Centre for Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 99
Misfolded polyglutamine, polyalanine, and superoxide dismutase 1 aggregate via distinct pathways in the cell
(American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2014)
Protein aggregation into intracellular inclusions is a key feature of many neurodegenerative disorders. A common theme has emerged that inappropriate selfaggregation of misfolded or mutant polypeptide sequences is detrimental to cell health. Yet protein quality control mechanisms may also deliberately cluster them together into distinct inclusion sub-types, including the insoluble protein deposit (IPOD) and the juxtanuclear quality control (JUNQ). Here we investigated how the intrinsic oligomeric state of three model systems of disease-relevant mutant protein and peptide sequences relates to the IPOD and JUNQ patterns of aggregation using sedimentation velocity analysis (SVA). Two of the models (polyalanine (37A) and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutants A4V and G85R) accumulated into the same JUNQ-like inclusion whereas the other, polyglutamine (72Q), formed spatially distinct IPOD-like inclusions. Using flow cytometry pulse shape analysis to separate cells with inclusions from those without revealed the SOD1 mutants and 37A to have abruptly altered oligomeric states with respect to the non-aggregating forms, regardless of whether cells had inclusions or not; whereas 72Q was almost exclusively monomeric until inclusions formed. We propose mutations leading to JUNQ inclusions induce a constitutively "misfolded" state exposing hydrophobic sidechains that attract and ultimately overextend protein quality capacity, which leads to aggregation into JUNQ inclusions. PolyQ is not "misfolded" in this same sense due to universal polar sidechains, but is highly prone to forming amyloid fibrils that we propose invoke a different engagement mechanism with quality control.
Combined antagonism of glutamate mGlu5 and adenosine A(2A) receptors interact to regulate alcohol-seeking in rats
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2008-03-01)
Adenosine and glutamate have been implicated as mediators involved in the self-administration of alcohol. In the present study we sought to determine whether adenosine receptors could interact with metabotropic glutamate receptors to regulate operant responding for alcohol and also the integration of the salience of alcohol-paired cues. Alcohol-preferring (iP) rats were trained to self-administer alcohol under operant conditions. The availability of alcohol was paired with an olfactory cue plus a stimulus light. Rats were examined under fixed ratio responding and also following extinction under a cue-induced reinstatement paradigm. Administration of the selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, SCH 58261, reduced fixed ratio responding for alcohol in iP rats in a dose-related manner. Furthermore, the combination of a subthreshold dose of SCH 58261 with a subthreshold dose of the mGlu5 receptor antagonist MTEP also reduced alcohol self-administration and increased the latency to the first reinforced response, suggesting a pre-ingestive effect. Moreover, this combination of SCH 58261 and MTEP also prevented the conditioned reinstatement of alcohol-seeking elicited by the re-presentation of cues previously paired with alcohol availability. In contrast, combinations of the selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, DPCPX, with either SCH 58261 or MTEP had no effect on alcohol responding. Collectively, these data suggest a functional interaction between adenosine A2A and mGlu5 receptors in relation to alcohol-seeking and the integration of the drug-related cues.
More outcomes than trials: a call for consistent data collection across stroke rehabilitation trials
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2013-01-01)
Stroke survivors experience complex combinations of impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. The essential components of stroke rehabilitation remain elusive. Determining efficacy in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is challenging; there is no commonly agreed primary outcome measure for rehabilitation trials. Clinical guidelines depend on proof of efficacy in RCTs and meta-analyses. However, diverse trial aims, differing methods, inconsistent data collection, and use of multiple assessment tools hinder comparability across trials. Consistent data collection in acute stroke trials has facilitated meta-analyses to inform trial design and clinical practice. With few exceptions, inconsistent data collection has hindered similar progress in stroke rehabilitation research. There is an urgent need for the routine collection of a core dataset of common variables in rehabilitation trials. The European Stroke Organisation Outcomes Working Group, the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Common Data Elements project, and the Collaborative Stroke Audit and Research project have called for consistency in data collection in stroke trials. Standardizing data collection can decrease study start up times, facilitate data sharing, and inform clinical guidelines. Although achieving consensus on which outcome measures to use in stroke rehabilitation trials is a considerable task, perhaps a feasible starting point is to achieve consistency in the collection of data on demography, stroke severity, and stroke onset to inclusion times. Longer term goals could include the development of a consensus process to establish the core dataset. This should be endorsed by researchers, funders, and journal editors in order to facilitate sustainable change.
Blockage of Lysophosphatidic Acid Signaling Improves Spinal Cord Injury Outcomes
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2012-09-01)
Evidence suggests a proinflammatory role of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in various pathologic abnormalities, including in the central nervous system. Herein, we describe LPA as an important mediator of inflammation after spinal cord injury (SCI) in zebrafish and mice. Furthermore, we describe a novel monoclonal blocking antibody raised against LPA that potently inhibits LPA's effect in vitro and in vivo. This antibody, B3, specifically binds LPA, prevents it from interacting with its complement of receptors, and blocks LPA's effects on the neuronal differentiation of human neural stem/progenitor cells, demonstrating its specificity toward LPA signaling. When administered systemically to mice subjected to SCI, B3 substantially reduced glial inflammation and neuronal death. B3-treated animals demonstrated significantly more neuronal survival upstream of the lesion site, with some functional improvement. This study describes the use of anti-LPA monoclonal antibody as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of SCI.
