Neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) proliferate and produce new neurons in neurogenic areas throughout the lifetime. While these cells represent potential therapeutic treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, regulation of neurogenesis is not completely understood. We show that deficiency of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2), a transcription factor induced in response to oxidative stress, prevents the ischemia-induced increase in newborn neurons in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. Consistent with this finding, the growth of NPC neurospheres was increased by lentivirus-mediated overexpression of Nrf2 gene or by treatment with pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), an Nrf2 activating compound. Also, neuronal differentiation of NPCs was increased by Nrf2 overexpression or PDTC treatment but reduced by Nrf2 deficiency. To investigate the impact of Nrf2 on NPCs in Alzheimer's disease (AD), we treated NPCs with amyloid beta (Ab), a toxic peptide associated with neurodegeneration and cognitive abnormalities in AD. We found that Ab 1-42 -induced toxicity and reduction in neurosphere proliferation were prevented by Nrf2 overexpression, while Nrf2 deficiency enhanced the Ab 1-42 -induced reduction of neuronal differentiation. On the other hand, Ab 1-40 had no effect on neurosphere proliferation in wt NPCs but increased the proliferation of Nrf2 overexpressing neurospheres and reduced it in Nrf2-deficient neurospheres. These results suggest that Nrf2 is essential for neuronal differentiation of NPCs, regulates injury-induced neurogenesis and provides protection against Ab-induced NPC toxicity.
Stroke represents a global challenge and is a leading cause of permanent disability worldwide. Despite much effort, translation of research findings to clinical benefit has not yet been successful. Failure of neuroprotection trials is considered, in part, due to the low quality of preclinical studies, low level of reproducibility across different laboratories and that stroke co-morbidities have not been fully considered in experimental models. More rigorous testing of new drug candidates in different experimental models of stroke and initiation of preclinical cross-laboratory studies have been suggested as ways to improve translation. However, to our knowledge, no drugs currently in clinical stroke trials have been investigated in preclinical cross-laboratory studies. The cytokine interleukin 1 is a key mediator of neuronal injury, and the naturally occurring interleukin 1 receptor antagonist has been reported as beneficial in experimental studies of stroke. In the present paper, we report on a preclinical cross-laboratory stroke trial designed to investigate the efficacy of interleukin 1 receptor antagonist in different research laboratories across Europe. Our results strongly support the therapeutic potential of interleukin 1 receptor antagonist in experimental stroke and provide further evidence that interleukin 1 receptor antagonist should be evaluated in more extensive clinical stroke trials.
Neuroinflammation is strongly induced by cerebral ischemia. The early phase after the onset of ischemic stroke is characterized by acute neuronal injury, microglial activation, and subsequent infiltration of blood-derived inflammatory cells, including macrophages. Therefore, modulation of the microglial/macrophage responses has increasingly gained interest as a potential therapeutic approach for the ischemic stroke. In our study, we investigated the effects of peripherally administered interleukin 13 (IL-13) in a mouse model of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAo). Systemic administration of IL-13 immediately after the ischemic insult significantly reduced the lesion volume, alleviated the infiltration of CD45 + leukocytes, and promoted the microglia/macrophage alternative activation within the ischemic region, as determined by arginase 1 (Arg1) immunoreactivity at 3 days post-ischemia (dpi). Moreover, IL-13 enhanced the expression of M2a alternative activation markers Arg1 and Ym1 in the peri-ischemic (PI) area, as well as increased plasma IL-6 and IL-10 levels at 3 dpi. Furthermore, IL-13 treatment ameliorated gait disturbances at day 7 and 14 and sensorimotor deficits at day 14 post-ischemia, as analyzed by the CatWalk gait analysis system and adhesive removal test, respectively. Finally, IL-13 treatment decreased neuronal cell death in a coculture model of neuroinflammation with RAW 264.7 macrophages. Taken together, delivery of IL-13 enhances microglial/macrophage antiinflammatory responses in vivo and in vitro, decreases ischemia-induced brain cell death, and improves sensory and motor functions in the pMCAo mouse model of cerebral ischemia.
