Conditioned medium from amniotic cells protects striatal degeneration and ameliorates motor deficits in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease.
ABSTRACT: Inflammation significantly impacts the progression of Huntington's disease (HD) and the mutant HTT protein determines a pro-inflammatory activation of microglia. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) from the amniotic membrane (hAMSC), and their conditioned medium (CM-hAMSC), have been shown to possess protective effects in vitro and in vivo in animal models of immune-based disorders and of traumatic brain injury, which have been shown to be mediated by their immunomodulatory properties. In this study, in the R6/2 mouse model for HD we demonstrate that mice treated with CM-hAMSC display less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than saline-treated ones. CM-hAMSC treatment significantly delayed the development of the hind paw clasping response during tail suspension, reduced deficits in rotarod performance, and decreased locomotor activity in an open field test. The effects of CM-hAMSC on neurological function were reflected in a significant amelioration in brain pathology, including reduction in striatal atrophy and the formation of striatal neuronal intranuclear inclusions. In addition, while no significant increase was found in the expression of BDNF levels after CM-hAMSC treatment, a significant decrease of microglia activation and inducible nitric oxide synthase levels were observed. These results support the concept that CM-hAMSC could act by modulating inflammatory cells, and more specifically microglia.
Project description:The reduction of pre-enkephalin (pENK) mRNA expression might be an early sign of striatal neuronal dysfunction in Huntington's disease (HD), due to mutated huntingtin protein. Indeed, striatopallidal (pENK-containing) neurodegeneration occurs at earlier stage of the disease, compare to the loss of striatonigral neurons. However, no data are available about the functional role of striatal pENK in HD. According to the neuroprotective properties of opioids that have been recognized recently, the objective of this study was to investigate whether striatal overexpression of pENK at early stage of HD can improve motor dysfunction, and/or reduce striatal neuronal loss in the R6/2 transgenic mouse model of HD. To achieve this goal recombinant adeno-associated-virus (rAAV2)-containing green fluorescence protein (GFP)-pENK was injected bilaterally in the striatum of R6/2 mice at 5 weeks old to overexpress opioid peptide pENK. Striatal injection of rAAV2-GFP was used as a control. Different behavioral tests were carried out before and/or after striatal injections of rAAV2. The animals were euthanized at 10 weeks old. Our results demonstrate that striatal overexpression of pENK had beneficial effects on behavioral symptoms of HD in R6/2 by: delaying the onset of decline in muscular force; reduction of clasping; improvement of fast motor activity, short-term memory and recognition; as well as normalization of anxiety-like behavior. The improvement of behavioral dysfunction in R6/2 mice having received rAAV2-GFP-pENK associated with upregulation of striatal pENK mRNA; the increased level of enkephalin peptide in the striatum, globus pallidus and substantia nigra; as well as the slight increase in the number of striatal neurons compared with other groups of R6/2. Accordingly, we suggest that at early stage of HD upregulation of striatal enkephalin might play a key role at attenuating illness symptoms.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by the presence of an abnormally expanded polyglutamine domain in the N-terminus of huntingtin. We developed a recombinant adeno-associated viral serotype 5 (rAAV5) gene transfer strategy to posttranscriptionally suppress the levels of striatal mutant huntingtin (mHtt) in the R6/1 HD transgenic mouse via RNA interference. Transient cotransfection of HEK293 cells with plasmids expressing a portion of human mHtt derived from R6/1 transgenic HD mice and a short-hairpin RNA directed against the 5' UTR of the mHtt mRNA (siHUNT-1) resulted in reduction in the levels of mHtt mRNA (-75%) and protein (-60%). Long-term in vivo rAAV5-mediated expression of siHUNT-1 in the striatum of R6/1 mice reduced the levels of mHtt mRNA (-78%) and protein (-28%) as determined by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis, respectively. The reduction in mHtt was concomitant with a reduction in the size and number of neuronal intranuclear inclusions and a small but significant normalization of the steady-state levels of preproenkephalin and dopamine- and cAMP-responsive phosphoprotein 32 kDa mRNA. Finally, bilateral expression of rAAV5-siHUNT-1 resulted in delayed onset of the rear paw clasping phenotype exhibited by the R6/1 mice. These results suggest that a reduction in the levels of striatal mHtt can ameliorate the HD phenotype of R6/1 mice.
