Browsing by Subject "RAT MODEL"

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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.
  • Alshami, Abbas; Einav, Sharon; Skrifvars, Markus B.; Varon, Joseph (2020)
    Objective: Inhalation of noble and other gases after cardiac arrest (CA) might improve neurological and cardiac outcomes. This article discusses up-to-date information on this novel therapeutic intervention. Data sources: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, online published abstracts from conference proceedings, clinical trial registry, and reference lists of relevant papers were systematically searched from January 1960 till March 2019. Study selection: Preclinical and clinical studies, irrespective of their types or described outcomes, were included. Data extraction: Abstract screening, study selection, and data extraction were performed by two independent authors. Due to the paucity of human trials, risk of bias assessment was not performed DATA SYNTHESIS: After screening 281 interventional studies, we included an overall of 27. Only, xenon, helium, hydrogen, and nitric oxide have been or are being studied on humans. Xenon, nitric oxide, and hydrogen show both neuroprotective and cardiotonic features, while argon and hydrogen sulfide seem neuroprotective, but not cardiotonic. Most gases have elicited neurohistological protection in preclinical studies; however, only hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide appeared to preserve CA1 sector of hippocampus, the most vulnerable area in the brain for hypoxia. Conclusion: Inhalation of certain gases after CPR appears promising in mitigating neurological and cardiac damage and may become the next successful neuroprotective and cardiotonic interventions. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Chen, Zuyue; Wei, Hong; Sagalajev, Boriss; Koivisto, Ari; Pertovaara, Antti (2019)
    Background: The central amygdaloid nucleus (CeA) is involved in processing and descending regulation of pain. Amygdaloid mechanisms underlying pain processing and control are poorly known. Here we tested the hypothesis that perioperative CeA administration of tetrapentylammonium (TPA), a non-selective THIK-1 channel blocker and thereby inhibitor of microglia, attenuates development of chronic neuropathic pain and comorbid anxiety-like behavior. Methods: Rats with a spared nerve injury (SNI) model of neuropathy or sham operation had a chronic cannula for drug microinjections into the CeA or a control injection site. Monofilament test was used to evaluate pain, and light-dark box (LDB) to assess anxiety. Results: Perioperative CeA treatment with TPA (30 mu g/day up to the third postoperative day, D3) significantly attenuated the development of pain and anxiety-like behavior. In the late phase (> D14), CeA administration of TPA (3-30 mu g) failed to influence pain. Perioperative minocycline (microglia inhibitor; 25 mu g), MK-801 (an N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist; 0.1 mu g), vehicle or TPA in a control injection site failed to attenuate pain development. Conclusions: Perioperative treatment of the CeA with TPA delayed development of neuropathic pain and comorbid anxiety-like behavior, while TPA treatment failed to influence maintenance of established neuropathic pain. The failures to attenuate pain development with CeA administrations of minocycline or MK-801 do not support the hypothesis that the TPA-induced prophylactic effect was due to inhibition of amygdaloid microglia or N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. While TPA in the CeA proved to have a prophylactic effect on SNI-induced pain behavior, the underlying mechanism still remains to be studied. (c) 2018 Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Huttunen, Henri J.; Saarma, Mart (2019)
    Neurotrophic factors (NTF) are a subgroup of growth factors that promote survival and differentiation of neurons. Due to their neuroprotective and neurorestorative properties, their therapeutic potential has been tested in various neurodegenerative diseases. Bioavailability of NTFs in the target tissue remains a major challenge for NTF-based therapies. Various intracerebral delivery approaches, both protein and gene transfer-based, have been tested with varying outcomes. Three growth factors, glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), neurturin (NRTN) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB) have been tested in clinical trials in Parkinson?s Disease (PD) during the past 20 years. A new protein can now be added to this list, as cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) has recently entered clinical trials. Despite their misleading names, CDNF, together with its closest relative mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF), form a novel family of unconventional NTF that are both structurally and mechanistically distinct from other growth factors. CDNF and MANF are localized mainly to the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and their primary function appears to be modulation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway. Prolonged ER stress, via the UPR signaling pathways, contributes to the pathogenesis in a number of chronic degenerative diseases, and is an important target for therapeutic modulation. Intraputamenally administered recombinant human CDNF has shown robust neurorestorative effects in a number of small and large animal models of PD, and had a good safety profile in preclinical toxicology studies. Intermittent monthly bilateral intraputamenal infusions of CDNF are currently being tested in a randomized placebo-controlled phase I?II clinical study in moderately advanced PD patients. Here, we review the history of growth factor-based clinical trials in PD, and discuss how CDNF differs from the previously tested growth factors.
