Itch (pruritis) and pain represent two distinct sensory modalities; yet both have evolved to alert us to potentially harmful external stimuli. Compared with pain, our understanding of itch is still nascent. Here, we report a new clinical case of debilitating itch and altered pain perception resulting from the heterozygous de novo p.L811P gain-of-function mutation in NaV1.9, a voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channel subtype that relays sensory information from the periphery to the spine. To investigate the role of NaV1.9 in itch, we developed a mouse line in which the channel is N-terminally tagged with a fluorescent protein, thereby enabling the reliable identification and biophysical characterization of NaV1.9-expressing neurons. We also assessed NaV1.9 involvement in itch by using a newly created NaV1.9–/– and NaV1.9L799P/WT mouse model. We found that NaV1.9 is expressed in a subset of nonmyelinated, nonpeptidergic small-diameter dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). In WT DRGs, but not those of NaV1.9–/– mice, pruritogens altered action potential parameters and NaV channel gating properties. Additionally, NaV1.9–/– mice exhibited a strong reduction in acute scratching behavior in response to pruritogens, whereas NaV1.9L799P/WT mice displayed increased spontaneous scratching. Altogether, our data suggest an important contribution of NaV1.9 to itch signaling.
Juan Salvatierra, Marcelo Diaz-Bustamante, James Meixiong, Elaine Tierney, Xinzhong Dong, Frank Bosmans
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which epilepsy is common (~90%) and often refractory to antiepileptics. AS is caused by mutation of the maternal allele encoding the ubiquitin protein ligase E3A (UBE3A), but it is unclear how this genetic insult confers vulnerability to seizure development and progression (i.e., epileptogenesis). Here we implemented the flurothyl kindling and retest paradigm in AS model mice to assess epileptogenesis and to gain mechanistic insights owed to loss of maternal Ube3a. AS model mice kindled similarly to wildtype mice, but they displayed a markedly increased sensitivity to flurothyl-, kainic acid-, and hyperthermia-induced seizures measured a month later during retest. Pathological characterization revealed enhanced deposition of perineuronal nets in dentate gyrus of hippocampus of AS mice in the absence of overt neuronal loss or mossy fiber sprouting. This pro-epileptogenic phenotype resulted from Ube3a deletion in GABAergic but not glutamatergic neurons, and it was rescued by pancellular reinstatement of Ube3a at postnatal day 21 (P21), but not during adulthood. Our results suggest that epileptogenic susceptibility in AS patients is a consequence of the dysfunctional development of GABAergic circuits, which may be amenable to therapies leveraging juvenile reinstatement of UBE3A.
Bin Gu, Kelly E. Carstens, Matthew C. Judson, Katherine A. Dalton, Marie Rougié, Ellen P. Clark, Serena M. Dudek, Benjamin D. Philpot
The underlying molecular mechanisms of age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in humans and many strains of mice have not been fully characterized. This common age-related disorder is assumed to be closely associated with oxidative stress. Here, we demonstrate that mTORC1 signaling is highly and specifically activated in the cochlear neurosensory epithelium (NSE) in aging mice, and rapamycin injection prevents ARHL. To further examine the specific role of mTORC1 signaling in ARHL, we generated murine models with NSE-specific deletions of Raptor or Tsc1, regulators of mTORC1 signaling. Raptor-cKO mice developed hearing loss considerably more slowly than WT littermates. Conversely, Tsc1 loss led to the early-onset death of cochlear hair cells and consequently accelerated hearing loss. Tsc1-cKO cochleae showed features of oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defenses. Treatment with rapamycin and the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine rescued Tsc1-cKO hair cells from injury in vivo. In addition, we identified the peroxisome as the initial signaling organelle involved in the regulation of mTORC1 signaling in cochlear hair cells. In summary, our findings identify overactive mTORC1 signaling as one of the critical causes of ARHL and suggest that reduction of mTORC1 activity in cochlear hair cells may be a potential strategy to prevent ARHL.
Xiaolong Fu, Xiaoyang Sun, Linqing Zhang, Yecheng Jin, Renjie Chai, Lili Yang, Aizhen Zhang, Xiangguo Liu, Xiaochun Bai, Jianfeng Li, Haibo Wang, Jiangang Gao
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is an effective therapeutic target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and histamine level is elevated in the basal ganglia in PD patients. However, the endogenous histaminergic modulation on STN neuronal activities and the neuronal mechanism underlying STN-DBS are unknown. Here we report that STN neuronal firing patterns are more crucial than firing rates for motor control. Histamine excited STN neurons, but paradoxically ameliorated parkinsonian motor deficits, which we attributed to regularizing firing patterns of STN neurons via HCN2 channel coupled to H2 receptor. Intriguingly, DBS increased histamine release in the STN and regularized STN neuronal firing patterns under parkinsonian conditions. HCN2 contributed to the DBS-induced regularization of neuronal firing patterns, suppression of excessive beta oscillations, and alleviation of motor deficits in PD. The results reveal an indispensable role for regularizing STN neuronal firing patterns in amelioration of parkinsonian motor dysfunction and a functional compensation for histamine in parkinsonian basal ganglia circuitry. The findings provide insights into mechanisms of STN-DBS as well as potential therapeutic targets and STN-DBS strategies for PD.
