Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications
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ItemNovel Anti-Neuroinflammatory Properties of a Thiosemicarbazone-Pyridylhydrazone Copper(II) ComplexChoo, XY ; McInnes, LE ; Grubman, A ; Wasielewska, JM ; Belaya, I ; Burrows, E ; Quek, H ; Martin, JC ; Loppi, S ; Sorvari, A ; Rait, D ; Powell, A ; Duncan, C ; Liddell, JR ; Tanila, H ; Polo, JM ; Malm, T ; Kanninen, KM ; Donnelly, PS ; White, AR (MDPI, 2022-09-01)Neuroinflammation has a major role in several brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD), yet at present there are no effective anti-neuroinflammatory therapeutics available. Copper(II) complexes of bis(thiosemicarbazones) (CuII(gtsm) and CuII(atsm)) have broad therapeutic actions in preclinical models of neurodegeneration, with CuII(atsm) demonstrating beneficial outcomes on neuroinflammatory markers in vitro and in vivo. These findings suggest that copper(II) complexes could be harnessed as a new approach to modulate immune function in neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we examined the anti-neuroinflammatory action of several low-molecular-weight, charge-neutral and lipophilic copper(II) complexes. Our analysis revealed that one compound, a thiosemicarbazone-pyridylhydrazone copper(II) complex (CuL5), delivered copper into cells in vitro and increased the concentration of copper in the brain in vivo. In a primary murine microglia culture, CuL5 was shown to decrease secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokine macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (Tnf), increase expression of metallothionein (Mt1), and modulate expression of Alzheimer's disease-associated risk genes, Trem2 and Cd33. CuL5 also improved the phagocytic function of microglia in vitro. In 5xFAD model AD mice, treatment with CuL5 led to an improved performance in a spatial working memory test, while, interestingly, increased accumulation of amyloid plaques in treated mice. These findings demonstrate that CuL5 can induce anti-neuroinflammatory effects in vitro and provide selective benefit in vivo. The outcomes provide further support for the development of copper-based compounds to modulate neuroinflammation in brain diseases.
ItemProgressive impairments in executive function in the APP/PS1 model of Alzheimer’s disease as measured by translatable touchscreen testingShepherd, A ; Lim, JKH ; Wong, VHY ; Zeleznikow-Johnston, AM ; Churilov, L ; Nguyen, CTO ; Bui, BV ; Hannan, AJ ; Burrows, EL ( 2019-08-21)Executive function deficits in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) occur early in disease progression and may be predictive of cognitive decline. However, no preclinical studies have identified deficits in rewarded executive function in the commonly used APP/PS1 mouse model. To address this, we assessed 12-26 month old APP/PS1 mice on rewarded reversal and/or extinction tasks. 16-month-old, but not 13- or 26-month-old, APP/PS1 mice showed an attenuated rate of extinction. Reversal deficits were seen in 22-month-old, but not 13-month-old APP/PS1 animals. We then confirmed that impairments in reversal were unrelated to previously reported visual impairments in both AD mouse models and humans. Age, but not genotype, had a significant effect on markers of retinal health, indicating the deficits seen in APP/PS1 mice were directly related to cognition. This is the first characterisation of rewarded executive function in APP/PS1 mice, and has great potential to facilitate translation from preclinical models to the clinic.
