Centre for Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 91
Relaxin Signals through a RXFP1-pERK-nNOS-NO-cGMP-Dependent Pathway to Up-Regulate Matrix Metalloproteinases: The Additional Involvement of iNOS
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-08-22)
The hormone, relaxin, inhibits aberrant myofibroblast differentiation and collagen deposition by disrupting the TGF-β1/Smad2 axis, via its cognate receptor, Relaxin Family Peptide Receptor 1 (RXFP1), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 phosphorylation (pERK) and a neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase (nNOS)-NO-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent pathway. However, the signalling pathways involved in its additional ability to increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression and activity remain unknown. This study investigated the extent to which the NO pathway was involved in human gene-2 (H2) relaxin's ability to positively regulate MMP-1 and its rodent orthologue, MMP-13, MMP-2 and MMP-9 (the main collagen-degrading MMPs) in TGF-β1-stimulated human dermal fibroblasts and primary renal myofibroblasts isolated from injured rats; by gelatin zymography (media) and Western blotting (cell layer). H2 relaxin (10-100 ng/ml) significantly increased MMP-1 (by ~50%), MMP-2 (by ~80%) and MMP-9 (by ~80%) in TGF-β1-stimulated human dermal fibroblasts; and MMP-13 (by ~90%), MMP-2 (by ~130%) and MMP-9 (by ~115%) in rat renal myofibroblasts (all p<0.01 vs untreated cells) over 72 hours. The relaxin-induced up-regulation of these MMPs, however, was significantly blocked by a non-selective NOS inhibitor (L-nitroarginine methyl ester (hydrochloride); L-NAME; 75-100 µM), and specific inhibitors to nNOS (N-propyl-L-arginine; NPLA; 0.2-2 µM), iNOS (1400W; 0.5-1 µM) and guanylyl cyclase (ODQ; 5 µM) (all p<0.05 vs H2 relaxin alone), but not eNOS (L-N-(1-iminoethyl)ornithine dihydrochloride; L-NIO; 0.5-5 µM). However, neither of these inhibitors affected basal MMP expression at the concentrations used. Furthermore, of the NOS isoforms expressed in renal myofibroblasts (nNOS and iNOS), H2 relaxin only stimulated nNOS expression, which in turn, was blocked by the ERK1/2 inhibitor (PD98059; 1 µM). These findings demonstrated that H2 relaxin signals through a RXFP1-pERK-nNOS-NO-cGMP-dependent pathway to mediate its anti-fibrotic actions, and additionally signals through iNOS to up-regulate MMPs; the latter being suppressed by TGF-β1 in myofibroblasts, but released upon H2 relaxin-induced inhibition of the TGF-β1/Smad2 axis.
TRPM8 and Na(v)1.8 sodium channels are required for transthyretin-induced calcium influx in growth cones of small-diameter TrkA-positive sensory neurons
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-03-04)
BACKGROUND: Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is a peripheral neuropathy caused by the extracellular accumulation and deposition of insoluble transthyretin (TTR) aggregates. However the molecular mechanism that underlies TTR toxicity in peripheral nerves is unclear. Previous studies have suggested that amyloidogenic proteins can aggregate into oligomers which disrupt intracellular calcium homeostasis by increasing the permeability of the plasma membrane to extracellular calcium. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of TTR on calcium influx in dorsal root ganglion neurons. RESULTS: Levels of intracellular cytosolic calcium were monitored in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons isolated from embryonic rats using the calcium-sensitive fluorescent indicator Fluo4. An amyloidogenic mutant form of TTR, L55P, induced calcium influx into the growth cones of DRG neurons, whereas wild-type TTR had no significant effect. Atomic force microscopy and dynamic light scattering studies confirmed that the L55P TTR contained oligomeric species of TTR. The effect of L55P TTR was decreased by blockers of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC), as well as by blockers of Nav1.8 voltage-gated sodium channels and transient receptor potential M8 (TRPM8) channels. siRNA knockdown of TRPM8 channels using three different TRPM8 siRNAs strongly inhibited calcium influx in DRG growth cones. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that activation of TRPM8 channels triggers the activation of Nav1.8 channels which leads to calcium influx through VGCC. We suggest that TTR-induced calcium influx into DRG neurons may contribute to the pathophysiology of FAP. Furthermore, we speculate that similar mechanisms may mediate the toxic effects of other amyloidogenic proteins such as the β-amyloid protein of Alzheimer's disease.
