Silvia Campioni1,2, Roland Riek1*

1Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Vladimir-Prelog-Veg 2, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
2Laboratory of Food and Soft Materials, Department of Health Sciences and Technologies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Schmelzbergstrasse 9, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Despite extensive research, a detailed description of the physiological function of α-Synuclein (α-Syn), the human neuronal protein involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease, is still lacking, most likely due to its highly dynamic conformation and behaviour. Recently, it has become increasingly evident that the interaction of α-Syn with membranes plays an important role in its function and misfunction. Strikingly, despite not having a membrane scaffolding domain, α-Syn can extensively reshape membrane bilayers. Moreover, stable and soluble nanometer-sized particles, whose morphology is ranging from tubules to discoids, can be obtained in vitro with different protocols and from different lipids. The focus of this review article is on the description of the membrane remodelling activity of α-Syn and on its possible physiological role.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/3.1031 View / Download Pdf

Jyotshna Kanungo*

Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration, 3900 NCTR Road, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by neuronal death with an accumulation of intra-cellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) and extracellular amyloid plaques. Reduced DNA repair ability has been reported in AD brains. In neurons, the predominant mechanism to repair double-strand DNA breaks (DSB) is non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) that requires DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity. DNA-PK is a holoenzyme comprising the p460 kD DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and its activator Ku, a heterodimer of p86 (Ku80) and p70 (Ku70) subunits. Upon binding to double-stranded DNA ends, Ku recruits DNA-PKcs to process NHEJ. In AD brains, reduced NHEJ activity as well as DNA-PKcs and Ku protein levels have been shown. Normal aging brains also show a reduction in both DNA-PKcs and Ku levels questioning a direct link between NHEJ ability and AD, and suggesting additional players/events in AD pathogenesis. Deficiency of Ku80, a somatostatin receptor, can disrupt somatostatin signaling thus inducing amyloid beta (Aβ) generation, which in turn can potentiate DNA-PKcs degradation and consequently loss of NHEJ activity, an additional step negatively affecting DSB repair. Trigger of these two different pathways culminating in genome instability may differentiate the outcomes between AD and normal aging.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/3.1016 View / Download Pdf

Ana Velasco* and Maruan Hijazi

Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León (INCYL), Universidad de Salamanca, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Salamanca (IBSAL), Spain

Down syndrome (DS): or trisomy 21: is the most common autosomal aneuploidy and the leading genetic cause of intellectual disability. It is widely established that mental retardation is primarily a consequence of brain functioning and developmental abnormalities in neurogenesis. Some changes in the physical structure of the dendrites are a major cause of impaired synaptic plasticity of DS. The overexpression of the dual specificyty tyrsone phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A): located on chromosome 21: is involved in cellular plasticity and responsible for central nervous system disturbance in DS.

Oleic acid is a neurotrophic factor that promotes neuronal differentiation and increases the levels of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). Furthermore: it has recently been shown that it induces migration and formation of new synapses in euploid cells. However: remarkably oleic acid fails to reproduce the same effects in trisomic cells.

Here we review the hypothesis that oleic acid-dependent synaptic plasticity may be dependent on the lipid environment. Thus: differences in membrane composition may be essential to understand why oleic acid promotes higher cell plasticity in euploid than in trisomic cells.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/3.1029 View / Download Pdf

Katz D1,2, Katz I1,2, Shoenfeld Y1,3*

1The Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel
2Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
3Incumbent of the Laura Schwarz-kipp chair for research of autoimmune diseases, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/4.1017 View / Download Pdf

Alex Steimle and Julia-Stefanie Frick*

Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Tuebingen, Tübingen, Germany

In recent years, a growing interest in pathophysiological processes that are associated with the endosomal and lysosomal protease cathepsin S (CTSS) results in an increasing number of various published methods for CTSS activity detection. CTSS has been reported to be involved in the pathology of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis as well as in tumor growth and Alzheimer’s disease. These implications make this enzyme a first class drug target. In order to fully understand the involvement of CTSS in the formation of pathological processes, gene and protein expression analysis is not sufficient. Rather, one should focus on the regulation of its enzymatic activity. Different approaches for CTSS activity detection are available and described. However, some of these approaches are not suitable for a standard laboratory without special equipment or technical expertise or provide other limitations. We have recently published an easy-to-perform protocol for reliable, quantifiable and reproducible CTSS activity detection. In this review we want to discuss our application and compare it with other published methods and protocols. This might help researchers who are interested in CTSS research to decide which application fits best to their technical or personal facilities.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/3.1023 View / Download Pdf

