Astrocyte-specific expression of tyrosine hydroxylase after intracerebral gene transfer induces behavioral recovery in experimental parkinsonism.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the depletion of dopamine in the caudate putamen. Dopamine replacement with levodopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter, is presently the most common treatment for this disease. However, in an effort to obtain better therapeutic results, tissue or cells that synthesize catecholamines have been grafted into experimental animals and human patients. In this paper, we present a novel technique to express tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the host's own astrocytes. This procedure uses a transgene in which the expression of a TH cDNA is under the control of a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, which confers astrocyte-specific expression and also increases its activity in response to brain injury. The method was tested in a rat model of Parkinson's disease produced by lesioning the striatum with 6-hydroxydopamine. Following microinjection of the transgene into the denervated striatum as a DNA-liposome complex, expression of the transgene was detected by RT-PCR and TH protein was observed specifically in astrocytes by using double-labeling immunofluorescence for GFAP and TH coupled with laser confocal microscopy. Efficacy was demonstrated by significant behavioral recovery, as assessed by a decrease in the pharmacologically induced turning behavior generated by the unilateral denervation of the rat striatum. These results suggest this is a valuable technique to express molecules of therapeutic interest in the brain. (+info)
Early induction of angiogenetic signals in gliomas of GFAP-v-src transgenic mice.
Angiogenesis is a prerequisite for solid tumor growth. Glioblastoma multiforme, the most common malignant brain tumor, is characterized by extensive vascular proliferation. We previously showed that transgenic mice expressing a GFAP-v-src fusion gene in astrocytes develop low-grade astrocytomas that progressively evolve into hypervascularized glioblastomas. Here, we examined whether tumor progression triggers angiogenetic signals. We found abundant transcription of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in neoplastic astrocytes at surprisingly early stages of tumorigenesis. VEGF and v-src expression patterns were not identical, suggesting that VEGF activation was not only dependent on v-src. Late-stage gliomas showed perinecrotic VEGF up-regulation similarly to human glioblastoma. Expression patterns of the endothelial angiogenic receptors flt-1, flk-1, tie-1, and tie-2 were similar to those described in human gliomas, but flt-1 was expressed also in neoplastic astrocytes, suggesting an autocrine role in tumor growth. In crossbreeding experiments, hemizygous ablation of the tumor suppressor genes Rb and p53 had no significant effect on the expression of VEGF, flt-1, flk-1, tie-1, and tie-2. Therefore, expression of angiogenic signals is an early event during progression of GFAP-v-src tumors and precedes hypervascularization. Given the close similarities in the progression pattern between GFAP-v-src and human gliomas, the present results suggest that these mice may provide a useful tool for antiangiogenic therapy research. (+info)
Necrosis and apoptosis after retinal ischemia: involvement of NMDA-mediated excitotoxicity and p53.
PURPOSE: Accumulated evidence has shown that apoptosis and necrosis contribute to neuronal death after ischemia. The present study was performed to study the temporal and spatial patterns of neuronal necrosis and apoptosis after ischemia in retina and to outline mechanisms underlying necrosis and apoptosis. METHODS: Retinal ischemia was induced by increasing intraocular pressure to a range of 160 mm Hg to 180 mm Hg for 90 minutes in adult rats. The patterns of neuronal cell death were determined using light and electron microscopy and were visualized by TdT-dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL). The mRNA expression profile of p53 was examined using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization histochemistry. Immunohistochemistry was performed using anti-p53, anti-microtubule associated protein-2, and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein antibodies. RESULTS: Within 4 hours after ischemia, neurons in the inner nuclear cell layer (INL) and ganglion cell layer (GCL) underwent marked necrosis, made apparent by swelling of the cell body and mitochondria, early fenestration of the plasma membrane, and irregularly scattered condensation of nuclear chromatin. After 3 days, the INL and GCL neurons showed further degeneration through apoptosis marked by cell body shrinkage, aggregation, and condensation of nuclear chromatin. Apoptotic neurons were also observed sparsely in the outer nuclear cell layer. Intravitreal injections of MK-801 prevented early neuronal degeneration after ischemia. Of note, mRNA and protein levels of p53, the tumor suppressor gene known to induce apoptosis, were increased in the retinal areas undergoing apoptosis 1 to 3 days after ischemic injury. CONCLUSIONS: Ischemia produces the N-methyl-D-aspartate-mediated necrosis and slowly evolving apoptosis of neurons in the retina. The latter may depend on the expression of the p53 proapoptosis gene. (+info)
Riluzole improves functional recovery after ischemia in the rat retina.