The Effect of Placebo Conditioning on Capsaicin-Evoked Urge to Cough
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2012-10-01)
BACKGROUND: The urge to cough is a clinical symptom of respiratory disease that precedes the motor act of coughing. Although previous studies have shown that cough is particularly susceptible to placebo suppression, it is unclear whether the perception of an urge to cough is also modifiable by placebo. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that capsaicin-evoked urge to cough could be suppressed by placebo conditioning. METHODS: Eleven healthy participants were unknowingly conditioned to believe that an inert inhaler temporarily suppressed capsaicin-induced urge to cough by deceptively modifying the challenge concentration of capsaicin. In subsequent testing, capsaicin-evoked urge-to-cough subjective ratings were assessed in four challenges with a single dose of inhaled capsaicin following no treatment or the placebo metered-dose inhaler. An additional 10 participants were informed that the inhaler therapy was inert prior to receiving capsaicin challenges with and without inhaler treatment. RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in mean urge-to-cough ratings to capsaicin challenge following placebo compared with no treatment followed by capsaicin challenge (P < .001), with a peak decrease of 45%. The placebo inhaler alone had no effect on urge-to-cough subjective ratings when participants were aware that it contained no active medication. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm that the urge to cough is susceptible to placebo inhibition. This provides further evidence that higher brain networks are involved in the processing of respiratory sensations related to airway irritation.
Cocaine-mediated synaptic potentiation is absent in VTA neurons from mGlu5-deficient mice
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2010-03-01)
Drugs of abuse have the ability to instantiate plastic adaptations within the central nervous system, and this property may relate to the development and persistence of addiction. In this context, a single exposure to cocaine in rodents may induce synaptic plasticity by increasing the AMPA/NMDA receptor excitatory post-synaptic current (EPSC) amplitude ratio in dopaminergic cells of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Here, we examine the role of the metabotropic glutamate 5 (mGlu5) receptor in this regard using a genetic mouse model. The control AMPA/NMDA EPSC ratio is reduced in mGlu5-deficient mice compared to wild-types. Moreover, cocaine-induced enhancement of this EPSC ratio is also absent in mutant mice, which suggests that mGlu5 receptors are required for single-dose cocaine-induced plasticity onto VTA cells. While the temporal profile of hyperactivity to acute cocaine is altered in mGlu5-deficient mice; these mice still develop and express sensitized psychomotor responses to cocaine. These data suggest that the mGlu5 receptor is required for cocaine-induced plasticity in VTA dopaminergic cells. In contrast, the mGlu5 receptor may not be essential for psychostimulant behavioural sensitization; although it probably impacts other aspects drug addiction, such as motivation to self-administer.
The HSA21 gene EURL/C21ORF91 controls neurogenesis within the cerebral cortex and is implicated in the pathogenesis of Down Syndrome
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-07-11)
Copy number variations to chromosome 21 (HSA21) cause intellectual disability and Down Syndrome, but our understanding of the HSA21 genetic factors which contribute to fetal brain development remains incomplete. Here, we focussed on the neurodevelopmental functions for EURL (also known as C21ORF91, Refseq Gene ID:54149), a protein-coding gene at the centromeric boundary of the Down Syndrome Critical Region (DSCR) of HSA21. We report that EURL is expressed during human and mouse cerebral cortex development, and we report that alterations to EURL mRNA levels within the human brain underlie Down Syndrome. Our gene perturbation studies in mice demonstrate that disruptions to Eurl impair progenitor proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Also, we find that disruptions to Eurl impair the long-term positioning and dendritic spine densities of cortical projection neurons. We provide evidence that EURL interacts with the coiled-coil domain-containing protein CCDC85B so as to modulate β-catenin levels in cells. Further, we utilised a fluorescent reporter (8xTOPFLASHd2EGFP) to demonstrate that disruptions to Eurl alter β-catenin signalling in vitro as well as in vivo. Together, these studies highlight EURL as an important new player in neuronal development that is likely to impact on the neuropathogenesis of HSA21-related disorders including Down Syndrome.
High Order W02-Reactive Stable Oligomers of Amyloid-beta are Produced in vivo and in vitro via Dialysis and Filtration of Synthetic Amyloid-beta Monomer
(IOS PRESS, 2015-01-01)
Oligomeric forms of amyloid-β (Aβ) are thought to be responsible for the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. While many oligomers of Aβ are thought to be naturally occurring in the brain of humans and/or transgenic animals, it is well known that Aβ oligomers are also readily produced in vitro in the laboratory. In recent studies, we discovered that synthetic monomeric Aβ (4.7 kDa) could be transformed by microdialysis to higher molecular weight species (approximately 56 kDa, by western blot). Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry and electron microscopy further identified these species' as potential Aβ oligomers. The production of similar species could also be produced by centrifugal filtration and this formation was concentration and pore-size dependent. These higher order species of Aβ were resistant to dissolution in NaOH, HFIP, formic acid, urea, and guanidine. We postulate that we have identified a novel way of producing a high order species of oligomeric Aβ and we provide evidence to suggest that Aβ oligomers can quite easily be a product of normal laboratory practices. These data suggest that the experimental detection of higher order oligomers in tissues derived from Alzheimer's disease brains or from animal models of disease could, in some cases, be a product the method of analysis.
