Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1312
Eukaryotic expression, purification and structure/function analysis of native, recombinant CRISP3 from human and mouse
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-02-27)
While the Cysteine-Rich Secretory Proteins (CRISPs) have been broadly proposed as regulators of reproduction and immunity, physiological roles have yet to be established for individual members of this family. Past efforts to investigate their functions have been limited by the difficulty of purifying correctly folded CRISPs from bacterial expression systems, which yield low quantities of correctly folded protein containing the eight disulfide bonds that define the CRISP family. Here we report the expression and purification of native, glycosylated CRISP3 from human and mouse, expressed in HEK 293 cells and isolated using ion exchange and size exclusion chromatography. Functional authenticity was verified by substrate-affinity, native glycosylation characteristics and quaternary structure (monomer in solution). Validated protein was used in comparative structure/function studies to characterise sites and patterns of N-glycosylation in CRISP3, revealing interesting inter-species differences.
Increased metal content in the TDP-43(A315T) transgenic mouse model of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2014-02-11)
Disrupted metal homeostasis is a consistent feature of neurodegenerative disease in humans and is recapitulated in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neuronal ceriod lipofuscinosis. While the definitive pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease in humans remains to be fully elucidated, disease-like symptoms in the mouse models are all driven by the presence or over-expression of a putative pathogenic protein, indicating an in vivo relationship between expression of these proteins, disrupted metal homeostasis and the symptoms of neuronal failure. Recently it was established that mutant TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is associated with the development of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and ALS. Subsequent development of transgenic mice that express human TDP-43 carrying the disease-causing A315T mutation has provided new opportunity to study the underlying mechanisms of TDP-43-related neurodegenerative disease. We assessed the cognitive and locomotive phenotype of TDP-43 (A315T) mice and their wild-type littermates and also assessed bulk metal content of brain and spinal cord tissues. Metal levels in the brain were not affected by the expression of mutant TDP-43, but zinc, copper, and manganese levels were all increased in the spinal cords of TDP-43 (A315T) mice when compared to wild-type littermates. Performance of the TDP-43 (A315T) mice in the Y-maze test for cognitive function was not significantly different to wild-type mice. By contrast, performance of the TDP-43 (A315T) in the rotarod test for locomotive function was consistently worse than wild-type mice. These preliminary in vivo data are the first to show that expression of a disease-causing form of TDP-43 is sufficient to disrupt metal ion homeostasis in the central nervous system. Disrupted metal ion homeostasis in the spinal cord but not the brain may explain why the TDP-43 (A315T) mice show symptoms of locomotive decline and not cognitive decline.
Contribution of Brain Size to IQ and Educational Underperformance in Extremely Preterm Adolescents
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-09)
OBJECTIVES: Extremely preterm (EP) survivors have smaller brains, lower IQ, and worse educational achievement than their term-born peers. The contribution of smaller brain size to the IQ and educational disadvantages of EP is unknown. This study aimed (i) to compare brain volumes from multiple brain tissues and structures between EP-born (< 28 weeks) and term-born (≥ 37 weeks) control adolescents, (ii) to explore the relationships of brain tissue volumes with IQ and basic educational skills and whether this differed by group, and (iii) to explore how much total brain tissue volume explains the underperformance of EP adolescents compared with controls. METHODS: Longitudinal cohort study of 148 EP and 132 term controls born in Victoria, Australia in 1991-92. At age 18, magnetic resonance imaging-determined brain volumes of multiple tissues and structures were calculated. IQ and educational skills were measured using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Wide Range Achievement Test(WRAT-4), respectively. RESULTS: Brain volumes were smaller in EP adolescents compared with controls (mean difference [95% confidence interval] of -5.9% [-8.0, -3.7%] for total brain tissue volume). The largest relative differences were noted in the thalamus and hippocampus. The EP group had lower IQs(-11.9 [-15.4, -8.5]), spelling(-8.0 [-11.5, -4.6]), math computation(-10.3 [-13.7, -6.9]) and word reading(-5.6 [-8.8, -2.4]) scores than controls; all p-values<0.001. Volumes of total brain tissue and other brain tissues and structures correlated positively with IQ and educational skills, a relationship that was similar for both the EP and controls. Total brain tissue volume explained between 20-40% of the IQ and educational outcome differences between EP and controls. CONCLUSIONS: EP adolescents had smaller brain volumes, lower IQs and poorer educational performance than controls. Brain volumes of multiple tissues and structures are related to IQ and educational outcomes. Smaller total brain tissue volume is an important contributor to the cognitive and educational underperformance of adolescents born EP.