PURPOSE: Retinal ischemia leads to neuronal death. The effects of riluzole, a drug that protects against the deleterious effect of cerebral ischemia by acting on several types of ion channels and blocking glutamatergic neurotransmission, were investigated in a rat model of retinal ischemic injury. METHODS: Retinal ischemia was induced by increasing intraocular pressure above systolic blood pressure for 30 minutes. Electroretinograms were recorded before ischemia and at different periods of reperfusion. Riluzole was injected or topically applied to the eye before or after ischemia and twice daily during the reperfusion period. Retinas were harvested for histopathology (toluidine blue and silver-impregnation stainings, Tdt-dUTP terminal nick-end labeling [TUNEL] method) and immunohistochemistry for cytoskeletal glial fibrillary acid protein and c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (p-JNK). RESULTS: Ischemia for 30 minutes caused a reduction of a- and b-waves of the electroretinogram. Systemic and topical treatments with riluzole significantly enhanced the recovery of the reduced a- and b-waves after defined reperfusion times. Riluzole also prevented or attenuated ischemia-induced retinal cell death (necrosis and apoptosis) and reduced the activation of p-JNK, c-jun phosphorylation, and the increase of cytoskeletal proteins induced by ischemic injury. CONCLUSIONS: Riluzole acted in vivo as a potent neuroprotective agent against pressure-induced ischemia. Therefore, riluzole may be a major drug for use in protection against retinal injury. (+info)
Increased poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of nuclear proteins in Alzheimer's disease.
Experimental studies indicate that overactivation of the DNA repair protein poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in response to oxidative damage to DNA can cause cell death due to depletion of NAD+. Oxidative damage to DNA and other macromolecules has been reported to be increased in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In the present study we sought evidence of PARP activation in Alzheimer's disease by immunostaining sections of frontal and temporal lobe from autopsy material of 20 patients and 10 controls, both for PARP itself and for its end-product, poly(ADP-ribose). All of the brains had previously been subjected to detailed neuropathological examination to confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or, in the controls, to exclude Alzheimer's disease-type pathology. Double immunolabelling for poly(ADP-ribose) and microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), glial fibrillary-acidic protein (GFAP), CD68, A beta-protein or tau was used to assess the identity of the cells with poly(ADP-ribose) accumulation and their relationship to plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Both PARP- and poly(ADP-ribose)-immunolabelled cells were detected in a much higher proportion of Alzheimer's disease (20 out of 20) brains than of control brains (5 out of 10) (P = 0.0018). Double-immunolabelling for poly(ADP-ribose) and markers of neuronal, astrocytic and microglial differentiation (MAP2, GFAP and CD68, respectively) showed many of the cells containing poly(ADP-ribose) to be neurons. Most of these were small pyramidal neurons in cortical laminae 3 and 5. A few of the cells containing poly(ADP-ribose) were astrocytes. No poly(ADP-ribose) accumulation was detected in microglia. Double-immunolabelling for poly(ADP-ribose) and tau or A beta-protein indicated that the cells with accumulation of poly(ADP-ribose) did not contain tangles and relatively few occurred within plaques. Our findings indicate that there is enhanced PARP activity in Alzheimer's disease and suggest that pharmacological interventions aimed at inhibiting PARP may have a role in slowing the progression of the disease. (+info)
Chronic administration of adenosine A3 receptor agonist and cerebral ischemia: neuronal and glial effects.