ItemProgressive impairments in executive function in the APP/PS1 model of Alzheimer's disease as measured by translatable touchscreen testingShepherd, A ; Lim, JKH ; Wong, VHY ; Zeleznikow-Johnston, AM ; Churilov, L ; Nguyen, CTO ; V. Bui, B ; Hannan, AJ ; Burrows, EL (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2021-09-10)Executive function deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD) occur early in disease progression and may be predictive of cognitive decline. However, no preclinical studies have identified deficits in rewarded executive function in the commonly used APPSwe/PS1∆E9 (APP/PS1) mouse model. To address this, we assessed 12-26 month old APP/PS1 mice on rewarded reversal and/or extinction tasks. 16-month-old, but not 13- or 26-month-old, APP/PS1 mice showed an attenuated rate of extinction. Reversal deficits were seen in 22-month-old, but not 13-month-old APP/PS1 animals. We then confirmed that impairments in reversal were unrelated to previously reported visual impairments in both AD mouse models and humans. Age, but not genotype, had a significant effect on markers of retinal health, indicating the deficits seen in APP/PS1 mice were directly related to cognition. This is the first characterisation of rewarded executive function in APP/PS1 mice, and has great potential to facilitate translation from preclinical models to the clinic.
ItemA Preclinical Model of Computerized Cognitive Training: Touchscreen Cognitive Testing Enhances Cognition and Hippocampal Cellular Plasticity in Wildtype and Alzheimer's Disease MiceShepherd, A ; Zhang, T ; Hoffmann, LB ; Zeleznikow-Johnston, AM ; Churilov, L ; Hannan, AJ ; Burrows, EL (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-12-06)With the growing popularity of touchscreen cognitive testing in rodents, it is imperative to understand the fundamental effects exposure to this paradigm can have on the animals involved. In this study, we set out to assess hippocampal-dependant learning in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) on two highly translatable touchscreen tasks - the Paired Associate Learning (PAL) task and the Trial Unique Non-Matching to Location (TUNL) task. Both of these tests are based on human tasks from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) and are sensitive to deficits in both mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD. Mice were assessed for deficits in PAL at 9-12 months of age, then on TUNL at 8-11 and 13-16 months. No cognitive deficits were evident in APP/PS1 mice at any age, contrary to previous reports using maze-based learning and memory tasks. We hypothesized that daily and long-term touchscreen training may have inadvertently acted as a cognitive enhancer. When touchscreen-tested mice were assessed on the Morris water maze, they showed improved task acquisition compared to naïve APP/PS1 mice and wild-type (WT) littermate controls. In addition, we show that touchscreen-trained WT and APP/PS1 mice show increased cell proliferation and immature neuron numbers in the dentate gyrus compared to behaviorally naïve WT and APP/PS1 mice. This result indicates that the touchscreen testing paradigm could improve cognitive performance, and/or mask an impairment, in experimental mouse models. This touchscreen-induced cognitive enhancement may involve increased neurogenesis, and possibly other forms of cellular plasticity. This is the first study to show increased numbers of proliferating cells and immature neurons in the hippocampus following touchscreen testing, and that touchscreen training can improve cognitive performance in maze-based spatial navigation tasks. This potential for touchscreen testing to induce cognitive enhancement, or other phenotypic shifts, in preclinical models should be considered in study design. Furthermore, touchscreen-mediated cognitive enhancement could have therapeutic implications for cognitive disorders.
ItemEvaluation of attention in APP/PS1 mice shows impulsive and compulsive behavioursShepherd, A ; May, C ; Churilov, L ; Adlard, PA ; Hannan, AJ ; Burrows, EL (WILEY, 2019-07-08)While Alzheimer's disease (AD) is traditionally associated with deficits in episodic memory, early changes in other cognitive domains, such as attention, have been gaining interest. In line with clinical observations, some animal models of AD have been shown to develop attentional deficits, but this is not consistent across all models. The APPswe/PS1ΔE9 (APP/PS1) mouse is one of the most commonly used AD models and attention has not yet been scrutinised in this model. We set out to assess attention using the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT) early in the progression of cognitive symptoms in APP/PS1 mice, using clinically translatable touchscreen chambers. APP/PS1 mice showed no attentional changes across 5CSRTT training or any probes from 9 to 11 months of age. Interestingly, APP/PS1 mice showed increased impulsive and compulsive responding when task difficulty was high. This suggests that while the APP/PS1 mouse model may not be a good model of attentional changes in AD, it may be useful to study the early changes in impulsive and compulsive behaviour that have been identified in patient studies. As these changes have not previously been reported without attentional deficits in the clinic, the APP/PS1 mouse model may provide a unique opportunity to study these specific behavioural changes seen in AD, including their mechanistic underpinnings and therapeutic implications.