Jianli Niu and Pappachan E. Kolattukudy*

Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA

Inflammatory response represents one of the first immune processes following injury. However, evidence indicates that inflammatory response can also induce cellular protection associated with preconditioning, a phenomenon in which brief episodes of a sublethal insult induce robust protection against subsequent lethal injuries. The elucidation of mechanisms that allow inflammatory response to confer cellular protection is critical to developing new therapeutic strategies against acute ischemic insults. In the present review, we will give a short overview on a novel zinc-finger protein, MCPIP (also known as Zc3h12a or Regnase-1), which may function as a master integrator of endogenous cellular protection exerted by preconditioning.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/3.1026 View / Download Pdf

Lorna Guéniot1a, Claire Latroche1ab, Cédric Thépenier1,2a, Laurent Chatre3,4, Aurélien Mazeraud1, Daniel Fiole1,2, Pierre L. Goossens1, Fabrice Chrétien1,5,6c and Gregory Jouvion1,5c

1Institut Pasteur, Histopathologie Humaine et Modèles Animaux, Paris, France
2Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, Interactions Hôte-Agents Pathogènes, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France
3Groupe Stabilité de l’ADN Nucléaire et Mitochondrial, CNRS UMR 3525, Paris, France
4Institut Pasteur, Cellules Souches et Développement, Paris, France
5Université Paris Descartes, PRES Sorbonne-Paris-Cité, Paris, France
6CH Sainte-Anne, Neuropathology Department, Paris, France
aGuéniot L, Latroche C, and Thépenier C contributed equally to this work
bPresent address: San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy; Division of Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells and Gene Therapy; San Raffaele Scientific Institute; Milano, Italia.
cChrétien F and Jouvion G share senior co-authorship

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive neuromuscular disease, caused by absence of functional dystrophin and inevitably leading to death. A variable proportion of women carriers (2.5 to 19%) can also manifest symptoms ranging from myalgia to cardiomyopathy, and pathophysiological mechanisms are still not completely understood. Our study focused on 12 month-old female mdx mice, displaying marked chronic muscle lesions, similar to the lesions observed in human DMD. Our aim was to focus on the alterations of the vascular network organisation, and functional repercussions using a combination of histology/morphometry techniques and totally non-invasive functional approach (multiparametric and functional nuclear magnetic resonance), clearly relevant for clinical diagnosis and research, combining arterial spin labeling imaging of perfusion, and 31P-spectroscopy of phosphocreatine kinetics. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the vasculature, both in its steady state organisation and dynamic behaviour after an ischemia-reperfusion stress, is altered in the 12 month-old female mdx mouse: increased density of vascular sections in histology, modification of the post-ischemic hyperemia profile, increase in mitochondrial oxidative rephosphorylation capacity, in striking opposition to what was observed in age-matched male mdx mice. We believe the apparent discordance between vascular and muscular features in the female mdx mouse make it an interesting tool to decipher further dystrophinopathy pathophysiological mechanisms.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1014 View / Download Pdf

Domingos J1,3, Godinho C1,2,3, Ferreira JJ1,3,4*

1Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028, Lisboa, Portugal
2Center for Interdisciplinary Research Egas Moniz (CiiEM), Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz, Monte de Caparica, Portugal
3CNS-Campus Neurológico Sénior, Portugal
4Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Technologies may have implications for improving clinical diagnosis and prognosis, and for the development of therapeutic interventions, specific biomarkers, and preventive strategies. Given the amount of existing and ever-growing quantitative assessments using technology in PD, clinicians, patients and researchers are faced with the challenge of deciding which assessment tool to use in the laboratory, clinic and home environment. In order to facilitate this decision-making a systematic review was done to identify and classify the available monitoring technologies for individuals with PD over the last 2 decades. This is a commentary on the systematic review which adds on discussion on some controversial issues in the area. It tackles some of current open-to-discussion topics in the technology field, such as: which definitions to use, the heterogeneity of the clinimetric properties among technologies, standardization of a validation process, how to group different measuring technologies, and the need to conduct further studies on existing technologies before developing new ones. The strength of this comprehensive, timely and useful review is the detailed and robust approach taken by authors to classify technologies as listed, suggested, or recommended for the assessment of individuals with PD.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1013 View / Download Pdf

