Browsing by Subject "PARKINSONS-DISEASE"

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  • Albert, Katrina; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Domanskyi, Andrii; Airavaara, Mikko (2017)
    Gene delivery using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors is a widely used method to transduce neurons in the brain, especially due to its safety, efficacy, and long-lasting expression. In addition, by varying AAV serotype, promotor, and titer, it is possible to affect the cell specificity of expression or the expression levels of the protein of interest. Dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra projecting to the striatum, comprising the nigrostriatal pathway, are involved in movement control and degenerate in Parkinson's disease. AAV-based gene targeting to the projection area of these neurons in the striatum has been studied extensively to induce the production of neurotrophic factors for disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson's disease. Much less emphasis has been put on AAV-based gene therapy targeting dopamine neurons in substantia nigra. We will review the literature related to targeting striatum and/or substantia nigra dopamine neurons using AAVs in order to express neuroprotective and neurorestorative molecules, as well as produce animal disease models of Parkinson's disease. We discuss difficulties in targeting substantia nigra dopamine neurons and their vulnerability to stress in general. Therefore, choosing a proper control for experimental work is not trivial. Since the axons along the nigrostriatal tract are the first to degenerate in Parkinson's disease, the location to deliver the therapy must be carefully considered. We also review studies using AAV--synuclein (-syn) to target substantia nigra dopamine neurons to produce an -syn overexpression disease model in rats. Though these studies are able to produce mild dopamine system degeneration in the striatum and substantia nigra and some behavioural effects, there are studies pointing to the toxicity of AAV-carrying green fluorescent protein (GFP), which is often used as a control. Therefore, we discuss the potential difficulties in overexpressing proteins in general in the substantia nigra.
  • Yu, Nancy Y.; Bieder, Andrea; Raman, Amitha; Mileti, Enrichetta; Katayama, Shintaro; Einarsdottir, Elisabet; Fredholm, Bertil B.; Falk, Anna; Tapia-Paez, Isabel; Daub, Carsten O.; Kere, Juha (2017)
    Caffeine is a widely consumed psychoactive substance, but little is known about the effects of caffeine stimulation on global gene expression changes in neurons. Here, we conducted gene expression profiling of human neuroepithelial stem cell-derived neurons, stimulated with normal consumption levels of caffeine (3 mu M and 10 mu M), over a period of 9 h. We found dosage-dependent activation of immediate early genes after 1 h. Neuronal projection development processes were up-regulated and negative regulation of axon extension processes were down-regulated at 3 h. In addition, genes involved in extracellular matrix organization, response for wound healing, and regulation of immune system processes were down-regulated by caffeine at 3 h. This study identified novel genes within the neuronal projection guidance pathways that respond to acute caffeine stimulation and suggests potential mechanisms for the effects of caffeine on neuronal cells.
  • Oksanen, Minna; Lehtonen, Sarka; Jaronen, Merja; Goldsteins, Gundars; Hämäläinen, Riikka H.; Koistinaho, Jari (2019)
    Astrocytes are the most abundant cell type in the brain. They were long considered only as passive support for neuronal cells. However, recent data have revealed many active roles for these cells both in maintenance of the normal physiological homeostasis in the brain as well as in neurodegeneration and disease. Moreover, human astrocytes have been found to be much more complex than their rodent counterparts, and to date, astrocytes are known to actively participate in a multitude of processes such as neurotransmitter uptake and recycling, gliotransmitter release, neuroenergetics, inflammation, modulation of synaptic activity, ionic balance, maintenance of the blood–brain barrier, and many other crucial functions of the brain. This review focuses on the role of astrocytes in human neurodegenerative disease and the potential of the novel stem cell-based platforms in modeling astrocytic functions in health and in disease.