Qian-Xing Zhuang, Guang-Ying Li, Bin Li, Chang-Zheng Zhang, Xiao-Yang Zhang, Kang Xi, Hong-Zhao Li, Jian-Jun Wang, Jing-Ning Zhu
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), induced by the adoptive transfer of myelin-reactive CD4+ T cells into naïve syngeneic mice. It is widely used as a rodent model of multiple sclerosis (MS). EAE lesion development is initiated when transferred CD4+ T cells access the CNS and are reactivated by local antigen presenting cells (APC) bearing endogenous myelin peptide/ MHC Class II complexes. The identity of the CNS resident, lesion-initiating APC is widely debated. Here we demonstrate that classical dendritic cells (cDC) normally reside in the meninges, brain, and spinal cord in the steady state. These cells are unique among candidate CNS APC in their ability to stimulate naïve, as well as effector, myelin-specific T cells to proliferate and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines directly ex vivo. cDC expanded in the meninges and CNS parenchyma in association with disease progression. Selective depletion of cDC led to a decrease in the number of myelin-primed donor T cells in the CNS and reduced the incidence of clinical EAE by half. Based on our findings, we propose that cDC, and the factors that regulate them, be further investigated as potential therapeutic targets in MS.
David A. Giles, Patrick C. Duncker, Nicole M. Wilkinson, Jesse M. Washnock-Schmid, Benjamin M. Segal
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) are inflammatory neuropathies that affect humans and are characterized by peripheral nerve myelin destruction and macrophage-containing immune infiltrates. In contrast to the traditional view that the peripheral nerve is simply the target of autoimmunity, we report here that peripheral nerve Schwann cells exacerbate the autoimmune process through extracellular matrix (ECM) protein induction. In a spontaneous autoimmune peripheral polyneuropathy (SAPP) mouse model of inflammatory neuropathy and CIDP nerve biopsies, the ECM protein periostin (POSTN) was upregulated in affected sciatic nerves and was primarily expressed by Schwann cells. Postn deficiency delayed the onset and reduced the extent of neuropathy, as well as decreased the number of macrophages infiltrating the sciatic nerve. In an in vitro assay, POSTN promoted macrophage chemotaxis in an integrin-AM (ITGAM) and ITGAV-dependent manner. The PNS-infiltrating macrophages in SAPP-affected nerves were pathogenic, since depletion of macrophages protected against the development of neuropathy. Our findings show that Schwann cells promote macrophage infiltration by upregulating Postn and suggest that POSTN is a novel target for the treatment of macrophage-associated inflammatory neuropathies.
Denise E. Allard, Yan Wang, Jian Joel Li, Bridget Conley, Erin W. Xu, David Sailer, Caellaigh Kimpston, Rebecca Notini, Collin-Jamal Smith, Emel Koseoglu, Joshua Starmer, Xiaopei L. Zeng, James F. Howard Jr., Ahmet Hoke, Steven S. Scherer, Maureen A. Su
Hypoglycemia activates the counterregulatory response (CRR), a neural-endocrine reflex that restores euglycemia. Although effective if occasionally activated, repeated induction of the CRR leads to a decline in responsiveness and prolonged exposure to hypoglycemia. The mechanism underlying this impairment is not known. We found that the reduction in epinephrine release that characterizes a suppressed CRR involves a long-lasting form of sympatho-adrenal synaptic plasticity. Using optogenetically evoked catecholamine release, we show that recurrent hypoglycemia reduced the secretory capacity of mouse adrenal chromaffin cells. Single activation of the CRR increased the adrenal levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis, but this was prevented by repeated activation. In contrast, the level of neuropeptide Y (NPY), an adrenal cotransmitter, remained elevated after recurrent hypoglycemia. Inhibition of NPY or Y1 signaling, either transgenically or pharmacologically, prevented the attenuation of both TH expression and epinephrine release. These results indicate that impairment of the CRR involves suppressed activity at the adrenal level. Interfering with the peripheral NPY–dependent negative feedback loop may provide a way to avoid the pathophysiological consequences of recurrent hypoglycemia which are common in the diabetic state.
