Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common fatal motor neuron disease in adults. Numerous studies indicate that ALS is a systemic disease that affects whole body physiology and metabolic homeostasis. Using a mouse model of the disease (SOD1G86R), we investigated muscle physiology and motor behavior with respect to muscle metabolic capacity. We found that at 65 days of age, an age described as asymptomatic, SOD1G86R mice presented with improved endurance capacity associated with an early inhibition in the capacity for glycolytic muscle to use glucose as a source of energy and a switch in fuel preference toward lipids. Indeed, in glycolytic muscles we showed progressive induction of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 expression. Phosphofructokinase 1 was inhibited, and the expression of lipid handling molecules was increased. This mechanism represents a chronic pathologic alteration in muscle metabolism that is exacerbated with disease progression. Further, inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 activity with dichloroacetate delayed symptom onset while improving mitochondrial dysfunction and ameliorating muscle denervation. In this study, we provide the first molecular basis for the particular sensitivity of glycolytic muscles to ALS pathology.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that results in progressive loss of motoneurons, motor weakness and death within 1–5 years after disease onset. Therapeutic options remain limited despite a substantial number of approaches that have been tested clinically. In particular, various neurotrophic factors have been investigated. Failure in these trials has been largely ascribed to problems of insufficient dosing or inability to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB). We have recently uncovered the neurotrophic properties of the haematopoietic protein granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). The protein is clinically well tolerated and crosses the intact BBB. This study examined the potential role of G-CSF in motoneuron diseases. We investigated the expression of the G-CSF receptor in motoneurons and studied effects of G-CSF in a motoneuron cell line and in the SOD1(G93A) transgenic mouse model. The neurotrophic growth factor was applied both by continuous subcutaneous delivery and CNS-targeted transgenic overexpression. This study shows that given at the stage of the disease where muscle denervation is already evident, G-CSF leads to significant improvement in motor performance, delays the onset of severe motor impairment and prolongs overall survival of SOD1(G93A)tg mice. The G-CSF receptor is expressed by motoneurons and G-CSF protects cultured motoneuronal cells from apoptosis. In ALS mice, G-CSF increased survival of motoneurons and decreased muscular denervation atrophy. We conclude that G-CSF is a novel neurotrophic factor for motoneurons that is an attractive and feasible drug candidate for the treatment of ALS.
OBJETIVO: Os transtornos depressivos constituem um problema de saúde pública devido a sua alta prevalência e impacto psicossocial. Pacientes deprimidos são freqüentadores assíduos de serviços de atendimento primário, porém, muitas vezes, não são diagnosticados como tais. O objetivo do estudo é avaliar a associação entre sintomas depressivos e funcionamento social numa amostra de pacientes que procuraram um serviço de cuidados primários em uma capital brasileira. MÉTODOS: Foram avaliados 2.201 usuários de serviços de cuidados de saúde primários de Porto Alegre quanto à saúde física e emocional. Foi aplicado questionário em entrevista única, com duas questões genéricas de avaliação de qualidade de vida do World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-Breve), mais itens do Medical Outcomes Study Short-Forms 12 (SF-12) e MHI 5 (MHI-5), do Centers for Epidemiologic Studies -- Depression (CES-D), além de outras questões referentes a busca de atendimento médico e faltas ao trabalho. Foram realizados testes de Kruska-Wallis e de comparações múltiplas de Tambane. RESULTADOS: Dos indivíduos estudados, 79,5% eram do sexo feminino, com média de idade de 40 anos. A intensidade da sintomatologia depressiva medida pelo CES-D foi de 20,2 para as mulheres e de 16,2 para os homens. Todos os parâmetros avaliados tiveram relação inversa com a intensidade dos sintomas depressivos. CONCLUSÕES: Os resultados reforçam a afirmativa de que a sintomatologia depressiva tem uma alta associação com pior funcionamento social e qualidade de vida e maior utilização de recursos de saúde em pacientes de cuidados primários.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal adult-onset disease characterized by upper and lower motor neuron degeneration, muscle wasting and paralysis. Growing evidence suggests a link between changes in lipid metabolism and ALS. Here, we used UPLC/TOF-MS to survey the lipidome in SOD1(G86R) mice, a model of ALS. Significant changes in lipid expression were evident in spinal cord and skeletal muscle before overt neuropathology. In silico analysis also revealed appreciable changes in sphingolipids including ceramides and glucosylceramides (GlcCer). HPLC analysis showed increased amounts of GlcCer and downstream glycosphingolipids (GSLs) in SOD1(G86R) muscle compared with wild-type littermates. Glucosylceramide synthase (GCS), the enzyme responsible for GlcCer biosynthesis, was up-regulated in muscle of SOD1(G86R) mice and ALS patients, and in muscle of wild-type mice after surgically induced denervation. Conversely, inhibition of GCS in wild-type mice, following transient peripheral nerve injury, reversed the overexpression of genes in muscle involved in oxidative metabolism and delayed motor recovery. GCS inhibition in SOD1(G86R) mice also affected the expression of metabolic genes and induced a loss of muscle strength and morphological deterioration of the motor endplates. These findings suggest that GSLs may play a critical role in ALS muscle pathology and could lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets.
Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are characterized by selective death of motor neurons and include mainly adult-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Neurodegeneration is not the single pathogenic event occurring during disease progression. There are multiple lines of evidence for the existence of defects in lipid metabolism at peripheral level. For instance, hypermetabolism is well characterized in ALS, and dyslipidemia correlates with better prognosis in patients. Lipid metabolism plays also a role in other MNDs. In SMA, misuse of lipids as energetic nutrients is described in patients and in related animal models. The composition of structural lipids in the central nervous system is modified, with repercussion on membrane fluidity and on cell signaling mediated by bioactive lipids. Here, we review the main epidemiologic and mechanistic findings that link alterations of lipid metabolism and motor neuron degeneration, and we discuss the rationale of targeting these modifications for therapeutic management of MNDs.
Spasticity is a common and disabling symptom observed in patients with central nervous system diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease affecting both upper and lower motor neurons. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spasticity is traditionally thought to be the result of degeneration of the upper motor neurons in the cerebral cortex, although degeneration of other neuronal types, in particular serotonergic neurons, might also represent a cause of spasticity. We performed a pathology study in seven patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and six control subjects and observed that central serotonergic neurons suffer from a degenerative process with prominent neuritic degeneration, and sometimes loss of cell bodies in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Moreover, distal serotonergic projections to spinal cord motor neurons and hippocampus systematically degenerated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In SOD1 (G86R) mice, a transgenic model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, serotonin levels were decreased in brainstem and spinal cord before onset of motor symptoms. Furthermore, there was noticeable atrophy of serotonin neuronal cell bodies along with neuritic degeneration at disease onset. We hypothesized that degeneration of serotonergic neurons could underlie spasticity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and investigated this hypothesis in vivo using tail muscle spastic-like contractions in response to mechanical stimulation as a measure of spasticity. In SOD1 (G86R) mice, tail muscle spastic-like contractions were observed at end-stage. Importantly, they were abolished by 5-hydroxytryptamine-2b/c receptors inverse agonists. In line with this, 5-hydroxytryptamine-2b receptor expression was strongly increased at disease onset. In all, we show that serotonergic neurons degenerate during amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and that this might underlie spasticity in mice. Further research is needed to determine whether inverse agonists of 5-hydroxytryptamine-2b/c receptors could be of interest in treating spasticity in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Recent metabolomic reports connect dysregulation of glycosphingolipids, particularly ceramide and glucosylceramide, to neurodegeneration and to motor unit dismantling in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at late disease stage. We report here altered levels of gangliosides in the cerebrospinal fluid of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients in early disease stage. Conduritol B epoxide is an inhibitor of acid beta-glucosidase, and lowers glucosylceramide degradation. Glucosylceramide is the precursor for all of the more complex glycosphingolipids. In SOD1G86R mice, an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, conduritol B epoxide preserved ganglioside distribution at the neuromuscular junction, delayed disease onset, improved motor function and preserved motor neurons as well as neuromuscular junctions from degeneration. Conduritol B epoxide mitigated gene dysregulation in the spinal cord and restored the expression of genes involved in signal transduction and axonal elongation. Inhibition of acid beta-glucosidase promoted faster axonal elongation in an in vitro model of neuromuscular junctions and hastened recovery after peripheral nerve injury in wild type mice. Here, we provide evidence that glycosphingolipids play an important role in muscle innervation, which degenerates in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from the early disease stage. This is a first proof of concept study showing that modulating the catabolism of glucosylceramide may be a therapeutic target for this devastating disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motoneurons. We have recently uncovered a new neurotrophic growth factor, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), which protects α-motoneurons, improves functional outcome, and increases life expectancy of SOD-1 (G93A) mice when delivered subcutaneously. However, chronic systemic delivery of G-CSF is complicated by elevation of neutrophilic granulocytes. Here, we used adeno-associated virus (AAV) to directly target and confine G-CSF expression to the spinal cord. Whereas intramuscular injection of AAV failed to transduce motoneurons retrogradely, and caused a high systemic load of G-CSF, intraspinal delivery led to a highly specific enrichment of G-CSF in the spinal cord with moderate peripheral effects. Intraspinal delivery improved motor functions, delayed disease progression, and increased survival by 10%, longer than after systemic delivery. Mechanistically, we could show that G-CSF in addition to rescuing motoneurons improved neuromuscular junction (NMJ) integrity and enhanced motor axon regeneration after nerve crush injury. Collectively, our results show that intraspinal delivery improves efficacy of G-CSF treatment in an ALS mouse model while minimizing the systemic load of G-CSF, suggesting a new therapeutic option for ALS treatment.
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