  • Leino, Sakari; Koski, Sini K.; Hänninen, Raisa; Tapanainen, Tuukka; Rannanpää, Saara; Salminen, Outi (2018)
    Preclinical studies suggest the involvement of various subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC). We studied for the first time the effects of alpha 5 nicotinic receptor subunit gene deletion on motor behavior and neurodegeneration in mouse models of Parkinson's disease and levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Unilateral dopaminergic lesions were induced in wild-type and alpha 5-KO mice by 6-hydroxydopamine injections into the striatum or the medial forebrain bundle. Subsequently, rotational behavior induced by dopaminergic drugs was measured. A subset of animals received chronic treatments with levodopa and nicotine to assess levodopa-induced dyskinesia and antidyskinetic effects by nicotine. SNC lesion extent was assessed with tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry and stereological cell counting. Effects of alpha 5 gene deletion on the dopaminergic system were investigated by measuring ex vivo striatal dopamine transporter function and protein expression, dopamine and metabolite tissue concentrations and dopamine receptor mRNA expression. Hemiparkinsonian alpha 5-KO mice exhibited attenuated rotational behavior after amphetamine injection and attenuated levodopa-induced dyskinesia. In the intrastriatal lesion model, dopaminergic cell loss in the medial cluster of the SNC was less severe in alpha 5-KO mice. Decreased striatal dopamine uptake in alpha 5-KO animals suggested reduced dopamine transporter function as a mechanism of attenuated neurotoxicity. Nicotine reduced dyskinesia severity in wild-type but not alpha 5-KO mice. The attenuated dopaminergic neurodegeneration and motor dysfunction observed in hemiparkinsonian alpha 5KO mice suggests potential for alpha 5 subunit-containing nicotinic receptors as a novel target in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Tietavainen, A.; Gutmann, M. U.; Keski-Vakkuri, E.; Corander, J.; Haeggstrom, E. (2017)
    The control of the human body sway by the central nervous system, muscles, and conscious brain is of interest since body sway carries information about the physiological status of a person. Several models have been proposed to describe body sway in an upright standing position, however, due to the statistical intractability of the more realistic models, no formal parameter inference has previously been conducted and the expressive power of such models for real human subjects remains unknown. Using the latest advances in Bayesian statistical inference for intractable models, we fitted a nonlinear control model to posturographic measurements, and we showed that it can accurately predict the sway characteristics of both simulated and real subjects. Our method provides a full statistical characterization of the uncertainty related to all model parameters as quantified by posterior probability density functions, which is useful for comparisons across subjects and test settings. The ability to infer intractable control models from sensor data opens new possibilities for monitoring and predicting body status in health applications.
  • Chalazonitis, Alcmène; Li, ZhiShan; Pham, Tuan D.; Chen, Jason; Rao, Meenakshi; Lindholm, Päivi; Saarma, Mart; Lindahl, Maria; Gershon, Michael D. (2020)
    Abstract Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is expressed in the brain and is neuroprotective. We have previously shown that CDNF is also expressed in the bowel and that its absence leads to degeneration and autophagy in the enteric nervous system (ENS), particularly in the submucosal plexus. We now demonstrate that enteric CDNF immunoreactivity is restricted to neurons (submucosal > myenteric) and is not seen in glia, interstitial cells of Cajal, or smooth muscle. Expression of CDNF, moreover, is essential for the normal development and survival of enteric dopaminergic neurons; thus, expression of the dopaminergic neuronal markers, dopamine, tyrosine hydroxylase, and dopamine transporter are deficient in the ileum of Cdnf -/- mice. The normal age-related decline in proportions of submucosal dopaminergic neurons is exacerbated in Cdnf -/- animals. The defect in Cdnf -/- animals is not dopamine-restricted; proportions of other submucosal neurons (NOS-, GABA-, and CGRP-expressing), are also deficient. The deficits in submucosal neurons are reflected functionally in delayed gastric emptying, slowed colonic motility, and prolonged total gastrointestinal transit. CDNF is expressed selectively in isolated enteric neural crest-derived cells (ENCDC), which also express the dopamine-related transcription factor Foxa2. Addition of CDNF to ENCDC promotes development of dopaminergic neurons; moreover, survival or these neurons becomes CDNF-dependent after exposure to bone morphogenetic protein 4. The effects of neither glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) nor serotonin are additive with CDNF. We suggest that CDNF plays a critical role in development and long-term maintenance of dopaminergic and other sets of submucosal neurons. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Albert, Katrina; Raymundo, Diana P.; Panhelainen, Anne; Eesmaa, Ave; Shvachiy, Liana; Araujo, Gabriela R.; Chmielarz, Piotr; Yan, Xu; Singh, Aastha; Cordeiro, Yraima; Palhano, Fernando L.; Foguel, Debora; Luk, Kelvin C.; Domanskyi, Andrii; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Huttunen, Henri J.; Outeiro, Tiago F.; Saarma, Mart; Almeida, Marcius S.; Airavaara, Mikko (2021)
    A molecular hallmark in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis are a-synuclein aggregates. Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is an atypical growth factor that is mostly resident in the endoplasmic reticulum but exerts its effects both intracellularly and extracellularly. One of the beneficial effects of CDNF can be protecting neurons from the toxic effects of alpha-synuclein. Here, we investigated the effects of CDNF on alpha-synuclein aggregation in vitro and in vivo. We found that CDNF directly interacts with alpha-synuclein with a KD = 23 +/- 6 nM and reduces its auto-association. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we identified interaction sites on the CDNF protein. Remarkably, CDNF reduces the neuronal internalization of alpha-synuclein fibrils and induces the formation of insoluble phosphorylated alpha-synuclein inclusions. Intra-striatal CDNF administration alleviates motor deficits in rodents challenged with a-synuclein fibrils, though it did not reduce the number of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein inclusions in the substantia nigra. CDNF's beneficial effects on rodent behavior appear not to be related to the number of inclusions formed in the current context, and further study of its effects on the aggregation mechanism in vivo are needed. Nonetheless, the interaction of CDNF with a-synuclein, modifying its aggregation, spreading, and associated behavioral alterations, provides novel insights into the potential of CDNF as a therapeutic strategy in PD and other synucleinopathies.
