Browsing by Subject "SUBSTANTIA-NIGRA"

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kopra, Jaakko; Villarta-Aguilera, Marian; Savolainen, Mari; Weingerl, Samo; Myohänen, Timo T.; Rannanpää, Saara; Salvatore, Michael E.; Andressoo, Jaan-Olle; Piepponen, T. Petteri (2018)
    Addictive drugs enhance dopamine release in the striatum, which can lead to compulsive drug-seeking after repeated exposure. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is an important regulator of midbrain dopamine neurons, and may play a mechanistic role in addiction-related behaviors. To elucidate the components of GDNF-signaling that contribute to addiction-related behaviors of place preference and its extinction, we utilized two genetically modified GDNF mouse models in an amphetamine induced conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm and evaluated how the behavioral findings correlate with dopamine signaling in the dorsal and ventral striatum. We utilized two knock-in mouse strains to delineate contributions of GDNF and Ret signaling using MEN2B mice (constitutively active GDNF receptor Ret), and GDNF hypermorphic mice (enhanced endogenous GDNF expression). The duration of amphetamine-induced CPP was greatly enhanced in MEN2B mice, but not in the GDNF hypermorphic mice. The enhanced duration of CPP was correlated with increased tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and dopamine content in the ventral striatum. Together, our results suggest that downstream components of GDNF signaling, in this case Ret, may mediate persistent drug-seeking behavior through increased TH expression and dopamine levels in the mesolimbic dopamine neurons. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Barker, Roger A.; Björklund, Anders; Gash, Don M.; Whone, Alan; Laar, Amber Van; Kordower, Jeffrey H.; Bankiewicz, Krystof; Kieburtz, Karl; Saarma, Mart; Booms, Sigrid; Huttunen, Henri J.; Kells, Adrian P.; Fiandaca, Massimo S.; Stoessl, A. Jon; Eidelberg, David; Federoff, Howard; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Dexter, David T.; Eberling, Jamie; Brundin, Patrik; Isaacs, Lyndsey; Mursaleen, Leah; Bresolin, Eros; Carroll, Camille; Coles, Alasdair; Fiske, Brian; Matthews, Helen; Lungu, Codrin; Wyse, Richard K.; Stott, Simon; Lang, Anthony E. (2020)
    The concept of repairing the brain with growth factors has been pursued for many years in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases including primarily Parkinson's disease (PD) using glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). This neurotrophic factor was discovered in 1993 and shown to have selective effects on promoting survival and regeneration of certain populations of neurons including the dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathway. These observations led to a series of clinical trials in PD patients including using infusions or gene delivery of GDNF or the related growth factor, neurturin (NRTN). Initial studies, some of which were open label, suggested that this approach could be of value in PD when the agent was injected into the putamen rather than the cerebral ventricles. In subsequent double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, the most recent reporting in 2019, treatment with GDNF did not achieve its primary end point. As a result, there has been uncertainty as to whether GDNF (and by extrapolation, related GDNF family neurotrophic factors) has merit in the future treatment of PD. To critically appraise the existing work and its future, a special workshop was held to discuss and debate this issue. This paper is a summary of that meeting with recommendations on whether there is a future for this therapeutic approach and also what any future PD trial involving GDNF and other GDNF family neurotrophic factors should consider in its design.
  • Mahato, Arun Kumar; Kopra, Jaakko; Renko, Juho-Matti; Visnapuu, Tanel; Korhonen, Ilari; Pulkkinen, Nita; Bespalov, Maxim M.; Domanskyi, Andrii; Ronken, Eric; Piepponen, T. Petteri; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Tuominen, Raimo K.; Karelson, Mati; Sidorova, Yulia A.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Background Motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) are caused by degeneration and progressive loss of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. Currently, no cure for this disease is available. Existing drugs alleviate PD symptoms but fail to halt neurodegeneration. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is able to protect and repair dopamine neurons in vitro and in animal models of PD, but the clinical use of GDNF is complicated by its pharmacokinetic properties. The present study aimed to evaluate the neuronal effects of a blood-brain-barrier penetrating small molecule GDNF receptor Rearranged in Transfection agonist, BT13, in the dopamine system. Methods We characterized the ability of BT13 to activate RET in immortalized cells, to support the survival of cultured dopamine neurons, to protect cultured dopamine neurons against neurotoxin-induced cell death, to activate intracellular signaling pathways both in vitro and in vivo, and to regulate dopamine release in the mouse striatum as well as BT13's distribution in the brain. Results BT13 potently activates RET and downstream signaling cascades such as Extracellular Signal Regulated Kinase and AKT in immortalized cells. It supports the survival of cultured dopamine neurons from wild-type but not from RET-knockout mice. BT13 protects cultured dopamine neurons from 6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-induced cell death only if they express RET. In addition, BT13 is absorbed in the brain, activates intracellular signaling cascades in dopamine neurons both in vitro and in vivo, and also stimulates the release of dopamine in the mouse striatum. Conclusion The GDNF receptor RET agonist BT13 demonstrates the potential for further development of novel disease-modifying treatments against PD. (c) 2019 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
  • Panula, Pertti (2020)
    Alcohol use disorder is associated with several mental, physical, and social problems. Its treatment is difficult and often requires a combination of pharmacological and behavioural therapy. The brain histaminergic system, one of the wake-active systems that controls whole-brain activity, operates through three neuronal GPCRs. The histamine H-3 receptor (Hrh3), which is expressed in many brain areas involved in alcohol drinking and alcohol reward, can be targeted with a number of drugs developed initially for cognitive disorders and/or disorders related to sleep, wakefulness, and alertness. In all rodent alcohol drinking models tested so far, H-3 receptor antagonists have reduced alcohol drinking and alcohol-induced place preference and cue-induced alcohol reinstatement. Several H-3 receptor antagonists tested and found to be safe for humans could be subjected to clinical tests to treat alcohol use disorder. Preference should be given to short-acting drugs to avoid the sleep problems associated with the wake-maintaining effects of the drugs. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on New Uses for 21st Century. To view the other articles in this section visit
  • 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.
