy is required to maintain neuromuscular innervation early in disease but eventually acts in a non-cell-autonomous manner to promote disease progression.
Project description:The rate of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is highly variable, even between patients with the same genetic mutations. Metabolic alterations may affect disease course variability in ALS patients, but challenges in identifying the preclinical and early phases of the disease limit our understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying differences in the rate of disease progression. We examined effects of SOD1G93A on thoracic and lumbar spinal cord metabolites in two mouse ALS models with different rates of disease progression: the transgenic SOD1G93A-C57BL/6JOlaHsd (C57-G93A, slow progression) and transgenic SOD1G93A-129SvHsd (129S-G93A, fast progression) strains. Samples from three timepoints (presymptomatic, disease onset, and late stage disease) were analyzed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry metabolomics. Tissue metabolome differences in the lumbar spinal cord were driven primarily by mouse genetic background, although larger responses were observed in metabolic trajectories after the onset of symptoms. The significantly affected lumbar spinal cord metabolites were involved in energy and lipid metabolism. In the thoracic spinal cord, metabolic differences related to genetic background, background-SOD1 genotype interactions, and longitudinal SOD1G93A effects. The largest responses in thoracic spinal cord metabolic trajectories related to SOD1G93A effects before onset of visible symptoms. More metabolites were significantly affected in the thoracic segment, which were involved in energy homeostasis, neurotransmitter synthesis and utilization, and the oxidative stress response. We find evidence that initial metabolic alterations in SOD1G93A mice confer disadvantages for maintaining neuronal viability under ALS-related stressors, with slow-progressing C57-G93A mice potentially having more favorable spinal cord bioenergetic profiles than 129S-G93A. These genetic background-associated metabolic differences together with the different early metabolic responses underscore the need to better characterize the impact of germline genetic variation on cellular responses to ALS gene mutations both before and after the onset of symptoms in order to understand their impact on disease development.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative disorder, classified into sporadic or familial forms and characterized by motor neurons death, muscle atrophy, weakness, and paralysis. Among the familial cases of ALS, approximately 20% are caused by dominant mutations in the gene coding for superoxide dismutase (SOD1) protein. Of note, mutant SOD1 toxicity is not necessarily limited to the central nervous system. ALS is indeed a multi-systemic and multifactorial disease that affects whole body physiology and induces severe metabolic changes in several tissues, including skeletal muscle. Nevertheless, whether alterations in the plasticity, heterogeneity, and metabolism of muscle fibers are the result of motor neuron degeneration or alternatively occur independently of it remain to be elucidated. To address this issue, we made use of a mouse model (MLC/SOD1G93A) that overexpresses the SOD1 mutant gene selectively in skeletal muscle. We found an alteration in the metabolic properties of skeletal muscle characterized by alteration in fiber type composition and metabolism. Indeed, we observed an alteration of muscle glucose metabolism associated with the induction of Phosphofructokinases and Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 expression. The upregulation of Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 led to the inhibition of Pyruvate conversion into Acetyl-CoA. Moreover, we demonstrated that the MLC/SOD1G93A transgene was associated with an increase of lipid catabolism and with the inhibition of fat deposition inside muscle fibers. All together these data demonstrate that muscle expression of the SOD1G93A gene induces metabolic changes, along with a preferential use of lipid energy fuel by muscle fibers. We provided evidences that muscle metabolic alterations occurred before disease symptoms and independently of motor neuron degeneration, indicating that skeletal muscle is likely an important therapeutic target in ALS.
Project description:Accumulating evidence suggests that neuroinflammatory processes are implicated in the initiation and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Previous reports have demonstrated an increase in microgliosis and astrogliosis in the lumbar spinal cord of SOD1G93A transgenic mice before the onset of symptoms, a neuroinflammatory response which correlated with disease progression. Importantly, early stage homeostatic microglia enhanced motor neuron survival, while pro-inflammatory microglia were toxic to motor neurons in the SOD1G93A mice. Recent studies from our group have demonstrated that cromolyn sodium, an FDA approved compound, exerts neuroprotective effects in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease by altering microglial cell activation. Here, we tested the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of cromolyn sodium in the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS. Our results indicate that cromolyn sodium treatment significantly delayed the onset of neurological symptoms, and improved deficits in PaGE performance in both male and female mice, however, there was only an effect on survival in female mice. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in motor neuron survival in the lumbar spinal cord as well as a significant decrease in the denervation of the neuromuscular junction of the tibialis anterior muscle in cromolyn treated transgenic SOD1G93A mice. Lastly, cromolyn treatment decreased the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in the lumbar spinal cord and plasma and decreased mast cell degranulation in the tibialis anterior muscle of transgenic SOD1G93A mice. Together, these findings suggest that cromolyn sodium provides neuroprotection in the SOD1G93A mice by decreasing the inflammatory response.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an untreatable, progressive, neurodegenerative disease specifically affecting motor neurons. Recently, the tyrosine kinase receptor EphA4 was directly implicated in ALS disease progression. We report that a long-lived mutated form of the EphA4 antagonist EphA4-Fc (mutEphA4-Fc), which blocks EphA4 binding to its ligands and inhibits its function, significantly improved functional performance in SOD1G93A ALS model mice, as assessed by rotarod and hind-limb grip strength tests. Further, heterozygous motor neuron-specific EphA4 gene deletion in SOD1G93A mice promoted significant improvement in functional performance during the disease course and a delay in disease onset relative to control mice. Importantly, mice in the heterozygous deletion group showed significantly improved survival of motor neurons and architecture of endplates of neuromuscular junctions compared with control and homozygous EphA4-deletion groups. Our novel results show that EphA4 signalling directly regulates motor neuron survival and that mutEphA4-Fc is a promising therapeutic candidate to slow disease progression in ALS.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease typically more common in males, implicating androgens in progression of both patients and mouse models. Androgen effects are mediated by androgen receptor which is highly expressed in spinal motor neurons and skeletal muscles. To clarify the role of androgen receptors in ALS, we therefore examined the effect of androgen receptor antagonism in the SOD1G93A mouse model. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:The androgen receptor antagonist, flutamide, was administered to presymptomatic SOD1G93A mice as a slow-release subcutaneous implant (5 mg·day-1 ). Testosterone, flutamide, and metabolite levels were measured in blood and spinal cord tissue by LC-MS-MS. Effects on disease onset and progression were assessed using motor function tests, survival, muscle, and neuropathological analyses. KEY RESULTS:Flutamide was metabolised to 2-hydroxyflutamide achieving steady-state plasma levels across the study duration and reached the spinal cord at pharmacologically active concentrations. Flutamide treatment accelerated disease onset and locomotor dysfunction in male SOD1G93A mice, but not female mice, without affecting survival. Analysis of hindlimb muscles revealed exacerbation of myofibre atrophy in male SOD1G93A mice treated with flutamide, although motor neuron pathology was not affected. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:The androgen receptor antagonist accelerated disease onset in male SOD1G93A mice, leading to exacerbated muscle pathology, consistent with a role of androgens in modulating disease severity, sexual dimorphism, and peripheral pathology in ALS. These results also demonstrate a key contribution of skeletal muscle pathology to disease onset, but not outcome, in this mouse model of ALS.