An investigation into "two hit" effects of BDNF deficiency and young adult cannabinoid receptor stimulation on prepulse inhibition regulation and memory in mice
(FRONTIERS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2013-10-21)
Reduced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling has been shown in the frontal cortex and hippocampus in schizophrenia. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a BDNF deficit would modulate effects of chronic cannabis intake, a well-described risk factor for schizophrenia development. BDNF heterozygous mice (HET) and wild-type controls were chronically treated during weeks 6, 7, and 8 of life with the cannabinoid receptor agonist, CP55,940 (CP). After a 2-week delay, there were no CP-induced deficits in any of the groups in short-term spatial memory in a Y-maze task or novel object recognition memory. Baseline prepulse inhibition (PPI) was lower but average startle was increased in BDNF HET compared to wild-type controls. Acute CP administration before the PPI session caused a marked increase in PPI in male HET mice pre-treated with CP but not in any of the other male groups. In females, there were small increases of PPI in all groups upon acute CP administration. Acute CP administration furthermore reduced startle and this effect was greater in HET mice irrespective of chronic CP pre-treatment. Analysis of the levels of [(3)H]CP55,940 binding by autoradiography revealed a significant increase in the nucleus accumbens of male BDNF HET mice previously treated with CP but not in any of the other groups or in the caudate nucleus. These results show that BDNF deficiency and chronic young-adult cannabinoid receptor stimulation do not interact in this model on learning and memory later in life. In contrast, male "two hit" mice, but not females, were hypersensitive to the effect of acute CP on sensorimotor gating. These effects may be related to a selective increase of [(3)H]CP55,940 binding in the nucleus accumbens, reflecting up-regulation of CB1 receptor density in this region. These data could be of relevance to our understanding of differential "two hit" neurodevelopmental mechanisms in schizophrenia.
Stem Cell Transplantation in Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Animal Studies
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-12)
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition that causes substantial morbidity and mortality and for which no treatments are available. Stem cells offer some promise in the restoration of neurological function. We used systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression to study the impact of stem cell biology and experimental design on motor and sensory outcomes following stem cell treatments in animal models of SCI. One hundred and fifty-six publications using 45 different stem cell preparations met our prespecified inclusion criteria. Only one publication used autologous stem cells. Overall, allogeneic stem cell treatment appears to improve both motor (effect size, 27.2%; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 25.0%-29.4%; 312 comparisons in 5,628 animals) and sensory (effect size, 26.3%; 95% CI, 7.9%-44.7%; 23 comparisons in 473 animals) outcome. For sensory outcome, most heterogeneity between experiments was accounted for by facets of stem cell biology. Differentiation before implantation and intravenous route of delivery favoured better outcome. Stem cell implantation did not appear to improve sensory outcome in female animals and appeared to be enhanced by isoflurane anaesthesia. Biological plausibility was supported by the presence of a dose-response relationship. For motor outcome, facets of stem cell biology had little detectable effect. Instead most heterogeneity could be explained by the experimental modelling and the outcome measure used. The location of injury, method of injury induction, and presence of immunosuppression all had an impact. Reporting of measures to reduce bias was higher than has been seen in other neuroscience domains but were still suboptimal. Motor outcomes studies that did not report the blinded assessment of outcome gave inflated estimates of efficacy. Extensive recent preclinical literature suggests that stem-cell-based therapies may offer promise, however the impact of compromised internal validity and publication bias mean that efficacy is likely to be somewhat lower than reported here.
