Partial Reconstruction of the Nigrostriatal Circuit along a Preformed Molecular Guidance Pathway.
ABSTRACT: The overall goal of our research is to establish a preformed molecular guidance pathway to direct the growth of dopaminergic axons from embryonic ventral mesencephalon (VM), tissue placed within the substantia nigra (SN), into the striatum to reconstruct the nigrostriatal pathway in a hemi-Parkinson's disease rat model. Guidance pathways were prepared by injecting lentivirus encoding either GFP or a combination of glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) with either GDNF family receptor ?1 (GFR?1) or netrin1. In another cohort of animals, adeno-associated virus (AAV) encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was injected within the striatum after guidance pathway formation. GDNF combined with either GFR?1 or netrin significantly increased growth of dopaminergic axons out of transplants and along the pathway, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of amphetamine-induced rotations. Retrograde tract tracing showed that the dopaminergic axons innervating the striatum were from A9 neurons within the transplant. Increased dopaminergic innervation of the striatum and improved behavioral recovery were observed with the addition of BDNF. Preformed guidance pathways using a combination of GDNF and netrin1 can be used to reconstruct the nigrostriatal pathway and improve motor recovery.
Project description:Exercise may alleviate locomotor impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD) or aging. Identifying molecular responses immediately engaged by exercise in the nigrostriatal pathway and allied tissue may reveal critical targets associated with its long-term benefits. In aging, there is loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor, GFR-?1, in the substantia nigra (SN). Exercise can increase GDNF expression, but its effect on GFR-?1 expression is unknown. Infusion of GDNF into striatum or GFR-?1 in SN, respectively, can increase locomotor activity and TH function in SN but not striatum in aged rats. GDNF may also increase glutamate transporter expression, which attenuates TH loss in PD models. We utilized a footshock-free treadmill exercise regimen to determine the immediate impact of short-term exercise on GFR-?1 expression, dopamine regulation, glutamate transporter expression, and glutamate uptake in 18 month old male Brown-Norway/Fischer 344 F1 hybrid rats. GFR-?1 and TH expression significantly increased in SN but not striatum. This exercise regimen did not affect glutamate uptake or glutamate transporter expression in striatum. However, EAAC1 expression increased in SN. These results indicate that nigral GFR-?1 and EAAC1 expression increased in conjunction with increased nigral TH expression following short-term exercise.
Project description:The Nigrostriatal pathway (NSP) is formed by dopaminergic axons that project from the ventral midbrain to the dorsolateral striatum as part of the medial forebrain bundle. Previous studies have implicated chemotropic proteins in the formation of the NSP during development but little is known of the role of substrate-anchored signals in this process. We observed in mouse and rat embryos that midbrain dopaminergic axons ascend in close apposition to descending GAD65-positive axon bundles throughout their trajectory to the striatum. To test whether such interaction is important for dopaminergic axon pathfinding, we analyzed transgenic mouse embryos in which the GAD65 axon bundle was reduced by the conditional expression of the diphtheria toxin. In these embryos we observed dopaminergic misprojection into the hypothalamic region and abnormal projection in the striatum. In addition, analysis of Robo1/2 and Slit1/2 knockout embryos revealed that the previously described dopaminergic misprojection in these embryos is accompanied by severe alterations in the GAD65 axon scaffold. Additional studies with cultured dopaminergic neurons and whole embryos suggest that NCAM and Robo proteins are involved in the interaction of GAD65 and dopaminergic axons. These results indicate that the fasciculation between descending GAD65 axon bundles and ascending dopaminergic axons is required for the stereotypical NSP formation during brain development and that known guidance cues may determine this projection indirectly by instructing the pathfinding of the axons that are part of the GAD65 axon scaffold.
Project description:Cell therapy in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD) is effective after intrastriatal grafting of dopamine (DA) neurons, whereas intranigral transplantation of dopaminergic cells does not cause consistent behavioral recovery. One strategy to promote axonal growth of dopaminergic neurons from the substantia nigra (SN) to the striatum is degradation of inhibitory components such as chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPG). An alternative is the guidance of DA axons by chemotropic agents. Semaphorins 3A and 3C enhance axonal growth of embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived dopaminergic neurons in vitro, while Semaphorin 3C also attracts them. We asked whether intranigral transplantation of DA neurons, combined with either degradation of CSPG or with grafts of Semaphorin 3-expressing cells, towards the striatum, is effective in establishing a new nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway in rats with unilateral depletion of DA neurons. We found depolarization-induced DA release in dorsal striatum, DA axonal projections from SN to striatum, and concomitant behavioral improvement in Semaphorin 3-treated animals. These effects were absent in animals that received intranigral transplants combined with Chondroitinase ABC treatment, although partial degradation of CSPG was observed. These results are evidence that Semaphorin 3-directed long-distance axonal growth of dopaminergic neurons, resulting in behavioral improvement, is possible in adult diseased brains.
