Browsing by Subject "neurotrophic factors"

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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.
  • Hella, Emilia (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    This review focuses on neurotrophic factors, especially CDNF, and Amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This review finds out which neurotrophic factors have been studied in clinical trials of ALS and what kind of results have been got. Neurotrophic factors are important for development and function of neurons because they prevent apoptosis of neurons. They also play role in differentiation, development and migration of neurons. It is also known that many of the neurotrophic factors have protective and restorative properties. ALS is a rare neurodegenerative disease which causes the destruction of motor neurons and leads to death in three years. The disease degenerate the upper and lower motor neurons. Symptoms are muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, cramps and problems with swallowing. At the moment there is no cure for ALS so it is important to study neurotrophic factors that could prevent the progression of the disease and perhaps to protect or repair destroyed motor neurons. This is why it is important to study potential of CDNF in ALS. The experimental part consists of three different parts. The purpose of the first part study was to determine the distribution of CDNF after intraventricular delivery at different time points. CDNF was labeled with 125I (125I-CDNF). The distribution was determined by gammacounter and autoradiography. To determine the stability of the injected 125-I CDNF we performed SDS-PAGE. The second part studied the diffusion volume of CDNF after intraventricular injection with seven wild type mice. After stereotaxic surgery CDNF-immunohistochemistry staining from coronal sections was done. The last experimental part studied the effect of single intracerebral injection of CDNF on motivation, locomotor activity, anxiety and depression with male and female mice. Light-dark box, open field, rotarod, forced swim test (FST), elevated plus maze and fear conditioning were carried out with male mice. After behavioural tests mice were sacrified for HPLC-analysis. Light-dark box and IntelliCage were carried out with female mice before c-fos staining. Gammacounter and autoradiography shows that 125I-CDNF distributes widely after intracerebroventricular injection. It spread throughout to the brain and also all the way to the spinal cord after one and three hours from injection. After 24 hours 125I-CDNF was cleared so the CDNF signal was very weak. SDS-PAGE showed the stability of radioactive CDNF. CDNF increased locomotor activity and decreased anxiety in male mice. But a statistically significant difference appeared in forced swim test and fear conditioning test. HPLC-analysis supported these results partly. CDNF also increased motivation of female mice in IntelliCage experiment. C-fos staining was observed in CDNF group and PBS group so quantitative analysis should be done from these sections so that reliable conclusions could be done. However, because CDNF distributed to spinal cord and it showed some effect on locomotor activity, motivation and depression it might be potential for ALS disease.
  • Viljakainen, Tuulikki (Helsingfors universitet, 2019)
    Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, in which dopamine neurons are dying in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. This causes motor symptoms such as slowness of movement, tremor, and rigidity. In addition, various non-motor symptoms appear. All currently used medicines are symptomatic, and there are no disease modifying treatment available for Parkinson’s disease. Several neurotrophic factors have shown promise in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. One of those is cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) which has been studied in different animal models, including rodents and non-human primates. CDNF is a secreted protein but it is also localized in endoplasmic reticulum (ER). CDNF has two domains, N-terminal and C-terminal, which may have distinct functions. CDNF can be retained in the ER by the ER retention sequence at the end of the C-terminal domain. The C-terminal domain also has an evolutionarily conserved disulfide bridge which is crucial for the biological activity of CDNF. The exact mechanism of CDNF is still unknown. However, it has been shown that CDNF affects the unfolded protein response (UPR) in the presence of ER stress. Neurotrophic factors do not penetrate blood-brain barrier (BBB), for this reason, they need to be injected directly to the brain. Penetration of the BBB is also a problem in the treatment of many other diseases. Various methods for enhancing the BBB penetration of drugs have been studied. For example, permeability of the BBB can be temporarily increased by focused ultrasound combined with microbubbles. Another possibility is the use of a carrier molecule, which can be transported through BBB via specific transport mechanisms. Furthermore, molecule modification offers many applications to achieve enhanced BBB penetration. In view of peripheral administration, a next generation variant of CDNF (ngCDNF) has been developed. The efficacy of this novel variant after intrastriatal injection is equal to that of CDNF in a 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model of Parkinson’s disease. Systemic administration could also enable treatment of non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of subcutaneously injected ngCDNF on rotation behaviour, and nigrostriatal TH-positive cells in rats with 6-OHDA lesions. 6-OHDA was injected unilaterally to three different sites in the striatum. Two weeks later, the lesion size was estimated, via amphetamine- induced rotation test. ngCDNF, at two dose levels, was injected twice weekly for three weeks. Amphetamine-induced rotation test was assessed every other week, until week 12. At the end, optical density of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was measured from sections of the striatum, and TH positive cells in the substantia nigra were counted. In addition, the effect of ngCDNF on anxiety and depression like behaviour, learning, and locomotor activity were studied at three different levels in naïve mice. Behaviour was analyzed by open field test, forced swim test, and fear conditioning test. The ngCDNF did not seem to have clear effect on rats’ behaviour or TH positive cells and fibers compared to the control group, but positive tendency was found in the group with lower dose. The reduced efficacy of ngCDNF,via subcutaneous administration, is likely due to rapid metabolism and insufficient entry of the active form to the brain. In naïve mice, ngCDNF did not reduce anxiety-like behaviour and did not affect locomotor activity after subcutaneous injections. This result supports previous findings, which suggest that the effects of CDNF are specific to the toxin treated cells and CDNF has no effect in naïve animals.