Hypothermia protects human neurons
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2014-07-01)
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Hypothermia provides neuroprotection after cardiac arrest, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and in animal models of ischemic stroke. However, as drug development for stroke has been beset by translational failure, we sought additional evidence that hypothermia protects human neurons against ischemic injury. METHODS: Human embryonic stem cells were cultured and differentiated to provide a source of neurons expressing β III tubulin, microtubule-associated protein 2, and the Neuronal Nuclei antigen. Oxygen deprivation, oxygen-glucose deprivation, and H2 O2 -induced oxidative stress were used to induce relevant injury. RESULTS: Hypothermia to 33°C protected these human neurons against H2 O2 -induced oxidative stress reducing lactate dehydrogenase release and Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling-staining by 53% (P ≤ 0·0001; 95% confidence interval 34·8-71·04) and 42% (P ≤ 0·0001; 95% confidence interval 27·5-56·6), respectively, after 24 h in culture. Hypothermia provided similar protection against oxygen-glucose deprivation (42%, P ≤ 0·001, 95% confidence interval 18·3-71·3 and 26%, P ≤ 0·001; 95% confidence interval 12·4-52·2, respectively) but provided no protection against oxygen deprivation alone. Protection (21%) persisted against H2 O2 -induced oxidative stress even when hypothermia was initiated six-hours after onset of injury (P ≤ 0·05; 95% confidence interval 0·57-43·1). CONCLUSION: We conclude that hypothermia protects stem cell-derived human neurons against insults relevant to stroke over a clinically relevant time frame. Protection against H2 O2 -induced injury and combined oxygen and glucose deprivation but not against oxygen deprivation alone suggests an interaction in which protection benefits from reduction in available glucose under some but not all circumstances.
A Novel Approach for Prediction of Vitamin D Status Using Support Vector Regression
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-11-26)
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency is linked to various chronic diseases. However direct measurement of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration, the accepted biomarker of vitamin D status, may not be feasible in large epidemiological studies. An alternative approach is to estimate vitamin D status using a predictive model based on parameters derived from questionnaire data. In previous studies, models developed using Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) have explained a limited proportion of the variance and predicted values have correlated only modestly with measured values. Here, a new modelling approach, nonlinear radial basis function support vector regression (RBF SVR), was used in prediction of serum 25(OH)D concentration. Predicted scores were compared with those from a MLR model. METHODS: Determinants of serum 25(OH)D in Caucasian adults (n = 494) that had been previously identified were modelled using MLR and RBF SVR to develop a 25(OH)D prediction score and then validated in an independent dataset. The correlation between actual and predicted serum 25(OH)D concentrations was analysed with a Pearson correlation coefficient. RESULTS: Better correlation was observed between predicted scores and measured 25(OH)D concentrations using the RBF SVR model in comparison with MLR (Pearson correlation coefficient: 0.74 for RBF SVR; 0.51 for MLR). The RBF SVR model was more accurately able to identify individuals with lower 25(OH)D levels (<75 nmol/L). CONCLUSION: Using identical determinants, the RBF SVR model provided improved prediction of serum 25(OH)D concentrations and vitamin D deficiency compared with a MLR model, in this dataset.
