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  • Galli, Emilia; Lindholm, Päivi; Kontturi, Leena-Stiina; Saarma, Mart; Urtti, Arto; Yliperttula, Marjo (2019)
    Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF) shows beneficial effects in rodent models of Parkinson?s and Alzheimer?s disease. The brain is a challenging target for protein therapy due to its exclusive blood?brain barrier. Hence, the therapeutic protein should be delivered directly to the brain parenchyma. Implantation of encapsulated mammalian cells that constantly secrete CDNF is a potential approach for targeted and long-term protein delivery to the brain. In this study, we generated several CDNF-secreting cell clones derived from human retinal pigment epithelial cell line ARPE-19, and studied CDNF secretion from the clones maintained as monolayers and in polymeric microcapsules. The secretion of wild type (wt) CDNF transgene was low and the majority of the produced protein remained intracellular, locating mainly to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The secretion of wtCDNF decreased to even lower levels when the clones were in a non-dividing state, as in the microcapsules. Both codon optimization and deletion of the putative ER-retrieval signal (four last amino acids: KTEL) improved CDNF secretion. More importantly, the secretion of KTEL-deleted CDNF remained constant in the non-dividing clones. Thus, cells expressing KTEL-deleted CDNF, in contrast to wtCDNF, can be considered for cell encapsulation applications if the KTEL-deleted CDNF is proven to be biologically active in vivo.
  • Garea-Rodriguez, Enrique; Eesmaa, Ave; Lindholm, Päivi Katariina; Schlumbohm, Christina; König, Jessica; Meller, Birgit; Krieglstein, Kerstin; Helms, Gunther; Saarma, Mart; Fuchs, Eberhard (2016)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) belongs to a newly discovered family of evolutionarily conserved neurotrophic factors. We demonstrate for the first time a therapeutic effect of CDNF in a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion model of Parkinson's disease in marmoset monkeys. Furthermore, we tested the impact of high chronic doses of human recombinant CDNF on unlesionedmonkeys and analyzed the amino acid sequence ofmarmoset CDNF. The severity of 6-OHDA lesions and treatment effects weremonitored in vivo using 123I-FP-CIT (DaTSCAN) SPECT. Quantitative analysis of 123I-FP-CIT SPECT showed a significant increase of dopamine transporter binding activity in lesioned animals treated with CDNF. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a well-characterized and potent neurotrophic factor for dopamine neurons, served as a control in a parallel comparison with CDNF. By contrast with CDNF, only single animals responded to the treatment with GDNF, but no statistical difference was observed in the GDNF group. However, increased numbers of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive neurons, observed within the lesioned caudate nucleus of GDNF-treated animals, indicate a strong bioactive potential of GDNF.
  • Kovaleva, Vera; Saarma, Mart (2021)
    Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology involves progressive degeneration and death of vulnerable dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. Extensive axonal arborization and distinct functions make this type of neurons particularly sensitive to homeostatic perturbations, such as protein misfolding and Ca2+ dysregulation. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a cell compartment orchestrating protein synthesis and folding, as well as synthesis of lipids and maintenance of Ca2+ homeostasis in eukaryotic cells. When misfolded proteins start to accumulate in ER lumen the unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated. UPR is an adaptive signaling machinery aimed at relieving of protein folding load in the ER. When UPR is chronic, it can either boost neurodegeneration and apoptosis or cause neuronal dysfunctions. We have recently discovered that mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) exerts its prosurvival action in dopamine neurons and in an animal model of PD through the direct binding to UPR sensor inositol-requiring protein 1 alpha (IRE1) and attenuation of UPR. In line with this, UPR targeting resulted in neuroprotection and neurorestoration in various preclinical animal models of PD. Therefore, growth factors (GFs), possessing both neurorestorative activity and restoration of protein folding capacity are attractive as drug candidates for PD treatment especially their blood-brain barrier penetrating analogs and small molecule mimetics. In this review, we discuss ER stress as a therapeutic target to treat PD; we summarize the existing preclinical data on the regulation of ER stress for PD treatment. In addition, we point out the crucial aspects for successful clinical translation of UPR-regulating GFs and new prospective in GFs-based treatments of PD, focusing on ER stress regulation.