  • 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.
  • Li, Mingchen (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive chronic neurodegenerative disorder, which results in the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). The loss of these neurons results in the dysfunction of the nigrostriatal pathway bringing forth the characteristic motor symptoms seen in PD: postural instability, rigidity, slowness of movement and resting tremors. Non-motor symptoms, such as cognitive deficits, depression and impaired olfaction, typically emerge before motor symptoms. Currently available treatments only provide symptomatic relief with diminishing returns over time and no improvements on the overall outcome of the disease. Neurotrophic factors (NTF) have been of particular interest as a possible curative treatment for PD due to their potential for neuroprotection and neurorestoration. Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an NTF that has shown promising results in numerous in vitro and in vivo studies of PD. However, therapy with MANF and other NTFs involves surgical intervention for local administration, as NTFs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Therefore, the therapeutic potential of a systemically administered NTF would be tremendous, as it would lead to a significantly more favorable risk-benefit ratio for the patient. The aim of the current investigation is to evaluate the efficacy of a next generation variant of MANF in the 6-hydroxydopamine toxin-induced unilateral lesion rat model of PD. Prior in vivo results suggested that subcutaneously injected MANF variant is able to penetrate the BBB. Amphetamine-induced rotational behavior (AMPH-ROTO) was used to evaluate the severity of the unilateral lesions during the experiment every other week until the end of the experiment at week eight. Animals were divided into treatment groups during week two based on their AMPH-ROTO results. Animals received MANF variant either subcutaneously through an implanted osmotic minipump at two different dosages or as a single dose divided into three separate intrastriatal injections. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemical staining was performed on brain sections collected from the striatum and SN for data analysis. In addition to AMPH-ROTO results, the efficacy of treatment was determined via the optical density of TH-positive striatal fibers and the number of TH-positive cells in the SN. Statistically significant differences (defined by p < 0.05 and a non-zero mean difference at a 95 % confidence interval) were observed only in the number of TH-positive cells in the SN favoring intrastriatal MANF variant treatment over both intrastriatal MANF and the vehicle treatment. The main concern regarding the validity of the results was related to the heterogeneous lesion sizes in different treatment groups possibly resulting in unsuccessful randomization due to excessive baseline differences. The inadvertent negative effects of this was further exacerbated by low a priori statistical power, which in the end had likely caused inflated effect sizes. Thus, assessment of the definitions of the used statistical parameters and the limitations of the experimental design suggest that presently, the efficacy of the MANF variant could not be evaluated reliably, in spite of the statistically significant result.