Fatty Acid Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System and the Effect on Food Intake and Metabolism
(HINDAWI LTD, 2013-01-01)
Endocannabinoids and their G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) are a current research focus in the area of obesity due to the system's role in food intake and glucose and lipid metabolism. Importantly, overweight and obese individuals often have higher circulating levels of the arachidonic acid-derived endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) and an altered pattern of receptor expression. Consequently, this leads to an increase in orexigenic stimuli, changes in fatty acid synthesis, insulin sensitivity, and glucose utilisation, with preferential energy storage in adipose tissue. As endocannabinoids are products of dietary fats, modification of dietary intake may modulate their levels, with eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid based endocannabinoids being able to displace arachidonic acid from cell membranes, reducing AEA and 2-AG production. Similarly, oleoyl ethanolamide, a product of oleic acid, induces satiety, decreases circulating fatty acid concentrations, increases the capacity for β -oxidation, and is capable of inhibiting the action of AEA and 2-AG in adipose tissue. Thus, understanding how dietary fats alter endocannabinoid system activity is a pertinent area of research due to public health messages promoting a shift towards plant-derived fats, which are rich sources of AEA and 2-AG precursor fatty acids, possibly encouraging excessive energy intake and weight gain.
Positive environmental modification of depressive phenotype and abnormal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in female C57BL/6J mice during abstinence from chronic ethanol consumption
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-01-01)
Depression is a commonly reported co-morbidity during rehabilitation from alcohol use disorders and its presence is associated with an increased likelihood of relapse. Interventions which impede the development of depression could be of potential benefit if incorporated into treatment programs. We previously demonstrated an ameliorative effect of physical exercise on depressive behaviors in a mouse model of alcohol abstinence. Here, we show that environmental enrichment (cognitive and social stimulation) has a similar beneficial effect. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a key physiological system regulating stress responses and its dysregulation has been separably implicated in the pathophysiology of depression and addiction disorders. We performed a series of dexamethasone challenges and found that mice undergoing 2 weeks of alcohol abstinence had significantly greater corticosterone and ACTH levels following a DEX-CRH challenge compared to water controls. Environmental enrichment during alcohol abstinence corrected the abnormal DEX-CRH corticosterone response despite a further elevation of ACTH levels. Examination of gene expression revealed abstinence-associated alterations in glucocorticoid receptor (Gr), corticotrophin releasing hormone (Crh) and pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc1) mRNA levels which were differentially modulated by environmental enrichment. Overall, our study demonstrates a benefit of environmental enrichment on alcohol abstinence-associated depressive behaviors and HPA axis dysregulation.
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Therapeutic Hypothermia in Animal Models of Spinal Cord Injury
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-09)
BACKGROUND: Therapeutic hypothermia is a clinically useful neuroprotective therapy for cardiac arrest and neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and may potentially be useful for the treatment of other neurological conditions including traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). The pre-clinical studies evaluating the effectiveness of hypothermia in acute SCI broadly utilise either systemic hypothermia or cooling regional to the site of injury. The literature has not been uniformly positive with conflicting studies of varying quality, some performed decades previously. METHODS: In this study, we systematically review and meta-analyse the literature to determine the efficacy of systemic and regional hypothermia in traumatic SCI, the experimental conditions influencing this efficacy, and the influence of study quality on outcome. Three databases were utilised; PubMed, ISI Web of Science and Embase. Our inclusion criteria consisted of the (i) reporting of efficacy of hypothermia on functional outcome (ii) number of animals and (iii) mean outcome and variance in each group. RESULTS: Systemic hypothermia improved behavioural outcomes by 24.5% (95% CI 10.2 to 38.8) and a similar magnitude of improvement was seen across a number of high quality studies. The overall behavioural improvement with regional hypothermia was 26.2%, but the variance was wide (95% CI -3.77 to 56.2). This result may reflect a preponderance of positive low quality data, although a preferential effect of hypothermia in ischaemic models of injury may explain some of the disparate data. Sufficient heterogeneity was present between studies of regional hypothermia to reveal a number of factors potentially influencing efficacy, including depth and duration of hypothermia, animal species, and neurobehavioural assessment. However, these factors could reflect the influence of earlier lower quality literature. CONCLUSION: Systemic hypothermia appears to be a promising potential method of treating acute SCI on the basis of meta-analysis of the pre-clinical literature and the results of high quality animal studies.