Gas6 Increases Myelination by Oligodendrocytes and Its Deficiency Delays Recovery following Cuprizone-Induced Demyelination
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-03-10)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Current research has shown that at least in some cases, the primary insult in MS could be directed at the oligodendrocyte, and that the earliest immune responses are primarily via innate immune cells. We have identified a family of receptor protein tyrosine kinases, known as the TAM receptors (Tyro3, Axl and Mertk), as potentially important in regulating both the oligodendrocyte and immune responses. We have previously shown that Gas6, a ligand for the TAM receptors, can affect the severity of demyelination in mice, with a loss of signalling via Gas6 leading to decreased oligodendrocyte survival and increased microglial activation during cuprizone-induced demyelination. We hypothesised TAM receptor signalling would also influence the extent of recovery in mice following demyelination. A significant effect of the absence of Gas6 was detected upon remyelination, with a lower level of myelination after 4 weeks of recovery in comparison with wild-type mice. The delay in remyelination was accompanied by a reduction in oligodendrocyte numbers. To understand the molecular mechanisms that drive the observed effects, we also examined the effect of exogenous Gas6 in in vitro myelination assays. We found that Gas6 significantly increased myelination in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting that TAM receptor signalling could be directly involved in myelination by oligodendrocytes. The reduced rate of remyelination in the absence of Gas6 could thus result from a lack of Gas6 at a critical time during myelin production after injury. These findings establish Gas6 as an important regulator of both CNS demyelination and remyelination.
Functional Characterization of Friedreich Ataxia iPS-Derived Neuronal Progenitors and Their Integration in the Adult Brain
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-07-07)
Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive disease characterised by neurodegeneration and cardiomyopathy that is caused by an insufficiency of the mitochondrial protein, frataxin. Our previous studies described the generation of FRDA induced pluripotent stem cell lines (FA3 and FA4 iPS) that retained genetic characteristics of this disease. Here we extend these studies, showing that neural derivatives of FA iPS cells are able to differentiate into functional neurons, which don't show altered susceptibility to cell death, and have normal mitochondrial function. Furthermore, FA iPS-derived neural progenitors are able to differentiate into functional neurons and integrate in the nervous system when transplanted into the cerebellar regions of host adult rodent brain. These are the first studies to describe both in vitro and in vivo characterization of FA iPS-derived neurons and demonstrate their capacity to survive long term. These findings are highly significant for developing FRDA therapies using patient-derived stem cells.
Optic Nerve Diffusion Tensor Imaging after Acute Optic Neuritis Predicts Axonal and Visual Outcomes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-12-26)
BACKGROUND: Early markers of axonal and clinical outcomes are required for early phase testing of putative neuroprotective therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVES: To assess whether early measurement of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters (axial and radial diffusivity) within the optic nerve during and after acute demyelinating optic neuritis (ON) could predict axonal (retinal nerve fibre layer thinning and multi-focal visual evoked potential amplitude reduction) or clinical (visual acuity and visual field loss) outcomes at 6 or 12 months. METHODS: Thirty-seven patients presenting with acute, unilateral ON were studied at baseline, one, three, six and 12 months using optic nerve DTI, clinical and paraclinical markers of axonal injury and clinical visual dysfunction. RESULTS: Affected nerve axial diffusivity (AD) was reduced at baseline, 1 and 3 months. Reduced 1-month AD correlated with retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thinning at 6 (R=0.38, p=0.04) and 12 months (R=0.437, p=0.008) and VEP amplitude loss at 6 (R=0.414, p=0.019) and 12 months (R=0.484, p=0.003). AD reduction at three months correlated with high contrast visual acuity at 6 (ρ = -0.519, p = 0.001) and 12 months (ρ = -0.414, p=0.011). The time-course for AD reduction for each patient was modelled using a quadratic regression. AD normalised after a median of 18 weeks and longer normalisation times were associated with more pronounced RNFL thinning and mfVEP amplitude loss at 12 months. Affected nerve radial diffusivity (RD) was unchanged until three months, after which time it remained elevated. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that AD reduces during acute ON. One month AD reduction correlates with the extent of axonal loss and persistent AD reduction at 3 months predicts poorer visual outcomes. This suggests that acute ON therapies that normalise optic nerve AD by 3 months could also promote axon survival and improve visual outcomes.