  • Lindahl, Maria; Chalazonitis, Alcmene; Palm, Erik; Pakarinen, Emmi; Danilova, Tatiana; Pham, Tuan D.; Setlik, Wanda; Rao, Meenakshi; Voikar, Vootele; Huotari, Jatta; Kopra, Jaakko; Andressoo, Jaan-Olle; Piepponen, Petteri T.; Airavaara, Mikko; Panhelainen, Anne; Gershon, Michael D.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is neuroprotective for nigrostriatal dopamine neurons and restores dopaminergic function in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). To understand the role of CDNF in mammals, we generated CDNF knockout mice (Cdnf(-/-)), which are viable, fertile, and have a normal life-span. Surprisingly, an age-dependent loss of enteric neurons occurs selectively in the submucosal but not in the myenteric plexus. This neuronal loss is a consequence not of increased apoptosis but of neurodegeneration and autophagy. Quantitatively, the neurodegeneration and autophagy found in the submucosal plexus in duodenum, ileum and colon of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse are much greater than in those of Cdnf(+/+) mice. The selective vulnerability of submucosal neurons to the absence of CDNF is reminiscent of the tendency of pathological abnormalities to occur in the submucosal plexus in biopsies of patients with PD. In contrast, the number of substantia nigra dopamine neurons and dopamine and its metabolite concentrations in the striatum are unaltered in Cdnf(-/-) mice; however, there is an age-dependent deficit in the function of the dopamine system in Cdnf(-/-) male mice analyzed. This is observed as D-amphetamine-induced hyperactivity, aberrant dopamine transporter function, and as increased D-amphetamine-induced dopamine release demonstrating that dopaminergic axon terminal function in the striatum of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse brain is altered. The deficiencies of Cdnf(-/-) mice, therefore, are reminiscent of those seen in early stages of Parkinson's disease.
  • Brodski, Claude; Blaess, Sandra; Partanen, Juha; Prakash, Nilima (2019)
    Dopamine-synthesizing neurons located in the mammalian ventral midbrain are at the center stage of biomedical research due to their involvement in severe human neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, most prominently Parkinson's Disease (PD). The induction of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons depends on two important signaling centers of the mammalian embryo: the ventral midline or floor plate (FP) of the neural tube, and the isthmic organizer (IsO) at the mid-/hindbrain boundary (MHB). Cells located within and close to the FP secrete sonic hedgehog (SHH), and members of the wingless-type MMTV integration site family (WNT1/5A), as well as bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family. The IsO cells secrete WNT1 and the fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF8). Accordingly, the FGF8, SHH, WNT, and BMP signaling pathways play crucial roles during the development of the mDA neurons in the mammalian embryo. Moreover, these morphogens are essential for the generation of stem cell-derived mDA neurons, which are critical for the modeling, drug screening, and cell replacement therapy of PD. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the functions and crosstalk of these signaling pathways in mammalian mDA neuron development in vivo and their applications in stem cell-based paradigms for the efficient derivation of these neurons in vitro.