  • Voutilainen, Merja H.; De Lorenzo, Francesca; Stepanova, Polina; Bäck, Susanne; Pulkkila, Päivi; Pörsti, Eeva; Saarma, Mart; Männistö, Pekka T.; Tuominen, Raimo K. (2017)
    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with a progressive loss of dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons of the substantia nigra (SN) and the accumulation of intracellular inclusions containing alpha-synuclein. Current therapies do not stop the progression of the disease, and the efficacy of these treatments wanes over time. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are naturally occurring proteins promoting the survival and differentiation of neurons and the maintenance of neuronal contacts. CDNF (cerebral dopamine NTF) and GDNF (glial cell line-derived NTF) are able to protect DAergic neurons against toxin-induced degeneration in experimental models of PD. Here, we report an additive neurorestorative effect of coadministration of CDNF and GDNF in the unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion model of PD in rats. NTFs were given into the striatum four weeks after unilateral intrastriatal injection of 6-OHDA (20 mu g). Amphetamine-induced (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) rotational behavior was measured every two weeks. Number of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cells from SN pars compacta (SNpc) and density of TH-positive fibers in the striatum were analyzed at 12 weeks after lesion. CDNF and GDNF alone restored the DAergic function, and one specific dose combination had an additive effect: CDNF (2.5 mu g) and GDNF (1 mu g) coadministration led to a stronger trophic effect relative to either of the single treatments alone. The additive effect may indicate different mechanism of action for the NTFs. Indeed, both NTFs activated the survival promoting PI3 kinase (PI3K)-Akt signaling pathway, but only CDNF decreased the expression level of tested endoplasmatic reticulum (ER) stress markers ATF6, glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha subunit (eIF2 alpha).
  • Galli, Emilia; Planken, Anu; Kadastik-Eerme, Liis; Saarma, Mart; Taba, Pille; Lindholm, Päivi (2019)
    Background: Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) promote the survival of midbrain dopamine neurons in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about endogenous concentrations of MANF and CDNF in human PD patients, and their relation to PD pathogenesis. Our main objective was to study whether circulating concentrations of MANF and CDNF differ between PD patients and controls, and if they correlate with clinical parameters. Levels of circulating CDNF were studied for the first time. Methods: MANF and CDNF levels were measured from serum samples of 34 PD patients and 35 controls using validated in-lab-designed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISAs). MANF and CDNF mRNA levels in whole blood samples of 60 PD patients and 30 controls were measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). MANF concentrations in different blood cell types were measured by ELISA. Results: Circulating MANF concentrations were significantly higher in PD patients compared to controls (P <0.001) and were positively correlated with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) depression rating. MANF protein was present in blood cells, however, MANF mRNA levels in the blood did not differ between PD patients and controls (P = 0.44). The mean concentration of serum CDNF was 33 pg/ml in the controls. CDNF levels were not altered in PD patients (P = 0.25). Conclusion: MANF but not CDNF level was increased in the blood of PD patients. It would be interesting to examine the blood level of MANF from early stage PD patients in future studies to test whether MANF can be used as a clinical marker of PD.
  • Nadella, Rasajna; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Saarma, Mart; Gonzalez-Barrios, Juan A.; Leon-Chavez, Bertha A.; Dueas Jimnez, Judith M.; Dueas Jimnez, Sergio H.; Escobedo, Lourdes; Martinez-Fong, Daniel (2014)
    BACKGROUND: The anti-inflammatory effect of the cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) was shown recently in primary glial cell cultures, yet such effect remains unknown both in vivo and in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) models of Parkinson's disease (PD). We addressed this issue by performing an intranigral transfection of the human CDNF (hCDNF) gene in the critical period of inflammation after a single intrastriatal 6-OHDA injection in the rat. METHODS: At day 15 after lesion, the plasmids p3xNBRE-hCDNF or p3xNBRE-EGFP, coding for enhanced green florescent protein (EGFP), were transfected into the rat substantia nigra (SN) using neurotensin (NTS)-polyplex. At day 15 post-transfection, we measured nitrite and lipoperoxide levels in the SN. We used ELISA to quantify the levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, endogenous rat CDNF (rCDNF) and hCDNF. We also used qRT-PCR to measure rCDNF and hCDNF transcripts, and immunofluorescence assays to evaluate iNOS, CDNF and glial cells (microglia, astrocytes and Neuron/Glial type 2 (NG2) cells). Intact SNs were additional controls. RESULTS: In the SN, 6-OHDA triggered nitrosative stress, increased inflammatory cytokines levels, and activated the multipotent progenitor NG2 cells, which convert into astrocytes to produce rCDNF. In comparison with the hemiparkinsonian rats that were transfected with the EGFP gene or without transfection, 6-OHDA treatment and p3xNBRE-hCDNF transfection increased the conversion of NG2 cells into astrocytes resulting in 4-fold increase in the rCDNF protein levels. The overexpressed CDNF reduced nitrosative stress, glial markers and IL-6 levels in the SN, but not TNF-α and IL-1β levels. CONCLUSION: Our results show the anti-inflammatory effect of CDNF in a 6-OHDA rat of Parkinson's disease. Our results also suggest the possible participation of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in rCDNF production by astrocytes, supporting their anti-inflammatory role.