Retarded growth and deficits in the enteric and parasympathetic nervous system in mice lacking GFR alpha2, a functional neurturin receptor.
Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and a related protein, neurturin (NTN), require a GPI-linked coreceptor, either GFR alpha1 or GFR alpha2, for signaling via the transmembrane Ret tyrosine kinase. We show that mice lacking functional GFR alpha2 coreceptor (Gfra2-/-) are viable and fertile but have dry eyes and grow poorly after weaning, presumably due to malnutrition. While the sympathetic innervation appeared normal, the parasympathetic cholinergic innervation was almost absent in the lacrimal and salivary glands and severely reduced in the small bowel. Neurite outgrowth and trophic effects of NTN at low concentrations were lacking in Gfra2-/- trigeminal neurons in vitro, whereas responses to GDNF were similar between the genotypes. Thus, GFR alpha2 is a physiological NTN receptor, essential for the development of specific postganglionic parasympathetic neurons. (+info)
Anti-amphiphysin I antibodies in patients with paraneoplastic neurological disorders associated with small cell lung carcinoma.
Patients with stiff man syndrome and breast cancer develop anti-amphiphysin I antibodies that primarily recognise the C terminus of the protein. Anti-amphiphysin I antibodies have also been identified in a few patients with paraneoplastic neurological disorders (PND) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The frequency of anti-amphiphysin I antibodies in patients with SCLC and PND was analysed and the epitope specificity of these antibodies was characterised. Anti-amphiphysin I antibodies were evaluated by immunohistochemistry on human and rat cerebellum and immunoblots of rat brain homogenates. Serum samples included 134 patients with PND and anti-Hu antibodies (83% had SCLC), 44 with SCLC and PND without anti-Hu-antibodies, 63 with PND and either Yo, Ri, or Tr antibodies, 146 with SCLC without PND, and 104 with non-PND. Positive serum samples were confirmed with immunoblots of recombinant human amphiphysin I and immunoreacted with five overlapping peptide fragments covering the full length of the molecule. Serum samples positive for anti-amphiphysin I antibodies included those from seven (2.9%) patients with PND and two (1.4%) with SCLC without PND. Six of the seven anti-amphiphysin I antibody positive patients with PND had SCLC (three with Hu-antibodies), and one had anti-Hu-antibodies but no detectable tumour. The PND included encephalomyelitis/sensory neuropathy (five patients), cerebellar degeneration (one), and opsoclonus (one). All anti-amphiphysin I antibodies reacted with the C terminus of amphiphysin I, but seven also recognised other fragments of the molecule. In conclusion, anti-amphiphysin I antibodies are present at low frequency in patients with SCLC irrespective of the presence of an associated PND. All anti-amphiphysin I antibody positive serum samples have in common reactivity with the C terminus of the protein. (+info)
Phase II trial of paclitaxel and cisplatin in metastatic and recurrent carcinoma of the uterine cervix.
PURPOSE: Both paclitaxel and cisplatin have moderate activity in patients with metastatic or recurrent cancer of the cervix, and the combination of these two agents has shown activity and possible synergism in a variety of solid tumors. We administered this combination to patients with metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer to evaluate its activity. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-four consecutive patients were treated on an outpatient basis with paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 administered intravenously over a 3-hour period followed by cisplatin 75 mg/m2 administered intravenously with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor support. The chemotherapy was administered every 3 weeks for a maximum of six courses. RESULTS: Sixteen patients (47%; 95% confidence interval, 30% to 65%) achieved an objective response, including five complete responses and 11 partial responses. Responses occurred in 28% of patients with disease within the radiation field only and in 57% of patients with disease involving other sites. The median duration of response was 5.5 months, and the median times to progression and survival for all patients were 5 and 9 months, respectively. Grade 3 or 4 toxicities included anemia in 18% of patients and granulocytopenia in 15% of patients. Fifty-three percent of patients developed some degree of neurotoxicity; 21% of cases were grade 2 or worse. CONCLUSION: The combination of paclitaxel with cisplatin seems relatively well tolerated and moderately active in patients with metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer. The significant incidence of neurotoxicity is of concern, and alternative methods of administration of the two agents could be evaluated. Then, further study of this combination, alone or with the addition of other active agents, is warranted. (+info)
Nitric oxide, mitochondria and neurological disease.