Project description:Transplanted multipotent human fetal neural stem cells (hfNSCs) significantly improved the function of parkinsonian monkeys in a prior study primarily by neuroprotection, with only 3%-5% of cells expressing a dopamine (DA) phenotype. In this paper, we sought to determine whether further manipulation of the neural microenvironment by overexpression of a developmentally critical molecule, glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), in the host striatum could enhance DA differentiation of hfNSCs injected into the substantia nigra and elicit growth of their axons to the GDNF-expressing target. hfNSCs were transplanted into the midbrain of 10 green monkeys exposed to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydro-pyridine. GDNF was delivered concomitantly to the striatum via an adeno-associated virus serotype 5 vector, and the fate of grafted cells was assessed after 11 months. Donor cells remained predominantly within the midbrain at the injection site and sprouted numerous neurofilament-immunoreactive fibers that appeared to course rostrally toward the striatum in parallel with tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive fibers from the host substantia nigra but did not mature into DA neurons. This work suggests that hfNSCs can generate neurons that project long fibers in the adult primate brain. However, in the absence of region-specific signals and despite GDNF overexpression, hfNSCs did not differentiate into mature DA neurons in large numbers. It is encouraging, however, that the adult primate brain appeared to retain axonal guidance cues. We believe that transplantation of stem cells, specifically instructed ex vivo to yield DA neurons, could lead to reconstruction of some portion of the nigrostriatal pathway and prove beneficial for the parkinsonian condition.
Project description:This study assessed the potential for functional and anatomical recovery of the diseased aged primate nigrostriatal system, in response to trophic factor gene transfer. Aged rhesus monkeys received a single intracarotid infusion of MPTP, followed one week later by MRI-guided stereotaxic intrastriatal and intranigral injections of lentiviral vectors encoding for glial derived neurotrophic factor (lenti-GDNF) or beta-galactosidase (lenti-LacZ). Functional analysis revealed that the lenti-GDNF, but not lenti-LacZ treated monkeys displayed behavioral improvements that were associated with increased fluorodopa uptake in the striatum ipsilateral to lenti-GDNF treatment. GDNF ELISA of striatal brain samples confirmed increased GDNF expression in lenti-GDNF treated aged animals that correlated with functional improvements and preserved nigrostriatal dopaminergic markers. Our results indicate that the aged primate brain challenged by MPTP administration has the potential to respond to trophic factor delivery and that the degree of neuroprotection depends on GDNF levels.
Project description:Mesotelencephalic pathways in the adult central nervous system have been studied in great detail because of their implication in major physiological functions as well as in psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the ontogeny of these pathways and the molecular mechanisms that guide dopaminergic axons during embryogenesis have been only recently studied. This line of research is of crucial interest for the repair of lesioned circuits in adulthood following neurodegenerative diseases or common traumatic injuries. For instance, in the adult, the anatomic and functional repair of the nigrostriatal pathway following dopaminergic embryonic neuron transplantation suggests that specific guidance cues exist which govern embryonic fibers outgrowth, and suggests that axons from transplanted embryonic cells are able to respond to theses cues, which then guide them to their final targets. In this review, we first synthesize the work that has been performed in the last few years on developing mesotelencephalic pathways, and summarize the current knowledge on the identity of cellular and molecular signals thought to be involved in establishing mesotelencephalic dopaminergic neuronal connectivity during embryogenesis in the central nervous system of rodents. Then, we review the modulation of expression of these molecular signals in the lesioned adult brain and discuss their potential role in remodeling the mesotelencephalic dopaminergic circuitry, with a particular focus on Parkinson's disease (PD). Identifying guidance molecules involved in the connection of grafted cells may be useful for cellular therapy in Parkinsonian patients, as these molecules may help direct axons from grafted cells along the long distance they have to travel from the substantia nigra to the striatum.