We have previously shown that chronic administration of the selective A3 receptor agonist N6-(3-iodobenzyl)-5'-N-methylcarboxoamidoadenosine (IB-MECA) leads to a significant improvement of postocclusive cerebral blood flow, and protects against neuronal damage and mortality induced by severe forebrain ischemia in gerbils. Using immunocytochemical methods we now show that chronic with IB-MECA results in a significant preservation of ischemia-sensitive microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP-2), enhancement of the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and a very intense depression of nitric oxide synthase in the brain of postischemic gerbils. These changes demonstrate that the cerebroprotective actions of chronically administered IB-MECA involve both neurons and glial cells, and indicate the possibility of distinct mechanisms that are affected in the course of chronic administration of the drug. (+info)
Neuronal and glial cell type-specific promoters within adenovirus recombinants restrict the expression of the apoptosis-inducing molecule Fas ligand to predetermined brain cell types, and abolish peripheral liver toxicity.
Gene therapy using Fas ligand (FasL) for treatment of tumours and protection of transplant rejection is hampered because of the systemic toxicity of FasL. In the present study, recombinant replication-defective adenovirus vectors (RAds) encoding FasL under the control of either the neuronal-specific neuronal-specific enolase (NSE) promoter or the astrocyte-specific glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter have been constructed. The cell type-specific expression of FasL in both neurons and glial cells in primary cultures, and in neuronal and glial cell lines is demonstrated. Furthermore, transgene expression driven by the neuronal and glial promoter was not detected in fibroblastic or epithelial cell lines. Expression of FasL driven by a major immediate early human cytomegalovirus promoter (MIEhCMV) was, however, achieved in all cells tested. As a final test of the stringency of transgene-specific expression, the RAds were injected directly into the bloodstream of mice. The RAds encoding FasL under the control of the non-cell type-specific MIEhCMV promoter induced acute generalized liver haemorrhage with hepatocyte apoptosis, while the RAds containing the NSE or GFAP promoter sequences were completely non-toxic. This demonstrates the specificity of transgene expression, enhanced safety during systemic administration, and tightly regulated control of transgene expression of highly cytotoxic gene products, encoded within transcriptionally targeted RAds. (+info)
Thromboembolic events predispose the brain to widespread cerebral infarction after delayed transient global ischemia in rats.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Transient distal platelet accumulation after common carotid artery thrombosis (CCAT) leads to hemodynamic, metabolic, and molecular events that may influence the response of the postthrombotic brain to secondary insults. We investigated how a thromboembolic insult would affect histopathological outcome when combined with an ischemic insult induced 24 hours later. METHODS: Three groups of rats underwent either (1) CCAT+10 minutes of normothermic 2-vessel occlusion (n=6), (2) CCAT+sham ischemia procedures (n=6), or (3) sham CCAT procedures+10 minutes of 2-vessel occlusion (n=6). At 7 days, rats were perfused for quantitative histopathological and immunocytochemical analysis. RESULTS: Rats undergoing combined insults (group 1) had significantly larger areas of ischemic injury (P<0.05) within the cerebral cortex, striatum, and thalamus compared with the other, single-injury groups. Increased ischemic damage included selective neuronal necrosis, infarction, and focal hemorrhage. By means of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunocytochemistry and lectin histochemistry, reactive astrocytes and microglia were found to be associated with widespread tissue necrosis. In contrast, infrequent infarction or CA1 hippocampal neuronal necrosis was observed in groups 2 and 3, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: A prior thromboembolic event is a risk factor for widespread cerebral infarction and hemorrhage when combined with a delayed ischemic insult. The understanding of what factors enhance the susceptibility of the postthrombotic brain to secondary insults may aid in the development of neuroprotective strategies to be applied after transient ischemic attacks to prevent the initiation of stroke. (+info)