14 research outputs found

    Emerging mechanisms underpinning neurophysiological impairments in C9ORF72 repeat expansion-mediated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are characterized by degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons and neurons of the prefrontal cortex. The emergence of the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion mutation as the leading genetic cause of ALS and FTD has led to a progressive understanding of the multiple cellular pathways leading to neuronal degeneration. Disturbances in neuronal function represent a major subset of these mechanisms and because such functional perturbations precede degeneration, it is likely that impaired neuronal function in ALS/FTD plays an active role in pathogenesis. This is supported by the fact that ALS/FTD patients consistently present with neurophysiological impairments prior to any apparent degeneration. In this review we summarize how the discovery of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion mutation has contributed to the current understanding of neuronal dysfunction in ALS/FTD. Here, we discuss the impact of the repeat expansion on neuronal function in relation to intrinsic excitability, synaptic, network and ion channel properties, highlighting evidence of conserved and divergent pathophysiological impacts between cortical and motor neurons and the influence of non-neuronal cells. We further highlight the emerging association between these dysfunctional properties with molecular mechanisms of the C9ORF72 mutation that appear to include roles for both, haploinsufficiency of the C9ORF72 protein and aberrantly generated dipeptide repeat protein species. Finally, we suggest that relating key pathological observations in C9ORF72 repeat expansion ALS/FTD patients to the mechanistic impact of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion on neuronal function will lead to an improved understanding of how neurophysiological dysfunction impacts upon pathogenesis

    Neuroimmunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects of the flavonoid apigenin in in vitro models of neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer's disease

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    Neurodegenerative disorders (ND) are characterized by the progressive and irreversible loss of neurons. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most incident age-related ND, in which the presence of a chronic inflammatory compound seems to be related to its pathogenesis. Different stimuli in the central nervous system (CNS) can induce activation, proliferation, and changes in phenotype and glial function, which can be modulated by anti-inflammatory agents. Apigenin (4,5,7–trihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid found in abundance in many fruits and vegetables, that has shown important effects upon controlling the inflammatory response. This study evaluated the neuroprotective and neuroimmunomodulatory potential of apigenin using in vitro models of neuroinflammation associated with AD. Co-cultures of neurons and glial cells were obtained from the cortex of newborn and embryonic Wistar rats. After 26 days in vitro, cultures were exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 1 μg/ml), or IL-1β (10 ng/ml) for 24 h, or to Aβ oligomers (500 nM) for 4 h, and then treated with apigenin (1 μM) for further 24 h. It was observed that the treatment with apigenin preserved neurons and astrocytes integrity, determined by Rosenfeld’s staining and immunocytochemistry for β-tubulin III and GFAP, respectively. Moreover, it was observed by Fluoro-Jade-B and caspase-3 immunostaining that apigenin was not neurotoxic and has a neuroprotective effect against inflammatory damage. Additionally, apigenin reduced microglial activation, characterized by inhibition of proliferation (BrdU+ cells) and modulation of microglia morphology (Iba-1 + cells), and decreased the expression of the M1 inflammatory marker CD68. Moreover, as determined by RT-qPCR, inflammatory stimuli induced by IL-1β increased the mRNA expression of IL-6, IL-1β, and CCL5, and decreased the mRNA expression of IL-10. Contrary, after treatment with apigenin in inflammatory stimuli (IL-1β or LPS) there was a modulation of the mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, and reduced expression of OX42, IL-6 and gp130. Moreover, apigenin alone and after an inflammatory stimulus with IL-1β also induced the increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an effect that may be associated with anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Together these data demonstrate that apigenin presents neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro and might represent an important neuroimmunomodulatory agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions

    Phytoestrogen agathisflavone ameliorates neuroinflammation-induced by LPS and IL-1β and protects neurons in cocultures of glia/neurons