  • Stepanova, P.; Srinivasan, V.; Lindholm, D.; Voutilainen, M. H. (2020)
    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with a progressive loss of medium spiny neurons in the striatum and aggregation of mutant huntingtin in the striatal and cortical neurons. Currently, there are no rational therapies for the treatment of the disease. Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) located protein with neurotrophic factor (NTF) properties, protecting and restoring the function of dopaminergic neurons in animal models of PD more effectively than other NTFs. CDNF is currently in phase I-II clinical trials on PD patients. Here we have studied whether CDNF has beneficial effects on striatal neurons in in vitro and in vivo models of HD. CDNF was able to protect striatal neurons from quinolinic acid (QA)-induced cell death in vitro via increasing the IRE1 alpha/XBP1 signalling pathway in the ER. A single intrastriatal CDNF injection protected against the deleterious effects of QA in a rat model of HD. CDNF improved motor coordination and decreased ataxia in QA-toxin treated rats, and stimulated the neurogenesis by increasing doublecortin (DCX)-positive and NeuN-positive cells in the striatum. These results show that CDNF positively affects striatal neuron viability reduced by QA and signifies CDNF as a promising drug candidate for the treatment of HD.
  • 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.
  • Suzzi, Stefano; Ahrendt, Reiner; Hans, Stefan; Semenova, Svetlana A.; Chekuru, Avinash; Wirsching, Paul; Kroehne, Volker; Bilican, Saygin; Sayed, Shady; Winkler, Sylke; Spiess, Sandra; Machate, Anja; Kaslin, Jan; Panula, Pertti; Brand, Michael (2021)
    LRRK2 gain-of-function is considered a major cause of Parkinson's disease (PD) in humans. However, pathogenicity of LRRK2 loss-of-function in animal models is controversial. Here we show that deletion of the entire zebrafish lrrk2 locus elicits a pleomorphic transient brain phenotype in maternal-zygotic mutant embryos (mzLrrk2). In contrast to lrrk2, the paralog gene lrrk1 is virtually not expressed in the brain of both wild-type and mzLrrk2 fish at different developmental stages. Notably, we found reduced catecholaminergic neurons, the main target of PD, in specific cell populations in the brains of mzLrrk2 larvae, but not adult fish. Strikingly, age-dependent accumulation of monoamine oxidase (MAO)-dependent catabolic signatures within mzLrrk2 brains revealed a previously undescribed interaction between LRRK2 and MAO biological activities. Our results highlight mzLrrk2 zebrafish as a tractable tool to study LRRK2 loss-of-function in vivo, and suggest a link between LRRK2 and MAO, potentially of relevance in the prodromic stages of PD. Author summary Parkinson's disease is the second most common degenerative disorder of the brain. Mutations of the LRRK2 gene are the most recurrent genetic cause of pathology, and are thought to result in a more active LRRK2 protein, a large enzyme whose biological function is unclear. Therefore, LRRK2 inhibitors are regarded as promising therapeutics. However, mouse models do not reproduce human pathology unless they also lack LRRK1, and there is evidence of dominant negative effects of LRRK2 mutations. Therefore, the characterization of reliable LRRK2 knockout models might provide insights. In our study, we used the zebrafish as a tractable model to study both early developmental and adult phenotypes resulting from the loss of the entire endogenous lrrk2 gene. We found that mutant embryos displayed subtle brain phenotypes, including reduction of catecholaminergic neurons, the main target of human disease, that spontaneously resolved with development, and a late-onset and progressive increase of dopamine and serotonin degradation consistent with increased MAO enzyme activity. Our results suggest that similar defects might occur in the pre-symptomatic stage of the disease in humans, and warrant further evaluation of LRRK2 inhibition in a therapeutic perspective.