Drugs of abuse and increased risk of psychosis development
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2012-12-01)
OBJECTIVE: There is considerable evidence to suggest that the abuse of illicit drugs, particularly cannabis and methamphetamine, has aetiological roles in the pathogenesis of psychosis and schizophrenia. Factors that may increase susceptibility to the propsychotic effects of these drugs include the age at which the abuse starts as well as family history of genetic polymorphisms relevant to the pathophysiology of this disorder. However, the neurobiological mechanisms involved in drug abuse-associated psychosis remain largely unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: This paper presents an overview of the available evidence, including clinical, animal model, and molecular studies, with a focus on brain regions and neurotransmitters systems, such as dopamine and glutamate, previously implicated in psychosis. CONCLUSION: It is clear that further studies are urgently needed to provide a greater insight into the mechanisms that mediate the long-term and neurodevelopmental effects of cannabis and methamphetamine. A dialogue between basic science and clinical research may help to identify at-risk individuals and novel pathways for treatment and prevention.
Long-term behavioral and NMDA receptor effects of young-adult corticosterone treatment in BDNF heterozygous mice
(ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2012-06-01)
Psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, are most likely caused by an interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental factors, including stress during development. The neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in this illness as BDNF levels are decreased in the brain of patients with schizophrenia. The aim of the present study was to assess the combined effect of reduced BDNF levels and postnatal stress, simulated by chronic young-adult treatment with the stress hormone, corticosterone. From 6 weeks of age, female and male BDNF heterozygous mice and their wild-type controls were chronically treated with corticosterone in their drinking water for 3 weeks. At 11 weeks of age, male, but not female BDNF heterozygous mice treated with corticosterone exhibited a profound memory deficit in the Y-maze. There were no differences between the groups in baseline prepulse inhibition (PPI), a measure of sensorimotor gating, or its disruption by treatment with MK-801. However, an increase in startle caused by MK-801 treatment was absent in male, but not female BDNF heterozygous mice, irrespective of corticosterone treatment. Analysis of protein levels of the NMDA receptor subunits NR1, NR2A, NR2B and NR2C, showed a marked increase of NR2B levels in the dorsal hippocampus of male BDNF heterozygous mice treated with corticosterone. In the ventral hippocampus, significantly reduced levels of NR2A, NR2B and NR2C were observed in male BDNF heterozygous mice. The NMDA receptor effects in hippocampal sub-regions could be related to the spatial memory deficits and the loss of the effect of MK-801 on startle in these mice, respectively. No significant changes in NMDA receptor subunit levels were observed in any of the female groups. Similarly, no significant changes in levels of BDNF or its receptor, TrkB, were found other than the expected reduced levels of BDNF in heterozygous mice. In conclusion, the data show differential interactive effects of reduced levels of BDNF expression and corticosterone treatment on spatial memory and startle in male and female mice, accompanied by significant, but region-specific changes in NMDA receptor subunit levels in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus. These results could be important for our understanding of the interaction of neurodevelopmental stress and BDNF deficiency in cognitive and anxiety-related symptoms of psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
Age-Dependent Effects of A53T Alpha-Synuclein on Behavior and Dopaminergic Function
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-04-01)
Expression of A53T mutant human alpha-synuclein under the mouse prion promoter is among the most successful transgenic models of Parkinson's disease. Accumulation of A53T alpha-synuclein causes adult mice to develop severe motor impairment resulting in early death at 8-12 months of age. In younger, pre-symptomatic animals, altered motor activity and anxiety-like behaviors have also been reported. These behavioral changes, which precede severe neuropathology, may stem from non-pathological functions of alpha-synuclein, including modulation of monoamine neurotransmission. Our analysis over the adult life-span of motor activity, anxiety-like, and depressive-like behaviors identifies perturbations both before and after the onset of disease. Young A53T mice had increased distribution of the dopamine transporter (DAT) to the membrane that was associated with increased striatal re-uptake function. DAT function decreased with aging, and was associated with neurochemical alterations that included increased expression of beta-synuclein and gamma synuclein. Prior to normalization of dopamine uptake, transient activation of Tau kinases and hyperphosphorylation of Tau in the striatum were also observed. Aged A53T mice had reduced neuron counts in the substantia nigra pars compacta, yet striatal medium spiny neuron dendritic spine density was largely maintained. These findings highlight the involvement of the synuclein family of proteins and phosphorylation of Tau in the response to dopaminergic dysfunction of the nigrostriatal pathway.