  • Bazelier, Marloes T.; Eriksson, Irene; de Vries, Frank; Schmidt, Marjanka K.; Raitanen, Jani; Haukka, Jari; Starup-Linde, Jakob; De Bruin, Marie L.; Andersen, Morten (2015)
    PurposeTo identify pharmacoepidemiological multi-database studies and to describe data management and data analysis techniques used for combining data. MethodsSystematic literature searches were conducted in PubMed and Embase complemented by a manual literature search. We included pharmacoepidemiological multi-database studies published from 2007 onwards that combined data for a pre-planned common analysis or quantitative synthesis. Information was retrieved about study characteristics, methods used for individual-level analyses and meta-analyses, data management and motivations for performing the study. ResultsWe found 3083 articles by the systematic searches and an additional 176 by the manual search. After full-text screening of 75 articles, 22 were selected for final inclusion. The number of databases used per study ranged from 2 to 17 (median=4.0). Most studies used a cohort design (82%) instead of a case-control design (18%). Logistic regression was most often used for individual-level analyses (41%), followed by Cox regression (23%) and Poisson regression (14%). As meta-analysis method, a majority of the studies combined individual patient data (73%). Six studies performed an aggregate meta-analysis (27%), while a semi-aggregate approach was applied in three studies (14%). Information on central programming or heterogeneity assessment was missing in approximately half of the publications. Most studies were motivated by improving power (86%). ConclusionsPharmacoepidemiological multi-database studies are a well-powered strategy to address safety issues and have increased in popularity. To be able to correctly interpret the results of these studies, it is important to systematically report on database management and analysis techniques, including central programming and heterogeneity testing. (c) 2015 The Authors. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Chmielarz, Piotr; Konovalova, Julia; Najam, Syeda Sadia; Alter, Heike; Piepponen, Timo Petteri; Erfle, Holger; Sonntag, Kai C.; Schutz, Gunther; Vinnikov, Ilya A.; Domanskyi, Andrii (2017)
    MicroRNAs (miRs) are important post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression implicated in neuronal development, differentiation, aging and neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD). Several miRs have been linked to PD-associated genes, apoptosis and stress response pathways, suggesting that deregulation of miRs may contribute to the development of the neurodegenerative phenotype. Here, we investigate the cell-autonomous role of miR processing RNAse Dicer in the functional maintenance of adult dopamine (DA) neurons. We demonstrate a reduction of Dicer in the ventral midbrain and altered miR expression profiles in laser-microdissected DA neurons of aged mice. Using a mouse line expressing tamoxifen-inducible CreERT2 recombinase under control of the DA transporter promoter, we show that a tissue-specific conditional ablation of Dicer in DA neurons of adult mice led to decreased levels of striatal DA and its metabolites without a reduction in neuronal body numbers in hemizygous mice (Dicer(HET)) and to progressive loss of DA neurons with severe locomotor deficits in nullizygous mice (Dicer(CKO)). Moreover, we show that pharmacological stimulation of miR biosynthesis promoted survival of cultured DA neurons and reduced their vulnerability to thapsigargin-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress. Our data demonstrate that Dicer is crucial for maintenance of adult DA neurons, whereas a stimulation of miR production can promote neuronal survival, which may have direct implications for PD treatment.
  • Jokinen, Viljami; Sidorova, Yulia; Viisanen, Hanna; Suleymanova, Ilida; Tiilikainen, Henna; Li, Zhilin; Lilius, Tuomas O.; Matlik, Kert; Anttila, Jenni E.; Airavaara, Mikko; Tian, Li; Rauhala, Pekka V.; Kalso, Eija A. (2018)
    Development of tolerance is a well known pharmacological characteristic of opioids and a major clinical problem. In addition to the known neuronal mechanisms of opioid tolerance, activation of glia has emerged as a potentially significant new mechanism. We studied activation of microglia and astrocytes in morphine tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia in rats using immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and RNA sequencing in spinal-and supraspinal regions. Chronic morphine treatment that induced tolerance and hyperalgesia also increased immunoreactivity of spinal microglia in the dorsal and ventral horns. Flow cytometry demonstrated that morphine treatment increased the proportion of M2-polarized spinal microglia, but failed to impact the number or the proportion of M1-polarized microglia. In the