Project description:Early molecular events related to cytoskeleton are poorly described in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), especially in the Schwann cell (SC), which offers strong trophic support to motor neurons. DAVID tool identified cytoskeleton-related genes by employing the Cellular Component of Gene Ontology (CCO) in a large gene profiling of lumbar spinal cord and sciatic nerve of presymptomatic SOD1G93A mice. One and five CCO terms related to cytoskeleton were described from the spinal cord deregulated genes of 40 days (actin cytoskeleton) and 80 days (microtubule cytoskeleton, cytoskeleton part, actin cytoskeleton, neurofilament cytoskeleton and cytoskeleton) old transgene mice, respectively. Also, four terms were depicted from the deregulated genes of sciatic nerve of 60 days old transgenes (actin cytoskeleton, cytoskeleton part, microtubule cytoskeleton and cytoskeleton). Kif1b was the unique gene that appeared deregulated in more than one studied region or presymptomatic age. The expression of Kif1b (qPCR) elevated in the lumbar spinal cord (40 days old) and decreased in the sciatic nerve (60 days old) of presymptomatic ALS mice, results that were in line to microarray findings. Upregulation (24.8 fold) of Kif1b was seen in laser microdissected enriched immunolabeled motor neurons from the spinal cord of 40 days old presymptomatic SOD1G93A mice. Furthermore, Kif1b was downregulated in the sciatic nerve Schwann cells of presymptomatic ALS mice (60 days old) that were enriched by means of cell microdissection (6.35 fold), cell sorting (3.53 fold) and primary culture (2.70 fold) technologies. The gene regulation of cytoskeleton molecules is an important occurrence in motor neurons and Schwann cells in presymptomatic stages of ALS and may be relevant in the dying back mechanisms of neuronal death. Differential regulation of Kif1b in the spinal cord and sciatic nerve cells emerged as key event in ALS. Sciatic nerve from SOD1G93A and Non transgenic controls from 60 days were used in the experiments. 4 biological replicates were used. A reference sample, comprised by RNA from different neonatal organs (heart, liver, kidney) were used in the hybridations
Project description:The ATP-gated P2X7 ion channel has emerging roles in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) progression. Pharmacological blockade of P2X7 with Brilliant Blue G can ameliorate disease in SOD1G93A mice, but recent data suggests that this antagonist displays poor penetration of the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, the current study aimed to determine whether the CNS-penetrant P2X7 antagonist, JNJ-47965567, could ameliorate ALS progression in SOD1G93A mice. A flow cytometric assay revealed that JNJ-47965567 impaired ATP-induced cation dye uptake in a concentration-dependent manner in murine J774 macrophages. Female and male SOD1G93A mice were injected intraperitoneally with JNJ-47965567 (30 mg/kg) or 2-(hydroxypropyl)-beta-cyclodextrin (vehicle control) three times a week from disease onset until end stage, when tissues were collected and studied. JNJ-47965567 did not impact weight loss, clinical score, motor (rotarod) coordination or survival compared to control mice. NanoString analysis revealed altered spinal cord gene expression in JNJ-47965567 mice compared to control mice, but such differences were not confirmed by quantitative PCR. Flow cytometric analyses revealed no differences between treatments in the frequencies or activation status of T cell or dendritic cell subsets in lymphoid tissues or in the concentrations of serum cytokines. Notably, serum IL-27, IFN? and IL-10 were present in relatively high concentrations compared to other cytokines in both groups. In conclusion, JNJ-47965567 administered thrice weekly from disease onset did not alter disease progression or molecular and cellular parameters in SOD1G93A mice.
Project description:Patients with ALS show, in addition to the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebral cortex, an abnormal depletion of energy stores alongside hypermetabolism. In this study, we show that bioenergetic defects and muscle remodeling occur in skeletal muscle of the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS mice prior to disease onset and before the activation of muscle denervation markers, respectively. These changes in muscle physiology were followed by an increase in energy expenditure unrelated to physical activity. Finally, chronic treatment of SOD1G93A mice with Ranolazine, an FDA-approved inhibitor of fatty acid ?-oxidation, led to a decrease in energy expenditure in symptomatic SOD1G93A mice, and this occurred in parallel with a robust, albeit temporary, recovery of the pathological phenotype.