Yunbing Ma, Qian Wang, Debria Joe, Manqi Wang, Matthew D. Whim
The mechanisms of pain induction by inflammation have been extensively studied. However, the mechanisms of pain resolution are not fully understood. Here, we report that GPR37, expressed by macrophages (MΦs) but not microglia, contributes to the resolution of inflammatory pain. Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) and prosaptide TX14 increase intracellular Ca2+ (iCa2+) levels in GPR37-transfected HEK293 cells. NPD1 and TX14 also bind to GPR37 and cause GPR37-dependent iCa2+ increases in peritoneal MΦs. Activation of GPR37 by NPD1 and TX14 triggers MΦ phagocytosis of zymosan particles via calcium signaling. Hind paw injection of pH-sensitive zymosan particles not only induces inflammatory pain and infiltration of neutrophils and MΦs, but also causes GPR37 upregulation in MΦs, phagocytosis of zymosan particles and neutrophils by MΦs in inflamed paws, and resolution of inflammatory pain in WT mice. Mice lacking Gpr37 display deficits in MΦ phagocytic activity and delayed resolution of inflammatory pain. Gpr37-deficient MΦs also show dysregulations of proinflammatory and antiinflammatory cytokines. MΦ depletion delays the resolution of inflammatory pain. Adoptive transfer of WT but not Gpr37-deficient MΦs promotes the resolution of inflammatory pain. Our findings reveal a previously unrecognized role of GPR37 in regulating MΦ phagocytosis and inflammatory pain resolution.
Sangsu Bang, Ya-Kai Xie, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Zilong Wang, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Ru-Rong Ji
Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are responsible for 20% of familial ALS. Given the gain of toxic function in this dominantly inherited disease, lowering SOD1 mRNA and protein is predicted to provide therapeutic benefit. An early generation antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeting SOD1 was identified and tested in a phase I human clinical trial, based on modest protection in animal models of SOD1 ALS. Although the clinical trial provided encouraging safety data, the drug was not advanced because there was progress in designing other, more potent ASOs for CNS application. We have developed next-generation SOD1 ASOs that more potently reduce SOD1 mRNA and protein and extend survival by more than 50 days in SOD1G93A rats and by almost 40 days in SOD1G93A mice. We demonstrated that the initial loss of compound muscle action potential in SOD1G93A mice is reversed after a single dose of SOD1 ASO. Furthermore, increases in serum phospho-neurofilament heavy chain levels, a promising biomarker for ALS, are stopped by SOD1 ASO therapy. These results define a highly potent, new SOD1 ASO ready for human clinical trial and suggest that at least some components of muscle response can be reversed by therapy.
Alex McCampbell, Tracy Cole, Amy J. Wegener, Giulio S. Tomassy, Amy Setnicka, Brandon J. Farley, Kathleen M. Schoch, Mariah L. Hoye, Mark Shabsovich, Linhong Sun, Yi Luo, Mingdi Zhang, Sai Thankamony, David W. Salzman, Merit Cudkowicz, Danielle L. Graham, C. Frank Bennett, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Eric E. Swayze, Timothy M. Miller
Induction of TLR2 activation depends on its association with adapter protein MyD88. We have found that levels of TLR2 and MyD88 are elevated in the hippocampus and cortex of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and 5XFAD mouse model of AD. Since there is no specific inhibitor of TLR2, to target induced TLR2 from therapeutic angle, we engineered a peptide corresponding to the TLR2-interacting domain of MyD88 (TIDM) that binds to the BB loop of only TLR2, but not other TLRs. Interestingly, wild type (wt) TIDM peptide inhibited microglial activation induced by fibrillar Aβ1-42 and lipoteichoic acid, but not 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium, double-stranded RNA, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, flagellin, and CpG DNA. After intranasal administration, wtTIDM peptide reached the hippocampus, reduced hippocampal glial activation, lowered Aβ burden, attenuated neuronal apoptosis, and improved memory and learning in 5XFAD mice. However, wtTIDM peptide was not effective in 5XFAD mice lacking TLR2. In addition to 5XFAD mice, wtTIDM peptide also suppressed the disease process in mice with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis and collagen-induced arthritis. Therefore, selective targeting of activated status of one component of the innate immune system by wtTIDM peptide may be beneficial in AD as well as other disorders in which TLR2-MyD88 signaling plays a role in disease pathogenesis.
Suresh B. Rangasamy, Malabendu Jana, Avik Roy, Grant T. Corbett, Madhuchhanda Kundu, Sujyoti Chandra, Susanta Mondal, Sridevi Dasarathi, Elliott J. Mufson, Rama K. Mishra, Chi-Hao Luan, David A. Bennett, Kalipada Pahan