J. Leigh Leasure1,2*, Rebecca West1

1Department of Psychology, University of Houston, 126 Heyne Building, Houston, TX 77204-5022, United States
2Department of Biology & Biochemistry, 3455 Cullen Boulevard, Room 342, Houston, TX 77204-5001, United States

Exercise has long been considered a useful means by which to maintain brain health and treat brain diseases. Yet many of the neural benefits of exercise, such as enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis, take weeks to manifest. Moreover, the brains most in need of the restorative effects of exercise are often paired with bodies that can tolerate very little physical activity, such as those deconditioned by stroke. It would therefore be of great utility to pinpoint ways in which the brain benefits of exercise could be augmented without adding additional exercise time. Exercise represents a significant challenge to the brain because of the heat produced by exercising muscles, but physical activity in the cold attenuates this physiological burden. Using a rat model of voluntary exercise, we recently tested the hypothesis that exercise in cold ambient temperature (4.5°C) would stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis more effectively than exercise at room temperature. We found that, compared to animals that ran at room temperature, animals that exercised in the cold ran a shorter distance and for less total time. Nonetheless, they had more significantly more newly generated neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, indicating that running in the cold may be an effective means by which to maximize brain exercise benefits, yet minimize exercise time.

Exercise is increasingly becoming accepted as “medicine” for diseases of both brain and body1. For the brain, exercise offers chemical, cellular and structural benefits, including enhanced generation of new neurons, glia and blood vessels2-5, increased expression of neurotrophins (such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)6,7), dendritic remodeling8,9 and stabilization of stress responses10 and inflammatory signaling11. These mechanisms of action directly counteract those present in disease states. For example, the depressed brain is characterized by decreased synaptic plasticity, hippocampal neurogenesis and BDNF12, all of which can be reversed by exercise.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1027 View / Download Pdf

Riikka-Liisa Uronen, Henri J. Huttunen*

Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), loss of neurons and synapses parallels the formation of neurofibrillary tangles, protein aggregates mainly composed of hyperphosphorylated and aggregated Tau protein. Tau is mostly a cytosolic protein but can also be secreted by neurons. Cell-to-cell transfer of misfolded Tau protein plays a key role in the spread of neurofibrillary pathology between brain regions in AD and other tauopathies. Advances in genome-wide technologies have identified a large number of genetic risk factors for late-onset AD (LOAD). Currently, it remains unknown if genetic factors influence disease risk or progression rate by altering cell-to-cell propagation of Tau. Several LOAD risk genes are functionally associated with endocytic trafficking providing a potential link to Tau secretion and uptake. Recently, a LOAD risk gene FRMD4A was shown to regulate Tau secretion via a pathway linked to presynaptic vesicle machinery and polarity signaling. Tau release is linked to neuronal activity, and genetic factors that affect presynaptic vesicle release in the aging brain may also influence disease progression in AD and other tauopathies. In this mini review, we summarize the recent literature with a focus on the role of FRMD4A-cytohesin-Arf6 pathway and presynaptic vesicle machinery in the secretion of Tau.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1022 View / Download Pdf

Gabriele C Saretzki

Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle Institute for Ageing, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle University, UK

Telomerase is best known for its canonical function in telomere maintenance. However, a growing number of non-telomeric functions have been described. Several groups have found the telomerase protein TERT to persist in adult brain neurons. A protective role for the telomerase protein TERT had been demonstrated in cultivated mouse neurons during brain development, against excitotoxic stresses from N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and glutamate and agents known to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as beta amyloid peptides and hyperphosphorylated tau. In contrast, lack of telomerase and TERT protein increase oxidative stress and decrease neuronal survival. Research on telomerase and TERT protein in human neurodegenerative diseases is a relatively new field. However, there is emerging evidence of a beneficial role of telomerase in human brains and animal models of neurodegenerative diseases that suggests to explore the possibility of using telomerase activators as neuroprotective agents to combat brain ageing and to ameliorate neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The current mini-review summarises the knowledge about this developing novel area of brain research.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1025 View / Download Pdf