Project description:Mechanisms of tissue damage in Huntington's disease involve excitotoxicity, mitochondrial damage, and inflammation, including microglia activation. Immunomodulatory and anti-protein aggregation properties of tetracyclines were demonstrated in several disease models. In the present study, the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of the tetracycline doxycycline were investigated in the mouse model of HD disease R6/2. Transgenic mice were daily treated with doxycycline 20 mg/kg, starting from 4 weeks of age. After sacrifice, histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed. We found that doxycycline-treated R6/2 mice survived longer and displayed less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than the saline-treated ones. Primary outcome measures such as striatal atrophy, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and the negative modulation of microglial reaction revealed a neuroprotective effect of the compound. Doxycycline provided a significantly increase of activated CREB and BDNF in the striatal neurons, along with a down modulation of neuroinflammation, which, combined, might explain the beneficial effects observed in this model. Our findings show that doxycycline treatment could be considered as a valid therapeutic approach for HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by expanded CAG repeats in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Although several palliative treatments are available, there is currently no cure and patients generally die 10-15 y after diagnosis. Several promising approaches for HD therapy are currently in development, including RNAi and antisense analogs. We developed a complementary strategy to test repression of mutant HTT with zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) in an HD model. We tested a "molecular tape measure" approach, using long artificial ZFP chains, designed to bind longer CAG repeats more strongly than shorter repeats. After optimization, stable ZFP expression in a model HD cell line reduced chromosomal expression of the mutant gene at both the protein and mRNA levels (95% and 78% reduction, respectively). This was achieved chromosomally in the context of endogenous mouse HTT genes, with variable CAG-repeat lengths. Shorter wild-type alleles, other genomic CAG-repeat genes, and neighboring genes were unaffected. In vivo, striatal adeno-associated virus viral delivery in R6/2 mice was efficient and revealed dose-dependent repression of mutant HTT in the brain (up to 60%). Furthermore, zinc finger repression was tested at several levels, resulting in protein aggregate reduction, reduced decline in rotarod performance, and alleviation of clasping in R6/2 mice, establishing a proof-of-principle for synthetic transcription factor repressors in the brain.
Project description:In Huntington's disease (HD), striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) are particularly sensitive to the presence of a CAG repeat in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. However, there are many evidences that cells from the peripheral immune system and central nervous system (CNS) immune cells, namely microglia, play an important role in the etiology and the progression of HD. However, it remains unclear whether MSNs neurodegeneration is mediated by a non-cell autonomous mechanism. The homeostasis in the healthy CNS is maintained by several mechanisms of interaction between all brain cells. Neurons can control microglia activation through several inhibitory mechanisms, such as the CD200-CD200R1 interaction. Due to the complete lack of knowledge about the CD200-CD200R1 system in HD, we determined the temporal patterns of CD200 and CD200R1 expression in the neocortex, hippocampus and striatum in the HD mouse models R6/1 and HdhQ111/7 from pre-symptomatic to manifest stages. In order to explore any alteration in the peripheral immune system, we also studied the levels of expression of CD200 and CD200R1 in whole blood. Although CD200R1 expression was not altered, we observed and increase in CD200 gene expression and protein levels in the brain parenchyma of all the regions we examined, along with HD pathogenesis in R6/1 mice. Interestingly, the expression of CD200 mRNA was also up-regulated in blood following a similar temporal pattern. These results suggest that canonical neuronal-microglial communication through CD200-CD200R1 interaction is not compromised, and CD200 up-regulation in R6/1 brain parenchyma could represent a neurotrophic signal to sustain or extend neuronal function in the latest stages of HD as pro-survival mechanism.
Project description:Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear enzyme that is involved in physiological processes as DNA repair, genomic stability, and apoptosis. Moreover, published studies demonstrated that PARP-1 mediates necrotic cell death in response to excessive DNA damage under certain pathological conditions. In Huntington's disease brains, PARP immunoreactivity was described in neurons and in glial cells, thereby suggesting the involvement of apoptosis in HD. In this study, we sought to determine if the PARP-1 inhibitor exerts a neuroprotective effect in R6/2 mutant mice, which recapitulates, in many aspects, human HD. Transgenic mice were treated with the PARP-1 inhibitor INO-1001 mg/Kg daily starting from 4 weeks of age. After transcardial perfusion, histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed. We found that INO 1001-treated R6/2 mice survived longer and displayed less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than the vehicle treated ones. Primary outcome measures such as striatal atrophy, morphology of striatal neurons, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and microglial reaction confirmed a neuroprotective effect of the compound. INO-1001 was effective in significantly increasing activated CREB and BDNF in the striatal spiny neurons, which might account for the beneficial effects observed in this model. Our findings show that PARP-1 inhibition could be considered as a valid therapeutic approach for HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder in which the striatum is the most affected brain region. Although a chronic inflammatory microglial reaction that amplifies disease progression has been described in HD patients, some murine models develop symptoms without inflammatory microglial activation. Thus, dysfunction of non-inflammatory microglial activity could also contribute to the early HD pathological process. Here, we show the involvement of microglia and particularly fractalkine signaling in the striatal synaptic dysfunction of R6/1 mice. We found reduced fractalkine gene expression and protein concentration in R6/1 striata from 8 to 20 weeks of age. Consistently, we also observed a down-regulation of fractalkine levels in the putamen of HD patients and in HD patient hiPSC-derived neurons. Automated cell morphology analysis showed a non-inflammatory ramified microglia in the striatum of R6/1 mice. However, we found increased PSD-95-positive puncta inside microglia, indicative of synaptic pruning, before HD motor symptoms start to manifest. Indeed, microglia appeared to be essential for striatal synaptic function, as the inhibition of microglial activity with minocycline impaired the induction of corticostriatal long-term depression (LTD) in wild-type mice. Notably, fractalkine administration restored impaired corticostriatal LTD in R6/1 mice. Our results unveil a role for fractalkine-dependent neuron-microglia interactions in the early striatal synaptic dysfunction characteristic of HD.