transcriptome of microglial cells isolated from the spinal cord (SC), morphine treatment increased transcripts related to cell activation and defense response. In the studied brain regions, no activation of microglia or astrocytes was detected by immunohistochemistry, except for a decrease in the number of microglial cells in the substantia nigra. In flow cytometry, morphine caused a decrease in the number of microglial cells in the medulla, but otherwise no change was detected for the count or the proportion of M1-and M2-polarized microglia in the medulla or sensory cortex. No evidence for the activation of glia in the brain was seen. Our results suggest that glial activation associated with opioid tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia occurs mainly at the spinal level. The transcriptome data suggest that the microglial activation pattern after chronic morphine treatment has similarities with that of neuropathic pain. (C) 2018 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Walkowicz, Lucyna; Kijak, Ewelina; Krzeptowski, Wojciech; Gorska-Andrzejak, Jolanta; Stratoulias, Vassilis; Woznicka, Olga; Chwastek, Elzbieta; Heino, Tapio I.; Pyza, Elzbieta M. (2017)
    In Drosophila melanogaster, mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor(DmMANF) is an evolutionarily conserved ortholog of mammalian MANF and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF), which have been shown to promote the survival of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. We observed especially high levels of DmMANF in the visual system of Drosophil a, particularly in the first optic neuropil (lamina). In the lamina, DmMANF was found in glial cells (surface and epithelial glia), photoreceptors and interneurons. Interestingly, silencing of DmMANF in all neurons or specifically in photoreceptors or L2 interneurons had no impact on the structure of the visual system. However, downregulation of DmMANF in glial cells induced degeneration of the lamina. Remarkably, this degeneration in the form of holes and/or tightly packed membranes was observed only in the lamina epithelial glial cells. Those membranes seem to originate from the endoplasmic reticulum, which forms autophagosome membranes. Moreover, capitate projections, the epithelial glia invaginations into photoreceptor terminals that are involved in recycling of the photoreceptor neurotransmitter histamine, were less numerous after DmMANF silencing either in neurons or glial cells. The distribution of the alpha subunit of Na+/K+-ATPase protein in the lamina cell membranes was also changed. At the behavioral level, silencing of DmMANF either in neurons or glial cells affected the daily activity/sleep pattern, and flies showed less activity during the day but higher activity during the night than did controls. In the case of silencing in glia, the lifespan of flies was also shortened. The obtained results showed that DmMANF regulates many functions in the brain, particularly those dependent on glial cells.
  • Di Giorgio, Annabella; Smith, Ryan M.; Fazio, Leonardo; D'Ambrosio, Enrico; Gelao, Barbara; Tomasicchio, Aldo; Selvaggi, Pierluigi; Taurisano, Paolo; Quarto, Tiziana; Masellis, Rita; Rampino, Antonio; Caforio, Grazia; Popolizio, Teresa; Blasi, Giuseppe; Sadee, Wolfgang; Bertolino, Alessandro (2014)
  • Leino, Sakari; Kohtala, Samuel; Rantamäki, Tomi; Koski, Sini K.; Rannanpää, Saara; Salminen, Outi (2018)
    BackgroundThe treatment of Parkinson's disease is often complicated by levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists can alleviate LID in animal models but may be less effective in conditions of severe dopaminergic denervation. While the mechanisms of LID remain incompletely understood, elevated corticostriatal levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been suggested to play a role. Here, female mice with near-total unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine-induced nigrostriatal lesions were chronically treated with levodopa, and the effects of the 7 nicotinic receptor partial agonist AZD0328 and nicotine on LID were assessed. At the end of the experiment, BDNF protein levels in the prefrontal cortex and striatum were measured.ResultsFive-day treatments with three escalating doses of AZD0328 and a 10-week treatment with nicotine failed to alleviate LID. BDNF levels in the lesioned striatum correlated positively with LID severity, but no evidence was found for a levodopa-induced elevation of corticostriatal BDNF in the lesioned hemisphere. The nicotine treatment decreased BDNF levels in the prefrontal cortex but had no effect on striatal BDNF.ConclusionsThe findings suggest that treatment of LID with nicotinic agonists may lose its effectiveness as the disease progresses, represent further evidence for a role for BDNF in LID, and expand previous knowledge on the effects of long-term nicotine treatment on BDNF.