  • Kotliarova, Anastasiia; Sidorova, Yulia A. (2021)
    Well-known effects of neurotrophic factors are related to supporting the survival and functioning of various neuronal populations in the body. However, these proteins seem to also play less well-documented roles in glial cells, thus, influencing neuroinflammation. This article summarizes available data on the effects of glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs), proteins providing trophic support to dopaminergic, sensory, motor and many other neuronal populations, in non-neuronal cells contributing to the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. The paper also contains our own limited data describing the effects of small molecules targeting GFL receptors on the expression of the satellite glial marker IBA1 in dorsal root ganglia of rats with surgery- and diabetes-induced neuropathy. In our experiments activation of GFLs receptors with either GFLs or small molecule agonists downregulated the expression of IBA1 in this tissue of experimental animals. While it can be a secondary effect due to a supportive role of GFLs in neuronal cells, growing body of evidence indicates that GFL receptors are expressed in glial and peripheral immune system cells. Thus, targeting GFL receptors with either proteins or small molecules may directly suppress the activation of glial and immune system cells and, therefore, reduce neuroinflammation. As neuroinflammation is considered to be an important contributor to the process of neurodegeneration these data further support research efforts to modulate the activity of GFL receptors in order to develop disease-modifying treatments for neurodegenerative disorders and neuropathic pain that target both neuronal and glial cells.
  • Renko, Juho-Matti (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Review of the literature: The purpose of the review is to go through what is known about mechanisms of actions of different neurotrophic factors (GDNF, neurturin, CDNF and MANF) and how they are transported within the brain. Neurotrophic factors are endogenous and secreted proteins which have a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of neurons. They support the survival of neurons and they can help them to recover from different injuries. Due to these functions neurotrophic factors might be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease. There are a great deal of studies that clearly show the neuroprotective and neurorestrorative function of GDNF and neurturin on dopaminergic neurons. They are also studied in clinical studies with Parkinson's patients but the results have been partly contradictory. The signalling route of GDNF and neurturin via RET tyrosinekinasereceptor is fairly well known but the other mechanisms of action of these factors needs to be studied further. CDNF and MANF constitute a novel, evolutionarily conserved family of neurotrophic factors. They are shown to have neuroprotective and neurorestrorative actions on dopaminergic neurons both in vitro and in vivo in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. The mechanisms of action of CDNF and MANF are not quite clear at the moment. There are two different domains in their structure both of which are likely to carry different functions. The N-terminal domains of these proteins are close to saposins, lipid and membrane binding proteins, some of which are shown to have neurotrophic and anti-apoptotic effects. The C-terminal domain of MANF, in turn, is structurally close to the SAP-domain of Ku70-protein which binds Bax in the cytoplasm and thus inhibits apoptosis mediated by Bax. CDNF and MANF might protect neurons both via intracellular mechanisms and extracellularly acting like a secreted neurotrophic factor. CDNF and GDNF are transported retrogradially from striatum to substantia nigra. MANF, unlike the others, is transported from striatum to the frontal cortex. MANF and CDNF are shown to have better diffusion properties in the brain parenchyma than GDNF. Experimental part: We studied, by means of microdialysis, the effects of CDNF, MANF and GDNF on the dopaminergic neurotransmission of naive rats within the striatum. Neurotrophic factors (10 µg) and PBS as a negative control were injected into the left striatum in stereotaxic surgery. After this rats recovered one week before the first mircodialysis. The second mircodialysis was performed three weeks after the surgery. The samples were collected from the left striatum of freely moving rats. During the microdialysis neurotransmission was stimulated by replacing the perfusion solution with hypertonic potassium solution and with amphetamine solution. The concentration of dopamine, DOPAC, HVA and 5-HIAA was measured from the dialysate samples. In vivo TH-activity experiment was carried out for three rats in each group. NSD1015 was injected i.p.after which rats were decapitated and their striatums were dissected. The concentration of L-DOPA, dopamine and metabolites on the treated and untreated hemisphere were analyzed from the tissue samples. The amount of L-DOPA in the striatum after NSD1015-treatment indicates how active TH-enzyme is. There were no significant differences in the concentrations of dopamine and metabolites during the baseline. MANF and CDNF increased the release of dopamine from the nerve terminals compared to GDNF and PBS one week after the surgery. Three weeks after the surgery there was still significant increase in the release of dopamine in MANF group compared to GDNF group. Also the dopamine-DOPAC-turnover was increased significantly in MANF group compared to GDNF and PBS groups one week after the surgery. DOPAC/HVA -ratio was significantly smaller in GDNF group than in other groups one week after the surgery. These findings suggest that MANF potentiates dopaminergic neurotransmission most drasticly. The effects of MANF seem to last longer time than the effects of other neurotrophic factors. CDNF seems to increase the release of dopamine from the nerve terminals as well. The potentiation of dopaminergic neurotransmission could be due to increased biosynthesis of dopamine or due to the potentiation of the function of nerve terminals. In the results of the TH-activity experiment there was a trend according to which L-DOPA is synthesized less after the neurotrophic factor treatment that after the PBS treatment. This suggests that neurotrophic factors might decrease the activity of TH-enzyme.