Alejandra N. Martinez1, Mario T. Philipp1,2

1Division of Bacteriology & Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA, USA
2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tulane University Medical School, New Orleans, LA, USA

This review addresses the role that substance P (SP) and its preferred receptor neurokinin-1 (NK1R) play in neuroinflammation associated with select bacterial, viral, parasitic, and neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system. The SP/NK1R complex is a key player in the interaction between the immune and nervous systems. A common effect of this interaction is inflammation. For this reason and because of the predominance in the human brain of the NK1R, its antagonists are attractive potential therapeutic agents. Preventing the deleterious effects of SP through the use of NK1R antagonists has been shown to be a promising therapeutic strategy, as these antagonists are selective, potent, and safe. Here we evaluate their utility in the treatment of different neuroinfectious and neuroinflammatory diseases, as a novel approach to clinical management of CNS inflammation.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1020 View / Download Pdf

Bernd Krone

1Center for Hygiene and Human Genetics, University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
2Medical Laboratory, Kurt-Reuber-Haus, Herkulesstraße 34a, 34119 Kassel, Germany

The sporadic forms of motor neuron diseases seem to depend on a multitude of factors that are, however, largely speculative. A main endogenous factor is seen in the enhanced expression of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). It is supposed that this is affecting the biogenesis of neuromelanin, in particular in the locus coeruleus. An altered neuromelanin with increased storage of metals and of precursors for toxins from food, respectively, might be of central importance. A hypothesis is described that is able to explain a number of observations and to understand roles and interactions of different factors. Toxins affecting the excitatory system are formed apparently within altered neuromelanin. Moreover, neuromelanin loaded with metal is also a microenvironment where pathological variants of proteins such as of alpha-synuclein are generated. Familial and toxin related forms of the diseases merge in formation and deposition of aberrant proteins and in a failure to destroy superoxide, thus increasing the harm from oxidative and nitrosative stress. This view might give some rational to revive investigations in methods for stabilization of storage and cautious squeezing out of metals and toxicants from neuromelanin, relying eventually on melatonin, iron chelators and chloroquine, respectively.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1015 View / Download Pdf

Nathalie Khoury, Kevin B. Koronowski and Miguel A. Perez-Pinzon*

Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Program, Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA

In the absence of effective neuroprotective agents in the clinic, ischemic and pharmacological preconditioning are gaining increased interest in the field of cerebral ischemia. Our lab recently reported that resveratrol preconditioning affords tolerance against a focal cerebral ischemic insult in mice that can last for at least 14 days in vivo making it the longest window of ischemic tolerance discovered to date by a single administration of a pharmacological agent. The mechanism behind this novel extended window of ischemic tolerance remains elusive. In the below commentary we discuss potential mechanisms that could explain this novel extended window of ischemic tolerance in the context of previously identified windows and the known mechanisms behind them. We also draw parallels from the fields of hibernation and hypoxia-tolerance, which are chronic adaptations to severe conditions of hypoxia and ischemia known to be mediated by a form of metabolic depression. We also briefly discuss the importance of epigenetic modifications in maintaining this depressed state of metabolism.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/2.1021 View / Download Pdf

Godinho C1,2,3, Domingos J1,3, Domingos J1,3,4*

1Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
2Center for Interdisciplinary Research Egas Moniz (CiiEM), Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz, Monte de Caparica, Portugale
3CNS-Campus Neurológico Sénior, Torres Vedras, Portugal
4Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies invest a great amount of time and effort in continuously creating electronic health solutions. These technology system developments may represent a step forward in care as ultimately it is not possible to manage what cannot be evaluated.

Yet, the use of future generations of technology depends on their specific design, fabrication, distribution, and, most importantly, patients adopting these new technologies as life companions. Data management and the use of artificial intelligence appear as new technological challenges. The overload, sharing and handling of information give rise to new legal, social, and ethical discussions in a field where there is a lack of universal criteria for data ownership, privacy and sharing.