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    Inflammation and oxidative stress are common aspects of most neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system. In this context, microglia and astrocytes are central to mediating the balance between neuroprotective and neurodestructive mechanisms. Flavonoids have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Here, we have examined the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective potential of the flavonoid agathisflavone (FAB), which is derived from the Brazilian plant Poincianella pyramidalis, in in vitro models of neuroinflammation. Cocultures of neurons/glial cells were exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 1 µg/mL) or interleukin (IL)-1β (10 ng/mL) for 24 h and treated with FAB (0.1 and 1 µM, 24 h). FAB displayed a significant neuroprotective effect, as measured by nitric oxide (NO) production, Fluoro-Jade B (FJ-B) staining, and immunocytochemistry (ICC) for the neuronal marker β-tubulin and the cell death marker caspase-3, preserving neuronal soma and increasing neurite outgrowth. FAB significantly decreased the LPS-induced microglial proliferation, identified by ICC for Iba-1/bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and CD68 (microglia M1 profile marker). In contrast, FAB had no apparent effect on astrocytes, as determined by ICC for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Furthermore, FAB protected against the cytodestructive and proinflammatory effects of IL-1β, a key cytokine that is released by activated microglia and astrocytes, and ICC showed that combined treatment of FAB with α and β estrogen receptor antagonists did not affect NF-κB expression. In addition, qPCR analysis demonstrated that FAB decreased the expression of proinflammatory molecules TNF-α, IL-1β, and connexins CCL5 and CCL2, as well as increased the expression of the regulatory molecule IL-10. Together, these findings indicate that FAB has a significant neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effect in vitro, which may be considered as an adjuvant for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

    Towards 3D bioprinted spinal cord organoids

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    Three-dimensional (3D) cultures, so-called organoids, have emerged as an attractive tool for disease modeling and therapeutic innovations. Here, we aim to determine if boundary cap neural crest stem cells (BC) can survive and differentiate in gelatin-based 3D bioprinted bioink scaffolds in order to establish an enabling technology for the fabrication of spinal cord organoids on a chip. BC previously demonstrated the ability to support survival and differentiation of co-implanted or co-cultured cells and supported motor neuron survival in excitotoxically challenged spinal cord slice cultures. We tested different combinations of bioink and cross-linked material, analyzed the survival of BC on the surface and inside the scaffolds, and then tested if human iPSC-derived neural cells (motor neuron precursors and astrocytes) can be printed with the same protocol, which was developed for BC. We showed that this protocol is applicable for human cells. Neural differentiation was more prominent in the peripheral compared to central parts of the printed construct, presumably because of easier access to differentiation-promoting factors in the medium. These findings show that the gelatin-based and enzymatically cross-linked hydrogel is a suitable bioink for building a multicellular, bioprinted spinal cord organoid, but that further measures are still required to achieve uniform neural differentiation

    Genome-wide identification of the genetic basis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex disease that leads to motor neuron death. Despite heritability estimates of 52%, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have discovered relatively few loci. We developed a machine learning approach called RefMap, which integrates functional genomics with GWAS summary statistics for gene discovery. With transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling of motor neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), RefMap identified 690 ALS-associated genes that represent a 5-fold increase in recovered heritability. Extensive conservation, transcriptome, network, and rare variant analyses demonstrated the functional significance of candidate genes in healthy and diseased motor neurons and brain tissues. Genetic convergence between common and rare variation highlighted KANK1 as a new ALS gene. Reproducing KANK1 patient mutations in human neurons led to neurotoxicity and demonstrated that TDP-43 mislocalization, a hallmark pathology of ALS, is downstream of axonal dysfunction. RefMap can be readily applied to other complex diseases

    Pervasive gaps in Amazonian ecological research

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    Biodiversity loss is one of the main challenges of our time, and attempts to address it require a clear understanding of how ecological communities respond to environmental change across time and space. While the increasing availability of global databases on ecological communities has advanced our knowledge of biodiversity sensitivity to environmental changes, vast areas of the tropics remain understudied. In the American tropics, Amazonia stands out as the world's most diverse rainforest and the primary source of Neotropical biodiversity, but it remains among the least known forests in America and is often underrepresented in biodiversity databases. To worsen this situation, human-induced modifications may eliminate pieces of the Amazon's biodiversity puzzle before we can use them to understand how ecological communities are responding. To increase generalization and applicability of biodiversity knowledge, it is thus crucial to reduce biases in ecological research, particularly in regions projected to face the most pronounced environmental changes. We integrate ecological community metadata of 7,694 sampling sites for multiple organism groups in a machine learning model framework to map the research probability across the Brazilian Amazonia, while identifying the region's vulnerability to environmental change. 15%–18% of the most neglected areas in ecological research are expected to experience severe climate or land use changes by 2050. This means that unless we take immediate action, we will not be able to establish their current status, much less monitor how it is changing and what is being lost