  • Koppinen, Tapani Kalle (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating autoimmune disease in which peripheral immune cells infiltrate the CNS and damage the insulating myelin sheaths surrounding neurons, creating demyelinated lesions in the spinal cord and the brain. MS is an incurable, life-long disease which causes a range of symptoms resulting from CNS degeneration. Current treatments mostly focus on preventing autoimmune attacks and the formation of lesions, but do not reduce the damage caused by the attacks, or impact the gradual degeneration of the axons of MS patients. This study aimed to establish the potential of MANF (mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor) and CDNF (cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor) as treatments for MS. MANF and CDNF are endoplasmic reticulum (ER) located proteins with unique structure and mode of action. UPR is a cellular stress response that, when triggered by inflammation in MS, can cause the apoptosis of myelinating oligodendrocytes and neurodegeneration. MANF and CDNF are also capable of modulating immune responses and improving regenerative processes in damaged tissues. The capability of these two molecules to protect CNS tissue was tested on mice induced with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a disease model for MS. Intravenous injections of MANF or CDNF in two doses were performed every 2nd day for 28 days after disease induction. Behavioral testing (rotarod and open field tests) indicated that both proteins improved motor function before the onset of paralysis. Daily clinical scoring showed a brief therapeutic window after the onset of paralysis, during which MANF and CDNF were able to halt disease progression. Flow cytometry analysis of mice spleens and brains showed no effect on immune cell populations at the end of the 28-day testing period. Immunohistological staining at the end of the experiment showed no differences in levels of neuroinflammation between treatment groups and control mice but showed that treatment with MANF and CDNF clearly reduced the formation of demyelinated lesions over the duration of the disease. These findings suggest the improved motor performances and protection from paralysis provided by treatment by MANF and CDNF may be due to their ability to protect CNS tissue from UPR caused by autoimmune demyelinating attacks. Further research is required to elucidate the mechanics behind this neuroprotective ability, and lead to more effective use of MANF and CDNF.
  • Penttinen, Anna-Maija; Parkkinen, Ilmari; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Koskela, Maryna; Bäck, Susanne; Their, Anna; Richie, Christopher T.; Domanskyi, Andrii; Harvey, Brandon K.; Tuominen, Raimo K.; Nevalaita, Liina; Saarma, Mart; Airavaara, Mikko (2018)
    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is one of the most studied neurotrophic factors. GDNF has two splice isoforms, full-length pre-alpha-pro-GDNF (u-GDNF) and pre-beta-pro-GDNF (beta-GDNF), which has a 26 amino acid deletion in the pro-region. Thus far, studies have focused solely on the u-GDNF isoform, and nothing is known about the in vivo effects of the shorter beta-GDNF variant. Here we compare for the first time the effects of overexpressed cx-GDNF and beta-GDNF in non-lesioned rat striatum and the partial 6-hydroxydopamine lesion model of Parkinson's disease. GDNF isoforms were overexpressed with their native pre-pro-sequences in the striatum using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, and the effects on motor performance and dopaminergic phenotype of the nigrostriatal pathway were assessed. In the non-lesioned striatum, both isoforms increased the density of dopamine transporter-positive fibers at 3 weeks after viral vector delivery. Although both isoforms increased the activity of the animals in cylinder assay, only u-GDNF enhanced the use of contralateral paw. Four weeks later, the striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactivity was decreased in both u-GDNF and 1-GDNF treated animals. In the neuroprotection assay, both GDNF splice isoforms increased the number of TH-immunoreactive cells in the substantia nigra but did not promote behavioral recovery based on amphetamine-induced rotation or cylinder assays. Thus, the shorter GDNF isoform, beta-GDNF, and the full-length alpha-isoform have comparable neuroprotective efficacy on dopamine neurons of the nigrostriatal circuitry.