Blocking LINGO-1 in vivo reduces degeneration and enhances regeneration of the optic nerve.
(SAGE Publications, 2016-01)
BACKGROUND: Two ongoing phase II clinical trials (RENEW and SYNERGY) have been developed to test the efficacy of anti-LINGO-1 antibodies in acute optic neuritis and relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, respectively. Across a range of experimental models, LINGO-1 has been found to inhibit neuron and oligodendrocyte survival, axon regeneration, and (re)myelination. The therapeutic effects of anti-LINGO-1 antibodies on optic nerve axonal loss and regeneration have not yet been investigated. OBJECTIVE: In this series of studies we investigate if LINGO-1 antibodies can prevent acute inflammatory axonal loss, and promote axonal regeneration after injury in rodent optic nerves. METHODS: The effects of anti-LINGO-1 antibody on optic nerve axonal damage were assessed using rodent myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and its effects on axonal regeneration were assessed in optic nerve crush injury models. RESULTS: In the optic nerve, anti-LINGO-1 antibody therapy was associated with improved optic nerve parallel diffusivity measures on MRI in mice with EAE and reduced axonal loss in rat EAE. Both anti-LINGO-1 antibody therapy and the genetic deletion of LINGO-1 reduced nerve crush-induced axonal degeneration and enhanced axonal regeneration. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate that LINGO-1 blockade is associated with axonal protection and regeneration in the injured optic nerve.
Effectiveness of Workplace Interventions in Return-to-Work for Musculoskeletal, Pain-Related and Mental Health Conditions: An Update of the Evidence and Messages for Practitioners
(SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2018-03-01)
Purpose The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize evidence on the effectiveness of workplace-based return-to-work (RTW) interventions and work disability management (DM) interventions that assist workers with musculoskeletal (MSK) and pain-related conditions and mental health (MH) conditions with RTW. Methods We followed a systematic review process developed by the Institute for Work & Health and an adapted best evidence synthesis that ranked evidence as strong, moderate, limited, or insufficient. Results Seven electronic databases were searched from January 1990 until April 2015, yielding 8898 non-duplicate references. Evidence from 36 medium and high quality studies were synthesized on 12 different intervention categories across three broad domains: health-focused, service coordination, and work modification interventions. There was strong evidence that duration away from work from both MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions were significantly reduced by multi-domain interventions encompassing at least two of the three domains. There was moderate evidence that these multi-domain interventions had a positive impact on cost outcomes. There was strong evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy interventions that do not also include workplace modifications or service coordination components are not effective in helping workers with MH conditions in RTW. Evidence for the effectiveness of other single-domain interventions was mixed, with some studies reporting positive effects and others reporting no effects on lost time and work functioning. Conclusions While there is substantial research literature focused on RTW, there are only a small number of quality workplace-based RTW intervention studies that involve workers with MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions. We recommend implementing multi-domain interventions (i.e. with healthcare provision, service coordination, and work accommodation components) to help reduce lost time for MSK or pain-related conditions and MH conditions. Practitioners should also consider implementing these programs to help improve work functioning and reduce costs associated with work disability.
Automated segmentation of the substantia nigra, subthalamic nucleus and red nucleus in 7T data at young and old age.
(Elsevier BV, 2016-10-01)
With recent developments in MR acquisition at 7T, smaller brainstem structures such as the red nuclei, substantia nigra and subthalamic nuclei can be imaged with good contrast and resolution. These structures have important roles both in the study of the healthy brain and in diseases such as Parkinson's disease, but few methods have been described to automatically segment them. In this paper, we extend a method that we have previously proposed for segmentation of the striatum and globus pallidus to segment these deeper and smaller structures. We modify the method to allow more direct control over segmentation smoothness by using a Markov random field prior. We investigate segmentation performance in three age groups and show that the method produces consistent results that correspond well with manual segmentations. We perform a vertex-based analysis to identify changes with age in the shape of the structures and present results suggesting that the method may be at least as effective as manual delineation in capturing differences between subjects.