Damage to the mitochondrial electron transport chain has been suggested to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of a range of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. There is also a growing body of evidence to implicate excessive or inappropriate generation of nitric oxide (NO) in these disorders. It is now well documented that NO and its toxic metabolite, peroxynitrite (ONOO-), can inhibit components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain leading, if damage is severe enough, to a cellular energy deficiency state. Within the brain, the susceptibility of different brain cell types to NO and ONOO- exposure may be dependent on factors such as the intracellular reduced glutathione (GSH) concentration and an ability to increase glycolytic flux in the face of mitochondrial damage. Thus neurones, in contrast to astrocytes, appear particularly vulnerable to the action of these molecules. Following cytokine exposure, astrocytes can increase NO generation, due to de novo synthesis of the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Whilst the NO/ONOO- so formed may not affect astrocyte survival, these molecules may diffuse out to cause mitochondrial damage, and possibly cell death, to other cells, such as neurones, in close proximity. Evidence is now available to support this scenario for neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. In other conditions, such as ischaemia, increased availability of glutamate may lead to an activation of a calcium-dependent nitric oxide synthase associated with neurones. Such increased/inappropriate NO formation may contribute to energy depletion and neuronal cell death. The evidence available for NO/ONOO--mediated mitochondrial damage in various neurological disorders is considered and potential therapeutic strategies are proposed. (+info)
The effects of specific antibody fragments on the 'irreversible' neurotoxicity induced by Brown snake (Pseudonaja) venom.
Brown snake (Pseudonaja) venom has been reported to produce 'irreversible' post synaptic neurotoxicity (Harris & Maltin, 1981; Barnett et al., 1980). A murine phrenic nerve/diaphragm preparation was used to study the neurotoxic effects of this venom and pre- and post-synaptic components were distinguished by varying the temperature and frequency of nerve stimulation. There were no myotoxic effects and the neurotoxicity proved irreversible by washing alone. The effects of a new Fab based ovine antivenom have been investigated and proved able to produce a complete, rapid (< 1 h) reversal of the neurotoxicity induced by Brown snake venom. A reversal was also possible when the antivenom addition was delayed for a further 60 min. We believe that this is the first time such a reversal has been shown. (+info)
Incidence of cranial ultrasound abnormalities in apparently well neonates on a postnatal ward: correlation with antenatal and perinatal factors and neurological status.
AIM: To evaluate cranial ultrasonography and neurological examination in a cohort of infants regarded as normal; and to determine the prevalence of ultrasound abnormalities and any potential association with antenatal or perinatal factors or deviant neurological signs. METHODS: Cranial ultrasound findings and neurological status were evaluated in 177 newborns (gestational age 36.3 to 42 weeks), admitted to a postnatal ward directly after birth and regarded as normal by obstetric and paediatric staff. The age of the infants at the time of examination ranged between 6 and 48 hours. Ultrasound abnormalities were present in 35 of the 177 infants studied (20%). Ischaemic lesions, such as periventricular and thalamic densities were the most common finding (8%), followed by haemorrhagic lesions (6%). The possible sequelae of antenatal haemorrhages, such as focal ventricular dilatation or choroid cysts, were present in 6%. Abnormal ultrasound findings were not significantly associated with signs of perinatal distress, such as cardiotocographic abnormalities or passage of meconium. Abnormal ultrasound findings tended to be associated with antenatal problems, although this did not reach significance. Ultrasound abnormalities were strongly associated with deviant patterns on the neurological examination. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ultrasound abnormalities are more common than has been reported up to now. Lesions that could be ischaemic, such as flare densities, are seen even in the absence of any antenatal or perinatal risk factor. (+info)
Neurology and the skin.
As knowledge of pathophysiology grows, so does the refinement of diagnoses. Sometimes increased knowledge permits consolidation and unification. Unfortunately, at our present level of understanding, it usually demands proliferation of diagnostic categories. As tedious as this diagnostic splintering may seem, such is the price currently exacted of both the investigator and the clinician who seek to optimise management. Increased diagnostic refinement often requires inquiry into matters outside the bounds of one's specialty. Most often we turn to the radiologist or to the laboratory to narrow the differential diagnosis generated from the history and neurological examination. As we have shown, a useful intermediate step is extension of the physical examination to organs such as the skin, which are not the traditional preserve of the neurologist. That any text could confer the sophistication required for expert dermatological diagnosis is an unrealistic expectation. However, we hope that this review will encourage careful examination of the skin, hair, and nails by the neurological practitioner, with consideration of referral to a dermatologist when greater expertise is required. (+info)
Assessing the machinery of mind: synapses in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Neural connectivity in postmortem human brain can now be studied with the use of antibodies that react with synapse-enriched proteins. Using a range of antibody-based techniques, the authors observed abnormalities in connectivity in Alzheimer's disease, temporal lobe epilepsy, and schizophrenia. They also found disease-related differences in the individual protein markers affected and in the anatomical distribution of differences from controls. Molecular and cellular abnormalities in neural connectivity may underlie functional abnormalities observed in vivo using positron emission tomography or functional magnetic resonance imaging. (+info)