ItemMicrobiome Profiling Reveals Gut Dysbiosis in the Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 Knockout Mouse Model of SchizophreniaGubert, C ; Kong, G ; Uzungil, V ; Zeleznikow-Johnston, AM ; Burrows, EL ; Renoir, T ; Hannan, AJ (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-10-29)Schizophrenia (SZ) is a psychiatric disorder that constitutes one of the top 10 global causes of disability. More recently, a potential pathogenic role for the gut microbial community (microbiota) has been highlighted, with numerous studies describing dysregulated microbial profiles in SZ patients when compared to healthy controls. However, no animal model of SZ has previously recapitulated the gut dysbiosis observed clinically. Since the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) knockout mice provide a preclinical model of SZ with strong face and predictive validity, in the present study we performed gut microbiome profiling of mGlu5 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice by 16S rRNA sequencing of bacterial genomic DNA from fecal samples, analyzing bacterial diversity and taxonomic composition, as well as gastrointestinal parameters as indicators of gut function. We found a significant genotype difference in microbial beta diversity. Analysis of composition of microbiomes (ANCOM) models were performed to evaluate microbiota compositions, which identified a decreased relative abundance of the Erysipelotrichaceae family and Allobaculum genus in this mouse model of SZ. We also identified a signature of bacteria discriminating between the genotypes (KO and WT), consisting of the Erysipelotrichales, Bacteroidales, and Clostridiales orders and macroscopic gut differences. We thus uncovered global differential community composition in the gut microbiota profile between mGlu5 KO and WT mice, outlining the first evidence for gut dysbiosis in a genetic animal model of SZ. Our findings suggest that this widely used preclinical model of SZ also has substantial utility for investigations of gut dysbiosis and associated signaling via the microbiota-gut-brain axis, as potential modulators of SZ pathogenesis. Our discovery opens up new avenues to explore gut dysbiosis and its proposed links to brain dysfunction in SZ, as well as novel therapeutic approaches to this devastating disorder.
ItemChronic voluntary alcohol consumption causes persistent cognitive deficits and cortical cell loss in a rodent modelCharlton, AJ ; May, C ; Luikinga, SJ ; Burrows, EL ; Kim, JH ; Lawrence, AJ ; Perry, CJ (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-12-09)Chronic alcohol use is associated with cognitive decline that impedes behavioral change during rehabilitation. Despite this, addiction therapy does not address cognitive deficits, and there is poor understanding regarding the mechanisms that underlie this decline. We established a rodent model of chronic voluntary alcohol use to measure ensuing cognitive effects and underlying pathology. Rats had intermittent access to alcohol or an isocaloric solution in their home cage under voluntary 2-bottle choice conditions. In Experiments 1 and 2 cognition was assessed using operant touchscreen chambers. We examined performance in a visual discrimination and reversal task (Experiment 1), and a 5-choice serial reaction time task (Experiment 2). For Experiment 3, rats were perfused immediately after cessation of alcohol access period, and volume, cell density and microglial populations were assessed in the prefrontal cortex and striatum. Volume was assessed using the Cavalieri probe, while cell and microglial counts were estimated using unbiased stereology with an optical fractionator. Alcohol-exposed and control rats showed comparable acquisition of pairwise discrimination; however, performance was impaired when contingencies were reversed indicating reduced behavioral flexibility. When tested in a 5-choice serial reaction time task alcohol-exposed rats showed increased compulsivity and increased attentional bias towards a reward associated cue. Consistent with these changes, we observed decreased cell density in the prefrontal cortex. These findings confirm a detrimental effect of chronic alcohol and establish a model of alcohol-induced cognitive decline following long-term voluntary intake that may be used for future intervention studies.