Future technological progress requires much cooperation between multidisciplinary teams including sufficient sharing and benchmarking within open access frameworks.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1019 View / Download Pdf

Yoshio Matsuda

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, International University of Health and Welfare Hospital, Japan

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1011 View / Download Pdf

Jeffrey L. Neul1,2, Alan K. Percy2

1Department of Neuroscience, University of California San Diego, USA
2Civitan International Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1008 View / Download Pdf

Kurt A. Jellinger

Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria

The aging brain is characterized by the simultaneous presence of multiple pathologies, and the prevalence of multi-morbidity increases with age. Large clinico-pathological correlative studies have shown that in brains of both cognitively intact and impaired aged subjects, the presence of a single disease is a rare finding, while most brains show neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular and other pathologies, which frequently have been missed clinically and may even be difficult to identify at postmortem examination. Since both clinical and autopsy studies differ in selection and classification criteria and in the applied evaluation methods, irrespective of the clinical symptoms, the reported frequency of cerebral pathologies varies considerably. The frequent co-occurrence of different pathologies indicates their mutual interaction in order to promote cognitive decline and other clinical symptoms. These facts have also implications for improvement of clinical diagnosis and prognosis, for the development of specific biomarkers, preventive strategies, and therapeutic targets for cerebral multi-morbidity.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1001 View / Download Pdf

Carl Marincowitz and Will Townend

Emergency Department, Hull Royal Infirmary, Anlaby Road, Hull, UK

Background: Head injury represents an extremely common presentation to Emergency Departments (ED), but not all patients present immediately after injury. There is evidence that clinical deterioration following head injury will usually occur within 24 hours. It is unclear whether this means that head injury patients that present in a delayed manner, especially after 24 hours, have a lower prevalence of significant traumatic injuries.

Methods: This is a commentary on a systematic review that we conducted with the aim of identifying all studies that assess the risk of significant injuries in delayed ED presentation head injury populations. We postulated that the risk of injury may be different in this group compared to patients that present immediately.

Results: Three studies were eligible for inclusion. They were all of poor methodological quality, and heterogeneity prevented meta-analysis. The reported prevalence of traumatic intra-cranial injury on CT was between 2.2% and 6.3%.

Conclusion: Available evidence suggests that head injury patients who present in a delayed fashion to the ED may have lower rates of intra-cranial injury compared to non-delayed head injury patients. However, the evidence is sparse and it is of too low quality to guide clinical practice. Further research is required to help the clinical risk assessment of this group.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1006 View / Download Pdf

Kurt A. Jellinger

Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a fatal orphan neurodegenerative disorder that manifests with autonomic, parkinsonian, cerebellar, and pyramidal features. It is characterized by the accumulation of misfolded α-synuclein (αSyn) in oligodendroglia and neurons, affecting multiple parts of the central, autonomic and perípheral system. Both the etiology and pathogenesis of MSA are unknown, although a genetic component has been proposed. Accumulation of aberrant αSyn in oligodendrocytes, preceded by relocation of p25α protein from myelin into oligodendroglia, results in the formation of insoluble glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs). These changes are associated with proteasomal, mitochondrial and lipid transport dysfunction, oxidative stress, reduced trophic transport, neuroinflammation and other noxious factors. Their interaction induces dysfunction of the oligodendroglial-myelin-axon-neuron complex, resulting in the system-specific pattern of neurodegeneration characterizing MSA as a synucleinopathy with oligodendroglio-neuronopathy. Propagation of modified toxic αSyn species from neurons to oligodendroglia by "prion-like" transfer and its spreading to associate neuronal pathways result in multi-system involvement. No reliable biomarkers are currently available for the clinical diagnosis and prognosis of MSA and neither effective neuroprotective nor disease-modifying therapies of MSA are available, although novel treatment strategies targeting αSyn are under discussion. Multidisciplinary research to elucidate the genetic and molecular background of the deleterious cycle of noxious processes to develop reliable diagnostic biomarkers and to deliver targets for effective treatment of this hitherto incurable disorder is urgently needed.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1002 View / Download Pdf

Wolfgang H Jost

Department of Neurology, University of Freiburg, Germany

For years we have been injecting botulinum toxin relying mainly on our clinical experience and, in some cases, on the use of electromyography. Within that time some therapists introduced sonography for guidance and emphasize the advantages of this technique. Schramm et al., for example, pointed out the relevance of sonography for botulinum toxin treatment in cervical dystonia. Within a short time the importance of sonography has been well documented in this indication. Even assuming a critical distance, the significance of this technique has become largely indisputable.

DOI: 10.29245/2572.942X/2016/1.1010 View / Download Pdf