Project description:Excitotoxic injury to striatum by dysfunctional cortical input or aberrant glutamate uptake may contribute to Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis. Since corticostriatal terminals possess mGluR2/3 autoreceptors, whose activation dampens glutamate release, we tested the ability of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 to improve the phenotype in R6/2 HD mice with 120-125 CAG repeats. Daily subcutaneous injection of a maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of LY379268 (20mg/kg) had no evident adverse effects in WT mice, and diverse benefits in R6/2 mice, both in a cohort of mice tested behaviorally until the end of R6/2 lifespan and in a cohort sacrificed at 10weeks of age for blinded histological analysis. MTD LY379268 yielded a significant 11% increase in R6/2 survival, an improvement on rotarod, normalization and/or improvement in locomotor parameters measured in open field (activity, speed, acceleration, endurance, and gait), a rescue of a 15-20% cortical and striatal neuron loss, normalization of SP striatal neuron neurochemistry, and to a lesser extent enkephalinergic striatal neuron neurochemistry. Deficits were greater in male than female R6/2 mice, and drug benefit tended to be greater in males. The improvements in SP striatal neurons, which facilitate movement, are consistent with the improved movement in LY379268-treated R6/2 mice. Our data indicate that mGluR2/3 agonists may be particularly useful for ameliorating the morphological, neurochemical and motor defects observed in HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene. Previously, therapeutic approaches using anti-inflammatory agents were reportedly not effective for preventing HD progression. Since whether immune responses contribute to the onset of HD is not entirely understood, we herein investigated the role of immune activation in HD using the R6/2 transgenic (Tg) HD model mouse. IL12 production and the expression of costimulatory molecules (e.g. CD86 and CD40) on innate immune cells (DCs and macrophages) were diminished in the disease stage of R6/2 Tg mice. Moreover, the number of adaptive T cells (CD4+ and CD8+ T cells) and the frequency of effector memory phenotype CD4+ T cells were decreased in these mice. These results suggest that the severity of HD is closely related to an impaired immune system and might be reversed by activation of the immune system. Since lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a potent TLR4 agonist, activates immune cells, we evaluated the effect of immune activation on the pathogenesis of HD using LPS. The repeated immune activation with low-dose LPS significantly recovered the impaired immune status back to normal levels and attenuated both severe weight loss and the increased clasping phenotype found in the disease stage of R6/2 Tg mice, consequently resulting in prolonged survival. Taken together, these results strongly indicate that immune activation has beneficial influences on alleviating HD pathology and could provide new therapeutic strategies for HD.
Project description:N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) mediated excitotoxicity is a probable proximate mechanism of neurodegeneration in Huntington disease (HD). Striatal neurons express the NR2B-NMDAR subunit at high levels, and this subunit is thought to be instrumental in causing excitotoxic striatal neuron injury. We evaluated the efficacy of 3 NR2B-selective antagonists in the R6/2 transgenic fragment model of HD. We evaluated ifenprodil (10 mg/kg; 100 mg/kg), RO25,6981 (10 mg/kg), and CP101,606 (30 mg/kg). Doses were chosen on the basis of pilot acute maximally tolerated dose studies. Mice were treated with subcutaneous injections twice daily. Outcomes included survival; motor performance declines assessed with the rotarod, balance beam task, and activity measurements; and post-mortem striatal volumes. No outcome measure demonstrated any benefit of treatments. Lack of efficacy of NR2B antagonists in the R6/2 model has several possible explanations including blockade of beneficial NMDAR mediated effects, inadequacy of the R6/2 model, and the existence of multiple proximate mechanisms of neurodegeneration in HD.