    A mechanism for oxidative damage repair at gene regulatory elements

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    Oxidative genome damage is an unavoidable consequence of cellular metabolism. It arises at gene regulatory elements by epigenetic demethylation during transcriptional activation1,2. Here we show that promoters are protected from oxidative damage via a process mediated by the nuclear mitotic apparatus protein NuMA (also known as NUMA1). NuMA exhibits genomic occupancy approximately 100 bp around transcription start sites. It binds the initiating form of RNA polymerase II, pause-release factors and single-strand break repair (SSBR) components such as TDP1. The binding is increased on chromatin following oxidative damage, and TDP1 enrichment at damaged chromatin is facilitated by NuMA. Depletion of NuMA increases oxidative damage at promoters. NuMA promotes transcription by limiting the polyADP-ribosylation of RNA polymerase II, increasing its availability and release from pausing at promoters. Metabolic labelling of nascent RNA identifies genes that depend on NuMA for transcription including immediate–early response genes. Complementation of NuMA-deficient cells with a mutant that mediates binding to SSBR, or a mitotic separation-of-function mutant, restores SSBR defects. These findings underscore the importance of oxidative DNA damage repair at gene regulatory elements and describe a process that fulfils this function

    Risco de contaminação das águas de superfície e subterrâneas por agrotóxicos recomendados para a cultura do arroz irrigado

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    A produção agrícola geralmente está associada ao uso de agrotóxicos. Suas características físico-químicas, condições do solo e do ambiente determinam seu destino, assim como o seu potencial de contaminação dos mananciais hídricos. Com o intuito de prever a contaminação do ambiente por agrotóxicos, critérios e modelos matemáticos são utilizados para avaliar o risco de contaminação das águas subterrâneas e superficiais. Diante do exposto, este trabalho teve por objetivo estimar a probabilidade de contaminação de águas subterrâneas e superficiais por agrotóxicos, baseado nas suas características físico-químicas, com auxílio de modelos e parâmetros matemáticos preexistentes. Para análise do risco de contaminação de águas superficiais, foi utilizado o método de Goss, o qual é dividido em dois grupos: potencial de transporte de agrotóxicos dissolvidos em água e adsorvido ao sedimento. Os critérios utilizados para avaliar o potencial de lixiviação foram os sugeridos pela Agência de Proteção Ambiental dos EUA e pelo Índice de GUS. Os resultados obtidos neste trabalho permitem concluir que o uso de modelos de predição do comportamento de agrotóxicos é útil para se obter uma estimativa do risco de contaminação ambiental, pois alguns resultados de monitoramentos confirmam a tendência do comportamento de certos agrotóxicos no ambiente.Agricultural production is generally associated with the use of pesticides, their physicochemical characteristics, soil conditions and the environment will determine their fate, as well as the potential for contamination of water bodies. In order to predict environmental contamination by pesticides, parameters and mathematical models are utilized to assess the risk of contamination of groundwater and surface water. For this reason, the objective of this study was estimate the probability of contamination of groundwater and surface waters by pesticides based on their physicochemical characteristics with the aid of preexisting mathematical models and parameters. To analyze the risk of surface water contamination, the Goss method was used, which as composed by two groups: pesticide potential transport dissolved in water and adsorbed to the sediment. The parameter used to evaluate the leaching potential were those suggested by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the GUS Index. The results obtained allow to conclude that the use of models to predict the behavior of pesticides is useful to obtain an estimate of the risk of environmental contamination, as some monitoring results confirm the tendency of the behavior of certain products into the environment