  • Renko, Juho-Matti; Bäck, Susanne; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Piepponen, T. Petteri; Reenilä, Ilkka; Saarma, Mart; Tuominen, Raimo K. (2018)
    Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) hold potential as disease-modifying therapies for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF), and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) have shown neuroprotective and restorative effects on nigral dopaminergic neurons in various animal models of Parkinson's disease. To date, however, their effects on brain neurochemistry have not been compared using in vivo microdialysis. We measured extracellular concentration of dopamine and activity of dopamine neurochemistry-regulating enzymes in the nigrostriatal system of rat brain. NTFs were unilaterally injected into the striatum of intact Wistar rats. Brain microdialysis experiments were performed 1 and 3 weeks later in freely-moving animals. One week after the treatment, we observed enhanced stimulus-evoked release of dopamine in the striatum of MANF-treated rats, but not in rats treated with GDNF or CDNF. MANF also increased dopamine turnover. Although GDNF did not affect the extracellular level of dopamine, we found significantly elevated tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity and decreased monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) activity in striatal tissue samples 1 week after GDNF injection. The results show that GDNF, CDNF, and MANF have divergent effects on dopaminergic neurotransmission, as well as on dopamine synthetizing and metabolizing enzymes. Although the cellular mechanisms remain to be clarified, knowing the biological effects of exogenously administrated NTFs in intact brain is an important step towards developing novel neurotrophic treatments for degenerative brain diseases.
  • Sonninen, Tuuli-Maria; Hämäläinen, Riikka H.; Koskuvi, Marja; Oksanen, Minna; Shakirzyanova, Anastasia; Wojciechowski, Sara; Puttonen, Katja; Naumenko, Nikolay; Goldsteins, Gundars; Laham-Karam, Nihay; Lehtonen, Marko; Tavi, Pasi; Koistinaho, Jari; Lehtonen, Sarka (2020)
    In Parkinson's disease (PD), the loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta is associated with Lewy bodies arising from the accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein which leads ultimately to movement impairment. While PD has been considered a disease of the DA neurons, a glial contribution, in particular that of astrocytes, in PD pathogenesis is starting to be uncovered. Here, we report findings from astrocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells of LRRK2 G2019S mutant patients, with one patient also carrying a GBA N370S mutation, as well as healthy individuals. The PD patient astrocytes manifest the hallmarks of the disease pathology including increased expression of alpha-synuclein. This has detrimental consequences, resulting in altered metabolism, disturbed Ca2+ homeostasis and increased release of cytokines upon inflammatory stimulation. Furthermore, PD astroglial cells manifest increased levels of polyamines and polyamine precursors while lysophosphatidylethanolamine levels are decreased, both of these changes have been reported also in PD brain. Collectively, these data reveal an important role for astrocytes in PD pathology and highlight the potential of iPSC-derived cells in disease modeling and drug discovery.
  • De Gregorio, Roberto; Pulcrano, Salvatore; De Sanctis, Claudia; Volpicelli, Floriana; Guatteo, Ezia; von Oerthel, Lars; Latagliata, Emanuele Claudio; Esposito, Roberta; Piscitelli, Rosa Maria; Perrone-Capano, Carla; Costa, Valerio; Greco, Dario; Puglisi-Allegra, Stefano; Smidt, Marten P.; di Porzio, Umberto; Caiazzo, Massimiliano; Mercuri, Nicola Biagio; Li, Meng; Bellenchi, Gian Carlo (2018)
    The differentiation of dopaminergic neurons requires concerted action of morphogens and transcription factors acting in a precise and well-defined time window. Very little is known about the potential role of microRNA in these events. By performing a microRNA-mRNA paired microarray screening, we identified miR-34b/c among the most upregulated microRNAs during dopaminergic differentiation. Interestingly, miR-34b/c modulates Wnt1 expression, promotes cell cycle exit, and induces dopaminergic differentiation. When combined with transcription factors ASCL1 and NURR1, miR-34b/c doubled the yield of transdifferentiated fibroblasts into dopaminergic neurons. Induced dopaminergic (iDA) cells synthesize dopamine and show spontaneous electrical activity, reversibly blocked by tetrodotoxin, consistent with the electrophysiological properties featured by brain dopaminergic neurons. Our findings point to a role for miR-34b/c in neuronal commitment and highlight the potential of exploiting its synergy with key transcription factors in enhancing in vitro generation of dopaminergic neurons.