  • Särkamö, Teppo; Altenmueller, Eckart; Rodriguez-Fornells, Antoni; Peretz, Isabelle (2016)
  • Danilova, Tatiana; Lindahl, Maria (2018)
    Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) was originally identified as a secreted trophic factor for dopamine neurons in vitro. It protects and restores damaged cells in rodent models of Parkinson's disease, brain and heart ischemia, spinocerebellar ataxia and retina in vivo. However, its exact mechanism of action is not known. MANF is widely expressed in most human and mouse organs with high levels in secretory tissues. Intracellularly, MANF localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and ER stress increases it's expression in cells and tissues. Furthermore, increased MANF levels has been detected in the sera of young children with newly diagnosed Type 1 (T1D) diabetes and Type 2 (T2D) diabetic patients. ER stress is caused by the accumulation of misfolded and aggregated proteins in the ER. It activates a cellular defense mechanism, the unfolded protein response (UPR), a signaling cascade trying to restore ER homeostasis. However, if prolonged, unresolved ER stress leads to apoptosis. Unresolved ER stress contributes to the progressive death of pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells in both T1D and T2D. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by hyperglycemia, caused by the inability of the beta cells to maintain sufficient levels of circulating insulin. The current medications, insulin and antidiabetic drugs, alleviate diabetic symptoms but cannot reconstitute physiological insulin secretion which increases the risk of devastating vascular complications of the disease. Thus, one of the main strategies in improving current diabetes therapy is to define and validate novel approaches to protect beta cells from stress as well as activate their regeneration. Embryonic deletion of the Manf gene in mice led to gradual postnatal development of insulin-deficient diabetes caused by reduced beta cell proliferation and increased beta cell death due to increased and sustained ER stress. In vitro, recombinant MANF partly protected mouse and human beta cells from ER stress-induced beta cell death and potentiated mouse and human beta cell proliferation. Importantly, in vivo overexpression of MANF in the pancreas of T1D mice led to increased beta cell proliferation and decreased beta cell death, suggesting that MANF could be a new therapeutic candidate for beta cell protection and regeneration in diabetes.
  • Genome Aggregation Database Prod T; Genome Aggregation Database Consor; Minikel, Eric Vallabh; Karczewski, Konrad J.; Martin, Hilary C.; Daly, Mark J.; MacArthur, Daniel G.; Färkkilä, Martti; Groop, Leif; Holi, Matti M.; Kallela, Mikko; Kaprio, Jaakko; Palotie, Aarno; Ripatti, Samuli; Tuomi, Tiinamaija; Wessman, Maija (2020)
    Naturally occurring human genetic variants that are predicted to inactivate protein-coding genes provide an in vivo model of human gene inactivation that complements knockout studies in cells and model organisms. Here we report three key findings regarding the assessment of candidate drug targets using human loss-of-function variants. First, even essential genes, in which loss-of-function variants are not tolerated, can be highly successful as targets of inhibitory drugs. Second, in most genes, loss-of-function variants are sufficiently rare that genotype-based ascertainment of homozygous or compound heterozygous 'knockout' humans will await sample sizes that are approximately 1,000 times those presently available, unless recruitment focuses on consanguineous individuals. Third, automated variant annotation and filtering are powerful, but manual curation remains crucial for removing artefacts, and is a prerequisite for recall-by-genotype efforts. Our results provide a roadmap for human knockout studies and should guide the interpretation of loss-of-function variants in drug development.
  • 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).
  • Chmielarz, Piotr; Er, Safak; Konovalova, Julia; Bandres, Laura; Hlushchuk, Irena; Albert, Katrina; Panhelainen, Anne; Luk, Kelvin; Airavaara, Mikko; Domanskyi, Andrii (2020)
    Background Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with proteostasis disturbances and accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn), a cytosolic protein present in high concentrations at pre-synaptic neuronal terminals. It is a primary constituent of intracellular protein aggregates known as Lewy neurites or Lewy bodies. Progression of Lewy pathology caused by the prion-like self-templating properties of misfolded alpha-syn is a characteristic feature in the brains of PD patients. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) promotes survival of mature dopamine (DA) neurons in vitro and in vivo. However, the data on its effect on Lewy pathology is controversial. Objectives We studied the effects of GDNF on misfolded alpha-syn accumulation in DA neurons. Methods Lewy pathology progression was modeled by the application of alpha-syn preformed fibrils in cultured DA neurons and in the adult mice. Results We discovered that GDNF prevented accumulation of misfolded alpha-syn in DA neurons in culture and in vivo. These effects were abolished by deletion of receptor tyrosine kinase rearranged during transfection (RET) or by inhibitors of corresponding signaling pathway. Expression of constitutively active RET protected DA neurons from fibril-induced alpha-syn accumulation. Conclusions For the first time, we have shown the neurotrophic factor-mediated protection against the misfolded alpha-syn propagation in DA neurons, uncovered underlying receptors, and investigated the involved signaling pathways. These results demonstrate that activation of GDNF/RET signaling can be an effective therapeutic approach to prevent Lewy pathology spread at early stages of PD. (c) 2020 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society