  • Kourdougli, Nazim; Varpula, Saara; Chazal, Genevieve; Rivera Baeza, Claudio (2015)
    Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common type of epilepsy in adults where 20-30% of the patients are refractory to currently available anti-epileptic drugs. The RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling pathway activation has been involved in inflammatory responses, neurite outgrowth and neuronal death under pathological conditions such as epileptic insults. Acute preventive administration of ROCK inhibitor has been reported to have beneficial outcomes in Status Epileptic us (SE) epilepsy. In the present study, we evaluate the effect of chronic post SE treatment with the ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 in a rat pilocarpine model of TLE. We used chronic i.p. injections of Y-27632 for 5 days in 6 week old control rats or rats subjected to pilocarpine treatment as a model of TLE. Surprisingly, our findings demonstrate that a systemic administration of Y-27632 in pilocarpine-treated rats increases neuronal death in the CA3 region and ectopic recurrent mossy fiber sprouting (rMFS) in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation. Interestingly, we found that chronic treatment with Y-27632 exacerbates the down regulation and pathological distribution of the K+-Cl- cotransporter KCC2, thus providing a putative mechanism for post SE induced neuronal death. The involvement of astrogliosis in this mechanism appears to be intricate as ROCK inhibition reduces reactive astrogliosis in pilocarpine rats. Conversely, in control rats, chronic Y-27632 treatment increases astrogliosis. Together, our findings suggest that Y-27632 has a detrimental effect when chronically used post SE in a rat pilocarpine model of TLE.
  • 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.
  • Mahato, Arun Kumar; Sidorova, Yulia A. (2020)
    Rearranged during transfection (RET), in complex with glial cell line-derived (GDNF) family receptor alpha (GFR alpha), is the canonical signaling receptor for GDNF family ligands (GFLs) expressed in both central and peripheral parts of the nervous system and also in non-neuronal tissues. RET-dependent signaling elicited by GFLs has an important role in the development, maintenance and survival of dopamine and sensory neurons. Both Parkinson's disease and neuropathic pain are devastating disorders without an available cure, and at the moment are only treated symptomatically. GFLs have been studied extensively in animal models of Parkinson's disease and neuropathic pain with remarkable outcomes. However, clinical trials with recombinant or viral vector-encoded GFL proteins have produced inconclusive results. GFL proteins are not drug-like; they have poor pharmacokinetic properties and activate multiple receptors. Targeting RET and/or GFR alpha with small molecules may resolve the problems associated with using GFLs as drugs and can result in the development of therapeutics for disease-modifying treatments against Parkinson's disease and neuropathic pain.
  • 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.