  • Renko, Juho-Matti; Mahato, Arun Kumar; Visnapuu, Tanel; Valkonen, Konsta; Karelson, Mati; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Saarma, Mart; Tuominen, Raimo K.; Sidorova, Yulia A. (2021)
    Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder where loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra and dopamine depletion in the striatum cause characteristic motor symptoms. Currently, no treatment is able to halt the progression of PD. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) rescues degenerating dopamine neurons both in vitro and in animal models of PD. When tested in PD patients, however, the outcomes from intracranial GDNF infusion paradigms have been inconclusive, mainly due to poor pharmacokinetic properties. Objective: We have developed drug-like small molecules, named BT compounds that activate signaling through GDNF's receptor, the transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase RET, both in vitro and in vivo and are able to penetrate through the blood-brain barrier. Here we evaluated the properties of BT44, a second generation RET agonist, in immortalized cells, dopamine neurons and rat 6-hydroxydopamine model of PD. Methods: We used biochemical, immunohistochemical and behavioral methods to evaluate the effects of BT44 on dopamine system in vitro and in vivo. Results: BT44 selectively activated RET and intracellular pro-survival AKT and MAPK signaling pathways in immortalized cells. In primary midbrain dopamine neurons cultured in serum-deprived conditions, BT44 promoted the survival of the neurons derived from wild-type, but not from RET knockout mice. BT44 also protected cultured wild-type dopamine neurons fromMPP+-induced toxicity. In a rat 6-hydroxydopamine model of PD, BT44 reduced motor imbalance and seemed to protect dopaminergic fibers in the striatum. Conclusion: BT44 holds potential for further development into a novel, possibly disease-modifying, therapy for PD.
  • 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
  • Savolainen, Mari H.; Albert, Katrina; Airavaara, Mikko; Myohänen, Timo T. (2017)
    Proteinaceous inclusions, called Lewy bodies, are used as a pathological hallmark for Parkinson's disease (PD). Lewy bodies contain insoluble alpha-synuclein (aSyn) and many other ubiquitinated proteins, suggesting a role for protein degradation system failure in the PD pathogenesis. Indeed, proteasomal dysfunction has been linked to PD but commonly used in vivo toxin models, such as 6-OHDA or MPTP, do not have a significant effect on the proteasomal system or protein aggregation. Therefore, we wanted to study the characteristics of a proteasomal inhibitor, lactacystin, as a PD model on young and adult mice. To study this, we performed stereotactic microinjection of lactacystin above the substantia nigra pars compacta in young (2 month old) and adult (12-14 month old) C57Bl/6 mice. Motor behavior was measured by locomotor activity and cylinder tests, and the markers of neuroinflammation, aSyn, and dopaminergic system were assessed by immunohistochemistry and HPLC. We found that lactacystin induced a Parkinson's disease-like motor phenotype 5-7 days after injection in young and adult mice, and this was associated with widespread neuroinflammation based on glial cell markers, aSyn accumulation in substantia nigra, striatal dopamine decrease, and loss of dopaminergic cell bodies in the substantia nigra and terminals in the striatum. When comparing young and adult mice, adult mice were more sensitive for dopaminergic degeneration after lactacystin injection that further supports the use of adult mice instead of young when modeling neurodegeneration. Our data showed that lactacystin is useful in modeling various aspects of Parkinson's disease, and taken together, our findings emphasize the role of a protein degradation deficit in Parkinson's disease pathology, and support the use of proteasomal inhibitors as Parkinson's disease models.
  • Jaumotte, Juliann D.; Saarma, Mart; Zigmond, Michael J. (2021)
    Parkinson's disease is associated with the loss of dopamine (DA) neurons in ventral mesencephalon. We have previously reported that no single neurotrophic factor we tested protected DA neurons from the dopaminergic toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) in dissociated cultures isolated from the P0 rat substantia nigra, but that a combination of five neurotrophic factors was protective. We now report that cerebral DA neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and a variant of neurturin (NRTN), N4, were also not protective when provided alone but were protective when added together. In cultures isolated from the substantia nigra, MPP+ (10 mu M) decreased tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells to 41.7 +/- 5.4% of vehicle control. Although treatment of cultures with 100 ng/ml of either CDNF or N4 individually before and after toxin exposure did not significantly increase survival in MPP+-treated cultures, when the two trophic factors were added together at 100 ng/ml each, survival of cells was increased 28.2 +/- 6.1% above the effect of MPP+ alone. In cultures isolated from the ventral tegmental area, another DA rich area, a higher dose of MPP+ (1 mM) was required to produce an EC50 in TH-positive cells but, as in the substantia nigra, only the combination of CDNF and N4 (100 ng/ml each) was successful at increasing the survival of these cells compared to MPP+ alone (by 22.5 +/- 3.5%). These data support previous findings that CDNF and N4 may be of therapeutic value for treatment of PD, but suggest that they may need to be administered together.