Quantitative assessment of the susceptibility artefact and its interaction with motion in diffusion MRI.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2017)
In this paper we evaluate the three main methods for correcting the susceptibility-induced artefact in diffusion-weighted magnetic-resonance (DW-MR) data, and assess how correction is affected by the susceptibility field's interaction with motion. The susceptibility artefact adversely impacts analysis performed on the data and is typically corrected in post-processing. Correction strategies involve either registration to a structural image, the application of an acquired field-map or the use of additional images acquired with different phase-encoding. Unfortunately, the choice of which method to use is made difficult by the absence of any systematic comparisons of them. In this work we quantitatively evaluate these methods, by extending and employing a recently proposed framework that allows for the simulation of realistic DW-MR datasets with artefacts. Our analysis separately evaluates the ability for methods to correct for geometric distortions and to recover lost information in regions of signal compression. In terms of geometric distortions, we find that registration-based methods offer the poorest correction. Field-mapping techniques are better, but are influenced by noise and partial volume effects, whilst multiple phase-encode methods performed best. We use our simulations to validate a popular surrogate metric of correction quality, the comparison of corrected data acquired with AP and LR phase-encoding, and apply this surrogate to real datasets. Furthermore, we demonstrate that failing to account for the interaction of the susceptibility field with head movement leads to increased errors when analysing DW-MR data. None of the commonly used post-processing methods account for this interaction, and we suggest this may be a valuable area for future methods development.
Image processing and Quality Control for the first 10,000 brain imaging datasets from UK Biobank.
(Elsevier BV, 2018-02-01)
UK Biobank is a large-scale prospective epidemiological study with all data accessible to researchers worldwide. It is currently in the process of bringing back 100,000 of the original participants for brain, heart and body MRI, carotid ultrasound and low-dose bone/fat x-ray. The brain imaging component covers 6 modalities (T1, T2 FLAIR, susceptibility weighted MRI, Resting fMRI, Task fMRI and Diffusion MRI). Raw and processed data from the first 10,000 imaged subjects has recently been released for general research access. To help convert this data into useful summary information we have developed an automated processing and QC (Quality Control) pipeline that is available for use by other researchers. In this paper we describe the pipeline in detail, following a brief overview of UK Biobank brain imaging and the acquisition protocol. We also describe several quantitative investigations carried out as part of the development of both the imaging protocol and the processing pipeline.
BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorithm): A new tool for automated segmentation of white matter hyperintensities.
(Elsevier BV, 2016-11-01)
Reliable quantification of white matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin (WMHs) is increasingly needed, given the presence of these MRI findings in patients with several neurological and vascular disorders, as well as in elderly healthy subjects. We present BIANCA (Brain Intensity AbNormality Classification Algorithm), a fully automated, supervised method for WMH detection, based on the k-nearest neighbour (k-NN) algorithm. Relative to previous k-NN based segmentation methods, BIANCA offers different options for weighting the spatial information, local spatial intensity averaging, and different options for the choice of the number and location of the training points. BIANCA is multimodal and highly flexible so that the user can adapt the tool to their protocol and specific needs. We optimised and validated BIANCA on two datasets with different MRI protocols and patient populations (a "predominantly neurodegenerative" and a "predominantly vascular" cohort). BIANCA was first optimised on a subset of images for each dataset in terms of overlap and volumetric agreement with a manually segmented WMH mask. The correlation between the volumes extracted with BIANCA (using the optimised set of options), the volumes extracted from the manual masks and visual ratings showed that BIANCA is a valid alternative to manual segmentation. The optimised set of options was then applied to the whole cohorts and the resulting WMH volume estimates showed good correlations with visual ratings and with age. Finally, we performed a reproducibility test, to evaluate the robustness of BIANCA, and compared BIANCA performance against existing methods. Our findings suggest that BIANCA, which will be freely available as part of the FSL package, is a reliable method for automated WMH segmentation in large cross-sectional cohort studies.