  • Humo, Muris; Ayazgok, Beyza; Becker, Lea J.; Waltisperger, Elisabeth; Rantamäki, Tomi; Yalcin, Ipek (2020)
    Chronic pain produces psychologic distress, which often leads to mood disorders such as depression. Co-existing chronic pain and depression pose a serious socio-economic burden and result in disability affecting millions of individuals, which urges the development of treatment strategies targeting this comorbidity. Ketamine, a noncompetitive antagonist of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, is shown to be efficient in treating both pain and depression-related symptoms. However, the molecular characteristics of its role in chronic pain-induced depression remain largely unexplored. Hence, we studied the behavioral and molecular effects of a single systemic administration of ketamine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) on mechanical hypersensitivity and depressive-like consequences of chronic neuropathic pain. We showed that ketamine transiently alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity (lasting
  • Virachit, Sophie; Mathews, Kathryn J.; Cottam, Veronica; Werry, Eryn; Galli, Emilia; Rappou, Elisabeth; Lindholm, Pӓivi; Saarma, Mart; Halliday, Glenda M.; Weickert, Cynthia Shannon; Double, Kay L. (2019)
    Growth factors can facilitate hippocampus-based learning and memory and are potential targets for treatment of cognitive dysfunction via their neuroprotective and neurorestorative effects. Dementia is common in Parkinson's disease (PD), but treatment options are limited. We aimed to determine if levels of growth factors are altered in the hippocampus of patients with PD, and if such alterations are associated with PD pathology. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to quantify seven growth factors in fresh frozen hippocampus from 10 PD and nine age-matched control brains. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to explore cellular and inflammatory changes that may be associated with growth factor alterations. In the PD hippocampus, protein levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor were significantly decreased, despite no evidence of neuronal loss. In contrast, protein levels of fibroblast growth factor 2 and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor were significantly increased in PD compared to controls. Levels of the growth factors epidermal growth factor, heparin-binding epidermal growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor did not differ between groups. Our data demonstrate changes in specific growth factors in the hippocampus of the PD brain, which potentially represent targets for modification to help attenuate cognitive decline in PD. These data also suggest that multiple growth factors and direction of change needs to be considered when approaching growth factors as a potential treatment for cognitive decline.
  • Blomqvist, Kim; Viisanen, Hanna; Ahlström, Fredrik H. G.; Jokinen, Viljami; Sidorova, Yulia A.; Suleymanova, Ilida; Rauhala, Pekka V.; Kalso, Eija A.; Lilius, Tuomas O. (2020)
    Morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), the main metabolite of morphine, has been implicated in the development of tolerance and of opioid-induced hyperalgesia, both limiting the analgesic use of morphine. We evaluated the acute and chronic effects of M3G and morphine as well as development of antinociceptive cross-tolerance between morphine and M3G after intrathecal administration and assessed the expression of pain-associated neurotransmitter substance P in the spinal cord. Sprague-Dawley rats received intrathecal M3G or morphine twice daily for 6 days. Nociception and tactile allodynia were measured with von Frey filaments after acute and chronic treatments. Substance P levels in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord were determined by immunohistochemistry after 4-day treatments. Acute morphine caused antinociception as expected, whereas acute M3G caused tactile allodynia, as did both chronic M3G and morphine. Chronic M3G also induced antinociceptive cross-tolerance to morphine. M3G and morphine increased substance P levels similarly in the nociceptive laminae of the spinal cord. This study shows that chronic intrathecal M3G sensitises animals to mechanical stimulation and elevates substance P levels in the nociceptive laminae of the spinal cord. Chronic M3G also induces antinociceptive cross-tolerance to morphine. Thus, chronic M3G exposure might contribute to morphine-induced tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia.
  • Albert, Katrina; Airavaara, Mikko (2019)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) are proteins that have received increasing attention in the last decades. Although they are called neurotrophic factors they are drastically different from neurotrophic factors in their expression and physiological actions.They are located in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and their basal secretion from neurons is very low. However their secretion is stimulated upon ER calcium depletion by chemical probes such as thapsigargin, a sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) pump inhibitor. Exogenous MANF and CDNF possess therapeutic properties in several neurological dkodse models, including Parkinson disease and stroke. Endogenoes MANF expression has been shown to be neuroprotective, as well as administration of either CDNF or MANF into the extracellular space. In this review, we focus on their therapeutic effects, regulation of expression and secretion, comparison of their mechanisms of action, and their application to the brain parenchyma as recombinant proteins.