Project description:Gender difference in Parkinson's disease (PD) suggests that female sex steroids may promote dopaminergic neuron survival and protect them from degeneration. The glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is believed to be dopaminotrophic; thus it is considered as a potential therapeutic target in PD. Additionally, GDNF is endogenously synthetized in the caudate/putamen of humans and striatum in rodents. A neuroprotective role of estrogens on the nigrostriatal pathway via the stimulation of GDNF has been proposed. Since the GDNF-producing parvalbumin (Parv) interneurons express the estrogen receptor alpha in the mouse striatum, we sought to determine whether ectopic estrogenic compound modulates the GDNF synthesis in mice. Using an ovariectomized-estradiol (E2) replacement regimen, which reliably generates a rise of plasma estradiol, we assessed the effects of different levels of E2 on the activation of striatal neuronal populations, and GDNF production. A strong correlation was found between plasma E2 and the expression of the immediate early gene cFos in the striatum, as well as in other cortical regions. However, moderate and high E2 treatments failed to induce any striatal GDNF mRNA and protein synthesis. High E2 only stimulates cFos induction in a low percentage of striatal Parv neurons whereas the majority of cFos-positive cells are medium spiny neurons. Activation of these projecting neurons by E2 suggests a role of circulating sex steroids in the modulation of striatal neural pathways.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, which is clinically and pathologically characterized by motor dysfunction and the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, respectively. PD treatment with stem cells has long been studied by researchers; however, no adequate treatment strategy has been established. The results of studies so far have suggested that stem cell transplantation can be an effective treatment for PD. However, PD is a progressively deteriorating neurodegenerative disease that requires long-term treatment, and this has been insufficiently studied. Thus, we aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of human adipose-derived stem cells (hASC) for repeated vein transplantation over long-term in an animal model of PD. In 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced PD model mice, hASCs were administered on the tail vein six times at two-week intervals. After the last injection of hASCs, motor function significantly improved. The number of dopaminergic neurons present in the nigrostriatal pathway was recovered using hASC transplantation. Moreover, the administration of hASC restored altered dopamine transporter expression and increased neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), in the striatum. Overall, this study suggests that repeated intravenous transplantation of hASC may exert therapeutic effects on PD by restoring BDNF and GDNF expressions, protecting dopaminergic neurons, and maintaining the nigrostriatal pathway.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that is characterised by the loss of specific populations of neurons in the brain. The mechanisms underlying this selective cell death are unknown but by using laser capture microdissection, the glycoprotein, CD24 has been identified as a potential marker of the populations of cells that are affected in PD. Using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry on sections of mouse brain, we confirmed that CD24 is robustly expressed by many of these subsets of cells. To determine if CD24 may have a functional role in PD, we modelled the dopamine cell loss of PD in Cd24 mutant mice using striatal delivery of the neurotoxin 6-OHDA. We found that Cd24 mutant mice have an anatomically normal dopamine system and that this glycoprotein does not modulate the lesion effects of 6-OHDA delivered into the striatum. We then undertook in situ hybridization studies on sections of human brain and found-as in the mouse brain-that CD24 is expressed by many of the subsets of the cells that are vulnerable in PD, but not those of the midbrain dopamine system. Finally, we sought to determine if CD24 is required for the neuroprotective effect of Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) on the dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathway. Our results indicate that in the absence of CD24, there is a reduction in the protective effects of GDNF on the dopaminergic fibres in the striatum, but no difference in the survival of the cell bodies in the midbrain. While we found no obvious role for CD24 in the normal development and maintenance of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system in mice, it may have a role in mediating the neuroprotective aspects of GDNF in this system.
Project description:Degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic system is the principal lesion in Parkinson's disease. Because glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) promotes survival of dopamine neurons in vitro and in vivo, intracranial delivery of GDNF has been attempted for Parkinson's disease treatment but with variable success. For improving GDNF-based therapies, knowledge on physiological role of endogenous GDNF at the sites of its expression is important. However, due to limitations of existing genetic model systems, such knowledge is scarce. Here, we report that prevention of transcription of Gdnf 3'UTR in Gdnf endogenous locus yields GDNF hypermorphic mice with increased, but spatially unchanged GDNF expression, enabling analysis of postnatal GDNF function. We found that increased level of GDNF in the central nervous system increases the number of adult dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the number of dopaminergic terminals in the dorsal striatum. At the functional level, GDNF levels increased striatal tissue dopamine levels and augmented striatal dopamine release and re-uptake. In a proteasome inhibitor lactacystin-induced model of Parkinson's disease GDNF hypermorphic mice were protected from the reduction in striatal dopamine and failure of dopaminergic system function. Importantly, adverse phenotypic effects associated with spatially unregulated GDNF applications were not observed. Enhanced GDNF levels up-regulated striatal dopamine transporter activity by at least five fold resulting in enhanced susceptibility to 6-OHDA, a toxin transported into dopamine neurons by DAT. Further, we report how GDNF levels regulate kidney development and identify microRNAs miR-9, miR-96, miR-133, and miR-146a as negative regulators of GDNF expression via interaction with Gdnf 3'UTR in vitro. Our results reveal the role of GDNF in nigrostriatal dopamine system postnatal development and adult function, and highlight the importance of correct spatial expression of GDNF. Furthermore, our results suggest that 3'UTR targeting may constitute a useful tool in analyzing gene function.