BackgroundDHCR24, involved in the de novo synthesis of cholesterol and protection of neuronal cells against different stress conditions, has been shown to be selectively downregulated in neurons of the affected brain areas in Alzheimer’s disease.MethodsHere, we investigated whether the overexpression of DHCR24 protects neurons against inflammation-induced neuronal death using co-cultures of mouse embryonic primary cortical neurons and BV2 microglial cells upon acute neuroinflammation. Moreover, the effects of DHCR24 overexpression on dendritic spine density and morphology in cultured mature mouse hippocampal neurons and on the outcome measures of ischemia-induced brain damage in vivo in mice were assessed.ResultsOverexpression of DHCR24 reduced the loss of neurons under inflammation elicited by LPS and IFN-γ treatment in co-cultures of mouse neurons and BV2 microglial cells but did not affect the production of neuroinflammatory mediators, total cellular cholesterol levels, or the activity of proteins linked with neuroprotective signaling. Conversely, the levels of post-synaptic cell adhesion protein neuroligin-1 were significantly increased upon the overexpression of DHCR24 in basal growth conditions. Augmentation of DHCR24 also increased the total number of dendritic spines and the proportion of mushroom spines in mature mouse hippocampal neurons. In vivo, overexpression of DHCR24 in striatum reduced the lesion size measured by MRI in a mouse model of transient focal ischemia.ConclusionsThese results suggest that the augmentation of DHCR24 levels provides neuroprotection in acute stress conditions, which lead to neuronal loss in vitro and in vivo.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s12974-017-0991-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
SummaryIschemic stroke is confounded by conditions such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and infection, all of which alter peripheral inflammatory processes with concomitant impact on stroke outcome. The majority of the stroke patients are elderly, but the impact of interactions between aging and inflammation on stroke remains unknown. We thus investigated the influence of age on the outcome of stroke in animals predisposed to systemic chronic infection. Th1-polarized chronic systemic infection was induced in 18-22 month and 4-month-old C57BL/6j mice by administration of Trichuris muris (gut parasite). One month after infection, mice underwent permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion and infarct size, brain gliosis, and brain and plasma cytokine profiles were analyzed. Chronic infection increased the infarct size in aged but not in young mice at 24 h. Aged, ischemic mice showed altered plasma and brain cytokine responses, while the lesion size correlated with plasma prestroke levels of RANTES. Moreover, the old, infected mice exhibited significantly increased neutrophil recruitment and upregulation of both plasma interleukin-17a and tumor necrosis factor-a levels. Neither age nor infection status alone or in combination altered the ischemia-induced brain microgliosis. Our results show that chronic peripheral infection in aged animals renders the brain more vulnerable to ischemic insults, possibly by increasing the invasion of neutrophils and altering the inflammation status in the blood and brain. Understanding the interactions between age and infections is crucial for developing a better therapeutic regimen for ischemic stroke and when modeling it as a disease of the elderly.
Developing new therapies for stroke is urgently needed, as this disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and the existing treatment is only available for a small subset of patients. The interruption of blood flow to the brain during ischemic stroke launches multiple immune responses, characterized by infiltration of peripheral immune cells, the activation of brain microglial cells, and the accumulation of immune mediators. Copper is an essential trace element that is required for many critical processes in the brain. Copper homeostasis is disturbed in chronic neurodegenerative diseases and altered in stroke patients, and targeted copper delivery has been shown to be protective against chronic neurodegeneration. This study was undertaken to assess whether the copper bis(thiosemicarbazone) complex, Cu(atsm), is beneficial in acute brain injury, in preclinical mouse models of ischemic stroke. We demonstrate that the copper complex Cu(atsm) protects neurons from excitotoxicity and N2a cells from OGD in vitro, and is protective in permanent and transient ischemia models in mice as measured by functional outcome and lesion size. Copper delivery in the ischemic brains modulates the inflammatory response, specifically affecting the myeloid cells. It reduces CD45 and Iba1 immunoreactivity, and alters the morphology of Iba1 positive cells in the ischemic brain. Cu(atsm) also protects endogenous microglia against ischemic insult and reduces the proportion of invading monocytes. These results demonstrate that the copper complex Cu(atsm) is an inflammation-modulating compound with high therapeutic potential in stroke and is a strong candidate for the development of therapies for acute brain injury.
Ischemic stroke is amongst the leading causes of death and disabilities. The available treatments are suitable for only a fraction of patients and thus novel therapies are urgently needed. Blockage of one of the cerebral arteries leads to massive and persisting inflammatory reaction contributing to the nearby neuronal damage. Targeting the detrimental pathways of neuroinflammation has been suggested to be beneficial in conditions of ischemic stroke. Nuclear receptor 4A-family (NR4A) member Nurr1 has been shown to be a potent modulator of harmful inflammatory reactions, yet the role of Nurr1 in cerebral stroke remains unknown. Here we show for the first time that an agonist for the dimeric transcription factor Nurr1/retinoid X receptor (RXR), HX600, reduces microglia expressed proinflammatory mediators and prevents inflammation induced neuronal death in in vitro co-culture model of neurons and microglia. Importantly, HX600 was protective in a mouse model of permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion and alleviated the stroke induced motor deficits. Along with the anti-inflammatory capacity of HX600 in vitro, treatment of ischemic mice with HX600 reduced ischemia induced Iba-1, p38 and TREM2 immunoreactivities, protected endogenous microglia from ischemia induced death and prevented leukocyte infiltration. These anti-inflammatory functions were associated with reduced levels of brain lysophosphatidylcholines (lysoPCs) and acylcarnitines, metabolites related to proinflammatory events. These data demonstrate that HX600 driven Nurr1 activation is beneficial in ischemic stroke and propose that targeting Nurr1 is a novel candidate for conditions involving neuroinflammatory component.
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