  • Chmielarz, Piotr; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Background Neurotrophic factors are endogenous proteins promoting the survival of different neural cells. Therefore, they elicited great interest as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's Disease (PD). PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, scientifically characterized more than 200 years ago and initially linked with motor abnormalities. Currently, the disease is viewed as a highly heterogeneous, progressive disorder with a long presymptomatic phase, and both motor and non-motor symptoms. Presently only symptomatic treatments for PD are available. Neurohistopathological changes of PD affected brains have been described more than 100 years ago and characterized by the presence of proteinaceous inclusions known as Lewy bodies and degeneration of dopamine neurons. Despite more than a century of investigations, it has remained unclear why dopamine neurons die in PD. Methods This review summarizes literature data from preclinical studies and clinical trials of neurotrophic factor based therapies for PD and discuss it from the perspective of the current understanding of PD biology. Results Newest data point towards dysfunctions of mitochondria, autophagy-lysosomal pathway, unfolded protein response and prion protein-like spreading of misfolded alpha-synuclein that is the major component of Lewy bodies. Yet, the exact chain of events leading to the demise of dopamine neurons is unclear and perhaps different in subpopulations of patients. Conclusions Gaps in our understanding of underlying disease etiology have hindered our attempts to find treatments able to slow down the progression of PD. Graphic abstract
  • Thompson, Miles D.; Xhaard, Henri; Sakurai, Takeshi; Rainero, Innocenzo; Kukkonen, Jyrki P. (2014)
    Orexin/hypocretin peptide mutations are rare in humans. Even though human narcolepsy is associated with orexin deficiency, this is only extremely rarely due to mutations in the gene coding prepro-orexin, the precursor for both orexin peptides. In contrast, coding and non-coding variants of the OX1 and OX2 orexin receptors have been identified in many human populations; sometimes, these have been associated with disease phenotype, although most confer a relatively low risk. In most cases, these studies have been based on a candidate gene hypothesis that predicts the involvement of orexins in the relevant pathophysiological processes. In the current review, the known human OX1/HCRTR1 and OX2/HCRTR2 genetic variants/polymorphisms as well as studies concerning their involvement in disorders such as narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness, cluster headache, polydipsia-hyponatremia in schizophrenia, and affective disorders are discussed. In most cases, the functional cellular or pharmacological correlates of orexin variants have not been investigated-with the exception of the possible impact of an amino acid 10 Pro/Ser variant of OX2 on orexin potency-leaving conclusions on the nature of the receptor variant effects speculative. Nevertheless, we present perspectives that could shape the basis for further studies. The pharmacology and other properties of the orexin receptor variants are discussed in the context of GPCR signaling. Since orexinergic therapeutics are emerging, the impact of receptor variants on the affinity or potency of ligands deserves consideration. This perspective (pharmacogenetics) is also discussed in the review.
  • Neyazi, Alexandra; Theilmann, Wiebke; Brandt, C; Rantamäki, Tomi Pentti Johannes; Matsui, Nobuaki; Rhein, M; Kornhuber, J; Bajbouj, M; Sperling, W; Bleich, S; Frieling, H; Löscher, W (2018)
    Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is among the most effective treatment options for pharmacoresistant major depressive disorder (MDD), some patients still remain refractory to standard ECT practise. Thus, there is a need for markers reliably predicting ECT non/response. In our study, we have taken a novel translational approach for discovering potential biomarkers for the prediction of ECT response. Our hypothesis was that the promoter methylation of p11, a multifunctional protein involved in both depressive-like states and antidepressant treatment responses, is differently regulated in ECT responders vs. nonresponders and thus be a putative biomarker of ECT response. The chronic mild stress model of MDD was adapted with the aim to obtain rats that are resistant to conventional antidepressant drugs (citalopram). Subsequently, electroconvulsive stimulation (ECS) was used to select responders and nonresponders, and compare p11 expression and promoter methylation. In the rat experiments we found that the gene promoter methylation and expression of p11 significantly correlate with the antidepressant effect of ECS. Next, we investigated the predictive properties of p11 promoter methylation in two clinical cohorts of patients with pharmacoresistant MDD. In a proof-of-concept clinical trial in 11 patients with refractory MDD, higher p11 promoter methylation was found in responders to ECT. This finding was replicated in an independent sample of 65 patients with pharmacoresistant MDD. This translational study successfully validated the first biomarker reliably predicting the responsiveness to ECT. Prescreening of this biomarker could help to identify patients eligible for first-line ECT treatment and also help to develop novel antidepressant treatment procedures for depressed patients resistant to all currently approved antidepressant treatments.